I keep hearing more and more comments and debate on the Iraq war as it relates to our initial justification for going in. Was there WMD? Did our intelligence think there was? The left seems far too focused on the point of the missing weapons. The right too focused on the faulty intelligence which vindicates the president for them.

That is missing the point. It does not matter how good or bad our intelligence was. What matters is that there could have been no threat to the United States even if there were weapons. We are simply too far away. If there were not, then we would be sending our youth in to what would be a protracted and ugly war – no matter what Rumsfeld says about roses being thrown at our feet as liberators!

Pre-war there was a concerted effort to do inspections and determine the state of Iraq’s weapons programs. This should have been allowed to continue in the light of intelligence that was not certain. That is the responsibility of the President. He does not get a free pass now based on after the fact knowledge. It is his job to know and make the right decisions. He jumped the gun and got us into a war that was not fully justified given the intelligence. We were too 911 jumpy and it has cost us over 2000 US lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (each of those as important in the larger sense).

Good or bad intelligence does not matter in this. We should stop arguing about it.

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  • The debate over intellegence seems much like a deliberate distraction. While we argue over who said what, and who knew what, and what was true and what was manufactured – soldiers and Iraqi civilians continue to die, and the REAL issue of why exactly it is we are there receeds into the background.

    Seems like it’s been working so far…

  • Paul V. Minor

    Yes. I agree. The reepub talking points, at this stage of their power mongering Iraq War playbook, aim to keep this red herring of a distraction based argument at the forefront: “Everyone thought Saddam had WMD.”

    First understand, (because no prominent Dem apparently has had the skills or spine to effectively raise the issue), that pre-invasion Iraq was at best a third world nation, AND we, the U.S., controlled 2/3rds of Iraq’s airspace. Are we to believe that our insanely dedicated intelligence and defense professionals and the rule-bending neocons who controlled them never sent spy plans over there to see what was really going on? Of course the folks in our government who had access knew a hell of a lot more than they let on, but being the only ones with this access enabled and emboldened them to spread innuendo (lies) and cherry pick slices of scary info. But Eric’s right. This talking-point, the one that takes up space on everything from Rush to Bill Mahr, (as do all priority-1 reepub talking points), that if the informed thinking really was that we thought Saddam had WMD, (or if Bush just received some bad intelligence indicating that he did (doops!)), then Rove/Cheney & Co. were justified and right for taking us to war. But that’s crazy. What actually happened was that Rove/Cheney sent their most least-not-credible, most visible employee, Powell to the UN to make the case, and he all he got was a lot of a blank stares and left without even asking for a vote. He had nothing. But again let’s play the scenario through here. If he really did have something and he just caught the rest of the world on a bad day, and Rove/Cheney really believe that there is a threat, then, THEN the question is: What is the most appropriate course of action to take in the short and long term interests of the United States? Well it appears that it just had to be a unilateral preemptive invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam! (Just the same action, coincidently, as Cheney, Wolfie and others had been pushing long before their excuse of 911 occurred.)

    The point here is, (besides the obvious one that powermongerers have taken over and are riding rough shot over the people in this nation who have been lulled asleep), is that even if we really believed that Saddam had WMD, would unilateral, preemptive, costly, incompetently planned and managed, and under-staffed invasion against the wishes of the world and half in this nation (as polled on Mar 15th) be the best first response? Because that?s what happened. And that is the issue. Was this good leadership? Or was this classic power mongering, self-serving politically motivated genocide cheaply disguised and wrapped up in the American flag? (Horrid Mis-leadership)

    Bush loved saying during the ?04 campaign a line written by some Rove loving neo-con wanabee: ?If given a choice between defending America and taking the word of a mad man, I’ll defend America everytime!!!? And if you analyze just for a minute the sheer propaganda and discounting of thought that that line conveys, you’ll understand all you need to about this issue. Self serving, powertripping, egomaniacs riding roughshot over the people of this nation and the world. Their expertise is in managing the message, manipulating the people with the friendly conglomerated media in-tow, and corporate America and the Military serving both as their facilitators and beneficiaries. The media isn’t waking up, people aren’t waking up, the pendulum is broken, it’s not swinging back, only an event on the order of a nation-wide Katrina or the arrival of some political messiah who could somehow cut through the media filter will likely turn back this New American Fascism without major suffering and bloodshed in this country. (And of course the suffering is happening now in Iraq, thanks to Rove/Bush, an ineffective opposition party, and the masses of Americans who are too busy, too easily distracted, too stupid, or too lazy to get involved.)

    Was there WMD? No. Was there a credible threat to the US? Never. Did Rove/Cheney know this, certainly they did. Did they lie about it using the spector of 911 to spread fear and spark ultra-nationalism, constantly, expertly after 9/11? Like Oscar-worthy pros. Was invading Iraq when we did, the way we did, the right thing to do even if our governmental leaders really did believe that Saddam posed a threat? Nope.

    What would have made sense given what was KNOWN? We should have went to the UN and pushed for a force of UN 30,000 peacekeeping/paramilitary and WMD inspector teams to swarm the country, this, with the post 911 world sentiment would have been approved easily by the UN and we could have gone in with overwhelming numbers and the support of the world. Had Saddam played tricks or balked at any point it would have been a slam-dunk for Powell to go to the UN and actually, legitimately garner world support for military action against Saddam, hell I hated Rove/Cheney before I knew the finer detail about Rove/Cheney and I could have supported military action at that point.

    Listen, I am hater of Rove/Cheney and the New American Facism which is the Republican Party and their blind followers here post 2000, but let me say clearly BUSH WAS RIGHT! That?s right Rove/Cheney was right to go the UN and demand UN action on Saddam post 911. He was a known head of state who had used chemical weapons and had attacked a neighboring country. The Bush team had legitimacy to paint Saddam as a potential threat and to go to the U.N. the first time. Though in retrospect it should be clear to all that his purpose was far from pure, rather it was just a rudimentary going through the motions and PR building block in attempting to create an image, hype the hysteria and sell, sell, sell a need to go to war. But initially, Bush was right to go to the UN and call out Saddam. Pretty much everything that Rove/Cheney did after that was incompetent at best, and criminal.

    The tepid Dem and public response to the 8 year Clinton political lynching and impeachment, the deafening silence of complicity from the public over the Supreme Coup that was Dubya?s selection in December of 2000, and the lack of anger and demand for accountability for the executive branch?s massive failures that culminated in the worst terrorist attack in our history, gave the Rove/Cheney strategists and shot callers the subliminal greenlight to perpetrate such an illicit and ill-advised blunder that is the U.S. invasion and miserable occupation of Iraq. The Dem opposition has shown to be ineffective in rising to the challenge and motivating support for the causes that would serve Dems and the U.S. And the reepubs have pushed the envelope to extremes much worse than my gigantic fears of 2000.

    WMD/No WMD, this Iraq abortion of a foreign Policy isn?t prudent, conservative or even competent leadership of the American Republic, this is corruption and complicity to the point of lunacy.

    Now the Reepubs are mixing into their talking points that ?in 2-3 years if this is looking good than you?ll have to admit that this Iraq policy was far-sighted policy by Bush. And good Dems like Liberman will agree and prosper. And the re-writing of history as-we-go will reach new heights and the mass media will present it in a way that John Q. Public will buy it and drive on without batting an eye.

    PS: tonight on Fox, Hannity blasted token Dem talking head failure Bob Beckel on the point that everyone thought that Saddam had WMD and there is consensus that there was no misuse of intel by the Bush admin. The poor Dem 1) facilitated the fantasy that Fox is legit, fair&balanced by appearing on the show and 2) confirmed for the viewers that the Dem side has no means of taking the fight to the opposition or even competing in let alone winning an argument and therefore must be wrong on the issue just as the host has been asserting.

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