December 22, 2004

Torture Redux

Story here.

The new documents include several incidents of threatened executions of teenage and adult Iraqi detainees. In one instance, a soldier in a unit that lacked any training in interrogation -- but was nonetheless assigned to process and question detainees -- acknowledged forcing two men to their knees, placing bullets in their mouths, ordering them to close their eyes, and telling them they would be shot unless they answered questions about a grenade incident. He then took the bullets, and a colleague pretended to load them in the chamber of his M-16 rifle.

The documents indicate that the perpetrator, who was investigated on charges of assault and a "law of war violation," was given a nonjudicial punishment by his commander. Threatening detainees with physical harm to compel their testimony is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

In a second case, Army investigators concluded that a sergeant committed offenses including assault, dereliction of duty and cruelty when he conducted "a mock execution of an Iraqi teenager" in front of the boy's father and brother, who were suspected of looting an ammunition factory. Investigators also found that the actions were condoned by a lieutenant who conspired with the sergeant.

An investigative report also details an incident two days earlier, in which the lieutenant ordered a suspected looter to kneel, pointed a 9mm pistol at his head and then pulled the gun away just as he fired a shot. The outcome of both cases is unclear from the records released yesterday.

Back in the Balkans in the mid-90s, I used to interview refugees to determine their eligibility for resettlement to the United States--many of them victims of brutish persecution by Bosnian Serb paramilitaries. Some of them had been subjected to these types of mock executions. Such mock executions are, not suprisingly, deeply scarring experiences. Employing such tactics, of course, is not worthy of our military's finest traditions. But it has now become increasingly routine to discover that American forces have been involved in such odiousness. No, it's not sawing off a head. But is that our new benchmark--anything less 'medieval' now kosher?

I am ashamed, of course. And profoundly saddened. Part of the reason this is happening too often? Untrained personnel, likely confused kids really, are being tasked with interrogations. But interrogators need to be trained to perform their tasks consistent with relevant law, convention, norms. They also need to be coached on best practices by which to extract information--mock executions not among them. Again, our force mix and too few troops in theater have, not only rendered securing victory harder, but also contributed to scandals like these because we never dedicated the proper quantum and mix of resources to the tasks at hand. Will someone ever be held accountable in the broad reaches above Brig. General Karpinski of Abu Ghraib notoriety? Don't hold your breath. For Rummy, after all, accountability means, well, non-accountability (Except for assorted slaps on the wrist or jail time for some of the 'bad apples.' Many of them less guilty, if not vis-a-vis direct culpability, in terms of the piss-poor post-war assumptions that have led to the hoisting of large numbers of untrained personnel into difficult, unfamiliar situations. Situations that lend themselves to precisely the human rights abuses we are again hearing about now. Am I saying there is legal liability that resides directly with Rumsfeld via the chain of command? No, not necessarily. But there is certainly a more general failure of leadership and moral direction that is part and parcel of all of this. And in significant manner).

Alas, contemporary White Houses have become citadels of 'stay on message'; bastions of spin. Where is the courage and intellectual honesty to call a spade a spade? Or torture torture? Yes, Bush made some of the right noises after Abu Ghraib. But it wasn't a hugely convincing show (Kerry, btw, watched the polls showing Rummy with 70% support after A.G. Result: He didn't condemn it as vociferously as he should have. Another sign of his meekness and lack of character). Bush has now secured victory in the election. What does he even have to lose? Does he not think such despicableness needs to be shouted down, more forcefully, from his huge bully pulpit? Indeed, should not the Commander-in-Chief, more loudly, decry these human rights abuses for the whole world to hear--rather than march over to the Pentagon to give Don Rumsfeld another bear-hug?

Posted by Gregory at December 22, 2004 05:33 AM
Comments

"Part of the reason this is happening too often?.."

Part of the reason is that, as you alluded to, Americans - Republican Americans that is - don't care if we torture people; especially middle eastern people.

Republicans not only have not decried the torture of prisoners, some have actually advocated it. Moderate Repub.s have treated reports of torture as an annoyance at worst.

But hey, you gotta feel good that the republicans are still better than those squishy liberals.

Posted by: avedis at December 22, 2004 09:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Threatening detainees with physical harm to compel their testimony is a violation of the Geneva Conventions."

A false statement - as 30 seconds of Googling could have easily told the author.

What good are reporters that accept offical statements from military authoritues without checking thier validity?

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 22, 2004 01:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Art- mock executions are against the Geneva Conventions...you learn these things in high school history class. (well I did at least- but I was from a rich arrea that coudl afford goo dteachers..)

Posted by: pardon at December 22, 2004 01:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I make a lot of mistakes in my job, but I get a lot right, and I can still honestly say to my immediate coworkers and superiors that, despite this, I am still the best man for the job. I am so far willing to grant Rumsfeld the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he does the same. I have no problem understanding that he avoids doing this in public.

The torture we have heard of is shameful, and it is a symptom of something wrong with our military (or near the civilian-military interface). But is it necessarily about Rumsfeld?

Posted by: Sammler at December 22, 2004 02:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

'Threatening detainees with physical harm to compel their testimony is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.'

GITMO detainees AREN'T covered by the Geneva Conventions.

Posted by: Jack Tanner at December 22, 2004 02:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think the reason this is happening is less because it is a Liberal vs Republican incident. More so, like BG said himself in the post that these are young guys, my age, that have been thrown into the war with little or no training in interrogation. I have the faintest clue as to extracting information from an individual. What I would think I would do is as they are doing, mock trials etc...also, I have, sad I know, never reviewed the Geneva Convention - do you think, for a second these soldiers have read them?

Yes there should be top officials blamed, but what good does that do in the long run. Training should be the number one important issue here. A humvee explodes, fine blame Rummy for it, blame the republican,liberal, whoever, you want, but will that stop the killing of soldiers inside the humvee - no - the armor will. It might be a bad analogy, but still, train these guys to the interrogation the right way and you will see less and less of these incidents -

Posted by: raffi at December 22, 2004 02:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Can the Army be this stupid? They got battalions of MI troops ferchrissake, and they have to use untrained 11Bs or other grunts to do POW interviews?

Greg is right, POW interrogations (or similar interviews) require trained personnel who know

1. What kind of information they are looking for and
2. Know what is permitted

Look at Chief Wiggles, that what he did for a living and was good at it. Turning untrained G.I.s loose on a prison population is a recipe for disaster.

BUT, doesn’t it say something that we are self disclosing these problems and dealing with them?

The real story would be if the USA were trying to cover this all up.

Posted by: Jim in Texas at December 22, 2004 03:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Served as pvt thru CSM, can't ever remember thinking it would be good to hold 'mock executions'.
I'm more of a 'Head or Gut' type of guy. Troops are caught in a dilema, can't shoot looters but gotta scare them and make them stop. Car crushing only means they have to use a wheel barrow.
And captured terrs don't rate protection under the Geneva convention. Only those who hold themselves to the 4 standards. Uniform, recognizable emblem, open carry arms, and obey the Geneva conventions. No juice to those who don't.

Posted by: Bullshark at December 22, 2004 04:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The people who jump happily on the 'sack Rumsfeld' bandwagon don't give a toss whether the US has an effective Defense Secretary or not, and in fact they would in many cases prefer that we had an ineffective one. So their standard becomes perfection.

Sorry, no sale.

Posted by: ZF at December 22, 2004 04:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Some perspective:

Certainly the untrained personnel are an issue, but the full scope of the problem stretches farther up the chain of command. Some of the torture and abuse came at the hands of well trained people in the various intelligence communities, including MI, and some was outsourced to private contractors who were selected for their "expertise."

While it would be convenient to lay this whole unpleasant business at the feet of some poorly trained grunts, the fact is most of the techniques they employed (when they not the MI were involved), especially at Abu Ghraib, were designed and perfected by professionals in the intelligence communities of ours and other nations. It wasn't spontaneous improvization, and the decisions and orders were from above Karpinski's level.

Posted by: Eric Martin at December 22, 2004 04:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

While it would be convenient to lay this whole unpleasant business at the feet of some poorly trained terrorists, the fact is most of the techniques they employed (Attacking Hospitals and Mess Halls), especially at Mosul, were designed and perfected by professionals in the intelligence communities of Saddam's and other nations. It wasn't spontaneous improvization, and the decisions and orders were from above Zarquwi's level - most likely Iranian and Syrian State Forces.

Furt...oh -what? Ohhhh, *OUR* guys are the bad ones. Sorry, I thought we were talking about war crimes.

Posted by: Tommy G at December 22, 2004 06:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, you close by asking the question, "Bush has now secured victory in the election. What does he even have to lose? Does he not think such despicableness needs to be shouted down, more forcefully, from his huge bully pulpit?"

What does he have to lose? A great deal. If we were on a level playing field, announcing every supposed violation of international law (whatever that is) would not be a problem. But when the enemy can cut off heads, blow up women and children or use them as human shields, summarily execute private citizens just doing their job, and other commonplace acts without ONE word from the international community, then any supposed violation our troops commit is blown completely out of proportion.

The media war is much greater than the physical war and much more precarious for us. 56% of the US population now thinks we are losing in Iraq simply because the press says so.

Abu Ghraib was front page news and the lead story on TV's evening news for weeks and is still in the news today. The beheading of Daniel Pearl was news for a day or two. The beheading of Nicholas Berg was news for a day or two. The subsequent beheadings were ignored almost completely.

Without context and proportion to news stories, anything our troops do that is questionable appears to be much more serious than it is. It is therefore prudent for us to deal with the problems aggressively but without publicizing what is going on.

The reason you think Rumsfeld needs to go is because you believe what the media tells you about him, not because he is incompetent or even because he has made "mistakes". I've posted extensively about this, but just one example will suffice.

You were outraged about the uparmoring issue and Rumsfeld's response to the question put to him by a Tennessee Guardsman. You completely ignored the context and the content of Rumsfeld's answer and focused on the one sound bite that the press focused on. You apparently are still unaware that, when the question was asked, all but 20 of that units vehicles were already uparmorerd and the remaining 20 were completed the following day. The work was scheduled and ongoing well before the soldier played sock puppet for an ambitious reporter.

Is it any wonder you take the positions that you do seeing you refuse to look at all the facts before making a judgment?

Posted by: antimedia at December 22, 2004 06:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BRAVO antimedia!

We are at war with folks who behead charity- workers and poll-watchers and whose very existence and whose every tactic violates the Geneva Conventions.

We must do whatever it takes to defeat them - even if that means listening to the whining of hand-wringers and naysayers and appeasers when they find out that some of what iot takes is distasteful.

What would these hand-wringing ankle-biters have said of FDR's internment of US citizens or the fire-bombing of Dresden!? Did they cry out then!? NOPE. The media was less anti-war/anti-American then. Now, the anti-war/anti-American Left - and the media they dominate carp on our every move.

And the self-annointed "moderates" - like Greg - pay WAY TOO MUCH attention to them.

I say: War is hell. Winning war using hellish means is better than losing it using angelic means.

I say: Damn the enemy and their apologists.

Posted by: reliapundit at December 22, 2004 07:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy,

Members of my family as well as close friends have either served in Iraq or are on their way over there. Therefore, I find your response to my comment a tad ridiculous. It is not a black and white question of good and bad. If some soldiers and decision makers in Washington make poor judgments and/or engage in behavior that is beneath our ideals, it doesn't somehow mean that we are the "bad" guys and that terrorists are the "good" guys.

Isn't it possible that some actions endorsed and encouraged by certain public servants are worthy of censure and blame without resorting to such sweeping judgments about good and bad throughout the whole of our society? Must we go to such extremes, or forgive everything?

For example, some American GIs in WW II committed atrocities and war crimes. Condemning those actions, and punishing them, did not require a simplistic argument about Nazis good, Americans bad. As thinking adults, we can do better than such basic constructions.

Also, the fact that terrorists engage in reprehensible behavior should not be an argument in favor of Americans seeking to replicate, even on a lesser scale, their depravity. As an American, I have pride in my country, and don't want to let it begin to mimic the despicable acts of terrorists. As the greatest democracy in the world, we can do better.

Posted by: Eric Martin at December 22, 2004 08:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Reliapundit,

Part of the problem with the torture and abuse of prisoners in a counterinsurgency is that it is counterproductive - in other words, it doesn't help us to win.

In a counterinsurgency, you must win over the hearts and minds of the population in which you are conducting your operations. Torturing and abusing suspects, both innocent and guilty alike, does much to turn the population against your cause.

If we want to help convert Iraq into a stable democracy, we need the Iraqis on our side. If we lose them, then we lose the war, unless it becomes a question of razing the country to save it.

Sometimes hellish means are necessary, sometimes they cause more harm than good, in addition to undermining the moral standing of the perpetrator.

That is not an apologia for the enemy, nor is it an apologia for torture.

Posted by: Eric Martin at December 22, 2004 08:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This is, er, sadly ironic:

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that U.S. POWs during the First Gulf War were tortured in Iraq:


The torture inflicted included severe beatings, mock executions, threatened castration, and threatened dismemberment. The POWs were systematically starved, denied sleep, and exposed to freezing cold. They were denied medical care and their existing injuries were intentionally aggravated. They were shocked with electrical devices and confined in dark, filthy conditions exposing them to contagion and infection. The POWs suffered serious physical injuries, including broken bones, perforated eardrums, nerve damage, infections, nausea, severe weight loss, massive bruises, and other injuries.

We're better than this, guys.

Posted by: praktike at December 22, 2004 08:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Antimedia has the right of it. Greg, you often make good points, although I don't always agree with you.

But I've yet to see you admit that the uparmor story was essentially a tempest in a teapot - it was bogus.

Why not admit it? Like the media, you refuse to hold yourself to the same accountability you demand of Rumsfeld. If the story turns out to be false, why not admit you were wrong in this particular instance? It does not necessarily invalidate your entire argument. I respect your opinion, but it does your side of the debate no good when you will not concede this obvious a point.

On the torture issue, obviously it shames the military when this sort of thing comes out, but there are at least two aspects that you (and the WaPo) miss entirely in your analysis.

1. Congress may have ratified the 1994 Torture Convention, but the Senate deliberately refused to implement another prohibition in the convention--against "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" -- because it was thought to be vague and undefined.

Interesting....huh??? I wonder why they did that???

2. They defined torture as an act "specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering" and defined mental pain or suffering as "prolonged mental harm" caused by threats of physical harm or death to a detainee or a third person, the administration of mind-altering drugs or other procedures "calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality."

When you think about it, stress positions just don't cut it. Nor does putting bullets in people's mouths, or a lot of those other nasty things.

I agree that mock executions are utterly despicable.

I also understand that when we are dealing with an enemy that just coolly and deliberately targeted a hospital with mortar rounds (or didn't you bother to read the army Chaplain's account?) you are dealing with people who don't play by the rules.

Frustration mounts. People will lose their cool. And when that happens, there will be infractions. And when there are infractions, they should be investigated and punished.

And then... should they be bruited about in the media so they have propaganda value and our soldiers and Marines are targeted by the "insurgents" (because that's exactly what will result from the hype that comes out of this kind of debacle)

DOES IT EVER OCCUR TO ANYONE THAT MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, IT IS PARTLY CONCERN FOR MILITARY LOSS OF LIFE, AND NOT SOME KIND OF "COVER UP" THAT KEEPS THIS KIND OF THING "'HUSHED UP"?

Because I can tell you, having seen from the inside of the military, that the first thing that goes through any commander's mind when something like this happens is, "Oh my God - when the media find out, they'll turn it into a circus and hurt everyone even worse than they're already hurting".

We faced it with notifying next of kin of friendly fire deaths. We faced it with notifying next of kin that they lost a loved one in Iraq. We faced it when we had a suicide. The media can be heartless jackals who only care about a story - they don't care who gets hurt in the process - or who gets killed as a result.

And believe me, Marines and soldiers will die as a result of this, but the media will hype it to the max anyway, because it sells papers.


Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2004 08:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And just to make this obvious, I am not condoning torture. What's wrong is wrong.

But let's make sure we're holding these guys to the standard to UNclearly set forth by Congress.

And let's start holding Congress's feet to the fire for once. They are blaming DOD for doing things they explicitly REFUSED to outlaw. That's cowardly and wrong.

And then they have the nerve to blame the Executive branch for not "keeping America safe". They need to spell out IN CLEAR AND UNMISTAKAB

Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2004 08:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

And just to make this obvious, I am not condoning torture. What's wrong is wrong.

But let's make sure we're holding these guys to the standard to UNclearly set forth by Congress.

And let's start holding Congress's feet to the fire for once. They are blaming DOD for doing things they explicitly REFUSED to outlaw. That's cowardly and wrong.

And then they have the nerve to blame the Executive branch for not "keeping America safe". They need to spell out IN CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE TERMS, just how far the Executive is allowed to go in order to keep us safe.

No more garbage like passing the Patriot Act on Tuesday and wringing their hands on Wednesday and calling for its repeal.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 22, 2004 08:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your post is well taken. Shameless plug here, I posted on this today: this problem was predicted. As is the inevitable backlash that will surely follow.

Posted by: Gregory Scoblete at December 22, 2004 08:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If were in the US army in a place like Faluja and caught a terrorist with bomb making equipment I would not have a problem using a hammer on his feet to gain info on his buddies. These people are not soldiers. No need to treat them as such.

Posted by: Ronald Proby at December 22, 2004 08:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

er, antimedia--why are you pretending that my main issue with rumsfeld was the humvee hulaballo? any fair reading of my recent writings makes clear i put that and, say, the johnnie hancocks on letters of condolence as secondary (if not tertiary) issues. if you are going to attack me on my own threads do it fairly, ok? for instance, check out my long post on rumsfeld (the one with multiple updates and back and forth discussion with glenn). there i made clear that my rumsfeld issues were far beyond just revolving around the humvee flap and such. or course, erecting an easy straw man to knock down is far easier than grappling with the harder issues at play. namely, that we may be jeopardizing the war effort because of rumsfeld's stubborn refusal to acknowledge greater manpower is necessitated in theater.

as for the commanders, and why they aren't clamoring for more troops, i think some of them have been cowed somewhat; but also that they are simply grappling with the reality of the Pentagon's leadership presumed appetite/capability for greater troop deployments and calculating they might just be able to sqeak by as is (others, of course, are leaking to the press and CODEL's that we do need more troops). That's possible (sqeaking by), but i think things are going to get worse before they get better--and that many negative contingencies await. thus my call for focusing on getting more forces there to see this through.

btw, and worth mentioning perhaps, this will also be a powerful signal to our foes that we mean business and aren't going to be scared away (more so than extending on the ground deployments so as to stretch from 138K to 150K on the cheap). We likely have to go around and pull troops from wherever possible (including even, perhaps, some from korea and germany) and try to bulk up to, at this juncture, around 200,000. some of these new forces need to go on more offensive patrols in places like mosul and the so called 'triangle of death' south of baghdad. we are too busy reacting right now. the enemy, more often, has to be forced to react to us.

don't get me wrong. commanders may rightly calculate we can still win the war with 150,000. but it's better to be safe than sorry--especially given the potential for sectarian violence going forward. i'd bet my last dollar (well, near my last dollar) that, if you went and spoke to generals on the ground on a not for attribution basis, the majority would be telling you roughly the same thing. indeed, as one did to joe biden. that anyone who tells you we have enough troops in theater is a god damn liar.


Posted by: greg at December 22, 2004 11:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg --

Torture is wrong, it will be handled within the military chain of command, but we have to face reality.

There is no way Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike will alllow Lt. Gen Sanchez to be held accountable for those under his command at Abu Grhaib or elsewhere. Same for Gen Barbara Fast, and therefore her subordinate Col Pappas. No Hispanic or Female officer will go down for this because it's politically incorrect ... and note the Media has jumped on board the coverup train. Sanchez, Fast, and Pappas clearly were directly responsible, but it's easier to blame Rumsfeld for it than hold someone of "protected class" responsible. That's just reality.

Secondly, there is no level of troop strength in Iraq that would prevent terror attacks and the inevitable abuses in response. We could have 5 million guys in Iraq and this would still happen. Saddam's willing executioners have nowhere else to go and nothing left to do but make things as bloody as possible. "Hearts and minds" is useless as trying to win over the SS or Gestapo. Eventually, elections will be held, US forces will be drawn down, and the Shia/Kurd alliance will settle the scores and extract some measure of justice for Saddam's 30 year reign of terror.

We need more discipline, and that will happen. But let's not jump overboard onto thinking that the US military can do no right and the terrorists can do no wrong.

In the occupation of Germany after WWII, the so-called "Werewolves" acted much like the terrorists in Iraq, killing German civilians working with the Occupation forces, and killing Occupation soldiers. The Soviet response was to take whole villages and kill every male over 13 in them when something happened in the area. THAT sorted things out in the Soviet areas. French forces enthusiastically shot anyone suspected of being a "Werewolf"; while the British and US Forces conducted military trials and publicly shot those convicted of being "Werewolves."

Measured against that historical record, US abuses are not really worth mentioning.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at December 22, 2004 11:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric -

"Members of my family as well as close friends have either served in Iraq or are on their way over there. "

Contention, and...

"Therefore, I find your response to my comment a tad ridiculous."

...Non-sequitor.

Worse, it's not my response - it's yours. Your words with like values switched out. Hence, the ridiculousness, I guess.

Posted by: Tommy G at December 23, 2004 12:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Tommy,

My point was that by switching my words (I realized the gimmik) to make some argument suggesting that people objecting to torture are saying that we are the bad guys and the terrorists are the good guys is ridiculous. Especially because for me to say that our side are the bad guys would mean insulting friends and family who make up our armed forces.

I hope that clears up the meaning of my post, and the segue.

Posted by: Eric Martin at December 23, 2004 01:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Not sure about how I feel about torture. As Americans we may not yet understand that while our country is not constantly being attacked that nevertheless we are in probably the most desperate fight of our country's existence. Certainly the people we are fighting have had the most success of any of our recent enemies at killing our innocent civilians and most assuredly they have absolutely nothing holding them back from murdering millions. Given a choice probably they would enjoy beheading my children. Sorry not gonna feel real charitible towards them.

But still many of our citizens act as if we are playing cricket. And further that while we are playing cricket we must abide by the rules of the game even if the enemy is not even playing cricket.

We are at war. The only rule that counts is winning. Iraq is a battle in the war, nothing more. The most important item of that battle is killing terrorists and ending their support from any regime that even hinted at supporting them.

Some are saying that we must be better than the enemy. I wonder if those same people believe that the police officer who shoots and kills the murderer rampaging through their building shooting people indiscriminately as roughly comparable in moral standing? I wonder if those same people might advise that those police officers should not shoot rampaging murderers for fear of some group of "dispassionate observers" equating the morality of the police officers with those of the rampaging murderer.

We should not get cocky and assume that no matter what Marquis D'Queensbury rules we impose on our Fighting Men and Women they will still win. We must remember that winning is everything...if you don't understand that then you need to have some children look them in their eyes and ask yourself what would you do to defend them? Then remember that all those soldiers over there are someones children.

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 23, 2004 03:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I once knew a kid that was terrified of being stung by bees.

One day, during a BBQ, a bee flew around this kid's head. In a panick he frantically waved his arms and ran around in circles.

So afraid was he that he crashed into the BBQ, spilling hot coals over himself and receiving severe burns that required hospitalization.

The boy's perception of bees was orders of magnitude worse than the real threat posed by bees. In fact, the perception was a phobia and bordered on delusion.

His reaction to the bee at the BBQ was based on his unrealistic perception. The result of the reaction was far worse than anyhting the bee could have done to him.

Pierre, you remind me of the boy. Terrorism being the bee, of course. The self burning being the panicked rejection of our core values, the values that make us great and make us worth emmulating.

Terrorists cannot destroy our civilization. That's beyond hyperbole. It's hysteria.

I thought we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. Freedom and bravery dictate that we maintain our composure and that we maintain our decency, our values, despite whatever adversity faces us.

Only we can destroy our civilization. And when we succumb to dark forces and become as barbaric as the barbarians, then we have sacrificed all that was worth fighting for.

Get over it. Terrorists will never come to this country and behead your children.

Do you feel this hysterically about drunk drivers? Your children have a much much better chance of being killed by one of them than by a terrorist.

Calm down, get a grip.

Posted by: avedis at December 23, 2004 05:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, you respond, "er, antimedia--why are you pretending that my main issue with rumsfeld was the humvee hulaballo? any fair reading of my recent writings makes clear i put that and, say, the johnnie hancocks on letters of condolence as secondary (if not tertiary) issues. if you are going to attack me on my own threads do it fairly, ok? for instance, check out my long post on rumsfeld (the one with multiple updates and back and forth discussion with glenn). there i made clear that my rumsfeld issues were far beyond just revolving around the humvee flap and such. or course, erecting an easy straw man to knock down is far easier than grappling with the harder issues at play. namely, that we may be jeopardizing the war effort because of rumsfeld's stubborn refusal to acknowledge greater manpower is necessitated in theater."

First of all, let me be very clear that I enjoy your thoughts and read you daily. I'm not attacking you but what I perceive to be a weakness in your arguments vis-a-vis Rumsfeld. In my opinion, you are far to quick too criticize Rumsfeld and far too slow to admit his accomplishments.

Let's take your last statement, for example - "erecting an easy straw man to knock down is far easier than grappling with the harder issues at play. namely, that we may be jeopardizing the war effort because of rumsfeld's stubborn refusal to acknowledge greater manpower is necessitated in theater."

I've tackled this "harder" issue repeatedly. Every time the issue has been raised, both Rumsfeld and Bush have stated clearly that the commanders in the field are getting the troop numbers that they request.

Your response is, "as for the commanders, and why they aren't clamoring for more troops, i think some of them have been cowed somewhat"

Is there a basis in fact for this assertion? You're essentially accusing the command leadership in Iraq of being weak and easily influenced. That's a harsh judgment to pass on our commanders. What's it based on? As far as I can see, it's based upon the NY Times and similar critics who have constantly argued that we need more troops without any cogent arguments as to why we need them, how we would deploy them or what benefit we would obtain from that deployment. I'm not a military expert, but I'm willing to give the commanders the benefit of the doubt and assume that, if they needed more men, they'd ask for them. I have no doubt that if they asked, Rumsfeld and Bush would immediately approve them.

With the deepest respect, I do not want to "hijack" your thread, but I'm begging you, as someone whose thoughts and ideas have influence in a much greater sphere than mine, please think through what you're asserting and base it on fact, not emotion. I fear you too easily buy in to the standard media criticism without critical analysis of their assertions.

Again, I've addressed this repeatedly and in depth on my blog. I'm not really in to dueling blogs, but perhaps we should have a go at this issue. I believe it's extremely important, and I obviously think you're wrong on both points (Rumsfeld must go and we need more troops.)

Posted by: antimedia at December 23, 2004 05:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

To call Zarqawi and his inhuman dreck anything but terrorists and provide them with protections from the Geneva conventions is utterly intolerable.

What Rumsfeld must do is run studies on the Abu Ghraib business and find out if any of it was worth the effort. This sort of activity - kidnapping civilians, beheading captives, must be condemned as beneath any consideration for mercy from humanity. It must be proclaimed utterly and absolutely intolerable, and we must refuse to discuss the matter with Euroweenies and anyone else who cannot think with some clarity and commitment towards abolishing such evil from the considerations of humanity. That Rumsfeld and this administration approach this descent into hell so eggwalkingly as another one of humanity's justice problems - that is what is so deplorable, not the torture. The person who makes the video of such terroristic acts must know that he will also get the death penalty for that.

But the little girl who sat on the land mine with her marine -given teddy bear so that a convoy could not pass over it must get a Congressional medal of honor - without naming her for now. Give freedom medals now, 10 a week along with a real prize for the valor and goodness so vital right now for the Iraqi people as for us all to honor and emulate.

Posted by: Dick Matern, MD at December 23, 2004 06:19 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That's a good start, Dick.

However, I'm sure you would agree though that these sorry cammel riding excuses for human beings could, in death, partially repay their debt to the humanity to which they fail to belong.

First, torture should be combined with medical experiments that are normally beyond what is permitted by the liberal brie-eating frenchies that sit on medical human subjects committees.

I've always been curious to see if my techniques for reviving frozen and drowned humans will work. If I'm successful with my techniques we can save the lives of countless nice aryans. Who can even consider the cost? There isn't any! Just some sub-human refuse.

Also, I think it's time we start harvesting organs while the prisoners are still alive - the organs are freshest that way. We'll wheel the prisoner right up to the recipient and start cutting. I am a little sickened by the thought of rag head organs going into aryan recipients, but I suppose, by way of consolation, at least the organs would not come from negros or Jews.

So carry on, Doctor Dick and hold that hypocratic oath up high.

Posted by: Joseph Mengele, MD at December 23, 2004 06:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Can I have their skins when you Docs are done with them.

I'm into lamp shade making as a hobby you see.........

God how I hate those barbaric bastards!

Posted by: R. Hesse at December 23, 2004 07:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hehe...Cute stuff, really, Mengele purty darn funny.

Lets review for you funny guys.
1. 19 of your cousins slashed the throats of flight attendants, pilots, passengers perhaps with the same glee and praise to Allah that the Murderers of Danial Pearl showed.
2. They then ran two of those airplanes into two of our top symbols of our system, murdering by fire, smoke and mere crushing 2,800 people. Also utterly destroying those buildings and the area around them. Which just happened to be the center of our greatest city.
3. Not satisfied they also attacked our Military Headquarters murdering even more people.
4. They attempted to attack our capital but were foiled by people perhaps not as sophisticated as you clever lads. See those people on Flt 93 weren't dealing with theory.

Now given all of this and an enemy whose stated goal is to destroy this country. Explain exactly why we should underestimate him? Remembering that no enemy has managed to accomplish as much with as little as this particular enemy has?

You are going to wow me with your coolness as if I am not cool. The problem is you equate ignorance of the threat with cool, I equate cool with knowing what the threat is and attempting to do something about it. What's next are you going to quote to me the accident statistics of cars and explain that I am much more likely to die in a car accident?

Furthermore please explain this country's possible responses to a terror attack that starts with a Nuclear weapon going off in St. Louis. Followed by an ultimatum that the US cease and desist from all efforts in the ME and Europe. That we withdraw all troops from Europe and the ME and that we cease aid to Israel. If these conditions are not met within 72 hours another weapon will be blown up in another unnamed city. Please explain the reactions of the civilians upon hearing these threats. Please explain possible responses.

Panic is certainly not my problem. It is just sheer inevitability of this scenario occurring if we don't start fighting the war as if our lives depended on it. We act as if our lives don't depend on winning this war.

My original sentence.
Given a choice probably they would enjoy beheading my children.

An attempted straw-man argument.
Get over it. Terrorists will never come to this country and behead your children.

Certainly that is pretty far down the road, but then again Danny Pearl was someones child, Nick Berg was someones child and sure enough the terrorists seem to have enjoyed beheading them.

Only we can destroy our civilization. And when we succumb to dark forces and become as barbaric as the barbarians, then we have sacrificed all that was worth fighting for.

Interesting opinion, very sophisticated, educated and urbane. Tell me if you are wrestling with one of the terrorists in a room what rules will you abide by? Will you for instance refuse to gouge his eyes from his head because that is against the rules? And if you do scratch his eyes from his head and win violating all of your very sophisticated rules will you then think less of yourself for having won?

Winning isnt important to you because you dont think you can lose. I have beaten any number of very much stronger people in Judo who thought exactly like that. You must consider the possibility of losing before you assume your high chair to pontificate on what you wont do to avoid losing.

Pierre

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 23, 2004 08:04 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

as for the commanders, and why they aren't clamoring for more troops, i think some of them have been cowed somewhat; but also that they are simply grappling with the reality of the Pentagon's leadership presumed appetite/capability for greater troop deployments and calculating they might just be able to sqeak by as is (others, of course, are leaking to the press and CODEL's that we do need more troops).

Has anyone thought about just how sniveling and cowardly this behavior really is, if it is an accurate assessment of how our Generals are responding to a real shortage of troops?

We've been stationed on joint tours with one or two of the senior guys over there right now, and one or two of the very senior guys back here, so I have some familiarity with at least some of their personalities. It's interesting to see people you knew "way back when" pop up in the news stories.

Ironically, I agree with Greg that Rumsfeld has a lot to answer for in the intimidation department. He hasn't exactly created a climate where people feel it's easy to step up to the plate and complain.

Be that as it may, when you get to that rank and have all those lives in your hands, you need to decide where your priorities lie and either decide to do your job, or retire.

"Leaking to the press" is not an option - that won't get you more troops. It just causes hate and discontent. You either go to the mat or shut up and do your job with what you have. Unfortunately, we seem to have some Generals who aren't willing to stick their necks out - they still have their eye on that next star.

Sabotaging your own chain of command isn't quite kosher. I can't say I think much of the technique, nor of the credibility or integrity of those who would engage in it.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 23, 2004 11:09 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You know what Eric? That's a fair cop. Point taken.

Posted by: Tommy G at December 23, 2004 01:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Didn't you ever see "The Untouchables?" Remember the scene where Sean Connery persuades some bad guy to talk by pretending to kill another bad guy - he shot some thug through the head, but the first bad guy didn't know that the shootee was already dead. I don't know about you, but I thought that was pretty effective police work and if our guys are doing stuff like that in GITMO and Abu Ghraib, good for them. Of course, they shouldn't do that to prisoners of war who are covered by the Geneva Conventions, if any (that would be soldiers wearing uniforms fighting in the service of a government or aother organized body responsible for discipline of the soldiers).

Posted by: DBL at December 23, 2004 02:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just for the record. There was a period where we, the United States, was kidnapping the families of people we were after as a way to draw them out. Second, as is well known by anyone who has followed this issue even a little, it's just not the case that everyone being tortured is a terrorist. Third, the mock execution thing, well, I think you have to distinguish between doing it to someone's partner in crime and doing it to, y'know, their kids.

Also, for Mr. Matern - I've never heard anyone say Zarqawi wasn't a terrorist, but hey, if you need to to fantasize a little go ahead.

Posted by: Toadmonster at December 23, 2004 03:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

DBL: It's as well to remember that there can be a gap of ungodly width between "effective" and "right."

And even "effective" comes into question when you read the latest stats on the results of torture. Here's one from the latest Harper's:

"Percentage 'more intelligence' given up by prisoners in Iraq since coercion of them was banned...: 25"

I guess I don't want the US to be ineffectual and immoral. Do you?

Posted by: PW at December 23, 2004 06:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Of course the 10,000 pound elephant in the room that torture advocates don't want to mention - based on their arguements - is that there is no way anyone can say that everyone being tortured is guilty of terrorism.

In fact, evidence from several sources suggests that many prisoners are not guilty.

So torture advocates and apologists have to also be approving of the torture of innocents as well.

A shorter conservative......

Innocent 'till proven guilty. That's only for Americans and Isrealis, you stinkin' ragheads!

By the way, why do you hate us? We are good. We are democracy.

Posted by: avedis at December 24, 2004 05:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Avedis you are hilarious, such concern for the enemy, such caring for those who would murder you and yours without another thought. Too bad you can't spare much thought for our soldiers. Because if you did you might be able to understand that you are insulting them all. That the true 10,000 pound elephant in the room isn't that we might torture some innocents, but that you assume its the rule and not the exception.

You aren't about worrying for the enemy you are about attacking the United States. I wonder if its just a general dislike of the US or specifically President Bush that motivates your assumptions.

For the record I am for anything that prevents even one US casualty while we are fighting. If torture works and it saves people then I am for it...if it doesnt work then I am not.

Pierre

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 25, 2004 07:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pierre said: For the record I am for anything that prevents even one US casualty while we are fighting. If torture works and it saves people then I am for it...if it doesnt work then I am not.
___________
Finally an honest conservative. It must have grated on you no end, all that phony outrage by our pansies over 9/11. This is war. They'll do anything to keep their sand and our oil and we'll do anything to get it. May the most savage society win.

(A word to the wise, to maximize your influence among the like minded start using a pen name like Buford Armstrong.)

Posted by: CMike at December 26, 2004 07:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes, Pierre is an honest conservative.

Conservative objective: Mid. East Oil

Conservative Plan:

1)Allow America to be attacked so we have our "New Pearl Harbor" (see Richard Perle).

2)Use 1 as an excuse to attack Iraq. Though Iraq had nothing to with 1 a bulk of the American people will go along because they're stupid, they're ignorant, their racist, and they're seeking retribution for 1.
3)Kill all the brown skin heathens that get in our way.
4)Break away from international law and treaty declaring Straussian concepts like hegemony and sole super power unilateral action.
a) Never examine the true meaning or ramifications of above concepts.
5)Have faith in your genius. Because you realize your own brilliance and do not question the righteousness of your purpose, there is no need to plan details like troop strength, contingencies if flowers and kisses are not forthcoming, if there's an insurgency, etc.
6)Kill more brown skin heathens
7)Look to invade more countries with oil.
8)Kill more brown skin heathens
9) Declare all of the above (1 - 8) is in the name of democracy and freedom.
10) Imprison and/or Torture anyone who doesn't agree with point #9.

Pierr is honest about this.

Too bad Greg Djerejian can't allow himself to be.

Posted by: avedis at December 26, 2004 04:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Alright, Genius - you don't like the way the war is being executed. What was your plan, again?

Because, apparently, the Clinton administration's subterfuge at purposefully cutting security spending, in order to allow the conservatives to claim that the liberal's pre-September priorities were askew, thereby allowing the country to fall prey to an attack, brilliant a plan as may be, has managed to have unforeseen ramifications that seem to be keeping liberals from power.

So, as I say, - we're all rather confused. What was your solution again?

Posted by: Art Wellesley at December 27, 2004 08:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What an amusing pair of appeasers Avedis and CMike are, wow such wit.

I am indeed honest which is why I don't put words into peoples mouths or try to parrot thoughts that are supposedly in their heads. We can see that honesty doesn't work so well from the Appeasers side of the fence. You both cannot defeat my arguments so you make up some you might have some luck with.

You both are great and mighty Straw-men slayers, ALL HAIL!

Now on to the reasons we went into Iraq. What I truly believe, chew on these for a bit. Perhaps if you both rub your heads together fiercely some collection of random thoughts will coagulate and a rational thought will see the light from one of you. You might begin to be able to counter actual arguments rather than those dreams you both fantasize about.

Iraq has been a major enabler of terrorism indeed it has considered terrorism simply another way of making war, and the preferred method against a country such as ours. We are far too powerful to have ever been a target of his conventional forces and so he has targeted us from before the Kuwait invasion with terrorism.

    In his interview with Ambassador Glaspie prior the the beginning of hostilities with Kuwait he even warns us of his intentions.
      If you use pressure, we will deploy pressure and force. We know that you can harm us although we do not threaten you. But we too can harm you. Everyone can cause harm according to their ability and their size. We cannot come all the way to you in the United States, but individual Arabs may reach you.
The reasons he probably believed such tactics would work on us are twofold. He knew that if he were able to help a growing perception in the US that terrorism was beginning to be committed by stateless gangs he might escape blame for any tragedies. This was a godsend to him since this not only allowed him to escape notice if a President was not willing to hold him accountable, it also magnified the terror of any attack since it would seem hopeless to the American people to fight back.

The result would be a demand by the US Public for a complete withdrawal from the ME and also for us to cease aid to Israel. This would naturally be the demands of the Terrorists and coincidently fit right into Saddam's plans of getting us out of his way.

The 93 WTC attack was most likely the beginning of the plan to attempt to force us abandon the ME. Had the plan worked over a hundred thousand people might have died that day. Clinton even handed a Free Get of Jail Card to any states backing that attack by driving the investigation away from the State sponsorship issues. Playing right into the Terrorists and Saddam's hands.

The attempted Assassination of Former President Bush was another clumsy attempt at terror. Had the bomb gone off as it was supposed to have over a hundred people including Former President Bush, Jeb Bush, all the wives and most of the Royal Family. This was definitely tied to Iraq.

Then we have the meeting in Baghdad that was so marvelously documented by Christopher Dickey of Newsweek when it was still fashionable to tie Saddam to terrorists. Here was a virtual smörgåsbord of terrorists both secular and non secular sorts who all came to Baghdad to pledge allegiance to Saddam.

The ties of Saddam and terror are absolutely established by both Clinton, Former President Bush, and ironically from his own mouth. We had every right to depose the world of that monster.

Now off into the corner with you two charming lads. Rub hard.

Pierre Legrand

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 28, 2004 01:22 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As scary as a tautology like "individual Arabs may reach you" looks in bold print, you are not really suggesting we needed to go to war in 2003 because of a statement Saddam made in August, 1990 six months before Gulf War I began are you, Pierre? Please don't tell me that you are going to embarrass yourself at this late date hustling the totally discredited theories of Laurie Mylroie about that meeting in Prague and the 1993 WTC bombing. Not only has George W. and Condi Rice categorically stated they have no evidence that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attack but Dick Cheney had to categorically lie to Gloria Borger (CNBC 6/17/04) about his previous claim "it's been pretty well confirmed" (MTP 12/9/01) that Atta met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague and say, "no, I never said it...absolutely not." Pierre, you're not withholding vital intel from the administration are you?

If Saddam had designs on attacking the US why did he get rid of all his chemical and biological capability and programs in the mid-1990s? Maybe the Bush administration did not know in October of 2002 that Saddam was toothless - although Colin Powell in his UN presentation conspiculously hid that revelation by Saddam's son-in-law Hussein Kamel while presenting that same ill-fated Iraqi defector's other comments as reliable evidence for war. Certainly, however, after the inspectors got back in Iraq and found nothing, the administration knew the Chalabbi intelligence and all the other worst case scenarios were false.

Only the "they all look alike" types maintain that the secular Iraqi Baathists and the Wahabbi Sunni were in league together prior to the present chaos - you're too sophisticated for that, right Pierre? Saddam did provide rewards for suicide bombers against Israel. Is that why we are 12,000 dead and wounded Americans into this Iraq fiasco? If so, let's get all these other discredited red herrings off of the table once and for all.

Truth be told, we are in Iraq because that was the Bush-Cheney plan prior to taking office in 2001. The 9/11 al-Qaeda attack just made getting the administration's Iraq war on easier. That same terrorism has created a blinding hysteria that keeps half of the public from seeing the administration's utter malfeasance in the conduct of this, worse than a crime, mistake of a war.

Posted by: CMike at December 28, 2004 07:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

When Saddam tells you exactly how to attack a more powerful enemy he means it. When he says it, has absolutely no bearing on the fact that he understood how to attack the US. That he states clearly that he cannot attack us with his armies shows that terrorism was his weapon of choice.

The war with Saddam started with his invasion of Kuwait, at that point he understood that we would not allow him to become the next Caliph. So yes reading and understanding his statements from that point on is a valuable effort. That your side will do anything it can to not read his statements or consider his ties to terror says a great deal more about your motives than it does about mine.

Nothing about the meeting in Prague has been totally discredited, the status remains the same. Evidence exists of the meeting, evidence also exists of the multiple trips Atta made to Prague as well.

In addition we have the evidence that Saddam attempted to recruit Islamic Fanatics to blow up Radio Free Europe. This evidence comes from the Ambassador prior to Al Ani who defected to Britain with the cash that Saddam had earmarked for the hiring of a Islamic crazy to sucide bomb Radio Free Europe. Al Ani was eventually thrown out of Prague for his efforts to blow up Radio Free Europe. This qualifies as a terrorist act in anyones book.

The WTC 93 bombing was carried out in part by one Abdul Rahman Yasin who after being let go by Clintons FBI ran to Baghdad where he was put up in comfort by Saddam. Naturally you believe that Saddam was just holding Yasin for us eh?

Numerous publications and reporters have detailed the links and reasons for the alliances that Saddam struck with those who have been behind most of the worst terrorism. A terrific article by Jeffery Goldberg shows the links and the reasons as well as anyone else. The Unkown Newsweeks Christopher Dickey had a terrific article that is only availible through a pay scheme about what was basically a terrorist convention in Baghdad. Convention This article puts to lie your assertion that there was this great division between Sunni Baathists and Sunni Wahabbists. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And certaily even your side claims that both sides are working together now.

But probably the best was the series done by Stephan Hayes of the Weekly Standard who has been showing for sometime the links. The links between Saddam and Al Queda are long and well established.

The reason you aren't serious is you are willing to believe the most outrageous theories about why we went to war with absolutely no proof but you disregard the years and years of gathering evidence, motives and means that show why and how Saddam used terrorists to fight.

Pierre Legrand

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 29, 2004 03:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Stephen Hayes wote a hack article "Case Closed" - if I recall- based on raw intelligence data from Feith's Office of Special Plans in yet another Republican breech of national security protocol. The Weekly Standard insisted, not to worry, they had their own experts cull the intelligence to make sure no sources and methods were compromised. Yeah, that's how national security is done - always looking to save the taxpayer's dime.

Of course, the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence Committee almost immediately had to concede it was the same uncorroborated noise from the same old discredited sources that had been floating around previously - there was a later resurrection of the article by, who else, Dick Cheney - and Stephen Hayes himself now concedes his conclusions were overstated.

I am not familar with this Chris Dickey article you refer to but I think I read something along those lines in Marvel Comics once. Is this where Moriarity and Bin Ladin and Abu Nidal and the Joker and Zarqwawi got together for the annual Terrorist Awards dinner? Isn't this all a little silly for a thread about war?

Why is it Pierre, you have to cull the blogs and right wing magazines to find out the skinny on why we are in Iraq. Why doesn't C+ Augustus just read a carefully detailed speech from the Oval Office with all the operative information that can hold-up to some scrutiny and explain to us naysayers why we're in Iraq - since he's no longer going with that Oct. 7, 2002 story about Saddam's "nuclear mujahadeen" and "Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a chemical or biological weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists." [Granted, the president never said Iraq was an imminent threat, no siree]

And oh yeah, if this experienced Bush national security team knew we were in an on-going war with Iraq since the April Glaspie memo why didn't they mention the necessary upcoming invasion to us during the 2000 presidential campaign - they sure mentioned it during the 2002 congressional campaign, what was new? But then again they didn't know because that would be what you call one of the not serious "outrageous theories." But then again Cheney and Rumsfeld had signed the 1998 PNAC document and did urge Clinton to go to war and that's fact not theory. But then George W. was out of the loop on all that but did manage to tell his original campaign 2000 autobiography ghost writer that winning a war was key to gathering enough political capital to push through a domestic agenda. Yeah, outrageous is the right word.

Posted by: CMike at December 29, 2004 11:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Cmike pretty impressive that you can distort reality so openly and your side of the argument won't ask themselves why it is you must. Or perhaps all of you understand that if you were to face the facts at they stand you would be forced into some very uncomfortable positions. Truth will set you free.

Sadly for you it isnt so easy to distort reality anymore. So then either you prove your assertions that Stephen Hayes is backing down, the Senate Intelligence committee and Pentagon dismissed the Case Closed article or begin to take a look at your premises.

The Christopher Dickey article you dismiss is availible but you do have to pay for it. Here is a generous snippet of it.

Seeing the Evil In Front of Us Christopher Dickey Newsweek.

The moment of confrontation had come. President Bush warned Saddam Hussein that if he continued to interfere with United Nations weapons inspectors and to shoot at American warplanes over Iraq, he would have to pay the consequences. So Islamic radicals from all over the Middle East, Africa and Asia converged on Baghdad to show their solidarity with Iraq in the face of American aggression. Chechens in Persian-lamb hats, Moroccans in caftans, delegates who hailed "from Jakarta to Dakar," as one Senegalese put it, poured into Baghdad's Rashid Hotel, where Saddam's minions urged them to embrace jihad as "the one gate to Paradise." And the greatest holy warrior of all? "The mujahed Saddam Hussein, who is leading this nation against the nonbelievers," they were told. "Everyone has a task to do, which is to go against the American state," declared Saddam's deputy Ezzat Ibrahim. The Americans had colonized Lebanon; they had colonized Saudi Arabia. But the line against them would be drawn in Iraq. Believers would triumph, said Ibrahim: "Our stand now can lead us to final victory, to Paradise."

That was in January 1993. I was there, and every time I hear diplomats and politicians, whether in Washington or the capitals of Europe, declare that Saddam Hussein is a "secular Baathist ideologue" who has nothing to do with Islamists or with terrorist calls to jihad, I think of that afternoon and I wonder what they're talking about. If that was not a fledgling Qaeda itself at the Rashid convention, it sure was Saddam's version of it.
article

The Unkown is availible at the link provided, numerous papers not connected with the VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY have covered the links between Saddam and Al Queda.

The story of the attempt to bomb Radio Free Europe is availible on the official Radio Free Europes site.

Reality bites eh.

Pierre

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 30, 2004 03:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pierre wrote: Sadly for you it isnt so easy to distort reality anymore. So then either you prove your assertions that Stephen Hayes is backing down, the Senate Intelligence committee and Pentagon dismissed the Case Closed article or begin to take a look at your premises.

Actually I said that the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence spokespeople "conceded it was the same uncorrobarated noise from the same old discredited sources." I don't fell like going through the Sunday talk transcripts for Sen. Roberts' and Rockefeller's responses but I found this contemperaneous Pentagon release.

___________________________________________________
IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2003
DoD Statement on News Reports of Al Qaeda and Iraq Connections

News reports that the Defense Department recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee are inaccurate.

A letter was sent to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Oct. 27, 2003, from Douglas J. Feith...
{edited out - CMike}
The items listed in the classified annex were either raw reports or products of the CIA, the National Security Agency or, in one case, the Defense Intelligence Agency. The provision of the classified annex to the Intelligence Committee was cleared by other agencies and done with the permission of the intelligence community. The selection of the documents was made by DoD to respond to the committee’s question. The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.

Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security; such activity is deplorable and may be illegal.

http://www.dod.mil/releases/2003/nr20031115-0642.html
______________________________________________________

Well, my Pentagon premise held up pretty well, didn't it. Now, did Stephen Hayes move away from his case closed characterization in his original article?

June 24, 2004 daily show
Transcript of Jon Stewart's interview with Weekly Standard chief writer Stephen F. Hayes on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on June 21st, 2004:

Jon: Welcome back to the program. My guest tonight is a senior writer for The Weekly Standard. His new book is The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussien Has Endangered America. Please welcome Stephen F. Hayes. Stephen!
{edited out - CMike}.
J: So the book is called The Connection, let me get that out there.
{edited out - CMike}
J: Okay. So, the basic premise of the book it seems to be is this sort of 16 page memo written by Douglas Feith. Who was…
Stephen: The Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
J: Undersecretary of the Defense for Policy. Now he has compiled a list of connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
S: Right.
J: Now this was from the intelli-, did he work in intelligence
S: No. He took a group of raw reports- he and a team of people at the Pentagon took a group of somewhat raw reports, some things from finished intelligence products, some things from open sources, and compiled them into a document and presented that to the..
J: Now, why do that when the intelligence community is also doing that?
S: Yeah, good question. I think basically the idea was-
J: Seriously, that’s a good question?
S: It is a good question. It’s a very good question. I think with the intelligence community it’s always valuable to have as many different analyses of various problems, various threats…
J: Now is that typical? Like do most administrations have a fella, an Undersecretary, who would start his own bureau to get intelligence?
S: I don’t know that it was its own bureau, I think basically they were-
J: Cabal.
S: Cabal, right. Right, yeah, that’s right. I figured that word would come up at some point.
J: No, is it an unusual arrangement?
S: I don’t think it’s necessarily an unusual arrangement. I think a lot of people often look for different kinds of analyses. Within the CIA in fact, they set up what they call the Red Cell Team to take a different look at the same set of issues.
J: I’ve played that game. It’s a Tom Clancy, I believe… So Douglas Feith, who apparently, some may consider is sort of close to these Iraqi National Congress fellas, puts together this document. It seems like in the book that the intelligence community doesn’t necessarily agree with him. Would that be fair?
S: Yeah, I think that George Tenet has said in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he didn’t agree with the characterization of the items in the book. I don’t think that he necessarily disputed many of the actual documents, as I understand it. But he didn’t agree with the way it was characterized.
J: Okay. So, here’s where I’m confused… It’s all very- even you write in there that ‘we’re not quite sure if that happened,’ and ‘yeah, that only came from one source’. Wouldn’t you say when you go to a, let’s say, war, and I only mean that in the sense of invading and bombing a country, that you would- wouldn’t they, because… It would seem like you would want to know more surely. Or am I being unreasonable?
S: No, I think that’s one argument. I think the other side of the argument is..._________________________________________________________

Ouch! So much for Stephen Hayes insisting the case is closed on the questions about the Saddam/al-Qaeda connection. "Case Closed;" it fits on a bumper sticker and that's all you need to make a case to some people. Hayes got a little more qualified in the subsequent book and then this interview, no?

As to that fabulist yarn about legions of terrorist jihadists conventioneering with the Elks in Baghdad in 1993 all I'll say is they sure have been a patient bunch these last ten years. Even according to your snippet "[ i]f that was not a fledgling Qaeda itself at the Rashid convention, it sure was Saddam's version of it." In how many instances did these world travelling not al-Qaeda folks make good on Saddam's 1990 assertion that "individual Arabs may reach you?" You do understand that there is a difference between a radical Muslim and a terrorist, don't you - I mean all Free Republic commenters are tough talking radicals, but at most only a few are likely to end up being terrorists.

Pierre, how are your premises holding up? I like an audience so perhaps we'll take this up in a fresher thread. Go ahead and have the last word here, that poor horse you're beating is already dead so he won't feel you whacking him one last time. Me and my intact premises are out of here.

Posted by: CMike at December 30, 2004 11:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hehe..CMike what you have attempted to do is rehash the tired old memes of the MSM in regards to Stephan Hayes. Quoting Jon Stewart isnt a great way to impress anyone.

The response to the Feith Memo by the Department of Defense is a non started because it simply does not do what you think it does. It does NOT say that the information is wrong and indeed it certainly does not say that the information was how you characterized it, being the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence Committee almost immediately had to concede it was the same uncorroborated noise from the same old discredited sources that had been floating around previously

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 31, 2004 03:11 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

hehe..CMike what you have attempted to do is rehash the tired old memes of the MSM in regards to Stephan Hayes. Quoting Jon Stewart isn't a great way to impress anyone. And nothing in that interview shows Mr. Hayes as backing away from anything he has written.

The response to the Feith Memo by the Department of Defense is a non starter because it simply does not do what you think it does. It does NOT say that the information is wrong and indeed it certainly does not say that the information was how you characterized it, being the Pentagon and the Senate Intelligence Committee almost immediately had to concede it was the same uncorroborated noise from the same old discredited sources that had been floating around previously What a team B (Feith group) does is look at the same raw intelligence soures to see if there are items being missed by Team A. Considering the performance of the CIA these last 20 years having someone look over their shoulder was probably not a bad idea. They have missed virtually ever call.

You laugh about the interview with Ambassador Glaspie because thats all you can do since Saddam condemns himself from his own mouth. Exactly how would you answer that except to laugh at it and hope that laughing is enough to make everyone forget that he did indeed threaten to use individual Arabs to gain revenge.

Your side wants to believe in the most outrageous consipiracies on the flimsiest of evidence perpetuated by some of the most closely watched people on earth while dismissing even words directly out of the mouth of a thuggish leader who in the course of his reign managed to.
1. Murder millions in a war he started in which he used WMD's.
2. Built a Nuclear Reactor specifically for the purpose of building a nuclear weapon.
3. Harbored Terrorists, one of which attempted to knock down the WTC the first time.
4. Unified the Jihadist movement to back his agenda to get the US out of the ME.
5. Waged war against his own people to put down a revolution.
6. Viciously suppressed all dissent using tactics reminicent of Stalin. Probably not a surprise since he learned much of what he knows from the Soviets.
7. Was the single ME Leader who celebrated 9/11.
8. Attempted to blow up Radio Free Europe
9. Was complicit in funding and backing Al Queda.

Whatever you say.

Pierre Legrand

Posted by: Pierre Legrand at December 31, 2004 03:28 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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