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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Random: Having It Both Ways: Iraq Central to Fight Against Terrorism and Had Nothing To Do with 9/11 
10th-Sep-2006 05:36 pm
Thomas More
Absolutely fascinating. The full Associated Press story.

Cheney challenged polls suggesting that a majority of people in the United States do not believe the Bush administration's claim that the war in Iraq is the central front in the fight against terrorism.

"I think we've done a pretty good job of securing the nation against terrorists. You know, we're here on the fifth anniversary (of the 9/11 attacks). And there has not been another attack on the United States. And that's not an accident, because we've done a hell of a job here at home," Cheney said in the broadcast interview. "I don't know how much better you can do than no, no attacks for the past five years."

He said the U.S. had done a good job on "homeland security, in terms of the terrorist surveillance program we put in place, the financial tracking we put in place, and because of our detainee policy."

Cheney disputed that he ever directly said Saddam had any role in the Sept. 11 attacks.

He defended his past statements both on links between Iraq and the al-Qaida network, and on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, saying the pronouncements were based on the best intelligence he had at the time. No such weapons were found, nor is there clear evidence of links between Saddam's government and Osama bin Laden's organization.

Cheney cited various statements by former CIA Director George Tenet, both on Iraqi links to al-Qaida and weapons programs, including Tenet's often-quoted comment to Bush that it was a "slam dunk" that Iraq had such weapons

The vice president was asked on NBC whether there more terrorists in the world now than there were before the Sept. 11 attacks. "It's hard to say. Hard to put a precise number on it," Cheney said.

Asked if the U.S. still would have invaded Iraq had the CIA told Bush and him that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction in 2003, Cheney answered yes. He said Iraq had the capability of obtaining such weapons and would have done so once U.N. penalties were eased.

…[My emphases]
Flawless technique. It's admitted that Saddam had anything to do with the September 11 attacks, and yet the central role of Iraq in the Administration's anti-terrorism policy is immediately justified with reference to 9/11, creating the rhetorical association in the mind of the listener as justification for the Administration's actions, even while on a formal level this is denied. Likewise, the justification of Saddam about to pulverize us with nuclear weapons and the "spectre of a mushroom cloud" as what allowed the President to gain popular support for the side trip into Iraq is now tossed aside as not in the least bit necessary for the Administration's actions. He would have gotten them, it's said, if we hadn't acted, despite the fact that for over ten years of American containment of Iraq, he had never been able to do so. I guess the Administration thinks that he was suddenly going to remember to do this and to gain the capacity to do so shortly in the future, despite the massive interdiction imposed on Iraq all these years by the nations of the world. (The trumpeting of North Korea that they do have such weapons and that they will gleefully use them against us, doesn't provoke nearly the same response. One almost suspects that the fact there are no huge resources in North Korea exploitable by no-bid goverment contracts to businesses co-incidentally associated with the Administration might have played some role in this distinction. But likely that has only the appearance of corruption.)

Me, I'm hoping that the Administration doesn't come to believe that I'm going to be a significant threat, criminal, traitor, or registered Democrat ten or twenty years from now.
10th-Sep-2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
Saddam Hussein personally paid bounties to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. If we limit "had nothing to do with terrorism" to "had nothing to do with terrorism that killed Americans," ok then. That doesn't seem quite right to me, though.

Many thousands of chemical weapons have been found in Iraq so far.

The "massive interdiction imposed on Iraq all these years by the nations of the world" seems a little wishful. It's well established that France and Russia especially flouted any sort of of meaningful interdiction at every opportunity.

Despite over twenty years of American containment of Iran, it will have nuclear weapons without some substantive change in policy. To say that Iraq never would have managed to get its own with the same sort of containment is rather hopeful. The only reason Iraq lagged behind in the first place was that this was the second invasion. Without the first we would have been in far worse shape.

As for the argument that North Korea has weapons and we're not doing anything about that, well, would you propose an invasion? Of a nuclear armed country manned by an unstable dictator? In the immediate sphere of influence of a fairly hostile superpower? The only reason North Korea exists at all is that we played that game before in the 50s, without much luck.

And let's keep in mind that North Korea has nuclear weapons not because GWB pursued poor policies, but because Bill Clinton did: namely, aggressive dialogue instead of aggressive military action.
11th-Sep-2006 06:23 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm sure that as I started groussing, I became less than exact, but just a few points of clarification:

1) Yes, I'm opposed in a more isolationist way to the U.S. getting into any conflict that doesn't directly affect them unless we have a clear, consistently-applied (no opportunism for other gains) execution of such a foreign policy doctrine. I never have gotten a feeling of such consistency or honesty from the Bush Administration, which I voted for in 2000.

2) Regardless of the imperfection of the sanctions executed against Iraq, I still say Saddam was utterly contained and was a tin-pot dictator with no ability to affect America in any significant way. Other than having been assured that he was about to provide nuclear arms to al-Queda any second, it seems that we needed to fear Saddam like we needed to fear a sudden attack from our bubble bath.

3) Yes, I would propose an immediate invasion of North Korea, based on the doctrines that the Administration put forward as justification for invading and nation-building in Iraq. I have no thirst for invasion and war, just for the honesty and integrity of the United States. If, however, it should be that the doctrines and information given to the people of the United States were rationalizations and misdirection, well, then that would be something else.

4) Bill who? Who cares? I'm not playing party politics: I loathe the Democrats as much as I do the Republicans.
11th-Sep-2006 10:51 am (UTC)
4. My point wasn't to attack democrats; it was to show that the alternative approach, dialogue, gets rogue countries nuclear weapons. Let's not forget that Libya gave up its nuke program because of GWB's crackdown.

3. You want to invade North Korea with hostile China next door, and with nuclear weapons availalbe to be used on a populous ally to the south? This would seem to stretch the limits of just war theory?

2. The administration never said that Saddam Hussein would be imminently obtaining nuclear weapons. In fact, it said the opposite, that it wasn't imminent. The chestnut that the admin. was claiming imminent nukes is very popular and simply wrong.

1. You'd veto any military involvement that can protect our friends if there's any "opportunism for other gains"? There's ALWAYS secondary and not-so-noble gains to be had in any conflict...this doctrine would eliminate military action altogether, and certainly any humanitarian intervention.
11th-Sep-2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
3) I wasn't speaking as a Christian or even as me. My point was simply the dishonesty I'm receiving as an American citizen from my own administration.

2) No. The dissembling that the administration was never claiming such is what's very popular and simply wrong. I was there. I listened attentively with the rest of the nation to that address to Congress. Without that – poof! – there would have been nothing like the support Bush originally gained for diverting from the war on al-Qaeda to the war on Hussein.

1) Well, if it's a matter of degree, than it is: this seems outrageously crass and corrupt.
11th-Sep-2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure many people were listening attentively to Bush's State of the Union.

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.

It's unambiguous: Bush was saying that the threat was NOT imminent. The paragraph is gibberish otherwise.
11th-Sep-2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
Luke, Mike only says that he is at some
small risk of being a registered democrat
in 20 years. this does not sound too bad
and it is well that he is aware, as we each
must be, of possible temptation in the future
so maybe we should not be too hard on him. :)
hope all is well, off now to visit your
11th-Sep-2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Very fair, though (per my comment above) I think that a myth continues to be propagated that really isn't very fair. More importantly, I'm afraid that if we attack the good of a cause because the men who promote it have less than perfect intentions, we'll be left with very few causes indeed.
12th-Sep-2006 05:22 am (UTC)
10th-Sep-2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
North Korea is just a completely different wacky ballgame of its own, though, and it's totally terrifying. The Atlantic has a good article in its current issue about what could potentially happen and who stands to benefit if Kim's regime does fall, and it's not us - or even South Korea - so much as it is China. It's worth a read. In fact, I shall just assume that you want to read it, and email it to you now.
11th-Sep-2006 06:24 am (UTC)
Thanks! I imagine you're quite right about China. And I responded to more pointed criticisms about my grumblings above, if you're interested.
11th-Sep-2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
I don't know if the people consulted in the writing of the article are right about China at all, I just thought I'd pass it along. I wasn't criticizing anything you wrote!

I'm just sort of obsessed with North Korea, because I feel the way many people do, that it's a more serious threat to us and our allies than Iraq ever was, given what we know now, and that at some point there will probably have to be a major confrontation. But it's very hard to say whether such a confrontation would really be in our favor.
10th-Sep-2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
Me, I'm hoping that the Administration doesn't come to believe that I'm going to be a significant threat, criminal, traitor, or registered Democrat ten or twenty years from now.

Be sure not to donate large sums of money to the terrorist cells they keep cracking, and you should be okay!
11th-Sep-2006 06:27 am (UTC)
Yes'm! If you're interested, I responded to more specific criticism of my less-specific grumblings in another response, above. As to this your good point, I can only imagine what we might have done to further increase American security if we were seriously funding Homeland Security instead of flushing our money down the Tigris....
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