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Author Topic: OSC proves flat wrong on Iraq
drewmie
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Since I've been posting on Ornery.org again, I've been bothered by the feeling that I'm contributing to a website headed by someone who is so consistently wrong, and who so consistently uses card stacking, straw men, and other fallacies in his "World Watch" segment. I decided I'd feel better if I reviewed just how pathetically wrong OSC has been on the subject of Iraq. Here we go (some bolding added):
quote:
From You Can't Have Peace When the Enemy Wants War June 17, 2002:
...the one plan that will lead most surely to disaster is to wait and wait and wait for our coalition partners to feel politically secure again. Because that may never happen. But Iraqi nuclear attacks against somebody -- those will certainly happen, if we don't topple the madman first.

quote:
From Declaring War July 15, 2002:
A declaration of war against "all nations providing terrorist organizations with financial or military support, training, or safe haven, including but not limited to Iraq under the government of Saddam Hussein" would do the job.

quote:
From Evil and the "Phony War" August 19, 2002:
It is absolutely vital that we destroy the governments that are rushing to prepare the weapons that our enemies will use against us. Foremost among them is Iraq.

quote:
From The First Year of the Terrorist War September 02, 2002:
Iraq is an open supporter of terrorism; it has an advanced program of building weapons of mass destruction; it has proven its willingness to use such weapons against civilian targets; it has threatened to use those weapons; it is training and cooperating with terrorists; and it is in violation of most of the terms of the ceasefire that suspended our never-finished war with Iraq in 1991....

It's as if [American intellectuals] would rather see thousands -- or, perhaps, millions -- of American civilians die from weapons being built by our enemies, which they will certainly use against us, than to have our soldiers kill one innocent Iraqi in order free Iraq of its tyrant.

quote:
From Iraq: Deterrence or Prevention? September 16, 2002:
The point of attacking Iraq now and eliminating their weapons capability is to prevent a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack against us or any other nation, thereby making it unnecessary ever to retaliate against Iraq with nuclear weapons.

Even if ten thousand or twenty thousand innocent Iraqis died in a conventional war designed to take down Saddam's government -- a very high estimate, given how extraordinarily careful our armed forces are to avoid needless civilian casualties -- wouldn't that be better than relying on nukes that would kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions, if Iraqis?....

But we didn't declare war on Al-Qaeda. We declared war on terrorism. So we don't have to prove a link between Saddam and a particular group of terrorists (though the link has been proved)....

Our attack would be to prevent him from making weapons of mass destruction available to groups that would use them against us in ways we would be hard-pressed to forestall.

So all we have to prove is:

1. He has current links to terrorists and a history of supporting them.

This has been proven over and over again, including his bonuses to the families of suicide bombers in Israel.

2. He is developing or has developed weapons that pose a grave risk not only to America but to any other nation.

Well, we know he has poison gas, we know he has been working on bio-weapons, and we knew he has a nuclear program, which may or may not yet have achieved a working weapon.

3. He has a disposition to make unprovoked attacks on other countries.

Duh....

So the only thing he could possibly be doing is buying time -- a few weeks, maybe a few months.

A few weeks or months in which to get his weapons out the door and into the places where they can be most effectively used.

quote:
From When Is Saddam "On the Verge"? November 17, 2002:
How can we wait until "Saddam is on the verge" of getting a nuke? What is "the verge"? How will we know when he's reached it? By any rational measure he is already "on the verge."

Indeed, for all we know the only reason he has agreed to the weapons inspections is because he knew he would have a usable nuke in a month, and letting the weapons inspectors come in bought him just enough time to get it out of Iraq and ready to use....

We know he has a far-advanced nuclear program because the former head of his nuclear program has told us how close it was to having a weapon a few years ago.

Thanks, I feel better now. [Wink]
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hobsen
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Thanks for the reminders. OSC's record with respect to Iraq gives us little confidence in what he recommends concerning Iran.

Personally I have been getting OSC's point of view from Charles Krauthammer on various TV programs, someone who does seem to know more than OSC about these matters. And Jeffrey Goldberg has an excellent article in next month's Atlantic Monthly discussing possible responses to the Iranian nuclear program. I am not sure anyone except high government officials really knows what is going on with that, but Goldberg seems to do as well as anyone from the U.S. can without high level classified access to United States intelligence and diplomatic correspondence.

Overall OSC seems an excellent columnist to summarize regional views for a local newspaper, but he hardly qualifies as an authority on the national scene. Thanks for doing the work of bringing the pertinent parts of his old columns together.

[ August 24, 2010, 09:09 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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Al Wessex
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To be fair to him, he is an extremely talented fiction author who creates and populates worlds in which struggles are carried out according to principles and rules he preordains for the protagonists. I've been to many lectures where similarly or more talented authors have spun witty and wise about what they write about and know best. Card knows his fictional worlds best. The problem with his hector-lecture columns is that this is not one of those worlds.
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Viking_Longship
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
Thanks for the reminders. OSC's record with respect to Iraq gives us little confidence in what he recommends concerning Iran.

Personally I have been getting OSC's point of view from Charles Krauthammer on various TV programs, someone who does seem to know more than OSC about these matters. And Jeffrey Goldberg has an excellent article in next month's Atlantic Monthly discussing possible responses to the Iranian nuclear program. I am not sure anyone except high government officials really knows what is going on with that, but Goldberg seems to do as well as anyone from the U.S. can without high level classified access to United States intelligence and diplomatic correspondence.

Overall OSC seems an excellent columnist to summarize regional views for a local newspaper, but he hardly qualifies as an authority on the national scene. Thanks for doing the work of bringing the pertinent parts of his old columns together.

I've thought for a while that you could get OSC's point of view from the sources, Krauthammer, Kristol, Dennis Prager, The Weekly Standard, without getting beaten over the head with his "Agree with me or you're stupid, evil and a liberal egghead" approach. (btw have you noticed how hostile he is to intellectuals? Isn't that weird in a man so in love with his own mind?)

He writes really well about things he understands, like books, theater, even parenting issues, but he's awful on foriegn policy.

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
(btw have you noticed how hostile he is to intellectuals? Isn't that weird in a man so in love with his own mind?)

He writes really well about things he understands, like books, theater, even parenting issues, but he's awful on foriegn policy.

I think that just comes with the kool-aid he's been drinking. The dude is a conservative ideologue whose opinion seems to consist entirely of taking what all the other, more successful, conservative ideologues are saying and putting it all in a blender. So the moment he starts talking about foreign policy (which is naturally gonna be an exercise in War on Terror apologetics), government (which will be all about how the Democrats are communists), or social issues (where we'll learn that liberals are poisoning society from within), he'll throw in a bunch of anti-intellectualism because hey, he's heard on the radio that ivory tower intellectuals have all sorts of crazy ideas and hate Jesus.
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TomDavidson
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I dunno. It seems to me that Card has been anti-intellectual -- at least, anti- a certain class of intellectual -- for longer than he's been a friend of Glenn Beck. Being told that he wasn't literary enough back in the early '80s seems to have permanently soured him on the Ivory Tower crowd.

[ August 25, 2010, 09:33 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by drewmie:
Thanks, I feel better now. [Wink]

That's what the Two Minutes' Hate is for. Glad it worked for you.
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cherrypoptart
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I really don't see how you figure that OSC has been proven flat wrong about anything.

Iran has gone nuclear now. But if we hadn't invaded Iraq, they wouldn't have? They couldn't have?

But the sanctions would have stopped Saddam right? Are these the same sanctions that were supposedly killing 50,000 Iraqi kids every year? So we should still have them now how many years later?

--------------------------------------

I'm also still a little confused about the whole yellow cake thing.

Saddam had tons of yellow cake and it wasn't a big deal because it has other uses besides weapons. Okay...

So why was it a big deal that Saddam was NOT trying to get yellow cake from Niger?

----------------------------------------

Also, we still have absolutely no idea what went in that convoy to Syria right before the war and until we know that we have no "proof" that OSC was wrong about anything, especially seeing as how Syria relatively shortly afterwards had a nuclear weapons program the Israelis thought was enough of a threat to warrant a bombing run.

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drewmie
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
I really don't see how you figure that OSC has been proven flat wrong about anything.

So let me get this straight. You believe that "Iraqi nuclear attacks against somebody -- those [would have] certainly happen[ed], if we [hadn't] topple[d] the madman first"?

You really believe that in 2002 Iraq was "foremost among... governments that [were] rushing to prepare the weapons that our enemies [would have or] will use against us"? And that they had, at that time, "an advanced program of building weapons of mass destruction"? And that "by any rational measure he [was] already on the verge... of getting a nuke"?

You really believe that "a link" between Saddam and Al Qaeda had "been proved" in 2002? Or even after that?

You see, you may be willing to think the invasion was justified based on lack of proof that he WASN'T doing these things, and based on criteria that could be applied to any number of psycho regimes, but I happen to think war should require a great deal more justification than someone's "disposition" to attack. That is one of the few things OSC was right about.

Fortunately, we don't attack every regime being run by a war-hungry dictator. But given OSC's latest rant, it seems he thinks we should.

[ August 25, 2010, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Viking_Longship
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I think the operative here is "proven" has OSC been proven wrong? No

Has George W Bush been proven not to have prior knowledge of 9/11? No

Has Barack Obama been proven to be a US citizen? No


Is it possible that a paranoid dictator who had an advanced program of WMDs would chose to allow his country to be over run and himself flee to a hole in the ground rather than use those weapons on the invader? Yes.

Would I so much as buy an apple based on OSC's word? Not a chance.

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drewmie
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Maybe this is splitting hairs, but OSC has been proven wrong on may points. For example, OSC claimed that "by any rational measure [Saddam was] already on the verge... of getting a nuke." While clearly we cannot "prove" the negative, we have proven quite well that OSC was "flat wrong" on his assertion that his statement was true "by any rational measure." Why? Because even the most strenuous proponents of the idea that Saddam was about to have nukes — even these people must acknowledge that the opposing point is reasonable by many rational measures.

True, we cannot prove many of OSC's bone-headed ideas about Iraq weren't true. But we can show that evidence for them was and is seriously lacking, just as we can show that evidence for the Loch Ness monster is seriously lacking... though we can't "prove" it doesn't exist.

But we can prove that OSC's assertions that such things were clear, present, and/or led to immediate and obvious assertions was FLAT WRONG. He can believe in Sasquatch all he wants, but asserting that such pathetic evidence forces our hand to invade Yellowstone is not only delusional, it's flat wrong.

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Wayward Son
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Now wait a minute, drewmie. Just because something is Flat-Out Wrong doesn't mean it wasn't clear, present, immediate and obvious at the time.

It depends on the information he had at the time. From that info, one could come to an inescapable conclusion that just happens to be flat-out wrong.

Of course, he most likely is getting his current information about Iran from similar sources... [Smile]

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drewmie
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Hindsight is definitely 20/20. But I'm not criticizing OSC for that. I'm criticizing him for conclusions he insisted were inescapable, but that many of us "escaped" from quite easily. His evidence was scant, and was mixed with ideology and wishful thinking. The "everyone came to the same wrong conclusion" argument is just incorrect. Millions of Americans came to a completely different conclusion, as did most of the world. And we're quite ticked off that our conclusions were largely ignored, then pushed aside as Monday morning quarterbacking when we turned out to be right.
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cherrypoptart
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Iran is proving the nuclear capabilities of countries like Iraq every day. Pakistan-India. Iran-Iraq.

I'll agree that the "45 minutes to launch" (mis)quote seemed alarmist, but I'm not seeing OSCs dateline on Iraq's WMD development.

If Iran could do it, why don't you think Iraq could have done it too?

The whole point is that where there's a will there is often a way and Saddam still had the will for weapons of mass destruction. So basically what you're telling me is that even with Iran going nuclear, if Saddam had remained in power he wouldn't be doing the same thing?

That's hard to believe.

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drewmie
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You don't wage war based on an enemy's bad attitude mixed with conjecture about what they might do. You base it on a clear and present threat. In other words, demonstrable and current. Conjecture is not "clear," and what Saddam might do is not "present." The whole "we can't wait for a mushroom cloud" attitude is just wrong.
quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
So basically what you're telling me is that even with Iran going nuclear, if Saddam had remained in power he wouldn't be doing the same thing? That's hard to believe.

It's just as easy to argue that Iran wouldn't be going nuclear if we had left Saddam in power, because they might be seriously concerned about Saddam's response. But frankly, that's pure conjecture, just like yours. Both are possible, and neither might have happened. There are so many variables in a situation like this, it's ridiculous to pretend we can know what might have been. And that's precisely where OSC has "proven" himself "flat wrong."
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RickyB
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Scott's problem is that he is far more lucid in the worldview he celebrates in his novels than that he espouses in life. His faith in certain politicians and the military and the righteousness of American aggression would have been met with contempt by Bean, Peter... even Alvin. [Smile]
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