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Author Topic: I take personal responsibility for...
DaveS
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Bashing Bush is somewhat recreational and therapeutic, but it isn't the sole aim of people who do it. There have been numerous threads on Ornery dedicated to analyze or make positive recommendations about current issues that result from Bush's policies. Many of the bashers here are contributors there, too. It's interesting that some of Bush's supporters pop up on those threads to remind us of Clinton's innumerable shortcomings, lest his absence from the Oval Office for the last 6 years dims our memories [Smile]
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javelin
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Perspective, and the resetting thereof, can sometimes be good. [Wink]
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Liberal
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Redskull, Matteo and others, this is the very last time I will post this, so try to read carefully and stop putting words in my mouth.

First, let me say what I am NOT saying so you don't waste another long post telling me I'm some extreme idealist. I am not asking Bush to absolutely take 100% responsibility for any decision that he did not make completely on his on.

I AM asking him to take 100% responsibility for when aides supply him with information that they tell him could very well be incorrect AHEAD OF TIME, and then he proactively lies to the American people and says the intel. is 100% correct. Other similar instances of Bush acting on cautioned intelligence as if it were flawless or flawless intelligence and deciding he won't trust it are other situations where he has made mistakes but even in "admitting them" blames them on subordinates even though 100% responsibility lies with him.

Seriously, Redskull, before you waste more time typing another generic post that completely ignores my text, please read and understand what I am writing. This is truly infuriating to see you repeatedly writing past me in such vague, generic terms. If this continues even YOUR vaunted reputation at this board will suffer, I'm sure.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Sorry, kenmeer. Please read that as "incisive". (Hey it's 5 am here in Oz, and I only got two hours sleep. Give me a break.)"

HEY!!! You gimme my poke stick back! I'll die-secting or live trying... POKE.... POKE.... POKE....

[ October 20, 2006, 12:17 AM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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Matteo522
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I see what you're saying, Liberal, as I hope you're seeing what I at least mean to say (whether I'm articulating it accurately remains to be seen). I'll try one last time as well:

I don't recall him saying that the intelligence was 100% accurate -- I'm sure he realizes that all intelligence is always fallible. The problem is that when provided with faulty intelligence you still have to make a decision one way or the other on how to handle that faulty intelligence. You can choose to take action because it's urgent. You can choose to wait and get more intelligence because more intelligence is needed. You can choose to do nothing because it's just plain wrong. Point is that you need to do something (and something includes nothing) and each and every one of those has potential and real consequences (good and bad).

I have a hard time asserting that I know better and would have 'gotten it right' had I been there when I don't have the responsibility, weight, pressure, and opposing voices that he had and I do now have today's knowledge that we didn't have at the time. Because of that, I can't ask for an apology.

It is interesting, though, how both you and I felt like we simply weren't being heard. I felt like I was being fairly reasonable in my assertions, as I'm sure you felt you were being perfectly reasonable in your assertions. But this debate spiraled so out of control on all sides that the very simple statements we were both trying to make were lost in translation.

Such is the folly of internet political debates in today's culture. Strike that. Such is the folly of political debates. [Smile]

Matteo

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Liberal
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The problem from the standpoint of the intel. he cited in the Iraq SotU speech is that those estimates were taken in large part from estimates of remaining stockpiles, some of which were given to Hussein by the US from the 80s. Even in proper storage conditions many of those biologicals had a shelf life of far less than 15-20 years, and many people in the government knew that and doubtlessly Tenet explained that as a huge detraction. Bush didn't care, even though this would have been a major reason not to spout off about literally thousands of gallons of botulism, anthrax, etc.
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LetterRip
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Red et al,

I stated before the invasion that I expected us to quickly crush the military (I think I stated two weeks?) then have continuous problems with snipers (so I wasn't exact there but the general sense was the same). I and others pointed out that disbanding the army was insane that it basically created militarily trained and armed individuals who would have motivations against the occupying forces, that purging all Bathists all positions was foolish and destabilizing.

I and others pointed out prior to the war that the intelligence claims being used to support an invasion had already been discredited by the intelligence organizations. It was also later pointed out that it was impossible for those making the case not to be aware of that (Ie Powell in his report to the UN had in his brief a direct contradiction to his statement regarding usage for aluminum tubes - that 1) they were unusable for a centrifuge, and 2) that the US used aluminum tubes of the same specifications for rockets - whereas he asserted they were of the specification for a centrifuge and of a spec contrary to usage for rockets).

quote:
I don't recall him saying that the intelligence was 100% accurate -- I'm sure he realizes that all intelligence is always fallible. The problem is that when provided with faulty intelligence you still have to make a decision one way or the other on how to handle that faulty intelligence. You can choose to take action because it's urgent.
His administration wasn't provided with faulty evidence. The evidence he and others had claimed in support (or more frequently implied that it supported) was shown to be wrong by the intelligence agencies prior to Bush and others publicly claiming or implying it supported their case.

That was true of the aluminum tubes, it was true of the 'portable chemical labs', it was true of the 'trying to acquire yellow cake', it was true of the maps shown, it was true of the implied ties to Al Queda. I'm pretty sure it was true of the drones (they were reconnaissance drones, they had no weapon delivery system). It was also known at that time the limited shelf life of the biological and chemical weapons that they had had historically.

LetterRip

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Matteo522
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I submit to you a National Intelligence Estimate report from 2002 containing information thought to be at least partially true at the time and now deemed mostly untrue due to our greater ability to investigate (i.e. we have boots on the ground in Iraq now as opposed to just eyes in the sky):

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/iraq-wmd.html

Basically it says "Saddam is a big threat" at the top. Then it goes on to say "Alternate view is that he isn't a big threat". Well one has to be true.. now it's time for a judgment call. Today we know which one was true... but we didn't at the time. You can say all day long, "We KNEW he was absolutely no threat!!!".. but, honestly, we didn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt. If we did, why would UK, Italy, Poland, et al follow us? Why would Clinton and Kerry and countless other senators have voted for the invasion if we KNEW he was absolutely no threat? Truth is nobody knew for sure... and few were willing to bet on the side that he was no threat and be wrong.

So, again, he had bad intelligence. How do you handle that? I don't know, but one thing's for sure: it sure sucks to be the guy who has to make that decision. No matter what you do, you're screwed.

Matteo

[ October 20, 2006, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: Matteo522 ]

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Liberal
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quote:
Originally posted by Matteo522:
I submit to you a National Intelligence Estimate report from 2002 containing information thought to be at least partially true at the time and now deemed mostly untrue due to our greater ability to investigate (i.e. we have boots on the ground in Iraq now as opposed to just eyes in the sky):

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/iraq-wmd.html

Basically it says "Saddam is a big threat" at the top. Then it goes on to say "Alternate view is that he isn't a big threat". Well one has to be true.. now it's time for a judgment call. Today we know which one was true... but we didn't at the time. You can say all day long, "We KNEW he was absolutely no threat!!!".. but, honestly, we didn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt. If we did, why would UK, Italy, Poland, et al follow us? Why would Clinton and Kerry and countless other senators have voted for the invasion if we KNEW he was absolutely no threat? Truth is nobody knew for sure... and few were willing to bet on the side that he was no threat and be wrong.

So, again, he had bad intelligence. How do you handle that? I don't know, but one thing's for sure: it sure sucks to be the guy who has to make that decision. No matter what you do, you're screwed.

Matteo

Even if you are right, which you aren't (and I will post why) Bush had no right to claim his intel. from the SotU Iraq speech was 100% correct when he was questioned on it later. Nor had he any right to claim any of those figures of chemicals and biologicals when it was known that those specific ones which Reagan and Rumsfeld gave him in the early 80s would be useless by now! Would you pardon a salesman who tried scamming your grandmother into buying a 20 year old jay of mayonaise and then saying that someone had told him "it could possibly still be good"? In this case I cannot believe there would be anyone with any real scientific knowledge that truly believed any of those substances were still a threat, nevertheless the lie was perpetrated.


Here is a chronology of pre-Iraq and how many of our intelligence agencies, as well as the state department, the UN, the IAEA and others tried desperately to stop the Bush admin. from continuing its disengenuous campaign of painint Iraq as a threat. When the vast majority of your intelligence agencies are telling you something, don't you think the rational response would be to listen to them instead of creating another intelligence agency solely for the purpose of trying to prove what they thought was wrong was somehow right? Also, don't waste time attacking the sources, most of them are primary documents or direct links to the organizations themselves. Remember, this stuff happened BEFORE Iraq, this was all known BEFORE Bush made his "mistake." Bush's knowledge of the situation has not changed between then and now.
OCTOBER 8, 1997 – IAEA SAYS IRAQ FREE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
http://www.nci.org/i/iaea10-8-98.htm

FEBRUARY 23 & 24, 2001 – COLIN POWELL SAYS IRAQ IS CONTAINED
http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2001/933.htm

SEPTEMBER 16, 2001 – CHENEY ACKNOWLEDGES IRAQ IS CONTAINED
http://www.whitehouse.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20010916.html

SEPTEMBER 2001 – WHITE HOUSE CREATES OFFICE TO CIRCUMVENT INTEL AGENCIES
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?031027fa_fact

JANUARY, 2002 – TENET DOES NOT MENTION IRAQ IN NUCLEAR THREAT REPORT
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/unmovic/2003/0630selling.htm

FEBRUARY 6, 2002 – CIA SAYS IRAQ HAS NOT PROVIDED WMD TO TERRORISTS:
http://www.embargos.de/irak/post1109/english/terror_acts_waned.htm

APRIL 15, 2002 – WOLFOWITZ ANGERED AT CIA FOR NOT UNDERMINING U.N. REPORT
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/2002/0415cia.htm

SUMMER, 2002 – CIA WARNINGS TO WHITE HOUSE EXPOSED
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/unmovic/2003/0630selling.htm

SEPTEMBER, 2002 – DIA TELLS WHITE HOUSE NO EVIDENCE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS
http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/Pentagon/us-dod-iraqchemreport-060703.htm

SEPTEMBER 20, 2002 – DEPT. OF ENERGY TELLS WHITE HOUSE OF NUKE DOUBTS:
[Source: UPI, 9/20/02]

OCTOBER 2002 – CIA DIRECTLY WARNS WHITE HOUSE
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/6362092.htm

OCTOBER 2002 — STATE DEPT. WARNS WHITE HOUSE ON NUKE CHARGES:
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/Iraq/declassifiedintellreport.pdf

OCTOBER 2002 – AIR FORCE WARNS WHITE HOUSE:
[Source: Washington Post, 9/26/03]

LATE 2002-EARLY 2003 – CHENEY PRESSURES CIA TO CHANGE INTELLIGENCE
[Sources: Dallas Morning News, 7/28/03; Newsweek, 7/28/03]

JANUARY, 2003 – STATE DEPT. INTEL BUREAU REITERATE WARNING TO POWELL
[Source: Financial Times, 7/30/03]

FEBRUARY 14, 2003 – UN WARNS WHITE HOUSE THAT NO WMD HAVE BEEN FOUND:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/02/14/sprj.irq.un/

FEBRUARY 15, 2003 – IAEA WARNS WHITE HOUSE NO NUCLEAR EVIDENCE:
http://www.thesunlink.com/redesign/2003-02-15/nationworld/74730.shtml

FEBURARY 24, 2003 – CIA WARNS WHITE HOUSE ‘NO DIRECT EVIDENCE’ OF WMD:
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3340723/

MARCH 7, 2003 – IAEA REITERATES TO WHITE HOUSE NO EVIDENCE OF NUKES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/07/international/middleeast/07CND-IRAQ.html?ex=1075352400&en=35756793e3b71e73&ei=5070

MAY 30, 2003 – INTEL PROFESSIONALS ADMIT THEY WERE PRESSURED:
[Reuters, 5/30/03 ]

JUNE 6, 2003 – INTELLIGENCE HISTORIAN SAYS INTEL WAS HYPED:
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0607-06.htm

[ October 20, 2006, 02:36 AM: Message edited by: Liberal ]

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LetterRip
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Matteo,

quote:
You can say all day long, "We KNEW he was absolutely no threat!!!"
That isn't what is being stated. What is being stated is that the information presented to the public was known to be false at the time and as such was not sufficient to show that Saddam constituted a threat. There may be other information that was relied on.

quote:
but, honestly, we didn't know beyond a shadow of a doubt. If we did, why would UK, Italy, Poland, et al follow us?
Some were 'bullied', some were 'bribed', some did it out a myriad of political considerations.

quote:
Truth is nobody knew for sure... and few were willing to bet on the side that he was no threat and be wrong.
The vast majority of the world including some of those who were part of the 'Coalition of the Willing' were of the belief that he was unlikely a threat and that the then current actions were adequate to counter any potential threat that Iraq offered for the future.

quote:
So, again, he had bad intelligence. How do you handle that? I don't know, but one thing's for sure: it sure sucks to be the guy who has to make that decision. No matter what you do, you're screwed.
Show the 'bad intelligence', this has been the claim, however it has been shown that the actual intel was contrary to what was being claimed in public. It has also been shown that they had the correct intel present when they were making the false claims (Ie Powells presentation to the UN and aluminum tubes).

I believe that at least some high ranking administration officials (quite likely including President Bush) believed that Saddam had WMDs or was actively pursing nukes etc. I don't think that such a belief was derived from a fair examination of the evidence and certainly not of that 'evidence' which was publicly presented as being in support of such beliefs. I believe that there was some intentional and deliberate misrepresentation of the evidence (indeed that seems the only reasonable interpretation of Powells UN presentation), but that it was likely with the expectation of it being vindicated by some sort of discovery of WMD programs in Iraq.

LetterRip

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RickyB
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<having wisely refrained from this thread since page 1, I am grimly amused at the mendacent circularity of the debate...>
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Tom Curtis
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Javelin:

quote:
Is there honestly some confusion in your mind about what Redskull original said, and how that differs from what others, such as KL, Liberal and yourself, have insisted must be?
What has Redskull to do with it? You may not have noticed but it was Thrasymachus who started this thread. Thrasymachus latter summarized his point by saying:
quote:
My point was that seemingly everyone likes to point the finger at someone else, but I haven't heard Bush do that. When he is forced to admit error, he claims it as his own.
In fact, Redskull appeared to agree with just that point when he wrote:
quote:
That is indeed a hallmark of a good leader. Acknowledge mistakes, and hold yourself responsible. We spent have spent the 20 years between Carter and Bush II being used to Presidents who blame their failings on staffers and political opposition conspiracy. Maybe we are too jaded to recognize honesty when we see it these days.
But suddenly when Liberal writes:
quote:
It's not a circular argument as long I have the facts right about each specific instance that I talk about... ...I am not making generalizations but am dealing with specific events. You are truly doing yourself a disservice by this continued vague denigration.

Bush really did blame his subordinates in every "appology" that I have heard. If you have an instance where he didn't, please post it and I will yield. If not you need to concede this is not a circular argument, this is a statement of fact.

you pop up suggesting that he has moved the bar. Suddenly, it turns out, expecting Bush to acknowledge mistakes and hold himself "responsible" rather than acknowledging mistakes and holding subordinates responsible is moving the bar.

(I will leave aside your endorsement of Redskull's strawman of Liberal's views.)

So, to go back to Liberal's point, can anyone provide an example in which Bush clearly acknowledges a mistake for which he holds himself responsible? That was the original standard by which Bush was lauded by Thrasymachus and Redskull. It is precisely that which Liberal disputes, and of which I know no example.

The only example in which we have Bush's actual words laid before us to judge was provided by kenmeer. He showed quite clearly why it was not an example of Bush accepting culpability - and he promptly got ignored (still is ignored) by those who are lauding Bush for his supposedly forthright admission of error.

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Tom Curtis
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Matteo:

quote:
Tom: Saddam wasn't an utterly implausible threat at the time we were debating taking action. Saddam kicked out the UN inspectors and would not allow them to have full access to all places as he was required to. That doesn't sound "utterly implausible". It actually sounds quite plausible, by definition. I'm not saying LIKELY. But to say that at the time, given Saddam's behavior, that he was an "utterly implausible threat" is revisionism. Now we know he was a most likely non-threat (do we know for a fact that he didn't ship his weapons to Syria prior to the invasion? No, not for a fact)... but until we had boots on the ground to confirm that he wasn't a threat, we did not KNOW.
He was utterly implausible as a threat to the US, as I originally said. His conventional military had been shattered in Gulf War 1, and even prior to that had been incapable of defeating Iran, let alone the US or Israel. He may have had WMD stockpiles (I thought that distinctly possible at the time based on my assessment of his character, rather than on any intelligence evidence) but he lacked any plausible delivery mechanism to the US. It was barely plausible, on information available at the time, that he could deliver WMD's to Israel, let alone Western Europe or the US. He was plainly incapable of warding of any retalliation for an attempt to deliver WMD to Israel or other US ally.

Finally, he had no plausible route to smuggle WMDs into the US for a terrorist attack (which is not an easy thing to do). What is more, his clear strategy of out waiting sanctions would have made any attempt to attack the US via terrorist intermediaries counter productive. What is more, links between his Baathist regime and Islamist militants was unlikely due to mutual ideological hostility; and not given any significant support by then publicly known intelligence (and was positively refuted by known to the Bush administration intelligence). Even the supposed terrorist training camp were Al Qaida was trained in the use of chemical weapons lay in a part of Iraq in which the Iraqi army could not operate, but which US planes overflew routinely.

Finally, at the official time of the decision to go to war, the US via the UN had boots on the ground routinely inspecting without delay or forewarning any part of Iraq they chose. Those inspectors were saying that there was no evidence of an ongoing WMD program, and that within months they would be able to certify Iraq as WMD free. Apparently that was a peice of intelligence that did not cross Bush's desk (sarcasm alert)!

[ October 20, 2006, 09:14 AM: Message edited by: Tom Curtis ]

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Matteo522
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Oh how easy it is to cherry-pick the intelligence and evidence just as much as he did!

We all know the intelligence was dubious at best. We all know there was intelligence stating that he was not a threat. However, there was ALSO intelligence stating he was a threat. It may not have been *good* intelligence, but what the heck *is* good intelligence?

This was why I brought up my school bomb threat scenario. Even if 90% of the "intelligence" stated that there was no bomb threat yet 10% of it did (and it was doubtful that that intelligence was true), the one person who dared respond to that analogy stated he would, in fact, take the evasive action necessary.

I showed you an intelligence report that did, in fact, state that he was a threat. Yes, you can show that it turned out to be wrong. Yes, you can show that there was other evidence from before that report that said he was no threat (in fact, the report itself said it may very well be wrong). But the fact remains that there was still some segment of the intelligence community that honestly and truthfully believed he was a real threat.

None of the above posts address that whatsoever. You're all just spitting out the same thing. He didn't have weapons. He couldn't get them to us. He wasn't a threat.

Yes, we know that. Now.

If it was so widely known at the time that Saddam was literally no threat and we were just pissing away money and lives. Why did congress authorize war? Why would Hillary Clinton approve of a war in which we were attacking a non-threat? Wouldn't it have been in her best interest to let Bush get all huffy about a war and then deny him that authority and point out what a crock it was? Don't say she was bullied because Sen. Clinton is just as powerful as Bush. Was she just told to trust the president *nudge nudge*? If three people on a message forum knew that Saddam was clearly no threat back in 2002, why didn't she do her homework to find that out? Was she just fooled into it? Shame on her then. Was she just blindly following her buddy Bush? Doubtful. Was John Edwards bribed to vote for the war? Kerry?

I'm not saying the war was right. I'm not saying the intelligence was correct. I'm not saying there wasn't some cherry-picking (clearly there was... and choosing to not invade also would have required cherry-picking... most decisions require some form of cherry-picking).

I'm just saying that there was *just barely* enough evidence *at the time* to justify at least *some* action. There was lots of evidence pointing the other way as well.. but such is the nature of intelligence.

Bush felt that way. 73 senators felt that way. Several other countries around the world felt that way.

Matteo

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Liberal
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Matteo, the office of special actions was the only agency that thought he was a threat worth getting rid of. The CIA, even at their most condusive to Bush's aims for war, still cooperated on a massive report with the other agencies that said invading was pointless and even counterproductive. You cannot blow smoke on this one and say it was "debatable." The vast majority of intel. agencies were firm in their stance. If the DIA was telling Bush the chem. weapons were dead, and so was the CIA, why did he say they weren't?
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Redskullvw
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Liberal

Look we are apparently talking past each other. It is that simple. My problem with your statements has been the absolute nature you took. I.E. Bush has yet to take responsibility for any error. The argument has now shifted to using prewar intelligence, specifically the aluminum tubes, as an example of a clear error. Sure, I'll grant you that it was in error. And it was something that depending upon who you asked and when, may or may not have been seen as evidence for or against a nuclear weapons program.

You know what I'll grant that it was an error, and I'll even grant that 4 years later Bush hasn't stated that the aluminum tube issue was a factually erroneous datum and that it could have been the single strongest indicator that there wasn't a nuclear program. But at this point it is such a small component of all the data points used by the entire free world to hedge their bets that Saddam had an nuclear program that for someone now to stand up and declare this as a clear example of Bush not only making an error but also knowingly commit to making an error because he knew his aides were in error about the facts, is simply being desperate for affixing blame.

I pretty much skipped this threads fourth page. I skipped everything TC wrote as well because he publicly stated that he won't engage me in conversation. But I will directly respond to your following statement:

"I AM asking him to take 100% responsibility for when aides supply him with information that they tell him could very well be incorrect AHEAD OF TIME, and then he proactively lies to the American people and says the intel. is 100% correct. Other similar instances of Bush acting on cautioned intelligence as if it were flawless or flawless intelligence and deciding he won't trust it are other situations where he has made mistakes but even in "admitting them" blames them on subordinates even though 100% responsibility lies with him."

There will always be some hedging of information supplied by aides that is open to divergent consideration. If you expect a President to ever act on anything that requires this sort of information, then you will see a future where no President will ever act on anything unless it is absolutely indisputable. Who won't ever have to state to the American people what he believes to be plausible or true based on a preponderance of the evidence provided to him. You describe a case where no action would be taken because there is no place for the President's judgement. He can't commit to any action because there will never be a case where the aides can be counted on to be 100% correct. Instead you will have a reactive Presidency that can only commit after something has been confirmed. Instead of a rheostat control, what you want is an on/off switch that is actionable only on confirmation.

The President would never knowingly or unknowingly be able to lie to the American people because the role of subjective review or application of individual perception would have been lost. Instead of being lead by a President, we would be lead by a bureaucratic system where a President only rubber-stamps decisions after they have been fully vetted by his aides. There will never be a case where a President goes with a gut feeling or intuition. Meaning such issues as The Cuban Missile Crisis would never have been successfully concluded. All the President had to go on was subjective data that strongly indicated those long cargo boxes on Russian freighters looked an awful lot like an ICBM shipping container. No aide could absolutely assure that that was what they were. The President went with the preponderance of evidence and challenged the Soviets as if it was a missile. The various secretaries of the military wanted all out war, State wanted caution. Kennedy acted on what was very suspect data early enough to stop the emplacement of Soviet missiles. But his actions were based upon facts that were not only vague, but also subject to two widely divergent conclusions.

That is but one case where a President did what he was elected to do; take somewhat flimsy and often ambiguous data and choose a proactive policy based upon the ultimate decision making role of the President as a chief executive. You know ultimately the actions of any President do rest entirely upon their own responsibility. You won't get an argument from me to the contrary. But your argument, and case by case standard that you are attempting to apply, i.e. the President must take sole responsibility and cannot even mitigate the responsibility for a decision based on acts of his aides is 100% asinine.

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seekingprometheus
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I wonder if we couldn't do away with the middleman (Bush) in this discussion. In spite of all my lurking, this is actually my first post, so perhaps I'm blithely unaware of tacit taboos against the unpardonably obvious--but isn't this debate really about the character of the present supporters/opponents of the President? Wouldn't it be simpler to strip it down to what people are really saying? In other words:

Bush-Apologists: I believe character is important, therefore I strive to always to take responsibility for my support of political policies.

Bush-Detractors: Good! Then you admit that the policies you have been supporting have had poor results, and you regret giving that support?

BA: The policies I have supported have not resulted in the outcomes I desired. I regret that. But no one could have known the outcome, given the information available when I gave my support. Nobody's perfect, but I stand by my choices.

BD: I knew the outcome! I told you this would happen way back then. You didn't listen. Now apologize!

BA: You didn't *know*. And I already did apologize.

BD: No you didn't.

BA: Yes-huh!

BD: Nuh-uh!

(four more pages of the same.)

Talking about this in terms of the actions of the president is simply misdirection. This whole thread is really just the lefties doing an "I told ya so" dance while promising to stop as soon as the righties admit they were wrong. I'm not really sure why the righties are sticking around for the jig--masochistic pleasure, perhaps? (maybe Richard Dey can shed some light--he's the in-house expert on unravelling s/m knots if I'm getting this right).
In any case, of course the die-hard cons have a point--there isn't really clean-cut black-and-white right-and-wrong here, so a fully theatrical production of "I told you so" isn't really fair--but the "shades of grey" argument sounds really tinny from that side of the aisle, so it would probably be best to leave this field to the bacchae, who seem to be mid-revel already.

By the way, to Redskull: I haven't been here long, but I've read enough backthreads to really respect your opinion. I know you're not the type to abandon a brother-at-arms to his own devices, but I think you got dragged into this battle by dint of a stringent tone. I think that if you turn around, you may find that liberal is gleefully skipping down the mountain with your goat. You're above this roast.

And before I fade back into the ether, let me also say: Kenmeer--you make me happy.

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DaveS
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quote:
This was why I brought up my school bomb threat scenario. Even if 90% of the "intelligence" stated that there was no bomb threat yet 10% of it did (and it was doubtful that that intelligence was true), the one person who dared respond to that analogy stated he would, in fact, take the evasive action necessary.

Here's the problem I have with that scenario. Let's say that someone reports that a student (a known bully) in a small town high school has a bomb in his backpack. The school police officer decides that he can't take any chances and shoots the kid. It turns out there was no bomb. We later find out that some of the reports about his carrying a bomb were from kids he had been picking on, and other reports were based on things he had done a year or two before. It's a tragedy, but there is some relief that the bully is no longer going to pick on any smaller kids. When the police officer is confronted with the fact that he killed the boy for no reason, he basically says "You're right, but he deserved it anyway." and is never investigated or charged with a crime, because in this particular small town he controls the police force and is more powerful than the rest of the civic government combined.

What standard should we hold the cop to?

A) Because he thought he had sufficient reason, he is not liable for any damage or harm he caused? It's not a crime, because he's not going to arrest himself.

B) He has a responsibility to be sure of his facts before he takes a life-ending action can not be undone? The utmost care must be taken before the gun is fired and the most stringent scrutiny must be applied afterward to find out whether he had an inclination to shoot the troublemaking kid and just needed an excuse.

Back to "reality", the standard Bush used to invade Iraq was something like "good enough" or "I can't prove it, but I know it's true". This is a far lower standard than is used by the soldiers who are over there fighting, and he will suffer a far lower penalty than the 2,800 soldiers and 100,000+ civilians who have died as a result.

The fact that some people didn't know the intelligence was wrong doesn't exonerate them, either. What I mean here is that WE as a nation supported this war by authorizing Bush to wage it, and WE are responsible for what has happened. Bush not requiring sacrifice from us and not really taking responsibility is a way to let us off the hook, too. But, I don't think any of us should be let off the hook. How did we let it happen, and what will we do about it? Those questions will remain open for a very long time.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Matteo: do you REALLY think we should have evacuated Iraq? [Wink]
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Matteo522
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Liberal:

Then shame on all the other politicians who were obviously duped as well and clearly didn't know what you must've known.

Redskull:

Nice post. Thanks.

Seeking Prometheus:

Excellent summary. [Smile]

Dave:

That's a really good analogy and I have no rebuttal for it. Although I love analogies and yet hate dragging them on forever, I'd submit one more change to that:

Let's say the cop tells the kid to freeze and have his bag checked. The kid lets someone check his bag, but conspicuously doesn't let him under his jacket but says that there's nothing there to worry about. The cop tells him to strip down in front of everyone. The kid defiantly refuses and says "I have no reason to do that! If you want to strip search me, you'd have to kill me first!" The kid goes on his merry way and is then shot. Does that change the scenario? Not a helluva lot, I suppose... but it does change the tone slightly.

Matt

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Tom Curtis
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Matteo:

quote:
Oh how easy it is to cherry-pick the intelligence and evidence just as much as he did!

We all know the intelligence was dubious at best. We all know there was intelligence stating that he was not a threat. However, there was ALSO intelligence stating he was a threat. It may not have been *good* intelligence, but what the heck *is* good intelligence?

Matteo, there was no intelligence stating that Hussain was a threat to the US. There was some dodgy evidence suggesting he might be trying to reconstruct his nuclear weapon program, but that same evidence if accepted at face value suggested that he was several years away from developing such an atomic bomb, and that still left him without a delivery system.

There was some equally dodgy evidence suggesting he might be reconstructing his chemical and biological weapons programs, but again there was no evidence suggesting he was currently increasing his stock pile, or that he had a delivery system.

There was some good evidence that he had a missile program, and some moderate intelligence that his newly developed missiles might be able to reach Israel - but missiles that can reach Israel do not overnight turn into missiles that can reach the US, or Europe.

In order to build a case for war, the Bush administration had to radically overstate the quality of the evidence they had that Hussein was a threat, supress the counter evidence, and radically overstate the level of threat represented if their best intelligence (for their case) was taken at face value.

Even if the tubes had been for a nuclear program, Bush had years in which to act. And at the time he acted bush knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Hussein had no active nuclear program because of the IAEA inspections. Even if Iraq actually had mobile chemical weapon factories, Bush still had months to years to act and he knew on balance of probability that Iraq did not have such a program when he acted, because UNIMOVIC was telling him so.

And when he acted, he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that Iraq only had short ranged missile systems.

quote:
This was why I brought up my school bomb threat scenario. Even if 90% of the "intelligence" stated that there was no bomb threat yet 10% of it did (and it was doubtful that that intelligence was true), the one person who dared respond to that analogy stated he would, in fact, take the evasive action necessary.
In fact, I also responded to your example. You just do not like my responce.

In Brisbane at the moment, a key offramp on the main expressway feeding traffic to the center of the city has a crack in it, leading to a "very slight" chance that it will collapse. As a result, the government has closed that off ramp and the expressway over which it passes, thus forcing around 50% of city bound traffic to seek alternative routes. The result has been chaos, but it is a perfect example of your precautionary principle in action.

It is also, I think, the wrong action. If the chance of collapse is very slight if in use, it must be less when not in use, so if only the off ramp but not the expressway were closed the risk of collapse would be minimal. The precautionary principle would still suggest closing the expressway was the right thing to do, except that by closing the expressway, the traffic conditions near the city, including to "most of Brisbanes main hospitals" has slowed to a complete crawl. Trips that formerly took 15 minutes can now take 90. This must mean that trips for ambulances are also slowed (though not as much). Thus, by closing the expressway, the government has reduced the risk of a publicly visible and politically catastrophic accident, but only by increasing the risk of less visible deaths for people in critical conditions unable to get to a hospital in time. I suspect the government choice has put more Brisbane lives at risk than the alternative. (I don't know because I don't know the relevant risk assessments.)

So consider the risk of not invading Iraq. It was known beyond any doubt that Iraq had no direct means of attacking the US. There was a slight but real possibility that Iraq could attack the US using biological or chemical weapons through terrorist intermediaries. If that was attempted, there was a slight but real risk that the attack would succede. So not attacking Iraq exposes the US to a slight risk of an terrorist attack that might kill thousands of Americans, possibly as many as 911 (though unlikely). That risk would have dissipated over months of continuing UNIMOVIC inspections to non-existence.

The risk of attacking Iraq was that hundreds of US troops, and thousands of Iraqis would die. The probability of that was well above 50% and there was a very real probability that thousands of US troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would die.

So, you've got a less than 1% chance of thousands dying vs a better than 50% chance of hundreds dying (if we only count US losses). The precautionary priniple at this stage says the best thing to do is not attack. It is only because you persistently ignore the other side of the equation that you can think otherwise.

quote:
I showed you an intelligence report that did, in fact, state that he was a threat. Yes, you can show that it turned out to be wrong. Yes, you can show that there was other evidence from before that report that said he was no threat (in fact, the report itself said it may very well be wrong). But the fact remains that there was still some segment of the intelligence community that honestly and truthfully believed he was a real threat.
The NIE report only shows what happens when professionals abandon proffesional standards to satisfy political masters.

I have to say I was, and still am, supremely unimpressed by the Democratic and media reaction to Bush's rush to war. They abandoned principled behaviour in favour of political or commercial expediency. The most that can be said in their favour is that they could not believe that a President would behave as dishonourably as Bush had in fact behaved in his misinforming of the nation. But that is not much of an exhoneration. It was their duty to make an independant analysis of the evidence presented, and they plainly failed to do so.

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Tom Curtis
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Matteo:

quote:
Let's say the cop tells the kid to freeze and have his bag checked. The kid lets someone check his bag, but conspicuously doesn't let him under his jacket but says that there's nothing there to worry about. The cop tells him to strip down in front of everyone. The kid defiantly refuses and says "I have no reason to do that! If you want to strip search me, you'd have to kill me first!" The kid goes on his merry way and is then shot. Does that change the scenario? Not a helluva lot, I suppose... but it does change the tone slightly.
Matteo, durring the first inspections following the Gulf War, Iraq prevented inspectors going were they wanted. During the second lot of inspections by UNIMOVIC which were ongoing until Bush told the inspectors to get out because he was about to attack, there were no such restrictions. The UNIMOVIC inspectors were permited to inspect anywhere in Iraq, with no notice at anytime. The did in fact inspect in this way several sites the US said were being used for WMD production, and found no evidence of such production.

Back to Dave's analogy. The boy was letting himself be strip searched with cavity checks, when the cop decided that wasn't good enough, and shot him anyway.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Kenmeer--you make me happy."

You know how to lay on a compliment. After all, man is that he might have joy, I've heard.

Yes, I think the 'I told you so' dance is in full evidence.

However, analyses of Bush's willingness to acknowledge, with relatively modest sales-spin, the consequences of his actions have, for we of the 'I told you so' camp, direct predecessors in analyses of Bush's (and Bush promoters') willingness to acknowledge, with relatively modest sales-spin, the data upon which Bush's decisions were based as they were being made, or suggested, or sold to the UN, Congress, USA public.

So for us, the current jigathon is only part of the continuum. We weren't buying yellow-cake jive 3 years ago, or aluminum tubes as alleged centrifuge material for reprocessing uranium, or the sudden shift from a plausible action against jihadi terrorism (toppling the Taiban in Afghanistan and pursuing bin Laden) to extremely questionable regime change in Iraq NOW.

The day we heard that Rummy was bickering with previously laid war plans to invade Iraq with ample troops, we hollered. The day we heard reports that plans for post-invasion maintenance of civil order were essentially non-existent, while comments about rosey greetings were publicly uttered by prominent neo-cons, we bellered.

We cited the pst embroglios, peccadilloes, and mortal sins associated with the team Bush had assembled to prosecute the invasion, and noted how they fit into a recurrent pattern. (Team B, anyone? Iran-Contra?)

To say our cries fell upon deaf ears would be an obvious lies. Our cries fell upon a swelling chorus of denunciation of such criticisms as unpatriotic carping, liberal bias or mere 'Bush-bashing' (as if some of us were born to bash Bush, as if our disapproval of him were a congenital deformity rather than as assessment of character, and as if that assessment were based on merely irrational aspects like his tendency to act like an idiot and not on a well-documented trail of incompetence, corruption, failure, and association -- directly though his Papa -- with cadre of characters intimately ssociated with nasty criminal actios involving Central America nd Iran, among others)or, (my favorite), Neville Chamberlainesque naivete. (I note here that just as most comparisons to Hitler tend to be ridiculed by one's fellow debators as absurd, a shadow phenomenon serves in corrolary to Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." This shadow versions replaces Hitler and Nazis with Chamberlian, Czheckoslavaki, and 'peace in our time'.)

We gotta right to crow: long before we were vindicated, we had to crow just in order to be heard by a mssive chorus of steel-braqssiered Pollyannas in blonde braids and Viking helm singing like triumphant fat ladies long before it was over, yea, even before it had begun.

There. I hoped that made you happy. (Big-boned, big-boobied women in military summer dresses turn me on too.)

HOnestly, I can't really blame the feller for not fessin' up to the messes he's made. He's ****ed up SO badly. I'd wanna duck the shame too, if I were in his shoes. But then, if I were in his shoes, we wouldn't be in Iraq. There's only one king, and he holds the scepter, and does as he will, even in today's parlimentary government. Folks who say folks like me oughter quit our bitchin' and DO something forget, I think, that railing at the king is the basic and most effective action toward the king -- short of regicide -- that we mere one voive-on vote citizens have.

One can only march in so many protests, or place so many 4x8 plywood posters in one's front yard, or engage in onkly so many face-to-face dialogues at the grocer store about the decision to invade Iraq, or the Patriot Act, or the recent detainee torture bill, or...

...or, in other word, who the **** are YOU (and you know who YOU are) to point the finger at me and say, "If you don't like it quit bitchin' about it and DO something?"

I mean, OK OK, I'm-a get my little red wagon all axle-greased up, borrow my neighbor's shotgun, and I'm-a go ride to the White House and do some gunboat redwagon diplomacy of my own. Does THAT qualify as 'doing something'? I promise I won't shoot until I hear the whine of their ayes...

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Thrasymachus
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Kenmeer,

Been contemplating the sound of one hand clapping a little to long I think. There was no indictment of those who HAVE acted on their sentiments. If you truly have engaged others with your concerns then I congradulate you. My point originally with this thread is that I get so bored of all the throw away patriotism so frequently displayed in forums like this.

How many people are there reading web pages like this and walking away with nothing but the opinions that agree with their party line of thought? How many people are so hellbent on embracing the company line that they are completely immune to any logic or reason that could actually convince them that maybe their party ISN'T right about everything across the board.

To be completely honest, it makes me sick that there are only two really valid potential candidates for election in most political races. Has diversity of opinion in this nation really become such a castrated force that the best we can support are two candidates, each equally bought and payed for by campaign contributions from the SAME special interset groups?

Stop defending or attacking liberal or conservative parties and start looking at realistic and honest interpretations of the ideas portrayed by the different parties. Who gives a flying f#$% about gwbush. In 50 years, he'll be a footnote in a history book. His actions during his administration haven't made him either the most sainted or the most villanous of politicians. He will never be more than one man and his mark on history.

If you can rail so hard against the Bush party and the republican cohort in an online forum, then you really should be prepared for someone to tell you to stand up and do something about it. If you already are, then you know that and you wouldn't be insulted by the challenge, you'd second it. Unless you think you are strong enough to stand alone against the entire array of republican cowtowing monkeyboys.

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DonaldD
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quote:
It seems to me like that's a phrase you don't hear out of peoples mouths very often these days. People seem more and more determined to place the blame elsewhere and in my opinion, its having a pretty widespread effect on our society.

Politicians get elected based on how well they avoid blame for past indiscretions.

Lawyers make fortunes on class action lawsuits on behalf of clients who are to stupid to use common sense and then blame a manufacturer of a product for resulting injuries.

The U.S. population as a whole seems to become more and more dependant on the government to take responsiblity for their healthcare, retirement and education needs (although the move towards home-schooling is a breath of resh air)

What happened to the days of parables about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree? When did it become more socially acceptable to pass the blame or the responsiblity for our own well being AND the well being of those around us on to someone else, rather than accepting it ourselves?

Part of this has to do with Dennis Hastert and his "anyone on my staff who knew anything" policy about Foley, which is a pretty traditional way for a politician to cover his backside, but some of it has to do with everyday life. - Thrasymachus

Interesting thesis. A lot to chew on
quote:
That is probably one of the few things I find redeeming about George Bush's time in office. I don't think he has ever publicly tried to lay the blame for his mistakes (though they number asthe stars) on someone else. He starts a lot of his answers to accusatory questions with "I."

I acted on bad intelligence. I believe a strong use of force is necessary.

I might not like the man's policies, but its nice to see someone stand up and accept responsibility for what he's done in a world where nobody wants to be that guy. - Thrasymachus

Boom! Right there, you blew your whole thread out of the water. If your goal was to discuss the lack of personal responsibility in western society, great. But once you linked that to George Bush, naming him as some kind of paragon of accepting responsibility, you completely shot yourself in the foot – or rather, you dropped a live hand-grenade in the middle of your own initial post. You introduced the contentious subject. If you really are interested in what you state was your objective in starting the thread, accept that your example is not, well, accepted, retract it and move on.

This is a fantastic opportunity to take responsibility for a mistake and to do something to address it [Smile]

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Liberal
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quote:
Originally posted by Matteo522:
Liberal:

Then shame on all the other politicians who were obviously duped as well and clearly didn't know what you must've known.

Redskull:

Nice post. Thanks.

Seeking Prometheus:

Excellent summary. [Smile]

Dave:

That's a really good analogy and I have no rebuttal for it. Although I love analogies and yet hate dragging them on forever, I'd submit one more change to that:

Let's say the cop tells the kid to freeze and have his bag checked. The kid lets someone check his bag, but conspicuously doesn't let him under his jacket but says that there's nothing there to worry about. The cop tells him to strip down in front of everyone. The kid defiantly refuses and says "I have no reason to do that! If you want to strip search me, you'd have to kill me first!" The kid goes on his merry way and is then shot. Does that change the scenario? Not a helluva lot, I suppose... but it does change the tone slightly.

Matt

Matteo, you are beginning to get closer to the truth, so follow me a little bit to the end of your enlightenment. Congress had no way of knowing they were being duped since they recieve the portions of reports from the agencies that the executive branch wants them to see.
That's right, all... those... agencies... are... executive... agencies... that... report... to... Bush & staff.
It is not Congress's job to resolve disputes among intelligence agencies, or in this case, convince the President that he needs to listen to the unanimous assessment of his intelligence agencies and not create a new one just because he didn't like what they had to say. That's right, that very slim portion of the "intelligence community" that you say thought Iraq was a threat was the agency created for the very purpose of proving Iraq wa sa threat! Generally someone is not going to disprove the reason for their job, especially if they hapen to be old Cold Warriors that wrote extensive papers on the necessity of invading iraq during the late 70s and then petitioned every Presidential administration since then to do so.


Redskull, in no way is the bureaucratic situation your describing a necessary reality if we were to hold the executive more accountable for his subjective decisions based on intel. he gets. It's part of the President's job to put competent people that he can work with and easily understand into those agency positions, if he is having trouble ascertaining when they are sure of something or not then they obviously shouldn't be there. Besides, when someone tells you to your face, "this might be incorrect" when you are not used to hearing it from that person usually, then maybe you shouldn't gamble and then go tell 300 million people it's 100% true.
It really is as simple as that, as much as you try to work in inuendo, massive bureaucracy and subjective filtering, etc., when someone as experienced as the head intelligence agent in the US tells you something is not very reliable, how much intelligence does it really take to stop and realize you can't go claim it's absolutely true. This is not a matter of nit-picking and there is not the wiggle room here for "honest disagreement" that you are injecting. It is very cut and dried. This was a mistake Bush made, completely on his own. Only, when he owned up to it as a "mistake" he wound up blaming Tenet and others who actually tried to stop him from going into Iraq.

[ October 20, 2006, 04:44 PM: Message edited by: Liberal ]

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Thrasymachus
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Donald,

I'm forced to agree with you about the mistake. I wanted to throw something out there that would actually start some conversation about politicians and responsiblity. Apparently I aimed to high at using George Bush. I tried not to st him up as if I believed he were a paragon of virtue, but everyone seems to have focused on that point. The issue I wanted discussed got lost in the sound and fury surrounding Bush's policies. Maybe I should have used a less volatile example like Hitler or Ghengis Khan.

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DonaldD
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Live and Learn...
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Thrasymachus
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Probably not. I'll probably throw something equally irrelevant into my next post and start world war three by accident.
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RickyB
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While learning the art of tree-climbing is often one of the highlights of childhood, it is the art of tree-descending that marks the onset of maturity.
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Thrasymachus
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Or a terminal case of broken neck... which seems the more likely in my case.
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Tom Curtis
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Liberal:

quote:
Matteo, you are beginning to get closer to the truth, so follow me a little bit to the end of your enlightenment. Congress had no way of knowing they were being duped since they recieve the portions of reports from the agencies that the executive branch wants them to see.
That's right, all... those... agencies... are... executive... agencies... that... report... to... Bush & staff.
It is not Congress's job to resolve disputes among intelligence agencies, or in this case, convince the President that he needs to listen to the unanimous assessment of his intelligence agencies and not create a new one just because he didn't like what they had to say. That's right, that very slim portion of the "intelligence community" that you say thought Iraq was a threat was the agency created for the very purpose of proving Iraq wa sa threat! Generally someone is not going to disprove the reason for their job, especially if they hapen to be old Cold Warriors that wrote extensive papers on the necessity of invading iraq during the late 70s and then petitioned every Presidential administration since then to do so.

I think you are giving the congress men and women a free pass here.

Keeping only to the publicly available information, what was note worthy about it at the time was its paucity, its poor quality, and the fact that even accepted at face value it did not show Iraq to be the level and immediacy of threat Bush was indicating. Even without access to the counter evidence, some of which was publicly available, they should have been demanding more evidence or a far more cautious progress to war.

IMO the correct explanation of the failure of both the Dems and the media was moral cowardice. At the time, Bush was riding a wage of popular support, and being painted as soft on terrorism was a political death knell. The Dems knew that, and so did not look too closely at evidence that would require them to make a stand that could be painted as "soft on terrorism" regardless of the merits.

I apply the same critique to the Labor party in Australia, even though they did actually oppose the war. They were still far softer than they should have been given the evidence.

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LoverOfJoy
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quote:
At the time, Bush was riding a wage of popular support,
What time are we talking about, here? At one point Bush got very high support (like 90 right after 9/11) but I think by the time Iraq was coming around his support wasn't anything phenomenal. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing approval ratings in the 60s-high 50s before the Iraq war. That's something that Clinton and others have acheived and still faced opposition with.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
...or, in other word, who the **** are YOU (and you know who YOU are) to point the finger at me and say, "If you don't like it quit bitchin' about it and DO something?"
I don't suppose this comment is directed at me (and seeing how the recipient is said to know himself to be the designee, and I most definitively lack the biblical surety that "I am who I am," I suppose my supposition has validity), but since your post is pointed my way, I feel the need to say that I am by no means censuring the southpaws for their cacophonous party. In other words, just so we're clear, Kenmeer: I had no intention of contributing to the greasing of your wagon (delightful as I find you, I'm just not that type of guy [Big Grin] ).
Truth be told, I'm here because I like maenad festivities such as these. The way I see it, Thrasymachus opened up this post by offering a sacrificial lamb (it almost seems to involve another act of platonic duplicity--could you feed a straw man more pregnable words than those regurgitated in the first post?), and I like mutton as much as the next man.

(Sorry for the mixed metaphors).

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Matteo522
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quote:
Matteo, you are beginning to get closer to the truth, so follow me a little bit to the end of your enlightenment.
I have never gotten why intellectual insult is such a commonly used tool on the left. I'm not claiming you're unenlightened or stupid for believing what you do. I'm accepting that you simply see it differently.

I'm attempting to acknowledge the shades of grey. You've been completely unwilling to paint the entire picture as nothing but black.

Regardless, LetterRip stated the following:

quote:
The evidence he and others had claimed in support (or more frequently implied that it supported) was shown to be wrong by the intelligence agencies prior to Bush and others publicly claiming or implying it supported their case.
Given your other statements, I believe it's safe to assume you agree with that statement. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Then you stated:

quote:
Congress had no way of knowing they were being duped since they recieve the portions of reports from the agencies that the executive branch wants them to see.
I cannot possibly believe that you and others on this board had information that led you to believe *at the time* that it was 100% known that Saddam was absolutely no threat yet our senators did not have that information. Shouldn't you have shared that with them? You'd be a national hero right now.

Matteo

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Tom Curtis
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LOJ:

quote:
What time are we talking about, here? At one point Bush got very high support (like 90 right after 9/11) but I think by the time Iraq was coming around his support wasn't anything phenomenal. I'm pretty sure I remember seeing approval ratings in the 60s-high 50s before the Iraq war. That's something that Clinton and others have acheived and still faced opposition with.
Looking through the poll results for the period just prior to the war, Bush was consistently polling at around a 60 to 65% approval rating, and scored a few 70%'s as well. That is, at that time he was still as popular as was Clinton at his peak. To put that into perspective, Clinton as of 2005 polls as the second greatest US president behind Reagan, and ahead of Lincoln and Kennedy (which is probably an inditement of US history teaching more than anything else). Another way of putting it is that he was more popular then (65%) than he is unpopular now (61%).

On top of that, Bush was getting better approval ratings for security policy than were the Democrats, which shows that if they wanted to pick a fight, security was a dangerous area to do it. This is particularly true given the ill informed nature of American opinion at the time. Basically, if they had challenged Bush on the intelligence data, they would have had a hard sell against against a popular President in wartime which would have resulted in their being demonized as "unpatriotic", "unamerican", "giving aid and comfort to the enemy", and as "soft on terrorism". That was a sales pitch they did not want to make.

http://www.pollingreport.com/BushJob1.htm
http://www.pollingreport.com/clinton-.htm
http://www.pollingreport.com/wh-hstry.htm

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Matteo522
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It's a real shame they put politics and staying popular ahead of doing their job and actively engaging in debate instead of just voting Yea.

If they were right and believed they were right, they could have won the American favor regardless of opinion polls. But then again, the people in question (Kerry, Clinton, et al) do tend to follow opinion polls quite closely...

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Tom Curtis
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It's the bane of English speaking, Western democracies at the moment. Some fool strategist said you can't achieve anything if your not in power, and the hoodwinked politicians started putting political advantage ahead of principle.

It's because of this that the last US President for whom I have significant respect was Carter; and the last Australian PM for whom I can say the same is Gough Whitlam. (Both early seventies. The rot set in a long time ago.)

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Liberal
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Matteo, stop with the bland generic statements of saying that I 'am extreme and am trying to paint this situation black' and that you are 'reasonable' and acknowledge 'shades of grey.' It is vague nonsense that is not addressing the specifics of this situation. It is empty rhetoric. The question is very simple, did Bush appologize for making a decision on his own or not, yes or no. I have gone out of my way to pick certain situations in which the ultimate decision was Bush's and have eliminated outside factors to his decision as much as they can be in our world. As much as responsbility exists for anyone, this is the situation with him in this specific instance. Please deal with the specifics.

As to congress, they were being told by the executive that those pieces of intel. which had been made public were "wrong" or "incomplete." They trusted Bush that he had already fairly evaluated the CIA's and others' objections and that Bush had secret, valid, different intelligence that warranted an invasion. And time and time again, Bush would not reveal the sources of those intelligence. It was claimed at the time it would 'compromise' his sources. Now we know the truth is he had no sources or the info. was old info. and already public but discounted by the real experts.

Spare me the 'hero' rhetoric. If someone on the take inside the Bush admin. would have had the guts to come forth and say all this even in the midst of the anti-whistleblower legislation, executive orders and court decisions, THEY would have been the hero.

[ October 20, 2006, 08:36 PM: Message edited by: Liberal ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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"Stop defending or attacking liberal or conservative parties and start looking at realistic and honest interpretations of the ideas portrayed by the different parties."

I no longer think in lib or con terms. I perceive them more as outmoding anachronisms.

"Who gives a flying f#$% about gwbush."

Bastard's killing people. I care.

"In 50 years, he'll be a footnote in a history book."

In 50 years I'll be dead. WHy give a **** about myself? Right now, Bush is king of the most powerful natiuon in the world, which just happens to be my own. I care.

"His actions during his administration haven't made him either the most sainted or the most villanous of politicians."

And, volleying your riff: who cares? Who cares that folks demonise or exalt the bugger? I care what the bastard does. I demonise him because I despise demonic actios, and too many of his actions as prez are demonic, in my opinion. This isn't a slander case in court. Therse are troops and civilians abused by, at best, misguided arrogance and, at worst idiotic brutality. (I really don't know *why* he does what he does. I only know the effect. Since what he's done maches what I expected him to do, I tke the liberty of assuming less than honorable intent at worst, or lack of accountable integrity, at best.)

Bastard's killing people, directly and indirectly, through his commanding of our military. Pisses me off.

"If you can rail so hard against the Bush party and the republican cohort in an online forum, then you really should be prepared for someone to tell you to stand up and do something about it. If you already are, then you know that and you wouldn't be insulted by the challenge, you'd second it. Unless you think you are strong enough to stand alone against the entire array of republican cowtowing monkeyboys."

Take your own advice, maybe? Anyway, I ain't insulted. I just think the 'stand up and do something about it' as expressed as noise on a forum just the same as my noise, is just plain STUPID. I'm not insulted by it; just annoyed and even a little embarrassed for you.

[ October 20, 2006, 10:13 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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