Sunday, June 06, 2010

Matthew Alexander

Matthew Alexander (a pseudonym) is a former senior military interrogator and author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq. He led an elite interrogation team in Iraq that located Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former Al Qaida leader, who was killed in a subsequent airstrike. He has conducted more than 300 interrogations and supervised more than 1,000. Alexander has served for 17 years in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves. He is currently a Fellow at the Open Society Institute. When Bush made the comment while speaking to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Mich. (June 2nd, 2010) that, "Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed... I'd do it again to save lives," Matthew Alexander responded that Bush's statement
is de facto approval of the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of American soldiers in Iraq who were killed by foreign fighters that Al Qaida recruited based on the President's policy of torture and abuse of detainees.

At least now we know where the blame for those soldiers' deaths squarely belongs. President Bush's decision broke with a military tradition dating back to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and the consequences are clear: Al Qaida is stronger and our country is less safe.

Monday, August 31, 2009

George W. Bush

According to Sig Christenson, on 11-Nov-1997, George Bush defended his father's decision during the Gulf War not to remove Saddam Hussein.
There are a lot of Americans (who say), 'Why didn't you go get him?' Well, I'm confident that losing men and women as a result of sniper fire inside of Baghdad would have turned the tide of public opinion very quickly. . . would have transformed the battle from a desert conflict to an unpopular guerrilla war.
In Airforce Magazine, John T. Correll wrote that the Evolution of the Bush Doctrine in foreign policy began with the future 43rd president's September 1999 address at The Citadel where he said,
Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless deployments is the swift solvent of morale. ... I will work hard to find political solutions that allow an orderly and timely withdrawal from places like Kosovo and Bosnia. We will encourage our allies to take a broader role. We will not be hasty. But we will not be permanent peacekeepers, dividing warring parties. This is not our strength or our calling.
Two Years Before 9/11, candidate Bush was already talking privately about attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz, who has quoted Bush as saying:
One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. . . My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. . . . If I have a chance to invade - if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.
Herskowitz also reports,
He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake. That was one of the keys to being a leader.
Paul O'Neill, Bush's first Secretary of Treasury (fired) saw documents showing that in early 2001 the administration was already considering the use of force to oust Saddam, as well as planning for the aftermath.
From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go. . . For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap. . . . It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this'.
In the interview in December 2001, only three months after the 911 attacks, Bush admitted that "there was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11" about al-Qaeda and the threat it posed to the United States.

Before the attacks, he said:
I was not on point, but I knew he was a menace, and I knew he was a problem. I knew he was responsible, or we felt he was responsible, for the previous bombings that killed Americans. I was prepared to look at a plan that would be a thoughtful plan that would bring him to justice, and would have given the order to do that. I have no hesitancy about going after him. But I didn't feel that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.
Robert Parry,
Bush's Alderaan: Time magazine reported that in March 2002 – a full year before the invasion – Bush outlined his real thinking to three U.S. senators. Bush disclosed this after sticking his head in the door of a White House meeting between National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and three senators who had been discussing strategies for dealing with Iraq through the United Nations. The senators laughed uncomfortably at Bush’s remark when he said,
Fuck Saddam. We’re taking him out.
Ironically, it was during a March 23rd press conference that Bush, in answering a question about Osama bin Laden, said
Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.

. . . . as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country.

. . . . we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore.
Remarks by President Bush and President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia in Photo Opportunity,(September 25, 2002):
The war on terror, you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.
He's (Saddam) a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda.
January 2003; the President invited three members of the Iraqi opposition to join him to watch the Super Bowl. In the course of the conversation the Iraqis realized that the President was not aware that there was a difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. He looked at them and said,
You mean...they're not, you know, there, there's this difference. What is it about?
Devos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Michigan, (January 29, 2003):
My point is, our presence in the world is more than just our might; but our might is needed in the world right now to make the world a more peaceful place. The war on terror is not confined strictly to the al Qaeda that we're chasing. The war on terror extends beyond just a shadowy terrorist network. The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein and his willingness to terrorize himself (Sic!).

Saddam Hussein has terrorized his own people. He's terrorized his own neighborhood. He is a danger not only to countries in the region, but as I explained last night, because of al Qaeda connections, because of his history, he's a danger to the American people. And we've got to deal with him. We've got to deal with him before it is too late.

Before September the 11th, during a period when a lot of us thought oceans would protect us forever from gathering threats far from our land, the thought of containing somebody like Saddam Hussein made sense -- so we could step back in America and say, gosh, well, don't worry, he's only a threat to somebody in the neighborhood, and we might pick or choose whether or not we're going to help in the neighborhood.

But, see, our fellow citizens must understand that September the 11th, 2001 changed the equation. It's changed the strategic outlook of this country, because we're not protected by oceans. The battlefield is here. And therefore, we must address threats today as they gather, before they become acute.
Pat Robertson, founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition and an ardent Bush supporter, recounted on CNN telling Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties.
And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. . . . I warned him about casualties. . . . And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy.
But the president told him,
We're not going to have any casualties.
Robertson described the president at that meeting to CNN's Paula Zahn as
. . . the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life. You remember Mark Twain said, 'He looks like a contented Christian with four aces.' I mean he was just sitting there like, 'I'm on top of the world.'
US President George W. Bush and former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar discussed plans to go to war with Iraq even while claiming to be seeking a peaceful solution through the UN Security Council, according to the minutes of a meeting in Crawford Texas on 22-Feb-03, less than a month before the 20-Mar-03 invasion. The minutes of that meeting (released by EL PAÍS on 26-Sep-07), show that Bush told Aznar,
There are two weeks left. In two weeks we will be ready militarily… We’ll be in Baghdad by the end of March. We’ll destroy the loyal troops and the [Iraqi] army will really know what this is about. We have given a clear message to Saddam Hussein’s generals: they’ll be treated as war criminals. We’re planning for a post-Saddam Iraq and I think there are grounds for a better future.
The President detailed threats against recalcitrant Security Council members and added,
The more the Europeans attack me, the stronger I am in the United States.
Aznar response was that
The only thing that worries me is your optimism.
Replied the obtuse Bush
I'm optimistic because I believe I'm right. I'm at peace with myself.
It was not until March 16, during a meeting in Portugal’s Azores Islands, that Bush, Aznar and Blair publicly announced their war plans. In the intervening period, they had tried and failed to get a new UN resolution approved that would legitimize the invasion, although all three, the minutes indicate, knew that they would go to war even without international support.

After his invasion, asked by Tom Brokaw on 24-April-03 about Shock and Awe as a revolutionary military doctrine, the President observed:
Yes, I think it's true. I think that's an accurate look back. Shock and awe said to many people that all we've got to do is unleash some might and people will crumble. And it turns out the fighters were a lot fiercer than we thought. Because, for example, we didn't come north from Turkey, Saddam Hussein was able to move a lot of special Republican Guard units and fighters from north to south. So the resistance for our troops moving south and north was significant resistance. On the other hand, our troops handled it, handled that resistance quite well.
Did that give you a pause for a while?
The President:
Well, first of all, I had confidence in the plan, because I've got confidence in my national security team. Remember, my advisors are people such as Dick Cheney, who had been through the war before as the Secretary of Defense; Colin Powell, who's not only an Army general, but also had been through a war before; Don Rumsfeld, who's a very successful man in the private sector, but also has got great judgment when it comes to the military; Tommy Franks, I really trust Tommy, we speak the same language -- after all, Tommy went to Midland Lee High School, graduated in 1963, one year ahead of Laura; Condi. I get good, solid advice from people who analyzed this war plan, analyzed the strategy, looked over it in depth, had looked at it for quite a bit of time and convinced me that it would lead to victory. . . .
There used to be an American doctrine about when we go to war it's overwhelming force. Now it's speed and flexibility, based on Iraq, and instant communication -- not only behind the scenes, but everybody gets to look in on the battlefield.
The President:
Well, the instant communications part was one of the reasons why I was comfortable in giving Tommy Franks and the commanders in the field the go-ahead to take the shot at Saddam Hussein on the first day. Because there in the Oval Office we were getting near instant feedback from eyes on the ground what he was seeing, what he felt the conditions were like. It was an amazing moment to think that a person risking his life, viewing the farms, watching the entries, seeing, observing what was taking place inside one of Saddam's most guarded facilities, was able to pick up a device, call CENTCOM, and CENTCOM would call us in near real-time.

And the ability to communicate has changed the nature of warfare. It allows for more interoperability; more ability for the Navy and the Air Force and the Special Ops and the Army and the Marines to work side by side in a coordinated basis. Which makes it easier to fight a war with flexibility and speed and precision. So the doctrine really has changed.

As well, it's an amazing concept when you think about real-time TV focusing on war. . . . rocketing across the desert. It's an amazing feeling.
Brokaw asked Bush about borrowing some perspectives and wisdom from his father (the 41st President). Bush admitted that however closely his dad followed the news, he wasn't asking for help or advice. His father,
. . . .follows everything in the news and the opinion . . . he's an every word man.

Well, I really don't spend a lot of time hashing over policy with him. He knows that I am much better informed than he could possibly be. He gives me -- our relationship is more of, and our conversations are more along the line of a dad and a son, a dad conveying to his son how much he loves him. Which is important, even at the age of 56 years old it's important.
When Bush landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln on May Day, it appeared that every detail of the day's events had been carefully planned, including the president's arrival in the co-pilot's seat of a Navy S-3B Viking after making two flybys of the carrier. The exterior of the four-seat S-3B Viking was marked with "Navy 1" and "George W. Bush Commander in Chief.":
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.)

. . . . carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before. From distant bases or ships at sea, we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division, or strike a single bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground, in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history.

The character of our military through history -- the daring of Normandy, the fierce courage of Iwo Jima, the decency and idealism that turned enemies into allies -- is fully present in this generation.

. . . . We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.

The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on.

. . . . Our war against terror is proceeding according to principles that I have made clear to all: Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice.

. . . . Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight. (Applause.) After service in the Afghan -- and Iraqi theaters of war -- after 100,000 miles, on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound.
Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Howard of Australia at the Bush Ranch in Crawford Texas (May 3, 2003)

Is there a possibility that you may never find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And how would that square with your rationale for going to war?
The President:
Yes -- the question is about weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The United States -- United Nations Security Council voted 1441, which made the declaration it had weapons of mass destruction. It's well-known it had weapons of mass destruction. And we've also got to recognize that he spent 14 years hiding weapons of mass destruction. I mean, he spent an entire decade making sure that inspectors would never find them. Iraq's the size of the state of California. It's got tunnels, caves, all kinds of complexes. We'll find them. And it's just going to be a matter of time to do so.
Interview of the President by TVP, Poland (May 29, 2003):
We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them.
As Jay Garner, replaced as director of the Iraq Reconstruction Group was on his way out the door 18-June-03, he was slapped on his back by Bush:
Hey Jay, you want to do Iran?
The Israeli paper Haaretz (online 25-Jun-03), that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen, meeting recently with militants to enlist their support for a truce with Israel, said that, when they met in Aqaba, President Bush had told him this:
God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act. . . .
President George W. Bush, challenging militants attacking U.S. forces in Iraq, July 2, 2003 (CNN):
There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.
UN speech (9/23/03):
The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction.
During the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association Dinner on March 24, 2004, Bush was mocking himself in a slide show including images of him searching under furniture in the Oval Office for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction:
. . . . tonight I'm going to do one of my slide shows. These are actual, unstaged photos pulled from the files of the White House Photo Office. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present a White House election-year album.Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere. (Laughter and applause.)

As you can tell from the look on Andy Card's face, we've become a little concerned about the Vice President lately. (Laughter.)

Nope, no weapons over there. (Laughter and applause.) Maybe under here. (Laughter.) Oops, this photo wasn't supposed to be in here. This is the Skull and Bones secret signal. (Laughter.)

I'm not paranoid. (Laughter). . . .
Press Conference by the President (August 21, 2006): A Question:
Quick follow-up. A lot of the consequences you mentioned for pulling out seem like maybe they never would have been there if we hadn't gone in. How do you square all of that?
The President:
I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.
What did Iraq have to do with that?
The President:
What did Iraq have to do with what?
The attack on the World Trade Center?
The President:
Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

And one way to defeat that -- defeat resentment is with hope. And the best way to do hope is through a form of government. Now, I said going into Iraq that we've got to take these threats seriously before they fully materialize. I saw a threat. I fully believe it was the right decision to remove Saddam Hussein, and I fully believe the world is better off without him. Now, the question is how do we succeed in Iraq? And you don't succeed by leaving before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting.
Bush, in an interview with Brian Williams (29-Aug-06):
No, I don't see that at all. The fundamentalist world attacked the United States and killed 3,000 people before I even thought about removing Saddam Hussein from power. I just don't buy that argument. It is an argument that's not based upon fact.
Bush, Sept. 6, 2006:
You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.
Bush, (24 September 2006):
I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dick Cheney

Secretary of Defense
Dick Cheney 1991 (Blogs on Bush):
Once you get to Baghdad, it's not clear what you do
with it. It's not clear what kind of government you
put in place of the one that's currently there now.
Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime, a
Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists,
or one that tilts toward Islamic fundamentalists?
How much credibility is that going to have if it's
set up by the American military there? How long
does the United States military have to stay there
to protect the people that sign on for that government,
and what happens once we leave?
In 1994, invading Iraq was not rationally in the national interests of the United States!
Even when the Vice President appears on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, (September 16, 2001)
Saddam Hussein's bottled up, at this point, but clearly, we continue to have a fairly tough policy where the Iraqis are concerned.
But by the time the Vice President speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention,(August 26, 2002), he had changed his views:
. . . .The Taliban has already learned that lesson, but Afghanistan was only the beginning of a lengthy campaign. Were we to stop now, any sense of security we might have would be false and temporary. There is a terrorist underworld out there, spread among more than 60 countries.

. . . . The case of Saddam Hussein, a sworn enemy of our country, requires a candid appraisal of the facts

. . . . .Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.

. . . .Another argument holds that opposing Saddam Hussein would cause even greater troubles in that part of the world, and interfere with the larger war against terror. I believe the opposite is true. Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace. As for the reaction of the Arab "street," the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are "sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans." Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart. And our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced. . . .
"Meet The Press" March 16, 2003:
We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.
"Meet the Press," March 16, 2003:
Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . .
If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
Meet The Press, (14-September-03)
Well, it’s significant, Tim. Any loss of life or injuries suffered by American military personnel is significant. Everyone wishes that that weren’t necessary. But from the standpoint of the activity we’re engaged in over there and what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last two years, I think it’s important to keep all of this in perspective. I looked at some numbers yesterday. I had them run the numbers, for example, in terms of our casualties since we launched into Afghanistan, began the war on terror a little over two years ago now. And the number killed in combat, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, as of yesterday, was about 213. When you add in those from non-hostile causes—the plane crashes, helicopter goes down without hostile fire—we’ve got a total of 372 fatalities since we started the war.

Remember, we lost 3,000 people here on 9/11. And what we’ve been able to accomplish—although I must say we regret any casualties. You’d like to be able do everything casualty-free.

When you think about what we’ve accomplished in terms of . . . . launching an attack into Iraq, destroying the Iraqi armed forces, taking down the government of Iraq, getting rid of Saddam Hussein, capturing 42 out of the 55 top leaders, and beginning what I think has been fairly significant success in terms of putting Iraq back together again, the price that we’ve had to pay is not out of line, and certainly wouldn’t lead me to suggest or think that the strategy is flawed or needs to be changed.
In his remarks at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma (December 22, 2003), Cheney endorsed the policy of preventive war:
In a sense, 9/11 changed everything for us. 9/11 forced us to think in new ways about threats to the United States, about our vulnerabilities, about who our enemies were, about what kind of military strategy we needed in order to defend ourselves. And we've been actively and aggressively involved in doing that now for more than two years. It's a combination of strategy that involves not only going after the individuals who perpetrate terrorist attacks -- we've done that before. But we've got to go far beyond that. We've got to take down the financial networks that support them. We've got to mount military operations whenever that's necessary and appropriate, in order to take out the bad guys before we can launch further attacks against the United States.
Vice President Cheney, 1/22/04:
There's overwhelming evidence there was a connection between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government. I am very confident that there was an established relationship there.
Larry King Live, (6/20/05):
I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.
Meet the Press (September 10, 2006):
If we had to do it over again, we would do exactly the same thing.
Cheney told Juan Williams (24-Oct-06).
I would have expected that the political process we set in motion -- the three national elections and so forth -- would have resulted in a lower level of violence than we're seeing today. It hasn't happened yet. I can't say that we're over the hump in terms of violence, no.
Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room (January 24, 2007), Cheney said:
There's problems -- ongoing problems -- but we have in fact accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime, and there is a new regime in place that's been here for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off. Bottom line is that we've had enormous successes and we will continue to have enormous successes.
In a June 1st 2009 interview with Fox News' Greta van Susteren ex-Vice President confesses:
On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9-11, there was never any evidence to prove that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Don Rumsfeld

At a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels in June 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously said:
Now what is the message there? The message is that there are no 'knowns.' There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that's basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.
Rumsfeld, a political survivor of the Watergate era whose main goal was to exorcise the ghost of Vietnam forever—restoring American power and prestige in the world—was outraged in the fall of 2002 at the very suggestion of a resemblance with Iraq.
Vietnam? You think you have to tell me about Vietnam? Of course it won't be Vietnam. We are going to go in, overthrow Saddam, get out. That's it.
Rumsfeld: January 15, 2003
The fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq's WMD program could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's noncooperation. We do know that Iraq has designed its programs in a way that they can proceed in an environment of inspections and that they are skilled at denial and deception.
A month before the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, (February 20, 2003) Rumsfeld was asked by PBS's Jim Lehrer:
Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?
And Rumsfeld responded:
There is no question but that they would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan--the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and the Al Qaeda would not let them do.
10 days after the launch of the invasion, Secretary Rumsfeld was interviewed on ABC "This Week with George Stephanopoulos", (March 30, 2003):

Mr. Stephanopoulos:
Finally, weapons of mass destruction. Key goal of the military campaign is finding those weapons of mass destruction. None have been found yet. . . . None was found. How big of a problem is that? And is it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven't found any weapons of mass destruction?
Sec. Rumsfeld:
Not at all. If you think . . . the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. . . .
Mr. Stephanopoulos:
Do you think we'll still be fighting in Iraq six months from now?
Sec. Rumsfeld:
Oh, goodness, you know, I've never -- we've never had a timetable. We've always said it could be days, weeks, or months and we don't know. And I don't think you need a timetable. What you really need to know is it's going to end and it's going to end with the Iraqi people liberated and that regime will be gone.
June 24, 2003:
I don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons.
Responding to a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq who asked him why troops had to dig through scrap metal to armor vehicles, Dec. 8, 2004 (PBS):
As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Charles Krauthammer

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer cheerleading about Bush's 2002 State of the Union speech, Washington Post, (February 1, 2002):
Bush is using his war popularity to seek support for more war -- far wider, larger and more risky. . . . what really moves him. . . .

Which is why this speech, unlike most State of the Union addresses, will be remembered. It was important. It redefined the war.

Until now the war had been about Sept. 11. The campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda is a campaign of revenge and justice. That campaign is not yet over, but the war, the real war, is not about last Sept. 11. It is about preventing the next Sept. 11. . . .

The joint resolution Congress passed on Sept. 14 simply authorized the use of force against those who perpetrated Sept. 11. This is seriously shortsighted. . . . .

We have serious enemies with bottomless hatred and, soon, the weapons to match. Whether they were involved in Sept. 11 is irrelevant. We are in a race against time. We have to get to them before they get to us.

. . . . Which brings us to Iraq. Iraq is what this speech was about. If there was a serious internal debate within the administration over what to do about Iraq, that debate is over. The speech was just short of a declaration of war.

It thus addressed the central war question today: After Afghanistan, where do we go from here?. . . . But this is all prologue. Stage Three is overthrowing Saddam Hussein. . . . between this year's State of the Union and next year's, the battle with Iraq will have been joined.

That was the unmistakable message of this astonishingly bold address. This is not a president husbanding political capital. This is a president on a mission. We have not seen that in a very long time.
In the middle of the invasion's offensive, (19 April 3003), Krauthammer wrote in Inside Washington, WUSA-TV:
The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington.
Fox News' Special Report With Brit Hume, (1 June 04):
It's the beginning of the end of the bad news. I mean, we're going to have lots of attacks, but the political process is under way.
Time (7-March-05):
Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine: History has begun to speak, and it says that America made the right decision to invade Iraq:

. . . . The Administration went ahead with this great project knowing it would be hostage to history. History has begun to speak. Elections in Afghanistan, a historic first. Elections in Iraq, a historic first. Free Palestinian elections producing a moderate leadership, two historic firsts. Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, men only, but still a first. In Egypt, demonstrations for democracy -- unheard of in decades -- prompting the dictator to announce free contested presidential elections, a historic first.

. . . . And now, of course, the most romantic flowering of the spirit America went into the region to foster: the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which unarmed civilians, Christian and Muslim alike, brought down the puppet government installed by Syria. There is even the beginning of a breeze in Damascus. More than 140 Syrian intellectuals have signed a public statement defying their government by opposing its occupation of Lebanon.

William Kristol

William Kristol, one of the most influential neo-conservative thinkers in Washington and a proponent of what has become known as the Bush Doctrine, is the editor of The Weekly Standard and chairman of The Project for the New American Century.

He has written that the significance of President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in 2002 (the "axis of evil" speech) is too easily forgotten -- that it was a rare moment, "the creation of a new American foreign policy".

On September 11, 2002, as the Bush administration began its sales campaign for the coming war, Kristol suggested that Saddam Hussein could do more harm to the United States than al Qaeda had:
we cannot afford to let Saddam Hussein inflict a worse 9/11 on us in the future.
On September 15, 2002, Kristol claimed that inspection and containment could not work with Saddam:
No one believes the inspections can work.
Actually, UN inspectors believed they could work. So, too, did about half of congressional Democrats. They were right. On September 18, 2002, Kristol opined that a war in Iraq
could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East.
On September 19, 2002, Kristol once again pooh-poohed inspections:
We should not fool ourselves by believing that inspections could make any difference at all.
During a debate with David Corn on Fox News Channel, after Corn noted that the goal of inspections was to prevent Saddam from reaching "the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons, Kristol exclaimed,
He's past that finish line. He's past the finish line.
On November 21, 2002, Kristol maintained,
. . . we can remove Saddam because that could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy.
The Republicans in the Senate called the likes of William Kristol to testify before their Foreign Relations Committee.
What's Next in the War on Terrorism?(7-Feb-02):
The larger question with respect to Iraq, as with Afghanistan, is what happens after the combat is concluded. [...] And, as in Kabul but also as in the Kurdish and Shi'ite regions of Iraq in 1991, American and alliance forces will be welcomed in Baghdad as liberators. Indeed, reconstructing Iraq may prove to be a less difficult task than the challenge of building a viable state in Afghanistan.

The political, strategic and moral rewards would also be even greater. A friendly, free, and oil-producing Iraq would leave Iran isolated and Syria cowed; the Palestinians more willing to negotiate seriously with Israel; and Saudi Arabia with less leverage over policymakers here and in Europe. Removing Saddam Hussein and his henchmen from power presents a genuine opportunity -- one President Bush sees clearly -- to transform the political landscape of the Middle East.
Weekly Standard(April 28, 2003):
The United States committed itself to defeating terror around the world. We committed ourselves to reshaping the Middle East, so the region would no longer be a hotbed of terrorism, extremism, anti-Americanism, and weapons of mass destruction. The first two battles of this new era are now over. The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably. But these are only two battles. We are only at the end of the beginning in the war on terror and terrorist states.
On February 20, 2003, Kristol summed up the argument for war against Saddam:
He's got weapons of mass destruction. At some point he will use them or give them to a terrorist group to use...Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world....France and Germany don't have the courage to face up to the situation. That's too bad. Most of Europe is with us. And I think we will be respected around the world for helping the people of Iraq to be liberated.
On March 1, 2003, Kristol dismissed concerns that sectarian conflict might arise following a US invasion of Iraq:
We talk here about Shiites and Sunnis as if they've never lived together. Most Arab countries have Shiites and Sunnis, and a lot of them live perfectly well together.
He also said,
Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president.
And Kristol maintained that the war would be a bargain at $100 to $200 billion. The running tab is now nearing half a trillion dollars. On March 5, 2003, Kristol said,
I think we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq.
Then on NPR, on (April Fools' Day, 2003), he uttered the words that Al Franken never gets tired of playing:
There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Condoleezza Rice

Airing July 29, 2001, CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer:
I can be certain of this, and the world can be certain of this: Saddam Hussein is on the radar screen for the administration. The administration is working hard with a number of our friends and allies to have a policy that is broad; that does look at the sanctions as something that should be restructured so that we have smart sanctions that go after the regime, not after the Iraqi people; that does look at the role of opposition in creating an environment and a regime in Baghdad that the people of Iraq deserve, rather than the one that they have; and one that looks at use of military force in a more resolute manner, and not just a manner of tit-for-tat with him every day.

...let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.

This has been a successful period, but obviously we would like to increase pressure on him, and we're going to go about doing that.
In July 2001, the Administration was told that terrorists had explored using airplanes as missiles. And, according to the LA Times, on August 6, 2001, the President personally
received a one-and-a-half page briefing advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the US, and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane.
Nevertheless National Security Advisor told her Press Briefing of May 16, 2002, that
I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.
Sept. 26, 2002:
There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented; there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there's a relationship here.

. . . We clearly know that there were in the past and have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of al Qaeda going back for actually quite a long time," Rice said. "We know too that several of the (al Qaeda) detainees, in particular some high-ranking detainees, have said that Iraq provided some training to al Qaeda in chemical weapons development.
On July 3rd, 2008, as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice summed up the Bush legacy in Iraq, she saying she was proud of the decision to Invade:
Yes, it’s been very, very tough. But I know that great historical events go through difficult phases and often emerge with the world left for the better. And I am proud of the decision of this administration to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I am proud of the liberation of 25 million Iraqis.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Ted Rall

Cartoonist and conspiracy-theory book author Ted Rall, April 2, 2003:
Regardless of their political affiliations, patriotic Iraqis prefer to bear the yoke of Saddam's brutal and corrupt dictatorship than to suffer the humiliation of living in a conquered nation. . . . The thought of infidel troops marching through their cities, past their mosques, patting them down, ordering them around, disgusts them even more than Saddam's torture chambers.