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Sun, Nov. 7th, 2004, 02:24 pm
silk6953: A response

The comment from an anonymous poster was:

"Kerry keeps saying we shouldn't have gone into Iraq - even though he supported it and in 1997 on CNN's Crossfire he said it in exactly the same words that Bush used to take the action - Saddam was a threat. No there's no connection between Saddam and the 9/11 attacks but there are numerous connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Iraq was the hideout for one of the world's most horrible terroist - Abu Nidal right up until the war. However, Kerry will not say that Saddam should have been left in power. He skirts the question every time. Oh yeah, the economy is as good or better than it was when Bill Clinton was in running in 1996. Capturing Bin Laden - while important - isn't the primary goal of the war on terror. If you look at a globe we now have troops on both sides of Iran. (Oh yeah during Clinton's time in office while all was supposedly sweetness and light - all the "evil" countries in the world were working on Nuclear weapons - one of them North Korea - had signed an agreement with us through that idiot Jimmy Carter. North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and more were working on building nuclear weapons. Most of these countries hate us - hate our way of life - hate us because we are Christian (for the most part) hate us because we support Israel. They wouldn't hesitate to nuke Israel. These are long standing hatreds and will not be solved in a day - if ever. So we need someone in the White House with a clear vision and who has the will to take on these lunatics.

I could write a ton more on this topic. Another reason Kerry scares me is that while Bill Clinton was "liberal" on social issues; he had enough sense - eventually - to leave the economy alone and let it do its thing. That's why it was so good. Kerry wants to raise taxes - he will have to raise taxes more than he says in order to accomplish his fiscal goals - and that's according to several non-partisan groups that track such matters. "

I will have to take this point by point as it is an amalgamation of unsubstantiated claims most likely received third hand.

Firstly, Kerry's position on Iraq has not changed... he voted to authorize the use of force, he did not vote to invade Iraq. Kerry's objection was our lack of allies, which was his same objection in '91 before we courted allies. He opposed the way Bush was carrying out the war and the feasibility of the war, not whether the war was right. Now I know you might claim he voted against the funding of our troops. This is true, but what is often failed to mention is that he "voted for a Democratic proposal, which was defeated, to fund the $87 billion by scaling back Bush's tax cuts" (factcheck.org - a site that cheney advocated in the vp debate). And once again, scaling back the tax cuts for those who earn more than $200,000.

As for the Al Qaeda - Iraq connection. The 9-11 commission, which no credible politician (republican or democrat) has claimed is incorrect found that there is "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." What is also found is that "contacts [between al Qaeda and Iraq] do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship." ("The 9/11 Commission Report," 22 July 2004.) Why would Saddam Hussein, one of the few secular leaders in the Middle East want to deal with Al-Qaeda? He didn't.

As for Abu Nidal, let me first say one thing. There are dangerous terrorists in many countries, including ours. That does not mean we should invade every country that has terrorists (as we would be invading almost every country in the world.) Now, saying that Iraq harbored Nidal requires evidence. Let me give you some that disagrees with that statement. "Now Abu Nidal is dead, and nobody in the world seems to miss him. The contradicting reports from Baghdad show, however, that, even in death, Abu Nidal raises controversy. Some claim that President Saddam Hussain ordered his death, to prove that he was keen on cracking down on terrorism himself. Supporters of this argument claim that the official Iraqi alibi, which claims that Abu Nidal committed suicide when summoned for interrogation for illegally entering the country on a false passport, is hard to believe. First, the Iraqis know more than anyone that Abu Nidal had never in his life carried a real passport and that all his identity papers were fake. Moreover, in a regime like Iraq's, fearful as it is of a possible U.S. attack, it is unlikely that someone as controversial as Abu Nidal, who is very well known in Baghdad, would be living in the country without government approval." (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Nov 2002 v21 i8 p48(3))

As for the other parts of your arguments... I will have to get back to you on the economic issues, I am not an economist and do not have enough time to research that right now. And as for your statements about Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.... they obviously show you are a partisan Republican. I have not supported Carter or Clinton in this journal and I dont think anyone else has. This is not meant to be a partisan journal, but a calling into account of our nation's decisions. Say what you want about Carter and Clinton... its not relevant to our discussion.

Sat, Nov. 6th, 2004, 07:24 am
checkyourfacts: Welcoming Opposition

I can't help but feel terribly misunderstood. We had a repeat anonymous poster last night and I think they came away with the feeling that criticism or challenge to the views of those of this community was unwelcome. This couldn't be further from the truth. I am always happy to argue positions with anyone, and the other members of this community feel the same way. Republicans, Conservatives, Fascists, Neo-Con, Right Wing Nutjobs, etc, please, PLEASE, ask to join this site. I want you to post something every day that refutes what we're saying. I want to see article after article after article that shows that we are complete morons, and leftist-slanted pigs. And also Communist sympathizers.

Here's what we don't want: anonymous posters who comment on the site with talking points . For the benefit of those of you who may not know what I mean:

Courtesy of Wikipedia
"Talking points are small arguments or phrases that political strategists issue to representatives or supporters of a party or administration to be used over and over again in speeches, talk show appearances and debates. The strategy is to make the idea a common assumption by sheer means of repetition. Talking points are often gross simplifications of issues."

We are not here to stifle opposition. That's undemocratic. (As I thought we'd made clear in the mission statementesque posts before, including the one he/she has commented on) we want to promulgate the truth here. We want to show those of you who have been misled by the Bush Adminstration (all of us) what their true actions and policies have been. Some of you aren't going to believe that, and that's fine. However, gracious as it was of you to comment on our site you didn't back up anything that you said They are loose claims made based on something you heard from the propaganda arm of the GOP.

Let me clarify my personal position on the American people, because that also is misunderstood. I do not think the American people are stupid. I have great faith in the American people. I love this nation. Re-electing George W Bush was the single most ignorant thing I have ever seen a large body of people do. To highlight the difference between ignorance and stupidity, I've borrowed the definition for ignorance from Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary

Merriam Webster Online
Main Entry: ig·no·rant
Pronunciation: 'ig-n(&-)r&nt
Function: adjective
1 a : destitute of knowledge or education ; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified b : resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence
2 : UNAWARE, UNINFORMED


Which is precisely why we are posting on this site! We don't think the American people are stupid, we think you're ignorant. Mis- or underinformed. Each of us feels that anyone who sits down and examines the facts about the Bush administration will come to the same conclusions that we have. We don't need to slant the realities of this government; on the contrary, we could speak entirely in quotes—we are that confident in our positions.

I know it hurts to accept that most of what the government and the television news media has told you in the last four years has consisted of distortions, slants and outright lies. It's hard to accept. I had a hard time accepting it at first, and so did Brad. This isn't a conspiracy theory though. The truth is not being hidden from you. It's easy to access. You just have to do a little research. On the other hand, it is dangerously easy to become inundated with lies; all you have to do is not question what you're being told.

Let me sum it up in a concise statement. We want a variety of viewpoints on this community; however, we also want the truth. You should be able to cite everything you say. Don't feel like you have to undergo such an academic approach, but should you decide to forward an argument without any supporting evidence expect to be challenged.

Your comments lacked substantial merit. The claims you make are not supported by the evidence at hand. But instead of researching what you wanted to say and providing support that would strengthen your position, you made offhand remarks and underhandedly slipped in talking points throughout your arguments. You can do better than that. Please, continue monitoring this site. Please, continue to post. Don't think you can get away with those kind of assertions though, we won't let you.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 02:14 pm
checkyourfacts: (no subject)

I apologize for what happened earlier. My response was, not for the first time, too long for livejournal to manage. It only posted part of it, and having put so much work into it (three hours) I spliced out the second part and tried to post it as a second post before the first one, which unfortunately did not work. They are out of order when you read top to bottom, and I had no way of fixing it, but figured I should explain what was going on. It's all one post, the top one picks up right where the lower one leaves off.

I don't expect everyone to put that much time and effort into a response, and hopefully we won't have to research so many different topics on a single post, but rather one more indepthly. I simply felt that I needed to respond to being flamed the way that we were, so I did. I do think that post is a good model for the direction I would like this community to go.

Other note: I was highlighting sections of the article in bold that I felt were important, but for some reason on the lower post it just highlighted everything below a certain point. I'll go back into the coding later and try and figure out if and where I made a mistake. For now, enjoy.

Joe

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 11:03 am
checkyourfacts: It Wouldn't All Fit On One Post

Conclusion
Possible justifications for war with Iraq ranged from the idealistic goal of bringing democracy to Iraqis and the humanitarian desire to rid them of a tyrant to geostrategic concerns about the future of the Middle East. That Saddam was a vicious tyrant who tortured his political enemies, gassed his own people, and invaded other countries was known long before the Bush administration decided to go to war to depose him. But the most compelling arguments to the American people were the arguments that the national security of the United States was at risk. Thus, the claims that Saddam's WMD posed a direct threat were most effective in sustaining political support for war.

In an interview, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz implied that the WMD argument was not necessarily the most important for policymakers. "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." (72) On the other hand, in a discussion with the editors of the New York Times, Colin Powell implied that the claimed WMD were central to his own support of the war. "Asked whether Americans would have supported this war if weapons of mass destruction had not been at issue, Mr. Powell said the question was too hypothetical to answer. Asked if he, personally, would have supported it, he smiled, thrust his hand out and said, 'It was good to meet you.'" (73)

In the judgment of Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, the imminent threat to the United States was crucial to President Bush's argument for war with Iraq. "Bush's ex post facto justification for the war--that the Iraqi people are much better off without Saddam--ignores the basic but highly salient fact that there would not have been a war without his argument that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed an unacceptable threat that was both immediate and serious" (Daalder and Lindsay 2003, 167). In focusing on WMD as the main reason for war and arguing that there was an imminent threat to the United States, President Bush left himself open to the doubts expressed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who said that the issue "is about whether administration officials made a conscious and very troubling decision to create a false impression about the gravity and imminence of the threat that Iraq posed to America." (74)

The administration's inference that Saddam Hussein was continuing his previous weapons programs was not an unreasonable conclusion, one that was shared by intelligence agencies in other countries. The problem was that there was little evidence to support their conclusion, and they used claims of dubious validity to make their case to the American people. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein had significant conventional warfare capacity and was developing missiles and other weapons systems that violated UN resolutions. But the focus of this article has been on the Bush administration's arguments that Saddam's WMD presented an imminent threat to the United States.

This article has addressed the question of the accuracy of some of the claims in the arguments that the Bush administration used in favor of war with Iraq. While President Bush made few untrue statements in his arguments for the war, the real problem was his broader claims. (75)

1. His series of statements connecting Saddam to the atrocities of 9/11 created a false impression that the administration had evidence of a connection between Saddam and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
2. His pattern of statements about Saddam Hussein's nuclear capacity was also systematically misleading.
3. His claims about Iraq's chemical and biological capacity were shared by many, including allied intelligence agencies, UN inspectors, and the Clinton administration. Bush cannot be fairly blamed for using such widely accepted claims, even though little evidence of the weapons was found in Iraq after the war.
4. His claims about the possible use of Iraqi UAVs to deliver chemical and biological weapons to the U.S. homeland were made despite the best judgment of the U.S. Air Force.

Should the president be held responsible for what he said during the course of his argument that war with Iraq was necessary? It is true that much of what the president said about nuclear weapons was supported by the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002. But it is also true that there were serious caveats in the NIE that called into question the certainty of the conclusions the president expressed. Although it is too soon to come to firm historical judgments, the publicly available evidence so far seems to support the following conclusions:

* To the extent that the president himself understood that there were serious doubts about Saddam's connections to 9/11, he is responsible for playing upon fears of the American public and encouraging the desire for revenge in order to build support for a war with Iraq.

* To the extent that the president was aware of serious doubts about Saddam's nuclear capacity, he failed to present a balanced or accurate view to Congress and the American people. He himself may have been convinced of the rightness of his cause, but that did not justify misleading the country by the certainty of his assertions about Saddam's nuclear capacity in his campaign to create political support for the war. To the extent that the serious doubts about Iraq's nuclear capacity were not presented to the president, he was poorly served by his staff and advisors.

* To the extent that the president's immediate advisors reported to him only the evidence and analysis that supported his own predilection to attack Iraq, the president was not well served. It is the president's responsibility to create an atmosphere in which the White House staff and cabinet officers give the president all of the relevant evidence to help him make an informed decision. If they bend their advice to suit his preconceptions, they are not serving his best interests, nor the country's.

* Although evidence is circumstantial and inconclusive, to the extent that the intelligence process was politicized and distorted in order to produce conclusions with insufficient evidence, the presidency may be vulnerable to future distortions and the capacity of the intelligence community to produce objective analysis in the future may have been undermined.

The issue here is not whether the war with Iraq was wise; whether it was a wise war will become clear only with the passage of years. At issue here is a matter of democratic leadership. Citizens must trust the president because they do not have all of the information that he has. If the president misrepresents the nature of crucial information, he undermines the democratic bonds between citizens and president upon which this polity is based. Insofar as President Bush misled the Congress and the citizenry, either from deliberate misstatements or through creating an atmosphere in which he was not well informed by his advisors, he undermined the crucial trust upon which the nation depends.


[NOTES]
(1.) Dana Milbank and Claudia Deane, "Hussein Link to 9/11 Lingers in Many Minds," Washington Post, September 6, 2003, p. 1. For an analysis of the early Bush presidency and the transformation that 9/11 caused, see Pfiffner (2004). For an analysis of arguments for and against war with Iraq, see Pfiffner (2003).
(2.) In a tape urging Muslims to fight against the United Stares, Osama bin Laden said that the fighting should be for God, not for "pagan regimes in all the Arab countries, including Iraq.... Socialists are infidels wherever they are, either in Baghdad or Aden." Transcript is posted on http://www.indybay.org, retrieved April 10, 2003. See also Fisher (2003).
(3.) Milbank and Deane.
(4.) Eric Schmitt, "Rumsfeld Says U.S. Has 'Bulletproof' Evidence of Iraq's Links to Al Qaeda," New York Times, September 28, 2002.
(5.) Quoted in Judis and Ackerman (2003).
(6.) Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, "Cheney Defends U.S. Actions in Bid to Revive Public Support," Washington Post, September 15, 2003, p. 1, A19.
(7.) Milbank and Deane.
(8.) Walter Pincus, "Report Casts Doubt on Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection," Washington Post, June 22, 2003, p. 1, A19. For a detailed analysis of German police records that undercut the link between Zarqawi and al Qaeda, see Michael Isikoff, "Distorted Intelligence?" Newsweek, June 25, 2003, online version.
(9.) Associated Press, "U.N. Panel Finds No Evidence to Link Iraq, Al-Qaeda," online version, retrieved June 26, 2003, from htrp://www.truthout.org.
(10.) Quoted in Milbank and Deane.
(11.) The president's speech was printed in The New York Times, September 8, 2003, p. A10.
(12.) Milbank and Pincus.
(13.) Dana Milbank, "Bush Disavows Hussein-Sept. 11 Link," Washington Post, September 18, 2003, p. A18; and David E. Sanger, "Bush Reports No Evidence of Hussein Tie to 9/11," New York Times, September 18, 2003, p. A18.
(14.) According to Kenneth M. Pollack, "It is actually quite difficult to use chemical or biological weapons to kill large numbers of people. The agents have to be properly prepared in a form that remains airborne for some time and can be disseminated in the right dosages to actually kill people. Atmospheric conditions have to be just right, or the agent may be dissipated or destroyed. The attackers have to know when and where to disseminate the agent and to do it in a way that will actually allow it to have its maximum effect. The agent also has to be stored properly so that it does not lose its potency before it can be used. For all of these reasons, previous terrorist attacks using CW and BW have not killed very many people. In fact, on just about every occasion when terrorists did employ WMD, they undoubtedly would have killed far more people if they had employed conventional explosives instead" (Pollack 2002, 179).
(15.) For an analysis that Saddam was deterred from using chemical and biological weapons in the 1991 Gulf War, see Pollack (2002), 243.
(16.) "Remarks by the Vice President to the Veterans of Foreign Wars 103rd National Convention," August 26, 2002. Available from http://www.whitehouse.gov.
(17.) Judis and Ackerman, 6; and Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, "Iraq Flap Shakes Rice's Image," Washington Post, July 27, 2003, p. 1, A18.
(18.) Dana Milbank, "For Bush Facts Are Malleable," Washington Post, October 22, 2003, p. 1, A22.
(19.) Ibid.
(20.) Steven Mufson, "Forger WMD. What's an NIE?" Washington Post, July 20, 2003, p. B3.
(21.) Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus, "Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence," Washington Post, August 10, 2003, p. 1, A9.
(22.) Ibid. Cheney retracted his statement on September 14, 2003 on "Meet the Press", when he said, "Yeah. I did misspeak. I said repeatedly during the show weapons capability. We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon." But the real claim was that Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear program rather than that he had workable weapons. Cheney was quoted in a letter to the vice president from Representatives Dennis Kucinich, Carolyn Maloney, and Bernie Sanders, published on http://www.truthout.org, September 17, 2003.
(23.) Gellman and Pincus.
(24.) Walter Pincus, "Bush Team Kept Airing Iraq Allegation," Washington Post, August 8, 2002, p. A10.
(25.) Associated Press, "White House Official Apologizers for Role in Uranium Claim." New York Times, July 22, 2003. Retrieved on July 22, 2003, from http://www.nytimes.com.
(26.) Dana Priest, "Uranium Claim Was Known for Months to Be Weak," Washington Post, July 20, 2004 2003, P A22; Dana Priest and Dana Milbank, "President Defends Allegation On Iraq," Washington Post, July 15, 2003, p. 1, All; and Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, "U.S. Had Uranium Papers Earlier," Washington Post, July 18, 2003, p. 1, A12.
(27.) Though Wilson strongly supported the 1991 Gulf War, he was critical of the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's WMD in 2003. After the public account of his mission to Niger, journalist Robert Novak reported that "two senior Administration officials" told him that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, and he revealed her name in his column. Mrs. Wilson had been a CIA non-covered agent; that is, her claimed cover was not as a U.S. government official but as a private businessperson. Exposure of her identity potentially jeopardized all of her previous contacts throughout the world and any operations in which she was involved. In September 2003, CIA Director Tenet asked the Justice Department to investigate the disclosure of the secret agent's identity. Mike Allen and Dana Priest, "Bush Administration Is Focus of Inquiry," Washington Post, September 28, 2003, p. 1, A.
(28.) Priest and Milbank.
(29.) Pincus and Priest.
(30.) Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, "Follow the Yellowcake Road," Newsweek, July 28, 2003, pp. 23-25. Also Dana Priest, "Uranium Claim Was Known for Months to Be Weak," Washington Post, July 20, 2003, p. A22. Priest and Milbank, 1, A11; Pincus and Priest, 1, A12; and Judis and Ackerman (2003), 10.
(31.) Dana Priest and Karen DeYoung, "CIA Questioned Documents Linking Iraq, Uranium Ore," Washington Post, Match 22, 2003, p. A30; and Seymour M. Hersh, "Who Lied to Whom?" New Yorker, March 31, 2003, pp. 41-43.
(32.) The administration also used the Niger claim in a number of other forums before the State of the Union speech, for example, in reports to Congress and in speeches by Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld. Walter Pincus, "Bush Team Kept Airing Iraq Allegation," Washington Post, August 8, 2003, p. A10. See also Condoleezza Rice, "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying," New York Times, January 23, 2003. Available from http://www.whitehouse.gov.
(33.) Matthew Cooper, "Pinning the Line on the Man," Time, July 28, 2003, p. 31. See also Pincus and Priest.
(34.) Dana Milbank and Dana Priest, "Warning in Iraq Report Unread," Washington Post, July 19, 2003, p. 1, A13.
(35.) Dana Milbank, "Intelligence Dispute Festers as Iraq Victory Recedes," Washington Post, July 17, 2003, p. A15.
(36.) Mufson. See also Priest and Milbank; and Milbank and Allen.
(37.) Michael Duffy and James Carney, "A Question of Trust," Time, July 21, 2003, pp. 23-26.
(38.) Associated Press, New York Times, July 22, 2003.
(39.) Richard W. Stevenson, "Bush Denies Claire He Oversold Case for War," New York Times, July 31,2003, New York Times website, no page number. Retrieved July 31, 2003, from http://www.nytimes.com.
(40.) James Risen, "Bush Aides New Say Claire on Uranium Was Accurate," New York Times, July 14, 2003, no page. Available from http://www.nytimes.com.
(41.) President Bush's Address to UN, printed in the New York Times, September 13, 2003, p. A31.
(42.) Gellman and Pincus. In an interview, an intelligence analyst who had taken part in the internal debate over the aluminum tubes issue said, "You had senior American officials like Condoleezza Rice saying the only use of this aluminum really is uranium centrifuges. She said that on television. And that's just a lie." Quoted in Judis and Ackerman (2003), 7.
(43.) Gellman and Pincus.
(44.) Ibid.
(45.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 10.
(46.) From Press Release: U.S. State Department, "Colin Powell Remarks with Egypt FM February 24 '01." Retrieved September 25, 2003, from http://www.scoop.co.nz.
(47.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 3.
(48.) Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, "Search in Iraq Finds No Banned Weapons," Washington Post, October 3, 2003, p. 1.
(49.) The letter to CIA Director Tenet was quoted by Dana Priest, "House Probers Conclude Iraq War Data Was Weak," Washington Post, September 28, 2003, p. 1, A9.
(50.) Judith Miller, "A Chronicle of Confusion in the U.S. Hunt for Hussein's Chemical and Germ Weapons," New York Times, July 20, 2003, p. 12.
(51.) Michael Dobbs, "U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup," Washington Post, December 30, 2002, p. 1, A12.
(52.) For data on where Iraq purchased much of the ingredients, equipment, and munitions for its chemical weapons program, see Gary Mikholkin and Kelly Motz, "The Means to Make the Poisons Came from the West," New York Times, April 13, 2003, p. wk5.
(53.) Pollack (2002), 20-21, 170; and Dobbs.
(54.) Pollack (2002), 21.
(55.) Dana Priest and Walter Pincus, "Bush Certainty on Iraq Arms Went Beyond Analyst's Views," Washington Post, 7 June 7, 2003, p. 1, A17.
(56.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 3-4; and Priest and Pincus, "Bush Certainty on Iraq Arms Went Beyond Analyst's Views."
(57.) Mike Allen, "Bush: 'We Found' Banned Weapons," Washington Post, May 31, 2003, p. 1.
(58.) Judith Miller and William J. Broad, "Some Analysts of Iraq Trailers Reject Germ Use," New York Times, June 8, 2003, p. I, B14.
(59.) Douglas Jehl, "Iraqi Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms," New York Times, August 9, 2003, no page number. Available from http://www.nytimes.com.
(60.) Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, "Iraq Weapons Report Won't Be Conclusive," Washington Post, September 25, 2003, p. 1, A24.
(61.) Bradley Graham, "Air Force Analysts Feel Vindicated on Iraqi Drones," Washington Post, September 26, 2003, p. A23. See also Dafna Linzer and John J. Lumpkin, "Experts Doubt U.S. Claim on Iraqi Drones," Associated Press, August 24, 2003), online version. Available from http://www.truthout.org.
(62.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 5.
(63.) Ray McGovern, "Cheney and the CIA: Not Business as Usual." Retrieved June 27, 2003, from http://www.truthout.org.
(64.) James Risen, "C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure in Preparing Iraqi Reports," New York Times, March 23, 2003, p. B10.
(65.) Walter Pincus and Dana Priest, "Some Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure from Cheney Visits," Washington Post, June 5, 2003, p. 1.
(66.) Bruce B. Auster, Mark Mazzetti, and Edward T. Pound, "Truth and Consequences," U.S. News and World Report, June 9, 2003, p. 17.
(67.) James Risen and Douglas Jehl, "Expert Said to Tell Legislators He Was Pressured to Distort Some Evidence," New York Times, June 25, 2003, no page number. Available from http://www.nytimes.com.
(68.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 5.
(69.) See Seymour M. Hersh, "Selective Intelligence," New Yorker, May 12, 2003, pp. 44-51.
(70.) Ibid, 44.
(71.) Judis and Ackerman (2003), 5.
(72.) Sam Tanenhaus, "Bush's Brain Trust," Vanity Fair, July 2003, p. 169.
(73.) Editorial in the New York Times, "The Failure to Find Iraqi Weapons," September 26, 2003, p. A24.
(74.) Dana Milbank, "White House Didn't Gain CIA Nod for Claim," Washington Post, July 20, 2003, p 1, A21.
(75.) President Bush said on July 14, 2003 in response to questions about Iraq's WMD, "And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him." (Quoted by Jonathan S. Landay, "Controversy over Iraq: The President Pushes Back," Detroit Free Press, July 15, 2003, published on http://www.freep.com.) In fact, Saddam did allow UN inspectors to come into Iraq, and they had virtually free rein to search the country. When they failed fo find WMD the administration criticized them, and they withdrew in anticipation of a military attack by the United States. Mentioned previously in this article were the president's claims that WMD had been found in the two trailers in Iraq and that the IAEA had said that Saddam was within six months of producing a nuclear weapon. Each of these inaccurate statements was more likely due to confusion than an attempt to lie.

References
Central Intelligence Agency. 2003. Key Judgments {from October 2002 NIE} Iraq's continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass destruction. Declassified excerpts published on the CIA website http://www.odci.gov/nic/pubs/research. Retrieved October 10, 2003.
Daalder, Ivo H., and James M. Lindsay. 2003. American unbound: The Bush revolution in foreign policy. Washington, DC: Brookings.
Fisher, Louis. 2003. Deciding on war against Iraq: Institutional failures. Political Science Quarterly 118(3): 389-410.
Fukuyama, Francis. 2003. The real intelligence failure? Wall Street Journal, August 5.
Judis, John B., and Spencer Ackerman. 2003. The selling of the Iraq war. The New Republic, June 30. Retrieved June 20, 2003, from http://www.mr.com.
Kay, David. Unclassified Statement of the Iraq Survey Group to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, October 2, 2003. The text of the statement was published in CNN.com (http://cnn.allpolitics, accessed 10/10/03). The page numbers refer to the CNN version.
Kinsley, Michael. 2003. Or more lies from the usual suspects. Washington Post, July 16, A23.
Pfiffner, James 17. 2003. President George W. Bush and his war cabinet. Foreign Policy Bulletin 14(1): 288-96.
Pfiffner, James. 2004. Assessing the Bush presidency. In Considering the Bush Presidency, edited by Gary L. Gregg II and Mark J. Rozell. New York: Oxford University Press, 1-20.
Pollack, Kenneth M. 2002. The threatening storm. New York: Random House.
Wilson, Joseph C. IV. 2003. What I didn't find in Africa. New York Times, July 6. Available from http://www.nytimes.com.
James P. Pfiffner is University Professor in the School of Public Polio' at George Mason University. He is the author or editor of ten books on the presidency, including The Character Factor: How We Judge America's Presidents (Texas A&M University Press, 2004). He received the Army Commendation Medal for valor (with "V" device) in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1970.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: A number of friends and colleagues made helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper, though none of them should be associated with my conclusions, with which not all of them agreed: David Armor, Douglas Brook, David Crockett, Robert Dudley, Frank Fukuyama, Jack Goldstone, Nguyen Hung, Don Kash, Ronald Moe, Arnauld Nicogossian, Patrick Pfiffner, Russell Riley. Colleen Shogan, and Clyde Wilcox.

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How can you believe that the President is qualified to lead us during a war which is entirely based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence.

"...He is showing the other countries not to mess with us. The terriorists are running away from the USA..."

On the contrary, every day there is at least one more attack on US troops in Iraq by terrorists. I'm not citing this because all you have to do is pick up a newspaper.

Another interesting point to consider, which, given that I've already been responding to your comment for two and a half hours, I will choose to research more indepthly later if it is demanded, is the cycle of terrorism. Bin Laden does not operate in the same manner that the terrorists in Palestine and Iraq operate. He takes several years to train his troops, develops thorough plans of attack against the United States, then carries them out after we're lulled that we've driven him off and become complacent about terrorism.

List of Terrorist Attacks against Americans

This is shown by his WTC attack in 1993, the 1998 attacks against US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 2000 strike against the U.S.S. Cole and the September 11, 2001 attack against the WTC. In each case, the American Government did nothing more than slap the country who was supporting Al Qaeda on the wrist, if that much. It's in the 9/11 Commission Report, and I'll type it up as a comment to this post later.

Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are patient and will wait out the United States. They are a threat to our nation, and have a history of attacking us. Yet our President did not capture and kill Osama Bin Laden. Bush himself spoke at a Press Conference and said that he was "really not that concerned about [Osama Bin Laden]" largely because he isnt intimately involved in the government of Afghanistan anymore. He has since denied this in the Debates, calling it an "exaggeration."

Don't Read this Leftist Blog, Just Watch the Video Clip. There's Nothing Biased about a Video Clip

President Bush, based on the evidence above and more that will come to light in the future of this community, is not qualified to manage the war on terror.

"...Kerry's goal to cut taxes for the middle class would also not have worked. He couldn't have done all he said he would do and STILL not raise taxes... there is just no way..."

I'm not an economics major, but I know people who are. I will ask them to look at Kerry's goals and tell me whether it would have worked or not. In the mean time, let's look at Bush's economic record on taxes.

------Begin Article------

UPI NewsTrack Oct 8, 2004 pNA
Bush defends deficit spending.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2004 United Press International

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- While President Bush said his administration's deficit must be addressed, he said recession and war necessitated his red-ink spending policies.

"And plus we cut taxes for everybody. Everybody got tax relief, so as to get out of the recession. I think if you raise taxes during a recession, you had the depression," Bush said during a debate with Sen. John Kerry.

Regarding the war on terror, Bush said, "I'm going to spend what it takes to win the war, more than just $120 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. We've got to pay our troops more. We have. We've increased money for ammunition and weapons and pay. And homeland security. ... We spent -- went from $10 billion to $30 billion to protect the homeland. I think we have an obligation to spend that kind of money."

Kerry charged that this was the first time the United States had a tax cut when the country was at war and pledged to cut the deficit in half in four years if elected president.

------------End Article------------

Bush's Economic Policy

How can you have a tax cut during the war? How can you consider someone sane who promotes this kind of deficit spending?

Leaving our problems for our children: the National Debt

"...He also never passed one bill in Senate..."

Kerry's Senate Record, Quote from Below Excerpted

"While championing one Senate investigation or another, Mr. Kerry's name has appeared on 56 bills and resolutions since his freshman year, 11 of which were signed by the president or otherwise became law"

There. I've given you an adequate response, which is more than you offered the community. I would appreciate it in the future if you would back up what you're saying, and actually say something substantive rather than talking points. I know that in spite of my entire post being based in citations, you're not going to believe it, and that's fine. We're not going to stop because of that. Flame away, if you must, but expect the same kind of response I gave you today.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 11:05 am
checkyourfacts: More Empty Republican Rhetoric

"Ya'll seriously need to leave the president alone and get a life. Just because you guys AND the media are ANTI-REPUBLICAN, you don't have to be so negative towards our President. Obviously, if the country voted him into office again, then that means that more people thought he was equipped to handle the country's tasks ahead than Kerry. Sure, Kerry is a good man, but running as a Democrat, he was forced to alter many of his Catholic morals. The best thing we can do now as a nation is come together and unite; hope for the best and think positive. Not divide America further, which is exactly what is going to happen if Democrats like you guys don't accept where we stand now. Kerry doesn't want a divided nation, so let's all try to honor his request. Bush is better equipped to handle the war situation. He is showing the other countries not to mess with us. The terriorists are running away from the USA. Kerry's goal to cut taxes for the middle class would also not have worked. He couldn't have done all he said he would do and STILL not raise taxes... there is just no way. He also never passed one bill in Senate."

That's one of the comments we got overnight. I can't say I was impressed, really, but not surprised either. Actually, the fact that it was anonymous is good because I've been hearing the same kind of thing from every Republican I've spoken with. When that happens, it's called a talking point. So let's begin a solid rebuttal, starting with media bias. I've excerpted parts of an article from Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia. I've pulled out the more relative sections, but there is some background and definition as well for those of you unfamiliar with the concept:

You Can Find the Entire Article Here

---------------Begin Article---------------

Media bias is a real or perceived tendency of journalists and news producers within the mass media to approach both the presentation of particular stories, and the selection of which stories to cover, with an unbalanced perspective. In essence, "media bias" generally refers to accusations of either censorship or propagandism on the part of particular news sources, where such content is framed in the light of a preconceived agenda.

Categories of bias are:
Ethnic bias: Includes nationalism and regionalism.
Corporate bias: Including advertising, political campaigns, the reporting of issues to favor corporate interests.
Social bias: Social and class divisions, within the context of a report, or the overall bias of reporting to favor the status class.
Political bias: Regarding the split in political slant.
Sensationalism: Which tends to supersede other biases, and manufacture or distort news as a purely commerical "product."

***Portion Omitted***

Liberal versus Conservative
In the United States, a liberal media bias is said to exist mainly because most individual journalists and news producers hold left-wing or liberal political views. One particular survey found that 89% of journalists voted for Bill Clinton in the 1992 U.S. presidential election [1] . Such a uniformity of political opinion among journalists may tend to give rise to a tendency to cover or not cover particular stories, or to cover them with a particular slant whether intentional or not. Examples of liberal bias may include, for example, a tendency to inflame stories which suggest that guns are responsible for crime, or as some have argued, a tendency to portray Republican leaders as less intelligent, compared to their Democratic counterparts. Reporters are also said to have a strong tendency to confront politicians and government officials with emotion laden social problems and ask what "they are going to do about it", implicitly taking the liberal position that the government has a role in solving social problems. The editorial pages of many large U.S. newspapers such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle, are perceived by many as typically arguing from a liberal point-of-view. Many prominent American conservative authors and pundits have written many books and articles chronicalling exams of what they believe to be liberal media bias in action, and accusations of a biased "liberal media" remains a common complaint among Republican politicians.

On the other hand, the liberalism among journalists could "backfire": journalists could try so hard to avoid injecting their liberal bias into their work, that their work actually ends up having a conservative bias.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has done a study claiming that journalists actually are not particularly liberal on most issues [2] . They have also argued that accusations of liberal media bias are part of a conservative strategy, noting an article in the 8/20/92 Washington Post in which Republican party chair Rich Bond compared journalists to referees in a sporting match: "If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time."

Conservative media bias is said to exist for two reasons. First, the owners of media corporations tend to be conservative, like many business owners. As owners, they can dictate editorial and hiring policies. The second reason traces media concentration. The mass media are owned by a small number of very large diversified media corporations. Such a uniformity of ownership means that stories which do not somehow benefit these large corporations may not be run. Examples of conservative media bias might include the media's failure to cover, for example, many of the early anti-globalization demonstrations or to depict the protesters as troublemakers and prone to violence. Another would be the media failure to cover the massacres in East Timor by the right-wing Indonesian government during the period of oil extraction, contrasted to the heavy coverage given to massacres by the left-wing Pol Pot regime in Cambodia during the same period. Conservative bias is seen by many in the editorial stance of several major newspapers such as the Washington Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Sun-Times.

Accusations of conservative media bias tend to differ from accusations of liberal media bias in the sense that the "conservative bias" is said to be fundamentally economic in tone, while the "libaral" biases deal more with social and cultural issues. It is therefore possible that there can be some overlap within these alleged biases. For it could be possible for a news producer to be economically conservative, yet still favor liberal social policy.

In either case, however, it should be noted that it has been found that partisans consistently perceive media coverage as being biased against their side. This has been called the hostile media effect by psychology researchers.

Directly contradicting FAIR's assertions is a 2002 study by Jim Kuypers of Dartmouth College: Press Bias and Politics. [3] In this study of 116 mainstream papers, Kuypers found that the mainstream press in America operate within a narrow range of liberal beliefs. Those who expressed points of view further to the left were generally ignored, whereas those who expressed moderate or conservative points of view were actively denigrated or labeled as a minority point of view. In short, if a political leader, regardless of party, spoke within the press supported range of acceptable discourse, he or she would receive positive press coverage. If a politician, again regardless of party, were to speak outside of this range, he or she would receive negative press. Kuypers also found that the liberal points of view expressed in editorial and opinion pages were found in hard news coverage of the same issues.

***Portion Omitted***

---------------End of Article---------------

Alright, let's deconstruct your comment little by little. First, "Ya'll seriously need to leave the president alone and get a life. Just because you guys AND the media are ANTI-REPUBLICAN..." I'm going to cite a few more articles for you, if the wikipedia entry wasn't enough.

Fox News Holds 55% of the Cable News Marketshare

Let's presuppose that CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC are all terribly left-slanted and biased. Even so, more than half of the American population is watching Fox News.

The "Fox Effect"

Let me give a little background. Starting in the early 1990s, the GOP began a campaign which they filtered out through the party structure and the parts of the media that were already terribly biased (see Rush Limbaugh) claiming that the major news networks were liberally slanted. They presented misleading statistics and generally turned the American people against the television news media. So what we have is a vacuum in the eyes of the people of both conservative media and unbiased media. The Fox News Channel has filled that void in the American Mind. The slogan is "fair and balanced" and yet it's also perfectly clear to everyone who watches it that it's a conservative news network. No one is hiding that. So my question is this: how can you be liberal or conservative and claim to be fair and balanced?

But that's not the Fox Effect. The Fox Effect is this: in order to keep up with Fox News which has commanded a majority of the market share that is divided among five major news networks the other networks have begun hiring "conservative" anchors to work alongside the "liberal" ones. Having been discredited by the GOP, they are forced to emulate Fox News in order to try and pull back some of the marketshare. These conservative anchors give the GOP even more influence over the news media, especially since the conservative anchors are front-loaded into prime-time news slots.

A Harsh Criticism of Fox News"

Which may be a little too liberal for you, but you don't have to read the whole thing. It's not (entirely, at least) liberal propaganda, as it includes quotes, one of which I'm posting below for the benefit of those of you too lazy to follow the link.

-------------begin quote -------------
Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives' frequent denunciations of "liberal bias" in the media were part of "a strategy" (Washington Post, 8/20/92). Comparing journalists to referees in a sports match, Bond explained: "If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is 'work the refs.' Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time."
-------------end quote -------------

I'm going to get off media bias though, because that's not what this is about. This is about an attack on the community. Let's continue with your comment:

"...you don't have to be so negative towards our President. Obviously, if the country voted him into office again, then that means that more people thought he was equipped to handle the country's tasks ahead than Kerry. Sure, Kerry is a good man, but running as a Democrat, he was forced to alter many of his Catholic morals. The best thing we can do now as a nation is come together and unite; hope for the best and think positive. Not divide America further, which is exactly what is going to happen if Democrats like you guys don't accept where we stand now. Kerry doesn't want a divided nation, so let's all try to honor his request..."

The Founding Fathers wanted nothing more than for their prodigy than for us to question the government. Thomas Jefferson advocated semi-frequent revolution. They all believed in a social contract where the government is responsible to the people it governs, because that's where it gets its power from. We are the people governed, and we feel that the government has acted without discretion to the social contract or the Constitution. The strength of a country does not come from everyone flocking under one viewpoint, or everyone supporting the government. When no one scrutinizes the government you have administrations like the Grant, Harding and Nixon administrations, laden with corruption. Without scrutiny of the government, we endanger ourselves to being yanked in whatever direction the executive branch wishes to go, which is usually but (it has recently become clear) not always in the best interests of the American people. You are being lied to by the Bush Administration. That's not slant, that's fact and if you continue to monitor this community, we're going to expose those lies. I'm about to show you some now.

"...Bush is better equipped to handle the war situation..."

I have access to Infotrac, which is a site that collects journal, reference and newspaper articles that you can search through. For your benefit, I am posting a rather long article on the Bush Administration's drive to take us to war in Iraq, since you would be unable to link to it without similar access. I realize that some of you don't have the attention span for it, so I've emboldened pertinent sections:

------------begin article------------
Presidential Studies Quarterly March 2004 v34 i1 p25(22)

Did President Bush mislead the country in his arguments for war with Iraq?Pfiffner, James P.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2004 Center for the Study of the Presidency

President Bush has been accused by some in the popular press of lying in his arguments for taking the United States to war with Iraq in 2003. But in order to make judgments about the accuracy of the president's statements, the claims must be analyzed separately. This article examines several sets of statements by President Bush and his administration: first, about the implication that there was a link between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11; second, about Iraq's nuclear weapons capacity; and third, about Saddam's chemical and biological weapons and his ability to deliver them. The possibility that the intelligence process was politicized is also examined.

Although the record at this early date is far from complete, the article concludes that from publicly available evidence, the president misled the country in implying that there was a connection between Saddam and 9/11. The administration's claims about Iraq's nuclear capacity were based on dubious evidence that was presented in a misleading manner. Claims about chemical and biological weapons were based on legitimate evidence that was widely accepted internationally, despite the failure to find the weapons by late 2003. Claims of Saddam's ability to deliver these weapons, however, were exaggerated. Finally, there was circumstantial and inconclusive evidence that in 2002 the intelligence community may have been under unusual pressure to support the administration's goals.

A Link between Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and 9/11
Two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001, a Time/CNN poll found that 78 percent of respondents thought that Saddam Hussein was involved with the attacks on the twin trade towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. (1) From that time to the beginning of the war and into the summer of 2003, President Bush and his administration strongly implied that there was a link between Saddam and the al Qaeda hijackers, despite Osama bin Laden's contempt for Saddam as the head of a secular state (Fisher 2003). (2) Although Bush probably knew that the evidence was quite sketchy at best, he used the implied link to bolster support for war with Iraq in Congress before the authorizing resolution and more generally with the American public before and after the war.

In early October 2002, President Bush was trying to convince Congress to pass a resolution to give him unilateral authority to go to war with Iraq. In a major address to the nation on October 7, he said "We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.... We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gasses." He also said that a "very senior al Qaeda leader" received medical treatment in Baghdad. In the same speech, the president closely connected the need to attack Iraq with the 9/11 attacks: "Some citizens wonder, 'after 11 years of living with this {Saddam Hussein} problem, why do we need to confront it now?' And there's a reason. We have experienced the horror of September the 11th." Thus, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a major reason for attacking Iraq.

Vice President Cheney said on "Meet the Press" in late 2001 that a meeting between Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi official in Prague in 2001 was "pretty well confirmed." (3) On September 27, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld argued that the link between Saddam and al Qaeda was "bulletproof." (4) National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said on September 25, 2002, "There clearly are contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq.... There clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there's a relationship there." (5)

The problem was that evidence for a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda was never very solid. The administration based part of its argument on a claim that 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official in Prague in April 2001. An investigation by the FBI, however, concluded that there was no convincing evidence that Atta was in Prague at the time of the meeting and the CIA was doubtful about any meeting of Atta and an Iraqi official. (6) A congressional report said that "The CIA has been unable to establish that {Atta} left the United States or entered Europe in April [2001] under his other name or any known alias." (7)

The "very senior al Qaeda leader" to whom Bush referred was Abu Mussab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who was not in al Qaeda, though he was a terrorist and had had contacts with al Qaedaf. (8) A UN terrorism committee did not find any link between al Qaeda and Saddam. According to the chief investigator, Michael Chandler, "Nothing has come to our notice that would indicate links between Iraq and al-Qaeda. "(9) But even if there were some evidence that al Qaeda members had been in Iraq at some time, it would not constitute proof that Iraq was connected to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Despite the lack of solid evidence, President Bush continued to connect the war in Iraq with al Qaeda and 9/11. In his victory speech on May 1, 2003 on an aircraft carrier off the coast of California, he said: "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001.... We've removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding.... With those attacks {of 9/11}, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got." (10)

On September 7, 2003, in his speech announcing the administration's request for an additional $87 billion for the occupation of Iraq, President Bush continued to connect Iraq and 9/11.
Nearly two years ago, following deadly attacks on our country, we
began a systematic campaign against terrorism.... And we acted in
Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror.... And for America,
there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th,
2001, to false comfort in a dangerous world.... We are fighting that
enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today that we do not meet him again
on our own streets, in our own cities. (11)

The implication was still that there was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. In a defense of the administration's policies in Iraq, on September 14, 2003, Vice President Cheney said: "If we're successful in Iraq ... then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11." (12)

But on September 18 President Bush conceded: "No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th." (13) He gave no explanation as to why the previously implied connection was abandoned.

How can we judge this systematic pattern of implication and the sudden reversal by the president? It is difficult to show that there was an outright lie in the president's rhetoric, because his use of language was too careful. Some of the statements by Bush might have been based on claims that he thought were true when he implied the connection between Saddam and 9/11. The problem is that as it became clear that the evidence was dubious, the president continued to imply that the connection was real. But as time went by, there was enough coverage in the press of the failure of intelligence agencies to substantiate the claim, that the president could not credibly claim ignorance. The careful phrasing of administration statements implying a link between Saddam and 9/11 suggests that they knew there was no compelling evidence. If there was, they would have made an outright claim for the link, and the argument for war would have been much easier to make.

President Bush did exploit and encourage the general public belief that Saddam was connected to the attacks of 9/11, and his strong implications served his purpose of achieving public support for war with Iraq. Though we might not be able to conclude that the president lied directly about the connection, he did encourage and further the mistaken public belief because it supported his policy goals. We can conclude that his statements were misleading and deceptive, though not outright lies.

Nuclear Weapons in Iraq
In 2002, President Bush and his administration made a number of claims about Saddam Hussein's potential nuclear capacity, allegations that culminated in a statement in the president's State of the Union speech on January 29, 2003. Throughout the buildup to the war with Iraq, the administration consistently conflated biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons as "weapons of mass destruction" (WMD). As horrible as chemical and biological weapons are, they pale in comparison with the potential destructiveness of nuclear weapons. As Kenneth M. Pollack, a proponent of war with Iraq, put it, "A successful attack with VX could kill thousands; with a BW agent, tens of thousands; and with a nuclear weapon, hundreds of thousands or even millions" (Pollack 2002, 179). In addition, chemical and biological weapons are difficult to maintain and deliver effectively. (14)

The claim that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program and was potentially "less than a year" away from possessing nuclear weapons was a powerful argument that deposing Saddam Hussein was important for U.S. national security. Even those who thought that Saddam could be deterred from using chemical and biological weapons (as he had been in 1991) might be persuaded that an attack was necessary if they were convinced that Saddam was closing in on a nuclear weapons capability. (15) Thus, the claim of Saddam's nuclear capacity was one of the strongest arguments that President Bush could make for war with Iraq.

In his speech on August 26, 2002 laying out the administration's argument for war with Iraq, Vice President Cheney said, "Many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.... There is no doubt he is amassing {WMD} to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." (16) Condoleezza Rice said in September 2002, "There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly {Saddam} can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." (17)

On September 7, 2002 at Camp David, President Bush told reporters on the issue of Iraqi nuclear capacity, "I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied, finally denied access, a report came out of the Atomic--the IAEA--that they were six months away from developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence we need" (Fisher 2003). (18) The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report did say that in 1991 Iraq had been 6 to 24 months away from the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb, but that capacity had been destroyed by UN inspectors before 1998. When the inspectors left Iraq in 1998, the report said: "Based on all credible information to date, the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material." (19) It is possible, though unlikely, that the president was consciously misleading the press in order to present a strong case for going to war with Iraq. More likely, it was mere confusion, but if so, it was confusion about a crucial element in the decision of going to war.

Before the president's campaign to convince Congress of the necessity of war with Iraq, the White House asked the CIA to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. According to the CIA, "A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence.... NIEs are addressed to the highest level of policy making--up to and including the President." (20)

The National Intelligence Estimate of early October 2002 stated:
How quickly Iraq will obtain its first nuclear weapon depends on
when it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.

If Baghdad acquires sufficient fissile material from abroad it
could make a nuclear weapon within several months to a year.

Without such material from abroad, Iraq probably would not be able
to make a weapon until 2007 to 2009 ... (Central Intelligence Agency
2003, 5-6).


The NIE was used as a basis for President Bush's speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002 to convince Congress to give him the authority to go to war with Iraq and convince the nation of the immediacy of the threat from Saddam Hussein. In the speech President Bush said:
We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten
America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gasses
and atomic weapons.... The evidence indicates that Iraq is
reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.... Satellite
photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that
have been part of his nuclear program in the past ... he could have
a nuclear weapon in less than a year.... Facing clear evidence of
peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that
could come in the form of a mushroom cloud {emphasis added}.


On January 23 Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said: "Disarming Iraq and the war on terror are not merely related. Disarming Iraq of its chemical and biological weapons and dismantling its nuclear weapons program is a crucial part of winning the war on terror." (21)

Then, in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, President Bush said the 16 words that would become the center of controversy: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Immediately before the war, on March 16, Vice President Cheney declared: "We know {Saddam Hussein} has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." (22) Then on March 17, on the eve of the war, President Bush said: "Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions.... (23)

The problem with this series of statements was that the evidence upon which the president's clams were based turned out to be questionable. Two claims of evidence for Saddam's nuclear capacity that the administration relied upon were of dubious authenticity: the claim that Iraq sought uranium oxide, "yellowcake," from Niger, and that aluminum tubes shipped to Iraq were intended to be used as centrifuges to create the fissile material necessary for a nuclear bomb. Each of these claims will be examined separately.

The Niger Claim
The claim in the 2003 State of the Union address that the British had learned about an attempt by Iraq to procure nuclear material from Niger was based in part on a British intelligence report in September 2002 that Iraq was seeking yellowcake from Niger. The administration was going to use the claim in the president's October 7 speech, and one draft of the speech said, "The {Iraqi} regime has been caught attempting to purchase substantial amounts of uranium oxide from sources in Africa." (24) CIA Director George Tenet had warned the British that the Niger claim published in their September 24 dossier was probably not true, but they used it anyway. Before the president's speech, on October 5 and 6, Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley received two memoranda from the CIA expressing the CIA's reservations about the Niger claim. In addition, Tenet personally called Hadley and told him that the claim was not sound. Tenet was successful in convincing the White House to delete the claim from the president's speech. (25)

The report about Niger and yellowcake may have originated in several letters obtained by Italian intelligence sources. On October 11, 2002, Italian journalist Elisabetta Burba gave copies of the Niger letters to the U.S. Embassy in Rome. In response to the question of why she did not publish the letters herself, she said, "The story seemed fake to me.... I realized that this could be a worldwide scoop, but that's exactly why I was very worried. If it turned out to be a hoax, and I published it, it would have ended my career." (26) The letters were distributed to U.S. intelligence agencies with the caveat that they were of "dubious authenticity."

The CIA was doubtful about the Niger claim because after the reports arose, the vice president's office requested that the CIA investigate the claim. So in February 2002, the CIA sent former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate the question. Wilson had been a career foreign service officer, was appointed ambassador by George H. W. Bush, and had served as a diplomat in Niger's capital (Niamey) in the 1970s. He met with the U.S. ambassador to Niger who had herself "debunked" in reports to Washington the rumors of Iraqi attempts to buy yellowcake in Niger. After his investigation, Wilson concluded that the rumored efforts were not true and repotted this back to the CIA (Wilson 2003). (27) In addition, on February 24, General Carlton W. Fulford, Jr. and the U.S. ambassador to Niger visited Niger's president and reported to the State and Defense Departments that the supply of uranium ore was secure. He said he was "assured" that the yellowcake was being kept secure by the French consortium that controlled it. (28)

Despite these reports, the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002 stated, "A foreign government service reported that as of early 2001, Niger planned to send several tons of 'pure uranium' (probably yellowcake) to Iraq. As of early 2001, Niger and Iraq reportedly were still working out arrangements for this deal, which could be for up to 500 tons of yellowcake. We do not know the status of this arrangement" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 25). In an annex to the NIE, however, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research concluded: "Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 84).

The United States gave copies of the Niger-related documents (12 pages) to the IAEA Director, General Mohamed ElBaradei. (29) After a search through Google, Jacques Baute, head of the IAEA inspection section, found that the letterhead of one letter was from the military government that had been replaced before the 1999 date on the letter, and the signature on the letter indicated the name of a foreign ministry official who had left the position in 1989. (30) The forgery was made public on March 7, 2003 by Mohamed ElBaradei, who reported the findings to the UN Security Council. (31)

Given that the basis for the claim for the Niger yellowcake was known by the CIA to be dubious, how did the claim make it into the president's State of the Union address? (32) When the State of the Union speech was being prepared, NSC official Robert Joseph faxed a paragraph on uranium from Niger to CIA official Alan Foley. Foley told Joseph that the reference to Niger should be taken out. Joseph insisted that a reference remain in the speech, so they compromised: Niger was changed to Africa; they did not include any specific quantity; and the source was attributed to the British rather than to U.S. intelligence. (33) Thus, there was high-level doubt about the wisdom of including the dubious claim about Niger in the president's State of the Union message, particularly because the same claim had been deleted from the president's October 7, 2002 speech in Cincinnati.

Although knowledge of the forged letters was made public in February 2003, the sentence did not arouse public controversy until, in the wake of the U.S. war with Iraq, no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, much less nuclear weapons, could be found. In explaining why the president might not have known that the claim was not accurate, a high-level White House official said, "The president of the United States is not a fact-checker." (34) This type of response trivializes the role of the president. The issue was not a minor detail; it was a question of a potential nuclear threat to the United States and the possibility of going to war. The president has an obligation to get the facts as right as they can be in such situations.

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice minimized the problem by saying: "It is 16 words, and it has become an enormously overblown issue." (35) She denied that any doubts were evident to her or the president. On July 11, 2003 she said: "Ail that I can tell you is that if there were doubts about the underlying intelligence on the NIE, those doubts were not communicated to the president. The only thing that was there in the NIE was a kind of a standard INR footnote, which is kind of 59 pages away from the bulk of the NIE.... So if there was a concern about the underlying intelligence there, the president was unaware of that concern, as was I." Even though the State Department's INR dissent was placed toward the end of the document, the "Key Judgments" section near the front called attention to the "INR alternative view at the end of these Key Judgments" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 5). (36)

If what Rice said was true, it would mean that on the crucial issue of Iraqi nuclear weapons: she was not aware that the CIA sent two memos and director Tenet called her deputy in order to get the Niger claim out of the president's October 7 speech; she was not aware that the State Department had serious reservations about the claim; she was not aware that the CIA had sent, at the vice president's request, Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate the claim; and she was not aware that Robert Joseph negotiated with the CIA a change in wording in the State of the Union speech. If, as Rice said, no one communicated any of these reservations about something as crucial as nuclear weapons in Iraq to the president, the president was not being well served. Even though the president and his national security adviser are deluged with intelligence information, and the State of the Union preparation is an elaborate process, the stakes on this particular issue could not have been much higher: Iraq with a possible nuclear weapon and taking the nation to war.

After intensive press inquiry about how the sentence got into the State of the Union address, on July 11, 2003, CIA Director George Tenet took responsibility for the inclusion of the inaccurate sentence. "I am responsible for the approval process in my agency. And ... the President had every reason to believe that the text presented to him was sound. These 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the President." (37) Later, on July 21, Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley, said that he was at fault for the reference to uranium because he had been the one whom Tenet had called to get it removed from the October 7 speech. "I should have recalled {the issue} at the time of the State of the Union address.... If I had done so, it would have avoided the entire current controversy." (38) Finally, on July 30, the president said, "I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course. I also take responsibility for making decisions on war and peace. And I analyzed a thorough body of intelligence, got solid, sound intelligence that led me to come to the conclusion that it was necessary to remove Saddam Hussein from power." (39)

In the summer of 2003, the administration argued that the president's words were technically truthful because he referred to British intelligence as the source of the conclusion about the Niger connection. Condoleezza Rice said, "The statement that he made was indeed accurate. The British government did say that." Donald Rumsfeld said, "It turns out that it's technically correct what the president said, that the U.K. doe--did say that--and still says that." (40) The legalistic parsing of the president's words was reminiscent of President Clinton's statement about the meaning of the word "is." But President Bush's statement was not literally or technically true. He did not say that the British "claimed" or "asserted" or "said" or "stated" that Saddam had sought yellowcake from Africa. He said that they "learned" of it. Is it possible to learn something that is false? The president clearly indicated by his use of the word "learned" rather than another word that he believed the statement to be true (Kinsley 2003).

The Aluminum Tubes
In addition to the Niger yellowcake claim, the administration also adduced as evidence for Iraq's reconstituting its nuclear program reports of large numbers of aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq. President Bush said in his September 12 speech to the United Nations: "Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year." (41) Condoleezza Rice also said in September, "We do know that there have been shipments going ... into Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that really are only suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs." (42)

The evidence of the aluminum tubes was also featured in the National Intelligence Estimate issued in early October, which played an important role in convincing members of Congress to vote for the resolution giving the president the authority to take the United States to war with Iraq. The NIE stated:
Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's
aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for
centrifuge rotors ... provide compelling evidence that Saddam is
reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear
weapons program.... {DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear
program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not
part of the program.} all agencies agree that about 25,000
centrifuges based on tubes of the size Iraq is trying to acquire
would be capable of producing approximately two weapons' worth of
highly enriched uranium per year (Central Intelligence Agency
2003, 6).

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, however, dissented from the argument of the rest of the National Intelligence Estimate:
In INR's view Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes is central to
the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons
program, but INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are
intended for use as centrifuge rotors. INR accepts the judgment of
technical experts at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) who have
concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for
use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds
unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that
they are intended for that purpose. INR considers it far more
likely that the tubes are intended for another purpose, most likely
the production of artillery rockets
(Central Intelligence Agency
2003, 9).

The State Department's skepticism was based on a number of factors that made claiming the aluminum tubes as evidence of Iraq's attempt to obtain a nuclear capacity questionable.

The physical characteristics of the tubes matched closely the dimensions of aluminum tubes used in Medusa rockets, but did not track closely with the dimensions of centrifuge rotors:

1. The tubes were narrower and longer (910 mm versus 500-600 mm) than a centrifuge rotor. The Medusa rocket fuselage is 910mm in length.
2. They were made of aluminum, which since the 1950s bas not been used for centrifuge rotors.
3. The tubes had an anodized coating, which was right for rocket tubes but would have to be removed for use as centrifuges for nuclear material.
4. The diameter of the tubes was 81 mm, the same as would be used for a Medusa rocker, but the usual diameter for gas centrifuges is 145 mm.
5. The thickness of the tubes was 3mm, while the thickness of a centrifuge rotor is 0.5 mm. (43)

One of the foremost living experts on centrifuge physics, Houston G. Wood III, who founded the Oak Ridge National Laboratory centrifuge physics department (run by the Department of Energy), said, "It would have been extremely difficult to make these tubes into centrifuges. It stretches the imagination to come up with a way. I do not know any real centrifuge experts that feel differently." (44) The director of the inspections unit for the IAEA, Jacques Baute, convened a team of experts (two from England, two from the U.S., and one from Germany) who examined the available evidence from Iraqi front companies and military facilities and concluded that "all evidence points to that this is for the rockets." (45)

Nuclear Weapons Summary
There is no doubt that Iraq sought nuclear weapons in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, Iraq bought a nuclear reactor from France that it assembled at Osiraq, but just before it was to come on line in 1981 the Israelis launched an air attack that destroyed it. By the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq had made great progress in its nuclear program, lacking only fissile material necessary for nuclear bombs. After the war, however, UN inspectors destroyed most, if not ail, of the physical capacity to construct nuclear bombs, though engineers and scientists remained in Iraq (Pollack 2002, 169-75).

In addition to the destruction of weapons by the UN inspectors before they left in 1998, the economic sanctions severely limited the materials that could be brought into the country for potential use for WMD. U.S. enforcement of the no-fly zones also limited what the Iraqis could do, and satellite surveillance was used extensively to monitor the country. The effectiveness of the UN inspectors before 1998, and the sanctions and the no-fly zones after 1998, was reflected in remarks by Colin Powell when he visited Egypt on February 24, 2001:
... the sanctions exist--not for the purpose of hurting the Iraqi
people, but for the purpose of keeping in check Saddam Hussein's
ambitions toward developing weapons of mass destruction.... And
frankly they have worked. He has not developed any significant
capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable
in project conventional power against his neighbors. (46)


But in spite of the lack of evidence, some U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Saddam's nuclear program had been reconstituted.

The National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002 stated that "... in the view of most agencies, Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 5). It also said, "... if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade {see INR alternative view at the end of these Key Judgments}" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 5). The alternative view of the State Department assistant secretary for intelligence and research (INR) was enclosed in a lined box around the type and stated that in its judgment, Saddam wanted nuclear weapons and was pursuing "at least a limited effort" to acquire them.
The activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a
compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would
consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire
nuclear weapons.... INR is unwilling to speculate that such an
effort began soon after the departure of UN inspectors or to
project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not
now see happening (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 8-9).


Greg Thielmann, former director of the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's program on strategic proliferation and military affairs said: "During the time that I was office director, 2000-2002, we never assessed that there was good evidence that Iraq was reconstituting or getting really serious about its nuclear weapons program." (47)

After the war, the CIA sent into Iraq the Iraqi Survey Group, headed by David Kay, to search the country for weapons of mass destruction. In his interim report to Congress in October 2003, Kay told Congress that Iraq's nuclear program was in "the very most rudimentary" state; "It clearly does not look like a massive, resurgent program, based on what we discovered." (48) According to Kay's report, Iraqi scientists said that Hussein "remained firmly committed to acquiring nuclear weapons" and "would have resumed nuclear weapons development at some future point." But "to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material" (Kay, 7).

If the administration had compelling evidence that Saddam was reconstituting his nuclear capacity, why did it rely on the two dubious claims analyzed above? And if the United States knew of the efforts, why were the UN inspectors unable to find any evidence before the war or U.S. forces able to find any evidence after the war? In September 2003, the ranking majority and minority members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence concluded that the administration did not have any compelling evidence that it could not make public that supported its claims about Iraq's WMD programs. "The absence of proof that chemical and biological weapons and their related development programs had been destroyed was considered proof that they continued to exist. ... We have not found any information in the assessments that are still classified that was any more definitive." (49)

Chemical and Biological Weapons, UAVs, and Intelligence
The Bush administration claimed with some certainty that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons as well as unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were capable of delivering them. This section takes up these claims as well as the question of whether the intelligence process was politicized by the administration. That is, was there pressure on intelligence agencies to produce reports that supported the administration's policy goals rather than reports that reflected the best intelligence judgment of the analysts?

Chemical and Biological Weapons
That Iraq had chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s is certain, in part because some of the materials came from the United States and because Saddam used chemical weapons against Iran and against the Kurds in northern Iraq. Thus, it was surprising that little evidence of these programs was found by U.S. troops in the aftermath of the war, especially because the United States devoted considerable manpower and expertise to the effort to discover them. (50)

Although Iraq purchased most of its chemical and biological weapons materials from Europe and a few other regions, significant materials came from the United States in the 1980s. When it began to look like Iran might be able to defeat Iraq in the war Iraq had initiated in September 1980, the United States moved to open diplomatic relations with Iraq and in February 1982 removed it from the list of terrorist countries that U.S. companies could not trade with. Despite reports that the Iraqis were using chemical warfare weapons against the Iranians, the Reagan administration moved aggressively to support Iraq, sending Donald Rumsfeld as a special envoy to meet with Saddam Hussein in December 1983. (51)

The United States supported Iraq during the war in a number of ways, including economic aid in Commodity Credit Corporation guarantees of more than $1 billion from 1983 to 1987 and regular intelligence help that reached the liaison level of relationship between the two countries' intelligence agencies (Pollack 2002, 18-19). But more importantly, the United States encouraged its allies, particularly France and Germany, to allow sale of weapons to Iraq, where Iraq got much of its chemical and biological weapons capacity. (52)

The Reagan administration also, through policy changes in the Departments of State and Commerce, allowed U.S. companies to export dual-use materials (such as chemical precursors to weapons and steel tubes for artillery) to Iraq, which were expected to be used for its biological and chemical programs. Biological agents sold to Iraq from the United States during this period included several strains of anthrax and bubonic plague. Despite the killing of 200,000 Kurds with chemical weapons and high explosives from 1987 to 1989 and the destruction of the Kurdish town of Halabja on March 15, 1988, the United States did not stop U.S. companies from continuing to sell insecticides and other chemical components of chemical weapons to Iraq. In 1988, Iraq purchased $1.5 million worth of pesticides from Dow Chemical (Pollack 2002, 20-21, 171). (53) The United States benefited from its support of Iraq by being allowed to purchase Iraqi oil at lower than world market prices. (54)

Saddam's chemical and biological warfare capacity formed much of the basis for the Bush administration's argument that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were a threat to the United States. Often the president's remarks were modified by words such as "likely" or "possible," but sometimes his words and those of other administration officials were more categorical. President Bush said on September 26, 2002 that "the Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more biological and chemical weapons." (55)

A report by the Defense Intelligence Agency from September 2002, however, voiced some skepticism about the recent status of Iraq's chemical and biological production capacity. The report stated, "A substantial amount of Iraq's chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions, and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 as a result of Operation Desert Storm and UNSCOM {United Nations Special Commission} actions. There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has--or will--establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities." (56)

When the president was in Krakow, Poland on May 30, 2003, he announced that U.S. troops had discovered firm evidence of biological weapons labs when they found two trailers that seemed to have been used for biological weapons production. The president said, "But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them." (57) The CIA, however, found no pathogens in the trailers, and some U.S. defense scientists felt that there was a rush to conclude that the trailers were mobile germ warfare labs. William C. Patrick III, a former senior official in U.S. germ warfare programs, said that a key component, the capacity for steam sterilization, was missing from the trailers. Another senior U.S. analyst said, "I have no great confidence that it's a fermenter." (58) In addition, a majority of the engineering team of the Defense Intelligence Agency came to the conclusion that the trailers were not for making weapons but rather for producing hydrogen, probably for balloons. (59)

The most serious questions about the administration's claims were raised when U.S. forces were not able to find evidence of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons after the war, despite the diligent searching of U.S. military forces and the 1,200-member Iraq Survey Group headed by David Kay. (60) Kay reported that with respect to chemical weapons, "...Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new CW munitions was reduced--if not entirely destroyed--during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections" (Kay, 6). With respect to biological weapons, the Iraq Survey Group found evidence of various "biological warfare activities" and one "vial of live C. botulinum Okra B. from which a biological agent can be produced" (Kay, 5). But they found no biological weapons. With respect to the two trailers, Kay reported, "We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile BW production effort" (Kay, 5).

Most experts were perplexed at the inability of the Iraq Survey Group to find the chemical and biological weapons that were expected to be found. After the war, many Iraqi scientists denied that they existed, and no evidence was found that they did. It is possible that Saddam cleverly hid them or destroyed them. It is also possible that before the war Saddam's scientists exaggerated their success in producing such weapons because they were afraid to tell him the truth if they had failed to produce them (Fukuyama 2003).

Unpiloted Aerial Vehicles
One of the keys to broad public support for an invasion of Iraq was the fear that the U.S. mainland could be attacked. Thus, the possibility of unmanned, drone airplanes armed with chemical or biological weapons could provoke serious concern. President Bush brought up in his October 7 speech in Cincinnati Iraq's potential to deliver chemical and biological weapons that could threaten the United States and its allies. "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas.... We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States {emphasis added}." This claim was based in part on the National Intelligence Estimate's conclusion that "Baghdad ... is working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which allow for a more lethal means to deliver biological and, less likely, chemical warfare agents" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 5). The NIE later stated, "Baghdad's UAVs could threaten Iraq's neighbors, U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, and if brought close to, or into, the United States, the U.S. Homeland {emphasis added}" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 7).

Several lines below that statement, however, the Air Force voiced its disagreement: "The Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, U.S. Air Force, does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents. The small size of Iraq's new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance, although CBW delivery is an inherent capability" (Central Intelligence Agency 2003, 7). President Bush seemed to be relying on the NIE conclusion in his statements about the danger to the United States from Iraqi UAVs, and the thought of planes spraying chemical or biological agents in the United States brought back visions of the 9/11 terrorists seeking training on crop-dusting planes. But his advisers seemed to give little weight to the considered judgment of the U.S. Air Force in coming to the conclusion that UAVs were likely threats to the homeland.

As it turned out after the war, the Air Force seemed to be correct. After examining the captured UAVs in Iraq, Robert S. Boyd, the senior intelligence analyst of the Air Force explained why the Air Force voiced its dissent from the NIE of October 2002. He said that the aircraft that Iraq was using had wingspans of 12 to 16 feet and that they were not configured to carry chemical or biological warfare agents. "What we were thinking was: Why would you {the Iraqis} purposefully design a vehicle to be an inefficient delivery means? ... Wouldn't it make more sense that they were purposefully designing it to be a decent reconnaissance UAV?... Everything we discovered strengthened our conviction that the UAVs were to be used for reconnaissance." (61)

Politicizing Intelligence
One possible explanation for the administration's inaccurate claims about Iraq's WMD was that the intelligence-gathering capacities of the government were subject to pressure to suit their analyses to the policy goals of the administration. Allegations centered around the vice president's visits to CIA headquarters, the creation of the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the use of the Defense Policy Board.

Richard Cheney and his aide Scooter Libby made a number of personal visits to CIA Langley headquarters to question the CIA judgment that Iraq did not pose as immediate a threat as the administration was arguing it did. While it is appropriate for the vice president and other high administration officials to ask tough questions and challenge intelligence agencies, and it is understandable that career civil servants may see this as pressure, the interventions in the intelligence process seemed to be different in 2002 with respect to Iraq. These visits were perceived by some CIA veterans as political pressure for the agency to come to the conclusions that the administration wanted. (62) Ray McGovern, who had been a CIA analyst from 1964 to 1990 and had briefed Vice President George H. W. Bush in the 1980s, said, "During my 27-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, no vice president ever came to us for a working visit." (63)

In addition to close attention from the vice president, CIA analysis was also treated with suspicion in the Department of Defense because the CIA was not coming to the conclusions about Iraq's WMD capabilities that the secretary and deputy secretary of defense expected. A number of CIA analysts perceived this as pressure. (64) In the Pentagon, according to a former official who attended the meetings, "They were the browbeaters. In interagency meetings Wolfowitz treated the analysts' work with contempt." (65) From the perspective of some CIA veterans, the administration was undermining the objectivity and professionalism of the intelligence process. Former DIA analyst and specialist on Iraq Patrick Lang characterized the administration's efforts to influence intelligence as not professional. "What we have here is advocacy, not intelligence work." (66) One senior State Department analyst told a congressional committee that he felt pressured by the administration to shift his analysis to be more certain about the evidence on Iraq's activities. Other analysts told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the administration was disclosing only the worst-case scenario aspects of intelligence reports and not accurately representing the work of the professional analysts. (67)

One response of Secretary Rumsfeld to his dissatisfaction with the analysis of the CIA was to create the Office of Special Plans headed by Deputy Undersecretary of Defense William Luti to do intelligence analysis and bring a different perspective than the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the CIA. (68) One important difference in their analysis was the weight they gave to claims provided by the Iraqi National Congress and its leader Ahmad Chalabi about Saddam's WMD. The CIA had discounted these same claims because the exiles had a stake in the outcome of U.S. policy and thus the CIA did not consider them as credible as the Office of Special Plans judged them to be. (69) According to W. Patrick Lang who was the head of Middle East intelligence for the DIA, "The D.I.A. has been intimidated and beaten to a pulp. And there's no guts at all in the C.I.A." (70)

Another tactic Secretary Rumsfeld used to circumvent the established professional intelligence apparatus of the executive branch was his reliance on the Defense Policy Board. The DPB was chaired by Richard Perle, a hawk on Iraq and former member of the Reagan administration. In Perle's judgment, the CIA's judgment about Iraq "isn't worth the paper it is written on." (71) The board also contained other high-visibility hawks on Iraq, such as James Woolsey and Newt Gingrich, as well as a range of other former defense officials not necessarily committed to war with Iraq. It is interesting that this board of outside advisors played a much more highly visible role in supporting the administration's war plans than the traditional outside advisory board to the president, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Perhaps that was because the PFIAB was chaired by Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to President George H. W. Bush and critic of war with Iraq.

While all executive branch agencies should take their guidance from the president and his appointees, it is dangerous for a presidential administration to pressure intelligence agencies to distort their professional judgments in order to support an administration's short-term policy goals. Once intelligence is politicized, it becomes more difficult for a president to distinguish the professionals' best judgment from what they think he wants to hear. Such a situation is dangerous for the American presidency. While evidence of undue pressure from the administration is inconclusive and circumstantial at this time, insofar as the Bush administration put pressure on U.S. intelligence agencies to suit their analyses to its policy goals, it jeopardized its own best sources of intelligence.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 01:34 am
moosepiss9: Comments From a Friend

I'm a friend of Joe's. And thus far I'm excited about this new project. I agree 100% with his points, but we've disagreed before so don't expect me to ride smoothly on his bandwagon. I feel this forum is a valuable tool for us to escape from the "fair and balanced" media who is simply trying to be foxy about their delivery of propaganda. Here, we will look critically at Bush, and his motives, and his policies. However, I suggest we also maintain a defensive stance regarding all aspects of politics only to 'cover our six.' We don't want to end up labeled as just as biased as everyone else, and thus loosing credibility. We invite opinions, as long as support can be given. We invite opposition, as long as it's tactful and responsible. Most importantly, we invite you all to get involved! This is a way for your voice to be heard and counted! Our mission so far is to help you all become better informed, or at least more motivated to inform yourself, about the decisions made on your behalf by your leaders. With that said, this isn't meant to be a ignorant bashing of any single person or political party, though it may seem that way sometimes. -Brad

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 12:59 am
moosepiss9: More Media Slant from an unexpected source

I don't know how many of you watch the show "The 700 Club" but tonite's edition was worth it. I have never sat through any whole report they have, but they began the show with a piece on Bush so I had to stay tuned. For those who don't know what The 700 Club is let me elaborate because it is essential for my point. It is a Christian media vehicle, very much like CNN or whatever but with a strong christian influence. Imagine O'Reily if he prayed every time he came on air, and wasn't an overbearing baboon to his guests. So, tonite's report was on Bush's 'victory.' They quoted some 3 MILLION VOTES FOR BUSH! I don't know if that number is accurate, but I'll find out and post exact numbers soon. They also discussed the demographic of the voters this go 'round, and said basically they were "faith based voters." Then Pat [the host] turned to his co-host with a smile and she said "Values, Values, Values!" Does anyone else see a problem with this? A dominantly christian media group endorsing, even praising the votes for Bush! You know, the President who lied to his people about the motivations for war, and who waged a war based on intollerance of a belief structure and lifestyle, and who's decisions in office have been motivated by materialism almost completely. I'm talking about the war on terrorism [the belief structure and lifestyle] and OIL [materialism], and the hundreds of our own people who have been sent to their deaths. And a christian network praises this man publicly! I'm ashamed. I remember a history lesson about a war waged based on beliefs and maybe materialism... The Crusades. Ok, so I haven't researched any of my theories to support this posting yet. I don't know that exact history of the Crusades, and I don't know what Bush specifically said were his motivations for war, but I'm eager to find these things and further elaborate. If any of you agree or disagree please tall me and give support for your claims so I can offer coherent support for mine. -Brad

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 12:51 am
checkyourfacts: John Kerry's Concession Address to Supporters at Fanueil Hall

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. You just have no idea how warming and how generous that welcome is, your love is, your affection, and I'm gratified by it. I'm sorry that we got here a little bit late and a bit short.

Earlier today, I spoke to President Bush, and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory. We had a good conversation and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need – the desperate need – for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together. Today, I hope that we can begin the healing. In America it is vital that every vote count, and that every vote be counted. But the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal process.

I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail. But it is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio. And therefore, we can not win this election.

My friends, it was here that we began our campaign for the presidency. And all we had was hope and a vision for a better America. It was a privilege and a gift to spend two years traveling this country, coming to know so many of you. I wish that I could just wrap you in my arms and embrace each and every one of you individually all across this nation. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

[Audience member: We still got your back!]

Thank you, man. And I assure you – you watch – I'll still have yours.

I will always be particularly grateful to the colleague that you just heard from who became my partner, my very close friend, an extraordinary leader, John Edwards. And I thank him for everything he did. John and I would be the first to tell you that we owe so much to our families. They're here with us today. They were with us every single step of the way. They sustained us. They went out on their own and they multiplied our campaign, all across this country.

No one did this more with grace and with courage and candor. For that, I love than my wife, Teresa. And I thank her. Thank you. And our children were there every single step of the way. It was unbelievable. Vanessa, Alex, Chris, Andre and John, from my family, and Elizabeth Edwards who is so remarkable and so strong and so smart. And Johnny and Cate who went out there on her own just like my daughters did. And also Emma Claire and Jack who were up beyond their bedtime last night, like a lot of us.

I want to thank my crewmates and my friends from 35 years ago. That great ‘band of brothers’ who crisscrossed this country on my behalf through 2004. Thank you. They had the courage to speak the truth back then, and they spoke it again this year, and for that, I will forever be grateful.

And thanks also as I look around here to friends and family of a lifetime. Some from college, friends made all across the years, and then all across the miles of this campaign. You are so special. You brought the gift of your passion for our country and the possibilities of change, and that will stay with us, and with this country forever.

Thanks to Democrats and Republicans and independents who stood with us, and everyone who voted no matter who their candidate was.

And thanks to my absolutely unbelievable, dedicated staff, led by a wonderful campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill, who did an extraordinary job. There's so much written about campaigns, and there's so much that Americans never get to see. I wish they could all spend a day on a campaign and see how hard these folks work to make America better. It is its own unbelievable contribution to our democracy, and it's a gift to everybody. But especially to me. And I'm grateful to each and every one of you, and I thank your families, and I thank you for the sacrifices you've made.

And to all the volunteers, all across this country who gave so much of themselves. You know, thanks to William Field, a six-year-old who collected $680, a quarter and a dollar at a time selling bracelets during the summer to help change America. Thanks to Michael Benson from Florida who I spied in a rope line holding a container of money, and turned out he raided his piggy bank and wanted to contribute. And thanks to Alana Wexler who is 11 years old and started kids for Kerry all across our country. I think of the brigades of students and people, young and old, who took time to travel, time off from work, their own vacation time to work in states far and wide. They braved the hot days of summer and the cold days of the fall and the winter to knock on doors because they were determined to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans. They worked their hearts out, and I wish… you don't know how much they, could have brought this race home for you for them, and I say to them now, don't lose faith.

What you did made a difference, and building on itself -- building on itself, we go on to make a difference another day. I promise you, that time will come. The time will come, the election will come when your work and your ballots will change the world, and it's worth fighting for.

I want to especially say to the American people in this journey, you have given me honor and the gift of listening and learning from you. I have visited your homes. I have visited your churches. I've visited your union halls. I've heard your stories, I know your struggles, I know your hopes. They're part of me now, and I will never forget you, and I'll never stop fighting for you.

You may not understand completely in what ways, but it is true when I say to you that you have taught me and you've tested me and you've lifted me up, and you made me stronger, I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.

But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that -- that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years. I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that.

Now, more than ever, with our soldiers in harm's way, we must stand together and succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror. I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic Party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals.

I believe that what we started in this campaign will not end here. And I know our fight goes on to put America back to work and make our economy a great engine of job growth. Our fight goes on to make affordable health care an accessible right for all Americans, not a privilege. Our fight goes on to protect the environment, to achieve equality, to push the frontiers of science and discovery, and to restore America's reputation in the world. I believe that all of this will happen -- and sooner than we may think -- because we're America. And America always moves forward.

I've been honored to represent the citizens of this commonwealth in the United States Senate now for 20 years. And I pledge to them that in the years ahead, I'm going to fight on for the people and for the principles that I've learned and lived with here in Massachusetts.

I'm proud of what we stood for in this campaign, and of what we accomplished. When we began, no one thought it was possible to even make this a close race. But we stood for real change, change that would make a real difference in the life of our nation, the lives of our families. And we defined that choice to America.

I'll never forget the wonderful people who came to our rallies, who stood in our rope lines, who put their hopes in our hands, who invested in each and every one of us. I saw in them the truth that America is not only great, but it is good.

So here -- so with a grateful heart -- I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I've come to know our vast country so much better. Thanks to all of you and what a privilege it has been. And that prayer is very simple: God bless America. Thank you.

--------------------About the Speech--------------------

I'm posting the transcript of Kerry's speech for the benefit of those of you who weren't able to see him deliver it. Please, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Even at the end, I'm impressed with Kerry. It was terribly magnanimous of him not to drag out the race the way he could have, not to create any more controversy and division over the election. He's a very big man, and I have a terrible amount of respect for him. He conducted a good campaign, had the better platform and credentials, and lost by a hair. I've heard the popular vote brought up so many times in the last two days (funny, the popular vote wasn't important to the Republicans in 2000) but that number really didn't matter. When it came down to it, Kerry gave the election to Bush yesterday. And you Republicans can't accept that. You can't say anything nice about the man and its disgusting. Bush didn't win until Kerry made his concession speech, because in our country tv "journalists" who cast states in particular directions don't decide elections; the popular vote doesn't decide elections; Bush wouldn't have won until the electoral college voted, because that's how the electoral process works. Kerry was a good man not to put pressure on the electoral college vote. But you can't say that. Kerry, best wishes to you. For a few months, you made me want to be a Democrat.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 12:19 am
checkyourfacts: (no subject)

Tuesday and Wednesday were the most disappointing days of my year. Apparently, the ignorance of America was even more widespread than I'd imagined. I was really hoping that the student vote could push the Bush administration out of office, because I'm tired of the lies. This has been one of the most dismal presidencies our nation has ever endured. I'm just...I'm flabbergasted. How can you re-elect him? How can you have any faith left in the government?

Sigh.

It's too much to try and put into an introductory paragraph. The thing is, I'm not alone. There are a number of well informed, very opinionated people like me who are at a loss to come to grips with what has happened. We don't want the American people to make this kind of mistake again. So we created this community, to coalesce our efforts into one driving force to be able to reach as many people as possible while drawing from multiple sources.

Our job isn't to make you hate Bush. Our job, our charge is to show you the truth. Everyday you're subjected to rhetoric, opinions and lies by the media and the administration. We're going to research for you, summarize for you, and present it in hopefully a concise and clear method. I'm confident that the aggregate effect of our work will make you despise the administration for what it really is. You'll be amazed at what is going on on Pennsylvania Avenue, as well as on the international stage. And we're going to show you.

That's what this community is for. We're going to make a case for America. Our country, the beacon on a hill, is crumbling under the irresponsible management of President Bush and his cadre of neo-con cronies. If we're ultimately successful, we will make you think. I'm confident that rational actors will come to same decision in the political situation we find ourselves in. America, it is time to wake up. It is time to think for yourselves again. It is time to stop being inundated with what the television shows you and the soundbytes that surround you like a swarm of stinging insects. You should be offended by the direction our country is headed, and the way the media and the government feels they can treat you. You are in Plato's cave, and we are going to pull you away from the dancing shadows and show you the light of day.

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