February 15th, 2007

Oh, those lying neocons

[Apologies for the delay, but part II of "Democracy, its spread, and the neocons" will be coming tomorrow.]

Commenter TC asserts in yesterday’s thread on neocons and democracy that neocons lie for strategic reasons, and that Paul Wolfowitz actually admitted to lying to the American people about the reasons for the Iraq War:

You might recall…that it was Paul Wolfowitz’s own admission that the WMD story was simply the most ‘convenient’ one available – and that regime change, preventative (imaginary) war-was the real rationale.

In the above comment, TC is backing up this earlier comment of his in the same thread, in response to a challenge by commenter Ariel to come up with a specific instance of neocon lies:

It’s neoconservative doctrine–Wilsonian stuff–’lying for the survical of the state’.

If you don’t know that than you don’t know anything about neoconservatism–for the neo-con’s the ends jusfify the means.

I don’t need to do research for you.

This is a common meme, and one of its favorite illustrations is the Wolfowitz interview statement that TC references, which was widely characterized by the MSM as an admission that the WMD argument for the war was only used because it was “convenient,” not because it was believed or was important.

Of course, as it turns out, if one actually does do the research for oneself, that is not what Wolfowitz really said.

Fancy that.

Even though this is very old news, I bring it up now because I think it’s both instructive and typical of the sort of distortions I’ve spoken of so often, and it’s also relevant to the series I’m writing at the moment.

Here’s a discussion of the issue at Patterico, and here’s the acerbic Christopher Hitchens’s take on the mischaracterization of Wolfowitz’s remarks.

What did Wolfowitz actually say (and see the full transcript of the Wolfowitz interview if you have the patience to wade though the entire thing, which I freely admit I have not done)? This is the statement involved:

The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.

It is crystal clear that Wolfowitz was saying something quite the opposite of the MSM characterization of his remarks–and that either journalists have no reading comprehension, no ability to express themselves in English, or are purposely distorting his remarks; take your pick.

Wolfowitz is not saying WMDs were a cooked-up excuse or a meaningless one or even–in the widely disseminated headline about his remarks–a merely “convenient” one. He was saying that, in a bureaucracy in which many different departments with understandably different emphases are trying to make a policy statement together, it makes sense to emphasize the policy statement on which they all agree–and in this case it was WMDs. It was a real and important reason at the time (although subsequent events have made it clear that the intelligence relied on was deeply flawed), so real and so important that all involved happened to agree on it. Perhaps it was even the one reason on which they all did agree (and, by the way, count the Clinton administration and most of the world as in on that agreement).

We can–and have–argued about WMDs ad nauseum. The evidence is that Saddam didn’t have them, but the evidence is that he wanted to, and that he had the power and the plans to reconstitute his WMD programs as soon as sanctions were lifted. But that’s not the point here; the point is what Wolfowitz actually said in his interview and how this reflects on the issue of purported Machiavellian neocon lies.

It’s a meme that will not die, and it’s both connected to and symptomatic of the demonization of, hatred towards, and misunderstanding of neocons. It also illustrates the typical sloppiness of the work of the MSM, and the use made of that sloppiness by polemicists such as TC in spreading the word.

And now I’m going to quote Winston Churchill again. Yes indeed, I’m sure that, as another commenter pointed out, there are many who despise the man. I don’t admire everything he ever did, but I most definitely greatly admire many things about him, and one of them is his way with an aphorism. And it was Churchill who made the following wonderful statement, as true today as it ever was when he first said it:

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

110 Responses to “Oh, those lying neocons”

  1. gcotharn Says:

    The root cause is the left’s lack of skill at 1)logically defending their principles, and 2) breaking down the logic of conservative principles. Thus the leftist resorts – again and again and again – to some form of ad hominem. To prop up the most delicious ad hominem, the leftist resorts – again and again and again – to mischaracterizing what a conservative has said. And again and again and again and again, ad infinitum.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Well put, gcotharn. Could you please say that again?

  3. Ariel Says:

    I had a feeling the Wolfowitz quote was less than accurate (would mean that it was lie?). I remember quite distinctly that the WMD issue was the only one that the MSM would give a full airing, as well as the uneasy feeling that this was a bad basket to put all one’s eggs in. The Joint Reolution gave more than sufficient reasons for removing the Baathist dictator.

    I am also quite disgusted with those that parrot the “Iraqi’s never greeted the Americans as liberators”. The Kurds did, the Shia did when they were comfortable believing we would finish the job (and not leave them literally hanging as in the “multi-lateral” first war), but few of the Sunni did, as if they would when they were the ones in power. I believe that you, Neo, ran a post on that issue with an excerpt from a Brit, or am I confused?

    I have to agree with gcotharn, although both sides suffer from the affliction, the left has a greater tendency to not correct itself, but change the subject like Lucy to Charlie Brown.

  4. Ben Says:

    Mixed feelings here.

    If “regime change” was the secret goal and “WMD’s” just a cover, why would they have given it away with a name like “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, when they could have done “Operation No Nukes for Saddam”.


  5. Ariel Says:

    Ben, alliteration.

    Read Hitchens essay, and this was wonderful: “with the practice of what, if anyone else were to be the target, the left would already be calling “demonization.”"

  6. Ariel Says:

    Oops, forgot the “?” after alliteration. Changes the meaning a bit.

  7. Richard Aubrey Says:

    TC & Co. know better.
    But,as Neo demonstrates, it takes far more effort to refute a lie than it does to lie.
    For which reason the refuters are likely to quit first, leaving the field to the liars.
    For lefties, that’s victory and is the motivation for lying over and over despite being refuted over and over. Eventually, the lie will be standing by itself, unrefuted.
    They know it. We know it.
    I hate to project more wonderfulness to the ‘net than it may deserve, but it’s possible that the ‘net will ease the refutation, while recording every iteration of the lie, so the point can be made about one or another individual liar.

    I hope.

  8. Onion Volcano Says:

    As long as we’re talking about the dreaded neocons again, there’s an article in the New York Times about the Bush administration subverting and taking over civil service.

    The article (by Paul Krugman, if you want to look it up) claims that the Heritage Foundation told Bush in 2001 to “take over” Civil Service, placing Bush loyalists in key positions over those who were better qualified.

    Rather than trust the New York Times, I looked up the Heritage Foundation’s document itself: http://www.heritage.org/Research/GovernmentReform/BG1404.cfm

    Almost halfway down the page, there it is: “This in turn means that the Office of Presidential Personnel (OPP) must make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second, and that the whole governmental apparatus must be managed from this perspective.”

    Well, that’s not good. If I’m in civil service and an unskilled, inexperienced guy more ideologically in tune with the president gets promoted over me, I’m going to be pissed.

    So what about this? It’s not some wacky liberal blog making these accusations. It’s the Heritage Foundation itself, giving step-by-step instructions.

  9. Ariel Says:

    “because the best qualified are already in the career positions and part of the status quo–the permanent government.”

    The above was a little farther on. If you have ever seen “Yes, Minister” or “Yes, Prime Minister”, you would fully understand how the Federal Bureaucracy can be a “Permanent Government”, and actually defeat the promulgation of the policies of the elected government. It is a brilliant British TV series, and should be included in American civics classes.

    The thrust of that portion of the document was that changes can’t be made if you simply promote those vested in the system, even though they will be the most competent and experienced. And those picked need to be loyal to the administration or they will go “native”, and reform will be defeated. Pragmatic, not nefarious.

    Krugman, as usual, is a moronic hack who either cherry-picks out of context, or can’t understand what he reads, or skims to get what he needs. This is just one further example.
    To think he made it through graduate school in economics. Proof that PhD can also stand for “permanent head damage”. No offense to those with PhDs that stand for Doctor of Philosophy.

    Obviously, you hit a nerve.

  10. Onion Volcano Says:

    Thanks, Ariel; I have indeed seen the shows you mention. Hadn’t thought of it that way.

    I will say, however, that the document in question is unfortunately worded. Krugman didn’t have to work that hard to make the whole affair sound menacing.

  11. Thomas Says:

    Its only lie number one IMO. Number two is that even if there is any such ideological construct such as neoconservatism, that it is lock step steeped in the use of lies or that it has as a tenant that the ends justify the means.

    The way lefties use ‘neocon’ reminds me a lot of the way the concept of the ‘kulak’ was used in the past. Mostly an Orwellian style false concept, a ‘goldstein’, used to rally the troops in their two minute hates.

  12. Thomas Says:

    “Onion Volcano | 02.15.07 – 5:43 pm | #

    Thanks, Ariel; I have indeed seen the shows you mention. Hadn’t thought of it that way.”

    I just want to second Ariel and say that is indeed the way conservatives see the US government organs*. They are staffed, overwhelmingly (ie, 80-90%), with pro big government Democrats. Ergo, we may win the elections, but our preferred policies are stalled or undermined by the unelected government workers. Ergo the need to put some conservatives into them when we win an election….

    * including the ones that conventional wisdom might suspect would be naturally inclined towards conservative (such as the CIA)…

  13. jgr Says:

    I have never listened to the WMD argument. It’s simply a way of obfuscating the facts. It’s simplistic enough to please the Left. It fits sound bites well. What I would like to do is incarcerate some of the serious WMD criers in a cell and indoctrinate them about the 12th imam. Let them see radical Islam– for the first time. And, yes, it would take incarceration to get their attention.

  14. bird dog Says:

    Not to be a pest, but Churchill was quoting a famous Mark Twain line, I believe:

  15. Justaguy Says:

    jgr | 02.15.07 – 7:03 pm | #

    Yes, we should imprison those that disagree with our knowledge of the secret islamic plan, so that we never have to have a police state and we preserve our freedoms.

    Heck, is it opposite day again in wingnut world already?

  16. Wild Rice Says:

    …a famous Mark Twain line…“:

    But Mark Twain is problematic for Neocons. Why? Because he opposed previous instants of US imperialistic policies. It is much safer to stick with a nasty old imperialist like Churchill.

  17. TC Says:

    “It is crystal clear that Wolfowitz was saying something quite the opposite of the MSM characterization of his remarks–and that either journalists have no reading comprehension, no ability to express themselves in English, or are purposely distorting his remarks; take your pick.”

    Fancy that. The MSM says exactly what Wolfowitz says – that WMD was an issue that was agreed on – one that would conviently garner the support needed for a war that otherwise would have been laughed out of congress and the UN.

    I don’t need to mention that the WMD claims were false – and that there was more than enough evidence to suggest that Saddam didn’t have WMD – and that had the Bush administration waited for inspectors to do their job there would have been no basis for the invasion of Iraq – at least in the eyes of the international community – Iraq WAS NOT a threat to the security of the United States.

    How in god’s name to you think saying something a different way changes a simple, verifiable fact?

    You have to believe people are unbelievably stupid to present it as such Neo.

    I don’t have time at the moment to dwell more specifically on the topic – but I will be back to point out how ridiculous your assertions are…

  18. TC Says:

    btw – Hitchen’s article doesn’t do what you claim it does either…

  19. Lee Says:

    Has anyone noticed that with an actual topic of discuasion at hand, the “lefties”(WR in particular) still feel the need to counter, not just Churchill in general, but EVERY posting that shows agreement or favorability of him? It’s as if they’re the horses from the movie ‘Young Frankenstein’ reacting instinctively to the name “Blucha!”

  20. a guy in pajamas Says:

    TC: Fancy that. The MSM says exactly what Wolfowitz says – that WMD was an issue that was agreed on – one that would conviently garner the support needed for a war that otherwise would have been laughed out of congress and the UN.

    Really? Wolfowitz says ‘exactly’ that the war would have otherwise been laughed out of congress? I think your definition of ‘exactly’ is from another language, or an alternate reality, perhaps.

    I don’t need to mention that the WMD claims were false

    No, the WMD claims, specifically that Saddam Hussein had not fulfilled his side of the 1991 ceasefire agreement, was not fully cooperating with inspections, and that there was every reason to believe that he had WMDs and WMD programs, were all true. That we didn’t find WMD stockpiles isn’t even relevant; there were excellent reasons for believing we would find WMD stockpiles. We DID find programs that could have been reactivated once sanctions were lifted. There is also some evidence that WMDs were trucked to Syria prior to the invasion. And Saddam was clearly in violation of UN resolutions 678 and 687, which authorized war as a consequence of noncompliance.

    – and that there was more than enough evidence to suggest that Saddam didn’t have WMD

    For example? I mean, March 7, 2003, Blix’s final report to the UN – Saddam was not fully cooperating with inspections, tons of chemical weapons agent unaccounted for. Pretty clear to me.

  21. stumbley Says:

    “I don’t need to mention that the WMD claims were false – and that there was more than enough evidence to suggest that Saddam didn’t have WMD”

    If you “don’t need to mention” it, then don’t.

    Or, you could actually admit that the intelligence agencies of virtually the entire world agreed that Saddam had WMDs, that the some of the most vociferous WMD deniers today were some of the most insistent that Saddam did have WMDs, and that he had fooled virtually the whole world. Really, this is such a tired argument that holds no water any more; it’s not the only reason we went to war, and it’s not necessarily false. We have yet to investigate the whole of Iraq for weapons caches; we’re finding stashes of weapons daily. Iraq’s a big country…and Syria is very close and cooperative.

  22. Ariel Says:

    TC, you must be on painkillers since Neo wrote only “acerbic Christopher Hitchens’s take on the mischaracterization of Wolfowitz’s remarks”, which is exactly what the Hitchens essay was. Did you read it or skim for self-justification?

    You conveniently side-stepped what her entire post was about. You implied to me that Wolfowitz revealed the neocon’s lied, through this “convenience”. You hadn’t read Wolfowitz’s actual comment, had you?

    TC, the WMD evidence went both ways even into 2002. Like I said before, you filter through your own dogma every bit as much as any one here. The Hitchens comment was just plain stupid on your part, because all of us can read it. I’ve read it twice now trying to figure out how you could write what you wrote. Your going deeper into “out-of-ass” statements.

  23. Lee Says:

    When it comes to the left, since THEY never “mean” what they actually “say”(Kerry’s ‘wind up in Iraq’, O’Bama’s ‘waste’, etc.), it “must” therefore be true of the right. In this case, the “actual” words are given a construed “meaning”. Usually to bolster any FECKLESS position taken.

  24. Wild Rice Says:

    …which authorized war…“:


  25. Lee Says:



  26. Wild Rice Says:

    …the intelligence agencies of virtually the entire world agreed that Saddam had WMDs…“:

    Oh? Really? And when did this agreement take place?

    We have heard very little of the opinions of the various intelligence agencies regarding WMDs in Iraq.

  27. stumbley Says:

    “We have heard very little”

    “What do you mean, ‘we’—do you have a turd in your pocket?”

    -Warren Beatty, “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”

    You don’t get out much, do you, WR?

  28. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Well, shoulda checked first. Blix’s 3/7/03 report doesn’t say Saddam isn’t cooperating. My mistake. Try his 2/14/03 report.

    Hans Blix 2/7/03 Report:

    Another matter and one of great significance, is that many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were “unaccounted for”. One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded. If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not exist, credible evidence to that effect should be presented.

    We are fully aware that many governmental intelligence organizations are convinced and assert that proscribed weapons, items and programmes continue to exist.

    In my earlier briefings, I have noted that significant outstanding issues of substance were listed in two Security Council documents from early 1999 (S/1999/94 and S/1999/356) and should be well known to Iraq. I referred, as examples, to the issues of anthrax, the nerve agent VX and long-range missiles, and said that such issues “deserve to be taken seriously by Iraq rather than being brushed aside…”. The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions. This is perhaps the most important problem we are facing. Although I can understand that it may not be easy for Iraq in all cases to provide the evidence needed, it is not the task of the inspectors to find it. Iraq itself must squarely tackle this task and avoid belittling the questions.

    The 3/7/03 report does not explicitly restate this, but does say the same problems exist as previously noted.

  29. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Dang, date’s wrong on the link. That’s the 2/14/03 report. I’m too tired for this tonight.

  30. Lee Says:

    2003 SOTU: “The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax,…”. “The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin,…”. “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990′s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced “nucular” weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.”. “The British Government…”, “Our intelligence sources…”, etc. Wild Rice, here is your pre-war intelligence consensus. What part do you fail to understand?

  31. Ariel Says:

    Lee, he will never understand. He has to be right, no matter what. It’s a human failing which some have as an occasional hobby, but others make it a career.

  32. Lee Says:

    Ariel, haven’t quite figured them all out, yet. I think WR is just a “mirror”, i.e. he always comes to the opposite conclusion of any arguement. Swallowed the kool-aid, so it “must” be what I think it is. Others, like TC, for example, are here with the specific mission to obfuscate the truth. For whatever reason, his types are my particular “bugaboo”.

  33. Lee Says:

    Churchill was cool.

  34. Ariel Says:

    One of the most interesting films is Rashamon, where four witnesses to a crime come away with very different interpretations of the event. It had to do with their vantage points, both external and internal.

    That is what I see going on here. I had a good, good friend who was a Wobblie (International Workers of the World) with whom I spent probably months of arguing over all aspects political, life, the Universe, and everything. Over the last three we agreed the answer was 42. But on all things political we seldom agreed, but would work to find agreement. Our vantage points were too different for more than that.

    I see TC in that way, except for the Hitchens comment, where that came from I have no idea. As an aside, when my friend became a supervisor, the IWW kicked him out. He had become an oppressor, instantaneously. It was a rude awakening for him, the last I spoke with him he was moving more centrist politically. Rude awakenings can do that.

    Finally, the problem with this artificial world is that we can’t speak face to face, see the humanity, or lack of it, in each other. It’s sterile.

  35. Sally Says:

    Of the two trolls, you’ll have to cut Riceroni a little slack. He’s been waiting with breathless anticipation for a long time now for a prosecutor to step up and initiate war crimes proceedings against BushCo, and it just isn’t happening. He seems reluctant to try a citizens’ arrest of his own — I’ve no idea why — but as a consequence all he’s able to do, apparently, is go on neocon blogs and call Churchill a “nasty little imperialist”. Which is terribly effective, certainly, but somehow lacks the … satisfaction of having a fantasy fulfilled. Little wonder he’s reduced to drive-by snarks.

    TC, on the other hand, has never escaped from his fantasy, “neo-marxist” anti-semitic cocoon, and floats along blissfully burbling comments that are about as connected to reality as the daydreams of any standard paranoid conspiracy theorist.

    Neither one of them appreciates being bothered by facts.

  36. Lee Says:

    Although, the ‘blogosphere forum’ atmoshpere does have a few interesting advantages I think are interresting. I would say for all of us the annonymity gives a sense of “boldness”, per se. to more freely speak our minds. I myself feel more free to be “blunt”(insulting, sometimes I’ll admit), for example.

  37. Lee Says:

    But, that ability to instill “passion”, if you will, can also work against those who are intent on believing in spin or conspirscy. The true nature always “slips out”.

  38. Lee Says:

    And even worse for those whose intent is deliberate obfuscation for their agendas.

  39. Lee Says:

    “Interesting I think are interesting”????

  40. Lee Says:

    Yeah, another advantage: you can proofread your speech.

  41. Isaiah Hunahun Says:

    Rashamon (1950) — 2 days ago I recieved this film and ppl keep telling me to give it a watching. Hmmm, I just might, now.

  42. Ariel Says:

    If you like Shakespeare, see Kurasawa’s Ran, if you like Stanley Kubrick, see Kuraswa’s Kagemusha. And don’t forget The Seven Samurai for a Western. No Marlboro Man theme though. But then it was first.

    Lee, it’s the insulting part. There are no consequences for acting like a rabid two-year old. I’ve read things in comments that would have led to death or injury in a bar, and shunning most elsewhere.

  43. Ariel Says:

    And I fall into the same trap, which leaves me thoroughly disgusted with myself. I would like to say except when I lambaste Justaninanedweeb, as he deserves all the shame that can be heaped upon him, but even then I feel that I’ve dirtied myself.

  44. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Can we all agree then that Wolfowitz’s quote does not mean anybody lied, and that it *does* mean that the threat of weapons of mass destruction was the reason that was “emphasized” (your word, Neo), to make the case for the invasion of Iraq?

  45. armchair pessimist Says:

    Chuchill also said:

    In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

    And rightly so.

  46. Wild Rice Says:

    …does not mean anybody lied…“:

    I cannot see how how you can come to that conclusion. There was no evidence to support a conclusion that Iraq had WMD. Statements like, “We know that Iraq has WMD”, and, “We know where they are”, are lies. The administration did not “know” either that Iraq had WMD or where they were. Further our administration knew that they did not “know”.

  47. stumbley Says:

    “Can we all agree then that Wolfowitz’s quote does not mean anybody lied, and that it *does* mean that the threat of weapons of mass destruction was the reason that was “emphasized” (your word, Neo), to make the case for the invasion of Iraq?”

    Yes. And your point is….?

  48. a guy in pajamas Says:

    WR: There was no evidence to support a conclusion that Iraq had WMD.

    There was tremendous evidence. One bit of it I posted above, where in 1991 Iraq claimed to have 1000 tons of chemical agent, for which it couldn’t account in 2003. There was also 12 years of obfuscation — why would Saddam try to hide something he didn’t have?

  49. Ariel Says:

    “Can we all agree then that Wolfowitz’s quote does not mean anybody lied, and that it *does* mean that the threat of weapons of mass destruction was the reason that was “emphasized” (your word, Neo), to make the case for the invasion of Iraq?”

    UB, you’ve got an opening now run through it.

  50. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Thank you stumbley. My point is to try to head off the “WMD was *never” the MAIN reason for going to war” argument that always comes up whenever the point is made the WMDs weren’t found.

  51. Ariel Says:

    WR: There was no evidence to support a conclusion that Iraq had WMD.

    For godsakes, go back and read the comments at 02.16.07 – 12:08 am and 02.16.07 – 12:13 am. There was plenty of evidence, numerous intelligence agencies still thought he had them, even Blix’s report hedges on the question. They were wrong.

    This is from a comment on Neo’s post on Feith,

    “If you want it from the horses mouth, nice interview with Feith:


    douglas | 02.14.07 – 2:12 am | #”

    It will give you a better sense of the intelligence community, should you care to read it.

  52. Ariel Says:

    “My point is to try to head off the “WMD was *never” the MAIN reason for going to war” argument that always comes up whenever the point is made the WMDs weren’t found.”

    And perhaps you can give it wasn’t the ONLY reason for going to war, The ONLY reason being often implicit or explicit when it’s pointed out no WMD’s were found.

    I wish more people would actually read the Joint Resolution of Congress.

  53. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Sorry, but Wolfowitz’s statement is just not on its face proof that anyone lied. He simply states that among the three main reasons they had for going to war WMD was the one they decided to emphasize.

    Let’s look at the two meanings of “lie”:

    1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.

    2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

    I think we can all agree again that in the Bush Administration’s case for war, outright falsehoods were rare, but many statements were made or implied that conveyed the wrong impression, i.e, some things were presented as incontrovertible facts when in reality there were some serious doubts about them.

  54. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Ariel writes: “I wish more people would actually read the Joint Resolution of Congress.”

    Ah, so NOW Congressional Resolutions have meaning. How nice! ;)

    I have read it as it turns out, and besides the enforcement of the UN resolutions, which Wolfowitz didn’t seem to recall, the items fall under the 3 main categories he mentioned in the full quote: the threat of WMDs, Iraq’s link to terrorists, and Saddam’s tyranny over Iraqis.

    By Wolfowitz’s own admission, there was insufficient agreement about the terror links, and liberating Iraqis from Saddam was “not worth sending American kids to die for.”

    But given the failure to turn up the WMDs, and the tenuous links to Al Qaeda, liberating Iraqis seems to have become our primary mission.

  55. stumbley Says:

    UB: Look, we agree that the WMD argument was used as the most likely to “get people behind” going to war, so what? It wasn’t the only reason, it’s not the reason we’re still there, and it has nothing to do with success or failure in Iraq, so why do you keep harping on it? There are a number of really good strategic reasons to be in Iraq; a number of really good national security reasons to be in Iraq (and reasons for the mission to be successful); so drop this useless carping about WMD, okay?

    Nobody “lied”. Most in the government, most of the world’s intelligence agencies, Hans Blix, the UN, virtually everyone “thought” Saddam had WMD. The risk was too great to let the man remain in power.

  56. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Gee sorry stumbley, I was just trying to, um, you know, stay on topic.

  57. Ariel Says:


    Check out the link at 02.16.07 – 12:26 pm, my comment. It would put into perspective “the serious doubts”.

    As for Congressional Resolutions, some do and some don’t, but I did see it as a good summary of the stances that both Clinton and Bush took regarding Iraq, as well as Congress.

    So we didn’t find the WMDs, we should go home and leave the Iraqis to hang? We should have liberated Iraq the first go round.

    At least you gave me not the ONLY reason. And I haven’t called you a troll yet, either. That was a gratuitous reminder.

    I’d go on but I have to get away for awhile.

    I hope TCs back is getting better.

  58. stumbley Says:

    “tenuous links to Al Qaeda”

    Apparently al-Masri and “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” don’t count?

  59. armchair pessimist Says:

    Yep. Bush lied but good. Stupid, dumb, misunderestimated Dubya took world class statesmen and women like Kerry and Hillary to the cleaners.

    What O what would these innocents do if they ever had to face the sharks out there? Kim? Almawhatshizname? Putin? The Chinese?

  60. the Unknown Blogger Says:

    Stumbley, to my knowledge al-Masri and “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” were not operating in Iraq before we invaded it, hence they could not be used as a rationale for the invasion.

    Ariel, the “troll” remark I made was directed at our friend Sally, who defined me as such while accusing me of name-calling.

    As for what we should do now, I agree with the senior military officials who maintain that Iraq has no military solution, and that a political solution needs to be sought as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately the Bush Admin is lacking a bit in diplomacy skills and besides, around here diplomacy = appeasement.

  61. Sergey Says:

    In the best, only 15% of the most advanced, Anglo-Saxon populace are accustomed to use logic reasoning in situation evaluation. All others use more quick and reliable method of pattern recognition. The do not form this pattern themselves any more often than they do themselves house appliances. They get them ready from newspapers and TV commentators. There are two problems with this approach: first, press bias; second, these patterns (templates) in our days became obsolete and irrelevant very quickly. And this is a serious problem for democracy: its reliance on common sense makes it inadequate in times of rapid change, when common sense degenerates into common nonsense.

  62. Lee Says:

    UB, there is a difference when you put the word “non-binding” before “Congressional Resolution”.

  63. Lee Says:

    Ariel, in reference to earlier converastion: I agree to a certain extent about the “insulting” nature of the discussions. However, here no one can get into a fight, and besides, to a certain extent, we’re all big boys and girls here. My personal instinct(foible?) is to engage at the level I’m being engaged(in other words: ‘I’m not “above” coming “down” to your level). But if you notice, wheras stuff like that just “rolls off” most of us, it REALLY bothers the lefties particularly(UB’s conatant crying over “troll” label; one of countless examples from him and others). To me, that’s actually amusing in a humorously “sadistic” sort of way.

  64. Lee Says:


  65. Wild Rice Says:

    …on Feith…“:

    Feith has no credibility. Something that you fail to understand is that the US people are pushing the Neocons back to a dark corner in the basement where they belong. Bye bye Doug.

  66. Ariel Says:


    “amusing in a humorously “sadistic” sort of way”

    Now, that does have a certain appeal. I was raised by people born before the Spanish-American War and before the end of WW1, so I had a near Victorian sense of civility pounded into me. Ah, the things people do to their charges.

    Please, don’t let me stand in the way of simple pleasures.


  67. Ariel Says:


    So the tentative nature of intelligence went right over your head? Or failed to breach that unassailable wall? Whether Feith has credibility or not to you, he laid out an excellent description of the nature of the community.

    No matter.

  68. Wild Rice Says:

    …tentative nature of intelligence…“:

    So you agree that we did not know that Iraq had WMD.

    You seem to have missed the very real nature of the disastrous strategic position we find our selves in as a result of following intelligence of such a tentative nature.

  69. Ariel Says:

    Good spin, but not good enough. Terminal paralysis would be the result of your spin. The tentative nature is the process of weighing competing data and the resulting theories, but eventually a decision must be made. A real decision, not “we’ll wait for even more data until we’re certain”.

    Sorry, no sale.

  70. Wild Rice Says:

    Terminal paralysis…“:

    Which is what we have now.

  71. Lee Says:


  72. Ariel Says:


    Again good try, but the terminal paralysis was in the decision making process. No sale on that spin either.

    Can you say WAR WANKER?

  73. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Justaguy, if that’s your opinion, you are an utter moron for even wasting your time here.

    UB: I think we can all agree again that in the Bush Administration’s case for war, outright falsehoods were rare, but many statements were made or implied that conveyed the wrong impression …

    I don’t agree. Do you have evidence of this? (Transcripts, etc.)

    UB: I agree with the senior military officials who maintain that Iraq has no military solution, and that a political solution needs to be sought as soon as possible.

    There was never a military-solution-only plan. COIN mandates a primarily political solution, backed by police work and military force where necessary. That’s what we’ve been doing the last few years. You can see it in the billions we’ve put into Iraqi infrastructure and institutions, into training the Iraqi Army and police forces, into elections and government. That’s standard COIN operating procedure. And over about 80% of Iraq, it’s been successful.

    No one ever proposed a purely military solution; it was always a combined solution intended to get the Iraqis up and running on their own while providing the security necessary to allow that to happen.

    That was always the plan. If you were unaware of it, you haven’t been paying attention.

  74. Wild Rice Says:

    …in the decision making process.“:

    Which has begun to be addressed by last November’s elections. The American people are in a decision making mood.

    I’m really not trying to a sale to you. You’re irrelevant. Yesterday’s man. If you wish to become relevant your only option is to join the army and contribute to the “surge” (upon which, apparently, everything depends).

  75. a guy in pajamas Says:

    If we’re irrelevant, WR, why are you here?

  76. Ariel Says:


    Sorry, did my four years of service. Perhaps you could “make a difference”? Did you notice that a number of conservative Democrats were elected? Wonder what that means?

    Boy, that “you’re irrelevent” was a truly defining moment in argumentation.

  77. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Ariel, if I thought a discussion area was full of irrelevant dolts, I wouldn’t waste a moment on it. Would you?

  78. Ariel Says:

    Not if I had any self-respect.

  79. Wild Rice Says:

    …did my four years of service.“:

    Four years! This is our last chance in Iraq and we can only field an extra 20,000 troops and you quibble about four years! What sort of patriot are you? Twenty years would not be sufficient. Try forty years.

  80. Lee Says:

    WR is a lot like TC. He comes back because it’s his job. “Since our view of life will never share power with another, it cannot cooperate with the existing doctrines it condemns. It is obliged to fight by all available means until the entire world of hostile ideas collapses.” ‘Mein Kampf’ pg.677.

  81. Lee Says:

    BTW, WR, how long did you serve, fortunate one?

  82. Ariel Says:

    Four years less than I did?

  83. Lee Says:

    Served two years in the safety patrol in school, but don’t worry, WR; I’m not bitching about it. Thank you, Ariel.

  84. Lee Says:

    Just in case it went over your head, WR, I’m calling you a nazi.

  85. Ariel Says:


    As i wrote to UB, I don’t see lack of service as an indicator of a person’s character or bravery. My son will never be able to serve for physical reasons. I use other indicators. Which is also why I detest the “Chickenhawk” argument.

    However, your little bit of snotty sarcasm deserved a moment’s notice.

    But really, you should take the guy in pajamas and my advice. Show some self-respect.

  86. Ariel Says:

    I should really proofread. “you’re” at 02.17.07 – 1:30 am |

  87. stumbley Says:

    WR isn’t worth it, guys.

  88. Ariel Says:

    But, stumbley, self-respect is so important. OK, I’ll let him wander in the emptiness of no self-respect. But it hurts, man, it hurts.

    So what was this acronym COIN? And I know I’m going to feel very embarrassed.

  89. Wild Rice Says:

    WR isn’t worth it, guys.“:

    That is not true. I am worth it.

    Do not loose heart, guys. If you persist you may succeed. Some of your post are quite powerful. Ariel, your post about your son who would like nothing better than to fight and die, but cannot, so that we may make the US into a Neoconery is almost a classic. The pathos. And Lee, what can I say. You’re the man.

  90. Sally Says:

    Riceroni, as I’ve said before, may be just a dweeb, or just a lot of things, but he’s really just a troll — which means that his sole purpose is to annoy. Anybody can make a snarky comment as bait and then just watch fish rise to take it. The people who do this sort of thing repeatedly have various neuroses, including some variety of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and are generally quite nasty little people. Back when neo simply deleted them, they would squeal, for the short time their comments remained, about “censorship”, etc., but that’s just a common tactic of trolls who’s only real objective, apart from getting attention, is to so clutter up comments, derail discussions, muddy the waters, etc., as to shut down real debate — which is an irony as minor and pointless as their own lives.

    It’s best just to talk over their heads.

  91. stumbley Says:

    “It’s best just to talk over their heads.”

    …and that’s not very hard, really.

  92. Lee Says:

    Better to be “the man” than “the nazi” like you, Wild Rice.

  93. Lee Says:

    “Wild Reich”? “Nazironi”?

  94. Lee Says:

    It hurts! IT HURTS!

  95. Ariel Says:

    One thing I have noticed with Justaninanedweeb and Wild Rice, they can’t read and understand what you write. They are so looking for advantage or so looking to be condescending that they miss the meaning.

    I know they’re trolls, the emotionally stunted low-life of the Internet. However, I have one last thing to do.

    And by the way, WR, I was in the United States Coast Guard as a Gun Fire Control Technician. You know, the people that save lives, as well as go to war when called. The cutter that I was on went on 5 SARs and saved a number of lives. My cutter went into drydock after rescuing 2 badly burned crewman of a cargo ship because the speed our Captain maintained in 25 to 40 foot seas literally bent the bow and distorted the gun mount, if he hadn’t they would have died. I could go on about servicemen putting themselves in harm’s way for others, the Air Force does it as does the Navy. But it doesn’t mean anything to a self-righteous, adiabatic troll. Get some self-respect.

  96. neo-neocon Says:

    I don’t know whether the problem is lack of reading comprehension or purposeful misunderstanding, the better to repeat the Big Lie with a straight face (metaphorically speaking, that is).

    The new blog site holds some promise for better troll control.

  97. Ariel Says:

    I think it’s purposeful, Neo.

  98. Lee Says:

    And yet, Ariel, when your opinion and acceptance of facts differs from theirs, they not only feel the need to refute it, but to demean it as well. WR actually had the nerve to take your pride of service and twist it into “bitching” about how long it was in comparison to others, and that somehow, that proves he’s MORE of a patriot than you(notice he avoided answering exactly how long he served). As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty f’ed up.

  99. a guy in pajamas Says:

    Ariel, sorry. COIN = COunter INsurgency warfare.

  100. Ariel Says:


    Justaninanedweeb illustrates my, and your, point both at 02.17.07 – 4:58 pm |and 02.17.07 – 5:01 pm . As I wrote earlier, I don’t consider service as indicative of courage or character. My response to WR was becasue of the snotty sarcasm regarding my time in and my comment about my son not being able to serve, which was to further buttress my comments on character and courage. I volunteered and had papers going for both the Marines and Coast Guard (which is always capitalized, by the way). Chose the USCG because of both its humanitarian and military mission. The rate I chose made it likely that, in time of war, I would serve in some theater as dictated by the Navy, when the USCG is put under USN command.

    The “self-respect” had nothing to do with military service, but as to why WR would keep coming to a site full of those he characterized as “irrelevant”.

    Given that this was all spelled out earlier, excepting my volunteering, the complete misunderstanding had to be purposeful. This further confirms that trolls are the emotionally-stunted low-life of the Internet.

    Look forward to your new site.

  101. Ariel Says:

    a guy in pajamas,

    I had a feeling I was going to be embarrassed. Thanks for the definition of COIN.

  102. TC Says:

    Neo- Wolfowitz not only admitted that WMD was the ‘agreed upon’ motive that the administration would run with – they were going to to war illegally and they knew it – he later admitted(do some more research)that the reasons they are involved in Iraq was because of the oil!

    You can believe, Neo, whatever you want to be the reason for the Iraq war – whatever you choose to believe that justifies what is turning out to be a pretty horrible chapter in American and world history.

    But there in no ‘big lie’. The facts are there. And you haven’t got any on your side.

    And certainly you can have a website where you and other-like minded individuals can play make-believe and create whatever extenstential, alternate universe you like – but I think you’d do better to argue the ‘benefits’ of this war and these polices than to try to provide excuses or spin to cover up what are obvious facts – like Wolfowitz’s clear admission of manipulation of public fears. Which he and the rest knew were exaggerated or out outright lies…

  103. Ariel Says:

    “like Wolfowitz’s clear admission of manipulation of public fears. Which he and the rest knew were exaggerated or out outright lies…”

    And that is where you go where you say she is.

    I read it too, and I question your interpretation as much as you would mine. You transform your interpretation of what he said into the “facts” then draw conclusion from those “facts”. As I said before, you filter as much as anyone.

    Speedy recovery and good night.

  104. stumbley Says:

    “As I said before, you filter as much as anyone.”

    No doubt, Ariel, the back injury is from all the spinning.

  105. 'Tap' Says:

    TC, c’mon. At least READ the post and the links (the Hitchens link) that you are commenting on so you don’t sound like an idiot. Wolfowitz never said, much less ‘admitted’ that we were involved in Iraq for the oil.

  106. Ymarsakar Says:

    Perhaps it was even the one reason on which they all did agree (and, by the way, count the Clinton administration and most of the world as in on that agreement).

    I’m telling you Neo, Bush’s desire to attempt to get some kind of international “sanction”, “alliance”, or “agreement” not only with the other heads of state but within his own country (bipartisanship) really did him in.

    Instead of just going with the Pentagon’s ideas of invade, kill, and blow things up, he had to get a bunch of useless clap trap called WMDs. It made everyone of Bush’s allies concerning Iraq and the War on Terror waste copious, COPIOUS, amounts of time defending against the whatever WMD charge. The reason why the Left feels betrayed is because they spent hideous amounts of political capital and energy trying to downplay the WMD angle only to realize that they were fooled… and hell hath no fury like an outraged Leftist.

    Concerning illogic on the right, it seems to me that it is like a reverse pyramid. The ability of the right to function is not due to any preponderance of superior debate skills amongst the Shawn Hannity and Bill O’Reilly’s. But rather the grass roots level, the base. Where as for the Left, from follower, to marcher, to spiritual leader, to politician, to guy on the puppet strings, it reflects the same thinking, same flawed thinking, as mirrored down the line. There is no diversity there, the same tunnel vision occurs for one reason or another.

    The right has a synthesis, and even a synthesis will have bad parts. But for the Left, it is a rather more serious problems, because their mistakes are continously propagated, like you saw with TC. They have no desire to check that what they are saying is the truth, even if other people do it for them. They will do no research and they will not accept your research. They are functionally illiterate, and we’re only talking about the grass roots Leftists here. In some cases, the spiritual and propaganda masters of the Left are even worse, because they actually believe in their own propaganda, but they should know better than to do that.

    My observations are that Bush and conservatives are great when imitation meets life. Meaning the fake assuredness of the Left when met with real liberal action on the world stage, exposes the fakeness very well. But if Bush and Co starts “talking” like in the UN or about Blix this, UN that, WMDs where. Then the “fakeness” will not be exposed, instead the fakeness will craft an illusion and fool everyone.

    After all, it was only after Bush did something after 9/11, like with Afghanistan and Iraq, that truly forced the Left to show their true colors in a way that could be easily seen by people with potential like Neo here.

    The more that conservatives actually “do” in real life terms, the more that the fake knockoffs will be exposed for what they are compared to the genuine article.

  107. Gary Anderson Says:

    We went into Iraq to steal their oil. Plain and simple. The neocons lied because they didn’t want world opinion stating they were war criminals. They are war criminals. I am part Jewish, but I don’t defend Bugsy Segal. Nor can I defend Wolfowitz. He is a scumbag or really gullible. Probably the former. And he is unamerican.

  108. Gary Anderson Says:

    Wolfowitz apparently broke rules as the world banker. He is much like Bush, apparently thinking that he is above law.

  109. Lea Says:


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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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