October 3, 2003

Suspension of Disbelief: WMDs

Kay's Findings So Far: No Weapons
Chief U.S. weapons searcher David Kay reported Thursday he had found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a finding that brought fresh congressional complaints about the Bush administration's prewar assertions of an imminent threat from Saddam Hussein.
Keeping a stiff upper lip:
"I'm not pleased by what I heard today, but we should be willing to adopt a wait and see attitude ˜ and that's the only alternative we really have," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
That's the spirit, Pat!
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday "it will be unfortunate" if it turns out that intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq turns out to have been seriously flawed.

And those "mobile weapons labs"... it turns out they were probably for filling weather balloons with helium. Maybe Saddam was going to start giving speeches in a high-pitched voice.
The jury is out indefinitely for Bush supporters. That's the message I get when I talk to them. They'll wait as long as it takes to hang their hat on some scrap they find. No one will ever prove there weren't WMDs and the chances diminish daily that WMDs on the scale advertised by Bush & Co. will be found. But the jury is out indefinitely.

Considering the time spent thus far, the access we've had and the paltry results, I think it's reasonable to accept a tentative belief that the ability for Saddam to launch an attack in 15 minutes was not there. I think it's reasonable to believe that Saddam was not close to having nuclear capability which posed an imminent threat. As more and more time goes by, those that continue to believe that Saddam did pose an imminent threat do so without evidence. All they have is suspension of disbelief. Which, coincidentally, also happens to be important in enjoying fiction.
Posted by James at October 3, 2003 11:11 AM

Pat Roberts would have been pleased if Iraq had WMD?

That's somewhat twisted.

Posted by: julie at October 3, 2003 1:16 PM

Robers, I believe, has already expressed concern tat the administration may have used outdated informaiton to justify the Iraq war.

He's probably referring to that when he says he's not pleased.

Posted by: at October 3, 2003 1:34 PM

Er, Roberts.

Posted by: James at October 3, 2003 1:37 PM

Well, as a Bush supporter, I've long since lost my ability to suspend disbelief that liberals care to make actual assessments rather than declare the game over in their favor. What you (and the AP report that you cite) leave out in your description of the unclassified portion of the report (which is all that we've seen) is extremely telling. Like the 120 of 130 weapon caches (some up to 50 square miles) that have not yet been searched, and the evidence of human tests in prisons.

Funny how short memories can be. I remember, in the year before war became a real possibility, all the calls to end sanctions (which we now have evidence would have immediately been followed by an Iraqi rush for WMDs). Then I remember arguing why anti-war demands that the threat be "imminent" were foolish in these times. Oh, and then I remember this from the President's SOTU:

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations will come too late."

Huh. Doesn't look like a claim of "imminent threat" to me.

But you folks are right. Maybe we should have made a deal with Iraq like the Clinton/Carter masterpiece with North Korea. What's a smoldering Manhatten followed by nuclear war when there's politics to be played?

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2003 1:48 PM

No one is disputing that he once had weapons in the past. But his efforts to rebuild his infrastructure to anything even remotely close to the weapons that the UN found and destroyed we well-thwarted by sanctions. Heck, it didn't take the UN long to find weapons in Iran... probably because they existed.

"But the White House released photos taken by satellite that are said to show two Iraqi nuclear-weapons facilities that have been rebuilt since they were destroyed four years ago. They also show activity at what is described as an Iraqi chemical-weapons plant."


Did we lose these photos, or did they turn out to be inaccurate? The supposed existence of a nuclear weapons facility seems like it will play as pretty imminent to me.

"All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack. We are asking them to join us, and many are doing so," the president said. "Yet the course of this nation does not depend on the decision of others."


If your argument is that Bush did not portray or intend to portray Iraq as an imminent threat to us, then you've been drinking too much Bush & Co. Kool Aid, or maybe leaving Fox News on in the background while you sleep.

I'm sure that if we search long enough we'll find some aging leftovers that neo-con hawks can hang their hat on long enough to satisfy themselves. But the facts we currently have point to intelligence being twisted to push the war agenda. The heads of the intelligence committe have already complained about what they see as out of date intelligence being used.

Why did Bush and Co need to twist the facts? Wasn't the case for war strong enough to convince the American people? Apparently they didn't think so.

Posted by: James at October 3, 2003 2:12 PM


I honestly don't have time to go in search of those photos. There were photos of rebuilding at a chemical facility, and I know the Iraqis took the press to the nuclear facility that Israel destroyed in order to explain that all of the rebuilt buildings were for civilian purposes.

As for this: "All free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attack." That accords perfectly with the SOTU quotation that I offered above: the message was that we had to prevent attack from becoming imminent because post-9/11 imminence is the same as execution.

No twisted facts. Large swaths of the American people were already convinced.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2003 3:35 PM

Large swaths of the American people were already convinced.

Which puzzles me even more why Bush felt he needed to sex up the intelligence.

You mention that I only saw the unclassified part of the report. True. But presumably Roberts has access to the report, and he was not happy with what he saw.

Posted by: James at October 3, 2003 3:47 PM

To be fair (and I think this is why Dems never win, because we don't steamroll, we give our opponents a chance to voice their side of the argument, but I digress), I recall only reading of 45 minutes, though that was in Blair's "dodgy dossier."

To be cynical, I believe that this has been put forth as another case of "the ends justify the means." The intelligence was molded to fit the desire.

No one, with the possible exception of his mother, will say that Saddam is a jovial guy anyone would like to have over for tea. He's a sick bastard who obviously enjoyed the bowing and scraping that comes with terrifying your subjects. Still, that doesn't give us, or any other country, the right to invade Iraq or any other sovereign nation.

Where does it stop? Kim Jong Il is starving his people, but are we doing anything more than shooting our mouths off? Of course not, because North Korea actually _has_ weapons capable of reaching US soil, unlike Iraq. If Americans bothered to learn geography, they'd know that Iraq is pretty far away, and the chances of a missile being launched from there to here is not that great.

So. What country will be next? It's amazing that we have the arrogance to do such a thing.

Truly, though, I've thought all along that this invasion/occupation/liberation (fill in a -tion of your choosing) was nothing but a grand distraction from what's going on here.

1. The economy was, and still is, in the dumper. What better way to a) distract the American people and b) boost the economy? Well, "a" worked for a bit, but "b" sure didn't.

2. Revenge (Saddam nearly killed his daddy).

3. Arrogance. The pretend "cowboy" (from New Haven, CT) thought he'd just show 'em some American might.

I used to think it was unbelievable that people actually wanted this guy to be president. In the past three years, I've learned the following:

* Most people don't want to have to find out anything on their own, and if Fox News says it's so, it must be.

* Most people can't believe theyr'e being lied to on such a grand scale. It's less painful to deny it.

* Most people are threatened by smart people, and, like water, will seek their own level.

Why read the paper and find out what's going on? Why bother to get a world opinion from a news source outside our own borders? Why bother being informed?

Nixon, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, broke the heart of the American dream, and I believe that. Since his administration, people have become more than apathetic, they're cyincal to the point of actively not caring about which elected officials run their local, state, and federal governments. In fact, many think that "all government is bad." (Don't ask them who paves their roads, though).

I've taken up enough space here. I'll stop now, but for one last thing: sometimes, I feel like I'm yelling into a vacuum.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 3, 2003 4:39 PM

Sorry, but I forgot to ask: Where's Osama bin Laden? I'd feel less crabby if we had caught him, but, well, we were looking in the WRONG PLACE, weren't we?

Iraq: secular nation
bin Laden: not a nation, very religious

Oh, and what I said about yelling into a vacuum? Yes. Yes. Please make that "screaming" into a vacuum.

Thank you and good night.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 3, 2003 4:47 PM

I recall only reading of 45 minutes, though that was in Blair's "dodgy dossier."

I stand corrected.

Posted by: James at October 3, 2003 6:13 PM


I'd be more apt to believe that you libs give "opponents a chance to voice their side of the argument" if you hadn't proceeded to rattle off every liberal cliche about this administration that came easily to mind (and the myth about liberals being smarter). If you'd included the "selected" not "elected" thing, you'd have been the perfect parrot.

You've got a lot o' homework to do... first assignment: try to give the best answer that you can to each of your questions.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2003 8:10 PM

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