Wednesday, June 29

We Were Both Wrong

Via Daily Pepper, which I couldn't get to open all morning yesterday or I would have left this as a comment, the Washington Post seems to have taken enough notice of the Downing Street memos that it's required to offer up some faux balance:

"Supporters of the administration contend, by contrast, that the memos add little or nothing to what is already publicly known about the run-up to the war and even help show that the British officials genuinely believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."

I have a couple of problems with the ol' "everybody thought there were WMDs" routine. Namely:

1) I also believed, prior to the war, that the US government was supposed to know fucking more than I do about such matters.

2) With the keen insight of the military history dilettante, I also supposed that an Iraq which possessed enough WMDs to pose a credible threat might have thought open knowledge of the fact to be a greater security measure than keeping it a secret.

3) Again, in my wholly unlettered way it seemed likely that an Iraq which had a small, hidden nuke stockpile somewhere might be, I dunno, more likely to use it in the case of invasion than, say, in the face of international pressure.

4) In either case, this winds up like the Cuban Missile Crisis, where said nukes cannot be fired without giving up the game, which would be madness. But then:

5) They kept telling me Saddam was a madman.

6) Finally, the thing that's bothered me all along is, I could, until recently, pop over to MapQuest and view a satellite photo of my own backyard, which showed the big trees, the roof of the house and garage, and a chunk of lawn. My suspicion is that US spy satellites are actually a bit more powerful than what MapQuest was putting out. And I'm not real strong on geography, but it seems to me there aren't many trees to get in the way of the snapshots of every square foot of Iraq we've no doubt been taking for the past fifteen years or more.

So the whole idea that everybody just guessed wrong on nukes, which was the only argument we could make that justified an offensive war leaves me a tad unconvinced. But I'm sure WaPo knows best.


Anonymous said...

Try again, use English.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly an I Told You So, more of a They Told Us So.
The inspectors were all saying, look, there's nothing there.
The UN was saying give us some time to work.
Bush the Elder had a very thought out set of reasons for not removing Hussein from power. Most of which, oddly enough, we're watching play out.
We now find out, though I'm not exactly surprised, considering everything we knew about the man at the time, let alone what we know about him now, that Bush was being told that there was no excuse for invasion, and that he simply didn't care.
And does everybody remember *why* the Administration banged the WMD drum so hard?
It was the only even remotely reasonable lie they had. They couldn't come out and say, "We're invading to control the region because it is of strategic importance to us and our allies," that's a war crime.
They didn't *want* to say that it was because Saddam was abusing his people and that was all the reason anybody should need to get involved.
Why did they specifically reject that one?
Because as evil a prick as Hussein was, there were, and still are, places that are far worse, but that we have no interest in getting involved, because they're poor, and out of the way. Not to mention the ones who routinely commit atrocities against their citizens but happen to be our buddies.
So all of this "Freeing the Iraqi people because we are a wonderful and generous country" crap is especially ugly in context.
I'm sure there are lots of people in Rwanda who could have used some generosity of spirit on our part.
I don't know if we had a moral obligation to intervene there, simply because I don't know that we could have been successful. But I know that we had a bigger moral obligation to put feet on the ground in Rwanda than in Iraq, where we could have helped a hell of a lot more by just easing our sanctions.

So, no. I didn't believe them. They were managing to not-quite-lie over alleged links betwen 9/11 and Iraq, and had at that point lost all credibility with me.
Every time I hear some jackass pundit say "Well, we all thought there were WMD," or "Everybody believed the evidence," I throw something at the TV. 'Cause it just ain't so. A *lot* of people damned well didn't, and come to find out, even our president was one of them.

Impeach. Then let's see if we can't put him in jail. No one's above the law, Mr President.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for noticing! The site is back up after some crabby e-mails to the folks who must run their servers out of a garage somewhere in Quebec ...

Anyway, I'm with you. I thought that the people running the country were supposed to be smarter than me. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking. A problem, with this administration. Hokie was saying this administration is getting all necrophiliac with Nixon's corpse, but I think the Nixon Admin was downright evil. Smart, but evil. As for the guys we've got in there now, I think they're just dumber than bricks. Should I be giving them more credit?

Anonymous said...

It's a theory, Pepper, one my partner subscribes to.

But as far as I can tell, the only smart one in the Bush family at the moment is GHWB, and GWB has apparently *never* listened to him. He seems to be hell-bent on doing the opposite of his dad's advice, a lot of the time.

Even Molly Ivins is starting to back off her assessment that Dubya isn't a stupid man.

My take is that whole reality-based community thing. It looks an awful lot to me like they just don't realize the facts will publicly defy them. Magical thinking, I assume. "If we're doing the right thing, how can we fail? And it must be the right thing, or we wouldn't want to do it."

In Dubya's own case, I think he has two serious flaws, that combine badly: He's never willing to admit he screwed up and to try to reassess and fix things, at least not in public; and he doesn't seem to have *ever* realized his decisions affect people he doesn't know. It's like if he doesn't know their names, they don't exist. Cut welfare? Why not? Who uses that anyway? If there were people that poor, he'd know about it. What do you mean there are poor people dying of exposure? Where? Oh, well, okay, sure, maybe there *are* a few, but they'll stop being lazy and get jobs or something, and then you'll see how well that policy works.

I don't know if that's stupid or just monumentally callous, but it's definitely not smart.

It's also unworthy of us as a nation, and unworthy of our president.

Anonymous said...

I don't even think Dominionism would be that big a danger at the moment if the Bush people weren't indulging any who claim to be Born-Again as if they were a second grade Christmas pageant that remembered all the words.
There's a lot of enabling going on there, from both sides.

I spent the last four years, basically, saying in an increasingly appalled tone, "We were *promised* he had smart friends!" and seeing precious little evidence of it.
I still haven't settled on a plaintive wail for this term. I'm leaning towards "Okay, *humans* deserve extinction, but do we *have* to take the frogs with us?"
It's kind of wordy, though.

And, okay, Hokie, maybe the Little Prince isn't dirt-clod level stupid. None of the boys are, from what I've read. But none of them can hold a candle to their dad, either (and note, I'm not saying I *like* Bush the Elder, I'm just saying he's always struck me as a fairly canny string-puller), and Dubya's probably the dimmest flicker.
So there's a difference between "is he as stupid as he acts", and "is he stupid".
I'm closer to the latter point than the former, but I'm definitely between the two.

Anonymous said...

Dubya's supposed smarts are always tied to his ability to "connect with the people" or some such platitude-- in other words, to sell his agenda to the citizenry.

We have always attributed intelligence to our grifters, con artists, and snake oil salesfolk, even as they are picking our pocket while telling us we got trouble right here in River City.

But there's a difference here, in that greed isn't the motivator for Bush's marks-- they just rilly rilly rilly wanna believe that their President wouldn't bullshit them about something as serious as this.

But he did. That doesn't make him smart; that makes him an asshole.