It’s now been exactly a decade since Charles Krauthammer told us that
Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.
Charles Krauthammer has not only had that five month period, but twenty-three other five month periods after that first one, for weapons of mass destruction to be found. It’s news to no-one that no weapons have been found. It’s news to no-one that the reason they haven’t been found is because they weren’t there in the first place.
It’s news to no one that Charles Krauthammer is still a columnist at the Washington Post, a syndicated columnist across the US, and a regular talking head on TV. It’s news to no-one that Fred Hiatt, his then-boss and fellow Iraq bullshit artist is still the editor of the Washington Post’s editorial page. Or that Jackson Diehl, who I heard at the time from Washington Post people was even worse than Hiatt, is still there too.
Conservatives and neocons attacked Hans Blix and every other Iraq war cautioner and dissenter with as much ink, talk and hatred that they could muster up and they didn't have to worry about any consequences for their actions because of their media accomplices. Atrios brought us the Friedman Unit after his laughable time tables.
The term is in reference to a May 16, 2006, article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) detailing the repeated use by columnist Thomas Friedman of "the next six months" as the period in which, according to Friedman, "we're going to find out... whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War.
So how many F.U.s have gone by so far since we attacked Iraq? What shall we call all those who fall into Krauthammer's paradigm?
(15 key slides from the infamous 2003 UN presentation making the case for war with Iraq, with anotations. Click the pause button on lower left if slides change too fast for you.)
Ten years ago today (February 5, 2003) then Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his infamous PowerPoint Presentation before a full session of the U.N., detailing "evidence" of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons development along with the development of advanced delivery systems.
(GlobalSecurity has the entire 45 slide presentation, plus videos, here.)
With a bit of Googling, I was able to find out just what became of each site/item depicted in these slides. Not a single item shown that day turned out to be true. While reviewing these slides, keep in mind that the United States went to war, and over 4,000 American troops (not to mention and untold number of Iraqi civilians) died based on the claims made in these slides.
(Author's Note: I suppose I have to tell insane Right-Wingers that this post should IN NO WAY be misconstrued as a "defense" of Saddam Hussein. The dictator of Iraq was a monster and earned his place in hell, but the world is FULL of evil dictators and the U.S. cannot be responsible for deposing all of them. Likewise, thousands of U.S. and coalition troops gave their lives fighting a war based on the "evidence" presented in this slideshow, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians died. In fact, arguably, more Iraqis died in our 8-year war than under the 24-year reign of Saddam Hussein.)
So Tony Blair was on This Week with Christiane Armanpour , plugging his new memoir "A Journey: My Political Life". Surprisingly, no one pelted him with eggs or shoes during the interview, nor were the words "war criminal" even mentioned, which must have been such a nice change of pace for the Poodle.
No, people like Tony Blair appear on these kinds of shows simply because they know no one will ever ask them truly uncomfortable questions -- not even Christiane Armanpour, who, instead of asking him about the death of Dr. David Kelly, pumps him about why politicians have affairs, asks about his relationship with alcohol and simply blows past his assertion that Iran must be stopped from getting a nuclear weapon. For a minute, I thought I was watching "Oprah":
AMANPOUR: Do you have regrets about Iraq?
BLAIR: You can't not have regrets about the lives lost. I mean, you would be inhuman if you didn't regret the death of so many extraordinary, brave and committed soldiers, of civilians that have died in Iraq, or die still now in Afghanistan. And of course you feel an enormous responsibility for that, not just regret. And I say in the book the concept responsibility for me has its present and future tense, not just its past tense.
AMANPOUR: I guess no surprises. There's zero apologizing for what happened in Iraq. You stick to your contention about the weapons of mass destruction, and if it wasn't weapons of mass destruction, then you say at least the byproduct would be getting rid of Saddam Hussein, and wouldn't the world be a better place without him? But you also talk about not comprehending the complexities that were going to be unleashed in Iraq. What precisely?
BLAIR: What I think we understand more clearly now is -- and this is something I didn't understand fully at the time of 9/11 -- in a sense, at that point you think there were 3,000 people killed in the streets of New York in a single day. And I still think it's important just to hold that thought in our mind, because I always say about this, the important thing is, if these people could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have.
And that really changed the calculus of risk all together. But what I understand less clearly at that time was how deep this ideological movement is. -- this is actually more like the phenomenon of revolutionary communism. It's the religious or cultural equivalent of it, and its roots are deep, its tentacles are long, and its narrative about Islam stretches far further than we think into even parts of mainstream opinion who abhor the extremism, but sort of buy some of the rhetoric that goes with it.
AMANPOUR: In your book your wrote that this is not something to be combated on an electoral cycle, this will take a generation.
Do you think everybody gets it? I mean, you see President Obama now faced with drawing down in Iraq, faced with ramping up in Afghanistan, but still putting a deadline on. What sort of message does that send as to the commitment to fight this?
BLAIR: I think it's perfectly sensible to set the deadline, provided it's clear that, as it were, that is to get everyone focused on getting the job done.
But in general terms, I think the answer to your question is no, I think a lot of people don't understand that this is a generational-long struggle. and I think one of the things we've got to have and one of the debates we've got to have in the west is you know are we prepared for that, and are we prepared for the consequences of it?
AMANPOUR: on Afghanistan in your book, you say, "What's happening is really simple. Our enemies think they can outlast us. Our enemies aren't alone in thinking that. Our friends do, too. Therefore, the ordinary folk think, I should make my peace with those who are staying, not with those who are going." I mean, I was there and I saw colonels and generals and soldiers and resources being deployed from Afghanistan to Iraq, and it had an impact.
BLAIR: I mean, I think there is an issue that is perfectly legitimate to talk about there.
AMANPOUR: Do you think the Americans took their eye off the ball there?
BLAIR: Well, I think people thought the thing was on a more benign trajectory than it turned out to be. I mean, that is the truth.
AMANPOUR: People were wrong
And I think, as I say, the best way to look at this is, if you analyze it by analogy or reference to revolutionary communism, the fact is you wouldn't have said at any point in time when we were facing that threat, well, you're not telling us we're going to have to spend a few more years on this, are you? People would have said, well, we'll spend as long as we need to spend, I'm afraid, and that's just it.
AMANPOUR: Given the focus on Afghanistan today wouldn't it have been better to not have diverted billions of dollars, the amount of resources, the amount of attention to Iraq. You could have waited.
BLAIR: I think what I would say to that is, it's a difficult question to answer but supposing we'd left Saddam --
AMANPOUR: But you could have contained him that was my point
BLAIR: Yes, I know but this is the issue and I think it's a really important issue. I don't think we would have contained him.
AMANPOUR: Why not?
BLAIR: Because the sanctions were crumbling --
AMANPOUR: But they were crumbling before 9/11.
AMANPOUR: Right after 9/11, all the countries who you were trying to keep on board, people like China, Russia, the French, even the left-winged chatterati, they would much preferred sanctions and containment to invasion.
BLAIR: Absolutely. But if you analyze the resolutions on sanctions and I was involved in all this, what actually happened was that they got watered down.
So my point to you is very simple. If we hadn't taken out Saddam, there would have still been consequences. Now what they are, we don't know. I can say I think he would have been a threat competing with Iran and someone else might say to me, well, actually he would have just been contained. We don't know. But my view was in the circumstances after 9/11, you had to send such a strong signal out on this issue. And incidentally don't ignore what actually did then happen. Libya gave up its WMD program. You know, Iran went, actually at the time, after 2003, went back into talks. North Korea rejoined six-party talks. You know, there was a lot that happened. And I personally felt, and I still feel, incidentally, that the single biggest threat we face is the prospect of these terrorist groups acquiring some form of nuclear, chemical, biological capability.
Um, let's back up a minute there, Tony. "Libya gave up its WMD program." Let's look a little more closely at your implied cause-and-effect there:
In fact, former Clinton administration official Martin Indyk indicated that as early as May 1999, at the outset of secret negotiations with American officials, Libya offered to give up its WMD arsenal. At that time, Tripoli was suffering through major economic difficulties brought on by the ongoing international sanctions and flawed domestic economic policies. In particular, Libya was unable to import oilfield technologies necessary to expand their oil production due to the economic sanctions. Libyan President Qadhdhafi is said to have realized at some point that in order to relieve Libya’s economic strife, he needed to mend fences with the United States. Mr. Indyk has explained that at the time the U.S. government was more concerned with resolving issues related to the Pan Am 103 attack, including securing compensation for the victims’ families and getting Libya out of the terrorism business. It was assessed then that Libya’s modest chemical weapons arsenal and infant nuclear program were not an imminent threat, and as a result, there was no urgency driving the U.S. to accept Libya’s offer to surrender its WMD. This, in turn, raises questions about whether the Bush administration and Tony Blair’s administration in the United Kingdom chose to have Libya declare its intention to relinquish its WMD programs in December 2003 in order to imply the success of American and British actions in Iraq.
AMANPOUR: Although many would say that that is a worst-case scenario, and it is speculation because there isn't really any evidence to support that --
BLAIR: No, here's the problem, Christiane. And it really is a problem. I don't know, and you don't know, and you're making a calculation of risk. And the thing is, when you're sitting in the hot seat of decision making, you've got to decide. Maybe if they got them, they'd never use them. But I don't think if I was a leader today and, certainly, this is the view I took as a leader then, I take the risk. that's the problem, that's where Iran is so difficult, you know? I had someone say to me just literally the other night, they said to me, come on, look, supposing Iran gets the nuclear weapon. it's not the end of the world I mean, Why should they want to use it? Why would they want to cause all that destruction?
Why would they - no. It's a perfectly sensible argument, you hear? And who knows they may be right. All I know is, if I was a decision maker, I wouldn't take the risk.
Yet, in June of 2006, Peter Hoekstra went on FOX News with ex-Senator Rick Santorum and tried to promote pre-1991 type munitions as though they were the types of WMDs Bush and Cheney took us to war with Iraq over. It was so ludicrous that FOX' own reporter Jim Angle debunked their claims.
Colmes: Senator, the Iraq Survey Group, uhh, let me go to the Duelfer Report says Iraq did not have the weapons our intelligence believed were there. And Jim Angle who reported this for Fox News-quotes a defense official who says these were pre-1991 weapons that could not have been fired as designed because they already been degraded.
And the official went on to say that they are-these are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had-and not the WMD's for which this country went to war. So the chest beating that the Republicans are doing tonight thinking this is a justification is not confirmed by the defense department.
During nearly every Fox News program from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on June 21, Fox News hosts and guests touted the disclosure, announced by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), of the existence of hundreds of chemical munitions in Iraq, which Santorum and Hoekstra claimed proved the existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the key argument in the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq. Santorum and Hoekstra made the claim at a press conference that Fox News covered live that evening, and throughout the evening, Fox News hosts highlighted these claims as "vindicat[ing]" -- in the words of Fox host Sean Hannity -- the Bush administration's prewar WMD claims. In fact, soon after the press conference, intelligence officials confirmed that the pre-1991 shells were not the WMDs that the Bush administration cited in its argument for war. Moreover, the Iraq Survey Group's September 2004 final report (also known as the Duelfer report) had already noted that "a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions" were discovered after the invasion, as the weblog Think Progress noted.
At the press conference, Santorum and Hoekstra announced that a recently declassified intelligence-report summary showed that WMDs, specifically chemical weapons, were present in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Santorum and Hoekstra said U.S. troops have recovered at least 500 of these chemical munitions. Santorum told reporters:
FOX News promoted these idiots even though they new their information was phony. The buffoonery with which these two members of Congress acted is unconscionable, but still Hoekstra is treated like a credible member of Congress by the press and was seen on the Sunday Talk Shows today as an expert.
You know, I've often wondered if Tony Blair became a Catholic so he could go to confession. There's a lot more to David Kelly's story than we're ever going to find out. But officially, he's a suicide and no one's talking.
Let's review: The day after he died, a reporter asked Tony Blair, ”Have you got blood on your hands, prime minister?” Whether it was David Kelly's or all those killed in the Iraqi war, the answer seems to be yes, no matter how many judges rule otherwise.
The MP reveals that the Oxfordshire coroner held an 'unusual' meeting with Home Office officials before he determined the cause of Dr Kelly's death.
And he claims that a 'cosy cabal' of Mr Blair's friends, including Peter Mandelson and Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, hand-picked Lord Hutton, a retired Law Lord from Northern Ireland, to lead the official investigation in 2003.
And then there's his relationship with Judith Miller. Remember?
There's so much more than we'll ever know - unless someone gets religion and decides to unburden their soul.
Weapons inspector David Kelly was writing a book exposing highly damaging government secrets before his mysterious death.
He was intending to reveal that he warned Prime Minister Tony Blair there were no weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq weeks before the British and American invasion.
He had several discussions with a publisher in Oxford and was seeking advice on how far he could go without breaking the law on secrets.
Following his death, his computers were seized and it is still not known if any rough draft was discovered by investigators and, if so, what happened to the material.
I know there were people saying this at the time, but the people bent on war refused to believe it. Oh well, what's a few hundred thousand dead people killed in the name of saving us all?
WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein feared Iran's arsenal more than a U.S. attack, and even considered asking ex-President George W. Bush "to protect" Iraq from its neighbor, once secret FBI files show.
The FBI interrogations of the toppled tyrant - codename "Desert Spider" - were declassified after a Freedom of Information Act request.
The records show Saddam happily boasted of duping the world about stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. And he consistently denied cooperating with Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda.
Of all his enemies, Iraq's ex-president - who insisted he still held office during captivity - hated Iran most.
Asked how he would have faced "fanatic" Iranian ayatollahs if Iraq had been proven toothless by UN weapons inspectors in 2003, Saddam said he would have cut a deal with Bush.
"Hussein replied Iraq would have been extremely vulnerable to attack from Iran and would have sought a security agreement with the U.S. to protect it from threats in the region," according to a 2004 FBI report among the declassified files.
Without Bush's help, "Iraq would have done what was necessary," he told FBI Agent George Piro in his Baghdad International Airport cell.
That didn't mean an alliance of evil with Al Qaeda, he insisted months into what he called a "dialogue" with Piro.
The interrogations unfolded in 2004 after his capture the previous December at the same farm where he said he'd hidden after orchestrating a failed 1959 coup plot.
Saddam denied ever laying eyes on the "zealot" Bin Laden, bent on striking the U.S.
He said he "did not have the same belief of vision" as the terror kingpin.
Saddam never sought Al Qaeda assistance because he feared the terror group would turn on him. To protect his country, the more likely ally "would have been North Korea."
Saddam also said the U.S. "used the 9/11 attack as a justification to attack Iraq" and "lost sight of the cause of 9/11."
The U.S. "was not Iraq's enemy," just its policies, Saddam explained.
Asked about WMDs, Saddam insisted: "We destroyed them. We told you."
"By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the U.S," he added.
Saturday’s New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the “deadliest weapon aimed at American troops” in Iraq. The author notes, “Any assertion of an Iranian contribution to attacks on Americans in Iraq is both politically and diplomatically volatile.”
What is the source of this volatile information? Nothing less than “civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies.” Greg Mitchell highlights Michael R. Gordon, the same Times reporter who, on his own, or with Judith Miller, wrote some of the key, and badly misleading or downright inaccurate, articles about Iraqi WMDs in the run-up to the 2003 invasion....read on
Here in the United States, it's easy to forget that there is a whole world of suffering outside of the Middle East. Reuters AlertNet offers coverage of areas of crises worldwide.
But as the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words". And the case of Vanity Fair's photo essay, those words have to include "devastation", "horrific" and "heartbreaking". If only we put half as much energy and resources into quelling this crime against humanity as we have "looking" for mythical WMDs in Iraq.
The mainstream media never ceases to amaze. They have been attacking Kerry left and right for his comments, yet they never once attacked Bush for making jokes about the very reason we have lost over 2,800 soldiers. John reminded me of this yesterday with his post. After being reminded, I decided to take my first stab at throwing together a somewhat political ad: