Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Frum & Perle: Thirteen

AETE pps 46-7, more lies, half-truths, bullshit. Subject: Saddam-al-Qaeda ties that were non-existent, plus more on Feith-based Intelligence:

Even if we agree to catalog the Atta/Iraq story as an unsolved mystery, pending further investigations in the Iraqi archives, it remains true -- as President Bush also said on September 17 -- that there is "no question that Saddam had al-Qaeda ties."

In 1998, bin Laden and the Iraqi government opened discussions on a joint campaign against the United States, according to documents found in Iraq by the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph in April 2003. More recently, intelligence sources have received credible information that Ayman al-Zawahiri visited Baghdad in 1998 and received a $300,000 payment just before he merged his Egyptian Islamic Jihad group with bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

After this is a footnote. The cite? To discredited Weekly Standard crackpot Stephen Hayes.

Unearthing the links between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein would have been hard work under any circumstances. But the persistent opposition of the CIA and the DIA to any outside investigation of those links made the task all the more difficult. When a small team of independent analysts inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense found clues that had eluded the agencies, the CIA and DIA sprang into action. First, they tried to deny the independent analysts essential access to the information they needed to do their work. Then they ferociously cross-examined every link the independent analysts did find -- as if they were more concerned to defend their vested opinion than to hear new observations. Next, they waged a campaign of leaks that accused the independent analysts -- all four of them -- of forming a "cabal" and "politicizing" intelligence. Finally, they cooked up on specious charges and removed the security clearance of at least one of the analysts.

But, if anyone bent intelligence, it was those analysts at the CIA and DIA who allowed their assumptions about what Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would do and would not do to blind them to important information. And when challenged, they reacted with professional vindictiveness.

Frum & Perle: Twelve

AETE, page 39:

Self-criticism is valuable, even essential. And yet we would be making an even more severe mistake of our own if we allowed necessary self-criticism to blind us to the steady flwo of positive events in Iraq [...] Electricity is being generated and distributed more reliably than at any time in Iraq's history. [...]

Umm, Sadly, no!

Frum & Perle: Eleven

AETE pp 37-8, more whining about State Department. Plus, lies about Chalabi:

In 1944, we took care to let French troops enter Paris before U.S. or British forces. We should have shown equal tact in 2003. The INC offered us troops willing to fight and security forces ready to keep order. We rebuffed the offer, in large part because the State Department and the CIA disliked Ahmed Chalabi, the INC's leader, and because the INC terrified the Saudis and therefore terrified those in our government who wished to placate the Saudis.

The State Department/CIA argument that Chalabi had no following in Iraq was wholly disingenuous.

No, it was not the lack of support among Iraqis that led to bureaucratic disparagement of Ahmad Chalabi; the sad truth is that for the pettiest reasons neither State nor the CIA liked Chalabi, despite his tireless and remarkably effective effort to organize and encourage opposition to Saddam's regime. [... T]hey didn't like the fact that he was not a puppet they could easily control.

Friday, February 23, 2007


AJP Taylor, How Wars End, 1985:

Later there was a congress about giving a blessing to Austria for intervening in Naples. And then there came something they hadn't expected -- there was a liberal movement in Spain. And with this liberal movement there were the beginnings of a civil war. [Tsar] Alexander at once claimed that here was the great opportunity for the Holy Alliance. There should be a strong military intervention against liberal leaders in Spain, and the strong intervention should be provided by the Russian army. This did not meet with British approval at all. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, the British government took the view that if there was to be a liberal government out of hand somewhere, it should be allowed to lead its country to destruction, but there should not be an intervention by the great powers against this movement.

[The Duke of Wellington, at the next congress, voiced Britian's veto of a Holy Alliance intervention in Spain.]

As a matter of fact, a very simple way of dealing with the Spanish liberals was then discovered. It was found that Great Britain had no objection if a neighbouring state intervened. The French at that time being very conservative and also somewhat anxious to use their army which had been out of work ever since 1815, intervened in Spain and restored the absolute monarchy. The British made no complaint[...]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Frum & Perle: Ten

Page 32:

By toppling Saddam Hussein, we achieved [...] great objectives.

1. We put an end to the threat from whatever weapons of mass destruction Saddam actually possessed as of 2003 -- and, far more important, from those weapons he would have possessed had he been left in place.

2. We won a great victory over terrorism [...]

3. We denied our enemies in the Middle East the huge victory they would have won had Saddam been able to claim that he had survived and triumphed over us.

4. We have learned valuable lessons about how to fight wars in the region and how to rebuild afterward. Nobody will pretend that mistakes were not made in the Iraq campaign and the subsequent occupation. But we have learned from those mistakes, and they will not be repeated. [...]

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Frum & Perle: Nine

On page 25, we get the excuse Frank Gaffney is still trying to peddle to Glenn Greenwald and Alan Colmes; it's just as shitty and disingenuous when F&P did it in 2003:

The failure to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction has led some Bush (and Blair) administration critics to charge that the president and prime minister deliberately "hyped" or "sexed up" or otherwise exaggerated the danger posed by Saddam Hussein in order to justify a war to remove his regime.

True. See Downing Street Memo.

Others have demanded investigations into the intelligence basis for the two leaders' conclusion that it would have been risky and imprudent to leave Saddam in place.

The critics' emphasis on stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons as the central issue seems to us seriously misplaced. As David Kay has reported, there is overwhelming evidence that Saddam had extensive chemical and biological weapons programs[...]

Ahh, the semantic game. I remember that Daily Show: "Weapons of Destruction Program-related activities", which could mean anything.

And it wasn't that there were no stockpiles; it's that there were no WMD at all. Morons. Liars.

Saddam Hussein's ambitions were dangerous enough before 9/11; afterward, they had to be regarded as a clear and presen danger to the United States. The war on terror was certain to create all kinds of new opportunities for Saddam to exploit.

WTF? Are they saying that the War on Terra inspires terrorism?! If so, damned if we do and damned if we don't (but it's more fun if we do, because at least we're killin' us some Muslims then):

Even if Saddam Hussein refrained from waging or threatening war on us and our allies, his looming triumph over the inspectors and the sanctions would have emboldened and inspired terrorists around the world.

So get ready for it, the F&P corollary to the Ledeen Doctrine:

[W]e had to strike back and hard after 9/11, to prove that terrorism was not winning. Had we fought only in Afghanistan and then stopped, we would have conveyed the message that we were willing to accept the easy missions in the war on terror, but not the hard ones.

Instead, with F&P's help, we conveyed the message that we would accept the stupid and pointless and self-destructive missions. Great work, fuckheads!

Frum & Perle: Eight

More hackery (page 22). Shorter version: 'It takes strength of character to resist humanitarians!':

[T]he sufferings of the people of Iraq were very real. Real too were the economic opportunities that beckoned to Saddam's trading partners if the sanctions should be dropped [..] France and Russia demanded that sanctions be scrapped [...] So too did a gathering international protest movement. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser signed a petition calling for the immediate abolition of Iraq sanctions [...] the official spokesman for the Vatican -- among many others -- denounced sanctions as well.

The Clinton administration, characteristically, wavered. On the one hand, the administration lacked the strength of character to resist these pressures. On the other, sanctions were all that remained of the administrations's crumbling claim to have "contained" Saddam [except for that part about the no-fly zones and the fact of Saddam's all-around military weakness] [...] So, again characteristically, the Clintonites began looking for some form of words that would allow them to surrender [!!!] while pretending to themselves and others that they had held firm.

Frum & Perle: Seven

Victory is how you define it. In this passage (page 17), the neocon hacks set the Elder Bush and Colin Powell straight, the fuckin' losers:

[George H. W. Bush] believed Saddam was finished [in 1991] anyway after the catastrophic defeat inflicted by the coalition -- there was no need for the United States to do anything more. (Colin Powell still believed it ten years later. At the famous Camp David meetings on September 15 and 16, 2001, Powell sought to end any discussion of Iraq by saying curtly, "But we won.")

[...]But what Iraqis and others in the Middle East saw was Saddam's tanks crushing American-backed insurgents. Saddam had survived; therefore we had lost. And over the next eight years the people of the region would see us lose again and again.

Frum & Perle: Six

More sneers (page 17), this time directed at the CIA:

The first Bush administration had its reasons for holding back in 1991. When it had called for an uprising, it had something very different in mind: a coup in Baghdad by one of Saddam's Sunni henchmen. This was and remained the remedy for Saddam recommended by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA contended that the mass uprising in the south might bring to power Shiite extremists who would then tilt toward Shiite Iran [...]

These calculations, sophisticated, subtle, and wrong, persuaded the first President Bush in 1991.

Yes, so "wrong" that the CIA's fears are exactly what has come to pass.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Frum & Perle: Five

My favorite part of AETE (starting on page eleven): The Sneer Chapter! Or, put another way, The Counting Your Chickens Before They Hatch, Flog You, And Then Shit On Your Head Chapter! Enjoy!

Pessimism and Defeatism have provided the soundtrack to the war on terrorism from the beginning [...] Remember how the Iraq War was "bogging down" [...]? In Iraq, U.S. forces overthrew Saddam Hussein's entire regime with half the troops and in half the time it took to merely shove Saddam out of Kuwait in 1991. It did not matter: The gloomsayers were unembarassable. Having been proven wrong when they predicted the United States would sink into a forlorn quagmire in Iraq, they reappeared days later to insist that while military victory had been assured from the beginning, the United States was now losing the peace: There was looting throughout the country; the national museum had supposedly been sacked; the hospitals had been stripped bare by thieves; power was blacked out; the sewage was running into the Euphrates.

Now the pessimists are quivering because the remnants of the Baath Party have launched a guerilla war against the allied forces in Iraq [...long diatribe insisting that guerillas are only mercenaries and bitter Baathists, not -- emphatically not -- nationalist or tribalist or sectarian opponents of an occupation they percieve, rightly or wrongly, as imperialist generally and looting and humiliating specifically.]

The aftermath of war is always messy and often bloody [...WW2 analogies... blah blah blah]..

Post-Saddam Iraq has emerged from more than three decades of totalitarian rule [...] Should anyone be surprised that it took the United States a few weeks to get the lights working?

Yet a good many people who ought to have known better did claim to be surprised. And they claim more than that. They have claimed that the Iraq campaign somehow detracted from the overall war against terror -- and that Saddam's success in concealing his weapons of mass destruction program somehow proves that he should have been left in power to build those weapons. These critics complained that President Bush weakened the case for war by offereing too many justifications for it. It never seemed to bother them that they had more than one reason for doing nothing -- and that unlike the president's, their reasons contradicted one another:

-- Opponents of the Iraq War like German foriegn minister Joschka Fischer protested that they were "not convinced" that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction at all. Meanwhile, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft warned that if attacked, Saddam would retaliate with weapons of mass murder "unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle East."

-- Opponents of the war insisted that Saddam had no connections with terrorism. Then they fretted, in the words of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, that if the United States attempted to overthrow Saddam, the United States could instead "precipitate the very threat that we are intent on preventing -- weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the terrorists."

-- Like General Barry McCaffrey, they predicted a military disaster in which the United States could potentially suffer, "bluntly, a couple to 3,000 casualties." And then they accused the United States of picking on a country too weak to pose a threat.

-- They insisted that action against Iran and North Korea should take priority over the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime. Now that Saddam's regime has been defeated and the Bush administration stands ready to follow their advice about Iran and North Korea, their enthusiasm for action against those other rogue regimes has suddenly withered away.

-- They swore that nobody deplored Saddam's crimes more than they. As House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in March 2003, "Those who [suggest] that there is any sympathy for Saddam Hussein in the world do a grave disservice to the debate." Yet as U.S. forces uncover what may prove to be more than a hundred mass graves containing upwards of three hundred thousand victims, they showed virtually no interest."

-- They were shocked and offended whenever anyone questioned their patriotism or good faith. And since the war ended, they have followed the example of former vice president Gore and accused President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of "bending our entire national security policy to fit their political designs."

Frum & Perle: Four

Page Nine of AETE. Cue the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:

Throughout the war, the advocates of a strong policy against terror have had one great advantage over those who prefer the weaker line: We have offered concrete recommendations equal to the seriousness of the threat, and the soft-liners have not, because we have wanted to fight, and they have not. For us, terrorism remains the great evil of our time, and the war against this evil, our generation's great cause. We do not believe that Americans are fighting this evil to minimise or manage it. We believe they are fighting to win -- to end this evil before it kills again and on a genocidal scale. There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or Holocaust. This book is a manual for victory.


Frum & Perle: Three

Page six of AETE, first enunciation of the vendetta neocons hold against 'Realists' in general and the State Department under Colin Powell in particular:

Nor is it only the president's political opponents who seem bereft of ideas [by which they mean, not jingoist enough]. At the State Department, there is constant pressure to return to business as usual, beginning by placating offended allies and returning to the exaggerated multilateral conceit of the Clinton Administration.

Frum & Perle: Two

Page eight of AETE, self-aggrandizement passage:

Really, it's no wonder that those few policy makers who have urged a strong policy against terror have been called a "cabal." To the enormous majority in any government who wish to continue to do things as they have always been done, the tiny minority that dares propose anything new will always look like a presumptuous, unrealistic, intriguing faction.

Uh-huh. If you -- 'the few, the proud' -- do say so yourself.

Frum & Perle: One

Page Five of AETE, file under neocon stupidity:

Iran defied the Monroe Doctrine and sponsored murder in our own hemisphere [...] in Buenos Aires -- and our government did worse than nothing: It opened negotiations with the murderers.

The Monroe Doctrine, really now?

Um, the Monroe Doctrine ceased to have any meaning in 1917, when the US joined in fighting World War One. But aside that, what would Frum and Perle have the US do? Who died and made US defender of Argentina? That an Islamic bombing of Jews or Latins or whomever occured in Argentina is no more our business than an ETA bombing of Spaniards in Iberia, or an IRA bombing in London.