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Monday, May 08, 2006

Democrats Came to the Same Conclusion

Originally Posted: November 13, 2005 -- 5:41 PM
Fool Boards Link: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=23296243

This is the second in what became the "War on Terror and Logic" series describing examples of pretzel logic used to support the Iraq War.


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I think I need to add another fallacy to my list of bogus logic used to support the "war on terror" and the war in Iraq in particular:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=22793127

FALLACY #9: DEMOCRATS HAD THE SAME INTELLIGENCE AS THE WHITE HOUSE AND CAME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION AS THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION THAT SADDAM WAS AN IMMINENT THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES AND NEEDED TO BE REMOVED. PRESIDENT CLINTON HIMSELF CALLED FOR THE REMOVAL OF SADDAM FROM POWER.

The head of the RNC on Meet the Press today repeated the key talking points from this week's administration playbook for pushing their case in the media.

It doesn't fly. It has already been stated that members of the House and Senate (I count Republicans in this bucket, too) did NOT have all of the intelligence that was available within the Administration about

* current WMD stockpiles
* current nuclear development capabilities
* current chemical development capabilities
* Iraqi involvement, knowlege or cooperation with Al Queida

Seymour Hirsh's New Yorker article already established the nature of the "stovepipe" organization set up by Cheney and Rumsfeld for military intelligence. The organization was set up partly because Cheney and Rumsfeld didn't trust the CIA and partly because they didn't want their strategies and supporting information to be reviewed / filtered by the State Department. The flow of information from that special department directly to Cheney and the administration bypassed key vetting processes that may not have eliminated completely false information but would have ensured the information came with appropriate caveats about its certainty and sources.

Hopefully, most Americans realize we live in a thoroughly "gray" world rather than a black and white world. I fully recognize any Administration needs some ability to "bluff" when making public statements to / about foreign governments to provide enough ambiguity to apply some persuasion not only to the target of the comment but our other friends and opponents. It's called politics. It's called diplomacy.

When Clinton called for the removal of Saddam, I didn't read that as a direct statement that we would pursue military action to topple Saddam or that Saddam was even an immediate threat. Not because Clinton was weak, not because Clinton was indecisive. Because we needed to communicate to both friends and foes that continued efforts to contain Saddam from afar were posing too many costs to both the US and the overall health of the Mideast. Changes would come and both friends and foes better realize they need to alter their behavior and alliances accordingly.

When Bush spoke to the American people in the 2003 State of the Union address, looked into the camera and stated Saddam had sought significant quantities of yellowcake uranium, he made a simple, direct, declarative sentence. A sentence that not only stated as fact the attempt to obtain the uranium was made, but implied that Iraq had enrichment facilities that could use 500 tons (the real amount claimed in the now disproven documents) to produce weapons quality material. Same for Powell's presentation to the UN.

Use any weasel words ("believe", "some sources", "could be developing") in these speeches and we still assume the ideas are within the realm of diplomacy and posturing. Remove the weasel words and use declarative verbs like "has" and we citizens have to be able to trust that we are no longer talking politics or diplomacy, but plain incontrovertable facts. We have to be able to believe that if the President is declaring that an imminent military threat to the United States in a constitutionally required address to the legislative branch of goverment, action must be taken.

KEY POINT: Neo-conservatives cannot make the argument that Clinton or current House / Senate Democrats came to the same conclusion as the Bush administration about Saddam and the need to go war in Iraq. It cannot be argued because those Democrats did not come to the FINAL conclusion of presenting these false facts to the House, Senate and American people as proof of an imminent nuclear / WMD threat and asking for war. Anything short of asking for war amounts to normal public posturing and diplomacy in a "gray" world. Only the White House has the responsibility of making that final decision to step up and ask for war. That's why it's lonely at the top. That's why you need constructive criticism when making those crucial decisions. This White House utterly failed in making that final decision. The facts now publically available that were available to the Administration at the time and filtered from most in Congress prove the war was not required to protect the United States and would do nothing to help the "war on terror."

(Note: Moderate / centrist Republicans were screwed just as badly by the Administration's deceit. They are just reluctant to make a fuss until more of the fate of the war and those that pushed it becomes known and the political / fundraising landscape within the Republican Party adjusts. I'd be surprised if there's more than a couple of Republican Senators or Representives who have Bush campaign for them in 2006.)


WTH

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