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You Can’t Create Fact From Fiction

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You can debate whether we should have gone to Iraq or not, that’s what free speech allows (for those of us who are lucky enough to still enjoy it).

You can be committed to your side of the debate, I have no issue with passion.

What you can’t do (even though thousands try) is to create fact from fiction.

Facts that are known:

Highpoints of Islamic Terrorism against the West in the last 3 decades:

1979 Fifty two US citizens held hostage in Iran by radicals
1983 US Embassy in Beirut bombed 63 people killed including 17 US citizens
1983 Marine Barracks bombed 241 US marines killed
1983 American Embassy in Kuwait bombed 6 killed
1984 US Embassy annex bombed, 24 killed 2 US
1984-1985 Flight 221 Kuwait Airways, TWA 847, Achille Lauro
1986- Bombing of La Belle Discotheque
1988- Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
1993 – 1st World Trade Center bombing
1996 Khobar Towers Bombing
1998 Africa US Embassy bombing
2000 US Cole Bombing
2001 WTC attacked over 3000 civilians killed

199X Clinton administration thought Saddam had WMD’s

President Clinton on CNN

Madalin Albright on CNN

Sandy Burger in USA Today

What Today’s critics were saying back a few years

on freedomagenda.com

US HOUSE and Senate approval of war on Iraq

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public law 107-243, 116 Stat. 1497-1502) passed by the House and Senate in October 2002

UN on IRAQ

Prior to 2002 the UN had passed 16 resolutions on Iraq to cease WMD development and comply with inspections, including 1441, all of which Saddam basically ignored.

Iraqi Involvement with Terrorism

Iraq provided bases to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), and the Abu Nidal organization (ANO). Following the invasion in 2k3, U.S. sanctions applicable to state sponsors of terrorism against Iraq were suspended and President Bush announced the removal of Iraq from the list on 25 September 2004.

Some people think Saddam's payments of $25k (US equivalent) to the families of suicide bombers was humanitarian aid, not a subsidy or reward that could have been considered supporting terrorism.

 
Afghanistan and Al Qaeda

The Taliban had given safe haven to Al Qaeda to train and plot logistics attacks based from Afganistan. These actions are well documented.

Afganistan
1. Al Qaeda and radical Islam recruited, trained and developed plans to attack US interests and civilians.
2. Afghanistan was a safe haven for Al Qaeda to carry out training, logistics and development of attacks on US civilians.

1 + 2 justify Afghanistan invasion to protect US civilians.

Iraq
3. Saddam was a renegade leader with a history of WMD possession and usage on his own people.
4. Saddam defied UN resolutions.
5. World leaders thought Saddam had WMD’s in the late 90’s thru 2003.
6. The US Senate and House voted to authorize war on Iraq.
7. UN Resolution 1441 declares IRAQ in material breach or previous resolutions and this was their final opportunity for compliance, Saddam didn’t.

3+4+5+6+7 equals Bush wasn’t on his own and the war is legitimate and legal and was supported by 70 percent of the US Congress.

And if that isn’t enough add these: Saddam took Oil for Food money and fraudulently used it to his own gain and not the UN’s mandate. Saddam was responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen leaving mass graves all over Iraq.

 
Bottom line:

Pacifism as a response to Radical Islamic Muslims didn’t work leading up to 2001 and it won't work now.

I can accept opinions.  We all have them. But so much of the anti war rhetoric today is emotion and has nothing to do with facts.

I don’t like war, nobody does. I don’t like the fact that over 3000 US soldiers have died. An argument can be made that we’ve tried to make war too humane with high accuracy bombs and ridiculously stringent rules of engagement minimizing collateral damage. Maybe we should have used B52’s and kept our military men and women safer.

The simple fact is the news media could care less about truth and fact, and too many people don’t spend the time to find the truth.  They just believe their bias.

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  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Nice clear rundown of the facts. Not that anyone cares about facts these days.

    Dave

  • ScooterPowell

    “I don’t like war, nobody does.”

    Not true. I do!

    As long as we wreck our real enemies. As long as we accomplish something. As long as we plan it out well and execute it well.

    I’m even in favor of nuke war, as long as we do it at the right time for the right reasons. And the consequences are well thought out.

    Aren’t YOU in favor of war? Suppose the Mighty Iranian Navy landed on the New Jersey shore and started shooting US men and forcing US women to wear veils? Wouldn’t you be favor of war?

    I think you’re just being modest about your willingness to go to war. I’m sure that at the right moment you would react like any loyal and patriotic American and start fighting, even if that meant accidentally defending some damned liberal from the foreigners! Wouldn’t you?

  • ScooterPowell

    “I don’t like war, nobody does.”

    Not true. I do!

    As long as we wreck our real enemies. As long as we accomplish something. As long as we plan it out well and execute it well.

    I’m even in favor of nuke war, as long as we do it at the right time for the right reasons. And the consequences are well thought out.

    Aren’t YOU in favor of war? Suppose the Mighty Iranian Navy landed on the New Jersey shore and started shooting US men and forcing US women to wear veils? Wouldn’t you be favor of war?

    I think you’re just being modest about your willingness to go to war. I’m sure that at the right moment you would react like any loyal and patriotic American and start fighting, even if that meant accidentally defending some damned liberal from the foreigners! Wouldn’t you?

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    So is there a point to this tirade or are you just all a-twitter at having your earlier posts ruthlessly cut up?

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    “too many people don’t spend the time to find the truth. They just believe their bias.”

    Absolutely hysterical that you end your post with that. Any reason you only went to 1979? Could it be because you don’t want to go back to 1953 and the US’s involvement in overthrowing Mossadeq and installing the Shah?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “Any reason you only went to 1979? Could it be because you don’t want to go back to 1953 and the US’s involvement in overthrowing Mossadeq and installing the Shah?”

    What would that have to do with “Islamic Terrorism Against The West” … which was the actual topic being addressed?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Matt:

    Prepare to be attacked unmercifully by anti-war and anti-American types. Your crime: posting actual facts…

  • http://www.regimeofterror.com/ Mark

    How DARE you mention Saddam and terrorism in the same sentence? “Everyone” knows the two weren’t linked at all…

    Just joking. Nice post. My site is is pet project on the subject of Saddam and terrorism if anyone is interested?

  • MBD

    Beware!!

    It’s a crime to post pre-1979 facts.

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    “What would that have to do with “Islamic Terrorism Against The West” … which was the actual topic being addressed?”

    In no way am I excusing the actions, but if you think US involvement in the Middle East has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism today and of the past, you should stop now before embarrassing yourself any further because you are one of the “many people [who] don’t spend the time to find the truth.”

    Speaking of the truth, Saddam gassed the Kurds. They are not “his own people” as he is a Sunni, so let’s get all the facts straight, shall we?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    JJ. Let’s get the facts even straighter. Kurds are not a religious group, but an ethnic group. The majority of them are Sunnis. They were Saddam’s own people in the sense that they were Iraqi by nationality, even if they weren’t Arabs like Saddam.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Actually, Matt, you could have gone back a lot further with terror actions of the Arabs and with the ultimate cause of the shitty dictatorship the Iranians live under now, the overthrow of the Mossadeq government back in 1953(?) and even further to the funding of ibn Saud by the Union Bank (Prescott Bush) to help him take over Arabia in the 1920’s. Doing that would cause you to see the nastiest fact of all – the snake (the United States) biting its own tail. Plus you didn’t list the biggest terror act of all – OPEC tripling the oil prices in 1973 – which drained the American economy of whatever oomph it may still have had then and set the stage for the stagflation of the 1970’s. Capital still would have fled the States and rusted out the industrial interior, but not having tight money then would have made the transition a bit easier.

    The issue is not “radical Islamic Moslems” committing terror, but the influence of the Wahhabi in the Moslem world. The Wahhabi have stolen Islam and made into a nightmare for all of us instead of just a bad dream for its adherents.

    Without money from America the Arabian tribes following Wahhabism would still be smelling camel shit in the middle of the Arabian peninsula, and there would have been no terror – from the Moslem Brotherhood (infiltrated by the Wahhabi in the 1920’s after they conquered Arabia) to the Taliban (inspired by Moslems in Deoband, India).

    We’re talking about a lot here. No fascist Nazi-admiring Arabs in the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and Iraq, no attempts to overthrow the king of Iraq in World War II, no Hamas (a local version of the Moslem Brotherhood), no damned Gaza mufti (Amin Husseini, later “Grand Mufti of Jerusalem”) inspired by the Moslem Brotherhood, and therefore no miltant Arab resistance to Jewish settlement of Eretz Yisrael, no madrassas spreading hate in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Phillipines, etc., etc.

    You can’t create fact from fiction, but the fact that Saudi money is all over America like a bad smell means that the mainstream media (read whores) follow the money – not to uncover the miscreants, but to get some for themselves. The price we all pay is that the mainstream media spins the news to cover up the stink of the criminals who have made much of the nightmares that plague us.

  • Doug Hunter

    The west found and needed the oil in the middle east. Unforunately, some sadistic backwards camel herders happened to live on top of it. Instead of doing the right thing by killing them off and taking the oil we decided to do the humanitarian thing and respect their rights and pay them. Now they’re billionaires because of us.

    They say that you can take a person out of the trailer park but you can’t take the trailer park out of a person. I think this is an excellent analogy for the arabs. Most of their societies haven’t evolved as fast as their bank accounts (especially those of the leaders/kings). Now we’re dealing with the effects of middle age style societies armed with modern weapons and hordes of deperately poor fanatics.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Doug,

    Not all Arabs are alike – not all strands of Islam are alike. The money paid to ibn Saud was used to conquer Mecca and Medina. The bankers who paid ibn Saud were not ignorant fools. They did their research and knew that ibn Saud would try to conquer the entire Arabian peninsula. Whether they understood what the Wahhabis stand for – unlike other Moslems, their attitude is that if you are not a Wahhabi type Moslem, you are dead meat – is open to question.

    If these bankers did understand, then they were fools for their arrogance and short-sightedness, the same kind of attitude that infests so many on this site. If they didn’t understand, then they were fools for not realizing that giving a man money can give him power, and eventually power struggles against power. Again arrogance and short-sightedness, but of a different and more understandable kind.

    But the bottom line is that the Wahhabi who have pirated Islam and turned it into a monster will not negotiate with you. Either you convert or you die. This is a very bottom line stance that is taught all over the world in madrassas funded by the Wahhabi and the oil money they liberally distribute. Unless you are one of them, you are the enemy and they will not rest until you are dead – or until they are.

    There are no deals to be made. Either you kill them – or they will kill you. It is all that simple. The argument can be made that your government did not know that five years ago. But now they do. If they persist in working with these savages, they are doing exactly what Lenin warned that capitalists would do. Sell their own enemies the rope to hang them with.

    Until Riyadh is destroyed, and the Wahhabi snake’s head cut off in its entirety, you will not have a peaceful night’s sleep.

  • Shahab S.

    Your are mistaken to include the MEK in your list of hosted terrorist organizations. The MEK is not a terror organization but rather the antithesis to Islamic fundamentalism in the region. 5.2 million Iraqi’s (nearly half those allowed to vote) signed a declaration in 2006 condemning the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq and supporting the MEK.

    The MEK was placed on the list of terror organizations in the U.S. and Europe as part of the appeasement policy adopted by the west in dealing with the mullahs in Iran. The EU’s Court of First Instance annuled the EU’s decision to label the MEK a terror organization this past December.

    The MEK has been instrumental in uncovering the Iranian regime’s involvement in Iraq and were the ones who uncovered the mullah’s nuclear program. If we are serious about democracy in the middle east and fighting terrorism, then we must remove the MEK from the list of terror organizations.

  • P. Marlowe

    Facts… Wonderful things aren’t they? Back in the day when I was a paid country risk analyst I was working for a large Fortune 500 company that wanted to put several new offices in the Mid-East. They asked me to assess the best places.

    Among some of the information/facts I used were accessible reports from the CIA, and the DOD. They CLEARLY stated that When Saddam finished with Iran he would turn south to Kuwait.

    This is a long story – my involvement in it. People DIED because others chose not to listen to my advice – I’m sure there was bribe money involved… But one of the bitter laughs I got was when, in those first ten days of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait the Bush Adm stating categorically that there was NO WARNING that this would happen… This while I sat looking at the CIA/DOD reports in front of me which were only 18 months old…

    I will agree with something that really isn’t mentioned in your post even though the title alludes to it: no intelligent American can rely on A news outlet of even THREE. Unfortunately they have to sift through dozens and dozens. FOX NEWS sure as hell isn’t one of them though…

    P. Marlowe

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    Matt,

    I think Marlowe hits the nail squarely on the head. The problem is not the facts, I have no issue with your recitation of the facts in your post but how you use facts is where the rubber hits the road.

    The current administration selectively partook of evidence to support their viewpoints and policy direction, and ignored the facts that did not support their conclusions. The result was the Iraq War.

    Invading Iraq did not reduce the threat of terrorism, but rather increased it significantly as doing it “on the cheap” and failing to adequately plan or resource for the post-war occupation phase allowed the region to slid into the morass it currently is – unstable, highly violent and fractured – a breeding ground for the next generation of terrorists and a marvelous ongoing recruitment poster for Al Qaeda.

    Further invading Iraq did not reduce the potential spread of WMD. If Saddam did have significant stockpiles of WMD (and it is a very big “if”), the resources the US brought to bear during the invasion in any case were not enough to safeguard all of the potential WMD locatiosn that the US had identified.

    Frankly, given the paucity of resources, the US should be damned pleased that the Iraqi WMD’s were mostly imaginary as otherwise the munitions would have been scattered to the winds during the invasion because no one would have been able to secure the more than 500 identified sites. You want WMD’s in the hands of terrorists and weapons merchants, then running the invasion and occupation on the cheap was a virtual guarantee that it would happen.

    Lastly, your statement “too many people don’t spend the time to find the truth” I tend to agree with however:

    “The Tao that can be perceived is not the true Tao”

    Finding out the “truth” involves not just gathering up a list of facts, it means developing some analytical capabilities and understanding to judge the significance and content of the facts and to understand the meaning behind them. Wrong or diverse conclusions can easily be drawn from the same set of facts.

  • MCH

    Honor the Fallen

    “Army Staff Sgt. Darrell R. Griffin Jr., 36, of Alhambra, Calif.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; died March 21 in Balad, Iraq, from wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with small-arms fire during combat operations.”

    ——————————

    U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq… 3,245
    U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq… 24,314

    and counting…

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Leaving aside any arguments for or against this whole war-in-Iraq “thing” — the repeated insistence that Saddam was not murdering his own people when he gassed the Kurds is one of the most morally repugnant statements ever propagated by the left.

    And I say this as a person who often sympathizes with left on many issues.

    So, dear friends over there on the left, do yourselves a favor and shut the fuck up about it being “merely” the Kurds who fell victim to Saddam’s chemical weapons. Never again stoop to implying this trivia quiz show factoid somehow reduces the sheer blood soaked savagery of that crime, as comment #10 clearly attempts to do yet again.

    There are plenty of other legitimate reasons to oppose the U.S. actions in Iraq since 2003. Leave this one behind forever.

    Thank you.

  • P. Marlowe

    VP… You get a big old DITTO from me on that!

    P. Marlowe

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    good grief, victor, you forgot to cue the maudlin music. I made no such attempt to diminish what happened, so you are either a liar or an idiot. I didn’t say they were merely Kurds, so who cares that they died, nor that it wasn’t a crime against humanity. However, Saddam wasn’t a Kurd.

    Maybe if more people in the government and this country didn’t share your limited, and slightly racist, view that all Arabs are alike, the country wouldn’t be in the mess it is now. You should follow your own advice and shut your fuckin’ mouth because I don’t give a shit if your precious sensibilities are hurt.

    I was for the invasion, but I had no idea the post planning and execution would be so utterly terrible. I expected better.

  • Sir Daniel M. J. Tobin

    The way to fight terrorism is to deport all the Arabs with expired working visas and forged passports since they are linked to Terrorists like Nation of Islam, Cairo’s Brotherhood, Popular Front for The Liberation of Palestine General Command, Al Qaeda, and possibly also Hezbollah and Hamas, and War Criminal Abu Minyar, AKA “colonel” Muammar Gaddaffi who has ordered tens of thousands of deaths over 37 years in tyranny in Libya, and has sources within the United States, and has not yet been forcibly removed from power by a true Muslim hero, a Mossad agent or CIA Agent unfortunately, and hasn’t been taken into custody and imprisoned in a labor camp for ordering The Bombing of Pan Am Flight #103, which I helped to prosecute on The Board of Directors of The Victims of Pan AM Flight #103 in the 1990’s. I am presently the Nassau County Executive Committee Chairman to The Constitution Party, and you can help me win the war on terrorism with your votes on any available party line in Iowa Caucuses and NH Primaries for The US Presidency 2008 and 2012 as a write in candidate since I do not expect to get the official endorsement of the major parties this time. I would also appreciate help in getting signatures on petitions of NY State registered voters for my campaign for The Office of NY State Governor 2010, and successive terms on The NYState Right To Life, Republican, Conservative and possibly also Independence and Libertarian Party lines. Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation. Yours in Liberty, Sir Daniel M. J. Tobin

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Saddam wasn’t a Kurd, but he was morally and legally responsible for their well-being when he controlled the government of the country in which they were citizens.

    Acknowleding this principle is not racist in the least. It has nothing to do with assuming Saddam and the Kurds he murdered were ethnically identical. In fact it is far more racist to accept the limited tribal allegiances of people like Saddam Hussein. What could be more racist than to assume Arabs are inherently incapable of recognizing and honoring any broader loyalties, any higher responsibilities than narrow tribalism, merely because they are Arabs?

    When you harp on the fact that Saddam wasn’t a Kurd, there is no neutral ground. You are either dismissing the Kurds’ deaths as irrelevant, or you are dismissing the Arabs’ moral capacity as inherently limited, or both.

    Either way, the claim that Saddam didn’t murder his own people when he murdered the Kurds is utterly indefensible.

  • MCH

    I agree Vic, and I still can’t figure out why Bush, Sr., financed Iraq’s military.

  • J.J. Hunsecker

    “legally responsible”

    I’ll grant you that everyone should act morally responsible, but don’t dictators create their own laws? You do know Saddam rose to power through a coup, right? Where exactly did this grandiose fantasy that Saddam was a man of the people arise from?

    “What could be more racist than to assume Arabs are inherently incapable of recognizing and honoring any broader loyalties, any higher responsibilities than narrow tribalism, merely because they are Arabs?”

    What are you talking about? Saddam doesn’t represent all Arabs, so your illogical leap is what is more racist. You may not like “the limited tribal allegiances of people like Saddam Hussein,” but what’s gained by denying they exist?

    There’s plenty of people working towards broader loyalties in Iraq right now, but to think everyone is or has been working under that same mindset is awfully naive and factually incorrect.

    Plus tribalism isn’t an Arab trait. Have you not been paying any attention over the years to Africa, the Bosnian war, the fighting in Ireland, etc?

    In the future, why don’t you try responding to the actual statements made? Your constant misunderstanding of what is being written makes me wonder if English is your second language because your comprehension is terrible.

    Your ignorance is what’s truly indefensible.

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Dictators only imagine they create their own laws. The government of any nation is legally responsible for the protection of the people who live under it, nor merely responsible in some vague sense of moralistic idealism. Without this core principle, all government is meaningless, and naked oppression need never seek any other justification.

    In the case of a dictatorship, the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens falls on the shoulders of one person.

    This is why Saddam Hussein failed to meet his moral and legal responsibilities as the single person in control of the government of Iraq. He was a failure when he led that government to murder its own citizens, even if those who died were Kurds and he was not himself a Kurd. He was a failure when he led that government in the invasion of Kuwait, no matter what historical injustices may have brought Kuwait into existence in the first place. And of course he was a failure in his countless other acts of oppression against his own people.

    Note I am not saying these failures are sufficient to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I am not addressing that question at all right now. It is an error to assume I would agree with every policy decision made by others who have pointed out Saddam Hussein’s moral and legal failings.

    As for my alleged lack of reading comprehension, even if it exists, I am far from alone in that flaw, considering the vast gulf between anything I have said and the accusations you have leveled against me, J.J.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Saddam gassed the Kurds. They are not “his own people” as he is a Sunni, so let’s get all the facts straight, shall we?

    Kurds are an ethnic group. Sunnis are a religious group. You’re comparing apples to oranges. (In fact, most Kurds in Iraq are Sunnis!)

    Also, your “larger point” is bogus as well. Are you suggesting that if Bush gassed Black Muslims in the United States, that this would be somehow more acceptable because he wouldn’t really be gassing “his own people” ???

    Perhaps “you should stop now before embarrassing yourself any further” … :-/

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Okay, I now see that others have commented on this disgusting statement as well … good to see. :-)

  • P. Marlowe

    RJ… I always find comfort in the continuity of life. The way fresh cow manure smells, the absolute absurdity of the High Priests of Political Correctness, the way network execs will pull any show that requires its audience to have an IQ at or slightly above that of a Chia Pet… And how your intellectual and emotional “growth” must have come to a screeching halt at the age of 13…

    Ahhh… I love Spring!

    P. Marlowe

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I agree Vic, and I still can’t figure out why Bush, Sr., financed Iraq’s military.

    Your ignorance knows no bounds. We started financing Iraq’s military well before Bush Sr. It started with the fall of the Shah, because when we broke ties with post-Shah Iran we wanted to put them under some pressure and the best way to do that was to provide support to Iraq. The level of support we gave Iraq was far lower than what we had been giving Iran. Under the Shah Iran had been the testing ground for the newest US military equipment and enjoyed a special status that we’ve really never given to any other nation. When they turned against us US political leaders were pissed and turned to Saddam as the instrument of revenge.

    Dave

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    So, Dave, you’re saying U.S. leaders knew what a monster Saddam was, and they were more than happy to inflict him on Iran. This certainly gives the lie to Matt Finley’s odd claim about the alleged “pacifism” in America’s long-standing policies toward the Islamic world.

    The high price Americans are now paying in Iraq may function as some sort of penance for what our leadership did to create the hellish conditions of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

    It doesn’t seem to be earning us much forgiveness in the Gulf region, or anywhere else in the world, unfortunately.

  • MCH

    Re#29;
    “Okay, I now see that others have commented on this disgusting statement as well … good to see. :-)”

    Is it as disgusting as your statements making fun of the size of Elizabeth Edwards’ butt?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    So, Dave, you’re saying U.S. leaders knew what a monster Saddam was, and they were more than happy to inflict him on Iran.

    Yes, that’s about the size of it. We didn’t at that time know about his potential for genocide, but we knew he was a brutal dictator. Our support for him did start to wane very quickly after he decided to use WMDs we’d provided for use on Iran on his own people.

    This certainly gives the lie to Matt Finley’s odd claim about the alleged “pacifism” in America’s long-standing policies toward the Islamic world.

    Yes, well that claim was never believable to anyone, now was it?

    The high price Americans are now paying in Iraq may function as some sort of penance for what our leadership did to create the hellish conditions of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

    If the Carter administration had possessed even one gonad they would have backed the Shah and kept him in power, thereby checking Saddam with a far more benevolent dictator and a more powerful neighbor and preventing this entire debacle. Iranians I’ve talked with recently blame almost the entire current mess in the region on the fall of the Shah and the weakness of our foreign policy after Nixon.

    Dave

  • G. Oren

    Stimulating posts here – especially from Dave N and Ruvy. The history of U.S. involvement in the Mid-East, especially during the cold-war, is not a simple manichean dualism and the administration does little justice to the complexity of the problems faced by every Mid-East state with its rhetoric and current practice.

    What I find most distressing about the current plight of the Mid-east is the seemingly intransigent trajectories of both Sunni and Shiite fundamentalist. Knowing their own weakness, the Saudis seem particularly distressed at the current state of things in Iraq – as it appears most likely that a heavily Iranian influenced Shiite majority will call most of the shots. I think it most likely that any Iraqi “state” that emerges from the current conflagration will be a weak confederation of balkanized regional provinces. The Kurds have their mini-state already functioning, the Shiites have the South, the Sunnis hold the weakest hand in the center. A conference of the nations bordering Iraq, including Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Iran should be a required first step in attempting to bring an uneasy peace and some stability to the region. Unfortunately, even the best diplomatic efforts may not prevent surrogate warfare from continuing among the factions within Iraq.

    Even if we are succesful in bringing about some modus vivendi around Iraq and its neighbors perhaps with the help of Russia and China – who have reasons of their own for favoring relative calm in the region – we still face two other seemingly intransigent conflicts. The Pakistanis seem entirely unwilling or unable to control their own borders with Afghanistan or to go beyond certain capacities in rooting out the remnants of Al Queda from their western border. As they sponsored the rise of the Taliban, they are reluctant or incapable of rooting them out either – leaving the Taliban free to threaten the unstable Afghani government. The second conflict is, of course, the continued lack of resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Israel cannot accede to any signficant “right-of-return” for the palestinians, and the only real solution must come from some form of two-state compromise – which appears less likely with Hamas holding the upper hand among the Palestinians.

    All of this may provide the U.S. with some opportunity to exert diplomatic influence, but precious little advantage or even disadvantage for exercising military options. We have shown that we can eradicate armies in the field, but that is of little consequence without a reasonable option for replacing a supposed enemy with something better and we have lost most of our credibility among the Arabs for acting as an honest broker.

    How do we approach these problems other than to adopt some kind of containment strategy that somehow fits into the ill-named “war on terror”? Given the nature of Islamic Fundamentalism, both Sunni and Shiite, we cannot afford to be unengaged. Neither can we afford to be sanguine about the increasing Islamification of Europe.

  • G. Oren

    Dave #34

    Yes, the greatest legacy of watergate was the collapse of our foreign policy and the relative weakness of the Ford and Carter administrations. Hamstrung as Ford was by the anti-war Congress of Dems that resulted from the 74 elections and poor Carter with his insistence on Human Rights and Detente with the Soviets. I’m not sure we could have prevented the Shahs fall without assasinating Khomenei. There was a brief period immediately after the Shah’s capitulation when it seemed a fairly moderate group of pro-western Iranians would fill the void, remember Bakhtiar and Bani-Sadr?

  • STM

    “The greatest legacy of watergate was the collapse of our foreign policy.”

    What, as America suddenly turned inwards? America’s always been a very inwards-looking culture. Try asking the average schoolkid to find Mexico, Canada, Britain, Australia, Africa or China on a map of the world and they won’t be able to do it. Many can’t even identify the US. Not their fault, as they haven’t been taught, but it has to start at that level, because most adults won’t be able to do it either. I’d guarantee 90 per cent of adults in the US can’t tell you on a map even roughly where Iraq is. The vast majority still also DIRECTLY connect 9/11 and the war in Iraq. That’s a worry.

    To your suggestion, I’d say: foreign policy? what foreign policy? Truth is, because of what it is the US hasn’t really needed to have one, except in time of war. That’s not a put down, either, just an observation made with two eyes open …

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I do indeed remember Bakhtiar and Bani-Sadr and for that matter Sadegh Ghotbzadeh too.

    You know, at one point Khomeini was in France while he was exiled from Iran and the French basically offered to let the Shah kill him in secret and the Shah passed.

    Dave

  • STM

    For fu.k’s sake Matt, as Ruvy points out, and as this is an international website, if you are going to do the definitive list of islamic terrorist attacks and present it as fact, do the whole lot. You forgot the Iranian Embassy siege in London 1980, numerous aircraft hijackings, the Bali bombings (2002, 2004, killing about 220, mostly westerners), the shooting massacre of western tourists in Luxor, Egypt, the repeated bombings of the red sea resorts (the last one was last year), the Beslan school siege, the Moscow theatre siege, the bombings of two Aeroflot jets over Russia, the Jakarta Embassy bombings, the London train and bus bombings, the Madrid rail bombings. Then there are the regular suicide bombings in Israel, and the many thwarted attacks including the ones that were to destroy western civilian jets over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Add all those in, and you are looking at a whole different ballgame. It’s good to give people the real picture, not a piecemeal one.

  • Doug Hunter

    “The vast majority still also DIRECTLY connect 9/11 and the war in Iraq. That’s a worry”

    What’s to worry about the truth? The war in Iraq would not have occured without 9/11. A simple fact only a moron would deny.

  • moonraven

    Well this “moron”–who is probably twice as smart as you are–says that one of the main reasons The Bush Gang did 9/11 was to create a general state of psychotic fear in the US so that you folks would go along with whatever wars in the name of petroleum that they wanted to wage.

    War with Iraq was on the neo-con plan for a new century agenda in 2000.

    Before The Reichstag Fire–er, The Sinking of the Maine–er, 9/11.

  • moonraven

    Not to mention that there is a whole crew of Rumplestiltskins on this site–led by Nalle–who daily try to convince us that the straw of fiction is the gold of fact.

  • MCH

    “What’s to worry about the truth? The war in Iraq would not have occured without 9/11. A simple fact only a moron would deny.”
    – Doug Hunter

    Since you agree with the invasion/occupation, Doug, I’m assuming you’ve served over there already?

  • Rumplestiltskin

    Queen Moonbeam meet me under the bridge at the stroke of midnight. I await you my love.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MCH, nothing Doug said indicated that he supported the invasion or occupation in Iraq. All he said was that it was obvious that without the events of 9/11 the Iraq invasion would not have been possible. That’s not an endorsement, it’s a reasonable statement of fact.

    Are you this imperceptive when reporting the scores on highschool basketball games, or is that a field where you’re actually qualified to have an opinion?

    Dave

  • MCH

    Well, I saw through your Vox Populi scam, Nalle.

  • troll

    geeze…how does a contrary to fact hypothetical statement morph into a ‘simple fact’ – ?

    who knows what provocation would have been used to justify and motivate support for an invasion if 9-11 hadn’t happened – ?

  • Doug Hunter

    “The Bush Gang did 9/11 was to create a general state of psychotic fear in the US so that you folks would go along with whatever wars in the name of petroleum that they wanted to wage.”

    So we agree the war and 9/11 are connected. Ditto for troll. Inherent in your knee jerk replies is the connection between the two. Thanks for playing. As for the moonie being twice as smart as me, I consider that quite a putdown considering she can’t write a simple rebuttal without completely contradicting her own point. Of course anyone that is delusional enough to believe that Bush ‘did’ 9/11 is probably impregnable to logic anyway.

    Troll, try and learn to think for yourself please. Go back and read Bush’s pre-9/11 speeches and use your own mind, not the programming coming from the left. There was no serious plan or groundwork being layed for invading Iraq. Missile defense was the main security thrust, not terrorism.

  • troll

    Doug:

    9-11 and the invasion of Iraq obviously were related as the one was used as an rational for the other by the administration…never argued that they weren’t related in at least this sense

    for all of his appeals to isolationism in his speechifying Bush surrounded himself with so-called neoconservative internationalists from before his appointment…my point in #46 is merely that your claim that ‘The war in Iraq would not have occured without 9/11.’ is opinion and not ‘simple fact’

    imo eventual occupation became ‘inevitable’ when the Bathist government finished nationalizing the oil infrastructure and began to exercise total control over development of the fields…and the actual rationalization/sales pitch began during the Clinton administration with the resolution calling for regime change after it became clear that the Socialists weren’t going to be overthrown from within by any more ‘moderate’ group and that the policy of containment would not lead to control by western interests

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Troll, I think you’re making more of the significance of who controls Iraq’s oil than makes much sense. Saddam would have gladly worked with western interests if sanctions were lifted – he was working with the French despite the sanctions, after all. Plus if the oil went to China or the Europeans that would reduce their demand for other oil, making it more available for the US and our favorite oil companies.

    Nice to see that you realize the Baathists are a socialist movement, though.

    Dave

  • MBD

    “‘The war in Iraq would not have occured without 9/11.’ is opinion and not ‘simple fact”

    Look at the record.

    “Israel can shape its strategic environment…This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right”

    — Prepared by The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies’ “Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000.” The main substantive ideas in this paper emerge from a discussion in which prominent opinion makers, including Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser participated. The report, entitled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” is the framework for a series of follow-up reports on strategy

  • troll

    Dave – I understand that you discount the importance of the production process to the oil industry…I simply disagree

    oil becomes fungible at the well head and there’s the whole business of getting it there which (for some reason) oil companies compete over

    you say – *Plus if the oil went to China or the Europeans that would reduce their demand for other oil, making it more available for the US and our favorite oil companies.*

    a country’s demand for oil is not static – the more it gets the more it can use

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I know there’s money to be made in actually pumping the oil, but if it were so all-fired much money the companies would be working harder to exploit oil resources in other parts of the world. From what I understand the margins are damned low on actually pumping the oil and the risk is high. This is why they want to be partnered with local governments to absorb some of the risk. The big money is in distribution and processing, and the big oil companies have that market pretty well dominated one way or another.

    a country’s demand for oil is not static – the more it gets the more it can use

    Not sure that holds true for developed countries. There’s certainly a finite market in the US or in Europe. Higher supply might reduce cost with some attendant increase in demand, but that market expansion would be inherently limited.

    Dave

  • troll

    Haliburton and Schlumberger have done ok on the margin…how’s your stock – ? (granted these corporations and their suppliers are involved in infrastructure development and maintenance through all stages of oil production from the fields to the refineries)

    in terms of economic growth – and therefore energy consumption – even the US is a ‘developing country’ with ever increasing demand

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, Haliburton has stagnated a bit, so they decided to split Kerr-McGee off into a separate company and when they did I switched over to KMG stock instead of Haliburton.

    Companies like Bechtel, Haliburton and Schlumberger aren’t oil companies, of course. Their profits are pretty much independent of who controls the oil or what the oil companies are doing as far as profits. Whoever is sucking the oil out of the ground is going to hire them to do it, and it’s going to be at a price set by bid in most cases.

    Dave

  • troll

    would China hire Haliburton…it has its own State controlled equivalent doesn’t it – ?

    and I think it’s fair to call any company that’s essential to oil production and for which oil production is essential an oil company

    (the stagnation and split off were due to that nasty asbestos problem Haliburton inherited when it picked up Dresser Industries weren’t they – ? I thought that that was all settled back in ’05 although the split off was just finalized recently…)

  • MBD

    “Companies like Bechtel, Haliburton and Schlumberger aren’t oil companies, of course.”

    Maybe they’re just common thieves.

    In little more than a year, $12 billion in US currency was removed from the vaults of the Federal Reserve and flown into Iraq. This money, mainly $100 bills, was packed into bricks, and each brick was worth $400,000.

    The bricks were assembled into large palettes each containing over $60 million in cash and flown into Iraq.

    No one knows what happened to the money…

  • troll

    everybody needs a little pocket cash when in a foreign country

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Those bricks of cash were in the hands of civilian administrators, NOT Halliburton – just for the record.

    And regarding China hiring Halliburton. While they may have some infrastructure services of their own – presumably from the Red Army which does all that kind of work – China hires Halliburton/KBR all the time to provide technical services within China and all sorts of contracting services outside of China.

    In researching this I also discovered that some of the infrastructure work in Iraq has been won by open bid by both China’s ZTE corporation and Russia’s Lukoil. So China, Halliburton, Bechtel, Schlumberger and the Russians are all working side by side in Iraq.

    Dave

  • MBD

    Who is everybody?

    Does it include the families of dead soldiers?

    How about the wounded?

  • MBD

    “Those bricks of cash were in the hands of civilian administrators, NOT Halliburton – just for the record.”

    Just for the record, you don’t know what happened to the money once it got there.

    So if you don’t know, don’t pretend to know.

  • troll

    #58 is very interesting…would you list some of your sources and save others the work of tracking down your facts – ?

    thanks in advance

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Sources for which info, MBD? Just google “china halliburton contract” then google the same with “contract” replaced with “subcontract” – you’ll find plenty of interesting links.

    If you were looking for info on Halliburton doing work in China or with the Chinese try this link and this link – both press releases from Halliburton.

    For other stuff ask me specifically because we’re limited to two links per comment.

    And yes, I don’t know what happened to all that cash, but I have no reason to think it was given to Halliburton. I understand that the general excuse is that it was used for massive and not terribly successful bribes.

    Dave

  • troll

    (that request was from me Dave…not from the people’s choice – MBD)

  • MBD

    Dave’s eyesight is deteriorating along with his other faculties.

  • troll

    (actually I should apologize for asking Dave for links…usually I troll for info myself but my ‘due diligence’ time is short these days

    it’s springtime in the Rockies and everyone wants his caballo worked on yesterday – so I’m even more of a drive-by commenter than usual)

  • Hubert Heaver

    “You Can’t Create Fact From Fiction”

    Of course you can!

    Look at all the sordid facts created in Iraq based on the blatant fictions the administration created.

    Remember WMD? Mushroom cloud over Chicago? Etc.?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    I think the peoples choice is actually MGD tho to me it tastes like piss.

    Are you a farrier or somesuch, troll?

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Yeah, that comment about caballos caught my eye, too.

    What do you do with them, troll?

  • MBD

    “I think the peoples choice is actually MGD tho to me it tastes like piss.”

    What does piss taste like?

  • troll

    (that’s MJB)

    yup – I’m a farrier

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Sheesh, MBD. You’ve never had to drink your own piss? Guess you weren’t in a frat.

    Nice retro profession, troll. I’m taking blacksmithing classes starting next week – just for amusement and to expand my useless knowledge.

    Dave

  • troll

    and you haven’t lived until you’ve down a gourde of peyote laden urine

    enjoy the class Dave…I hope you get to work with coal rather than propane – and remember the adage: ‘strike while the metal is hot’…you’ll avoid wrist injuries that way

  • MBD

    “Sheesh, MBD. You’ve never had to drink your own piss? Guess you weren’t in a frat.”

    Yup. No frat.

    I went to college under the GI Bill. I had outgrown my childhood ways.

    Did you have to drink it warm?

  • Clavos

    troll,

    I see a farrier here on the road a lot (he must live somewhere near me). From the signs on his truck, I gather he’s sort of an itinerant farrier-going to the horses wherever they are.

    Is that how you work, or are you connected with a stable or veterinary center?

    I agree with Dave, BTW: cool line of work. Years ago, my wife and I had a horse (two people, one horse-go figure), I enjoyed watching her get shod. The horse, not the wife-she has to go barefoot. :>)

  • troll

    Clavos – I do a lot of driving both to individual homes and several stables and I am on call with local Vets for emergencies

    …actually the riding boot technology has progressed so much in the past few years I highly recommend keeping horses barefoot too

  • STM

    Nalle wrote: “Sheesh, MBD. You’ve never had to drink your own piss? Guess you weren’t in a frat.”

    WATER FROM PISS

    Here’s something for you boys, if you’re ever stuck in the desert and you have some spare water bottles, a bit of masking or electric tape but no water (which is why everyone should pack that stuff) … you can actually make water from piss.

    You get everyone to piss in one large plastic bottle, but don’t fill it, then tape another one to it, top to top so that the necks are facing (so when you lay them down flat – horizontal – facing each other, one at one end and one at another, so they are connected by the open necks). Lay them down and cover the empty bottle with dirt and sand, but leaving the bottle with the piss in it open to the sun.

    Condensation then transfers from the hot bottle full of piss to the empty one covered with sand.

    Voila … fresh, drinkable water, and you can live on it indefinitely, or at least until you get rescued – simply by recycling your own piss.

    Doesn’t taste that good – it’s not Evian, put it that way – but it’s better than carking it :)

  • Clavos

    Ah, the enlightenment one can glean from these hallowed halls (or screens, as the case may be)…

  • STM

    Lol. My tip Clav … stick a couple of one- or two-litre empty water bottles on your boat, and have some electrical tape handy too. You never know mate …

    I believe you can also get drinking water from seawater this way, but I’m not game to try it. Piss, fair enough, but seawater? You just never know where it’s been.

  • Clavos

    Actually, I have a desalinator aboard, Stan. Makes 400 gallons per day by reverse osmosis. Pure as distilled. Cool gadget.

  • MBD

    This is all well and good, but it’s not what Nalle drank at his frat party.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MBD you don’t drink piss at the frat PARTY, you drink it as part of the hazing process. What is America coming to that these basic activities of youth are no longer common knowledgE?

    Dave

  • MBD

    “What is America coming to that these basic activities of youth are no longer common knowledge?”

    They now pass up swallowing piss after Bill Clinton showed Monica something better to swallow.

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