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Gathering Intelligence - separating the wheat from the chaff(24 posts)

Gathering Intelligence - separating the wheat from the chaffMe Dot Org
Mar 14, 2003 2:15 PM
The linked article speculates as to why the U.S. and Britain asserted that Iraq was trying to purchase 500 tons of uranium based upon documents that were obvious forgeries.

One document, for example was:

...written on paper from a 1980s military government in Niger, bears the date of October 2000 and the signature of a man who by then had not been foreign minister of Niger in 14 years, sources said.

While the article doubts that either the U.S. or British Governments were the authors of the forgeries, it gives pause to think that, in a field ripe with intentional disinformation, our intelligence officers accepted this evidence with such an uncritical eye.
re: Gathering Intelligence - separating the wheat from the chaffJon Billheimer
Mar 14, 2003 2:49 PM
I think a fair explanation is that the Bush administration will seize on any apparent justification to bolster a policy decision that was taken quite some time ago to get rid of Saddam and establish a semi-permanent U.S. military presence in the middle east. This is one more example of a "reason of the week" to justify an unjustifiable war. My guess is that by the time this whole horrible mess has played itself out the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution will look like "Boy Scouts Honour."
What would Iraq do with it?Spoiler
Mar 14, 2003 5:21 PM
I really think the US has either lost track of, or is abandoming the basic moral premise of war. Bear with me.
Does anyone actually think Iraq would attack the US? Of course they wouldn't. Saddam knows it's the one sure way for him to lose power.
If I'm right, and Saddam won't dare bomb the US, who would he bomb, and do we have the right to go in by ourselves to prevent it? Israel? A neighbor? Maybe.
Here's my take on war. War is only justified if you're attacked. We haven't been attacked.
People might say, "Well what do we do, just wait for him to attack?"
Yes. We keep a strong military, letting him know that if he attacks us, we go to war, and he loses power.
That's what we did with the Soviets, and we never went to war. The only difference today is that the US is so much more powerful than Iraq, we can get away with attacking first, with minimal risk of retribution. The problem is that if we attack, Saddam has nothing to lose, and uses whatever he has.
We were just protecting Kuwait in Desert Storm, not responding to an attack on the US. That's OK. As part of war, the winner should be able to overturn the losing government. In the democratic spirit, we should have worked to let the Iraqi people install their own new government, no matter how big a pain in the butt it might have been. We didn't.
I don't think we can wait ten years and then claim the right to conduct unfinished business. The US has to take responsibility for the fact that we allowed him to stay in power and deal with the consequences. If he attacks us, we go to war, until then, deal with him as we did the Soviets.
Tsk, tsk. You're not using your imagination.czardonic
Mar 14, 2003 6:03 PM
Of course Saddam would never openly attack the US. But, he could concievably give a nuclear weapon to Al Queda, who would do his dastardly bidding for him. Then, he could just sit back one of his big palaces and laugh at us, knowing that the French would prevent us from striking back without meeting some astronomically high burden of proof. I bet that's what he's doing right now, in a silk smoking-jacket, fondling a Cuban cigar in one hand and stroking that damn mustache in the other. Arrrgh, it makes me so mad just thinking about it! But I digress. . .

Never mind that Saddam Hussein and Al Queda are mortal enemies. They could concievably team up together.

Never mind that he doesn't have a viable nuclear program. He could concievably have one at some concievable point in the concievable future. And if the paper trail so far was phonied up, does it not prove that such a transaction could concievably take place?

Never forget, 9/11 changed everything. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for people to attack us first. We have a responsibility to grind under our heel every man, woman and child who could concievably rise up against us.

The problem with you freakin' pacifist Commie Saddam sympathizers is that don't live in a fantasy world.
You use selective (i.e. inconsistent) argumentsCaptain Morgan
Mar 14, 2003 11:06 PM
Last week you used the following quote in describing Kim North Korea: "oppressive, murderous and dangerous dictator in North Korea."

I guess it must be okay to conceive threats in relation to Kim, but not to Saddam.
Reality Check!czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 10:21 AM
North Korea has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to U.S. soil now, including the West Coast in the near future. Outside of you paranoid mind, Saddam has none of these things.
CheckCaptain Morgan
Mar 17, 2003 11:17 AM
First off, regarding WMD, you (we) do not know what Saddam has. The CIA says he has WMD, Saddam says he doesn't. Why on earth would you want to take Saddam's word (other than it being a means to criticize your government)? I believe my government first and foremost, and I think in a week's time we will have some clarification on this issue.

Secondly, the only reason NK has the ability to deliver WMD is because we let him (and probably for good reason -- Chinese protectorates). It sounds like you advocate a policy whereby you wait until a country actually HAS the means to deliver WMD and can actually blackmail us. That strategy didn't work as relates to Kim -- why should it work with Saddam?
Check your Whitehouse talking points.czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 11:43 AM
Nobody is maintaining that Saddam has nuclear weapons. If you believe your government "first and foremost," maybe you should start listening to it. And if you scoff at the idea about taking Saddam's word now, what was all that nonsense about needing his full and complete disclosure (or else) a couple weeks ago?

When did I suggest that Saddam be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and long-range delivery capabilities? I simply agree with the concensus among rational, informed people that he does not have either, and will not as long as we keep an eye on him.

I'd just like to see you admit that you are overcompensating for your impotence re North Korea by beating up on defeated, has-been Iraq.
Check your Whitehouse talking points.purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 5:41 PM
Rational, informed people have no idea if Saddam has WMD (though I would argue that reasonable people must lean towards it). Only those with an agenda insist that he does not. You won't even believe your own government. How is it possible you would believe one as deceitful and unaccountable as Saddam's? It's one thing to distrust government. Quite another to only mistrust an open and accountable one.

All that nonsense about his full disclosure was just that: nonsense. We did no credit to ourselves by insisting on fighting a lost cause within the UN, though I suspect it was done so we wouldn't look so "arrogant" to our allies. Hopefully next time we'll just put our cards on the table and all will call a spade a spade.
Open and accountable? The <i>Bush</i> administration!?czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 6:01 PM
Surely, you jest.

As the joke goes, we (Americans) know Saddam has chemical and biological weapons because we kept the reciepts. Nuclear weapons are a whole different matter, but there has yet to be evidence provided of their existence that wasn't proven false or misleading.

As I have said many times, I don't trust Saddam Hussein. Frankly, I don't think we need to trust him or the many other assorted nuts running various countries around the world. We need to contain them and undermine their regimes so that popular movements have a chance to prevail. In the meantime, we need to recognize that the world is always going to be dangerous, and start figuring out ways to mitigate those dangers, rather than increase them out of the simple-minded conviction that we can subdue the entire globe.
Open and accountable? The <i>Bush</i> administration!?purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 6:22 PM
Yes, the Bush administration. Or are you saying that everyone outside the administration is just a shill for the administration? A great thing about our country is that no matter how hard our leaders may try to hide their nefarious endeavors, it always will out.

Even the French have started to admit that they were "duped" into providing technology to Saddam that they fear will be used to make nuclear weapons. What's misleading about that?

And just how do you suggest we undermine a regime? Sunflowers and lollipops?
Wow. That will be a fantastic turn of events. . .czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 6:51 PM
. . .for the watchdog groups trying to get their hands on the minutes of Cheney's energy task force meetings. I don't doubt that information will get out eventually, but between Bush sealing the presidential papers of previous administraions and Aschrcoft vowing to fight FOI requests tooth and nail, it won't be anytime soon (as in, soon enough to make a difference).

When will Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld admit that they were duped into providing WMD technology to Iraq? I guess owning up to your mistakes is too "Old Europe" for them.

As for undermining a regime, specifically Iraq, I would advocate smarter sanctions and more oversight of allowed trade activity. But since all we have done so far is starve the Iraqi people with poorly targeted sanctions and call on them to rise up only to leave them to be slaughtered like we did in the early 90's, sunflowers and lollipops would be a step in the right direction. Heck, sunflower oil and sugars are a lot more nutricious than a knife in the back.
Wow. That will be a fantastic turn of events. . .purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 7:09 PM
Holy Sh!t! I actually agree with you on something. Sort of. I don't think we need the minutes of Cheney's energy task force. His strenuous denial of information speaks volumes. Judging from our government's energy policy, all the minutes could do is confirm what we all strongly suspect (I think we can safely say "know").

If Cheney and Rumsfeld try to weasel out by saying they were duped, there is enough evidence to prove that they knew exactly what they were doing (even going so far as to admonish Saddam about using the weapons on his own people; they sold the stuff to him anyway).

Sorry, the sanctions have not caused the death of any Iraqi. Saddam has $25,000 to give to the families of homicide bombers but he can't find the scratch to buy food and medicine? We tried sanctions but the UN just wasn't willing. I think it's unconscionable. I think it sucks. But I don't think there is any alternative to war now.

Can't argue about abandoning the Iraqis to certain slaughter. I just hope we learned something from that mess.
On the sanctions. . .czardonic
Mar 18, 2003 10:36 AM
. . .I would say that although it is true that Saddam could have fed his people, it was/is obvious that he wasn't. It was also obvious that the sanctions were limiting the Iraqi people's opportunity to feed themselves. And finally, it is obvious that the sanctions didn't have any of the intended or desired effects on Saddam.

So, to continue them as they were was to knowingly participate in the deprivation of Iraq's civilian population with no expectation of inconveniencing Saddam.
On the sanctions. . .purplepaul
Mar 18, 2003 4:06 PM
But whenever the US proposed any changes, France and Russia objected. Could sanctions have been crafted to let in what the Iraqi people needed without giving Saddam what he wanted? I don't know. There wasn't the will in the UN to establish such a thing even after 9-11.

Thus, I really believe the moral outrage of so much of the world is misplaced. First and foremost, it should go to Saddam and the UN. Next in line: France. Then Russia and then maybe the US. But it is my belief that the US has become a scapegoat for all the failed policies of the world, regardless of the circumstances.
When you cast yourself as a leader. . .czardonic
Mar 18, 2003 6:17 PM
. . .you bear responsibility for failures in leadership. Bush has yet to learn this.

Insofar as Saddam was getting what he wanted regardless of the sanctions, they could have been lifted entirely with the only effect being less deprivation for civilians. No?
When you cast yourself as a leader. . .purplepaul
Mar 18, 2003 6:39 PM
Actually, no. Food and medicine were allowed to be imported and in fact were. Saddam took it and sold it. If there were no sanctions, Saddam would have had more money but it's doubtful his people would have gotten anything extra.

Although it is indisputable that America is a leader, the UN takes away a great deal of our power. Yes we still have influence. But for sanctions to have had any chance of working, we needed all our allies to cooperate. They didn't. That wasn't our fault.
You might be right.czardonic
Mar 18, 2003 6:50 PM
But I suspect that NGO's would have had a much better chance of delivering direct aid without being hamstrung by the sanctions.

Either the US is a sole leader, in which case it has no excuse for the lack of leadership, or it is one of many leaders in the UN, in which case it has no excuse for alienating its fellow leaders. The fact remains that Bush 43 failed at what was accomplished by Bush 41. Either Bush 43 is wrong about the need for intervention in Iraq, or he failed to prove that he is right, something that Bush 41 proved to be possible.
You might be right.purplepaul
Mar 18, 2003 8:00 PM
I'd really like to think that a more competent diplomatic team could have pulled more over to our side. But given France's political objectives, I'm not convinced the outcome would have been significantly different.

At least, though, we might have made it harder to oppose us. Who knows, instead of stealing the title "Most Hated Nation" we could have forced France to keep it.
Useful IdiotsAlpedhuez55
Mar 15, 2003 4:30 PM
It is funny how some people will jump on one page of forged evidence that was missed by US & British Intelligence and ignore the thousands of pages of evidence documenting chemical & Biological weapons as well as actual weapons such as chemical warheads, missles, drone planes and cluster bombs.

Lenin used to refer to blind defenders and apologists for the Soviet Union in the West as "useful idiots." Saddam seems to have quite a few of them as well. How about people trying to urge Saddam to disarm for a change rather than trying to smear or insult our president.

Mike Y.
Useful Idiotspurplepaul
Mar 16, 2003 8:54 PM
But you've got to admit, that was an inexcusable gaffe. It gave way too much ammunition to the other side.

Agreed, though, those who say they want a peaceful solution have done everything possible to ensure that it won't be.
What makes you think it was just the "one page" that was forged? (nm)czardonic
Mar 17, 2003 10:25 AM
What makes you think it was just the "one page" that was forged? (nm)purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 1:05 PM
I can't know, of course, whether our government is perpetrating a mass fraud upon us. I just don't believe it is. Our leaders are, fortunately, too accountable to pull that off, and it certainly would come out in a million ways at some point in the future.

Also, I don't believe the administration NEEDS to fabricate evidence. There's plenty of information from all sides to justify what the government is doing.
That looks to me like a huge problem today.Spoke Wrench
Mar 15, 2003 7:28 AM
Our intelligence people have the capability to accumulate so much information that they have difficulty sorting it, and assessing it's veracity and value. If I were Saddam, I'd be doing my best to swamp our people with literally tons of fake messages and documents just to make it harder for them to ferret out the good stuff from a sea of chaff.