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Was Congress provided same info as President (re wmd)?(13 posts)

Was Congress provided same info as President (re wmd)?DougSloan
Jun 10, 2003 8:07 AM
This question got buried in a long thread, but I'm truly interested in an answer. The question is whether Congress was provided the same intelligence re WMD as the President, upon which they endorsed military action? Anyone heard anything?

Does the President get the gritty details and Congress a superficial overview? Do certain members of Congress get more detailed info? In other words, assuming for purposes of discussion that someone was wrong, that there were not existing WMD at the time the war was begun, who knew or could have known that? Were the President and Congress in the same boat?

Thanks.

Doug
I don't think so...Dwayne Barry
Jun 10, 2003 8:46 AM
maybe congressmen on the Intelligence Committee get the same but I don't think even they do.

The issue of WMD really surprises me, although I opposed the war, I fully expected us to find WMD once we invaded. I think it's hard to argue that Bush didn't, at the very least, overstate the "imminent" danger Hussein and his WMD posed to the US. Or his claims that we're safer now. Seems to me if you knew Saddam had WMDs that could fall into the hands of terrorists, and now you can't find them, doesn't that make us less safe?

The more I listen to the experts on the news, the more it seems unlikely that there were any WMD programs in place although there may still be old stuff around. If you think back to the very beginning of this debate Bush was even throwing "nuclear" around before I think somebody put the reins on him as far as that WMD went. I just find it hard to trust the guy.

I think those hydrogen producing trucks that were recently discovered is instructive in-so-far as how the US government is handling proving there were WMD or active programs to produce them in place in Iraq. Frankly, I'm disappointed and expected better out of people like Powell and Rice.
I don't think so...TJeanloz
Jun 10, 2003 9:00 AM
I'm amazed at the turns this debate has taken. There is a core group of people that believe Bush lied to the World about the "imminent" threat of WMD. But, as far as I'm concerned, if the best intelligence was telling him that the threat was, in fact, imminent, his repeating that is not a lie. We all know that GWB was not, himself, on the ground in Iraq checking for WMD, and an intelligence failure, while his fault, is not dishonesty.

Second, I find it interesting how quick some people are to say that these were "hydrogen producing trucks" (which, by the way, would have been resolution violations in and of themselves), when there is certainly not a consensus about what the trucks actually were (are). I really think that jumping to the conclusion that there were no WMD is a very dangerous place to be - because you risk looking all the more foolish when/if some turn up, but you've already blown all your political capital 1.5 years before the election if they don't.
Indeed. Thank you. nmNo_sprint
Jun 10, 2003 9:08 AM
I wouldn't say...Dwayne Barry
Jun 10, 2003 9:25 AM
Bush lied, I agree with your assessment. I think he overstated the case though.

The thing about the "hydrogen producing trucks" is that from what I've read it's not possible to know what they were for. Producing hydrogen for artillery observation balloons or for WMD. So to say that they are proof of a WMD program is just not honest (ignoring the fact that even if used for WMD they may not have been used for that for the past 10 or 15 years).
I wouldn't say...TJeanloz
Jun 10, 2003 9:31 AM
One of the real difficulties of this discussion is that nobody is really sure what constitutes a smoking gun, short of finding an A-bomb or Scud missle loaded with anthrax. The problem is that the U.N. laid out very clearly what was allowed and what was not, but popular definitions are different. Things like the "hydrogen" trailers were illegal under the U.N. resolutions - but they aren't considered a smoking gun for some reason. There is no question that SH was in violation of Security Council resolutions regarding destruction of WMD, but the public seems to want, and feel they were promised, more than that.
another issueDougSloan
Jun 10, 2003 9:44 AM
I think what intelligence about current wMD existed was made somewhat more credible by Saddam's actions in resisting inspections and not being truthful in his required disclosures. There was good reason to believe he was hiding something.

I still want to know what Congress knew. If Congress had the same info, I say this is a dead issue, unless you want to condemn all of them -- yes, all -- even the ones voting against action. If they were privy to the info so clearly lacking (they now claim), why weren't they clearly identifying the untruthfulness of the claims?

Doug
We'll know when Congress concludes its investigation.czardonic
Jun 10, 2003 10:18 AM
Assuming it isn't stonewalled by the Administration, as per their usual tactic. Again, why would Congress be investigating the possible manipulation of intelligence if they had the "same info"? (A quesiton you left buried in that other thread.) Moreover, even if they had the "same info", it does not prove that the "same info" was not the product of pressure on the intelligence community by an Administration eager to trump up a pretext for going to war.

We already know that Congress believed the President and had faith in the "evidence" he presented to them. We also know that several pieces of that evidence were subsequently revealed to be falsified, forged or subject to wildly divergent interpretation.

This is an Administration that spins strenuously to bolster its agenda. Most Administrations do. But when it comes to spinning war, you cross the line. I believe that the President believed is claims about the imminent threat that Iraq posed. The problem is that he had no proof, and in the absense of proof he walked the fine line between credulity and dishonesty. That's might get him a pass when he is blowing smoke about his tax cuts, but it's not good enough for matters of national security.
Exactly...Dwayne Barry
Jun 10, 2003 9:57 AM
I don't think the president is (or was) operating on any kind of level of proof that say a scientist would except, or a judge operating with the presumption of innocence (as if Saddam deserved this). He's operating in the realm of public opinion where all kinds of ideas that lack any real proof are excepted as facts. Lets face it, no one wants to think American soilders are dying or we're killing women and kids for anything other than noble ideals or at least to protect ourselves. Therefore, conclusive evidence isn't needed which speaks to how sparse the evidence really is, most anything will do and they are having a hard time even finding that. Again, I'm really surprised. Why haven't they produced statements by the Iraqi officials they've arrested, some of whom were involved in WMDs production at some point? You know there is a theory out there, at least supported by some defectors, that the weapons programs were in fact dismantled after the first Gulf War.

For me it's a moot point anyway because I don't think the ultimate reason we invaded Iraq was WMDs and certainly not to liberate the Iraqi people. But I would at least like to see some more conclusive evidence that the reason given for invading Iraq was at it's core true.
that should say "wasn't WMDs" not was (nm)Dwayne Barry
Jun 10, 2003 10:10 AM
Not sure what Congress was told, but it seems that ...PdxMark
Jun 10, 2003 10:40 AM
some of the intelligence analysis was cooked a bit, or maybe just blanched, to tilt the interpretation of facts toward more conclusiveness about the presence of WMDs.

I don't have time to track down the links, but news reports seem to tell of intelligence interpretations from regular agencies (CIA & maybe DIA?) being re-evaulated by people hand-picked by Rumsfeld. The hand-picked crew reached conclusions that better supported the WMDs allegation. My impression is that this re-evalaluated information is what was provided to Congress. I don't know whether Congress also got the less emphatic original intelligence analyses.

There is no question that Saddam was not complying with documentation of the destruction of WMDs. But we were told repeatedly, and even still, that the ARE WMDs in Iraq. That was the purpose of the war - originally. But the public evidence of proof of the WMDs was only implicit, at best. The now infamous attempts at acquiring African (Nigerian?) nuclear materials is one example. The unaccounted-for tons of growth media is another. I'm not sure what other public evidence there was... For me, absent other evidence, this all pointed that Iraq COULD have WMDs, not that it DID.

I also find it interesting that the WMDs are not turning up. The WMDs were Saddam's most critical weapons systems. I think it's unlikely that he would have dumped them in unsecure holding areas having no infrastructure for military security. As a despised dictator, he could not afford to lose control of those things.

It has been suggested that the weapons could have been buried to hide them, and all the folks who did that job were murdered. That's certainly in the realm of possibility for Saddam, but burying them would suggest the plan to retrieve them, so there would need to be some record of where they are.

So I think Congress & the President are not in the same boat in this case. The President's people cooked the books, even if just a bit, to make a better case for war. Congress was fed the cooked bits. Whether it was GWB, or Donald Rumsfeld, who decided to take "another look" at the intelligence... I don't know.
Iran a sworn enemy of the US says that Iraq has WMDLive Steam
Jun 10, 2003 12:18 PM
Iran Backs Coalition Claims of Hidden Iraqi WMD
Stewart Stogel
Friday June 6, 2003
New York -- An Iranian government official with ties to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Tehran had received intelligence indicating that the government of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was indeed hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMD)from UN inspectors.
"Yes, we agree with the Americans. Our intelligence indicated that Iraq did possess weapons of mass destruction and was hiding them from the UN."

The source, who requested confidentiality, went on to say that the big question is: "What did the Iraqis do with these weapons?"

While Teheran does not know where these weapons may be today, there is a strong suspicion that some may have filtered onto local black markets.

"We know other items once under military control (such as broadcast transmission equipment) have found their way onto the black market," says the official.

"We have people coming to Teheran from Baghdad with catalogs of items (stolen from the Iraqi government) offering them for sale." So far, the source claims no WMD offerings have shown up in Iran ... yet.

The Iranian revelation comes as the Bush administration and the government of UK prime minister Tony Blair have come under increased fire on the issue of whether Iraq was still in possession of prohibited weapons prior to the March invasion.

The issue of WMD and its possible possession by Baghdad was repeatedly cited by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Blair as a central reason for launching Operation Iraqi Freedom.

More than two months later, neither US nor UK military forces have been able to find any evidence of hidden Iraqi WMD.

Calls for Congressional and Parliamentary investigations into the secret weapons issue are increasing on Capitol Hill and in London.

Blair, in a Wednesday speech before the British House of Commons and Bush in a Thursday speech before US troops at Central Command Headquarters in Doha, Qatar, insisted that given enough time, Coalition forces will uncover the secret(and well hidden)Iraqi weapons.

Those claims clashed with comments by UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix who told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday that his personnel "saw no evidence of hidden WMD during their latest rounds of inspections."

Those inspections began in December 2002 and lasted till March 18, 2003, one day before the US and UK attacked Iraq.

Blix did qualify his findings by admitting prohibited Iraqi weapons may still exist, but there was no way he could be sure, since UN arms inspectors have not been allowed into Iraq since the Coalition invasion.

For the first time since the invasion, Washington and London are permitting a limited inspection of a major Iraqi nuclear installation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The IAEA (the UN's atomic watchdog) is sending an emergency seven member inspection team to the Tuwaitha nuclear center, 15 mi south of Baghdad by week's end.

More than 500 tons of toxic nuclear waste had been stored and sealed at the center by the IAEA prior to the overthrow of the Iraqi government.

Local reports from the area claim much of the waste was looted during the war.

IAEA officials familiar with the nuclear materials explain that some of them could be used by terrorists to fashion a so-called "dirty bomb".

The agency says that Washington has decided to impose a news blackout on the activities of the IAEA team in Iraq. The inspections are tentatively scheduled to last two weeks.

"Nobody in Baghdad will be available to brief the press," says one IAEA official. The official added, "we don't know what to expect, this is new territory."

Coincidentally, IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei decided not to attend the UN Security Council briefing on the Iraqi arms issue in New York City on Thursday.


I suppose that you conspiracy loving liberals thi
We already knew that!czardonic
Jun 10, 2003 12:43 PM
The question is, what is the Bush Administration going to do about it. The answer? They are going to complain to the IAEA in hopes that the IAEA will bring it up with the United Nations. So, there's your president and his hypocrisy.