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American "cognitive dissonance" re WMD's(70 posts)

American "cognitive dissonance" re WMD'sMJ
Jun 17, 2003 4:44 AM

Posted on Sat, Jun. 14, 2003

War poll uncovers fact gap
Many mistakenly believe U.S. found WMDs in Iraq.
By Frank Davies
Inquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.

But such weapons have not been found in Iraq and were not used.

Before the war, half of those polled in a survey said Iraqis were among the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. But most of the Sept. 11 terrorists were Saudis; none was an Iraqi.

The results startled even the pollsters who conducted and analyzed the surveys. How could so many people be so wrong about information that has dominated news coverage for almost two years?

"It's a striking finding," said Steve Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, which asked the weapons questions during a May 14-18 poll of 1,256 respondents.

He added: "Given the intensive news coverage and high levels of public attention, this level of misinformation suggests some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance."

That is, of having their beliefs conflict with the facts. Kull noted that the mistaken belief that weapons had been found "is substantially greater among those who favored the war."

Pollsters and political analysts offer several reasons for the gaps between facts and beliefs: the public's short attention span on foreign news, fragmentary or conflicting media reports that lacked depth or skepticism, and Bush administration efforts to sell a war by oversimplifying the threat.

"Most people get little whiffs and fragments of news, not in any organized way," said Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, a centrist-liberal think tank. "And there have been a lot of conflicting reports on the weapons."

Before the war, the U.S. media often reported as a fact the assertions by the Bush administration that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of illegal weapons.

During and after the war, reports of possible weapons discoveries were often trumpeted on front pages, while follow-up stories debunking the reports received less attention.

"There were so many reports and claims before the war, it was easy to be confused," said Larry Hugick, chairman of Princeton Survey Research Associates. "But people expected the worst from Saddam Hussein and made connections based on the administration's policy."

Bush has described the preemptive attack on Iraq as "one victory in the war on terror that began Sept. 11." Bush officials also say Iraq sheltered and helped al-Qaeda operatives.

"The public is susceptible to manipulation, and if they hear officials saying there is a strong connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda terrorists, then they think there must be a connection," Mann said.

"Tapping into the feelings and fears after Sept. 11 is a way to sell a policy," he added.

Polls show strong support for Bush and the war, although 40 percent in the May survey found U.S. officials were "misleading" in some of their justifications for war. A majority, 55 percent, said they were not misleading.

Several analysts said the murky claims and intelligence data about lethal weapons and terrorist ties allowed most people to see such news through the filter of their own political beliefs.

And GOP pollsters said any controversy over weapons won't change public attitudes, because ridding Iraq of an oppressive regime was reason enough for war for many Americans.

"People supported the war for national-security reasons, and that shifted to humanitarian reasons when they saw evidence of Saddam's atrocities," Republican strategist Frank Luntz said. "There's an assumption these weapons will be found because this guy was
and even folks at the NSC are bailing outMJ
Jun 17, 2003 4:46 AM

Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror


"Counterterrorism is like a team sport. . . . There has to be offense and defense," says Rand Beers. "The Bush administration is primarily offense." (Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)


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By Laura Blumenfeld
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 16, 2003; Page A01

Five days before the war began in Iraq, as President Bush prepared to raise the terrorism threat level to orange, a top White House counterterrorism adviser unlocked the steel door to his office, an intelligence vault secured by an electronic keypad, a combination lock and an alarm. He sat down and turned to his inbox.

"Things were dicey," said Rand Beers, recalling the stack of classified reports about plots to shoot, bomb, burn and poison Americans. He stared at the color-coded threats for five minutes. Then he called his wife: I'm quitting.

Beers's resignation surprised Washington, but what he did next was even more astounding. Eight weeks after leaving the Bush White House, he volunteered as national security adviser for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic candidate for president, in a campaign to oust his former boss. All of which points to a question: What does this intelligence insider know?

"The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its words in the war on terrorism. They're making us less secure, not more secure," said Beers, who until now has remained largely silent about leaving his National Security Council job as special assistant to the president for combating terrorism. "As an insider, I saw the things that weren't being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out."

No single issue has defined the Bush presidency more than fighting terrorism. And no issue has both animated and intimidated Democrats. Into this tricky intersection of terrorism, policy and politics steps Beers, a lifelong bureaucrat, unassuming and tight-lipped until now. He is an unlikely insurgent. He served on the NSC under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and the current Bush. The oath of office hangs on the wall by his bed; he tears up when he watches "The West Wing." Yet Beers decided that he wanted out, and he is offering a rare glimpse in.

"Counterterrorism is like a team sport. The game is deadly. There has to be offense and defense," Beers said. "The Bush administration is primarily offense, and not into teamwork."

In a series of interviews, Beers, 60, critiqued Bush's war on terrorism. He is a man in transition, alternately reluctant about and empowered by his criticism of the government. After 35 years of issuing measured statements from inside intelligence circles, he speaks more like a public servant than a public figure. Much of what he knows is classified and cannot be discussed. Nevertheless, Beers will say that the administration is "underestimating the enemy." It has failed to address the roo
Since when, did you think that the general.................MR_GRUMPY
Jun 17, 2003 5:40 AM
population was smart.
Never was......never will be.
HEHEHE - that's funny - nmMJ
Jun 17, 2003 6:07 AM
Really though, is it just American's that are suspetalbe to suggestion?Kristin
Jun 17, 2003 6:22 AM
I hate to keep touting this, but I sat down last night and watched everyone of those PBS specials--I don't have a TV so I scrounge up what I can on the internet. They were very well done and very well informed programs. Probably the best I've seen on subjects like Alternative Medicine. (Though even then, I must be careful, because they could be biased and manipulative, and it would be hard to detect that from a video tape. Truth being told, I saw exactly what they wanted me to see. The only question remains, did they have an agenda and what was it?)

Anyway, this has got me thinking. Why are people so suseptable to suggestion? Mostly, we believe everything we hear when the teller looks professional and claims to be an expert. Its very difficult to think objectively when someone is telling you what to do with any air of authority--myself included. Whats up with that? A product of our over structured educational methods? Are Europeans as susptable to being taken in as us Americans?? How about other cultures. Of course, no one can answer this. I enjoy asking questions that can't be answered. If I didn't suck at math, I'd become a researcher.

Honestly, the war is a good example. As is much of this Alternative Medicine. The war is looking more and more everyday like a farse. If it is--and I believe it was--then the only reason they pulled it off is because American's believed the propaganda.
is it just Americans that are susceptible to suggestion?DougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 6:27 AM
Apparently so. Wouldn't your theory apply to the post war analysis as well?

Yes it wouldKristin
Jun 17, 2003 6:34 AM
And we won't know who's version is true for another 75 years when our great-grandkids study about it in American Civilization.
Suspetable??? Geez, I need more coffee!! nmKristin
Jun 17, 2003 6:35 AM
I really don't careDougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 6:16 AM
I really don't care about all this Monday morning quarterbacking about the war. There was a job to do, and we did it. Saddam was an evil person, and regardless of any other motive or fact, it is good he's gone.

You lefties can cry all you want in your political attacks, but it just doesn't matter. I think most people will see the politically motivated attacks for what they are, nitpicky, hindsight, petty political harrassment.

Have fun amongst yourselves; you all can smugly feel some sense of self-worth by circle-jerking about this all you want. Despite that, though, Americans will understand the justifications for ridding the world of a murderous maniacal tyrant, and you'll remain just as removed from the realities of the American mind as the 2002 elections showed.

what a load of crapMJ
Jun 17, 2003 6:31 AM
you righties keep whingeing about Bill's BJ while Bush took us to war with his pack of lies - it's telling you'd be more upset about oral sex than killing people

I don't see the US sorting out all the other evil people in the world - there's a long list - maybe you wanna comment on Mugabe, Kim Il Jon, the Congo, Chechnya or anywhere/anyone else that's regularly in the news

if you think it's nitpciking to require the truth when going to war then we really can't have a discussion on this can we?

fact is we're in more danger now than we were before the war - and it doesn't look like anyone's going to be leaving Iraq anytime soon - job poorly done
Doug, I'm not on the left and I don't accept this war effortKristin
Jun 17, 2003 6:31 AM
You have broken the forum pact!!! Aren't we suposed to avoid personal attacks. Your post comes across as pretty attacking of anyone who doesn't support your view of the war. That's a real bummer. This whole forum has slide into a pit where the polar extremists are engaged in endless mudslinging. While those of us who are sain have retreated to higher ground. As a matter of fact, I'm ashamed at myself for even posting here today. This forum has become very incondusive to anything meaningful and worth while. And that's a bummer because this was a place where people could have honest and open dialog about non-bike related matters.

Those of you remaining really need to call a truce.
not a personal attackDougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 6:38 AM
I didn't attack anyone personally. If anything, I'm generally attacking those attacking Bush and his supporters -- defense, I'd say. Generalized attacks on "the left" are not personal. If we can't do that, we would have nothing to say here.

Some people just love to attack, whether it be Bush or whomever, but then cry foul the second they are questioned. That's not fair play.

Besides, my point is that "I don't care" what these people say. I really don't. It's pure political shenanigans.

I wouldn't be ashamed of posting, other than of the fact that it's pretty much a waste of time. No one is going to change any minds.

obviously. nmKristin
Jun 17, 2003 6:58 AM
Jun 17, 2003 7:01 AM
I must apologize for my tone. I was up half the night with Luke, and I, too, haven't had enough go-go juice, yet. ;-)

I really don't careJon Billheimer
Jun 17, 2003 7:11 AM
Doug, in my opinion you're a prime example of someone protecting themselves against cognitive dissonance. You're so philosophically committed to Bush's agenda that in spite of your high level of education you won't allow any facts which would contradict your views get in the way. To me this is disappointing.

It really wouldn't matter much what people think if America weren't so militarily powerful, hence dangerous. But this fear-driven herd mentality which supports aggressive, militaristic policies and dishonest political leaders in my opinion is a threat to world stability.

Even Israeli security commentators have noted that Bush's efforts have in many ways been misdirected. The world is not a safer place today, nor are Americans. Instead of launching feel-good wars, the American government would be better served by instituting preventive security measures similar to what El-Al airlines has done. Even though their security is expensive, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than an $80 billion dollar war that has accomplished virtually nothing except to get rid of Saddam and further impoverish the Iraqi people.
a voice of reason - nmMJ
Jun 17, 2003 7:17 AM
Jun 17, 2003 7:34 AM
Doug, you have it right and the Leftist crowd, represented in this post by MJ, would have never supported anything the U.S. were to do. They might offer lip service if Islamic terrorists had further success in killing more Americans but in reality, they are full-fledged supporters of anti-Americanism in it's many forms, forums, and rationales. In this case, a frequent voice for our socialist opposition (enemies) within Europe.

They have no value for the defense of my country or family and no influence over me whatsoever. I do,however, read their 'stuff' which proves my point over and over again.

Bulletin...Bulletin...Bulletin... Gen. Paulus and the Wehrmacht have still lost the Battle of Stalingrad, decades before MJ discovered a book on such. No changes in the players, winners/losers, or outcome. (for everyone else in the world, that was old news more than two generations ago)

To be fair, there is probably an honest segment of the peace crowd who would like to avoid all conflict based upon a sincere consideration for humanity. Their grandparents or great-grandparents would have wanted to give peace a chance (before the Battle of Stalingrad) in World War II. Wait, that's exactly what Neville Chamberlain did...and to a truly amazing result...the last time I looked it up, an estimated 55-60 million dead as a result of the German's, Japanese, and to a lesser extent, Italian efforts. But Chamberlain did give peace a chance.
it is very unusual to expect the truth regardingMJ
Jun 17, 2003 7:42 AM
grounds for war

the war was fought with the swing vote of people willing, on the basis of the evidence allegedly held by Bush/Blair, to let it go ahead - we were lied to

everyone knows it

it's not the right and the left

cogantive dissonance personified (look it up)
the real cognative dissonance personifiedDougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 7:53 AM
If there ever were any cognative dissonance, it was and continues to be with the peace activists who would rather stick their heads in the sand and hope that Saddam and his ilk don't kill too many people in his homeland or abroad. The guy murdered tens of thousand of people a year, some say even millions total, and people can still say "give peace a chance." That's the real cognative dissonance here. Look it up.

the real cognative dissonance personifiedMJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:00 AM
agreed bad things happen all over the place - but 4 million plus in the Congo in the past 3-5 years - is the US gonna invade Congo in the name of justice? why not? what about Zimbabwe? Somalia? North Korea? and the others?

if justice is the reason for Iraq why ignore the CIA and NSA and lie about WMD?

your comic book slogans are meaningless unless applied more broadly
back at youDougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 8:16 AM
To turn liberal "comic book slogan" back on you:

"Just because we can't do everything, does it mean we should do nothing?"

a great point andMJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:23 AM
one that I've acknowledged before - it's a problem of the left - even more a problem of the European left who can't manage their own backyard without assistance - wantign it both ways - the US is damned if it helps and damned if it doesn't - but if that's the real reason for Iraq then why was it sold with lies?

you know the war would not have happened if Bush had said let's get rid of this guy who's not really a threat to us - probably the same reaction he'd get if he suggested sending 250,000 American soldiers to the Congo

any comments on that?
If it's so unusual...TJeanloz
Jun 17, 2003 7:53 AM
If it's so unusual to expect the truth, surely we all knew we were being duped, and acquiessed anyway, right? If we knew from the outset that the WMD was likely not true (which a lot of people made the argument for), and still supported the war, why is there an issue now? We haven't learned anything that we didn't know before the war.
that's BSMJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:02 AM
you know it never would have happened if WMD and a 'threat to America' had not been added on to SH's human rights abuses...

what about next time when there is a real threat re WMD's?
Next time,TJeanloz
Jun 17, 2003 8:08 AM
As you so aptly state, next time you will also know that the pols are lying. If we all had the great foresight that you claim, we wouldn't have these problems, would we?
Next time,MJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:13 AM
as I've said before here I was willing to admit they may have had info. which I don't have access to re WMD's - on that basis things have to proceed - if someone in authority tells you there's a gun to your head you listen - if it's a lie I may not listen next time

you know the war would never have happend without the lie

next time what will the reaction be? do you really think, even if this kind of dishonesty is tolerated by the US, that it will help 'calm down' the people who threaten the US?

this isn't left right - this is truth and lies
Would someone go back to the latter years of...94Nole
Jun 18, 2003 11:29 AM
the Clinton administration and the statements regarding SH, IRAQ and WMD?

Why is it a lie when the current administration says it but when it was being said in the late 90's it was fact?

This is what I hate about politics, one uses what one must to appear correct.

It is similar to religions and quoting from the bible, verses whether out of context or not.

Please address why SH had WMD in the late-90's but it is now all a lie?
Obviously, we all know Clinton was a liar (nm)TJeanloz
Jun 18, 2003 11:34 AM
Jun 18, 2003 8:07 AM
Don't tell me what "the left" would or would not do. Gulf War I was rather universally supported, aside from a few flakey peaceniks that were begging for ANY reason to protest.

Anti-americanism? It is anti-American to attack a sovereign nation without provocation- to commit a pre-emptive strike under false pretenses, to completely disregard the UN.

No value for the defense of the country? Tell me how Iraq every threatened your way of life?

You view European "socialists" as your enemy? I almost feel sorry for you and your completely misguided views.

You obviously don't understand the concept of globalism. The US will be playing second fiddle to the EU if things do not change in the next few decades.
Dust in the eyesSteveS
Jun 18, 2003 9:08 AM
Must have been up in too many chimneys and gotten all that dust in your eyes, clouded your view. Whereas, there was a significant coalition in Gulf War I, either you are in a dream world or ignorant of the levels of support. CNN provided a pulpit of Peter Arnett to make any number of pro-Saddam/anti-American pronouncements (virtually all false), NPR served as a mouthpiece for the hysterical anti-war academic Left (I disconnected from them at that time), and Rep. Henry B. Gonzales of Texas tried to push an impeachment proceeding against President at that time. That was just in the United States alone. You seem to be poorly informed of some of the realities of that time.

Not complete disregard for the U.N.,just no respect for some of it's prime voices...France, Germany, etc.

Yeah, thats right, the leftists/socialists of Europe have no value for the defense of me and mine. Feel free to prove me wrong and provide many examples of their usefulness to that end.

You feel sorry for me and my misguided views? tweet. The street protestors of Europe are made of many socialists, anarachists, Islamists, flotsam and jetsam that are indeed enemical to America. Dream on, Hollywood.

Globalism? I think I am far ahead of you in this one. The difference is that me and mine are not rioting in the streets of Seattle or Paris against Globalism, that is the same crowd mentioned in the above-paragraph. Some of the most riotous anti-Globalism crowds recently were the European anarachists in Switzerland last month. They had a big time tearing things up. These are some of the best and brightest liberal minds of Europe and maybe they are your friends, not mine.

What are you ignorant or just mouthing slogans to make yourself feel good? You kids are so weak when you get angry.
Your's is another example of how liberalism stops...94Nole
Jun 18, 2003 11:42 AM
at the driveway. "As long as it doesn't affect me, then it is okay." The same way the "Hollywood left" can stand for this or that, but do nothing with regard to solving the problem. I am sure that Streisand could probably house 200-300 homeless people in one of her palacial estates if she really wanted to deal with the "problem."

An by the way, there were (and still are) several UN resolutions authorizing the use of force against IRAQ. It was SH who failed to follow UN guidelines. The added proof is the absence of litigation. No grounds upon which to base a suit because the resolutions are in place and have been for 12 years.

And what scares me most is that you folks are just as firm in your beliefs as I am in mine.
me neithermohair_chair
Jun 17, 2003 7:47 AM
It's done. It's over. He's gone.

I think the long term implications of what the US and UK and others did in Iraq will be more peace and more stability in the region, and that is a good thing.

People can whine all they want about why we went in there, but it doesn't matter anymore. We went in, and now we are there. It can't be undone. Now we have a great opportunity to replace one of the key contributors to the chaos in the Middle East and the rest of the world with something else that stabilizes the region and allows the Iraqi people to self-govern and live without fear. Why doesn't everyone get behind that effort instead? Because it's not incendiary enough?
you and the other 'I don't care' postersMJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:06 AM
sound like extras in Starship Troopers

good can come out of the Iraq war - hopefully it will - currently the world is a more dangeorus place - extremists aren't gonna come around to the US presence in the US - I hope you're not proposing an extended stay because it'd be peaceful?

but it should never have been justified with lies

hopefully the US and GWB will continue to hold the course on Israel/Palestine
Just a hypothetical question...TJeanloz
Jun 17, 2003 8:11 AM
MJ, et. al., what are you going to do if (and it's a big if) irrefutable evidence of WMD is found in Iraq?

Will their be an apology for calling our leader, and by proxy, the American government, a liar?

No, I suspect that you will claim that the evidence was fabricated by the lying, cheating American government and its rogue President. I'm holding my breath for the real political fallout should the Bush Administration claims be proven.
a good oneMJ
Jun 17, 2003 8:18 AM
honestly I'd be pleased that a threat was removed - I'd be willing to listen up next time GWB and Blair tell the public something - as I'm sure the bulk of the world would too...

I supported the war on the grounds it was presented - i.e. we're being threatened by a maniac - however you must agree it sure does seem that the grounds were overstated

of course whether we're actually safer of course remains another argument - but probably not one that can ever be answered - you gotta do something
I think it's an interesting question...TJeanloz
Jun 17, 2003 8:29 AM
On its surface, it does appear that we jumped the gun a bit on how severe the threat was.
But it was like having a gunman on the loose, who has previously shot people, waving a gun in some peoples' faces - while taunting you about the gun not being loaded. Do you take the risk that the gun isn't loaded or not? If he's telling the truth, there is no real risk - he can't do any damage with an unloaded gun. But the risk that he's lying, and the history of lies, makes you wonder whether it's worth risking it or not.

The question is, with imperfect information, do you take action or not? And you never know the right answer to that question beforehand, and rarely know it afterwards.
risk assessmentStarliner
Jun 17, 2003 3:41 PM
Saddam was not a "gunman on the loose" threat to America - and whatever his threat level was, was most certainly not worth the billions (and counting) of dollars we invested and continue to invest to get rid of him and his ethic.

I think a more apt analogy would be burning the house down to eradicate the termites. It would be a spectacular way to do it, and maybe with somebody else's money we could build a better house later on. The local contractors would line up for a chance at the profits they'd get out of rebuilding it.
I don't know that I agree...TJeanloz
Jun 18, 2003 7:10 AM
I think I agree that Saddam was not a gunman on the loose and a direct threat to America. However, he was a gunman on the loose in an area of vital strategic importance to the United States. Like it or not, for the time being, we're married to the Middle East. And I'm not sure anybody really knew how great the risk was that SH would pass along chemical weapons to others.
Fair enough, butStarliner
Jun 18, 2003 7:53 AM
Yes, he was a loose wild card in an important area of the world. I think what the issue is, or was, was how to deal with it - stick with UN inspections, go to war, or something in between that would contain him. The longer we go without finding any trace of WMD's, the more reason to believe that the old strategy of UN involvement seems to have worked. So then what have we gained by going to war and at what price in dollars, diplomatic relations, prestige, etc.
Fair enough, but hindsight is 20/20TJeanloz
Jun 18, 2003 8:02 AM
It is clear that in the aftermath of the war, we have reason to believe that the old strategy may have worked. But in the weeks leading up to the war, this was not necessarily the case. I think everybody agrees that if SH had been fully cooperative with the UN, war could have been avoided. If the UN strategy were able to play itself out the way it was intended, there would have been no war, but SH prevented that from happening.

It's hard to armchair quarterback after the war - pre-war, we didn't know what the state of his WMD were, and had strong reason to believe that he had some. Sure, the war seems like a huge waste of money now that we know the underpinnings, but we didn't, and couldn't have, known that ahead of time.
Fair enough, but hindsight is 20/20Jon Billheimer
Jun 18, 2003 8:39 AM
In hindsight I think three things pushed us into this ill-advised war: 1)Saddam's semi-psychotic Arab bluster and bluff. If his weapons program in fact was in shambles why didn't he just own up, co-operate and avoid this whole mess? 2) UN dithering and infighting. A compromise resolution could have probably avoided the necessity of war and stolen some of the thunder from the White House warmongerers. and 3)the Administration's own prior decision to force regime change on Iraq regardless in order to promote U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middleast. So this war, as most wars, was the end result of collective human greed, pigheadedness, meanness, and stupidity, in my opinion.
The underlying issue that you bring upsn69
Jun 17, 2003 11:59 AM
is applicable to both sides of our partisan system of politics wherein one side will always poo-poo (technical term) the communiques, claims and initiatives of the other. More often than not, both political sides take issue with anything the other says, and those politicians who bridge gaps are often labelled as sell-out middle-of-the-roaders by their own constituencies.

That said, as much as many Republicans still seek means to hate the Clintons, so too will many Democrats seek a means to continue to villify the current Admin. (FWIW, I'm not suggesting that either group hasn't exhibited disingenuous behavior, etc. Rather, I'm commenting on groupthink as it applies to the public's political reaction to these sorts of events.)

Another question worth asking is what type of "proof" is required. From the military standpoint, everything that Powell presented to the UN defines what we view as a smoking gun. Then again, our paradigm is also founded in the philosophy of sustainable/winnable warfare and the assets and liabilities that define it. For us, we saw what was coming and supported the effort to take it down now while casualties could be minimized in a relatively controllable environment. For others, however, that is not satisfactory...and I understand that completely.

Still, in our culture of immediate gratification and over simplification, I wonder how many well-intentioned, sincere dissenters won't be convinced unless actual "new-kyu-ler" weapons are discovered rather than the substantive infrastructure that SH had amassed to develop them.

Food for thought....
take a deep breathmohair_chair
Jun 17, 2003 8:18 AM
What evidence do you have that the world is currently a more dangerous place? More dangerous than what, a year ago? You have got to be kidding.

Should I be living in fear right now? I had no idea.
Jun 17, 2003 8:25 AM
read the Washington Post article linked above

Al Qaeda - remember them? - they're still out there killing people - UN troops, tourists, civilians, US citizens
What were they doing before the war?mohair_chair
Jun 17, 2003 8:35 AM
Your implication was that the Iraq war has made the world a more dangerous place. I want to know what has changed that make it more dangerous?

Al Qaeda has been killing people for years, long before the Iraq war. Remember Sep 11? Remember Bali? The world is no more dangerous today than it was a year ago. I say it is less dangerous now that Hussein is gone. It might be more dangerous if you are a soldier or Marine operting in Iraq, but it certainly is a lot less dangerous if you are a Shiite (sp=stupid profanity checker) or a Kurd.
Seems like I rememberSteveS
Jun 17, 2003 8:50 AM
MJ says above that "he supported the war", funny none of his posts looked that way to me and wasn't it him who during the Afghanistan unpleasantry reprinted the 'Independent' (a left wing British paper I guess) screaming headline of a U.S. massacre of Taliban prisoners? Uh, turned out there was no "massacre" at all, just the dissident voice published by 'supporters' of the war in Afghanistan?

The primary threat to the U.S. right now comes from the Islamic world, not from Congo, Mexico, Liberia, or even North Korea. That is why the above-mentioned countries will not be attacked, unless of course they want to harbor and support Al Qaeda terrorists. Europe still stands a great chance of getting to experience Islamic terrorism first-hand. All that has to happen is for the international intelligence services to drop the ball and think that America is their greatest threat. Then watch some place in Europe go Ka-Boom.

(For hisory's sake, I was in Britain on 9/11, cycle touring in Wales and Yorkshire. I remember quite well the two Brits who accosted me outside the city walls of Chester and told me of the attack. They understood in advance from whom the attack mostly likely came (not Mossad as many Arabs claim; cognitive dissonance) and were full supporters of retaliation. I liked 'em. Then there was an elderly man in Buxton who sat down beside me a few days later..."Are you an American?", he said. I said 'yes' and he said..."Bush should drop a small yield atomic bomb on Iraq.."! Believe it or not.

The moral of that little story is:

It appears that all Euros don't have their heads shoved up their Chiracs.
if those countries won't be attackedrufus
Jun 17, 2003 10:40 AM
then you and the rest of the right stop using the excuse that innocent peoples were saved from a brutal dictatorial regime as justification for the war in iraq.

and again, where's the proof that iraq supported and harbored al-qaeda terrorists? that evidence has yet to be proven.

so based upon your two statements right here, there was no justification foir war with iraq. afghanistan sure, but not iraq.
Jun 17, 2003 1:52 PM
Again, the primary threat to the U.S. today comes from the Islamic world not the Congo, Mexico, Liberia or even North Korea. (though since I wrote that the first time, it appears that North Korea is issuing threats today.) then you and the rest of the left can stop putting the names of any country you can think of as threatened by the U.S.

and again, where's your proof that iraq didn't harbor and support Al-Qaeda, they harbord "The Jackal" didn't they. They practiced terrorism on their own people didn't they. Oh, wait,you kids always skip or gloss over that part.

so, based on my statements previously, I guess you can't read properly or comprehend. Here, comprehend the threat and murders these guys have done over the years: Black September, Al Fatah, Hamas, the Islamic Brotherhood, Sirhan Sirhan, Al-Qaeda, Abu Sayaf, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Taliban, the first bombing of the World Trade Center, etc, etc. Looks to me like that is a familiar thread running through here, can you find it? (here's a hint; they were all involved in world terrorism prior to the most recent gulf "war.")

Note that the Congo, Mexico, Liberia, and even blood-thirsty North Korea were not on that list, though North Korea was caught selling missiles to (who was it?) Yemen, I think, clandestinely just recently.
Seems like I rememberSteveS
Jun 17, 2003 9:00 AM
MJ says above that "he supported the war", funny none of his posts looked that way to me and wasn't it him who during the Afghanistan unpleasantry reprinted the 'Independent' (a left wing British paper I guess) screaming headline of a U.S. massacre of Taliban prisoners? Uh, turned out there was no "massacre" at all, just the dissident voice published by 'supporters' of the war in Afghanistan?

The primary threat to the U.S. right now comes from the Islamic world, not from Congo, Mexico, Liberia, or even North Korea. That is why the above-mentioned countries will not be attacked, unless of course they want to harbor and support Al Qaeda terrorists. Europe still stands a great chance of getting to experience Islamic terrorism first-hand. All that has to happen is for the international intelligence services to drop the ball and think that America is their greatest threat. Then watch some place in Europe go Ka-Boom.

(For hisory's sake, I was in Britain on 9/11, cycle touring in Wales and Yorkshire. I remember quite well the two Brits who accosted me outside the city walls of Chester and told me of the attack. They understood in advance from whom the attack mostly likely came (not Mossad as many Arabs claim; cognitive dissonance) and were full supporters of retaliation. I liked 'em. Then there was an elderly man in Buxton who sat down beside me a few days later..."Are you an American?", he said. I said 'yes' and he said..."Bush should drop a small yield atomic bomb on Iraq.."! Believe it or not.

The moral of that little story is:

It appears that all Euros don't have their heads shoved up their Chiracs.
and this war wasn't fought to make life safer for kurds and shiirufus
Jun 17, 2003 10:35 AM
it was fought to supposedly make life safer for americans everywhere.

according to rummy, there may be a bunch of WMD's that saddam somehow spirited out of iraq without anybody knowing, now floating around among a network of terror supporting states and available to any terror group with money and a plan. i thought the main reason this war was fought was to prevent that. if they are out there, then this war can only be called a failure, as it didn't succeed in achieving it's appointed task.

the world may be safer or less safe, it's too soon to tell. whether this war has served as an eye-opener to extremist islamic groups that they can't expect to get away with stuff in the future, or whether it has galvanized a large number of previously peaceable muslims to decide to devote their lives toward attacking americans remains to be seen.
sure it wasmohair_chair
Jun 17, 2003 1:01 PM
That's like saying WWII wasn't about making life safer for the Poles, Czechs, Danes, Norwegians, Dutch, etc.

One of the goals of the Iraq war was to liberate the Iraqi people. They are now liberated.
reason givenrufus
Jun 18, 2003 9:11 AM
only when the main argument about wmd's and threats to america turned out to be not so urgent. then the admin's reasons for war turned to all about "liberating the iraqi people".

let's liberate the cuban people. the congolese. the north koreans.
Here's some evidencetorquer
Jun 17, 2003 12:28 PM
that my world, at least, is a more dangerous place:

Each morning, after riding a train that has state troopers aboard and whose crews have been issued bio/chem protective gear, I pass through Grand Central Terminal where troops with automatic weapons (and lately shotguns) are on patrol.

Outside my office, where all packages and vehicles entering any street leading to the NYSE are checked visually and by sniffer dogs, we have seen SWAT teams on rooftops with telescopic sites on their weapons.

Now some of these measures are elaborations of steps taken after 9/11, when GCT and the NYSE were recognized as potential targets. Some may be overreactions to highly unlikely scenarios. Some may be efforts by "the authorities" to frighten us into silence as further coercise measures are introduced "for our safety." Some may even be realistic responses to plausible threats.

I recognize that this evidence would probably not be conclusive in court. I won't presume to tell you, Mohair Chair, whether you should be living in fear; you are obviously competent to make that decision yourself. I don't live in fear (not of Islamic WMDs or North Korean nukes, anyway) but it is tough to explain this stuff to my 12 year old.

I also haven't posted this to feed the tiresome left/right pi$$ing contest these threads invariably descend into; as Doug noted, nobody seems to be changing anybody else's opinions around here. I just though I'd report from this particular front of the war on terrorism.

BTW, Doug: Next time, may I suggest that you use the phrase "preaching to the choir" instead of "C*****J***" and we'll all get your meaning. Appreciate the subsequent apology.
that'a different thingmohair_chair
Jun 17, 2003 12:54 PM
In the late 1980s, I lived in Paris and saw the same things you now see in New York. Maybe this is new stuff in the USA, but not in the rest of the world. So maybe we can say that the USA is a more dangerous place with all these troopers standing around uselessly with high powered weapons, but I don't believe the world as a whole is any more dangerous than it used to be. I don't believe the USA is either. Our eyes have been opened and we can now see dangers about (real or imagined), but nothing really has changed. The dangers always existed, we were just lucky. Didn't Osama first try to blow up the WTC in 1990 or so? Danger to the USA was not invented on 9/11.

In any case, this thread is about the Iraq war, and my comment was in response to MJ saying that because of the Iraq war, the world is a more dangerous place. I believe that that is absolutely untrue. The people and measures you see are not a response to the Iraq war. They are a response to 9/11 and the subsequent (idiotic) multi-color threat level system that requires state and local governments to trot out the troops and have them sit around with menacing looks on their faces.
I really don't careBikeViking
Jun 17, 2003 9:23 AM
I seem to recal us bombing an "alleged" murderous maniacal tyrant in 1999 (Milosevic) just because of his "crimes against humanities", yet, there has been no evidence of a systematic genocidal effort on the part of the Serbs on any other population in the area. No mass graves or any of the other inflammatory rhetoric that caused us to go to war. WHile I may question the logic of that war (OIF, at a minimum, can be justified from a human rights perspective), this is another example of the double standard applied to the Clinton presidency vice the Bush presidency.

Both took the country to war (admittedly to varying degrees) based on provided national intelligence. Each of their publicly proclaimed reasons (genocide and WMD respectively) MAY not have been accurate (the jury is still out on real evidence of Serb genocide to date), but Clinton is got a HUGE pass for that, but Bush is getting beat up every day with this "Where's the WMD?" question.

Another great example of bias...

Isn't there a credibility issue here tho?Sintesi
Jun 17, 2003 4:11 PM
What about the next time our government has intelligence of a real threat? I mean a real threat. What happens when we really do need allies? We need people to believe in us and our word. I know this isn't anything new but still...

And what position does this put us in front of our enemies? Makes us look like liars who made stuff up to suit our narrow interests. Doesn't matter if it's true or not but a serious political football has just been hatched. They can run this up the flagpole. That ain't good.

Frankly I'll wait and see. Bush & Co. seem to have a knack of embarassing their critics and doubters when the results come in. But this issue is nothing to sneeze at. I don't think so anyway.

Our governments basically said, "trust us Iraq has them." That was THE reason. Okay I trusted them now show where they are or why they are not there. Not excuses or dismissals of criticism simply because we kicked a bad guy's a$$. We could do that in a lot of places and let's face it, this little war wasn't that hard. Historically I mean.
I think ...sacheson
Jun 17, 2003 8:10 PM
... the thought only Lefties were (are) against the war and Bush is more proof the general public is stupid.
The reason that we have all this trouble, is that.........MR_GRUMPY
Jun 17, 2003 7:01 AM
people are just stupid. If you look back to 1939, the "reason" that Germany people supported the invasion of Poland, was that the German people were convinced that Poland attacked first. Any why was this ??......Their leader told them so.........
and how many people died...DougSloan
Jun 17, 2003 7:03 AM
And how many people died because we waited until 1941 to enter the war?

We waited because Rooseveldt would have been.....MR_GRUMPY
Jun 17, 2003 7:14 AM
thrown out of office, if he would have jumped in and joined in another European war.
My point was, that most people support wars because they aren't very smart, reguardless of what side they are on.
When I say war, I mean War, as in conquest....
SH wasn't HitlerMJ
Jun 17, 2003 7:16 AM
everyone knew he had weapons - no wonder you were hesitant

anyways - the Soviets won the war with American aid (including from pre-1941)
SH wasn't HitlerBikeViking
Jun 17, 2003 9:47 AM
What revisionist came up with that idea? Shall I even mention the Pacific? Not a lot of "heavy lifting" done by the Soviets there. I guess the invasion at Normandy was an example of us "aiding" the Soviets. They were getting their a$$es kicked by the Germans and were screaming at the Allies to open the Second front. Yeah, the Soviets won it ALL by themselves (with a little piddly help from the Allies).

The US played a BIG role in ending WWII as did the Soviets, the English and the Canadians. There is no "I" in team.
Doesn't TEAM have an M and an E though ...El Guapo
Jun 17, 2003 12:32 PM
Yeah, the Russians won WWII all by themselves ... That is unless you count the Allies in North Africa, the ENTIRE Pacific theatre, Italy, Normandy and the remaining relentless march through Europe towards Berlin. Russia won on the Eastern front due to three primary reasons, none of which had to do with their "quality" fighting skills and strategies. 1.) The Russian Winter - it destroyed Napolean as well. 2.) An undereducated populace of ovewhelming numbers willing to die in battle rather than face the consequences of not doing so. Remember, Stalin was no saint. 3.) The Germans OVERESTIMATED their capabilities of supplying two fronts across terrain that was less than favorable all the while having their entire manufacturing means relentlessly pummelled by Allied air strikes. The Russians simply had superior numbers they were willing to sacrifice. Numbers wise, they lost many more times the number of soldiers as the Germans. Without the other Allies, Russia would have eventually fallen to a superior German Army. The United States, England, Australia, free-French, New Zealand, India, Canada et al. won WWII. Russia rode the coat-tails.
Que bueno!SteveS
Jun 17, 2003 6:41 PM
Excellente, El Guapo! MJ is a big fan of the Soviets and Communism, he has touted it's "victory" of WWII and it's "non-threatening" position for the West on several occasions.

One other little tidbit, I read recently that the Soviets executed something like 250,000 men at Stalingrad (that's MJ's favorite Soviet victory, he learned of it recently). Stalin, a really nice Communist, had ordered not one step back or something to that effect, so any soldier under the Communists was liable for execution if they retreated or whatever whim the Communist officers wanted for scapegoats. If that figure of a 250,000 troops is correct (and I have no idea that it is), then that is larger than the number killed in Hiroshima or Nagasaki combined. Ah, Communism...those were really good days for the Lefties.

Notice also that the Soviets got their ass kicked in Afghanistan and all we gave those proto-Taliban types were some Stingers and a few other goodies, I would imagine. And note that the Chechens have dented the Russians on several occasions. So, yes, without our efforts in WWII, if the Soviets had to face the full force of Germans post-Stalingrad, and the force was something like 3 times larger than lost to the Communinsts, I think it is a good bet the heroes of the Left would have been crushed by Nazis, especially by the time the latter had jets and perfected their atomic bombs. Notice that I said 'bombs' as the Germans would not have hesitated to drops lots more than 2 on whomever they considered to be their enemies.

Now, what a brave new world that would have been.
Que bueno!BikeViking
Jun 18, 2003 4:46 AM
MJ and I have "discussed" this before and he just won't let go of that false belief that the Soviets won WWII. THey lost a lot of people, but a greater part of their casualties were SELF-INFLICTED by Stalin.
Imagine if Ike would have listened to Patton!El Guapo
Jun 18, 2003 6:53 AM
Ike (and I don't mean Ike of Ike and Tina fame), held Patton on a leash at the end of WWII. Patton would have liked nothing more than to march straight to Moscow and park the 3rd Army in Red Square. I'm convinced that the Russians would never have been able to stop him. There would have been no way the Russians would have been able to win WW2.5. They lost WAY too many people fighting the Nazis. Patton was the ONLY person of significant authority to publicly recognize what a "world-class, first-rate, supreme A%$hole" Stalin was. Patton would have LOVED to march right up and knock on the front door of the Kremlin. He probably would have saved us and the Russian people a lot of grief by simply putting a fresh round right between the eyes of "Good Ol' Joe." If you ask me, and I know no one has, Stalin was worse than Hitler. He simply provided less of a threat to Europe than Hitler did. What did anyone else care that he slaughtered more people than Hitler. Stalin, after all, was ONLY slaughtering his OWN people. Not others. Counts have ranged between a low of 10 million to a high of 25 million Russians killed under Stalin. Kind of makes Hitler look like the "pretender to the throne." Here's is a little tidbit from the Russian military tactics handbook: Throw every citizen, of every age and ethnicity at the enemy in a non-stop flow of blood and sacrifice ... oh, and only 1 weapon for every 2 people should be fine! Russia rode the coat tails of all the other Allies. Russia was the "RED-headed stepchild" of WWII. Hide behind the White Winter and pray to God that the West intervenes (Russian military playbook for WWII). By the way, the Russian people are great. Stalin was their worst enemy and representative. I didn't know Michael Jordan was a Russian military fan?!
Oh, yeahSteveS
Jun 18, 2003 8:47 AM
Oh, yeah, he be fan of Communists.

One has to understand that for Leftists and leftist foreigners, the only threat to the world in recent history has been Nazis and Americans. Saying ugly things about Stalin and Communism is Cold War propaganda and don't mention Japan or Islamic terrorists because that is xenophobia on America's part.

Also part of their tact in a couple of recent posts, is "their" superior education or intellect, the Lefties that is. They are blessed with this gift and if of foreign origin or residence, they have the additional gift of absolutely clear hindsight combined with a perfect ability to recognize world problems and provide the ultimate solution to all...eliminate poverty. Simple.

Patton would be 'their' poster boy for a belligerent, xenophobic, white American male. Turns out, Patton was right, and well, we know what Neville Chamberlain was and how his efforts of giving "peace in our (his) time" worked out. I think he had a superior European education and intellect, too. He was just weak. And useless. Typical.
LOL @ Germany people. Germans?? nmKristin
Jun 17, 2003 7:07 AM
Fast typing lowers IQ....................nmMR_GRUMPY
Jun 17, 2003 7:40 AM
Should have strong-armed Israel out of Palestine 1st,128
Jun 17, 2003 8:54 AM
That would have caught the attention of the world. The US needed a bold presence in the Middle East.
after September Eleventh. Why not sit on our 'friend' Isreal a little, then move out from there. We're doing it backwards. Should have started with a map...

I'll never understand by what mechanism ideologues refuse to accept criticism. Utterly fascinating.

One certain fact is that I will never know all the facts. So who knows if Team Bush lied? He may not even know (and that's the beauty of a beaurocracy: it's like insurance how it spreads the risk.) But to call what's going on 'nitpicky' frankly just scares me. I can't understand a non-critical approach. To anything.

And when did the hard right ever care about 'those people' being oppressed 'over there'?? All of a sudden we gotta free 'those people'? Thought that was the Liberal playbook. Well, we'll see if we liberate the remaining billions....

(Finally, my pages here take FOREVER to open. Minutes on the command. Any known fix? Maybe it's on my end)

ps: great call Walrus, on the opening chord to Hard Days Night..."He's a clean old man." -(from the movie)