Rebirth of Reason

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unread

Post 0

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 3:41amSanction this postReply

Very good article but I have one minor quibble over the issue of co-operation between al Quaeda and Iraq:

The 9/11 Commission, often mischaracterized as having found no links between Saddam and al Qaeda, in fact reports that Iraqi intelligence officers met with al Qaeda terrorists in 1998 and “offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq.”
Where does the commission say this? I thought they had said there was "no collaborative relationship", or words to that effect? That Saddam would want to associate himself with the 9/11 barbarity is understandable, but would bin Laden co-operate with a secular regime?

That there was reason to believe Iraq was nevertheless a threat is not in question (and whether or not the situation necessitated an invasion has been argued to death on SOLOHQ already, so I'm not even going there). Also, whatever my disagreements on the specific question of Iraq, I still regard Bush as the best candidate for the upcoming election.

Congratulations on getting published in the press by the way!! :-)


Post 1

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 8:30amSanction this postReply
Andrew, hello. Good article. You are somewhat generous in attributing the Kerry et al stance on those issues to *error*.
Some would see calculating, politically expedient dishonesty, rather than error.


Post 2

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 3:20amSanction this postReply
The US is already lost in Iraq. Billions wasted as well as thousands of lives. The whole world now hates the US with a passion. The sympathy felt after 9/11 gone. To pay for this crime /blunder US debt is over half a trillion dollars. It is this debt that is the real threat to the US, not Osama. Remember a free country does not use fiat currency! Unless the US can return to being the fountain of freedom it once was, return from being an imperial hegemon, we will all be better off to see 'the land of the free' implode under its own weight of legislation and red tape. Vote for Bush or Kerry, they are both much the same. It’s hard to know which candidate will kill more foreigners or waste more tax dollars. The only moral course of action is not to vote for either. 

Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 3

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 4:12pmSanction this postReply

You can read the 9/11 Commission's full report here. The relevant discussion is on p. 66 of the report (it's actually p. 84 of the PDF). The commission does indeed state "we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts developed into a collaborative operational relationship." (Emphasis added.) It was this semantic word-parsing that the major newspapers twisted into headlines reading "9/11 Commission reports no links between Iraq-al Qaeda."

I think the "collaborative operational relationship" term is pretty useless. Just because Saddam wasn't wining and dining Osama, or sending al Qaeda weapons all tied up in ribbons and bows, it doesn't mean there weren't clear overtures being made between the two. Rogue states can contribute to terrorism through outright support, or by simply turning a blind eye to militants within their own territory. Iraq was a clear case of the latter (and would eventually have attempted the former).

Christopher Hitchens also has a good article on this topic over at Slate.


Heh, that's a good point, especially given what Kerry used to say about Iraq and the threat it posed, in contrast to what he is saying now. I just don't see this particular issue as an instance of his dishonesty, though. I think he really has bought into this "no Iraq-al Qaeda links" nonsense, which makes him all the more dangerous as a Presidential possibility.


The so-called post-9/11 "sympathy" of the rest of the world for the U.S. was, with a few exceptions, nothing but a sham. Other countries were sympathetic right up until the moment we decided to do something to prevent another catastrophe and invaded Afghanistan. That gives you an idea of just how deep their "sympathy" ran. The only way to preserve it would have been to act like feckless cowards and do nothing. And whatever sympathy did exist would still have evaporated as soon as the dust settled and Europe's (and, sadly, America's) chattering classes got around to explaining why 9/11 was really the U.S.'s chickens coming home to roost.

The way to resolve our deficit is to defund the immoral bureaucratic, regulatory, and welfare money pits that are responsible for the lion's share of federal spending. Now is not the time to start skimping on the entirely legitimate and necessary function of national defense.

(Edited by Andrew Bissell on 10/27, 4:14pm)

Post 4

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 5:37pmSanction this postReply
Hey Andrew :-)

Cheers for the citation. I guess I just interpret all this a little differently to the way you do - seems to me bin Laden rejected the safe haven offer because he preferred to stay in Afghanistan with a fundamentalist government, so the Commission concluded that there were some Iraqi overtures based on mutual hatred of the US but it didn't develop into an alliance.

Oh and No 6,

Stop being such a damn Platonist!! The US and her allies have not lost in Iraq and given that our troops are now there, barring a fundamental change in foreign policy it is imperative that they succeed. Whatever my strategic objections to the initial invasion of Iraq, describing it as a "crime" is irrational beyond words, as is your insistence that Islamic fundamentalist terrorism is a lesser threat than the budget deficit (which can easily be resolved by free market reforms, as Andrew rightly described).


Post 5

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 5:59pmSanction this postReply
The Kerry campaign has two basic plans of attack in this election:

1) The Monday Morning Quarterback Approach- claim that you would have done everything right, even if it is contradicted by everything you have said, and
2) The Big Lie - despite all evidence, put forth your current position as truth, even though it isn't.

The frightening thing is that it might work. If you don't believe in God, work like hell to defeat Kerry; if you do, pray like hell that he loses.

Post 6

Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 12:45amSanction this postReply

Allow me to explain my reasoning for believing Iraq to already be lost. I hate Plato by the way!

The US entered Iraq on dubious legal ground. OK the US can ignore international law but at the cost of losing the moral argument. This has happened largely and getting worse. Preemptive war makes the United States an aggressive power, contrary to their traditions. It forfeits much of their moral authority throughout the world. It also threatens other nations, encouraging them to seek armaments sufficient to deter the US from attacking them. Thus the doctrine of preemptive war encourages the very nuclear proliferation we are trying to avoid

The US went in with obviously inadequate troop numbers and poor post war planning. Chaos was unleashed and hatred of US forces was spread.

The postwar occupation has claimed seven times more lives than the original conflict. Whole areas of Iraq are under the effective control of the insurgents.

The US used disgusting tactics to prosecute the war and aftermath. Even the British forces are disgusted by their performance. More hatred sown.

The US has ignored Habius Corpus, freedom of speech and other ancient customs of freedom at great cost. Images of torture, some to bad to release have confirmed to many that they are no better than Saddam. The US has also fallen for the old crony capitalism trick which does not bring with it real benefits. Money is going into back pockets by the billion.

The US has no idea how to conduct 4th generation warfare. The fight shadows. When they inflict damage a high proportion in collateral. Hatred is sown.

How is the US to know when they have 'succeeded'? There is no exit strategy that looks plausible.

Time is against the US. They have superior fighting power but the Iraqi's have all the time in the world. They are at home and have nowhere else to go.

The US will leave for domestic political reasons as always. They will hope to leave a client state backed up by 14 US bases. I think that is the best they can hope for.

And the blow back for this event. Who will say in 5 yrs time when some calamity befalls the US, why this is because of our criminal foreign policy. No the politicians will come out with the same old crap. They hate us for our freedoms and rock & roll.

Post 7

Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 6:06amSanction this postReply

No6: "Unless the US can return to being the fountain of freedom it once was, return from being an imperial hegemon, we will all be better off to see 'the land of the free' implode under its own weight of legislation and red tape."

Is it possible that you understand what you've just said?


Post 8

Saturday, October 30, 2004 - 12:00pmSanction this postReply

I agree with much of what you say regarding "crony capitalism" and the dangers of creating the very proliferation the coalition aims to prevent, indeed I've made such points myself in the past (and I still think that many of us who've tried in good faith to raise such concerns have been unfairly villified by certain persons on this website). I also tend to agree that the terrorists probably are more concerned with US intervention abroad than any aspect of the US' domestic situation - certainly bin Laden's own statements appear to suggest this. What separates me (us?) from them and most of the leftist antiwar crowd is that they all see these foreign interventions as malevolence on the part of "evil America", while I realise the interventions are basically well intentioned, if at times (arguably) misguided. Also, I don't for one instant think that the above motivations, if accurate, in any way justify what al Quaeda has done.

As to whether the coalition can win in Iraq, that ultimately depends on what you see the coalition's purpose as being - Saddam's regime is now gone (which might be seen as a victory of sorts), apparently little or no WMD after all (which is a sense is good as that would mean there's nothing for terrorists to get their hands on), and a democratic state of sorts in the process of being set up. Once something resembling order has been restored, the time may come when the coalition can declare the job done and withdraw if that is desired (it's been suggested by Barbara amongst others that Iraq might be used as a "staging post" for action against other targets such as Iran, which takes us into a whole different debate...).

As to why I called you a Platonist, you seem to want the US to snap into a libertarian utopia overnight. Sure there are major issues with US domestic policy but hell! Surely you realise a bunch of antiwestern religious nutballs with a total and utter lack of self preservation instinct has to be a rather more pressing concern?


Post 9

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
Andrew Bissell-

"One of the many damning pieces of evidence: Iraq offered Osama bin Laden safe haven in 1998."

There was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, and this not only comes from the '9/11 Commission' but also from -updated- intelligence reports. The 9/11 Commission says there was no operational link, and the new intelligence says there is no evidence to suggest that there was any type of link between Al Qaeda in Saddam, and that if any contact actually did happen (which they couldn't prove), Saddam probably didn't know about it.

As for Iraq offering UBL safe haven in 1998, according to the notes on chapter two, this evidence is linked with Ansar-al-Islam being in Iraq: "Ansar-al-Islam: Al Qa'ida's Ally in Northeastern Iraq". The problem with this, is that Ansar-al-Islam (Abu Zarqawi too) operated in the self-governing region of Iraq, in the control of the United States. Essentially, the only one aping manufactured lies, is you.

Because of U.S. action in 1991 a safe haven for terrorists is created in Northern Iraq; Because of U.S. action in the second war, terrorists are operating all over the country. Before the war terrorists didn't have WMD, because of the war they do, and they are making their own. Isn't that ironic?

The U.S. is not a safer place with Saddam in jail.

Post 10

Monday, November 1, 2004 - 10:14pmSanction this postReply

Thanks for your balanced comments.
Frankly I don't think we disagree much.
I have tought on this comment:
'Surely you realise a bunch of antiwestern religious nutballs with a total and utter lack of self preservation instinct has to be a rather more pressing concern'? Well frankly I don't. I think the greatest threat to Western 'Freedom' (or what is left of it) is the US government and its response to the nutballs. I believe the state has a great interest in bumping up the threat posed by the nutballs who frankly pose very little threat to US security. After 9/11 a more sane foreign policy based on free trade and ending the drug war would have all but removed any threat from nutballs.

Following the cold war the military-industrial bunch were desperate for something like this. A perpetual war. Unwinnable but great for getting rich on and maintaining/ increasing state power.

I am now of the opinion that freedom and a standing army are mutually exclusive. 

Post to this thread

User ID Password or create a free account.