Friday, August 19, 2005

Iraq, ironically

All from here:

A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was "the lowest point" in his life.

"I wish I had not been involved in it," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. "I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life."

"(Powell) came through the door ... and he had in his hands a sheaf of papers, and he said, 'This is what I've got to present at the United Nations according to the White House, and you need to look at it,'" Wilkerson says in the program. "It was anything but an intelligence document. It was, as some people characterized it later, sort of a Chinese menu from which you could pick and choose."

"In fact, Secretary Powell was not told that one of the sources he was given as a source of this information had indeed been flagged by the Defense Intelligence Agency as a liar, a fabricator," says David Kay, who served as the CIA's chief weapons inspector in Iraq after the fall of Saddam.

Does this stuff mean anything to anyone, or are we burnt or dead when it comes to this issue?


At 3:01 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

I think we're burnt and dead. I tend to doubt the motives of anyone who comes out after the fact saying "I told you so" or "I regret doing what I did now that the political winds have shifted", so I don't think revelations like this are going to affect my opinion too much. Remember Richard Clarke anyone?

Besides, presenting anything to the United Nations is pointless anyway. Proving Saddam was actually Satan would have resulted in passing a resolution that won't be enforced, while half the member countries scramble to make an alliance with him.

At 3:11 PM, Blogger CharlesPeirce said...

I understand that in cases like this, where politics and policy are bound up, we're naturally skeptical of people who come out in 2005 with new information. Where were they in 2002 and 2003? Why didn't they have the guts to stand up then? It really says something about their character, doesn't it?

HOWEVER, our whole court system is based on people coming out with things "after the fact," and revealing different things at different times. What matters is whether Mr. Wilkerson, Clarke, Tenet and the rest are telling the truth--and if they are, then our government is either incompetent or played us in starting this war, neither of which is an attractive option.

I asked you this on your blog:

"If for some reason we KNEW for certain the war was bogus, what then would you have us do? You once said that you didn't think the US ever undertook an unjustified military action. What if they did? What would you have us do--roll over and accept it like spineless weasel Democratic politicians?"

You dodged it completely:

"All I know is that in this specific case- whether or not the war is just- we need to stay until we accomplish our goal."

Why can't you answer? Has any country ever started an unjust war? If so, how do you oppose it while still supporting the armed forces? I asked redhurt once whether or not it would be courageous for a Soviet soldier in 1979 to have laid down his arms and refused to invade Afghanistan (the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan being one of the most illogical, bloodthirsty and power-driven conflicts I can think of in recent years.) I say YES. There's the classic debate about following orders, but if your commander orders you to go into a village and rape all the women, you say no, sir. So when do we say no sir to Bush?

At 3:17 PM, Blogger J. Morgan Caler said...

But that is ridiculous, jack. It should matter to you that the administration made a huge effort to construe spotty, irrelevant, and inconclusive evidence as complete certainty. It should also matter to you that they were wrong. Why doesn't it? Why doesn't that stir some moral outrage?

At 10:45 AM, Blogger RedHurt said...

It matters to me, but it's also a little too convenient. I'm upset about the bad intelligence and bad justifications for going to war, but the blundering idiot who was party to such has no right to criticize the events he took part in, and doesn't earn a shred of sympathy from me. It was only the lowest point in your life because you didn't do something to make it better, and now you're going to try to sway public opinion and garner some resentment towards the president from people who sympathize with being used. Mr. Low-point, it's your own damn fault that you're a tool, and I have enough sense to be frustrated with the Iraq situation without your pathetic regret.


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