Monday, June 06, 2005

My conversation with a person from another world.

Recently, I had an interesting discussion with a fellow blogger who had some questions about the Downing Street memo and the issues surrounding it. I was shocked and disappointed, however, when I discovered, by way of the events he described to me, that the blogger wasn't living in the Real World.

Here's the text of the conversation, which he began:


It’s Written In A Memo So It Must Be True!


Posted on Monday 6 June 2005

It would seem that the now infamous “Downing Street Memo” catches Bush & Co. RED HANDED, fudging intelligence data and misleading everyone to war. That according to the left-wing world press, Ralph Nader and John Kerry (all of which lost in the 2004 election).

But James S. Robbins at National Review decided to look at the memo to ascertain what it says about who said what and when. And here is an example of his findings:

C [Richard Dearlove, Head of MI-6] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

This and other excerpts have caused a furor on the American Left. Ralph Nader is calling for impeachment (again), and John Kerry has vowed to bring the matter to the Senate floor. Of course, the memo simply contains the impressions of an aide of the impressions of British-cabinet officials of the impressions of unnamed people they spoke to in the United States about what they thought the president was thinking. It is sad when hearsay thrice-removed raises this kind of ruckus, especially since a version had been reported three years ago. As smoking guns go, it is not high caliber.

The article by Robbins goes on to address the 3 key issues the left has raised that tehy say proved wrong doing:

1. Was the president committed to go to war with Iraq in July 2002?

2. Why use WMDs as a rationale for war?

3. Was the WMD Intelligence Faked?

Read the entire article here.

Hat tip: Right-thinking from the left coast.

UPDATE: Might I remind everyone that Saddam pretended he still had weapons that (curiously) no one could prove he destroyed. Might I also remind my readers that Saddam was an exporter of terror having (at the very least) attempted to assassinate George H. W. Bush in Kuwait in 1993.

7 Comments for 'It’s Written In A Memo So It Must Be True!'

1.

Kevin Baas
June 6, 2005 | 2:41 pm


If you support Bush and believe this is not an impeachable offense, I would think you would want to have him justify your faith by showing the courage to address the contents of the Downing Street Memo publicly. If you believe he’s innocent then it’s up to you to let him know he should remove this cloud of suspicion by explaining his actions - actions he took in the name of the American people.

If he’s got an explanation, I’m willing to listen to it but he won’t come forward and account for his actions unless all the people let him know in no uncertain terms we are watching and we want to know. If he’s got nothing to hide, it shouldn’t be a big deal. So how about it Bush teamers? Do you have the courage to ask him for the truth? Then take the challenge and sign the letter. You’ve got nothing to lose but your illusions.

Do you have the courage to ask the questions?
2.

Kevin
June 6, 2005 | 3:02 pm


Kevin Bass,

The Downing Street memo is other people talking. We have already established that Clinton, France, The UN and every one else thought Saddam had WMD. We also know that Bush sighted, as reason to remove Saddam Hussein, his insistence in not coming clean on WMD.

You act like the Memo reveals something Bush said or did that we did not already know. If this is the case will you please point it out to me.

See unlike you liberals, we conservatives understand SADDAM HAD TO GO FOR A MYRIAD OF REASONS. The fact that Bush and Company settled on WMD has the primary reason and that WMD not being found does not remove the fact that Saddam had to go.

So no, I expect Bush to explain nothing. All the explanation anyone needs can be found in Saddam’s history of attacking his neighbors and using WMD. This whole thing is just the continuation of liberal’s attempts to get the President thrown out of office because they are ideologically opposed to his agenda. Liberals in America can not win at the polls so they seek to use propaganda and baseless accusations to attempt to get the President thrown from office.

It won’t work. Your “Downing Street Memo” is virtually unknown here in the US because thinking liberals know it doesn’t have legs on it. America chose to keep President Bush around for 4 more years and unless someone can come up with a new (and not already discredited) reason why he should not be president, you are stuck with him.

Hey, if I were you I would get off of Bush’s ass and start thinking how you will get some power back through the 2006 elections. Your party can afford only wins in this election and from the looks of things; you have a deficit of winnable candidates.

Love,

Kevin D. Korenthal
3.

Kevin Baas
June 6, 2005 | 6:31 pm


You wrote: ” The Downing Street memo is other people talking. We have already established that Clinton, France, The UN and every one else thought Saddam had WMD. We also know that Bush sighted, as reason to remove Saddam Hussein, his insistence in not coming clean on WMD.”

The Downing Street memo is the official minutes of a meeting between top level British and US government officials.

Clinton had the same information that Bush had, but the facts and intelligence led him to different policies. In the minutes, the accuracy of which is not being disputed by the either the US or British administration, it states “the facts and intelligence were being fixed around the policy”. If this is true, according to the simplest interpretation of that sentence (which is supported by the context), then that means that Bush’s policy was not only different
than Clinton’s, but was not being led by the facts and the intelligence. However, this question remains to be answered by the Administration. This is why over 80 members of Congress have written a letter to the President asking to answer this and four other
questions regarding the memo.

I have seen no indications to suggest that Clinton believed Saddam had WMD, and I have seen strong indications that the others you speak of believed otherwise, or at least that the burden of proof had not been carried. As I’m sure you know, the UN, France, and most of the world, were strongly opposed to the policy of the Administration, on the basis of
the facts and intelligence.

You might not be aware that so, too, were the majority of agents and analysts within the CIA. Certainly if the facts and intelligence did not provide a rationale or a legal justification for the policy, as the minutes of the meeting and numerous other indications suggest, those responsible for producing said intelligence did not agree with the Administration’s
presention of the intelligence, as their written presentations of the intelligence therefore differ from that of the Administration.

You wrote: “You act like the Memo reveals something Bush said or did that we did not already know. If this is the case will you please point it out to me.”

I think you misinterpret me here, I do not mean to give the impression that the Memo reveals something Bush said or did that we did not already know, although there is much we do not know about what he did.

The issue is how what he said compares with what he did, and how what he said compares to what the intelligence that he was given said.

You wrote: “See unlike you liberals, we conservatives understand SADDAM HAD TO GO FOR A MYRIAD OF REASONS. The fact that Bush and Company settled on WMD has the primary reason and that WMD not being found does not remove the fact that Saddam had to go.”

If Congress and the American public were given the whole truth, and decided, on those grounds, to go to War, then I would have no problem.

However, given the circumstances, I cannot be reasonably certain that that is the case.

You wrote: “So no, I expect Bush to explain nothing. All the explanation anyone needs can be found in Saddam’s history of attacking his neighbors and using WMD.

The minutes state that “The case was thin. Saddam was not attacking his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than Libya, North Korea, and Iran.” One of the questions we are asking the Administration concerns exactly this issue that you bring up.

You wrote: “This whole thing is just the continuation of liberal’s attempts to get the President thrown out of office because they are ideologically opposed to his agenda. Liberals in America can not win at the polls so they seek to use propaganda and baseless accusations to attempt to get the President thrown from office.”

Many Republicans seem to think that the movement to investigate the issues surrounding U.S. pre-war intelligence is just to try to get Bush out of office. This is false. I would like to give them every assurance of that. We want an inquiry, not an impeachment. We want to know what the truth is.

Granted, a “Resolution of Inquiry” is a neccessary precursor to impeachment, however, it does not neccessarily lead to impeachment. A Resolution of Inquiry is an attempt to discover facts. Such an Inquiry, when complete, may produce some answers, at which point, each member of Congress will have a duty to seriously consider those facts, and to determine,
based on those facts, in their relation to the public (this means you) trust, the proper and just course of action, whatever that may be.

It has certainly been a long time, and some people may feel that this issue is old; that it has already been gone over. The truth is, it hasn’t:

“The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has dropped its previous plan to review how U.S. policymakers used Iraq intelligence, and the president’s commission on intelligence did not look into the subject because it was not authorized to do so by its charter, Laurence H. Silberman, the co-chairman, told reporters last month.” (From The
Washington Post: British Intelligence Warned of Iraq
War)

This issue has not been investigated, and therefore, we do not yet know what really happened.

The rest of what you wrote does not concern this memo or the handling of intelligence by policymakers.

Again, thank you for your consideration and response.
-Kevin

P.S. There was an interesting discussion of the memo and the handling of intelligence by policymakers on the Diana Rehm show today. You can listen to it here: http://www.wamu.org/audio/dr/05/06/r1050606.ram
4.

Kevin
June 6, 2005 | 8:10 pm


I refuse to go around and around with someone who refuses to factor in 9/11.
In the CONTEXT of September 11th, 2001 it became necessary to actually
enforce what Bill Clinton signed into law. Regime change. You hate Bush. I
get it. Now get over it. We’ll see you in 2006. Hope you do better than the
5.

Kevin Baas
June 6, 2005 | 8:23 pm


This has absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. A thorough review of the intelligence found “no collaboritive relationship between Saddam Hussien and Al-Qaeda”. If you would like more information regarding the allegations of the Bush Administration in concerns 9/11 and Iraq, in relation to the existing intelligence at that time, there is a fairly thorough encyclopedia article on it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_Al-Qaeda

And you can purchase the 9/11 commision’s report on intelligence at any bookstore.

I gather from what you write in this and the previous response that you watch MSNBC. The bill that you refer to is called the “Iraq Liberation Act of 1998″. The summary of that document is available here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:HR04655:@@@D&summ2=m& and the full text is available here: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ338.105

Article 8 of the Bill states:

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.

Article 4 of the Bill states:

Authority To Provide Assistance.–The President may provide to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations designated in accordance
with section 5 the following assistance:
(2) Military > assistance.–
(A) The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations.
(B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.

Notice Article 4(a)(2)(B) sets a legal limit of $97 million.

These sections make clear that the Bill only authorizes military assistance “to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations”, with a net cost not exceeding $97 million.

It states that “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces” besides this authorization.

Bush’s actions wer not an enforcement of this Bill, what he did was not even authorized by it.

Like I said, Clinton, given the same intelligence and facts that was given to Bush and his Administration, came to a different conclusion about the threat posed by Iraq and the use of military force.

In closing, let me once again reiterate the purpose of our letter. The purpose of the letter is not to attack Bush or his Administratio, nor is it motivated by hate. The letter is motivated by questions which have been raised about the handling and presentation of intelligence by the Administration, in light of a number of leaked documents whose accuracy the government has not disputed, and statements made by various officials regarding the state and handling of intelligence by the Administration. One of the questions we are asking is whether the President or anyone in his administration disputes the accuracy of the documents. So far, we have not gotten any answers.

We do not wish to attack the reputation or character of the president or any members of his administration. To the contrary, we want to hear what the president and/or members of his administration have to say about the document and its contents.

I hope this clears things up.
Thanks,
Kevin
6.

Kevin
June 6, 2005 | 9:53 pm


Once more: In the CONTEXT of 9/11 Saddam Hussein represents the very element
that fell The Towers. He had to go. Now he is gone and the world is a better
for it. You wish to SMACK Bush. That is the only thing this is all about.
You use historical revisionist hocus pocus to draw your conclusions. You do
this to smack Bush whom you believe is Satan and must be stopped in the most
embarrassing way possible as soon as possible all the voters be damned.

Go away son you speak not of this world but of some you have created in
liberalist utopia desires.

Feel Better,
7.

Kevin Baas
June 6, 2005 | 10:21 pm


I really think you need to take a step back and calm down. You’re letting yourself get carried away by your imagination. I will leave you alone as it has become clear to me that either you aren’t capable of listening and understanding right now, or you do not have a genuine desire to. I hope, in any case, that I have helped you, and possibly others, to understand what we are doing.

Peace.
-Kevin

6 Comments:

Blogger Shakespeare's Sister said...

Since you don't have trackback...

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2005/06/downing-street-debate.html

:-)

7/6/05 07:30  
Blogger Paul the Spud said...

Great work, Kevin. Amazing how intelligent debate can make people crumble. Thanks for joining the BBA and for starting your blog! I'm really looking forward to your future posts.

7/6/05 08:18  
Blogger Phoenician in a time of Romans said...

UPDATE: Might I remind everyone that Saddam pretended he still had weapons that (curiously) no one could prove he destroyed.

You know, apart from a 12,000 page document saying "We don't have weapons"...

7/6/05 15:16  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Fascinating exchange, and it helped me out with my own DSM/BBA thoughts for the day, for which I am grateful. As Shakespeare's Sister said, in lieu of a trackback:

http://bearcastle.com/blog/?p=320

7/6/05 15:32  
Anonymous Jeff said...

This reminds me that there should be some rules for political blogging:
1. No invoking September 11, 2001 as some panacea for lies. If it doesn't have a connection to 9/11, don't SAY it does.
2. No putting words in other people's mouths. He said we all think Bush is Satan.
3. No invoking Satan or Hitler.

Ya got him on all three counts. The reason I would read liberal blogs, even if I weren't a liberal, is because they are more reasoned, more logical and because lib bloggers actually CITE and QUOTE documents.
Good work.

8/6/05 12:48  
Anonymous scroff said...

I'm sorry, but I couldn't help laughing at the responses you evoked. I find that they are pretty common among President Bush, Inc. supporters. I have been told that the WMD are buried in the sand in Syria.

Great arguments... accurate and irrefutable, how else can they respond except to say "Saddam did it!" or the tried and not so true "We are better off without Saddam. He had to go."

The logical fallacy is unbeatable ignorance... the pity is that American integrity burns while they fiddle...

20/6/05 11:50  

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