Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unhealthy Analysis In The Equine World

There's only one way to beat a dead horse. The variations come with what you use to do the beating and which horse you actually beat. The only prerequisites necessary are having an object to use and a horse that is dead.

One scenario is found in Brattleboro Vermont.

Brattleboro residents will vote at town meeting on whether President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be indicted and arrested for war crimes, perjury or obstruction of justice if they ever step foot in Vermont.

I am sure the night life in Brattleboro is confined to few small local pubs and there probably isn't much in the way of crime there. So, the pressing issues of the day aren't as big as other localities. But still, I would think there would be more important things on the agenda to discuss than beating a dead horse at the federal level, where their votes mean nothing and they have no jurisdiction. I would think there would be the need for a stop sign at some intersection, somewhere.

Another scenario can be found at The Center for Public Integrity. This is a group self-described as:

....a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy. We are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting both in the United States and around the world.

Based on this description, you'd think it is without an agenda. So when they decided to publish this example of beating a dead horse, many normally astute and intelligent people might be tempted to fall for it, without question. Some already have.

Here is the crux of their latest argument, which beats the dead horse one more time:

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

Nothing new here, no surprises. The liberal blogs have been stating this kind of thing since the beginning of the war. And they still are. So then the question becomes, why spend the kind of money they spent and devote the time they did, just to restate what has already been claimed by the Bush-haters, ad nauseum?

Well, I looked at the financiers of this non-partisan organization and was not at all surprised at the list of wealthy contributors.

Among them is The Streisand Foundation.

And we all know that Babs has never minced words about how she feels about the President. She would never support anything that would give him the benefit of any doubt, on any issue, at any time. Here is a sample of her lack of fondness from the article:

"How could such a destructive man be so popular with the American people?" she asks of Bush.

"Not only is he poisoning our air and water - he's poisoning our political system as well."

Hyperbole at its best. Look up the word and give the teacher one example and this would qualify. Others can be found scattered about here.

Another prominent contributor you'll recognize right off of the bat, is The Heinz Endowments. You know the one, John and Theresa Heinz-Kerry's group. Need I say more? Do some research on the others and I would bet you'd find the same bias in 9 of 10.

So, what of it? Does it mean as much now, as it did when we were just looking on the surface?

It's really no more or less important than it was when the leftist bloggers started this campaign, from the outset of the war or anytime else, since the day Bush was inaugurated. The words Bush lied will be typed 100's of thousands of times over this article and any other that supports their preconceived notions and "after the fact" analysis.

A lie is something told that is told while knowing it wasn't true. In all of these writings over the past few years, I have tried to uncover strong evidence that he knowingly lied about WMDs. Being wrong, and not knowing is a miscalculation. It is not a lie.

In all of this, Sunday's 60 Minutes gave us something to think about, something that Brattleboro, the Center For Public Integrity, and those that sound their trumpets will not discuss at any length. Aired was an interview with George Piro, a person that spent a long time with Saddam after his capture and had many conversations with him. Here is the portion of the interview which is certainly pertinent to this post:

"And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?" Pelley asks.

"He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s. And those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq," Piro says.

"So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?" Pelley asks.

"It was very important for him to project that because that was what kept him, in his mind, in power. That capability kept the Iranians away. It kept them from reinvading Iraq," Piro says.

Before his wars with America, Saddam had fought a ruinous eight year war with Iran and it was Iran he still feared the most.

"He believed that he couldn't survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?" Pelley asks.

"Absolutely," Piro says.

"As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn't he stop it then? And say, 'Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction.' I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?" Pelley asks.

"He didn't. But he told me he initially miscalculated President Bush. And President Bush's intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998 under Operation Desert Fox. Which was a four-day aerial attack. So you expected that initially," Piro says.

What? Saddam miscalculated?

He had the power to stop the invasion, but didn't?


I guess Bush should have known that he was bluffing.

No, sorry Bush haters. No lie here. I know Chirac told him and this will be salt the French will pour on wounds, for decades. But far more in the world community believed he had them, because his behavior was designed to create that perception. Fooled yes, Lied no. Another thing I notice about those that continue to beat this dead horse is, I hear no one in these circles holding Saddam accountable for what has transpired, for the false impressions he gave.

There is more than one dimension to a song on a record. But if that record gets stuck in a rut, there's only one part you'll hear. And the song won't make any sense.

Addendum: Thanks to Greg for reminding everyone that this video is pertinent and needs to be looked at again.


A.C. McCloud said...

If you notice, the Public Integrity report uses the term "false statements", not "lies", then turns around and says "false pretenses" implying a deliberate nature.

The media then regurgitated the entire thing verbatim with no critical analysis.

Greg said...

Oh, LAS, you war-mongering neo-con. It has now been unequivocally proven that Saddam never wanted nukes or WMD. He sent a trade delegation to the Niger to buy Niger's OTHER export - red onions. When his henchmen met with bin Laden, it wasn't to discuss their common enemy - they were exchanging falafel recipes. And if the UNSC hadn't been so stupid as to set up a WMD disarmament protocol, then Saddam wouldn't have been forced to violate it repeatedly, and Bush wouldn't have had the excuse he was waiting for to wage war upon the Iraqi people. Stop trying to re-write history, LAS. Bush is the bad guy, and Saddam is the innocent victim. C ya. I'm moving to Brattleboro where people are at least sane.


Mustang said...

There are several important aspects to this topic, LA. I’m glad you took the time to address the issue — even as, because of the amount of press coverage, most Americans are rolling their eyes and wondering why it even remains an issue. Let me say that I think it does remain a relevant issue is because of the liberal spin and genre of an argument democrats are using to justify why Americans should trust their judgment.

First, evidence that Hussein stockpiled chemical and biological agents is a mater of record. So too is the fact that Hussein used these agents against Iran and northern Kurds. The question really is, “Well then, what did he do with them?”

Hussein reportedly said that UN inspectors destroyed much of the stockpile, and Iraq disposed of the remaining weapons and agents. It is important to note that Hussein made this affirmation while in US/Iraqi custody. We might wonder why anyone would believe Hussein, and what we don’t know is whether any of his statements are verifiable. It is difficult to imagine that a man like Hussein would willingly give up any advantage he thought he might have over Iran. I will tell you that the known presence of WMD worried military planners leading up to the first confrontation.

Throughout the interim period between 1991 — 2003, I suspect Hussein maintained these weapons until Bush gave him 72 hours to get out of town. At that point, I think he moved his lethal agents to Syria.

But this post is important for another reason: it is that individuals who oppose Bush are so vehement in their view that they have become tunnel-visioned and have lost sight of the reality of our world today. Whether one believes that Osama bin-Laden is the real enemy and Iraq is a waste or resources, the fact is that unless you are a complete buffoon there are very dangerous fellows out there looking for an opportunity to kill westerners. They prefer attacking us inside the United States—but they’ll settle for London or Paris. There may have been a post-9/11 attack in the US had our military forces not provided a magnet in Iraq. And when anyone suggests that our true focus ought to have been Afghanistan all along, they merely demonstrate their ignorance of history and common sense military science. No non-western or Caucasian power has ever conquered Afghanistan. Given the terrain and weather conditions, setting up shop in Afghanistan would be about as brilliant as Napoleon’s march to Moscow.

When Saddam Hussein was hanged (or, as our mutual friend might suggest, lynched), he was at that moment held accountable; not for possessing WMDs, or launching missiles into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or Israel. He paid for the murder of thousands of Iraqi citizens, unspeakable cruelty, and depraved sexual assaults. But of course, none of this matters at all to the Bush-haters and the remarkably inhumane liberal democrat. They would be perfectly content if Saddam was still in power, and still murdering his citizens — it doesn’t have anything to do with them.

In my view, our liberals lack the integrity and the intelligence to consider the real dangers associated with Bush-hating. When one argues, “Well, perhaps . . . but have you noticed that the US hasn’t been attacked in the past seven years?” what you get is a sniffle and a change of topic. I can just hear them now . . . “Okay, so he didn’t lie. But he’s still a stupid, warmongering redneck.”

Greg said...

Mustang: I can just hear them now . . . “Okay, so he didn’t lie. But he’s still a stupid, warmongering redneck.”

That would be progress.

Thankfully, when Gulf War II is written into the history textbooks, it will be done by people not jaded by the current poltical climate. They will see it as a continuation of Gulf War I, brought on by Hussein's steadfast refusal to abide by the terms of his surrender. I imagine there will be debate about the propriety of leaving a defeated dictator in power and believing you can alter his behavior with UN sanctions. There will also be something about how 9/11 changed US calculations on Iraq and other enemies.

And speaking of sanctions, another reason the war happened was that the sanctions were attacked almost the moment they were put in place. Chirac and other friends of the Butcher used the "suffering of the Iraqi people" as a pretext to rail against the sanctions, and progressively weaken them at the UNSC. Then, by coincidence, many people in these countries actually circumvented the sanctions, making them totally ineffective. I'm not aware of ANYONE outside of the US having been punished for helping to enable a brutal killer and precipitate Gulf War II. For example, I'm still waiting for Jean Merrimee (former France Foreign Minister and high ranking UN official) and Charles Pasqua's (former French interior minister) jail terms to be announced. It's been a few years since we found out they were swimming in Saddam's blood money. The Americans who were caught are currently rotting in federal prison, where they belong.

Greg said...

Hey, back to Brattleboro, VT, my own city council had a debate on Iraq while Congress was feverishly debating a non-binding resolution in favor of admitting defeat in Iraq last year. I wrote a letter to the editor that I can share with you. It reveals my identity, but what the heck....


Mustang said...

LMAO. Greg, you are a master of sarcasm. You must have picked that up in your last year of law school.

I left a (too) long comment for Ducky that addresses "UN" anything. I now fully understand why the Senate in 1919/1920 could not ratify the League of Nations. I would have to conclude they had pretty good vision. The UN is completely ineffective, but then what should we expect when it is dominated by socialist Europeans who themselves invented the EU.

Gad . . . is there any solution?

Semper Fi

Greg said...

Mustang, one solution would be to stop funding the UN. You're all probably aware the US pays about 25% of its annual budget, dwarfing any other country's contribution (the US forks over about $922 million/year, while #2 Japan spends about $816 million, and #5 France about $251 million). This year, the General Assembly of Dictators and Anti-Americans voted unanimously to spend even more of your tax dollars. Well, almost. There was one lousy "no" vote by the buzzkilling United States. Damned Yankees! No matter, majority vote is all that is required to force you to fund a Human Rights Commission led by Iran and Saudi Arabia.


So maybe we should just tell the UN to shove off and find a more compliant sugar daddy.

A more realistic solution would be for all states, big or small, to pay a flat rate for the privilege of using UN resouces to denounce the US and Israel. Then, all the good people of Earth who think the UN is worth something can send their hard-earned welfare checks, I mean, pay checks directly to the UN.

A modest proposal....

Mustang said...


Wow! A progressive tax follows a progressive mentality; who could have imagined? The fact is, given the EU and like organizations in Asia and Africa, you could accomplish the same thing (which isn’t much) in a ten room office suite with a conference room. Given the costs associated with the UN building in NYC, how much money could we save from a lease in Brussels?

Just asking.

Rocket said...


"For example, I'm still waiting for Jean Merrimee (former France Foreign Minister and high ranking UN official) and Charles Pasqua's (former French interior minister) jail terms to be announced."

You'll be waiting a long time my friend. A long long time.

Jeremy said...

If you are an independent thinker I would think that you would appreciate the fact that The Center for Public Integrity accepts support from many different sources, but regardless of the source, all of the Center’s projects are editorially independent and strictly managed by in-house journalists and staff. The Center has strict guidelines on revenue sources. We do not accept contributions from governments, corporations, labor unions, anonymous donors and have no advertising. The bulk of our financial support comes from independent foundations and individual contributors. As a non-partisan, non-advocacy and independent organization, our mission is to produce original investigative fact-based journalism about significant issues of public interest to make institutional power more transparent and accountable. The Center does not and has never endorsed any legislation, political candidate, party or organization. All of our investigations are freely available, including a list of foundation funders and individual contributors, on our website, www.publicintegrity.org.