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I'd like to respond to space's comment, but the other thread is unweidly and I think this deserves its own space.

The original comment is as follows:

Others have mentioned bits of this, but I'll pull it together.

   1.  Clinton was conducting similar bombing on a smaller scale.  If this is the "smoking gun" then Clinton is guilt of war crimes as well, even if his smoking gun is of a smaller caliber.

   2. Congress almost certainly knew about this, including Democrats.  Maybe John Conyers was in the dark, but until I see some evidence that not even those on the Armed Services and Intelligence committes had any inkling of this, it is absurd to call this a "smoking gun" of anything.  If Joe Biden didn't care, that's an indictment of Joe Biden not an impeachable offense by Bush.

3.  Iraq's sovereignty was Iraq's problem.  Unless I'm mistaken, Iraq wasn't making much of a peep about its country being bombed (aside from the general complaints about the enforcement of the No-Fly zones).  If someone can point me to a single instance where Iraq essentially said "Hey, wait a second! This isn't defensive bombing of radar facilities.  This is offensive attacking without provocation."  I'd be interested in seeing it.

   4. The rolling start.  It may be true that Congress had not yet authorized an attack, but the President anticipated the potential for one.  Leaving aside Bush's illigitimate grounds for invasion, if a president  legitimately believes that another country poses an imminent threat and legitimately believes that an invasion may be imminent and legitimately believes that Congress will authorize force, that president may legitimately conduct preparatory military operations.  If this was Wes Clark we were talking about, nobody here would be criticizing the rolling start strategy.  But since it is Bush, there is a lot of knee-jerk criticism.

Bush deserves to be criticized. For lying.  For failing to plan.  For failing to care.  But getting hysterical about softening up Iraq, which, let's be fair, 99% of the country wouldn't give a crap about if the war was legitimate, only makes Dems look ridiculous.

And here we go...

(1) Clinton did NOT conduct similar bombing.  The bombing conducted by the Bush adminstration was essentially unprovoked (susequent self-defense by Iraq aside).  Clinton's bombing was not an offense as Bush's was; it was defensive.


Washington -- More than 100 coalition aircraft participated in the January 13 air strike against Iraqi fixed air-defense and mobile missiles sites in southern Iraq, says U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Hoar. Hoar, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command, told a press briefing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, that the mission was prompted by Iraq's rebuff of a January 6 demarche by Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States to remove its surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites from below the 32nd parallel and to stop violating the  no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq.

The strike that he agreed with as president in 1993 was one in response to the assasination plot of then President Bush.

Moreover, Clinton's campaign was to enforce the no-fly zone under UN resolution 687, which does have an enforcement provision.  Bush's bombing campaign, as the Times reported, was not supportable by any UN resolution.

Also, let's compare numbers.  Missles launched under Clinton to enforce no fly zone:  44.  Missles launched under Bush in violation of no fly zone: over 21,000.  Just until May 2002.

(2) That's quite a broad claim to say that "Congess must have known about this."  Congress gets what it filtered to it through the executive branch and its agencies.  I don't believe, unless someone can correct me, Congress as a whole is informed of every military action, let alone ones taken on the sly.  Furthermore, sift through the DoD reports from 2002.  Notice how almost every report begins " In response to recent hostile Iraqi acts against Coalition aircraft monitoring the Southern No-Fly Zone..." or "Iraqi Air Defenses today fired upon..."  Assuming that Congress WAS informed of the events in Iraq in 2002, it looks like that information was presented in such a way as to make Congress believe that the US was in a defensive, rather then offensive, posture.

(3) Here is evidence of Iraqi contesting the US bombing campaign in 2002:

On May 16, 2002, the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations presented a letter to the Secretary General showing US encroachments into its sovereign territory:

Iraqi Government 16 May 2002-- On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a letter dated 15 May 2002 from Mr. Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq. Appended to the Minister's letter is a table showing the violations of Iraq's international boundaries that were committed by United States and British warplanes flying across the demilitarized zone monitored by the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) in the period from 6 April and 3 May 2002.

Also, a follow up letter was presented to the United Nations on May 27, 2002:

27 May 2002-- On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a letter dated 27 May 2002 from Mr. Naji Sabri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq. The Minister calls attention to the ongoing wanton aggression against Iraq by United States and British aircraft in the unlawful no-flight zones and to the fact that in the period from 16 April to 16 May 2002 they carried out 844 armed sorties, 52 of them from Saudi Arabia, 656 from Kuwait and 136 from Turkey, as shown in the statement enclosed with the letter. On 19 April and 1 May 2002, United States and British aircraft bombed civilian and military sites in Ninawa Governorate, killing one citizen and wounding five others and damaging a number of civilian and military installations.

I'd link to the FULL letters, but the site has been scrubbed, and the letters are not available anywhere else. We at are trying to see where we may obtain official copies. Thanks to sheba below, who found them through the UN Document Search Site. (My groggy mind couldn't find them through the main UN site...posted too early in the AM, me thinks)

(4) Your statement presumed that Bush "legitimately" believed Iraq was an "imminent threat".  The DSM specifically states that Iraq's WMD capabilities "was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."  Reading Bush's speech, you would swear that he genuinely did believe Iraq was about to come busting over here in NY and Chicago and LA with biological and WMD attacks. However, looking at all the Downing Street documents which detail meetings with Bush's closest war advisors, it is clear that the Bush administration did NOT believe Iraq was an "imminent" threat; rather, the documents show that Iraq was not a threat to the US, but the US and Britain decided to play it up that war.

Given that the President knew that Iraq did not pose a direct and imminent threat, does that not make his offensive--without Congressional authorization--that much more disturbing?

I think space's comment brought up some good points, and I hope I cleared some things up addressing them.
Sorry to post and run, but I have to get going. I'll be glad to address any other questions or research needs when I get back :)

Originally posted to Georgia Logothetis on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Everybody knew about it (4.00)
    It was openly reported by mainstream media at the time.

    And there was open speculation at the time (including mine, and including mainstream punditry) as to administration motives such as provoking Iraqi responses or even occasioning a shoot-down as auxiliary casus belli.

    And no, it didn't cross any particular legal "red line". Operations were conducted in a legal grey area, with clear definition of authority to suppress Iraqi fixed-wing operations, and unclear definition as to how that suppression could be conducted. US reasonbably argued their right to take out air defenses targeting enforcement overflights, and Iraq reasonably argued their right to defend intrusions on their territorial sovereignty.

    And yes, the Clinton administration conducted similar operations -- baiting and taking out formative Iraqi air defense systems moved into the no-fly zones. Only the increased tempo of these operations marked the run-up to war.

    Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

    by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:20:36 AM PDT

    •  There was lots of speculation in 2002 (4.00)
      I agree that there were plenty of stories throughout 2002 about preliminary bombing campaigns in Iraq, insertion of Special Forces units, diversion of funds from Afghanistan to build forward bases around Iraq, etc.  They were usually framed around "preparation for war", and joined with the prevailing lies about WMD's etc.  In the post-9/11 mood of the country, those folks who were paying attention to this story mostly figured Bush was trying to protect us.  Only a relatively small minority didn't buy the Bush line on WMD's, and had the courage to demand that America follow international law.

      Now, however, the general presumption that the administration knew facts we didn't has evaporated.  Many of us couldn't quite believe at the time that Bush had the temerity to lie us into a war, and have since been sadly disabused of our naivete.  The "legal grey area" is, in retrospect, much starker, and it won't be at all surprising to learn that many of the 2002 bombing missions had no feasible purpose connected with protecting no-fly zone patrols.

      Clinton enforced the no-fly zones, and conducted punitive bombing campaigns for specific reasons well stated in advance.  There is no comparison between Clinton's military moves in Iraq and George Bush's, as subsequent events have clearly shown.

      Lies are the new truth.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:04:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Speculation? Or open press briefings? (none)
        Special forces operations were speculations, or on background, or raw random rumor.

        Flight operations were briefed on a daily basis, if anybody cared to attend.

        And we're not talking about "punitive bombing campaigns for specific reasons well stated in advance". We're talking about routine flights conducted to bait Iraq into illuminating US/UK aircraft with air defense radar, and/or conducting antiaircraft airtillery and missile fires -- and reacting within seconds to take out the responding facilities.

        At some point, Iraq began converting integrated air defense infrastructure from wire and radio communication to buried fiber optic communication -- rendering signal connections invisible to US electronic prowlers, and motivating more aggressive bombing attacks on underground cables and tie points.

        All the while, air service to Basra -- verboten under the ceasefire agreement -- was allowed to continue undisturbed.

        There's no smoking bombshell here, and it's a peripheral grievance at best. The war was stupid, the case was bogus. Can we focus on that?

        Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

        by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:23:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In building a case against Bush's war... (none)
          ... why not investigate all the charges?  If Bush went well beyond Security Council resolution terms and attacked Iraq in unsanctioned ways, this is a violation of international law.  Is it irrelevant if our President proves to be a war criminal in the run-up to the war?

          Lies are the new truth.

          by Dallasdoc on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:30:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's irrelevant. And it's mistaken. (3.00)
            Bush easily acted within the penumbra of ambiguity in existing legal authority. He wasn't even far out on the rim.

            And there's no separation of powers issue. Bush acted well within his authority as CinC, and any argument to the contrary will be laughed out of the court of public opinion (or of Congress, the supposed aggrieved body).

            Did Bush act in good faith? No. Hang him for that. Did he act in the best interest of the US? No. Hang him for that. Don't go on nattering about cases you can't make, to be heard in some fantasy-league tribunal.

            Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

            by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:38:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We'll see... (none)
              "Ambiguity in existing legal authority" has to be interpreted in the context of the time.  As that context shifts, the judgment about Bush's actions could shift accordingly.

              Nothing wrong in throwing lots of mud against the wall, to see what sticks.  It certainly works well for their side.

              Lies are the new truth.

              by Dallasdoc on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:48:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  $700 MILLION why it's relevant . . . (4.00)
              Reasonable speculation would suggest that these actions were part of the $700 million ChimpCo illegally diverted from Congressional appropriations without any oversight of any sort.

              "Congress was totally in the dark on this," Woodward told CBS' 60 Minutes.

              "The war against Iraq was conceived in secret, planned in secret, and may have been at least partly financed in secret," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.

              Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, called the report "disturbing." He said Congress provided money to fight terrorism after Sept. 11 with "unprecedented flexibility" but with the assurance that lawmakers would be kept informed.

              "If Mr. Woodward's book is accurate, it is clear that once again the administration has declined to cooperate with those who are trying to cooperate with them," Obey said.

              This isn't some small technicality. The CinC doesn't get to start wars with our money without Congress's say-so.

              The only reason this shit didn't get more airplay at the time (April 2004) was the relentless "I Kill-um Brown People" noise Rove was building around Chimpy's reelection; Dems were too afraid to be on the "wrong" side of toughness on terra.

              Well, with public opinion polls where they are---people are hardly "laughing" now about the way Bush has used his CinC "authority"---all bets are off. This diversion of appropriations is really going to start stinking up the place, and it's perfect cover for a Congress that increasingly will need to walk away from Bush's War.

              •  yes the 700 million stolen (4.00)
                is a very big deal, so is bombing the shit out of a country and haveing special forces takeing ground and holding it before u.n. res. 678 was even thought up and even it does not give athority for a invasion.yes this is a big deal, very big.this is war crimes stuff.
                •  Edit to this.... (none)
                  678 had been passed at that time. It was from the first Gulf War. But did not give permission to invade. A second UN resolution was passed after these military actions and it was based on the first UN resolution [678] but still did not give permission for an invasion. As of yet the UN has not given it's permission to invade.
        •  Get out the calculator (4.00)
          Did you notice this one pesky detail in the post?

          Also, let's compare numbers.  Missles launched under Clinton to enforce no fly zone:  44.  Missles launched under Bush in violation of no fly zone: over 21,000.  Just until May 2002.

          So . . . a massive air offensive begins that has nothing to do with the no-fly zone, but, as the DoD purportedly stated, was instead a lure -- or, in your words, "bait".  Certainly a ruse to detect radar systems would not result in the onset of such a massive bombing campaign.

          I suppose one could argue that baiting one's enemy into attacking you is not an outright attack on one's enemy in and of itself.  But I don't buy it, particularly not in this case.  Sure, a case can be made that there were legit reasons for the increase in bombing, but it's not as strong as the case that Bush wanted to start a war but wanted to make it look like Saddam started it, ie. Bush is a dishonorable man who should resign.

          It's not like we're talking about impeachment.  It doesn't matter, really, how much the press or Congress absorbs the DSM and other relevant "smoking guns", of course.  The public is coming to understand that Bush lied to their faces.  Impeachment will not be necessary if enough of us feel this way . . .

          •  I remember: (none)
            It was in the news whenever Clinton launched even one missile against Saddam's forces. On the other hand, Bush's missile launchings were so frequent, they were not news any more.
          •  Excuse me, but - May, 2002????? (none)
            May 2002 takes us past the entire primary Iraq invasion campaign.

            It is your intention to aggregate the totals for pre-war softening up PLUS "shock and awe", and use that as "proof" of massive bombardment prior to mid-March 2002?

            As the bartender said when the horse, the duck and the monkey walked into the bar ... "What is this, some kind of joke?"

            Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

            by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 03:54:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  *cough* (none)
              We "invaded" on March 19, 2003. It just feels longer.

              Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

              by Liberalpalooza on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:17:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  **cough** data check, please? (none)
                Caught me misreading that, because the figure as stated is utterly ludicrous.

                Is this the source of the "21,000 missiles" figure?

                From June 2002 until March 20, when the ground war began, the allies flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq, attacking 349 carefully selected targets.
                The time period in question is June, 2002 to March 20, 2003 ... and the figure is for sorties, not missiles.

                Does anyone know what a sortie is?

                Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

                by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:48:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Need cough medicine? (none)
                  I'm not replying with or to the data because I haven't read enough to know.

                  A sortie is a mission.  In this instance it would be a plane flying to do whatever it was told to do (recon, bombing, whatever).  It wouldn't mean they attacked anything.

                  Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

                  by Liberalpalooza on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:53:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Has someone confused missions and missiles? (none)
                    AS well as time intervals?

                    Or is there some other antecedent to the "21,000" figure?

                    Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

                    by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 05:22:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Huh (none)
                      Why are you asking me what others are thinking or whether they are confused?  I have no idea what they or you are thinking or talking about.  I replied to correct the beginning of the war date and then to answer your sortie question (growing up a Navy brat should have some benefits).

                      I think you aren't necessarily replying to the correct comment.  Also, these comment boxes have become annoyingly thin.  I feel condensed.  Help me...I'm being squished!!!!

                      Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

                      by Liberalpalooza on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 05:45:37 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The assertion upthread ... (none)
                        ... was that Bush launched 21,000 missiles at Iraq between the time he took office and May, 2002.

                        If you aren't reading comments in threaded order, you may be confused ... but if you are squished, you probably are reading threaded.

                        Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

                        by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 05:54:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Threaded and squished (none)
                          What I meant was that you may want to respond to their post instead of mine or they may not see your question.

                          Personally I often just check my comments for responses and I don't necessarily reread each thread.  So they may not know about you thinking they've mistaken sorties for bombings.

                          Straw Man (homo calami) - when you don't feel like arguing against someone's actual points just assign them new and easier ones to dispute

                          by Liberalpalooza on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:04:22 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  I blame Blair, not Clinton or Bush (none)
          To see if it's a smoking gun, we'd need more data on the number of flights, bombs (not just missiles), casualties, and the areas targeted.

          The US and UK have been bombing Iraq continuously since the first Gulf War. (In fact, one oft-repeated statistic among the anti-war and anti-sanctions people in the late '90s was that Clinton actually dropped more bombs on Iraq than Bush I.) It would be interesting to see whether and how the bombing raids changed when Bush came to power, after 9/11, and during 2002.

          We already know about Operation Desert Fox, the intense bombing campaign in 1998. This was pre-Bush, of course, and at the time Clinton's critics (both wingnuts and Nader types) were saying Wag the Dog. But in light of recent events, I think a more likely explanation is the election of Bush's partner-in-crime, Tony Blair, in 1997.

    •  If I might be permitted a metaphor... (none)
      I view this as the difference between coming home early and finding your boss sitting in your kitchen, versus finding his underwear tangled up in your sheets.

      In hindsight, you should have known something was up--all the signs were there--but being presented with incontrovertible proof still, I think, makes it worse. Particularly after all her denials.

      And having people tell you "Oh we knew all along. What's wrong with you?" doesn't really help. Nor does the argument that she used to do the same with your old boss, the only difference being that now she's doing it a lot more often.

      Yes, the response is primarily emotional. Looking at just the facts, nothing really changed and, yes, you should have known. But it is different.

      Even if it's just an emotional difference, the new information confirming what Bush was up to before getting the congressional resolution should, I believe, make a difference with people. Now there is no doubt they were lied to. And, at least in past scandals, it's that lying that has made the difference.

      [Feel free to change genders in the metaphor if it makes you feel more betrayed.]

      "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

      by Mad Dog Rackham on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:48:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Participants in the bombing (none)
      then and subsequently have stated in published accounts that the 2002 air war had practically nothing to do with responding to Iraqi provocations, and almost everything to do first with trying to create a pretext for war, and later with trying to soften up Iraq in advance of the ground war. I can't fathom your certainty that this is not the case.

      As for penumbras, the UN mandate is pretty darn specific. It indicates that enforcement attacks are only permitted to specific attacks, or imminent threats of attack, by Iraqis. It also states that any attacks on Iraq need to be proportional to the Iraqi provocation. The wholescale bombing of infrastructure in 2002 was most definitely not proportional to anything we've been told about Iraqi behavior. Participants have stated that the Iraqis avoided being drawn by US and UK provocations, for the most part.

      Bush wasn't behaving illegally in 2002? What does the phrase "spikes of activity" mean then? "Enforcement" of the NFZ? You've got to be kidding?

      but thought is irksome... -A. E. Housman

      by smintheus on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:11:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe you can"t fathom my certainty ... (none)
        ... because I've never said anything of the sort.

        Quite the opposite.

        I said all this --  nothing to do with responding to Iraqi provocations, and almost everything to do first with trying to create a pretext for war, and later with trying to soften up Iraq in advance of the ground war -- when it was happening ... as did many others.

        Try again.

        Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

        by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 03:59:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know what you said at the time (none)
          I do see what you say here, and you're wrong. Bush did not act in 2002 easily within the penumbra of legal ambiguity regarding the NFZ. He was in violation of UNSCR 688. Bush had authority to enforce the NFZ, not to use it as cover to attack Iraq. Enforcement meant, if necessary, proportionate resonses to attacks from Iraq. That is not what the US did, as has been shown any number of times.

          Michael Smith's article in the London Times today makes that point clearly, referring in particular to comments by Gen. Moseley from 2002, as recorded by the NYT. That article is presumably going to get a thorough airing tomorrow at Raw Story, and also here on dKos in my diary and no doubt many others. It is in fact demonstrable that Bush was way outside his legal wiggle room.

          Try again? What does that mean? Do you see discussion of this as one-upsmanship?

          DSM Watch - Day 57: When will Bush and Cheney finally read the documents?

          by smintheus on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 07:47:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know what I said above ... (none)
            ... and you turned it on its head.

            This does not lead me to receive your pronouncements as authoritative in matters of international law ... or any other subject.

            Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

            by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:28:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only the increased tempo of the bombings (none)
              marked out the run up to the war. That is what you said, and that is not true. The nature of American and British attacks was different.

              I don't see myself standing your statements on their head. It looks to me like you want to have it several ways at once--you, the wise pundit, knew at the time that Bush was war-mongering and said so, yet Bush really wasn't exceeding his legal authority, quite the contrary he was easily within the limits of what the UN permitted to enforce the NFZ. I have no idea what to make of this apparent muddle, but I do know that Bush was not acting in accord with UNSCR 688. The NYT article from July 2003 makes clear that Gen. Moseley admitted the 2002 bombings were intended to soften defenses in advance of the invasion.

              DSM Watch - Day 57: When will Bush and Cheney finally read the documents?

              by smintheus on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:59:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  None but Brits and USA did fly overs, bombing (none)
      I thought that that was because there really was no legal basis for it.Yes, the NFZ rules were to be enforced after the Gulf War, but isnt it true that there was no actual resolution validating, giving an official stamp of approval, to those no-fly zone missions (bombings) that we and the Brits engaged in under Clinton year after year (as well as Bush, of course)?

      Im just working on my first cuppa joe, but it seems the diary isnt recognizing that point, and is just saying it was on the books at UN to enforce rules (that would mean if necessary, that would mean another resolution, I believe.)

      I think that is the main reason it was just US and the Brits -- the most likely partnership with the means, together, to go outside the law when it comes to Iraq, whether doing it heavy or doing it light. I mean, Clinton did embrace Regime Change, although his view and actions tended toward having the Iraqis overthrow the regime itself ... others, like Lieberman-McCain, at the time, leaned more "Chalabi", which is why they were so proactive and supportive re Bush's out and out war policy. Hillary came out chirping about the glow of regime change on Russert a couple of weeks before the IWR.)

      I still think it isnt a problem to ADD it to the DSM case being made (I use DSM to signify a core around which all the other stuff known and still to be made known, can be attached.)

      oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

      by NYCee on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:12:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I mean -- there is enough of a difference ... (4.00)
        to separate them off, Clinton's actions from Bush's, in terms of where they were leading. And this war against Iraq is the issue, so it's Bush's bombings that clearly led to this war, were part of it. But, I think it can be said that neither were sanctioned by the UN.

        What it led to is where the bombings add to the case against Bush's war -- as part of the evidence of where they fit into the grander scheme and goal. Not as a stand-alone illegality. Then Clinton would get thrown in as well, I believe.

        But that aint gonna happen -- going after that illegality, I mean. There are many things that are done outside the sanction of the UN, such as the Balkans bombings. The Israeli settlements, pure land theft, to the tune of 400,000  thieves, are well outside the bounds of international law, on and on ... Hell, just allowing a president to go to war, without Congress' authorization, is against our own laws.

        Laws are bent, twisted, ignored, run around constantly (and openly scorned in this administration!). But lying his own people into war, and fixing intell, while the troops are dying, is still "on the table" as fair game in the fight to use the law as is it to be used. That is why we have hope here, I suppose.

        oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

        by NYCee on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:34:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seeing as how I was (none)
      oh...10 or 11 years old when Clinton was first in office, I'll defer to your recollection of what everyone knew at the time :)

      However, you argue, if I interpret your post correctly, that the sole difference between Clinton and Bush's bombings were the 'increased tempo.' That is not so.

      Had both men had the same objective, you might be right.  While it was US policy for a long time, I think, to seek regime change in Iraq and to disarm Saddam, Clinton did not purport to bomb Iraq because Iraq was an imminent threat.  Bush did.

      by Georgia Logothetis on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 02:26:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Difference (none)
    RonK is talking about the similarity of actions.  You're referring to motives.  They're two different things, and it's not inconsistent to say that Bush's intent was different, and the tempo (and scale) of what he had the military do in Iraq up to just prior to the invasion was different than under Clinton, but that the enforcement of the no-fly zone was legally no different under Bush than under Clinton up to some period not long prior to the invasion (like probably the last 6 weeks or so).
  •  'everyone knew at the time' refers to 2002 (none)
    Try again.

    Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

    by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:05:19 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Try again (none)
      CNN reported this in early 2004 - it refers to operations prior to 9/11, not in 2002. Transcript:

      BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frustrated that Iraqi gunners were shooting at American planes, within weeks of coming into office, President Bush approved war plans for a massive retaliatory attack on Iraq if a U.S. pilot had been shot down.

      CNN has learned that the secret plan Operation Desert Badger called for escalating air strikes within four to eight hours of a shootdown. Pentagon sources say a long list of targets across the country would be hit, crippling Iraqi air defenses and command and control. The plan went far beyond the Clinton administration's 1998 Operation Desert Fox, which hit 100 targets in four days.

      President Bush revealed Desert Badger's existence in January, responding to criticism he planned to invade Iraq from the beginning.

      GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. And in the initial stages of the administration, you might remember, we were dealing with Desert Badger or flyovers, and fly-betweens and looks. And so we were fashioning policy along those lines."

      STARR: One defense official familiar with the plan says, "If a plane got shot down, that was the trigger, we were going in." Over time, the source said, Operation Desert Badger evolved into a more robust plan for attacking the regime.

      The president would have quickly decided whether to take the next step, approving a small number of ground troops to secure key areas. At the time, only a few thousand troops were in nearby Kuwait. Sources tell CNN Operation Desert Badger was not a plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

      Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says the new options were justified by the threat.

      DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We packaged them, we pre- cleared them with the president, and we were cocked and ready to do a variety of different things in the event something occurred that fit one of those possible unfortunate possibilities. (END VIDEOTAPE)

      STARR: And, Daryn, the new details about the intent and scope of Operation Desert Badger and even other standby war plans may raise additional questions in the days ahead about whether the Bush administration was too focused on Iraq before 9/11 -- Daryn.

      That's the public record. I have no way of knowing if Bush intended to provoke a shootdown or not but based on the other behavior of this administration it seems entirely likely. And all of this is from 2001, not 2002. More information is needed on the actual missions of Operation Desert Badger - if leaks of offensive strikes pre 9/11 leak it will blow this story up into the worst treason the world has ever known.

      •  I'm sorry, how does this relate ... (none)
        ... to the topic under discussion?

        Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

        by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:57:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you being obtuse on purpose? (none)
          •  Not at all (none)
            You posted a 2004 discussion of actions taken in early 2001. How does that relate to what we were discussing?

            Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

            by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 05:19:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Reported in 2004 (none)
              Bush made the first public mention of Operation Desert Badger in 2004. What plan do you think was implemented immediately following 9/11/01 in Iraq? They didn't start from scratch. Compare the information above to what Woodward reports in Bush at War immediately after 9/11 (via lilnubber in other thread):

              9/12/01: Rumsfeld raised the question of Iraq.  Why shouldn't we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda?  he asked.  Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question.  His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.
                   Before the attacks, the Pentagon had been working for months on developing a military option for Iraq.  Everyone at the table believed Iraqi President Sadam Hussein was a menace, a leader bent on acquiring and perhaps using weapons of mass destruction.  Any serious, full-scale war against terrorism would have to make Iraq a target--eventually.  Rumsfeld was raising the possibility that they could take advantage of the opportunity offered by the terrorist attacks to go after Saddam immediately.
                   Powell, who opposed striking Iraq at this point, countered that they were focusing on al Qaeda because the American people were focused on al Qaeda.  "Any action needs public support.  It's not just what the international coalition supports; it's what the American people want to support.  The American people want us to do something about al Qaeda."

              "Go after Saddam immediately" for what? All this comparison between Clinton and Bush and international law misses the point that Bush started the war on purpose. Polls today show the American people fault Bush more than Saddam for starting this war. I'm not going to get bogged down in legalese - I'm just concerned that Bush be tagged with the blame for starting a war we are likely going to lose. Arguing Clinton's actions are a distraction - Clinton never lost a war in Iraq.

              It's important to reinforce that belief with factual information. Desert Badger shows that Bush had a plan to bomb Iraq and escalate to a regime change operation pre-9/11. With the additional revelations in the DSM documents it's important to add this to the debate. Enforcing UN resolutions had zero to do with Desert Badger - it's an offensive plan that predates 9/11.

              •  The passage you cite ... (none)
                ... refers to a contingency plan in case an allied aircraft was shot down.

                Bush may or may not describe it accurately, may or may not have the name right, but it's not an offensive plan. It's not a defensive plan. And -- per your cite -- it's not an invasion plan.

                And it has nothing to do with the point under discussion -- that air operations continued from Clinton to Bush, and accelerated in mid/late 2002, and were publicly disclosed all the while, and were discussed at that time as potential provocations and pretexts amplifying Bush's case for war.

                I don't see how your cite relates to any of this.

                Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

                by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 06:16:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Face value (none)
                  You continually take official statements of this administration at face value. That's your right but history if filled with official statements that turn out to be lies. Have you heard of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident?    

                  You can continue arguing that Clinton and Bush are the same and I'll continue trying to bring new information forward.

                  •  If you find this an argument is worth having ... (none)
                    ... you are welcome to it.

                    The only evidence you've brought to the table was a Bush statement taken at face value, and that was off-topic.

                    Have fun.

                    Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

                    by RonK Seattle on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:32:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why thank you (none)
                      I'm hope you took the time to make yourself a lovely crown when you ascended to the throne in the Kingdom of Self Importance.

                      I read a significant number of your past comments and it appears you are eager to offer naysaying meta commentary but have little to add otherwise. So I'll consider this more of the same from you and move forward.  Have a nice day.

  •  Thanks... (none)
    We tend to get bits and pieces of things and it's sometimes hard to put it all together unless it's sitting right there in front of you.  Great job filling in the holes.
  •  Excellent diary (4.00)
    Of course it was different.  Clinton wasn't trying to start a war to effect regime change, didn't lie to the public about what he was doing and why and most importantly, he acted with the cooperation and support of our allies under the legitmacy of UN resolutions which authorized his actions.

    It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

    by Steven D on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:31:02 AM PDT

    •  Don't forget the Clinton factor (4.00)
      No matter how legitimate the effort may have been, any and all military action Clinton took was seen as "wagging the dog", subject to ample chronic criticism from the right.

      Nevermind that the 44 bombs dropped maintained a level of containment on the cheap that we can only envy today, both in terms of military cost, lives damaged and lost, damage to our image in the world...

    •  Just one point (and then more ...) (none)
      The UN resolution stated enforcement of no-fly zones, not a specific authorization or green light for the bombing that went on under Clinton-Blair. That's why the US and Brits were flying solo, or duo to be more precise. They were actually outside the law. No other nations joined them. Another resolution would have been needed to actually do what they were doing.

      As for starting a war, youre right, Clinton wasnt intending for us to get into this sort of a full fledged war. He was hoping for Regime Change, hopefully an overthrowing of Saddam by Iraqis -- it was hoped that the bombings re the no-fly zones and the sanctions would create the conditions to make that happen.

      Or maybe that was his compromise, given all the pressures from neocons buzzing around the periphery (at that time), Netanyahu types, Israeli pressures, hawks in Congress like McCain and Lieberman, who had their arms around Chalabi since 1998, when Regime Change was born.

      Who knows what Clinton REALLY wanted. Maybe in his heart of hearts he wasnt all that sanguine about the idea of Regime Change, either, given the potential for explosive outcomes in such a fractured, conflicted nation.

      It's hard to know sometimes what is in Clinton's heart, because he can be such a go-along to "get-along" kinda guy.

      oh, ps - I hate bankruptcy bill (+ ANWR) traitor dems.

      by NYCee on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:49:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Adding to point #3... (4.00)
    Just a short list of some 2002 western press reports of Iraqi complaints for two months, November & December:

    AP December 31, 2002 - In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri described the Dec. 26 airstrike as "a barbaric and terrorist act, with a direct participation of the rulers of Kuwait, and it represents a material breach to the Security Council resolutions."

    Reuters December 26, 2002 - "The evil criminals in the evil American administration and its humble servant Britain added a new crime to their black record against civilization and humanity and the houses of God when their warplanes bombed economic and civilian installations and cities," the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said. An Iraqi air defense spokesman said in a statement the planes targeted civilian sites in the provinces of Basra and Nassiriyah in the south at 7:40 a.m., killing three people and wounding 16. He said Iraqi anti-aircraft guns fired at the attacking planes and forced them to return to bases in Kuwait. INA said the planes bombed a mosque on the outskirts of Nassiriyah city, 375 km (235 miles) south of Baghdad, destroying it. It did not say if there were casualties in the mosque.

    Reuters December 4, 2002 - Iraq earlier complained to the United Nations over what it called Sunday's Western air raid on civilian targets in its southern port city of Basra, and urged the world body to end U.S. and British patrols over the country. Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, in a letter to U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan described Sunday's raid as part of a "barbaric terrorist aggression" against Iraq.

    AFP December 1, 2002 -  The ruling Baath party's daily Ath-Thawrah accused the Anglo-Saxon allies Sunday of "becoming more aggressive" since the relaunch of the UN disarmament process. "Their aim is not to verify that Iraq no long has these weapons but to find any excuse to attack," the paper said Sunday. "The UN teams have found nothing in recent days and will find nothing in coming days."

    AP November 28, 2002 - U.S. and British warplanes attacked a "civilian and services" installation in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing one civilian, the official Iraqi
    News Agency said.

    Reuters November 22, 2002 - The Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said: "At 10:30 a.m. today, U.S. and British planes violated our air space, carrying out 57 sorties from bases in Kuwait, flying over Qalat Saleh, Qurna, Samawa, Salman, Nasiriya, Najaf, Basra..." the Iraqi spokesman said. "The planes attacked our civilian and service installations in Basra province," he said. No casualties were reported. Iraq's anti-aircraft and missile batteries fired at the aircraft, forcing them to return to their bases, he added.

    AP November 21, 2002 - An Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, said Western planes bombed "civilian and service installations" in the provinces of Thi Qar and Basra, southeast of Baghdad.

    Reuters November 6, 2002 - An Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA), said U.S. and British planes bombed "civilian installations" in the provinces of Wassit and Dhi qar. Kut is in Wassit province. Iraqi and U.S. military authorities gave different times for the bombings -- Central Command said the attacks were launched at about 2:30 p.m., while Baghdad said they took place at 12:25 p.m. on Wednesday. The Iraqi spokesman said Iraqi forces opened fire at the planes, forcing them to return to their bases in Kuwait. Iraq accuses Western patrols of attacking civilian targets and killing innocent people.

    "Our mission is clear in Iraq... disarmament... our mission won't change." Bush 03/06/03 Press Conference

    by isbister on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:42:33 AM PDT

    •  Do you have link(s) for these stories? (none)
      Thanks :o)
    •  This could be strengthened (none)
      Good stuff!

      This example could be strengthened by adding a comparison of this two-month period with other periods during no-fly-zone enforcement, or with some overall analysis of how these months differ from the average over the entire enforcement period.

      "The GOP has been firing blanks from water pistols while liberal Democrats beat White House nominees like rented mules." - Ollie North, 4/22/05

      by HeyThereItsEric on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:36:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Comparison of months (none)
        Did this some time ago, Raw Story put something out yesterday... in case you missed it.


        2001 - 38 days of reported US bombing under bush

        January - 3 days of US bombing

        January 24th
        January 28th
        January 29th

        February - 4 days of US bombing

        February 11th
        February 12th
        February 16th
        February 22nd

        March - 0 days of US bombing

        April - 6 days of US bombing

        April 6th
        April 11th
        April 16th
        April 17th
        April 28th
        April 30th

        May - 2 days of US bombing

        May 18th
        May 23rd

        June - 6 days of US bombing

        June 5th
        June 6th
        June 14th
        June 19th
        June 25th
        June 26th

        July - 2 days of US bombing

        July 7th
        July 17th

        August - 6 days of US bombing

        August 7th
        August 10th
        August 14th
        August 17th
        August 27th
        August 31st

        September - 5 days of US bombing

        September 4th
        September 10th
        September 20th
        September 21st
        September 27th

        October - 3 days of US bombing

        October 2nd
        October 3rd
        October 15th

        November - 2 days of US bombing

        November 11th
        November 27th

        December - 0 days of US bombing


        2002 - 66 days of reported US bombing, 44 after DSM

        January - 4 days of US bombing

        January 20th
        January 21st
        January 22nd
        January 24th

        February - 2 days of US bombing

        February 6th
        February 28th

        March - 0 days of US bombing

        April - 2 days of US bombing

        April 16th
        April 20th

        May - 6 days of US bombing

        May 1st
        May 20th
        May 23rd
        May 25th
        May 28th
        May 31st

        June - 4 days of US bombing

        June 14th
        June 20th
        June 26th
        June 28th

        July - 6 days of US bombing

        July 4th
        July 13th
        July 14th
        July 19th
        July 23rd (Downing Street Minutes - Meeting)
        July 28th

        August - 8 days of US bombing

        (Downing Street Minutes - "CDS said that military planners would brief CENTCOM on 1-2 August, Rumsfeld on 3 August and Bush on 4 August. The two broad US options were: ...")
        August 5th
        August 14th
        August 17th
        August 20th
        August 23rd
        August 25th
        August 27th
        August 30th

        September - 7 days of US bombing

        September 5th
        September 9th
        (September 12th - Bush speech to U.N.)
        September 15th
        September 23rd
        September 25th
        September 29th

        October - 7 days of US bombing
        October 3rd
        October 9th
        October 10th
        (October 11th - House and Senate approve Iraq War Resolution)
        October 15th
        (October 16th - Bush signs Iraq War Resolution)
        October 22nd
        October 23rd
        October 30th

        November - 8 days of US bombing

        November 6th
        (November 8th - UN Security Council Resolution 1441)
        November 15th
        November 18th
        November 20th
        November 21st
        November 22nd
        November 23rd
        November 28th

        December - 13 days of US bombing

        December 1st
        December 2nd
        December 4th

        U.K. News 12/4 Report: Britain and US step up bombing in Iraq - Ministry of Defence reveals 300% rise in ordnance dropped over southern no-fly zone
        December 10th
        December 14th
        December 15th
        December 16th
        December 18th
        December 20th

        U.K. News 12/20 Report: The Secret War: Iraq War already under way - Quote from article: "The American and British attack on Iraq has already begun. While the Blair government continues to claim in Parliament that "no final decision has been taken", Royal Air Force and US fighter bombers have secretly changed tactics and escalated their "patrols" over Iraq to an all-out assault on both military and civilian targets."

        Washington Post 12/22 Report: Casualties of an 'Undeclared War': Civilians Killed and Injured as U.S. Airstrikes Escalate in Southern Iraq - Quotes from article: "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in August ordered his commanders to widen the target list to include more communications centers, command buildings and fiber-optic links." & "Through the first four months of the year, U.S. and British forces struck Iraqi sites in the northern and southern no-fly zones just six times, while in the past four months they have launched about four dozen air raids." & "Iraqi officials complain that U.S. and British aircraft violated their airspace for patrols 1,141 times between Nov. 9th and Dec. 6th"

        December 26th
        December 29th
        December 30th
        December 31st


        2003 - 35 days of reported US bombing, 79 since DSM

        January - 13 days of US bombing

        January 1st
        January 2nd
        January 3rd
        January 4th
        January 7th
        January 8th
        January 10th
        January 13th
        January 17th
        January 19th
        January 25th
        January 26th
        January 28th - Bush State of the Union. Some of the many untrue quotes: "The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax -- enough doses to kill several million people." & "U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents. Inspectors recently turned up 16 of them -- despite Iraq's recent declaration denying their existence." (The 16 were old, empty with Chemical traces found) & "Iraqi intelligence officers are posing as the scientists inspectors are supposed to interview." & "A future lived at the mercy of terrible threats is no peace at all. If war is forced upon us, we will fight in a just cause and by just means -- sparing, in every way we can, the innocent"
        January 31st

        February - 14 days of US bombing

        February 5th - Colin Powell speech to UN
        February 10th
        February 11th
        February 12th
        February 14th
        February 15th
        February 16th
        February 18th
        February 22nd
        February 23rd

        U.K. News 2/23 Report: US and Britain Pound Iraqi Defenses in Massive Escalation of Airstrikes - Quote from article: "Until last summer, coalition aircraft patrolling the "no-fly" zones over Iraq hit back only at missile or artillery batteries that opened fire on them, or loosed AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles at radar units "locking on" to them. But with an invasion looming, the number and type of targets attacked have increased sharply."

        February 25th
        February 26th
        February 27th
        February 28th

        March - 8 days of US bombing

        March 3rd

        U.K. News 3/3 Report: 'Undeclared War' Enters New Phase: Allies Bomb Key Iraqi Targets - Quote from article: "Targets hit in recent days include the Ababil-100, a Soviet-designed surface-to-air missile system adapted to hit targets on the ground, and the Astros 2 ground rocket launcher with a range of up to 56 miles. These would be used to defend Iraq in the event of an invasion or to attack allied troops stationed in Kuwait."

        March 6th
        March 7th
        March 8th
        March 9th
        March 10th
        March 11th
        March 14th

        Next bombing: Day 1 of US/British Invasion of Iraq

        New York Times 7/19 Report: U.S. Attacked Iraqi Defenses Starting in 2002 - Quote from article: "The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaign against the Baghdad government." & "One reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said." & "Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense Secretary Donald L. Rumsfeld if any planned airstrike was thought likely to result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were proposed, and all of them were approved." & "From June 2002 until the beginning of the Iraq war, the allies flew 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq and attacked 349 targets, including the (fiber-optic repeater) cable stations." & "As full-scale war approached, the air war commanders had five goals. They wanted to neutralize the ability of the Iraqi government to command its forces; to establish control of the airspace over Iraq; to provide air support for Special Operations forces, as well as for the Army and Marine forces that would advance toward Baghdad; and to neutralize Iraq's force of surface-to-surface missiles and suspected caches of biological and chemical weapons."

        Operation Southern Focus - From Wikipedia. Offers a brief over view.

        Bombing Dates Source: U.S. Bombing Watch. Visit their site, they have links to reports for every day of bombing mentioned here. Many of these reports show things the like number of sorties, number of targets, change in type of targets as the war approached, reports from Iraq about the number of civillians killed, etc.

        "Our mission is clear in Iraq... disarmament... our mission won't change." Bush 03/06/03 Press Conference

        by isbister on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 02:25:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Posting and running? (4.00)
    I hope you mean running for office.
  •  Are these the letters in question? (4.00)
    georgia10, I think you can see the letters in their entirety at the UN document search site. I'm having trouble posting links to the docs for some reason, but I can bring them up on my screen. If I had significant server space I'd host 'em, but I don't. Can I e-mail them to you?

    link to PDF of the May 15/16 letter that I can't seem to make work

    link to PDF of the May 27 2002 letter that I can't seem to make work

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Benjamin Disraeli, cited by Mark Twain

    by sheba on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:59:30 AM PDT

  •  Good points (none)
    I think you make some valid points, but I have to agree with RonK that this did not cross a legal "red line", at least not one that had not been crossed before.

    1. The No Fly Zones were always of dubious legality.  Clinton certainly wasn't authorized to conduct air strikes, even if Bush's were qualitatively greater.  I'd go back and re-read Res. 688.

    And that doesn't even touch on Desert Fox.  Or that the Kosovo campaign wasn't a UN authorized operation and I'm not complaining.

    2.  This whole "Congress was in the dark" thing really doesn't pass the laugh test.  EVERY BODY KNEW that Bush wanted to go after Saddam.  Many kossacks insist on engaging in historical revisionism.

    Until relevant members of Congress come out and say "we were specifically mislead about military operations in the region," I am going to assume that they had the information to conclude that Bush was ramping up for an attack.  Even if they had to read to between the lines of DoD reports.

    1. Yes, Iraq challenged the legality of the attacks.  But they challenged the legality of the No Fly Zones, which you apparently do not.  My point is that Iraq utterly failed to make a useful distinction -- as you are trying to do -- between the pre-2001 attacks on Iraqi installations and the more aggressive sorties.

    2. Given that the President knew that Iraq did not pose a direct and imminent threat, does that not make his offensive--without Congressional authorization--that much more disturbing?

    I find the President's deceptions deeply disturbing.  That he deceived us without Congressional approval does not bother me one whit.  Had Congress authorized the softening up campaign, and had the UN Security Council approved preliminary offensive military strikes, it still would have been a fraud.  

    It is the fraudulence of the campaign that we should continue to address.  This Separation of Powers stuff is really unimportant.

  •  It may just devolve into... (none) argument between accountants, but my understanding is that the money spent to prepare for the Iraq invasion was taken from funds specifically appropriated for the Afghan campaign.

    Last time I checked the constitution, only Congress can appropriate money, and getting money for one reason and spending it for another is a federal crime called--wait for it--misappropriation of funds.

    Unfortunately, any testimony where the administration was either informing Congress of their intent, or requesting monies for Iraq, are likely classified. The interesting thing to find out is just what the story was at that point. Presumably it was the equivalent of yellow cake and aluminum tubes.

    "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

    by Mad Dog Rackham on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:29:36 AM PDT

  •  "Slight" Problem Here (none)

    BTW, good luck with your piece here; I broached essentially the same subject here a few weeks ago and was shot down.

    your piece is compelling but still misses the mark.

    Again I ask: WHERE was Conyers and the rest of the congressional Dems just prior to Desert Fox? am I supposed to believe they didn't realize this (Desert Fox) was a massive expansion of the use of the no-fly zones?

    AGAIN-- on who's authority was this done? did Congress vote on this? the UNSC?

    the LINK above states:

    Shelton said Dec. 17 bombings, for the first time in Desert Fox,
     involved both joint and combined operations. U.S Navy, Marine
     Corps and Air Force assets, as well as those from Great Britain,
     worked together in a coordinated strike effort, he said.

     "We're very, very proud of our combined forces and very
     satisfied with the results thus far," Cohen said. "Our forces
     are intensely and intently focused on their jobs and doing
     [them] well."

     Cohen emphasized there have been no U.S. casualties to date, and
     all aircraft and personnel have returned safely following their
     missions. He also announced Desert Fox has now employed more
     Tomahawk cruise missiles than were used in the 1991 Persian Gulf
     War, though he declined to provide exact figures.

     Shelton and Cohen said the second night's air strikes continued
     to focus on weapons of mass destruction sites, security sites
     and forces, integrated air defense and airfields, and Iraqi
     leader Saddam Hussein's military command and control

     "We haven't destroyed his total capability, but we have certainly reduced his assets," Shelton said.

    Gimme a break. this was the end of Sad-ham's ability to deal with what was to come from BushCo. in fact, when he knew the Marines and the Air Force were on their way, he had his "army" dump crude oil in the ditches along Baghdad roads and light it on fire to create a "smoke screen".


    face it, folks. Desert Storm can be called in the old gangster vernacular the "softening up" of Sad-ham's military defense capability.

    we destroyed whatever he had left in place after Gulf War I.. and exactly what was the provocation for this?

  •  as far as the Intelligence Committee (Sen.) (none)
    One of the only actual pieces of "evidence" we were given as to Saddam's nuclear intent was the aluminum tubes, supposedly acquired by Iraq to use in centrifuges to make atomic payloads (I don't even pretend to know the science).  Iraq said they were to be used for artillery shells.

    That was what was given to the Senate Intelligence Committee.  What wasn't given to the committee was the Department of Energy study saying that a) the tubes were the wrong size to use for centrifuges, and the amount of reworking required to be usable for centrifuges made that use unfeasible.  The other thing not told the committee, from the same DOE study, was that the tubes were exactly the same size as the tubes Saddam had been using for years to make artillery shells.

    (note - I don't remember the date I read this, or really where, other than a vague memory of NYT, so I can't link to it) -

    I think this is troubling from a separation-of-powers perspective (although it's really accountability).  Lots of laws require the executive to give classified briefings to the appropriate Congressional committees (e.g. the use of the powers granted in parts of the Patriot Act).  If the executive gives fairy tales to the oversight committees, then the whole system breaks down.  We the people (the masters of the government, not its servants) have no control over what is being done in our name.  If the information Congress gets from our sworn enemies is more factual that what they get from the executive, we have a problem.

    And you're right, Space, this issue doesn't only relate to Bush.

  •  From 29th of May to June 26, 2005 UNREPORTED (4.00)
    From the Michael Smith Article on the 29th of May, "RAF Bombing to Goad Saddam Into War," until today, this story has gone UNREPORTED in the US Main Stream Media.  I have been doing Media Tracking on this story since the 29th of May.  

    The results are pretty dismal:

    Real deal on Downing Street memos
    The Argus, CA - 5 hours ago
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now ...

    Real deal on Downing Street memos
    Inside Bay Area, CA - 5 hours ago
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now ...

    Secret air war: The real news in the Downing Street memos
    Salt Lake Tribune, UT - 10 hours ago
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that ''the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime.'' This we now ...

    Truth is Iraq war began much earlier
    Houston Chronicle, TX - 11 hours ago
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now ...  

    Wash. Times misleadingly touted Bush UN visits as refutation to ...
    Media Matters for America, DC - Jun 24, 2005
    ... The July 23, 2002, memo states: "The Defence Secretary [Geoff Hoon] said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." In ...

    Downing Street Memo
    Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Jun 23, 2005
    ... Iraqi divisions. The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No ...

    The Real News in the Downing Street Memos
    Iraq Occupation Watch, CA - Jun 23, 2005
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now ...

    A Quick "Fisking" of Michael Smith - Jun 23, 2005
    ... [The Downing Street Stack of Stuff] quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure ...

    Why the Mainstream Media Is Catching On
    Washington Post, DC - Jun 23, 2005
    ... memo reported that US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a British intelligence official that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put ...

    The Real News in the Downing Street Memos
    Los Angeles Times, CA - Jun 23, 2005
    ... It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now ...

    WORLD VIEWS: 'Downing St. Memo' reporter says US, Britain goaded ...
    San Francisco Chronicle, CA - Jun 21, 2005
    ... At that time, Smith says, US Air Force and Royal Air Force jets "began 'spikes of activity' designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the ...

    `Bombing before war by US to put pressure illegal'
    Times of India, India - Jun 20, 2005
    ... advice.The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002, and two months later British and American jets began "spikes of activity"designed to ...

    Headlines for June 20, 2005
    Democracy Now, NY - Jun 20, 2005
    ... Two months later the US and Britain began "spikes of activity" designed to degrade Iraq's defensive capabilities and in an effort to goad Saddam Hussein ...

    'Downing Street memo': The second draft of history
    Philadelphia Daily News, PA - Jun 20, 2005
    ... facts were being fixed around the policy? 2. The memo states that in early 2002, the administration had begun "spikes of activity".

    Excerpts from Downing Street memos
    Houston Chronicle, TX - Jun 19, 2005
    ... military action.". "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime.". "It ...

    Excerpts from the Downing Street memos, MA - Jun 18, 2005
    ... military action.". "The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime.". "It ...

    Analysis and Text of the Downing Street Memo
    SBIndependent, NY - Jun 18, 2005
    ... Iraqi divisions. The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No ...

    British lawyers warned government pre-war bombing of Iraq was ...
    570 News, Canada - Jun 18, 2005
    ... Minister Tony Blair and top government officials cite US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as saying: "The US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put ...

    Downing Street Memo
    Contra Costa Times, CA - Jun 17, 2005
    ... Iraqi divisions. The Defence Secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. No ...

    The 'Downing Street memo'
    San Francisco Chronicle, CA - Jun 17, 2005
    ... divisions. The Defence Secretary (Geoff Hoon) said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. ...

    The 'Downing Street memo'
    San Francisco Chronicle, CA - Jun 16, 2005
    ... divisions. The Defence Secretary (Geoff Hoon) said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" to put pressure on the regime. ...

    Guest Viewpoint: We need to turn up the heat over British memo
    The Register-Guard, Oregon - Jun 16, 2005
    ... The British defense secretary said that the US had already begun "spikes of activity" (reported elsewhere as multiple air strikes designed to provoke an Iraqi ...

    Some questions for media dismissing Downing Street Memo as old ...
    Media Matters for America, DC - Jun 15, 2005
    ... The memo states that in early 2002 the administration had begun "spikes of activity" -- ie, increased bombings of Iraq -- to pressure Saddam Hussein. ...

    Bush and the Downing Street Memo
    Political Affairs Magazine, NY - Jun 12, 2005
    ... Days Before the US Congressional Elections." The British memo states: "The Defense Secretary said that the US had already begun `spikes of activity' to put ...

    From the 29th of May when the story broke, to the 12th of June:

    Great Example

    The RAF double bombing campaign of 2002 was reported in the UK on the 29th of May.  What date, if ever, was it reported in the US news?

    by Apian on Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 01:36:01 AM PDT

    Answer: It was never reported:

    The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun
    Common Dreams, ME - Jun 3, 2005
    ... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ..

    A Public Secret
    Iraq Occupation Watch, CA - Jun 2, 2005
    ... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly ...

    A Public Secret
    Yahoo News - Jun 1, 2005
    ... on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US ... defend itself from a foreign attack: bombing Iraq's air defenses ... Press report noted in November 2002, "Those costly .

    RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
    Infoshop News - May 31, 2005
    THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an ...

    US and RAF bombing raids on Iraq
    Questions and Observations - May 29, 2005
    It's remarkable what passes for news these days: THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to ...

    US aircraft doubled bombing raids on Iraq in 2002 to provoke ...
    Raw Story, MA - May 29, 2005
    ... 1) Did the RAF and the United States military increase the rate that they ... was the justification for any such increase in the rate of bombing in Iraq at this ...

    The Original Story
    RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war
    Times Online, UK - May 28, 2005
    THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an ...

    For news, we must count on RAWSTORY, from the 29th of May to the 26th of June they are the only ones who have been covering this story.

    There was ONE story in the US media by AP reporter Wagner, but I haven't been able to get that story yet.

    Who controls the media, controls the fates.

    by Apian on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:02:19 AM PDT

  •  They have no decency. (none)
    No need even to ask it rhetorically anymore.

    Every day shows it to be true.

  •  key quote (none)
    But getting hysterical about softening up Iraq, which, let's be fair, 99% of the country wouldn't give a crap about if the war was legitimate, only makes Dems look ridiculous.

    That says a lot about America.

    Next time don't wonder why "they" hate us.

  •  My $.02 (4.00)
    First, from someone who hasn't followed the stories closely but has followed others' lead, thanks to everyone who continues to put so much effort into these stories and especially into coordinating action.

    I think this very conversation shows, if nothing else, that we do have to be wary of overemphasizing the "War before the War."  It's too easy to counterspin; there's too much gray area.  Let me put it this way.  Were I a neocon, and were things to start looking really bad (e.g., more momentum developing behind the Senate Intel Committee going into Phase 2), I might want this story out there front and center as the main justification for the inquiries.  I'd figure there's enough gray area that I could discredit it with a focused pr campaign, and then it would be easier to block/bury other information.  (Am I making sense?)

    Seems to me (and disagree, please) that the best move at this point is to get the Intel Committee rebooted.  Yes, let's use the bombing campaign as something to look into, something that raises serious questions, but the contrasts here are not stark, simple, and clear enough for it to be the main focus.  I think we have to emphasize that the DSM raises very serious questions about the President lying to the American people and to Congress about the Iraq's WMD programs and his ties to 9/11 in order to railroad us into an ill-conceived war where the plan for occupation was to figure it out once we got there.  We can and should raise questions about all kinds of issues, including the war before the war, but raise them as questions that need to be looked into.  What are our goals?  Here's a suggestion:

    1. Open Phase 2 of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation
    2. Create a political climate where the Administration's inevitable stonewalling of the investigation (a la 9/11 investigation) will cause political damage.
    Perhaps that second point is getting ahead of ourselves at this point though.
  •  Iraqi Military not Eager to Engage U.S. Troops (4.00)
    In scanning through DoD links to find info on US bombing of Iraq, I came across this news article from American Forces Press Service. Some of you kossacks may have already seen it:

    Intel Official: Iraqi Military not Eager to Engage U.S. Troops - 12/18/02 :

    "The Iraqis, across the board, have a serious morale problem. They are not eager to engage U.S.-led coalition forces in combat," a U.S. intelligence official said this week. {. . .}

    The Iraqi military is considerably smaller than the force that opposed coalition troops in the Gulf War. The Iraqi army had 70 divisions in 1991, but only 23 today. Its elite Republican Guard is half the 12 divisions it was in 1991. {. . .}

    U.S. officials estimate Iraq has about 300 combat aircraft, less than half 1991 levels, and only about 80 percent are in good enough shape to fly. Pilots, however, rarely if ever get training. {. . .}

    "They don't necessarily have the morale or motivation (to hit individual aircraft)," he said. "But they can throw a lot of 'golden BBs' up in the air."

    Taking those few quotes from the article, pretty much reminds me that Iraq simply didn't have the wherewithall to withstand any invasion, let alone unleash WMD's or nuclear weapons, even if they did have them. Some threat, huh?

    Makes our Shock and Awe campaign look like Bush's grandstanding on the aircraft carrier, declaring victory. What a farce.

  •  This may give the insurgents a just cause (none)
    and, given that Bush is negotiating with terrorists, it's also proof that he's liable for war crimes.

    Why should the insurgents settle for less than bringing Bush before an international tribunal?

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 12:38:56 PM PDT

  •  Why the Clinton regime is just as guilty (none)
    as both Bush regimes of crimes against humanity and war crimes: the sanctions that caused the death of many Iraqis.
  •  Bush wanted to invade Iraq and was going to do it (none)
    with or without Congressional authority.  All the rest is almost besides the point, as we will never impeach him with a republican Congress.  Remember he said - Fuck Saddam.  He said this many years ago.

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 02:19:24 PM PDT

  •  Desert Fox (none)
    The 1992 Clinton strikes aren't the ones most similar to the 2002 Bush strikes. See my diary where I post the entire text of Clinton's on-air justification for the December 16, 1998 bombing of Iraq.

    Did Clinton know that the WMD intelligence was faulty, if it was indeed faulty? Was he wrong in asserting that Saddam's WMD capability was a threat to the United States and could be reconstituted in mere months? And if he was wrong, why? If the intelligence was right, and therefore Clinton wasn't wrong, why in the world would anyone wait for UN resolution before acting? Clinton stated, same as Bush, that Saddam had WMD programs that posed a threat to the US, why should either man have waited for UN resolutions were that true?

    Basically, what exactly are you calling Bush on, and did Clinton do it to?

    "Victory means exit strategy" - George W. Bush (4/9/1999)

    by Addison on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 02:37:13 PM PDT

  •  Operation Desert Badger (none)
    Pre-9/11 the Bush administration had a plan in place  for more aggressive engagement with Iraq via the no-fly zones. Many people think this was an attempt to create a Tonkin Gulf type incident as a pre-text for war. President Bush himself mentioned the mission in response to questions on Paul O'Neil's book:

    "Q ... President Bush, is it true, as your former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill says, that you started planning for the invasion of Iraq within days of your inauguration?...

    "PRESIDENT BUSH: ... And, no, the stated policy of my administration towards Saddam Hussein was very clear. Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with Desert Badger, or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines. And then, all of a sudden, September the 11th hit. And as the President of the United States, my most solemn obligation is to protect the security of the American people. That's my -- to me that's the most solemn thing an American President -- or any president -- must do. And I took that duty very seriously.

    I think if you synch up the dates of the DSM, early bombing reports, O'Neil book, and other reports you will see that it's Operation Desert Badger that we are talking about - the unauthorized air war against Iraq. It was ongoing the entire Bush Presidency.

  •  Clinton bad, Bush much worse (none)
    Clinton's bombings were not always justified and I suspect not always in good faith.

    He should have been impeached for the el Shifa bombing, but it's not the Dems responsibility to make the case against a Dem Prez in a GOP Congress.

    The Bush/Blair bombings differed in that they were an attempt to provoke a larger war, not just score some PR points and get out.

    Not all homicides are equal. The numbers killed by Clinton were much lower than the 100,00+ killed by Bush.

    Bloggin Blagojevich's Blunders: do you want to see Roddy B challenged in the Dem Primary?

    by Carl Nyberg on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 04:52:21 PM PDT

  •  Re #1: December 1998 NOT January 1993. (none)
    In #1 it appears that you've failed to mention Operation Desert Fox. Desert Fox is the Clinton strike that bears slight resemblance to Bush's war, not the January 1993 strike.
  •  Whoa. (none)
    Also, let's compare numbers.  Missles launched under Clinton to enforce no fly zone:  44.  Missles launched under Bush in violation of no fly zone: over 21,000.  Just until May 2002.

    Are you trying to tell me that Bush launched 21,000 MISSILES at Iraqi targets INSIDE the No-fly zones BEFORE May, 2002?????

    Are you trying to tell me that LONG before the "product was rolled out" in Sept. 2002, in the runup the the elections of 2002 in November, that sometime between when? Jan 2002 and May 2002, they had already fired 21 THOUSAND missiles at Iraqi targets IN VIOLATION of the No-fly zones and the cease fire????


    That is pretty damned hard to swallow.

    Do you have documentation for this?

    Is there hard evidence that, long before Shinseki testified, long before the Aluminum Tubes, Long before the Iraq-Niger forgeries, long before the SarinVXbotulinimanthrax electric boogaloo complete with port-o-labs, trumped up satellite pictures, and lame-ass translations....long before the various and sundry idiocies and blatant falshoods were trotted out in front of a slavish media and a hypnotized populace...

    That they had already dropped 21,000 missiles? Flown how many thousand sorties?


    I am boggled.

    If true, it is huge.

    If not true, you better get your shit together and get back on track, because this kind of thing, if true, is a massive indictment of the entire administration (violation of cease fire, violation of separation of powers, violation of war powers, violation of UN charter, and so on). If this thing is not true, and it gets ANY play and then gets debunked, it could well take down all the other pieces of evidence with it - tainted by association.

    I hate to be confrontationally nasty, but you had better be good and fucking SURE that you know what you are talking about before you start making this case, cause otherwise you are running the risk of destroying the hard work, sacrifice, and risk-taking by a huge number of people, and could bring the whole effort to blast this ugly business open for all to see.

    Got data?

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 05:50:00 PM PDT

  •  Great Thread (none)
    I think the equivalency argument is just another means for silencing critics of Bush.  I think it is that simple.  I think some people are more vulnerable than others to this argument because, while there is certainly merit in the principled arguments, many people are simply unable to draw a distinction between the politics of a situation and the need to be morally black and white on issues.

    There is no black and white here.  Both parties are culpable on the notion of waging war, and inevitably there are innocents.  That is not a justification, it's just a reality check.  If one is against war, one can always make principled arguments for why both parties are inadequately suited to make arguments based upon higher moral principles.  But that kind of empty argument would handicap almost any critic in a situation like this.  There are very few people with their hands upon the reigns of power who can't be called hypocrites.  Pretty arguments.  Extremely effective at silencing the left, but rarely the right. It's good politics for the right-wing to help get these arguments into the ether.

    I'm not going to claim to be an expert on a lot of these issues.  It was very clear during the '90s that there was a serious problem with the sanctions regime, which was hurting Iraqis, not Hussein.  It was clear that Iraqis could not overthrow him.  So the entire concept was another one that also was justified on the naive concept of "Principles" - that there was a pure moral position that had to be taken.  I don't find ideological arguments compelling on either side.  I'm extremely liberal, but also extremely practical.  The sanctions were terrible.  The bombing was awful.  But the situation which we created on the ground in Iraq by installing and strengthening Hussein was also terrible.  We were pinned down by our own evil acts, which were causing more and more evil toward innocents, every day.

    Ok, so that is a fact.  But Bush did more - he set into motion acts that are much more on the order of genocidal ultimately.  The impact of DU weapons, the 100,000 plus civilians who are dead, the wounded and maimed in Iraq, the many more hundreds of thousands or millions who might die yet.  Those acts can't be undone until we look at the reality of our past acts, contemporary policy boondogle and apply morality that counts all persons affected as full human beings with rights and obligations within the community of humanity.  The bombing of radar towers in the desert are not of the same order of magnitude as Bush's acts though - they just aren't.  Clinton did not destroy an entire city.  Or use napalm on civilians.  Clinton did not detain many thousands of innocent civilians in torture camps and concentrations camps both in Iraq and around the world.  Clinton did not enrich his friends in the defense industry by waging war and handing them the contracts.  Moreover, Clinton did not invade Iraq when pressured to and acted within what were the very flawed confines of international law - as did Hussein.  Again - a flawed framework for international justice and equity created that problem - that's not the fault of the UN, but a recurring problem spawned by the nature of international politics and laws for which there is not yet a fully formed structure of sovereignity.  That is not justification for bad policies during Clinton's term, but remember, he was fighting for his political life against a right-wing echo chamber that also made this Iraq War II possible, that installed Bush without question when he clearly lost at least one election (likely two), and that refuses to really countenance appropriate challenges to this regime.

    Also looking back, Conyers actually did oppose Sanctions, so it's unfair to throw all the Democrats into one basket.  Many were appalled at the situation, but that didn't mean that they had the power or moral authority to stop things when the American public was so misinformed.  

    Maybe others have already posted similar material.  But I think it just needs to be reinforced.  Of course, some of this has a right-wing spin to it, which is unfortunate.  But, that is also the challenge with these rhetorical strategies of the right, that pin us down.  We can't go "too left" or we are accused of having been disloyal, we can't assault them for a failure to execute their own policies, because they claim we also followed these same policies before and are just being opportunistic.  The argument that Clinton = Bush is on the order of - "You can't criticize, because you're just being opportunistic."  When the mainstream media raises it, or the Republicans raise it, is plain and siple sophistry.  It should be called out as such.  Of course, we should discuss it in forums here like this, but let's not lose sight of the fact that we should not be giving weapons to those who would use them to obliterate our real and very necessary criticisms to stop these policies NOW.

    Conyers opposed Iraq Sanctions

    Co-Signers to the Campbell-Conyers Letter
    to End Economic Sanctions Against Iraq

    Google Search

  •  Operation Desert Badger (none)
    On 12/28/01, an Iraq war planning meeting was held.  Note the date.  We were in Afghanistan.  Bush was at Crawford, as well as Tommy Franks and Major General Renuart.  According to Bob Woodward in "Plan of Attack,"  Franks wanted to try to identify:

    . . . all the things that couldn't be controlled, or that the Pentagon, CIA or State Department should try to control.  For Iraq, Franks said, the assumptions were:  


    3.  An Iraq war would be the main effort of the U.S. and would get priority on resources, including cruise missiles from other theaters.  Other contingencies around the world could be handled, though if there was a choice they would be put on hold.

    Later in the same meeting, Woodward writes, Franks addressed the president, saying:

    "Now we're going to want to come back and talk to you about evolving this big plan, or linking this big plan to what you know, Mr. President, as Desert Badger." Bush had already been briefed on Desert Badger, which would allow him to order a small attack in four hours--either with U.S. aircraft or some 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles from Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.  He now had modules he could pick from, including a rather substantial, punishing series of strikes on Iraq targets of military significance, up to and including suspected production sites for Iraqi missiles.

  • Close


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