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George W. Bush Gets CIA Award

George W Bush

President George W. Bush had a running battle with the CIA throughout his eight years in office. Now, they’ve given him an award, Jeff Stein reports for Newsweek (“Bush Gets Intelligence Group Award“):

Every winter for the past several years, the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation has held a glittering dinner around Washington attended by hundreds of top intelligence and corporate officials. The stated purpose of the event, where the cost of sponsor tables ranges from $12,000 to $100,000, is to help raise money for the spouses and children of agency operatives killed in the line of battle since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks. But it also serves as an annual reunion of sorts for top intelligence officials and the corporate chieftains of America’s biggest military contractors.

This year’s off-the-record event, officially the Ambassador Richard M. Helms Award Ceremony, named for a Cold War-era CIA director, honored former President George W. Bush, an odd choice, it would seem, given all the trouble his administration caused the CIA (and NSA) during its eight years in office.

Whatever its accomplishments in Afghanistan and Iraq–or theaters unknown–the CIA seemed constantly in hot water under the Bush administration, from its failure to disrupt the 9/11 plot, to its false reports on Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to its use of torture on detainees under White House guidance. And more.

So, what’s the official explanation?

Gerald Komisar, a longtime former CIA veteran who is president of the foundation, told Newsweek, “We were very happy that [Bush] was able to accept our invitation.”

[…]

Bush was honored for the “totality of the eight years he was in office,” Komisar said in a phone interview. “There were a lot of people there who attested to the fact that he did a great deal for and with the intelligence community.”

Komisar, a China specialist who is now vice president of the Starr Companies, a New York-based global financial services firm headed by former AIG chief Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, acknowledged the many intelligence controversies that erupted under the former president, but portrayed Bush as a voracious consumer of CIA intelligence reports. And the people who briefed him appreciated the attention, he said.

“You know, there are always going to be bumps in the road, there are always going to be differences of opinion,” Komisar said in a telephone interview, “but if you look at the totality of the record of entire eight years, his dependence on intelligence, his constant access, whether he was in Crawford [Texas] or Washington, D.C., at Camp David or wherever, he always had his intelligence briefer there. He had an intelligence briefer with him on the plane when 9/11 happened. He was a consumer of intelligence, and was always very, very clear on what he felt he needed in order to make policy decisions.”

“We all know the Iraq thing was very unfortunate,” Komisar added, “But if you look at the totality of his relationship with the intelligence community, particularly the CIA, and his fondness, his genuine fondness for the people he was briefed by—from George Tenet to John McLaughlin as directors, right down to the analysts that he was often exposed to–that’s why we reached out to him.”

There’s truth in that, certainly. Despite the antagonism, with Vice President Cheney and others openly accusing the CIA of trying to subvert the administration’s march to war in Iraq, there was doubtless a mutual respect. National security professionals understand their job is to serve the president and presidents—certainly ones whose father’s name adorns the CIA headquarters—appreciate the expertise of CIA and other intelligence community professionals.

But the more important explanation is that the event is, at the end of the day, a fundraiser first and foremost. A former president of the United States is a huge draw, helping to sell corporate tables. And, whatever Bush’s view of the CIA’s role in Iraq, I have no doubt that he considers helping the families of its fallen heroes a cause worthy of his time.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    the CIA seemed constantly in hot water under the Bush administration, from its failure to disrupt the 9/11 plot, to its false reports on Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, to its use of torture on detainees under White House guidance

    1. The CIA tried to warn Bush re: 9.11 but he wanted to stay on his fake ranch and cut brush.
    2. The CIA made clear there were plenty of caveats re: WMD. Bush decided to cherry pick only what helped him make the case for the biggest foreign policy blunder in history.
    3. The CIA likes to torture.
    The Bush years were fine for the CIA.

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  2. Pinky says:

    James, you can’t complain about the slant on this site’s comments section when you put out Purina Leftie Chow.

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  3. Mark Ivey says:

    “a glittering dinner attended by hundreds of top intelligence and corporate officials in a off-the-record event”

    And i would love to hear them all talking about this award after a few drinks at the event’s open bar….

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  4. Slugger says:

    “We all know the Iraq thing was unfortunate “…a great assessment in Newspeak.
    Is it possible that US policies that led to a stabler and more peaceful world, would be perceived as bad for the CIA by its leaders?
    I do think that immediate reference to the Iraq war is unfair to Mr. Bush in weighing his presidency. There is also his handling of the economy which did not directly kill as many people as the war but the destruction of wealth was probably just as great.
    To anyone who reads this: please note that I do not in any way imply any support for Bush’s successors with my remarks.

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  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    o its false reports on Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction…

    Please pay no attention to the roughly 5,000 WMDs found in Iraq between 2004 and 2011. The Bush-hating psychotics get really, really out of control when you bring them up. Safer to just accept the Big Lie — “Iraq had no WMDs!” — than insert reality into the situation.

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  6. James Joyner says:

    @C. Clavin: 1 and 3 are bullshit; 2 is almost certainly true, if an overstatement. Tenet and other CIA leaders thought the evidence a “slam dunk” but there was a large contingent of the analytical community, with Paul Pillar most prominent among them, who presented the other (and ultimately vindicated) viewpoint.

    @Pinky: Stein’s is a straight news report, not commentary.

    @Slugger:

    Is it possible that US policies that led to a stabler and more peaceful world, would be perceived as bad for the CIA by its leaders?

    No.

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  7. michael reynolds says:

    Are we sure this isn’t an Onion story?

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  8. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:
    Come, come, now…1 and 3 are most certainly not BS.

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  9. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    #1 is b.s. #3 not b.s.

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  10. Pinky says:

    @James Joyner: The article is fine. And pet chow is nutritious. But you can’t be surprised when you hear the scramble of the paws rushing toward the bowl.

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  11. DrDaveT says:

    Excuse me, I need to go brush my teeth.

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  12. Cd6 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Did you even read the article you linked here? It completely disproves your point.

    The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.
    After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.
    Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.
    All had been manufactured before 1991, participants said. Filthy, rusty or corroded, a large fraction of them could not be readily identified as chemical weapons at all. Some were empty, though many of them still contained potent mustard agent or residual sarin. Most could not have been used as designed, and when they ruptured dispersed the chemical agents over a limited area, according to those who collected the majority of them.
    In case after case, participants said, analysis of these warheads and shells reaffirmed intelligence failures. First, the American government did not find what it had been looking for at the war’s outset, then it failed to prepare its troops and medical corps for the aged weapons it did find.

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  13. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Cd6: In case you’re unfamiliar with it, that is what is known as “spin.”

    In 1991, Saddam agreed as part of the cease fire to account for, surrender, and destroy all his WMDs.

    In 2002, there were still at least 5,000 WMDs in Iraq.

    I guess that’s just a rounding error…

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  14. Cd6 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I suppose it depends on your definition of what constitutes a weapon of mass destruction

    Some people might describe a madman like Saddam with his finger on a button capable of unleashing mushroom clouds as a WMD

    Some other people, also known as hacks, might retroactively say that decades old, forgotten, oftentimes nonfunctional artillery shells, uselessly locked away in bunkers, are basically the same thing. But you can’t sell a war on that, can you?

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  15. JohnMcC says:

    @C. Clavin: @James Joyner:

    As long as the NYT seems to have managed to retain credibility, here’s an on-topic op-ed:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/the-bush-white-house-was-deaf-to-9-11-warnings.html

    As to the CIA’s ‘love’ or not of torture, it does seem that a not insignificant portion of that agency found a way to force themselves to do it.

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  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Cd6: “My” definition of WMD is the internationally accepted one: Nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological. That one’s been around for decades. (OK, “radiological” is a recent addition, but that’s not relevant here. “NBC” was part of the original definition.)

    Yours seems to be “whatever makes Bush out to be a liar,” and dates back to a little over one decade.

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  17. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: We didn’t invade Iraq because they had a bunch of moldy sarin canisters laying around in some forgotten bunker. We invaded Iraq because they were supposedly going to give nuclear suitcase bombs to terrorists.

    But hey….what do I care if you’re wrong? The history books have been written on the subject. Guess you’ll have to home school your kids.

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  18. Cd6 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Haha good try. Forgotten, 30 year old leaking bombs are missing the “mass destruction” capability one would expect from “weapons of mass destruction”

    Look, you got schooled here today son. Maybe you should take this as a learning opportunity. Next time, don’t make an argument and then link a news article that expressly rebuts your own point.

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  19. James Pearce says:

    @Cd6: I see you were on the same track….

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Yours seems to be “whatever makes Bush out to be a liar,” and dates back to a little over one decade.

    And yours seems to be “whatever makes Bush out NOT to be a liar.”

    We were told about suitcase nukes and mushroom clouds and mobile chemical weapons labs. Did we find any of that? No.

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  20. An Interested Party says:

    James, you can’t complain about the slant on this site’s comments section when you put out Purina Leftie Chow.

    When did James complain about the slant of this site’s comments…that kind of whining is more applicable to you…speaking of which, you’re certainly free to go elsewhere if you want your own brand of Rightie Alpo…

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  21. Franklin says:

    Jenos, come on dude. You’re playing a technical game. We were shown satellite imagery of their supposedly active WMD program. This was the pretext for war. Was that intelligence correct or not?

    If you say yes, and your conscience doesn’t tingle just a little bit because of your obvious lie, then you have a problem.

    EDIT: The above retorts already covered this, and more. You should be embarrassed.

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  22. Tillman says:

    We all know the Iraq thing was very unfortunate

    Ill omens abounded indeed. Pisces was rising in Libra of all the worst possible astrascapes you could ask for in waging war! Definitely the stars weren’t right on that one.

    Falls into the same category as “we tortured some folks” as being the absolute best you can ask for admission from overly-bourgeois people. This is the American contribution to the tale of imperialism: with the British you had classical educations and fluency with Ovid, so they were capable of framing things in a gray tone when needed with florid rhetoric. Americans just say “aw shucks, let’s move on and give each other awards.”

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  23. al-Ameda says:

    Clint Eastwood: “Appearing on behalf of Mister Bush to accept the “Mission Accomplished” Award are Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Tony Blair”

    Dick Cheney: “That electric chair skit was just killing, Clint. What can I say? The president what he was told, and Obama screwed the whole thing up ”

    Don Rumsfeld: “Damned right , Dick!”

    Condi Rice: “Remember that ‘mushroom cloud’ stuff – people actually believed that bulls***! LOL”

    Tony Blair: “What’s the price one has to pay to get out of going through all of these things twice?”

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  24. Davebo says:

    @James Joyner:

    Tenet and other CIA leaders thought the evidence a “slam dunk”

    No James. Tenet and other CIA leaders said the evidence was a “slam dunk”. As to what they actually thought one can only guess. Tenet’s statement “In many ways, we were prisoners of our own history.” can be construed in more than one way after all.

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  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This is why discussions here are so often pointless. One side simply makes up its own definitions, and demands that the rest of the world change its understanding to match their new meaning.

    The language of the AUMF was quite clear, and the definition of WMDs has been established, by international agreements, for decades. But all of a sudden they need to be redefined, apparently because some people are either too stupid or ignorant or stubborn to understand plain language.

    A coule of weeks ago, a self-proclaimed former prosecutor insisted that either Michael Brown or Travyon Martin was “murdered.” (I think it was Brown, but I’m not certain.)

    Another commenter made up their own definition of “suborn,” which was apparently “calling a witness that you think might not tell the truth and allowing them to testify.”

    The plain text of the 2002 AUMF in Iraq:

    ..

    Whereas after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq entered into a United Nations sponsored cease-fire agreement pursuant to which Iraq unequivocally agreed, among other things, to eliminate its nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs and the means to deliver and develop them, and to end its support for international terrorism;

    Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;

    Whereas Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998;

    Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in “material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations” and urged the President “to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations”;

    Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations;..

    (Emphasis added for those who have reading comprehension problems)

    Iraq agreed to get rid of all its chemical weapons in 1991.

    Iraq repeated pledged that it had complied with that agreement.

    In 2002, Iraq still had over 5,000 chemical weapons.

    Chemical weapons, no matter how may hissy fits people throw, are still considered WMDs.

    Further, chemical weapons were explicitly cited both in the 1991 cease fire and 2002 AUMF.

    Finally, the AUMF cited lots of justifications for the invasion. They were not interdependent. That means that discrediting one does not nullify the entire document; each stands on its own.

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  26. An Interested Party says:

    One side simply makes up its own definitions, and demands that the rest of the world change its understanding to match their new meaning.

    Indeed…like making the ridiculous argument that waterboarding isn’t torture…

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  27. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The US signed and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty, under which we were required to destroy our existing chemical weapons stockpile by April 2007, which no extensions to be permitted after April 2012.

    As of now we have only completed destruction of 89.75% of our stockpile, meaning we are in violation of the treaty.

    Do you support the rest of the world invading the US to eliminate our illegal chemical weapons program?

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  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Do you support the rest of the world invading the US to eliminate our illegal chemical weapons program?

    Sounds like Obama’s screwed the pooch on that one. He had three years to comply with it, and he didn’t. So there’s another point of failure for him.

    It’s up to the other parties of the treaty to demand that we comply. And I expect Obama to simply say that it doesn’t apply to him, because he says so, like he has in so many other cases.

    But as to “are they justified in ivading the US to enforce the agreement?” My gut instinct is “Molon Labe.”

    Which is why it’s probably a good thing I’m not in charge.

    I was unaware of that agreement, but not surprised that Obama’s failed yet again. Thanks for the information.

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  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: On second thought, I’m probably making a mistake in simply taking your word on this matter. You’ll understand if I take a few minutes to confirm you’re not just making up shit, or misrepresenting the facts.

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  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: OK, did a little homework, and it seems that you were generally honest and accurate. So my revised and considered opinion:

    The US is technically in violation, but has substantially complied, with 90% destroyed. It is not a matter of deception or refusal, but insufficient efficiency. Further, we are closer to full compliance than other significant parties, such as Russia (which is at 78% compliance). So anyone who wishes to hold us accountable while ignoring others who are far less compliant should get the “we’re making a good faith effort, and intend to comply as practically possible” response. If they insist on it, then we insist that other parties be held to the same standard.

    I also wonder just what penalty clauses there are for signatories who fall behind the deadlines. If there aren’t any, then so what? The Iraqi cease fire explicitly had such contingencies — Saddam complies, or the war is back on.

    I can’t find the penalty clause for noncompliance in the agreement, but I didn’t look very hard. This is your diversion; what is there in the treaty to cover the US and Russia being behind the deadlines? And what’s your opinion on what should be done?

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  31. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It is not a matter of deception or refusal, but insufficient efficiency.

    One might suggest that a pile of rusted to the point of unusable artillery shells might similarly be more the result of unintentional error than deliberate deception or refusal.

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  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: One might… if one was fundamentally dishonest. Because as we’ve seen, those were still usable, if in alternate modes. (IEDs)

    Any particular reason you’re not answering my response questions?

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  33. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    One might… if one was fundamentally dishonest. Because as we’ve seen, those were still usable, if in alternate modes. (IEDs)

    Yes, that was the existential threat to America, the basis on which we went to war in Iraq.

    So all that rhetoric about “mushroom clouds” was unnecessary, because after all, there were canisters with traces of Sarin Gas all left over from the Iraq-Iran war, and which constituted the biggest threat to the American Homeland. It’s not surprising that many conservatives are still pimping pimping Iraq-WMDs.

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  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: One might suggest that a pile of rusted to the point of unusable artillery shells might similarly be more the result of unintentional error than deliberate deception or refusal.

    To elaborate, I’d hardly consider 5,000 weapons “a pile.” That’d be a huge pile.

    Let’s say that they were 152mm artillery guns. Iraq used a Soviet gun that had shells that weighed about 44 kiligrams, which works out to 97 pounds. Let’s be totally ridiculous and say that all 5,000 WMDs found were 152mm chemical rounds (they weren’t, but as I said, let’s be ridiculous). So that’s almost half a million pounds of WMDs. 242.5 tons.

    But we’re talking “over 5,000”, so let’s round that up to 250 tons.

    That’s a hell of an “oopsie.” Not even Joe Biden could be that inept.

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  35. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: You keep talking about the “rhetoric.” Any particular reason why you won’t address the actual letter of the resolution that was passed?

    Or why you don’t want to keep talking about your little side diversion about the chemical weapons treaty?

    I’ve let you go off on two diversions so far, and played along. I’m not gonna do that any more. Come up with something consistent and sensible if you want me to keep playing.

    But I’m not promising I will. It’s getting towards bedtime, and I’ve got a heavy date planned with some nice high-proof substances. And quite frankly, even if it wasn’t high quality, you’re not that appealing as competition for my attention.

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  36. Matt says:

    Purina puppy chow is absolutely awful stuff for dogs. Not the worst thing you could feed a dog but it’s close.

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  37. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: According to this post Apples are WMDs as they contain a chemical weapon known as cyanide…. fantastic..

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  38. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Of those 250 tons less than 1 ton would be the actual chemicals. Over 90% of the weight would be the shell casing/exposives/etc.

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  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt: Even hung over, I can smack around your little pointless points.

    1) You don’t specify if “Apple” is the fruit or the computer.

    2) A “Chemical weapon” is “a weapon that kills or injures by a chemical process other than combustion.”

    3) Either way, the Apple is not a weapon.

    4) Neither one contains adequate cyanide to kill or injure.

    5) Congratulations! You’ve proven that metals weigh more than gases. You must have a Ph.D. to have figured that one out.

    6) The terms of Saddams surrender required him to account for all the weapons and delivery systems, so the shells were contraband, too.

    Time for a little hair of the dog… I’d say “nice try,” but it really wasn’t.

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  40. Matt says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Wow I can’t believe you’re so ill informed that you think they pack chemical weapons as a gas in artillery shells. Surely you know they create the gas via a chemical reaction. You know those chemicals have shelf lives right? That when ignored for over a decade while improperly stored that they tend to become unusable right?

    I didn’t downvote your comment BTW.

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: Would you care to clarify what exactly you see as lefty bias in the linked story or James comments?

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’d hardly consider 5,000 weapons “a pile.” That’d be a huge pile.

    Yes, it would. If they were all in one place. Which they weren’t.

    By analogy, if you were to estimate the amount of beer available to Americans right now, would you include the trace amounts in discarded bottles and cans in landfills all over the US? Add it all up, it’s a nontrivial amount of (former) beer…

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  43. James Pearce says:

    @Matt: Apparently Jenos was in his hole when these dumb arguments about Iraqi wmd were debunked the first thousand times.

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  44. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You keep talking about the “rhetoric.” Any particular reason why you won’t address the actual letter of the resolution that was passed?

    The resolution? What about reality?
    You keep ignoring the fact that actual weapon inspections showed there to be no WMDs.

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  45. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC:

    As to the CIA’s ‘love’ or not of torture, it does seem that a not insignificant portion of that agency found a way to force themselves to do it.

    I’ve failed to quickly find a link and verify my recollection, but I remember investigative reporting on CIA torture before 9/11. I also recall Naomi Klein in Shock Doctrine talking about the US, among other things, teaching torture methods to South American personnel at the School of the Americas, again before 9/11.

    We’ve apparently had some torture capability for a long time. Push come to shove, I suspect everybody including the Canadians and the Swedes do. Small scale operation, small cadre of people who keep their mouths shut. The Bush and Cheney problem was that a) they ramped it up to a larger scale and b) they wanted to brag about it.

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  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: The resolution? What about reality?
    You keep ignoring the fact that actual weapon inspections showed there to be no WMDs.

    Then where the F did those 5,000 WMDs come from? Were you hiding them up your ass or something?

    Nah, not there. For one, considering where you tend to keep your head, you’d have seen them. For another, considering where you pull your arguments from, you’d have found them.

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  47. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You’re pushing a semantic argument. Conservatives tend to be literal minded. A new mustard gas shell is a WMD. Is it still a WMD after it has corroded and leaked to the point it can no longer actually do MD? To you it is. To most of us it isn’t. If you want to have a semantic argument about what’s a WMD, feel free, I’ll pass. This stuff wasn’t deliberately hidden, it was out of sight because it fell off the inventory or was improperly disposed of. Heck, we’ve lost entire atom bombs. It certainly never constituted enough of a threat to the United States to justify a war.

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  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Nah, not there. For one, considering where you tend to keep your head, you’d have seen them. For another, considering where you pull your arguments from, you’d have found them.

    Again, Sarin Gas canisters leftover from the Iraq-Iran War – those definitely were not the WMDs that presented some kind of external threat to the United States. Besides, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld were busy pimping mushroom clouds in the run up to war. Again 2, empirical evidence of WMDs showed there to be none.

    We went to war in Iraq for no reason related to the security of the United States. In fact we turned the regional balance of power to Iran’s favor by taking Hussein down.

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  49. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda: And several pundits warned before the first tank crossed the border that overthrowing Sunni Saddam would inevitably push Shiite majority Iraq into Iran’s orbit.

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  50. JohnMcC says:

    @gVOR08: Well, I suppose I’d have to agree that there are people in every land and every uniform who are only a short step from releasing their inner torturer. A group of jailers in SanFrancisco is reported to have staged ‘fights’ between inmates. Mr Google’s wonderful invention reminded me of the Milgram Experiment while I was looking up the Stanford University experiment back in ’71 in which a mock ‘prison’ became a locus of torture that amazingly resembled Abu Graib. I once boarded a Huey to find an amazing amount of blood scattered around. Turned out two VC had been taken up several thousand feet and upon failing ‘interrogation’ one had been thrown out (hence the blood since he objected strenuously) to encourage the other.

    So you are no doubt correct. I was thinking of the Director Tenet, VP Cheney, US Att’y John Yoo level of responsibility. And as Pres Truman said about that Oval Office person: ‘The buck stops here.’

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  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, when Saddam Hussein pledged to account for and destroy all his WMDs, his word was about worth as much as when Barack Hussein Obama told us “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan — period?” Or, like Obmaa’s promises, it came with an expiration date?

    Darn it, we shoulda known. Maybe it’s something in the name “Hussein” or something.

    Last week I misstated an event from six years ago as being off by less than 12 hours, and got thoroughly excoriated for that. (Not whining; I admitted the error, and asked that it be deleted, as I said I would.) But Saddam somehow “loses track” of 5,000 weapons of mass destruction, but that’s no big deal?

    No,I’m understating it. Speaking the truth is now considered a “lie,” because it doesn’t fit in with the redefined history and reality.

    You have the right to have your own delusions. You don’t have the right to demand the rest of the world pander to your delusions.

    Except, apparently, here.

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  52. JohnMcC says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It is noted that you think that some 5,000 chemical artillery/rocket warheads that had all been manufactured prior to ’91 and were more of a danger to the poor sods who stored them than to anyone downrange constitute justification for the immense disaster of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    This story as the NYT (remember them from a few days ago?) broke it was something of an expose because WE KNEW THEY WERE THERE. After all, we had sold Saddam the wherewithall to make them during his war against Iran. We’d seen the bodies in Halabja. And when those soldiers and marines that keep our Jenos safe in his Mom’s spare bedroom followed GWBush into Iraq they WERE NOT TRAINED TO DEAL WITH THEM. For that the Pentagon has apologized.

    Yes, the crazy right-wing infotainment machine (I read the Breitbart article, could stand no more) is trying to demonstrate that this proves Bush and Co. were right. And you are singing right on key and you’ve learned all the lyrics. Congratulations!

    Pitiful. You and your fellow chorus members are just pitiful.

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  53. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnMcC: A short quote from the Times’ article:

    “In five of six incident in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the munitions appeared to have been designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by western companies.”

    You seem to be saying that this armament in Saddam’s hands was sufficient reason for invading Iraq. If so, do you have any idea how stupid that makes you? If not, do you know how inarticulate you are?

    Jesus Mary and Joseph! I really try not to post while angry. But the death and destruction that have sprung from that invasion just boggles the mind and to think that a self-selected corps of nut cases that never ever thought of putting on their country’s uniform have decided that ‘their side’ was right because…..SEE! Gas canisters!…..and that is their reaction to hearing that Americans suffered chemical injuries from them…. I’m overcome. You are just despicable.

    Must sign off. There’s a bottle of GlenFiddich I desperately need to open just now.

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  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JohnMcC: So, you agree that the weapons were manufactured before 1991. Do you agree that that means that they were covered by the cease-fire signed in 1992?

    If they were, then Saddam violated the terms of the cease fire.

    If they were not, then why weren’t they?

    Was there a clause in the agreement that said “account for and destroy all your WMDs and delivery systems within ten years, unless you lose track of them or something, which is just fine with us” or something?

    Here you go. The relevant section is on Page 5 — (A)(8)(a). I can’t seem to find the part that you seem to believe exists.

    As far as the bit about “we gave them to him,” that’s 1) false and 2) Irrelevant, so I’m not going haring off on that particular diversion.

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  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JohnMcC: You seem to be saying that this armament in Saddam’s hands was sufficient reason for invading Iraq. If so, do you have any idea how stupid that makes you? If not, do you know how inarticulate you are?

    The argument here is whether or not Saddam was in violation of the 1991 surrender. I say that’s self-evident, but if you look at the people on your side, they’re saying that I’m lying/stupid/delusional in saying that.

    The invasion of Iraq was legally justified. Period.

    Whether or not it was wise, that’s another debate. And not the one we’re having here.

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  56. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JohnMcC: Must sign off. There’s a bottle of GlenFiddich I desperately need to open just now.

    Now THAT is an excuse I can respect. Sadly, my options of libations are considerably inferior…

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  57. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    The rest has been well dealt with, but I couldn’t let this bit slide

    Another commenter made up their own definition of “suborn,”

    The discussion was a legal one and myself and other commenters pointed out the legal definition of suborning perjury, as it is the relevant one in a legal discussion. You stubbornly stuck to your semantic guns with the irrelevant definition of suborn then relating that to perjury. You were conclusively shown to be buffoonishly wrong there. Now you are bringing it up as proof of your superior argumentation. I can’t decide if that is more funny or more sad.

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  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Did you even see the argument at the time?

    The allegation, made by several idiots, was that the Brown prosecutor “suborned” perjury in that case. The argument: he put on a witness who, in all likelihood, lied.

    From your own link:

    five elements must be proved to convict a person of subornation of perjury. It first must be shown that the defendant made an agreement with a person to testify falsely. There must be proof that perjury has in fact been committed and that the statements of the perjurer were material. The prosecutor must also provide evidence that the perjurer made such statements willfully with knowledge of their falsity. Finally, there must be proof that the procurer had knowledge that the perjurer’s statements were false.

    NO indications of an agreement. NO indications that the false statements were material. That leaves three elements that are probable, but not proven.

    No perjury charges were filed in the Brown case. But if they were, the first one who should be charged should be against Dorian Johnson, who made up the whole “hands up, don’t shoot” myth that incited much of the outrage and violence. And was a driving factor in the matter — if he’d told the truth up front, so much ugliness could have been avoided. Or if he’d at least come clean at some point.

    Once his perjury has been dealt with, then we can move on to the lesser cases.

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  59. JohnMcC says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: As Hans Blix said — forgive the paraphrase — ‘in the middle ages people looked for witches and most assuredly they found them’.

    And the issue at the time was a WMD ‘program’, you will recall. Something that would create a ‘mushroom cloud’.

    You and your abettors in the right-wing chorus who stand over the bodies of >4,000 GI’s and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis while you argue that ‘technically’ you were right — you are truly despicable.

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  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JohnMcC: You have so, so many words. But none of them for the actual written documents — the 1991 surrender and the 2002 AUMF. That’s all that matters.

    And here’s a Hans Blix quote for you: “If Iraq had provided the necessary cooperation in 1991, the phase of disarmament – under resolution 687 – could have been short and a decade of sanctions could have been avoided.”

    You call me depicable? You’re parroting wr’s ball-less blathering? For starters, find your own words. For another, don’t outsource your thinking to others — especially to a moron like wr.

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  61. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    That was not the argument you made in the other thread. You argued there for a common dictionary usage of the word suborn then related it to perjury and then called everyone idiots for using the legal definition of suborning perjury. You somehow now count this as a win for you.

    The prosecutor knew the person was going to lie and chose to put that person on the stand, that meets the legally necessary element of agreeing with a person to testify falsely. There is no Snidely Whiplash mustache twirling exposition requirement. I don’t recall the testimony off hand, so cannot speak to whether it was material. Your original assertion was ridiculously off base and you, yet again have trouble admitting it.

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  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: The prosecutor knew the person was going to lie and chose to put that person on the stand, that meets the legally necessary element of agreeing with a person to testify falsely.

    The only way the prosecutor could know the witness would perjure themselves was if the prosecutor arranged for it, or at least discussed it with the witness, either directly or through intermediaries. Simply “knowing” through something being predictable is hardly suborning. Note the requirement that the witness “made an agreement… to testify falsely” with the accused suborner. Not only is there no evidence of any such agreement, the prosecutor would be a complete idiot to do so in a case where there is this much public attention.

    Otherwise, one could argue that I’m “suborning” wr to accuse me of sock-puppeting simply by posting comments here. After all, I’m giving him the opportunity to do so, knowing full well that he is incapable of doing otherwise.

    I’d also note that there are quite a few self-proclaimed lawyers here. I would expect them to stand up and speak when laymen throw around such charged legal terms like “suborning perjury” so incorrectly. That it falls to a layman like me to fulfill their professional obligation is pretty pathetic.

    Then again, HarvardLaw92 apparently doesn’t even understand the meaning of “murder,” so I guess it’s not surprising he doesn’t understand the term “suborning perjury,” either. And it’s a bit of a feather in my cap that I understand those legal concepts better than a Harvard Law graduate and former prosecutor.

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  63. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    The prosecutor interviewed the witness prior to testimony. The prosecutor knew the witness testimony was false. The prosecutor agreed to call the witness to give that false testimony on the stand. That is all the agreement that is needed. You may not like it (in this case), but nonetheless there it is.

    Back to your original assertion that

    Another commenter made up their own definition of “suborn,”

    It was you that used the inappropriate definition and were corrected on it by other commenters. It wasn’t someone else making up their own definition, it was someone else pointing out the relevant definition. You were wrong when you made the original assertions and you were wrong when you referenced it in this thread. You still refuse to admit your error.

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  64. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: You know, you’ve almost convinced me that the prosecutor did suborn perjury — the perjury of Dorian Johnson. He knew Johnson’s story — “hands up, don’t shoot” — was a lie, but let him tell it anyway. Indict them both.

    But seriously… I’m looking for a meeting of the minds here. An actual agreement between the prosecutor and the witness where they both agree that the witness will lie, and the prosecutor will not call the witness on it.

    “Suborning” demands that actual agreement. It requires the conspiracy of the two parties.

    Which has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but if you wanna keep beating this dead horse, be my guest. I got a busy day ahead of me.

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  65. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Sigh, nothing will ever change your arguments, I’m sure you will count this another win for yourself. Enjoy your fantasy land.

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