Sunday, March 26, 2006

Abstract terrorism

The Bush administration's desperate efforts to keep the ill-planned mess in Iraq under the control of the ill-planners continues with the most abstract evocation of September 11th that I can recall.

Today, it was stunning and odd. Apparently, something like sorcery or ghostmanship took place on September 11th, and Saddam was involved.

Condoleezza Rice on Meet the Press today:
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn back to Iraq. The war is now in its fourth year, and these are the grim statistics: U.S. troops killed, 2,316; wounded/injured 17,271; Iraqis killed, an estimated, estimated number of 30,000; 130,000 American troops on the ground. When you were planning the war some three and a half years ago, did you have any idea that three years into the war those are the numbers that you would be confronting?

SEC’Y RICE: Well, I certainly thought that it would be difficult. I don’t think anyone knew precisely what we would be facing in terms of numbers. And look, every one of those deaths is, is mourned by people in the administration because these are families that have lost husbands and wives and daughters and sons. But we also know that nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice.

We’re in Iraq because the United States of America faces a different kind of enemy in a different kind of war. And we have to have a different kind of Middle East if we’re ever going to resolve the, the, the problems of an ideology of hatred that was so great that people flew airplanes into buildings. Iraq was—Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a threat. Now that the...

MR. RUSSERT: But, but Saddam was not related to flying airplanes into buildings.

SEC’Y RICE: No, and we have never said that Saddam—Saddam was not related to the events of 9/11. But if you really believe that the only thing that happened on 9/11 was people flew airplanes into buildings, I think you have a very narrow view of what we faced on 9/11. We faced the, the outcome of an ideology of hatred throughout the Middle East that had to be dealt with. Saddam Hussein was a part of that old Middle East. The new Iraq will be a part of a new Middle East, and we will all be safer.
Rice is greatly mistaken if she honestly believes that anything but that old Middle East is thriving in Iraq at present. That old Middle East is anti-west, pro-violence, sectarian and will return to America's shores. It has paid a visit to London and Madrid recently, as well as numerous other places.

The nonsense of Saddam as part of some old philosophy that needed to be countered and also included the hijackers continued on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: Here's what Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said a week ago today, Republican senator from Nebraska: "Are we better off today than we were three years ago? Is the Middle East more stable than it was three years ago? Absolutely not. It's more unstable."

RICE: Well, the question is not just is it unstable but is it moving in a better direction than it was when it was supposedly stable?

We thought it was stable for 60 years. And those authoritarian governments on which we counted for stability ended up producing an ideology of hatred or allowing an ideology of hatred so great to form and form terrorist groups that people flew planes into our buildings on September 11.

BLITZER: Are you referring to Saudi Arabia?

RICE: I'm talking about the entire Middle East. If you look at Al Qaida, you will find names from many of the governments in...

BLITZER: Well, 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

RICE: Well, you'll also find that there are names from many other countries in the region.

So the authoritarianism that we associated with stability was, indeed, a false stability. Sixty years of that policy produced not just September 11 but the Cole and the bombings of our embassies, going all the way, really, frankly, back to the bombings of the '80s, the terrorist attacks of the '80s. So when people say, is it more stable today, I think the question is not "stable." The question is, are we moving in a direction in which Kuwaiti women now have the right to vote, in which Syrian forces are out of Lebanon and they are going to be able to work democratically, in which Yasser Arafat's corrupt regime is, indeed, gone? And yes, that's produced a difficult circumstance with Hamas, but Palestinians have had the chance, the right to speak their minds about who will govern them.

The point, Wolf, is that we had a false stability. It is not as if we disturbed a placid and functioning Middle East...

BLITZER: I just want to press you on this point.

RICE: ... in which our security interests were not at risk.

BLITZER: Did Saddam Hussein and his regime have anything to do with 9/11?

RICE: Saddam Hussein, and we have said this many times, as far as we know, did not order September 11, may not have even known of September 11. But that's a very narrow definition of what caused September 11.

If you think that what caused September 11 was that the people who flew airplanes in caused September 11, then no, Iraq has no relationship.

But if you think that this was a broader problem of an ideology of hatred, of terrorism becoming an acceptable means in places where there was a freedom deficit and where there was no possibility for legitimate political discourse, then you realize that you have to have a different kind of Middle East.

And a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein at the middle of it is unthinkable.
Somehow, once again, Saddam was at the forefront of al Qaeda's barbaric assault on American civilians on September 11th. The connection is now so certain that Saddam didn't even have to know about it in order to be involved.

There is spin in great quantities today. It is a vapid and annoying fact of life. This, however, is not spin. It is pathetic insanity. The last throes of an administration.

Also notice that Rice did not want to accuse Saudi Arabia of involvement in September 11th, but made a cryptic reference to other nationalities, an obvious repetition of the vague accusation leveled against Saddam to sell this war.

Take a look at today's events in Iraq to see the absence of terrorism and anti-American sentiments. Two paragraphs from CNN:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- At least 20 members of the militia loyal to a radical Shiite Muslim cleric have been killed in ongoing clashes with the U.S. military in Baghdad, Iraqi police said Sunday. ...

Thirty beheaded bodies were found along a road in southern Baquba, the Iraqi Army said Sunday.


Blogger mikevotes said...

Hey, thanks for pointing me to this. I didn't see it.

This is just a remarkable muddling of reality.


7:11 PM  
Anonymous Bubba said...

It takes two things to make mud, water and dirt. The Bush administration may have the dirt which is hard and solid, but the press is pouring the water to make the mud. Mud can be thick and mud can be thin, the amount of water makes the difference, the press is spinning the coverage the way they want more than the Bush administration is spinning the facts they present.

9:23 PM  
Blogger RightsideVA said...

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the tapes that are being translated now. 12 hrs of tapes have already shown Saddam talking about the Uranium project they had without the UN having a clue. They talk about how thay hid and moved WMD's after the 1st Iraq war and just before the recent war. Also shows involvment by the Russians to pass on U.S. plans to Saddam before this war started...

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good point, rightside and I agree, but you're falling on deaf ears around here. They don't want to hear the truth about the WMD in Iraq. It's far too politically damaging for them to hear. Once it's out in the open, however, you won't see any postings about it, and if you do, the opinion will be of that "from the left," of course.

7:07 AM  
Blogger zen said...

WMDs at this point are moot. Are they not?
There are many, many other misleading statements made by this administration that have nothing to do with WMDs and are not a point of bad intel, but rather WH spin.
I wonder if these tapes were so crucial and evident of justifying the WMD angle, then why on earth doesn't the WH point to these tapes? Why is Bush not citing them in State of the Unions and his "improve the image/re-sell the war" tour? I mean they will resort to flat out lies, insinuation, even leaks, in order to push PR for the war, and yet remain silent about this audio proof? Not only does it not hold water, but it's now, yet another, reason for some to blame the media. Impossible.
EC points out here that Condi dodges the FACT that Saudi Arabia is perhaps the greatest example of the "old ME" and greatest source of funding for terrorism, one of the most represive nations in the region. Additionally she says in name that Saddam did not have links to 9/11, but in posture says that he did not even have to know about the plot to be connected.
To ignore the significance of this orchestrated effort to misinform, mislead and manipulate serves us all no good. To continue to make excuses for this abuse of trust has nothing to do with the media. To think that the WH must spin harder to counter the spin in the press is absurd, and amounts to propaganda plain and simple.

EC, nice application of the "last throes." Check out the Cunning Realist, he makes some great points about how the "blame the media for losing the war" campaign is being waged.

Also as another blogger pointed out long ago, the idea of Cheney resigning and Condi moving to VP, was also addressed on Meet the Press. Rove is indeed a clever man.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Bubba said...

Contrary to what many think the Bush Administration is not stupid. If they have hard proof that the WMD's went to Syria or Iran and Bush got on TV and laid out how they got there, when they got there, and where they went the very next word out of his mouth would be to announce and expansion in the War on terror. They are following the plan they had which (from my interpretation) is to establish a solid democracy in the region and then let the tide of freedom reform the region. I have no doubt that we currently have people poking into the dark places that terrorists hide and they can best deal with the terrorists in a fashion that most do not have the stomach for with out a fullblown invasion going on.
As far as where the terrorists come from......(no Zen I'm not gonna get out my map again)... it is more a state of mind than a state of nation that creates the terrorists that do the things they do. Borders are lines on paper and in this conflict really mean nothing.

11:45 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Invading Iraq is making more terrorists. The CIA said this, not any liberal blogger.

And why is are people debating WMD on a post about linking Saddam to 9/11.

There's a tide of freedom killing a lot of people in Iraq these days. And that Tide may spread.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If invading Iraq is producing more terrorists and the CIA claim this, can you please post a link where they say it?

And, do you or any other posters in here oppose the liberation of Iraq?

3:28 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Here's the link you requested.

If this is liberation, then yes. It would have been nice to have a plan to cope with catastrophic success. Gee, why did that word not catch on?

3:40 PM  
Blogger zen said...

What a loaded question.

The CIA stated this long, long ago. In fact many analysts predicted such resluts before the invasion. But the were dismissed and even fired.

Freedoms on the march! Bring 'em on! Smoke 'em out! Mission Accomplished!
all seem more important than any facts, analysis or caution. How can platitudes be wrong?!

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Bubba said...

Heh, Catastropic success. now that is a good one. And I can see that decapitating an existing regime and redoing an entire country's government could create an atmosphere prone to Terrorist activity. It could also make all the rats come out like when a ship sinks. Either way I'd rather have them there and visible than here and plotting the next 9-11.

As far as linking Saddam to 9-11 it is like pinning the murders on OJ, there is a little circumstancial evidence, it makes sense, but there is no smoking gun. Of course I always thought the reasons for taking Saddam out had to do with his not capitulating with the UN Resolutions, shooting at our planes, and seeking/having WMD's.

Tide of freedom killing people? Nope! The tide of freedom will cause reform in the Governments over there, once a free Iraq is established, which has not been assured yet. Over there people are killing people because of ideology which is what has happened for 100's of years and is what will happen for 100's more. The Terrorists are using their best tactic- Make the US masses loose faith in the ability of a freed people to choose and accept freedom by manipulating the Public Opinion and the press is playing right into their plan.

5:21 PM  
Blogger zen said...

Who is playing into whose plan?

OBL wanted the US bogged down in Afghanistan. But what he didn't count on was the world supporting the effort to oust the Taliban and hunt him down. Yet when Bush and Co. decided to invade Iraq, it played right into the terrorist's hands.
The same can be said from their perspective I'm sure. Having American's so close, they can train, plot and kill without traveling to the US. Lucky Iraqis huh? Flypaper theory in action.

5:39 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Bubba, I have to admire the strength of your convictions. However...

"Either way I'd rather have them there and visible than here and plotting the next 9-11."

9/11 was primarily plotted in Germany and Afghanistan. The logic of "fighting them over there" avoids coming to terms with the psychological profile of most Islamic terrorists. Zarqawi has targeted (at the least) Jordan, the UN in Iraq, and Iraq targets. He has been based in Jordan, Iraq (Kurdish areas) and Afghanistan. International Islamic terrorists move across borders, or their ideas do. The more dust we kick up over there, generally speaking, the more will drift over here.

"As far as linking Saddam to 9-11 it is like pinning the murders on OJ, there is a little circumstancial evidence, it makes sense, but there is no smoking gun. Of course I always thought the reasons for taking Saddam out had to do with his not capitulating with the UN Resolutions, shooting at our planes, and seeking/having WMD's."

There was overwhelming circumstantial evidence on the OJ case, in fact it was the entire case. Political/military intelligence never approaches the extreme probabilities of DNA evidence. Basically, your analogy is absurd. The other reasons for targetting Saddam -- in particular his avoiding of UN resolutions -- are the strongest argument for the war. Moreover, recent news that Saddam intentionally tried to obscure facts from neighbors and thus provoked more suspicion from the US should be noted. This post, again, was about links between 9/11 and Saddam. My major issue with Rice is the absolute madness of saying that Saddam was part of 9/11 in some metaphysical way -- he did not know about it, but he was somehow involved. It's a terrible thing to say, kinda' like blaming him for the Alamo.

"The tide of freedom will cause reform in the Governments over there, once a free Iraq is established, which has not been assured yet."

So Iraq remains in the balance. Who is at fault for its precarious position? The terrorists and insurgents, certainly. How about Paul Bremer. Or George "Bring 'em on" Bush? Or Tommy Franks? If you blame just the media for reporting the news, then you are missing a tremendous amount of culpability from poor planning and ineffective security.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Bubba said...

I used the OJ thing to show that an event can galvanize public opinion in two directoins at the same time, and you prove my point by your reaction. People will debate for years to come about if OJ did it or not and like wise people will debate for years whether the US should have gone into Iraq. and everyone has a formed opinion and little can be done to change those opinions once they are formed.

Saddam and 9-11.......
can you hold Saddam responsible for 9-11? Nope! can you say that he was part of the larger problem that made 9-11 possible and probable? Yup! To be quite frank about it Saddam most likely crapped himself after 9-11 happened because with his history he was the most obvious person to blame, but we went after OBL and the Taliban once the facts came out. Saddam made himself a target by fighting the UN. Linking him directly to 9-11 is a big stretch and I give you that point. Besides I don't think Saddam had any training camps for the troops that atttacked the Alamo. He only had those to train freedom fighters.

Zen, if they neeed Americans close to train against then why do they run whenever we come a knocking? They are using insurgency tatics that have been around a long time not just because they work but because it causes the most public out cry. If they openly attack and kill one or two soldiers and we kill 30 or forty of them the public doesn't get that knot in the stomach reaction that they do when an IED kills or injures a soldier. and Flypaper works you just have to use it where there are flys. There are flys in Iraq.

Yes Iraq lies in the balance. and who is responsible? Well the list is long and the Bush administration is on the list right at the top, I just hope that the people who are bashing Bush and his administration will also give him the credit due when Iraq is free and a democracy. The people of Iraq are the real players in the game over there. They can embrace a democratic society or go into a Islamic fundamentalist state, It is their choice. If we never went in there would not be any chance of a free democracy there, ever.

Good discussion even if it got off the topic of the original post.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I just hope that the people who are bashing Bush and his administration will also give him the credit due when Iraq is free and a democracy.'

They won't. They're still upset over the 2000 election.

'What a loaded question.'

It was so loaded, you couldn't answer it?

10:36 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I've enjoyed the discussion as well.

5:03 PM  

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