Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Peter Wehner on the Antiwar Left's "Revisionist History" of the Case for War

Peter Wehner is the Director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, and his analysis of the antiwar left's revisionist take on the Iraq war appears in today's Wall Street Journal. He lays it out like this:

Iraqis can participate in three historic elections, pass the most liberal constitution in the Arab world, and form a unity government despite terrorist attacks and provocations. Yet for some critics of the president, these are minor matters. Like swallows to Capistrano, they keep returning to the same allegations--the president misled the country in order to justify the Iraq war; his administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments; Saddam Hussein turned out to be no threat since he didn't possess weapons of mass destruction; and helping democracy take root in the Middle East was a postwar rationalization. The problem with these charges is that they are false and can be shown to be so--and yet people continue to believe, and spread, them.
He rebuts these claims piece by piece. On the first issue of President Bush misleading the country to sell the war, Wehner notes that top Democrats had access to similar intelligence data -- and that Senators John Kerry, Edward Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton all made statements confirming Saddam's growing weapons capabilities during the run-up to the war. Wehner goes on, saying: "Beyond that, intelligence agencies from around the globe believed Saddam had WMD. Even foreign governments that opposed his removal from power believed Iraq had WMD: Just a few weeks before Operation Iraqi Freedom, Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to the U.S., said, '"I think all of our governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction."'


Gary said...

Oy vey.
Again, sir, you are in a rational circle jerk, which leads you to the wrong conclusions. The Democrats who voted for authorizing the use of military force against Hussein did so on the basis of false intelligence reports, the most famous of which is refered to as the September Dossier, the Niger uranium dossier. This 'intelligence' report has now been proven false. The world leaders who agreed that Hussein had WMD also relied on false intel. If the Bushevik propaganda machine had not delivered all of the artificial intelligence to Congress, then a valid vote would have occurred. This did not happen, the vote was based on false documents. Your reasoning is based on false assertions. I beg you to step outside your ideological box, and consider for a moment that maybe, just maybe, your sources are bad. I urge you to read alternative sources. If one's reasoning on any subject is based on erroneous sources, decisions made as a result of that information will inherently be false, invalid.
I would like to share the following link with you. I urge you to read so new sources. As a teacher of politics and history, it behooves you to be abreast of declassified information. Sometimes our leaders lie to us, sometimes our news media lies to us, due to certain things being classified top secret. In order for you to be a good teacher, you need to be aware that historical tuth changes, as things become declassified in the main stream public domain.







Gary said...

The Founding Fathers of our once great nation understood the importance of education, reasoning that in order for democracy to work, the electorate had to be well educated and well informed. All things being interconnected, the Founding Fathers included Freedom of the Press, the free exchange of ideas, as the bedrock for our Constitutional Republic. If a populace is not well educated and well informed on the issues which confront it, then the system will fail; for, even a well intentioned system whose Fourth Estate lacks objectivity, honesty, or is otherwise manipulated by the powers of government and corporatism, hubris, propaganda, the electorate will undoubtedly make the wrong decisions.

We have all seen the results of propaganda within our Congress in the past five years. The so-called intelligence, namely the September Dossier, the Niger Uranium Dossier, which was supplied to Congress on the eve of the vote authorizing the Bush Administration the authority to use our military, and make preparations for war with Iraq, was false. We are still living with the repercussions of this misguided and invalid decision. The world and the Iraqi people were better off with Hussein in power. Hussein was not an ideal leader, and I would certainly not want to live in a country under his rule, but the action our government has taken has exaccerbated our troubles, not resolved them.

We as a nation were in shock from the events of 9-11-2001. Today, we have the benefit of hindsight, to reflect upon the actions our government took, who knew what when, and to decide for ourselves why. As detailed in the John Conyers report entitled "the Constitution in Crisis - The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War - Investigative Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff" - this report details the status of investigations into the Bush administration's lies concerning Iraq, pre-war, sanctioned torture and other violations of law by the Bush administration. This 273 page report is evidence, beyond a shadow of a doubt I believe, of the crimes of this administration, and is the most compelling case for Impeachment, and subsequent criminal trial, of any Administration in the history of this country. If we want to remain a Constitutional Republic, we have no choice but to Impeach Bush.

In the interest of rational well informed public discourse, and the need for us all to be well educated, I feel we need to have a public discussion of the events of 9-11-2001, which has not occurred since that tragic day. I have not heard one politician in the main stream media discuss any of the valid questions, unexplained observances, contradictions of physical evidence to the widely accepted official explanation of that day. I have read the 9-11 Commission report, and have studied the questions raised by this report by people like Dr. David Ray Griffin, as aired on CSPAN last year. I have read the academic paper by Dr. Steven E. Jones, physicist, BYU. I am also aware of previously classified history such as the proposed covert Operation Northwoods from 1962. I have viewed the myriad of media available online of television news from 9-11-2001, and analyses by civil engineers.
The fact remains, the official story of 9-11-2001, the official reason the buildings' collapsed DEFY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS. The World Trade Towers were designed to withstand collisions of planes, multiple planes. The steel used in their construction was arc forged and rated by UnderWriters Laboratories, as mandated by law, to withstand normal fires and fires from hydrocarbon combustion, without appreciable softenning or melting. Steel, especially arc forged steel, cannot be softenned appreciably by hydrocarbon combustion, jet fuel, a type of kerosene.
I watched television live, the day of 9-11. I remembered the many, many reports of things exploding within the towers. I recall the eyewitness testimony on that day from fire fighters, police men, newscasters, citizens, who ran for their lives because things kept exploding inexplicably. Ever since 9-11, the main stream media, CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS etc... have failed to raise these questions, failed to air the very mention of explosions. Yet, a review of the available video evidence remains in the public domain. There is a video available online at google video entitled "9-11 Loose Change 2nd edition". This video is the best overview of the subject that I have found. It contains an analysis of that day, a compilation of history, public news broadcasts, and analysis. The video is an overview of many very valid question, issues.
I urge you all to consider these ideas, and investigate the information for yourselves. I also urge you to watch the film entitled "911revisited" which is available online also. I wont post links here. High speed internet access is required, as is the necessary media drivers for online viewing.
It has been far too long for a public discourse of these events. I would like a public official to discuss these ideas on television or in the main stream press.
F.Y.I., 911 Revisited is being shown in a theater in Newton, MA. Wednesday night, May 24 for the first time. It is also available on DVD and can be ordered online.
Our government and media lies to us all the time about everything. I am literally sick and tired of this fact. Everyone is discussing what the Democratic Party needs to do in order to re-establish a majority in Congress. The Democratic Party and all progressive political organisations are building their platforms, and searching for the ideas, issues, which will carry us as a nation to a better place. I offer the above ideas as a starting point. I feel we need a platform of true honesty, historical honesty, re-educating the electorate to the truth and dispelling the myriad of secrets concerning our national security. I suggest we return to Constitutional origins, a literal application of law free of esoteric legalese, ambiguity and free of the obfuscation of historical reality and instead offer the nation a platform of honesty. All of our problems can be solved, but only if rational people are well informed. Solve global warming, legalise industrial hemp, promote biofuel, end the oil age, build wind farms and solar arrays. We have the technology to be energy self sufficient in an organic and renewable way which well help Mother Nature cleanse herself of the toxins which we have been emmiting for a century. I pray for our progeny if these ideas are not embraced and nationalised.
Thank you for this forum. Thank you for your consideration.

Orwellian Haiku of the Century, "Can you hear me now?"

"Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere." - Benito Mussolini

Donald Douglas said...

"The world and the Iraqi people were better off with Hussein in power."

Gary: You've got to be kidding, right? I stopped reading your long tirade right there. Twenty-two million or so Iraqis say you're wrong. What a pathetic Ramsay Clark wannabe you are, no? You gave away your ideological agenda in your last post, in any case, and you leave me a bunch of declassified web links? That's not getting you very far in terms of compelling arguments. I mean c'mon, Zinn and Chomsky. I've read Zinn and have no interest in Chomsky. They're just lukewarm Marxist-Leninists. If I want that stuff again I'll crack out my old, dusty undergraduate texts and original source readers on Soviet politics and ideology. In any case, personal attacks have no currency here. If you're so tough leave a real blog link so all us Burkeans can see whatever low-octane stuff your peddling elsewhere in the blogosphere. And you mention my classes -- I doubt you'd be pass any of them with a "C." For the record, though (and I'm indulging you out of your obvious need of edification), my classes are taught right down the middle, weighing and evaluating all the key data and evidence. This is finals week and student after student has thanked me for sparing them from the standard leftist indoctrination they're getting in their history and sociology courses. And your rants on Victor Davis Hanson (or is that "Hansom" [sic])? That man is a national treasure, a lodestar against all the antiliberal ideologies out there, among which you must freely consort. You'll be welcome here at Burkean Reflections if you stick to the ideas. Don't start calling people names ("fascist," etc.) because you can't get up enough intellectual muscle to critique their arguments. Learn to attack the message and not the messenger. I may be generous with the unmoderated comments, but one more nasty ad hominem post from you and the delete key will transport your sorry rants to an instant cyberspace death. In other words, return here after you've learned some manners.

Gary said...

I certainly have manners, and in the future will endeavor to control my frustrations with this corrupt arrogant society, and , as you suggest, stick to the ideas.

I am truly interested in exchanging ideas, and return here lately because i find your reasonings irrational often, yet, unlike most of the GOP minded, well educated, better informed than most. I respect your job ; teaching is a very noble profession. And perhaps if i read your posts long enough, you may actually offer something I didnt know. I do always strive to be honest, and honestly speaking, I see our country becoming NeoFascist which frightens me.

I do not wish to defend Hussein, but I also do not have any illusions about the degree to which our country has exaggerated his crimes. I honestly believe, that the world, and the Iraqii people were better off with a stable power in control. I could elaborate here, but in the interest of time, i cant. If peace is ever re-established in Iraq, and its sovereignty remains intact, the government there will end up being just as iron fisted as Hussein, and 20 or 30 years down the road, we will all be in the same situation again. The British tried that last century, and it failed. Our government thru covert activities helped Hussein gain power in the early 1960s, in an attempt to correct the problems created after the British left. It is an endless cycle, as long as people approach the problem with misguided solutions of military force. You cannot win or change the hearts and minds of people by force, this is my fundamental point. It always fails.

I would not describe Zinn or Chomsky as Marxists , or Leninist. That is an obtuse misrepresentation of their philosophies. There is much to be learned from each of them.

I hope you spend the time reading the links i suggested. The so-called tirade you say you ignored, was not a tirade, and is an honest attempt to introduce you to truth. Please reconsider and read my previous post and explore its ideas for yourself.

I also admit that I fail to proof read some of things i type on blogs, again in the interest of time, and make spelling mistakes on occassions. :) If that earns me a 'C', so be it. Its the ideas that matter.

Donald Douglas said...

Hi Gary:

Thank you for returning to the site. I would be glad to exchange ideas. I have read your latest post carefully, and I'll try to go back and read your previous post. Actually, though, it's not clear why Zinn's not categorized as Marxist. Doesn't his "People's History of the United States" adopt class analysis. As for the declassified links, I'll look some of them over. But what makes you think that the authors of those articles, reports, communications cables, secret documents, or what have you, are free from biases, one-sided perspectives, or patisan agendas. Propaganda comes from all directions, my friend. As for Hussein and Iraq in earlier decades, yes we did back him, as we backed other types of (mostly right-wing) dictatorhsips around the world (Marcos in the Philippines, South Africa during Apartheid, etc.). Our primary adversary was the Soviet Union during these decades, a country that was making spectacular gains in backing left-wing "people's revolutions" across the Third World, especially after the U.S. left Vietnam. Realpolitik suggests to subordinate questions of morality to power in the name of national survival. Iraq balanced Iran in this perspective, who started calling us the Great Satan once the Shah was deposed and the fundamentalist Khomeini regime installed. Foreign policy's not pretty, but I think the U.S. is on the right side of history. Recall McCain's argument, that we are not always right, we make mistakes, but our fundamental values are a source of truth and good. In any case, tell me what it is you like about the country, other than your right to criticize it. And please avoid calling me a GOP-er. I voted for every Democratic candidate from Dukakis to Gore from 1988 to 2000, and had I voted in the first election in which I would have been eligible, I would have voted for Mondale in 1984. Your ignorance of my personal partisan history, or I yours, is another reason to stick to the ideas. Thanks again for the return visit and have a productive day. You write well, and I'll forgive the occasional misspelling or typographical error if you will. Nobody's perfect.

Donald Douglas said...

See what I mean! That's "partisan agendas," and there should be a question mark after "Doesn't his "People's History of the United States" adopt class analysis?" Where's my coffee? Have a great day, Gary!

M1 said...

I'd have to kinda say here that according to all measureables and quantifiables, it does indeed appear that the Iraqi's had it better than before the US stepped in to give them existentialist goodies. That is not to say they had it great or even good before.

It is but to say that things are rather FUBAR now and by all academicallly blessed accounts they are still getting worse by the day when each of their days appear unbearable per my cushy ways. But! this is only stated from a perspective that solely relies on statistical indicators measuring things like mortalities (infant & adult) electricity, potable water access, environmental contamination, yada, yada.

I solemnly admit I might be capturing but an insignificant portion of all those factors that people need to feel their lives are good enough and offer means and ways for Maslowian self-actualization.

I do not purport to have the talents or sources with which to relay any reliable fuzzy numbers on how we've reduced anxiety levels in Iraq among Iraqi children, mothers,teenagers, or organic chemistry geeks - or how we've instigated a massive brain-drain (oh wait, there I have US gov #s on that), or increased the Iraqi's general sense of liberty and democratic aspiration.

I do kinda suspect that if I were in dire straits then I'd first like to have clean water, access to anti-biotics and insulin, fewer death squads, collateral killings, systematic torture on a near industrial scale....yes, at least this first before I got really pissed off about not being able to vote once a year on a touch screen (that is if I'm lucky enough not to be per my color and income demographed onto a caging list that challenges my right to vote when I show up on election day, only because I was abroad fighting for my country while schemers and scammers effected plans to squash threatening votes en masse. But that's another story entirely - one we often laugh about at our backyard Miami BBQs by the sea.

Basic security first - then people will start to climb Maslow's cute little ladder. C'mon and admit it. These boys & girl(s) totally f*cked up and should be axed as they only continue to make things so much worse (that is, only according to my hard stats). That would really show the world how strong we are.

Are we really so weak that these Admin boys & girl(s) and their yellow pension protecting Yes-men are the best that we have to offer? I hardly think so. If strength is indeed what is required in this brave new world of ours then let's for God sake muster it and do so now. Only the weak and timid fear change where change is blatantly needed and I ask, "How much more blatant need blatant be before all opportunity is lost?

Don't you think that you couldhave one a better job than any of the moral anorectics holding office? Certainly you must.
Raus Mutha F*kcers.

M1 said...

Again I just gotta ask: When it comes to this war, who be revisin' who?

Mission accomplished? Maybe in some skulluggerous way but not as sold or told from any demagogic outset in this terrene realm still reasonably bound by Newtonian physics.

Donald Douglas said...


Neither of us really have all the data to truly know what's going on. The media show us the setbacks from the insurgency, however. We get more positive reports from people who've been there, on the ground, to relay tales of daily life post-Saddam. I'd need to see some hard data on all of these quality of life indicators you mention. I'll think about it and try to post some stuff on the topic as it comes up -- perhaps even a bit tonight, if I can keep up the energy.

From last night, you referenced "philippics," which means harsh verbal denunciations, and is derived from the orations of the Athenian Demosthenes (384-322 B.C.), attacking Philip of Macedon. Hence your "Demosthenic" vocabulary, or probably more accurately "Demosthenian."

M1 said...

Ah! Kewl!

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

I apologize in advance for what will be a short and very possibly ignorant comment, but the mind doesn't work too well when I'm nearing the end of the day.

In all honesty I read very little of Gary's comments and did not get much further past the "Niger," and "false intel" that everyone had to rely on.

That said, I may misspeak and do not intend to offend. I couldn't argue with Gary on this. I would just sit there and listen to it, yet would have nothing to respond with beyond, perhaps asking where he had been for the past 15 years give or take.

When I hear of people speak of "false" intel and "lies" I cannot imagine that they paid any attention to what was going on in our world during the 90's. I didn't need what everyone was saying during the run-up to the war to convince or alert me to any dangers from Hussein's Iraq; I remembered who and what he was.

The whole revisionist theory, which in my opinion is based more on an anti-Bush stance than anything else; I just have a lot of difficulty with it. It just flies in the face of what was.

Was intelligence correct? I hate to say that in some instances the jury of history is still out on that; but certainly as of now, the intelligence was incorrect. That however, does not make the intelligence cooked or a lie.

I am by no means trying to change Garys or anyone elses mind on this, which should be pretty obvious from my lack of an argument. We are not going to see eye to eye on this because the revision is just not how everything played out and I think that those that further it along are doing themselves, this country and reality a disservice.

There are so many screwed up realities on this planet, that to go with the conspiracies that abound is to waste preciously short time on what is really happening out there. To end up where we are in Iraq truly did not require lies, only an awareness of what had been and was going on at the time. To do anything else was a risk of a different nature and a choice was made.

Donald Douglas said...

Dear Blandly Urbane:

Thanks for the visit and comments. I'll respond to your points on intelligence later, as well as your compliment from today's Boeing post above.

Take care,

The Burkean Professor

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

I'll be off-line after today, likely for a couple of weeks, which is good and bad; though happily necessary.

Intelligence is a guessing game, based on a slew of facts, the unfortunate part is that it is rare that they know which of the facts are in fact, facts.

Look at Iran today...what is and what isn't? Sitting back idly however regarding the Isalmic Republic is a no-no.

Donald Douglas said...

It's good to be wary of Iran, based just on its intentions, much less its capabilities, which might be in question depending on the reliability of the intelligence data. Again, I'll try to post some comments on the "intel" guessing game, though I claim no expertise in that area. Have a good couple of weeks off.