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Willisms

« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 101 | WILLisms.com | Taliban 'Offensive' Going Nowhere »

Busting Liberal Myths

Here is a leftist bit of propaganda that is utterly, completely false:

President Bush LIED in his 2003 SOTU speech when he said that “the British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .”

Well, James Taranto at Best of the Web reminds us that the Butler Review debunked this stubbon myth:

It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.

The report has been criticized because France supposedly controls Niger's uranium mines. Ahem - wasn't that the same France that built the Osirak nuclear reactor for Saddam? The French track record of preventing proliferation has been less-than-stellar, so color me unimpressed.

Anyway, the Senate did its own investigation, and also found this claim to be credible. Not only that, no less a person than Joe Wilson himself helped prove through his report that "for most analysts" Wilson's trip to Niger "lent more credibility to the original Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports on the uranium deal."

So this debunking is a two-fer: first, it proves Bush told the truth, second, it proves that Wilson told anything but the truth when he later claimed that Iraq was not seeking yellowcake from Niger.

In related news, Dean Esmay is trying to put together an Iraq Wiki which will also debunk liberal myths, including such classic hits as:

  • Most Americans believed Saddam was behind 9/11
  • The invasion of Iraq was illegal
  • The reason Americans were given was Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • No one ever said anything about democracy or human rights until after the invasion.
  • There was no plan for the occupation
  • No one ever listened to the generals
  • If only we'd gotten a security council resolution in our favor, we'd have
  • had more than enough troops
  • We rushed to war. [ed. - my personal favorite. Was I dreaming it, or do I actually remember months and months of pounding this issue out in the press and the talkshows? Nah, must have been a dream.]

Dean needs your help in this valuable cause - go check it out.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 27 April 2007 04:10 AM

Comments

"President Bush LIED.....uranium from Africa ."

The MSN has been pushing this point all week.

The problem is, and this does not include the hard left or democratic leadership, too many people out there in the mist that hear this over and over and then take it as a fact.
The root of this misconception, as you stated, can be traced back to Joe Wilson. Joe Wilson has been proved to be a liar, discredited, and not quoted by reliable individuals lately.

With people out there in the mist is that they care more about "American Idol" than they do American safety. They will spend more time staying attuned to pop culture than people who have stated that personal convictions, inspired by their religion call for our destruction and death.

If you believe in the United States Constitution and right of the people to vote themselves into oblivion, then all is ok with the world.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at April 27, 2007 11:35 AM

The theory was advanced today over at Dr. Sanity's (high recommendation if you haven't visited there yet) that conservatives should stop operating from the premise that Democrats aren't listening or haven't heard. After this amount of time, the more likely explanation is that these beliefs meet some other need.

I would offer as evidence for this the absolutism of the anti-Bush/anti-war comments. Seldom does one encounter an argument of the form "there have been gains and losses, there are advantages and disadvantages to all approaches, but on balance Iraq has been a net negative." I might disagree with that conclusion, but clearly, you could have an intelligent discussion with a person making that claim. What we read instead are extreme negative claims that are unlikely to be true about any conflict or foreign policy approach. Iraq is described as an unmitigated disaster, obviously idiotic, and hopeless; George Bush is accused of having ruined our standing in the world, squandering international goodwill, shredding constitutional rights. These are the fevered claims common to the psychologically brittle - the spouse who claims that she "always" undermines me in public, he "never" listens to me; the criminal or addict who attributes all responsibility to others; the paranoid who cannot bear to even be told that others disagree.

Real life has risks and benefits, gains and losses, pluses and minuses. The absolutist who can give no ground, but must always insist that his examples from the margins trump all other evidence is not so much irrational as intermittently rational, willing to use reason only when it looks safe.

I have my own theories what other need is being met, but I do not insist on them. What needs to be noted first is that these responses are not the product of poor or inadequate reasoning, but of non-reasoning.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at April 27, 2007 11:26 PM

Heh, I should just let you two write my blog posts for me - you do a better job.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at April 28, 2007 12:07 AM

Ken...You can't get out of it that easy. We love you here at WILLisms.com... XOooo

Posted by: zsa zsa at April 28, 2007 07:45 AM

AVI,
Excellent comment, I have never thought about the origin of people's needs as associated with political beliefs.

"the more likely explanation is that these beliefs meet some other need."
Taking your premise, and carrying forth, is this because individuals have no belief in anything more important than themselves, no higher being, no belief in our historical excellence? Can this self-absorption leads a person to have not much time for reflection and a very low tolerance for internal moral conflict.

"claims common to the psychologically brittle"
I look at this as a person who has no moral beliefs to keep having to feed the internal beast with even more extremes.

"It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them. "
- Adolf Hitler"

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."
- Abraham Lincoln

"The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood."
- Thomas Jefferson

I don't know how I can digest those three comments and make them play out in today's world. The past as bad, the past as good, and the present due for a major correction.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at April 28, 2007 08:56 AM

A review of the debunked Butler Review shows the same as Bush other intelligence BS, Questionable sources quoted as reliable.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3890961.stm

Posted by: Donald at April 28, 2007 12:28 PM

"Key intelligence used to justify war with Iraq has now been shown to be unreliable, the Butler Report says.
The 196 page report says MI6 did not check its sources well enough, and sometimes relied on third hand reports.

It also says the 2002 dossier should not have included the claim Iraq could use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes without further explanation.

Tony Blair told MPs he "accepted" the findings and that Iraq may not have had WMD stockpiles when the war started."


Posted by: Donald at April 28, 2007 12:35 PM

Eneils, if you really interested, I have a series of posts about the American Cultural Tribes and the competition for dominance among them. http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2007/03/tribes-collection.html
I warn you, there's quite a few, but I have them stored by overview paragraph, to make it easier.

In brief: The Arts & Humanities Tribe in America and Western Europe believes that they are the wisest group, and should rule the others. Much of what they do politically and socially is in the service of undermining their competitor tribes, such as the Science & Technology tribe, or the Business tribe. They have allied tribes, such as the Government & Union tribe and the Minorities tribes, but they believe even more they should rule those. The lines are not always sharp, and individuals can have several tribe memberships or mixed loyalties. But that viewing of the culture war I have found illuminating.

I have a particular sensitivity to the issues because I grew up in the A & H tribe and identified with it for many years. I will add the caveat that the lines seem to be moving in the younger generations, and my observations have best applicability for those born between 1820-1970.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at April 28, 2007 02:08 PM

Double post. As to writing your posts for you, Ken, I have long wished that the blogosphere gave out awards for good commenting. I might actually get nominated for one of those. I'm better on other people's blogs than I am on my own.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at April 28, 2007 02:11 PM

AVI,
Thanks,
I'll check it out.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at April 28, 2007 02:39 PM

Well keep 'em coming - sometimes the comments make better reading than a lot of blog posts you see around.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at April 28, 2007 07:47 PM

The fact is Young Master Bush did lie. Certainly in this instance and many others.

Before you wave around the Butler Review as some sort of Holy Grail--it is helpful to remember the conclusions of the Butler Review were that the key intelligence reports were inconclusive. IOW, the war couldn't be justified because there wasn't credible enough intelligence to justify going to war.

It is also helpful to note Young Master Bush's SOTU lies WRT uranium and Africa were exposed not just by the eeeeevil, libbbbberal press--but by those in his own administration. Examples: We have NSC poobah, Stephen Hadley apologizing for the statement because it wasn't factually accurate. CIA head George Tenet also said it wasn't true. Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin stated, "The one thing where I think they stretched a little bit beyond where we would stretch is on the points about Iraq seeking uranium from various African locations. We've looked at those reports and we don't think they are very credible. It doesn't diminish our conviction that he's going for nuclear weapons, but I think they reached a little bit on that one point."

Again, it's important to note war should be a last resort. And it should be crystal clear to everyone why it is necessary to go to war. In this case, it wasn't and was fabricated.

Something is terribly wrong with Dean Esmay.

Posted by: Jadegold at April 29, 2007 04:06 PM

Jadegold...Just so you know. IF you are refering to President GW Bush? "Young master Bush" refers to a young boy until approximately the age of 10 years old...I just thought you might want to know?

Posted by: zsa zsa at April 29, 2007 04:26 PM

ZZ: IF you are refering to President GW Bush? "Young master Bush" refers to a young boy until approximately the age of 10 years old...

Certainly, Bush Jr. acts as if he is 10 or younger.

Posted by: Jadegold at April 29, 2007 04:55 PM

Before you wave around the Butler Review as some sort of Holy Grail--it is helpful to remember the conclusions of the Butler Review were that the key intelligence reports were inconclusive. IOW, the war couldn't be justified because there wasn't credible enough intelligence to justify going to war.

Completely irrelevant. We are discussing the Niger yellowcake and no other intelligence findings. The Butler report backed up British intelligence that Saddam was seeking yellowcake from niger.

We have NSC poobah, Stephen Hadley apologizing for the statement because it wasn't factually accurate. CIA head George Tenet also said it wasn't true. Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin stated, "The one thing where I think they stretched a little bit beyond where we would stretch is on the points about Iraq seeking uranium from various African locations. We've looked at those reports and we don't think they are very credible. It doesn't diminish our conviction that he's going for nuclear weapons, but I think they reached a little bit on that one point."

This is opinion about British intelligence, not American intelligence. The Brits are in a far better position to verify the credibility of that intelligence. Tenet never said it was not true, by the way, he said it didn't meet his standards.
Notice, too, that McLaughlin never said it was not true, either.

Again, it's important to note war should be a last resort. And it should be crystal clear to everyone why it is necessary to go to war. In this case, it wasn't and was fabricated.

Naturally, you push the liberal talking point that WMDs were somehow the only reason we went to war against Saddam.

Predictable.


Posted by: Ken McCracken at April 29, 2007 09:37 PM

Completely irrelevant.

Actually, no. It's what's most important. It goes to the question of whether we went to war--expending 3000+ American soldiers' lives, plus over 20,000 wounded---on the basis of a lie. The Butler Review says we simply didn't have justification to do so.

This is opinion about British intelligence, not American intelligence.

The fact is our intelligence had reviewed the British claims and found them not credible. This was relayed to Young Master Bush by the CIA and the NSC.

Think, Ken. If you stand in a supermarket line, you may read a tabloid claiming Young Master Bush was abducted by aliens. After doing a little digging, you find no other news source makes such a claim and, in fact, finds the alien claim to be not credible--is it not a lie to claim Young Master Bush was abducted by aliens?

Naturally, you push the liberal talking point that WMDs were somehow the only reason we went to war against Saddam.

Indeed. Not only do I make it but so did Paul Wolfowitz, who was a key architect of the war. Further, Young Master Bush does as well. Let's remember, Young Master Bush was willing to allow Saddam to remain in power so long as he disarmed.

Posted by: Jadegold at April 30, 2007 09:55 AM

No jadegold, not a lie, not if the word retains any real meaning. The Young Master Bush insult may play well among progressives, for whom the wit of the insult attracts more attention than the truth of the statement, but it won't play in serious discussion. Such childishness brands you again as one who would rather play at argument than engage in debate. You grab trifles from the fringe of the argument and hold them up as the center.

Iraq did indeed seek uranium from Niger. What was perhaps inadequately proven at the time is now known. As Niger's other primary export is goats, concluding from the presence of an important trade delegation that Iraq might possibly seeking uranium is hardly a stretch. And in fact Wilson's report, and all later reports confirm that this was probable. To maintain that because something remains unproven that it did not happen is silly. If you wish to take that view as operative for real life, let me know how that works out for the cancer screenings of your relatives: if the doctor can't absolutely prove that the there's cancer, no need to go back for followup tests, eh?

Taking isolated Wolfowitz quotes and rebuilding a false context around them has nothing to do with the actual world in which people live and die. It is easy to take selected quotes from virtually anyone and make them sound like supporters of your position. If you take Wolfowitz then swallow him whole and consider his other evaluations with seriousness.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at April 30, 2007 07:46 PM

Yes, AVI, a lie. A lie is simply a willful attempt to deceive. In this case, Young Master Bush took information his own intelligence services stated was not credible and presented it as if was.

That's a lie no matter how you slice it.

That is also why Young Master Bush's own NSC advisor and the head of the CIA apologized for having the claim in the SotU.

Iraq did indeed seek uranium from Niger. What was perhaps inadequately proven at the time is now known. As Niger's other primary export is goats, concluding from the presence of an important trade delegation that Iraq might possibly seeking uranium is hardly a stretch.

Actually, it is more than a stretch--it's fantasy.

Niger's two uranium mines are owned by France and controlled by a consortium of three nations: France, Japan, and Spain. The entire output of these mines (note the word "entire") is purchased by France, Spain, and Japan. Further, all transactions are monitored by the IAEA. The notion Niger could sell roughly 1/6 of the annual output of mines it doesn't own and without IAEA knowledge is beyond ludicrous.

IOW, for Iraq to have bought Niger's yellowcake, it would require the complicity of four nations (Niger, France, Spain, Japan), plus the IAEA and US turning a blind eye.

I realize rightwingers probably believe Niger just mines uranium and stocks the shelves at 'Fission 'r' Us', but that's not how it works.


As for the Wolfowitz quotes--they aren't taken out of context. Again, it's pretty easy to take the speeches of Young Master Bush and his handlers and see WMDs were the overriding reason for this quagmire.

Posted by: Jadegold at May 1, 2007 09:36 AM

Only one teeny-tiny problem with your theory that Niger, France, Spain and Japan would never EVER allow Saddam to get his hands on Niger yellowcake . . .

Saddam had already bought 500 tons of yellowcake from Niger.

So, the idea that Saddam might come around again looking for more of it is, you know, not really a stretch.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 1, 2007 03:33 PM

Saddam had already bought 500 tons of yellowcake from Niger.

Ken, I'm going to have some big fun with this as I know your source for this prevarication. Even so, you misread your own source (Tony Blair claimed 270 T).

Additionally, you seem to forget that during Ronny Reagan's tenure, we were perfectly happy to send Saddam all sorts of WMD. U.S. Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990:

Items sent from the U.S. during the Reagan and Bush Administrations that helped Iraq's non-conventional weapons programs and that were shipped to known military industrial facilities include: o Computers to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons;[59] machine tools and lasers to extend ballistic missile range;[60] graphics terminals to design and analyze rockets;[61] West Nile Fever virus, a known potential BW agent, sent by the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC);[62] the agents for botulism, tetnus, and anthrax.[63] One study lists 207 firms from 21 countries that contributed to Iraq's non-conventional weapons program during and after the Iran-Iraq war. E.g., West German (86); British (18); Austrian (17); French (16); Italian (12); Swiss (11); and American (18).[64] Throughout the U.S. exports to Iraq, several agencies were supposed to review items relevant to national security or that could be diverted for a nuclear program. The reviewers included the SD, DOD, Energy Department, Subgroup on Nuclear Export Coordination (included representatives from Commerce Dept., Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), the intelligence community, and DOD).[65] Sometimes CD did not send items to reviewers. On other occasions, reviewers objected, and CD still approved the items. Stephen Bryen, Deputy Under Secretary of DOD for Trade Security Policy during the second Reagan Administration, claimed that the DOD objected to 40% of applications that CD actually sent to DOD for review. Compare with a 5% DOD objection rate to dual-use technology applications for export to the U.S.S.R. during that same time period.[66]

Emphasis mine. As you see, the US was content to turn a blind eye to Saddam's acquisition of WMD in the 1980s.


Posted by: Jadegold at May 1, 2007 04:51 PM

Non sequitur.

This has nothing to do with yellowcake.

Besides, the U.S. has made lots of mistakes in regard to Saddam and/or Iraq. The U.S. even criticized Israel for bombing Osirak.

No one ever said the record was perfect, JadeGold.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 1, 2007 06:37 PM

I'm not sure you understand what non sequitur means, Ken.

Literally, it means 'it does not follow.'

Let's compare, shall we?

You claim my argument is a non sequitur because I posted evidence that the US did not enforce the import of WMD to Iraq in the 1980s.

OTOH, you claim that Iraq could get yellowcake in 2002-3 because it had once acquired it some quarter of a century earlier.

Posted by: Jadegold at May 1, 2007 08:01 PM

LOL

Yes JadeGold, it does not follow that, because Reagan did not enforce WMD limitations, that Niger could not have possibly sold yellowcake to Saddam.

There is absolutely no logical connection between the two, and no reason for you to bring it up.

A textbook example of non sequitur if there ever was on.

Surely now even you see that.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at May 2, 2007 09:06 AM

Oh well gee, I didn't know that France was on the case, plus the IAEA, jadegold. That changes everything. No way that anyone could put anything over on them.

Theoretically, it should not have been possible for Saddam to acquire yellowcake from Niger. To conclude from that they he didn't attempt to is wishful thinking.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 2, 2007 12:59 PM

Oh well gee, I didn't know that France was on the case, plus the IAEA, jadegold. That changes everything. No way that anyone could put anything over on them.

Not just France--but Japan and Spain.

Of course, given the fact the US provided WMD to Saddam in the 1980s---it just as easy to claim the yellowcake came from the US.

Theoretically, it should not have been possible for Saddam to acquire yellowcake from Niger. To conclude from that they he didn't attempt to is wishful thinking.

It's quite a bit more than theoretical. It was, quite literally, impossible without the US, Japan, France, and Spain signing off on it as well as the IAEA just ignoring it.

The fact remains: you have no proof Iraq sought yellowcake from Niger this century. Tony Blair's 'proof' was the phony Niger documents.

Posted by: Jadegold at May 2, 2007 02:39 PM

Proof was always a false standard, and never the issue. Evidence is the issue, and even Wilson's report provided that.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at May 3, 2007 07:49 PM