Saturday, August 06, 2005

Making good, part 2

Continued from here:

Back to "esr" --

... it's run by psychopathic thug who nerve-gassed his own people in 1980 ...

I did a little Googling on this one. The earliest reference I find to Iraq using chemical weapons on anyone is 1982, and that was on the Iranian forces with whom they were at war. The attack on civilians usually cited by War Party apologists occurred in 1988 and was aimed at the Kurdish village of Halabjah, which happened to be located at the Iranian army's Point of Main Effort in that area of the front. At the time, the CIA concluded that it was the Iranians who had gassed Halabjah, as the condition of the bodies was consistent with cyanide, a blood agent used by Iran but not possessed by Iraq. Later, when it became necessary to demonize Saddam to the maximum degree possible in order to gain public support for the first Gulf War, the story changed -- Saddam was said to have used "mustard gas" on Halabjah. Mustard, btw, is a blister agent, not a nerve agent.

... and has been shipping money and guns to anti-American terrorist groups ever since ...

There is some evidence for this. Plausible cases have been made that Saddam backed the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and possibly even that he introduced West Nile Virus into the US in 1998 as a biological attack.

The problem with this is that if our hypothetical president in 2002 is anything like his real-world counterpart, that president's government denies that either of these things happened. The OKC bombing is ascribed, in government policy, to domestic racist terrorists; the West Nile Virus outbreak which has occurred every year since 1998, spreading west from New York, is ascribed to accidental introduction of the virus. And, of course, the 9/11 Commission found that Saddam had no working relationship with al Qaeda, the group behind the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The thug has stated his intention to destroy the U.S. and tried to assassinate a U.S. president ...

In 1993, President Bill Clinton began bandying about the idea of withdrawing US troops from Kuwait. Shortly after, former President George H.W. Bush visited that country. During his visit, an explosion occurred several miles away and then four "Iraqi agents" were paraded out as the culprits. Clinton decided to keep the troops in Kuwait. If one simply asks "cui bono" -- "who benefits?" -- it becomes fairly obvious that there was likely never any assassination attempt on Bush the Elder.

Even without the reports that officers of his Mukhbarat have been training Al-Qaeda affiliates in chemical-weapons techniques ...

Reports which have never been substantiated as fact and which are almost certainly as baseless as the "Iraqi soldiers stole incubators from the hospital and killed the Kuwaiti babies that were in them" myth put out by the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US in 1990, when she testified before Congress under the false premise that she had actually been in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion. The fact is that Saddam Hussein had topped Osama bin Laden's enemy list for years. Bin Laden had urged Saudi Arabia to overthrow Saddam's "godless" regime, and had petitioned the Saudi government to allow al Qaeda, rather than the US, to kick his can out of Kuwait. Saddam ran a brutal regime, but he ran a secular regime along Hitlerian/Stalinist lines. He had no use for Islamists, and they had no use for him.

... you have to take him out because he is a serious threat to the U.S.'s national interests ...

The facts say that he was effectively neutered and a threat to no one -- which happened to be the administration's line right up until 9/11 (see the public statements by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to that effect).

After the above, it's all politics. Those mean old Democrats (many of whom voted for the war in Congress, btw) just wouldn't recognize the "reality" drawn for them by Dubyah, or by our hypothetical president. So, if he lied, it was because he had to lie about uranium from Niger and chemical weapons, in order to bend them to his will and save the country from those unmanned drones that could reach New York from Baghdad, and the hordes of ten-foot-tall, laser-beam-eyed robots that Saddam had stockpiled in his warehouse preparatory to the amphibious landing at Pensacola.

Gimme a break. "esr" is obviously blogging religion, not politics -- because it takes faith in contradiction to evidence to believe any of the twaddle he's peddling.

More coming.

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