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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Announcing The Iraq FAQ

Alright, this has to stop.

No matter how many posts I write, or comments I respond to (on my site and others), I always end up back where I started, making the same points over and over again. While it makes for good sport, I'd like to start seeing some progress. The dialogue on Iraq has been kept in neutral for too long by people whose entire position is based on a series of false premises.

Enter the Iraq FAQ. I only have a few ideas for how this will work and it's bound to change as it grows. In the beginning I plan to address some of the "Big Lies" coming out of the Left, but as news breaks or people pose new questions I'll explore those as well. Furthermore, if a reader responds with a well-documented comment that debunks the original answer, I will post that underneath (and then do my damnedest to debunk it).

Later today I'll post the first Q and A; in the meantime feel free to post Q's you'd like me to address. By the way, you Libs may want to dig out your copy of Fahrenheit 9/11, you'll be needing the propaganda later to wash that "truth taste" out of your mouths.

Is there a link between the events of 9/11 and Iraq?
The idea that Iraq "had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks [on 9/11]" is one of the cornerstones of the Anti-War movement. This begs the question "Who was primarily responsible for 9/11?" The answer, of course, is Al Qaeda (and this conclusion is documented at length in the 9/11 Commission report starting on page 145).

Having established this, a pre-9/11 connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda would therefore establish an indirect link between Iraq and 9/11 (the fact that it is "indirect" is hardly significant; Al Qaeda is a body without a country, requiring a direct link would preclude any action being taken against Al Qaeda outside of the US, where it would presumably be too late).

There are numerous pieces of evidence for a pre-9/11 connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda:

"In addition, Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that Al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, Al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."
  • The Mohammed Atta/Iraq connection. Although this is still in dispute, there continues to be strong evidence that one of the 9/11 hijackers met with an Iraqi Intelligence officer in 2001. See here and here for two detailed discussions of the evidence.
  • Evidence of Iraq's involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing presented to the 9/11 Commission. This is perhaps the most interesting piece of evidence because it suggests the Iraq would use Islamic terrorists in a psuedo-military strike.

These are a small handful of examples that I chose to research further. An exhaustive list of evidence can be found here.

While some of the evidence is more conclusive than others, and none of it represent a smoking gun, the preponderance of evidence erases any doubt that Iraq was actively engaged with Al Qaeda before 9/11.

That's not good enough Brash, I need a direct link!
Well, if that's the case you'll have to keep looking because no country played a direct role in 9/11. The evidence can all be found in the 9/11 Commission Report. Don't believe me? Let’s look at the facts:

  • Chapter 5 of the report (page 145) details the birth of the "planes operation". From the very beginning this was an all Al Qaeda production; the Taliban supplied safe haven for terrorists and funding (as the Taliban expected Al Qaeda to serve as a militia in future efforts to consolidate control of Afghanistan), but at no time did they participate in the plan itself.
  • When the Taliban learned of Bin Laden's plan, the leadership ordered him not to proceed. Bin Laden ignored them, gambling on the fact that they would not take action while Al Qaeda's cooperation was still needed for an assassination attempt on a leader of the Northern Alliance (page 252).

Of course some may consider the funding and offer of safe haven the equivalent of a direct link. By that rational, the same link can be made to Iraq.

While Al Qaeda was still in the early planning stages, the Iraqi government contacted Bin Laden and offered him safe haven in Iraq. The two groups met on a number of occasions, but Bin Laden ultimately rejected the offer because he was already established in Afghanistan (page 66). This is the same section with the oft quoted line "we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship". It wasn't for lack of trying; Bin Laden simply blew Saddam off.

Had Bin Laden accepted, the Iraqi government would have played the role of the Taliban on 9/11. Now ask yourself this question: If you solicit a hitman to do a job but he turns you down, do you still go to jail?


Blogger Nedhead said...

Answer me this, when planning the invasion, there was this between the Army and Rumsfeld:

"The Army, by contrast, was saying that beating Saddam Hussein was only part of the job. You needed then to think about what would happen afterwards, and towards that end, you needed more people than you would in the smallest possible expeditionary force.

The Army had both a specific and a larger metaphysical reason for wanting to have a lot of troops going in. The specific reason was their very precise argument that it would be harder to occupy Iraq than to conquer it. You would need a relatively small number of troops actually to beat Saddam Hussein's military, but then occupying this quite large and quite fractured country would be quite hard, and would take a lot of troops.

The Army War College study had worked out a very detailed checklist for how the military, and the Army in particular, should start thinking about the postwar, well before it actually went to war. One of their conclusions was that it was best to go in heavier than you actually needed to be, so that at the beginning of the postwar period your presence would be so intimidating that nobody would dare challenge you. You'd set a tone that would allow you then to draw down the forces very rapidly. So it was better to go in heavy and then draw down, than the reverse."

So it seems to me that the "Powers That Be" were given quite clear analysis that the cleanup of Iraq was going to be tough going. I want to know what justification the Administration had/has for not letting the American public know that we would be in for the long haul, when they knew at the beginning?

Taken from an interview with James Fallows at http://quietwaterweb.org/wp-content/sar.jpg

6/29/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Crackpot Press said...

"The dialogue on Iraq has been kept in neutral for too long by people whose entire position is based on a series of false premises."-BL

Brash, the whole Flingingflanging war is based on false premises.

I'm unclear if you are referring to me or you with this statement.

6/29/2005 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

"Brash, the whole Flingingflanging war is based on false premises. "

Um, actually that is the false premise, and not coincidentally the first Q in the FAQ. Hang tight, it will be up soon.

6/29/2005 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot wait. I am currently opening up a fresh tube of cookie dough so I may enjoy this properly.

6/29/2005 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

I gotta few:

-- Why does Saudi Arabia get a pass?

-- Why is Sadam bad but Karimov good? Or: why is Idealism good for one despot and Realism good for another?

-- When does Pakistan have to start acting like a normal goddamn country?

-- What has the Patriot Act actually accomplished?

-- Why is stupidity and/or dishonesty about WMD somehow okay?

-- Has anyone told Rumsfeld having hair like McNamara is probably not sending the right message? Fool should get a perm or something.

-- Is (double saving throw against sacriledge) "terrorism" something you can declare war on?

-- Why library books, I mean, really? What does one thing have to do with the other?

-- And, of course, who are these shadowy liberal elites you speak of? Do they control the Fed?

6/29/2005 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Thanks for (almost) all the questions. First ones up, have at it.

6/29/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

BTW, a follow up to my question, the Right likes to say that anyone who questions Iraq is not supporting our troops. But what better way to do a diservice to our troops than to disregard their expertise and advice?

6/29/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Prof. Galt said...

Some good questions Bobo, but I would try to leave false premises out of questions on false premises.

First, you assumed we were either stupid or lying about WMDs. You can argue either (and be wrong BTW) but don't put them in the questions.

Second, I like how many of your questions on Iraq had to do with terrorism (Patriot Act, Declaring war on terrorism). I'm glad you believe the the Iraq is part of the war on terror. But again, we shouldn't include that in a question. That's an argument.

And Finally, you assume a perm would not send the wrong message.

Anyway, it's clear what many of your questions are really about, so I hope Brash addresses them.

6/29/2005 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger MG said...

Just to throw this in the pot... the last link you referred to was by someone named Laurie Mylroie. I googled her name and see that she has been blaming Hussein for everything since 1990, which is when she stopped being a Hussein fan.

Running back to my house...

6/29/2005 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

That's a lovely Ad Hominem there Moxie, I don't suppose you have any critiques of her actual research?

6/29/2005 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Oberstgruppenfurher Galt --

Since the war is Iraq has been sold as the magnet by which we would draw in the scum of the earth in one final mindblowing conflagration of awe inspiring fury, I'm saying its fair to include "War" on "Terrorism" questions. The two are so tangled that it would be neigh on impossible from keeping one from contaminating the other.

And not to be too pedantic here, but I'm also guessing your thoughts are irrelevant on what counts as a question, right? Politics is largely semantics, I realize.

I'm sure the young squire has already has his silver bullets named and loaded.


Galt is a funny name for one so Statist.

6/29/2005 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

"While some of the evidence is more conclusive than others, and none of it represent a smoking gun, the preponderance of evidence erases any doubt that Iraq was actively engaged with Al Qaeda before 9/11."

But was Iraq involved directly with 9/11? You haven't proven that. It is my contention, after reviewing your evidence, that there is no doubt that Iraq had dealings with Al Queda, but there is no proof that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Using your logic, since the US supported and regularly communicated with the Taliban would we not then be responsible for 9/11, since the Taliban provided indisputable support to Al Queda? And this is not comparing apples to oranges. If it can be proved that Iraq was involved in 9/11 then do it.

6/29/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

I have a stupid question. Granted, this should surprise none.

If a Justice Department indictment from 1998 states the cooperation of Al Queda, why didn't Rumsfeld mention it in his 2004 interview saying there was no proof linking Iraq with 9/11?

Does the Justice Department not talk to Defense?

6/29/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Congrats, you just suggested the first follow up. That's a question I considered addressing, but they could be addressed seperately so people like you could at least cede the first point.

To clarify, what do you consider "indisputable support"?

6/29/2005 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Another damn question: Syria? WHAT THE HELL? Why do THESE guys get a pass??? The border with Syria is wide open. These guys BRAG about supporting terrorists. There's a probably a samba line from Damascus to down to Kirkuk.

6/29/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

People like me? What does that mean? You mean intelligent, witty, beautiful, charming, correct?

Indisputable support - clear and documentable financial support, clear and documentable political shelter for Al Qaeda leadership (not just minions spread throughout the globe), participation as part of a countries leadership. I got this from Wikipedia, online encyclopedia:

"Taking advantage of an invitation from some Afghan warlords, al-Qaeda returned to Afghanistan. There, bin Laden quickly established ties with the fledgling Taliban group, led by Mohammed Omar, and by providing funds and weapons at a crucial time helped the group rise to power. Thereafter al-Qaeda enjoyed the Taliban's protection and a measure of legitimacy as part of their Ministry of Defense." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda

6/29/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Do me a favor and never reference the Wikipedia on my website, it's worthless:

6/29/2005 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take the trendy psychological term "enable" and apply it to supporting the war in Iraq.

Regardless of the vice, the addicted emotionally manipulate those most available to help sustain their habit. It usually begins with a lie that convinces the enabler that assistance is morally justified. Once the lie is discredited, abusers then stretch facts and turn cartwheels to convince the enablers that all actions are well intended, even if the results are not what was originally promised. In really sick versions of codependency, the addicted persuade their supporters to accept dysfunctional behavior into the bondage of their primary relationship. Give the addict what he needs, and even share the addiction so that all can survive the bad times. Eventually together you will find the promised land.

Meanwhile, debts spiral out of control and the addiction destroys not only the addict but his enablers. The only way to break the cycle is to "just say NO."

I did not immediately understand in the weeks and months following 9/11 why so much emphasis was being placed on potential biological, chemical, even nuclear attacks. We were still pretty stunned that a group of gangsters had used our own commercial airliners to cause such enourmous damage. Why give them any ideas, even if those ideas already existed in our most primal nightmares?

At the same time, the administration focused immense attention on Saddam Hussein. Never mind the fact that his military power was completely in check and that we had him covered like a blanket with our no fly zones (and God knows how many spy satellites). It just so happened that this was the solitary bad boy who had previously used chemical and biological weapons, even if provided by ours truly. Assimilation of two remotely related issues led to a fearful conclusion by many Americans that Saddam could cause 9/11 to happen again.

We know how the hunt for WMD turned out, not that some other Americans were surprised. Many noticed a certain manipulative quality about Bush going to war as it played out with the U.N. (who more or less just said no from the beginning). Others wanted to support any military action their President deemed necessary, even if they didn't quite catch the logic. Still others believe to this day that the WMD are hidden away in Syria.

Whatever your excuse is now for supporting this administration's military policy, one thing is perfectly clear to the entire world. We are in too deep to get out.

Might as well face it, you're addicted to war.

6/29/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Thanks for that Anon. Think you have any energy left to actually address what I wrote?

The point of this FAQ is to prevent bizarre diatribes like the one you just gave us.

6/29/2005 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Might as well face it, you're addicted to war."

Beautiful... should be the conservative theme song. Too bad Robert Palmer isn't around to sing it anymore!

6/29/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, serious hat on now, in rebuttal to Senor Brash...

Again, I assert that there is no proof of a direct connection between Iraq and the Sep 11 attacks. Let's examine the evidence that you cite to the contrary:

1. The 1998 Indictment
An indictment is simply a formal written statement by a grand jury that says "hey, there's some evidence here that may indicate a crime." It is not a rigorous examination of that evidence to determine its accuracy.

2. Mohammed Atta
To say this proves anything is no more valid than saying that everyone who smuggles marijuana across the border from Tiajuana to Texas are secretly working for the Mexican government.

3. 1993 World Trade Center
The testimony presented comes from Laurie Mylroie, who is clearly not an neutral analyst but someone with a personal agenda.

6/29/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

typical name-calling response...

6/29/2005 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Crackpot Press said...


I would make fun of your name... if you had one. Get an account, it's easier than liberry card.

I'm confused what I am supposed to be reading? Where is this Iraq Manifesto?

Is it more Republicans lies or did I just spend to much time at Happy Hour...

6/29/2005 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Patience Crackpot, it's work in progress. Hit Refresh if you don't have the first Q up.

6/29/2005 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

1.)That's all I claimed it was, evidence. To make the reverse argument, you don't just make stuff up at an indictment either, it has to be based on something.

2.)Gonna have to be more descriptive than that, I'm not sure of your point.

3.) Took a quick look at that article. One would think you wouldn't want to prove a claim of bias with a terribly biased article. That said I'll read through it later and make a correction if it makes the case.

Finally, this is evidence of an Indirect connection, I'll address the direct connection tonight or tomorrow.

6/29/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Read the article, wasn't impressed. An obvious hit piece. Are her theories 100% proven? No, but she's no quack either. Hell read her resume. Better yet, read this defense in her own words, published after the article you sent:

She's disputed yes, but not discredited (why would they have let her testify for the commision if that was the case?). Until you do better the evidence stands.

6/29/2005 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, cp. I don't see anyone else using a real name, so I'll stick with it. Brash, try reading my diatribe a little more slowly. Then I'll get around to reading your FAQ.

6/29/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

It's meaningless, it has no point, I've read it three times now and it just a meandering scattershot critique of the last 3 years.

I've laid out a specific, documented case. And anyways, you came to my site, so I assume you'd be interested in what I have to say. Or are you just the type of person who kicks in peoples doors and starts yelling at them?

6/29/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Brash, good point about evidence. My dictionary says it is a "sign or indication" that points toward a certain conclusion. I'll grant you that there is a significant volume of evidence that points toward Iraq in a very hazy way. What you've not convinced me is that there was sufficient evidence to go to war. That should require an exceptional burden of proof. There is just as much evidence of a similar nature in the other direction that Bush was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq and seized on this.

My point on the Mohammed Atta thing was that I'm sure plenty of terrorists passed through Iraq pre Sep 11 but it doesn't follow that they were in cahoots with Saddam. It would be the same as saying that someone smuggling pot into Texas from south of the border must be in league with the Mexican government. I did read the link. Don't you think the "meeting with a Hamburg student" is pretty flimsy?

Finally, I have now googled and read several links (including yours) and now know more about Laurie Mylroie than I ever wanted to in this lifetime. Both sides of the fence are making pretty extreme arguments. It's very difficult to get a sense of what is accurate and impartial analysis vs. what is ideologically motivated. Seems to me that concluding that Iraq sponsored terrorism back in 1993 makes her biased in regards to the 2001 attacks.

6/29/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading my ramblings three times. Sometimes using metaphors can make a point more clearly to readers who are open to that point. My point is that the relationship between our country and our elected leadership is becoming very poisoned due to the ineffectiveness of that leadership.

The situation really is a lot like codependency. We all care about our country, but I just keep wanting to say "No." I never have bought into the military action in Iraq. I am fortunate enough to have a friend who served there with distinction (a high ranking officer in the Marine Reserves) whose opinion I trust, so I'm not totally misinformed. In a nutshell, extremism for either side of the "war on terror" is pretty much a mute point given the extremities of the actual situation.

I teach, so I have a little spare time this summer. Came across your blog and thought I'd have some fun. I promise to read your FAQ when its all there. I may want to set up my own blog at some point so that I can blow off some steam and have people knock down my doors.

John Zacharias, Grand Prairie, TX.

6/29/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

"Had Bin Laden accepted, the Iraqi government would have played the role of the Taliban on 9/11. Now ask yourself this question: If you solicit a hitman to do a job but he turns you down, do you still go to jail?"

Probable intent?? This is the direct link?? Probable intent?

It may valid evidence for Iraq's prior knowledge, but they didn't pull the trigger.

I think you should move that up to the circumstancial evidence.

And a thought experiment: You're a dictator. You're country is sovereign in name only. Your recently dessimated military is equipped with outdated weapons. Two thirds of your country is owned by the air forces of two countries. The northern third of your country has pretty much decided to form it's own country and there's nothing you can do about it.

You are very, very rich, you like being rich, in fact you are so into being rich you pretty exist for you youself alone.

Why risk it all on attacking the country who can take you out with impunity, the country by whose pleasure you keep your job and all the jobs of your relatives? And you know you'd be the first suspect. And you're part of the religous minority that rules the larger religious majority through fear.

How is adding a superpower invasion to that mix smart? Where is the motivation?

6/30/2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

Saddam likes poker, but Bush called his bluff.

6/30/2005 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Had Bin Laden accepted, the Iraqi government would have played the role of the Taliban on 9/11. Now ask yourself this question: If you solicit a hitman to do a job but he turns you down, do you still go to jail?"

OK, let's see... Saddam solicits Bin Laden to be his "hit man" for 9/11, but Bin says no. So Bin then goes to Afghanistan to carry out 9/11 with the Taleban's non-blessing but they need Bin to assasinate a leader of the Northern Alliance. This doesn't make any sense. You've got the solicitor and the hitman reversed here. The real question is "if you are solicited to harbor a hitman and you don't, do you still go to jail?" No, but if you've got wealth, someone might intentionally confuse your involvement in the whole affair to justify stealing it.

7/26/2005 04:09:00 AM  
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