quoted in the Vanity Fair article, now claims he “opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place.” He’s lying. More here.
I wasn’t really focused on this issue because it seems obvious that, on the one hand, Saddam Hussein is a monster who the world will be well rid of and, on the other hand, that convicting and executing Saddam won’t change anything that matters in Iraq or in the world. It is, however, actually worth noting a few things about this case. One, as Spencer notes in its zeal to avoid an international tribunal (Bush hates international law), we organized a total farce of a trial and wound up creating a kangaroo court to try a guilty man.
Global warming means that icebreaker ships will increasingly be able to traverse the fabled Northwest passage. As the Washington Post reports:
A relentless climb of temperature — 5 degrees in 30 years — is shrinking the Arctic ice and reawakening dreams of a 4,000-mile shortcut just shy of the North Pole, passing beside the Arctic’s beckoning oil and mineral riches.
When will the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Canadian Archipelago be “open to shipping all summer because of the ceaseless warming.” Some say it will still be many decades, while “Canada’s defense agency says 2015.” Given that global warming appears to be happening faster than most experts expected, I wouldn’t bet against the defense agency.
The Arctic has enormous oil resources, but, of course, the burning of oil is one of the principal sources of human-generated greenhouse gases. So If you look up “irony” in some not-so-distant-future dictionary, you may well see a picture of an oil tanker in ice-free polar waters filling up on an Arctic oil well.
Let’s hope that is not the ship of things to come.
GWU’s invaluable National Security Archive rounds up documents related to the 1999 “Operation Desert Crossing” war game here. Casual fans will probably want to read this after action report briefing the full report fleshes out some details, but doesn’t seem to me to introduce a ton of extra material and the miscellaneous emails are fun.
Scanning some of the reportage on these documents, one thing that I think often isn’t being made clear is that the “Desert Crossing” scenarios were assuming the presence of some kind of crisis to prompt US military intervention — either the collapse of Saddam’s regime due to internal factors, an imminent Iraqi threat to a regional ally, or something else along those lines. This isn’t a “how to” guide for an unprovoked American invasion, it’s an effort to find the best possible way to cope with a difficult situation. Note that it’s not very optimistic that the more far-reaching American goals are achievable. They say an Arab coalition will be necessary to have legitimacy in the area, but that such a coalition will make it hard and/or impossible to sustain a long-term American military presence or the establishment of a democracy. They also say it’ll be vital to secure Iranian cooperation, perhaps through lifting sanctions, and certainly not that a post-Saddam Iraq could be used as a base for launching anti-Iranian initiatives.
From a statement read in right-wing evangelical leader Ted Haggard’s church this morning: “The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There’s a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring with it all of my adult life.” Haggard previously denied having sex with a male prostitute.
Video at HuffPost.
Perle: I Only Agreed To Tell The Truth About Iraq If It ‘Would Not Be Published Before The Election’
In a new article in Vanity Fair, prominent neoconservative Richard Perle — one of the principle advocates of invading Iraq — blasts the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. Here’s some key excerpts:
[Bush] did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him…Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I’m getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, ‘Go design the campaign to do that.’ I had no responsibility for that.
Now, Perle is calling foul, saying he only agreed to tell the truth if it was published after the election. Here’s Perle in the National Review:
Vanity Fair has rushed to publish a few sound bites from a lengthy discussion with David Rose…I had been promised that my remarks would not be published before the election.
Another prominent conservative quoted in the article Eliot Cohen, has a different view. Cohen said, “thinking the government’s conduct of the Iraq war an entirely appropriate subject of political debate I do not think anyone should have kept mum in an interview of this kind until an election had passed.”
Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) — echoing Condoleeza Rice’s justification for the war — said that Saddam Hussein was “a madman who had in his focus the preparation of nuclear weapons.” Watch it:
Contrary to Dole’s claim, Saddam was not focusing on “the preparation of nuclear weapons” at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and hadn’t been for more than a dozen years. He also had no capability to restart the program. From the Duelfer report:
Saddam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. ISG found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program. … Although Saddam clearly assigned a high value to the nuclear progress and talent that had been developed up to the 1991 war, the program ended and the intellectual capital decayed in the succeeding years.
Transcript: Read more
Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace repeatedly pushed the incorrect right-wing talking point that the Missouri ballot initiative on stem cells would allow human cloning. Watch it:
The Missouri ballot initiative clearly prohibits human cloning and makes it a felony crime. The initiative reads, “No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.” The amendment does protect somatic cell nuclear transplant (SCNT), but it is not the same as human cloning, despite Wallace’s claim. Medical researchers, patient advocates, and others point out that the SCNT does not aim to duplicate a human being.
Additionally, as McCaskill notes, the initiative would actually tighten regulations for stem cell research by creating “a legal framework with sound ethical guidelines for this kind of research which frankly we don’t have in Missouri right now.”
Full transcript below: Read more
Via Jim Henley, a FOIA request unearths a 1999 war game “Desert Crossing” about a military campaign aimed at deposing Saddam Hussein. Various interesting conclusions in here, but the most interesting one, from my perspective, is the conclusion that “we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground.”
The widely-loathed and universally denounced Ann Coulter joins with the for-some-reason-considered-reputable Charles Krauthammer to argue that a 20-30 seat House swing in favor of the Democrats would be no big deal. They are, as Kevin Drum points out, totally full of shit.