Arena: Fighting the Good Fight

Saturday, May 17, 2003

There are some on the right who are really not concerned as to the fate of the weapons. The reason I am not going to let it go is because of what it implies about the process that Bush and Co. employed to lead our nation to war. Again, say we took 3,000 casualties, and nobody completely ruled out such a figure. In human terms, that would have been the equivalent of a self-inflicted 9-11. That's a lot of death, and I think that if such a scenario occurred we would be seeing a lot more heat put on the admin. about the WMD. The reason Powell went to the UN was to prove once and for all that Iraq was in clear violation of the treaty which ended the first gulf war. To me, the UN today is a joke, but if the evidence Powell brought there earlier this spring is never substantiated, the joke may very well be on us. Somebody knows the status of these weapons, and I am not going to rest until we know about them as well.


And here is the final scenario as to what happened to the WMD:

3. Looters have taken the WMD

Frighteningly, this case is growing more and more likely. I doubt that the looters have taken everything, but it is certain that looters have been to many sites already. This raises a very important question: if the Bush team knew that these sites might have contained WMD and related materials, and they knew that they were likely to be looted, why didn't they immediately move in people to take and defend those sites? After all, to find the "smoking gun" at the beginning of the war would have been instant justification in the minds of many. The reason Iraq presented a threat to us was because they had these weapons and could have passed them along to terrorists. Again, I'd say there are three possible scenarios.

A. Bush didn't consider the looting

B. Bush didn't care whether or not the WMD stuff got loose

C. Bush did not believe that these sites held WMD and related materials

They had to have figured in that looting would occur at pretty much any unguarded place. Further, after the first looting occurred, they could have easily figured things out and moved people, so I don't think that A was the case. If case B turns out to be true, and if we find out that there was U.N.- banned stuff in these places and that they fell into the hands of other people, then things are going to get serious. Heads will roll if we wind up getting attacked with the very weapons we were trying to destroy. There would be absolutely no excuse for not getting to these sites. We have Special Forces, Blackhawk helicopters, Army Rangers, all sorts of highly mobilized units that could have done this. If case C is true, then it must be assumed that the Bush team believes that none of the sites on their list contain the weapons, because all of them could be getting looted as we speak

It is true that Saddam was a terrible person and, because of the atrocities he committed against his people, he probably deserved to be ousted. It is also true that Saddam was a financier of Palestinian terrorism, and that he had ambitions of uniting the Arab world against the west. There are theories out there that say that Iraq is only another stepping stone in our efforts to stop terrorism, because to do so involves fixing the Middle East by removing dictators and installing democracies. In short, there were reasons out there to justify this war. If the Bush administration lied to us about the WMD threat, then it was absolutely idiotic that they did so. It hurts our credibility and makes us Americans look like morons. However, and I am not saying that this is a justification: what we have done scares the people in the Middle East. It says, look, we didn't even have good evidence and we took out Saddam because we didn't like him. And maybe if we decide we don't like you, then you're next. The Middle East understands violence and fear, and regardless of the justification of this war, it is true that these countries are afraid. However, I am not so sure how comfortable I feel living in a country that operates this way.


Friday, May 16, 2003

You Cannot Be Serious!

The Outrage of the Week

This week, we go to Texas, where there occurred a tale of our government in action that you will not likely ever see in an 8th grade Civics book:

"Fifty-one fugitive Democratic lawmakers declared victory Thursday in their scheme to scuttle a GOP redistricting effort and returned to Texas from self-imposed exile in Oklahoma."

Is this the way democratic government is supposed to work? When you don't like something, just leave? We have built into our system of government checks and balances, so that if something unfair happens in one branch, the other is there to right it. Outrageous.


Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Contrary to popular belief, you can make a difference.

Sina has been released, but he now faces trial in Iran, and, unfortunately, may be sent back to jail. However, this is an important victory not so much as Sina is concerned, but because people are starting to realize the sheer power of free speech the weblog represents. Jeff Jarvis has been all over the Sina situation, and has become one of the main blogger conduits to the Iranian world. Here is an excerpt from a piece he just wrote:

"...Says Iranian weblog pioneer Derskhahan, "I think weblogs are very powerful in the absence of free press. However, even free press cannot be as transparent and diverse as weblogs. So weblogs in Iraq will help the world know more about them, will help the government know about what exactly people think of them and will help people to get used to the idea of tolerance and individuality."

Vibrant weblogs will prove to the Iraqi people that we and they have nothing to fear from free speech. They will involve the youth of the nation in building their future. They will build bridges, in many languages, to people around the world.

They will demonstrate the power of freedom and democracy."

As The Instapundit would say, read the whole thing.


Treacher is my imam.


"A male spiritual and temporal leader regarded by Shiites as a descendant of Muhammad divinely appointed to guide humans."


Karl can't save you now, fatboy.

Disney reportedly drops Moore's anti-Bush project


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

This, well, pretty much speaks for itself:

Texas House paralyzed by Democratic walkout

"With action in the Texas House brought to a standstill, roughly 50 state Democratic representatives said they would remain in neighboring Oklahoma "as long as it takes" to block a Republican-drawn redistricting plan that could cost them five seats in Congress."


More on the Illinois hazing.

A second student suspended after participating in a videotaped hazing incident filed a lawsuit Tuesday to prevent the punishment from being enforced. The girl, listed as Jane Doe, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Chancery Court against William Eike, Glenbrook North High School's dean of students.

The lawsuit seeks an emergency injunction against the suspension, an official in the clerk's office said.

The lawsuit came as the school announced it has now suspended 32 seniors, 28 girls and four boys, for their involvement in the incident. School officials would not say what role the boys played.

Did this whole story get overhyped? Probably. Was the reason the fact that it was girls doing the hazing? Yep. However, the brutality is there whether you like it or not. Just watch the video. The fact that it was girls doing the brutalizing makes it more shocking, but if I had seen boys doing this to other boys, I would have been outraged none the less. This wasn't a "powder-puff" football game, it was assault, and it should be treated as such.


The Bush administration is getting tough with Cuba:

The Bush administration ordered the expulsion of 14 Cuban diplomats -- seven from the United Nations (search) and seven from Washington -- for engaging in "inappropriate and unacceptable activities."
The expulsion order, announced Tuesday, is by far the largest of six over the years that have involved Cuban diplomats.

Castro gets a lot of sympathy for some reason, but he hardly deserves it. The guy is a tyrant and a human rights abuser. Although, he is smart enough not to have gotten involved with terrorists...he's lucky he didn't.


Alright, here is WMD scenario 2. If anyone has something to add to these scenario lists, let me know.

2. The Iraqis hid their WMD somewhere and they have yet to be found

  1. The weapons and equipment are hidden in Iraq

  2. The weapons and equipment are hidden in Syria

  3. The weapons and equipment are somewhere else in the world

Here, regardless of when they were hidden, Bush and co. are absolved of any wrongdoing. Nobody denies the fact that Saddam is one sneaky SOB, and he may have gone to unprecedented lengths to ensure that these weapons would never be found. As one theory goes, Saddam believed that if he could hold out long enough, then the anti-war crowd of the world would eventually force the U.S. to back off. To achieve that, it was imperative that the inspectors find absolutely nothing, so Saddam may have put them so far out of reach that they were unavailable to be used during the war. Of these three cases, I would first say that A is the most likely. Why would Syria want those weapons over there? True, the leadership there is Baathist as well, but do they really want the scrutiny of the world focused on them? I think C is unlikely, primarily because I don't know of anyone else willing to take the weapons.
Unfortunately, given the amount searching already done as well as the top dogs we have arrested, case A looks less likely. However, it is known that France had kept Saddam informed of communications between U.S. officials and those in Paris. There was time last year when we had just begun talking about Iraq, and so the French could have tipped him off. Saddam might have decided to move the WMD to Syria, which was probably unaware at that point, as was the rest of the world, of the will of the Bush administration. Therefore, I would say that if the stuff is indeed hidden, it is probably in Syria.


Monday, May 12, 2003

If you want to know about Iraq's suspected WMD capabilities and the inspection process, IraqWatch has a ton of great information.


Sunday, May 11, 2003

For the next three installments, I will be discussing the Iraqi WMD in that I will trying to answer the question, "Where are the weapons of mass destruction and the means to create them?"

I believe that it is likely that the amount of weapons of mass destruction claimed by the Bush administration no longer exist in Iraq. We have captured a number of top individuals and have searched a number of sites during the last month, but we have come up with, sadly, nothing. Even if it turns out that there weren't any actual battle-ready weapons, I would have been satisfied with finding all the equipment that was designed to produce those weapons. To my knowledge, we have not even found any equipment. A lot of people are getting frustrated over in Iraq, and I am starting to get frustrated myself.

"The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war."

It is premature to start casting accusations just yet I believe, and the search needs to continue, but it is time to start looking at the possible scenarios that have led to what appears to be an intelligence failure of massive proportions. It could also be that the intelligence was dead on, but that it was severely manipulated. That is a matter in of itself, but, for simplicity, I will try to discuss the different possibilities without delving too much into the motives and intentions involved.

1. The Iraqis completely destroyed their WMD and related programs.

  1. Destruction occurred prior to the inspections which began in Dec. 2002

  2. Destruction occurred during the latest round of inspections

  3. Destruction occured after the start of the war

First, what do I mean by completely destroyed? Obviously, if Iraq has a gram or two of anthrax stored in a cave somewhere, the threat that they pose to the U.S. is certainly dubious. However, the UN resolution that governed the end of the first Gulf War strictly forbade Iraq from possessing any of these weapons or the means to create them, so when I say completely destroyed, I mean not a trace. You can have all the scientists you want, but if you don't have the equipment, you are not going to be able to create the weapons. The idea was, in my opinion, to scare Saddam into fully cooperating by massing troops along the border. The point being that he refused to comply, then we would eventually go in there and disarm him by force.

If case A is true, then there needs to be a criminal investigation launched into the matter of how all the purported evidence got spun around. This is the worst-case scenario for Bush and would be a gigantic embarrassment for our nation. It also makes France, Germany, and Russia look at lot more credible. However, if it is true, then we must also ask why Iraq failed to communicate this to Hans Blix and the inspectors, whose job it was to ensure that Iraq had fully disarmed. Blix's reports always stated that Iraq was being uncooperative and that the whereabouts of substantial amounts of chemical and biological agents were still undetermined. Saddam was once again actively hindering the inspectors' progress. That is what doesn't make any sense to me. Why would Saddam continue with the obfuscation? Why the minders? Was he worried about them seeing all the human rights violations? Doubtful, because people have known about them for some time. Did he truly think they were American spies scanning for possible attack sites? This may be what happened, because the guy was extremely paranoid, but, at the same time, he must have seen that the reports Blix gave all ended up damning him because of the lack of cooperation.

If case B is true, then somewhat less blame on us, but the same amount on Blix and the Iraqis. It boggles my mind picturing Saddam, knowing that we have our troops ready to go in there and annihilate him, and knowing that he has destroyed all of the WMD, yet somehow being unable to transfer this information to Blix and the UN. Here, as well as in case A, we would have to start looking at "what people knew." If Bush knew that Iraq was clean and still launched the attack, then he may have done something impeachable. However, if nobody believed that the weapons were destroyed, and they actually were, then it is more of an intelligence failure.

If case C is true, then Bush and the intelligence community are absolved of any wrongdoing. However, I don't think this scenario is very likely. First, why would the Baathists destroy the weapons after the war had begun? I think they would have been much more likely to use them rather than destroy them. Therefore, I doubt that case C actually happened. I just don't think that any of these scenarios is very likely. Saddam has devoted considerable resources to his weapons programs and has been trying build a nuke since the seventies. He obviously learned how to work around the inspections in the past, so why would this new round frighten him? Of course, that is just my speculation.

Next scenario will be: "2. The Iraqis hid their WMD somewhere and they have yet to be found."


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