21st March 21:57
War mongers or just lazy?
War mongers or just lazy?
Commentary by Dan Meisler
America is either populated with lazy people with attention spans shorter
than that of a mouse, or we are a war-mongering country so intent on flexing
our military muscle that we don't need any real justification.
Those are the only two conclusions possible considering the collective
reaction of the country to the disclosure that a key assertion of the Bush
administration leading up to the war in Iraq -- that Saddam recently tried
to obtain uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger --
is based on forged do***ents and is completely false. Worse, the assertion
was known by many in the intelligence community to be false before President
Bush made it in his State of the Union address in January.
When the news broke, it seemed that most Americans either yawned or changed
the channel to some "reality" show with a title like "Who Wants to Marry My
Billionaire Grandfather, Celebrity Version."
As compelling as that type of show is, it's staggering that the Bush
administration's seemingly conscious use of falsehoods to justify the war
has received essentially a non-reaction.
Some pundits say it doesn't really matter -- everyone in the world knew
Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and wanted to obtain nuclear weapons.
So whether or not the Niger uranium claim is true or false, the U.S. was
justified in invading Iraq.
That argument fails to take into account a key factor in the debate leading
up to the war: Americans were trying to ascertain the degree of the threat
posed by Saddam.
That's why the Niger uranium assertion was so important.
If Saddam was actively trying to get nuclear weapons, the case for war was
much easier to make. If, however, he wasn't, the claim that Saddam was an
immediate threat to America and thus immediate action was necessary was much
more of a stretch.
To their credit, some Democrats have been rising to the occasion and calling
for a public investigation to answer that seemingly timeless question: Who
knew what and when did they know it?
Most of those raising objections have been Democratic candidates for
president (which, if current trends continue, soon could make up a
significant portion of the electorate).
But this shouldn't be a partisan issue. If it comes to light that the
president knowingly lied when trying to convince the nation that war was
justified, why shouldn't all Americans be outraged?
This would be a case in which our leader told falsehoods to make it more
palatable to send us into an unprecedented, aggressive military campaign.
Don't we want to know whether that indeed happened?
We were all justifiably up in arms when Bill Clinton lied about ***. It
appears Bush may have lied about something much more important, despite CIA
head George Tenet's attempt to take the blame.
But I guess we're more interested in being distracted by titillating
"reality" shows than paying enough attention to learn whether Bush and his
administration manipulated the entire country.
25th March 14:04
War mongers or just lazy?
I think what everyone sort of understands under it all is: that this is,
in however misguided a way, pay back for 9/11. We are taking away
Islamic Oil so they can't use it to pay for another attack like that.
That is why even though the Bush administration has admitted that this
was premeditated on the grounds of shakey evidence, popularity for the
President is still strong.
It is still and always will be a question of: Are we going to let them
get away with this? We are like the teacher who has been hit with a
paper airplane with his back turned, and is now punishing the kid who
always gets in trouble.
Al Qa-eda still roams free obviously with the attack in Riyad. I
personally think that we should be going after the root cause of this
and the fact that we are hitting targets that have very little to do
with terrorism. It is a sign that they have embarassing little evidence
of exactly who and where the perpetrators actually are. The lapse in the
intelligence community has gone through a very decadent time after the
cold war and I think they are getting soft. I have yet to hear of any
sucesses from this so-called Homeland Security department.
I think we should be asking hard questions of this intelligence
community. Are they getting lax and sloppy? What are they doing to get
the job done? How many of them are trained in the Arabic language and
culture? It is awfully convenient to be able to hide your 3-month
evaluation because of "National Secutity".
I think more hard questions should be levelled at the CIA and NSA as to
why they could crack a large terrorist organisation living in our own
country. If the answer is because they didn't have people trained to
infiltrate anything other than English-speaking organizations, changes
must be made. And at the top level. George Tenet, head of the CIA, seems
to be getting a lot of praise these days even though this happened on
his watch. This is a man who hounded one of his predecessors, a former
MIT professor, John Deutch with a frivolous security lawsuit. I think
maybe this may be a political appointment that they are afraid to say
boo at. The guy screwed up. Big time. And he is still there.
If it is time to shake things up and make things better after 9/11 - I
think it is also time to look in the mirror and ask if this could bave