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Getting Out

Who let Saddam’s goodies slip away? A critical choir. Plus: We’re all neocons now. A post-Newdow roundtable. And more.

6.18.04

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LATEST SCOOPS
Re: Steven Martinovich's Another Ignored Discovery:

Contrary to his story, the real story is how, after the invasion, the U.S. let so much of this stuff get out of Iraq, in another example of what goes wrong with not enough troops and no advance preparation. Nice try at spinning, Spectator.
-- Steve Snyder

The discovery that a ballistic missile site near Baghdad was dismantled and shipped out of Iraq as scrap between May 2003 and February 2004 says less about WMD (which the author admits the facility was not) and a lot more about how the occupation of Iraq was completely bungled after the Hussein regime was dismantled.
-- Duff Bailey

Baloney! Mr. Martinovich's only fact is Mr. Perricos' photos of a ballistic missile site that was present in May 2003 and missing in February 2004. The Iraqi army was in shambles in March 2003 and the U.S. declared an end to major combat operations on May 1, 2003. Saddam Hussein is running for his life and probably living in holes in the ground like the one in which he was found. How is he shipping WMD out of Iraq as scrap metal during the period of May, 2003 and February 2004? Perricos has no evidence that the scrap metal findings are not the result of the wholesale looting of Iraq by Iraqis that took place under the noses of U.S. troops. The reason Perricos' report was of little interest to the media is because it is crap. No story here, just the ramblings of a neo-con.
-- Jim Breef

In regard to Steven Martinovich's "Another Ignored Discovery" I am thoroughly disgusted with the media's focus on ignoring everything in the Iraq conflict and indeed in foreign affairs in general that they cannot blow out of proportion and blame on President Bush. Witness the President's audience with the Pope. The two men traded compliments, agreed they disagreed on a few things, Mr. Bush presented a medal to the Pope, the Pope said "God bless America, and what were the headlines from our "fair and balanced" journalists the next day? "Pope Rebukes Bush!" In fact the Pope praised Bush.

The problem is: What is to be done? The so-called mainstream press in the U.S. is simply an organ of the American Socialist left (read that: national Democratic Party). My solution, arrived at years ago, was to refuse to buy left wing papers. I grew up with the Baltimore Sun (known locally as the Baltimore Pravda). About ten years ago I switched to the Washington Times. I challenge you -- read the Washington Times for three months and then go back and read the Baltimore Sun. What you will find is the articles, commentary and editorials in the Sun are inseparable and none of them make a damn bit of sense. Ditto television news -- just don't watch the major networks -- their entire agenda is to return the Democratic Socialist elite to power. It's boycott time--who will go along?
-- W. G. Wheatley
Worton, Maryland

Everything Mr. Martinovich said is and should be in the mainstream media for all to see, BUT when the Bush administration was trying ever so hard to sell the war the public, they drilled into our collective brains that Iraq "HAS weapons of mass destruction," they made it seem that these things were lying around the country-side waiting to be used. Mr. Colin Powell had the audacity to even claim that weapons were in the palm trees lining the Baghdad streets.

The weapons inspectors after the Gulf War repeatedly said that the weapons they did find back then were destroyed. If all these chemical and nuclear weapons and factories and people that produced these weapons were shipped out of the country, I'm sorry, but NO ONE NOTICED?? With the technology we have at our disposal, no one noticed this activity? Oh that's right, our so-called technology also pinpointed weapons hidden in the palm trees.

So excuse us for thinking that his reasoning for going to war (remember...to disarm Saddam?) has been tainted since the invasion began over a year ago. If you're brainwashed into thinking something is for real then that reality turns out to be not so real, then how can anyone ever believe what this Administration says? Reminds me of the USSR and the propaganda they used to shove into the faces of their citizens. Even after the 9/11 Commission posts its results, Bush and company will totally ignore their findings and still try to drum into our "American Idol-washed" brains that Saddam has weapons and that he was behind the terrorist attacks. Which reminds me, he also said there would be peace in the Middle East once Saddam is captured and "brought to justice." Okay...still waiting for that "peace".
-- S. G.

Hey, a hot news item, J. H. Hatfield story about a cocaine bust by the president. Go get him, guys. It's great to see upstanding journalism willing to go after a sitting president. I understand G.H. Bush suppressed the story. If anyone can dig up the story, I know You guys can!
-- Luis Flores

I just read the article "Another Ignored Discovery." Is your writer
on Crack?

Seriously, "after the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction and medium-range ballistic missiles" -- I thought that after the war Saddam was too busy hiding in rat holes to ship anything?

Plus, how does anyone ship anything out of Iraq, say to the Netherlands, without coalition troops knowing about it, seeing as they control all air and sea transportation?

I don't know the exact extent of the resources that Bush has set aside for the hunting down of WMD, but I have read that it is substantial and considering that coalition forces have occupied Iraq for over a year and still have found nothing, odds are they will keep on finding nothing ... especially after the extensive interrogations and reward money that has been offered and still nothing!

Just my two cents ...
-- Harry Jansen

Mr. Martinovich's rehashing of missile parts exports et al. leaves out some important facts. Nobody asserts that the supposed missile development program was anything other than an attempt by Saddam to cheat by a couple hundred kilometers on the range of the most advanced missile. Why should we worry that these parts surfaced in Rotterdam, or even Jordan? Should Holland be added to the axis of evil?

Mr. Martinovich's most glaring (and unattributed) statement is that a reactor vessel for the fermentation of chemical and biological weapons was on the missile site (now disappeared). How convenient and how disingenuous. Where is the proof? Or should we just take Mr. M's word on it?

The tired refrain about the California-size of Iraq holds no water either. One-third of the country was in Kurdish hands (our erstwhile allies, before they were frozen out of most of the nation building) and the another third populated mostly by the oppressed Shia majority. That knocks down the purported hiding places to something less than California. Let's start talking about finding something in a part of a country the size of Wisconsin and let's continue to proclaim that the best-trained, best-equipped military in the world is on the job, getting useful information from happy, cooperative naked men in U.S.-run resorts in Iraq.
-- Gary Valley

HONOR BOUND
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Let Them East Deer:

I've enjoyed your work, both serious and humorous, for quite some time. To this day, one of the funniest lines I've ever read was the simple statement, in Current Wisdom many years ago: "Anna Quindlen is on vacation."

But you have outdone yourself, for I have never seen a more hilarious formulation than: "If the French and the Germans have any sense of honor …"

This is the first good laugh I've had since President Reagan passed away. Thank you and keep up the good work.
-- Harris Abrams
Holland, Pennsylvania

MRS. KERRY'S CARES
Re: Jacob Laksin's Mrs. Spin:

Mrs. Heinz Kerry expresses her disdain for Republicans (vis-à-vis Max Cleland's injuries): "Three limbs and all I could think was, 'What does the Republican party need, a fourth limb to make a person a hero?' And this coming from people who have not served. I was really offended by that."

She did not take offense when the Heinz Kerry-funded Independent Media Center wrote, in reference to Cleland: "Dumb Drunk Blows Off Limbs in Vietnam."

Oops, my mistake, that was "Dumb Jock Killed in Afghanistan," and it was in reference to Pat Tillman.
-- Dan Martin
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

WE'RE ALL NEOCONS NOW
Stefan Halper & Jonathan Clarke's Would Ronald Reagan Have Attacked Iraq and Neoconservatism, Iraq, and Reagan and Peter J. Wallison's Reagan, Iraq, and Neoconservatism:

I am not sure what world Messrs. Halper and Clarke remember before Dubya rode into town, but it's a shame the neo's have destroyed it. It must have been nice. How else could they write, "The neo-conservative approach to democracy... has produced a resurgence of worldwide anti-Americanism [and] the achievement of America's goals is further away than ever before." I guess they see the first WTC bombing, Khobar towers, the embassy bombings, and the USS Cole's near destruction as expressions of pro-American sentiment. The resurgence seems to me hardly worse than the presurgence. As for America's goals, pre-Dubya, WERE there any besides the self-absorbed image in Clinton's mirror? Maybe the authors could get him back to do another apology tour, now that we all see how stunningly effective the first
one was.
-- Len Price
Evergreen, Alabama

It is amusing to watch Halper and Clarke try to promote the Cold War approach to the Soviet Union as the correct approach to deal with Islamo-Fascism. This smells of trying to fight the last war. The principle that we can learn from Reagan is that we need to take action against our enemy and call him by name. Ignoring the enemy and dressing him with qualities he does not have is delusional. The Soviets of course had nuclear weapons and a very large conventional army so we were wise to take a patient approach. This approach was not risk free. It required a 40+ year war that had some very dangerous moments. It is ironic that as the Reagan approach became more aggressive the consequences that some predicted from his aggression sound strangely like the consequences that Halper and Clarke predict for our current policy.

If the Islamo-Fascists had a nuclear weapon does anybody feel confident that it would not be used? This is a key difference with the Soviets and why we can not use the same strategy. We believed they wouldn't use these weapons if they were confident of a severe response. I don't think that this assumption can be made about our current enemy. Waiting around and trying to get others to fight our battles will end badly for us. Secondly the Muslim world does not look at all like the Soviet world. It is filled with irrational contradictions. The Saudi ruling class likes to sell us oil but at the same time supports one of the belligerent forms of Islam that we are fighting. Saddam was a secular dictator but had ties with religious terrorists. Iran is run by Shia terrorists but has cooperated with Sunni terrorists. In all cases lots of oil money is finding its way into the hands of terrorists. Out of this mess we must find a strategy that attacks our enemies while at the same time doesn't cripple our economy. Our enemies liked Iraq the way it was and fear what it might become. This is almost enough reason to do what we have done.

The tried and true policies of the Cold War led to 9/11. There was a series of escalating attacks that ended (for now) in 9/11. Each time we gave blustery, ineffective measured responses that only convinced our enemy that we were weak and encouraged him to act again. I am still shocked by the view of the Islamic world that I received after 9/11. It wasn't the one that scholars and the press had led me to believe before 9/11. They apparently thought it was best that I didn't know that these people wanted to kill me and were taking steps to do so. To academic ideologues it is much better to make the facts bend to their theories. America can no longer look at itself as an island. It is nice to have allies but if sweetheart oil deals get in the way our country needs to protect its citizens as a first priority. As in World War II, once we destroy a government we need to replace it with something. That is what we are doing. There is lots of talk of democracy presently but I remind you of the order things happened. First we were attacked, then we responded militarily (we are not through yet). Finally we are forming a government. We are not invading Zimbabwe, China, or for that matter Massachusetts to restore them from their Judicial oligarchy. There is no global crusade for democracy. There is only democracy propaganda which is not unprecedented.
-- Clif Briner

Halper and Clarke are [wrong]. The best you might be able to say of them is that they are true to the appeasement proclivity in their country. Let me put it plainly--- they end by saying:

"Under neoconservative stewardship, the achievement of America's goals is further away that ever."

This is equal to saying up is down or dead is alive. They have it exactly backward. What is America's sine qua non goal? To continue to exist! Despite all their nitwit nit picking, they miss this primary fact. The insight that permeates neoconservative thinking and actions was, as Wallison noted, clearly expressed by Krauthammer. As I understand it, humanity is indeed in a world war and will be for a long time. The infection of Islam by the Wahabi cancer is deep and widespread, and vastly overshadows a concern for just Iraq.

In short, neoconservatives, epitomized by Richard Perle and David Frum (whose book is a tell it all like it is), realize that in order for America to survive, she has no choice but to fight like heaven to rid the world of the hell that is Islamofascism. The reason Israel has been a daily news story for all my life is that what's been going on in that war zone transcends REASON, which is to say, RELIGION. It's the old wound---Civilization ever battles Barbarism. The very simple fact is that the whole world IS Israel, now, meaning that the battlefield is EVERYWHERE.

Whatever a "neoconservative" is, and whatever "facts" and "analyses" and "reasons" a critic may cleverly adduce to their beliefs and actions, when the current war is reduced to merely nasty pin prick small scale acts of destruction that are perpetrated less and less frequently, we can come to a happy agreement that we healed humanity's Islamofascist cancer enough to guarantee its continuance as a civilized world.
--James Crystal

SUPREME WISDOM
Re: John McGinnis's letter (under "Newdow Done") in Reader Mail's Underwhelmed:

John McGinnis, like so many other aroused citizens, misses the point in the Newdow case. Newdow filed his case in Federal Court. The thrust of his complaint was not about parental rights, but about what he perceived as a Constitutional issue. Since he personally was not being affected by the Pledge of Allegiance, he had no "standing to sue" so he attempted to bypass this legal restriction by filing suit in the name of his daughter. However, by filing in Federal Court he is constrained by federal law which -- as Mr. McGinnis notes is not concerned with Family Law -- requires that a person filing suit on behalf of another person must have a custodial relationship with that person, whether it be as a parent, or a guardian, or the like. Mr. Newdow at the time he filed did not have this essential relationship. Therefore, the Supreme Court was quite right to not consider his complaint "on the merits."

Getting a complaint before the Supreme Court is difficult, as it should be considering the limitations of nine Justices to consider the flood of aggrieved persons who clamor for attention. One of the requirements is that an issue be "ripe," a concept too involved to go into here. Suffice it to say that since Newdow was not a "proper plaintiff" any ruling the Court might make on his complaint would not be binding, and thus the case was not "ripe." If the issue Mr. Newdow wished to address were to be filed by someone having the requisite "standing to sue," the Supremes might well address the real issues at that time. Or again, they might not.

However, their response to Newdow makes no new law and is therefore not binding on any of the subjects Mr. Newdow attempted to address. Thus Mr. McGinnis's conclusion is in error. It should correctly read: "The ruling of the Court on the custodial issue will [not] seriously impact family [law] issues in the future."

I invite any comments or disagreements or both at my email address (spelled out here to thwart the "harvester" programs which look for email addresses for sending spam) brasscap at earthlink dot net, but I don't respond to "flames" or incredibly stupid comments.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas (adjacent to Arlington, TX)

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