Saturday, August 20, 2005

I have no choice but to do this

Today, after reading about Harold Ford Jr.'s speech to the U of M Law School alumni on Friday night, I came to a decision that I have not wanted to make.

You see, I have been enamored of the idea that it would be a marvelous thing to elect an African-American to the United States Senate. I gave money, not once but twice, to Harvey Gantt as he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Jesse Helms. When HF Jr. succeeded his father in 1997, I thought that he might someday move higher up, and looked forward to that possibility.

Then, late in Jr's first term, with President Clinton fighting for his political life, I saw him take the floor of the US House to join in the attacks. Even if it were mild condemnation, this was inexcusable, even for a first-termer. I should have seen what was to come.

He has essentially been running for the Senate ever since. He has appeared on Don Imus' radio show countless times to suck up to the aging DJ and trying to make his bones with the Washington Beltway insiders. He has appeared on Fox News many times as well, and I don't have to tell you that Fox News is the Al-Jazeera of the Republican Party.

Then, this spring, he was too busy eating at Speaker Naifeh's Coon Supper to be in DC to vote against the horrible 2005-6 Budget. He followed that stellar performance by voting for the Bankruptcy Bill, a virtual giveaway to the credit-card industry that hurts HIS OWN DISTRICT more than any other.

He did manage to vote against CAFTA, for which I gave him props. But after this speech, it's too late. Read here from the Flyer article:

Addressing the annual awards banquet of the University of Memphis Law School Alumni, Ford expressed his initial support of the war effort this way: “I support this war in Iraq. I supported it from the very beginning for one reason. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. Now, there are those who criticize and quarrel with this, and make the point over and over again that perhaps we shouldn’t have done it the way we’ve done it, and I would agree. But I wouldn’t blame the president, or anybody else for that matter, from waking up on September 12th and wondering aloud what would happen if Saddam Hussein and bin Laden married.

"It would be very easy for us to sit back in the comfort of our own homes and say, Well, one is secular and one is religious and they won’t . It would be very easy for us to think that 9/11 wouldn’t happen, but it did.”

Bush’s “instinct” had been right, said Ford, who has visited Iraq three times in the last two years and plans a fourth visit, but there is “a lot of room for change” in how the president pursues operations in Iraq. “I love my president. I love him personally,” Ford said. “But he’s just wrong. – wrong for not being willing to admit that we’ve made some mistakes....It was right to take him [Saddam] down but wrong to think that we can’t right this course.”

If you happen to be a Democrat, I would hope that you find that statement offensive. Bush's instinct was right? WTF???

Ken Neill, Flyer publisher, wrote an open letter to our 9th District Congressman today, as he had been at the UM Law School gathering. Here's an excerpt:

You have been accused by many critics, not just me, of being, shall we say, "soft" on the issues, willing to say just about anything, in hope of striking the politically-correct “moderate” pose that might possibly get you elected to the Senate as a Democrat in a state that's gone heavily Republican in the last two national elections. Others besides me have pointed at your recent voting record in Congress as an indication of this zeal for the middle ground. But talking out of both sides of your mouth doesn't qualify as "middle-speak," Congressman; it qualifies as "mush."

And that, at heart, is why I cannot support his candidacy for the US Senate. He has essentially proven that he will say anything to anyone to be elected to the US Senate.

He also makes the critical error that someone who is now supposed to be a national figure should NEVER make; he takes his base for granted. He assumes that he will be the nominee, especially with Chuck Schumer clouting for him. He has voted against the best interests of the working people of his district, and he expects them to flock to vote for him in August 2006 because he would be a historic figure.

Don't count your votes so quickly, Congressman.

I do have some qualms with Rosalind Kurita, but I feel like she has a better grasp on what the working people of Tennessee need: a tax structure that rewards work, not wealth, a better health care system for all, and someone who will be there for the average Tennessean, not the average CEO.

In the long run, I remember the words of Harry S. Truman, who noted that "if you only give people a choice between a Democrat who votes like a Republican and a REAL Republican, the people will take the real Republican every time."

And so it goes that I join Autoegocrat in asking you to support Rosalind Kurita for the United States Senate; at least she still knows what it means to be a Democrat.

23 comments:

Richmond said...

Well done: neutral yet pointed tone, step-by-step analysis of the issues involved with some historical background and a willingness to reach a conclusion. 'Twere I a Tennessean, I would join you in voting for Kurita.

RAM said...

I agree with your statements about Congressman Ford. However, Kurita does not support human rights. She does not support civil unions which is a human rights issue. I have serious trouble with her stance on this issue.

Blinders Off said...

Leftwing:

You forced me to get a blog ID to comment on your page. I have been reading your blog among others and I like the information that is put out there for people to make inform decisions on our politicians and on current events. I call myself Blinders Off because I am not hypnotis on the current state our country is in and also the state the Democrat Party is in. Thanks for the blog link on Kurita. I am finally starting to know what she is about and it is helpful because Ford lost my trust on how he voted on the bankruptcy bill. Keep the information coming.

Len said...

Excellent post!

LeftWingCracker said...

Thank you all.

Blinders Off, welcome, please come back.

RAM,

I do have trouble with that as well but Ford did a 180 a year ago on gay marriage and he's no better, so on that issue, they're a wash.

Cg said...

When Jr. was first elected I also had hopes for him. But everytime I heard him speak I came away more unclear as to just where he stood. Since then he's been sounding and acting less and less like a democrat. I don't trust him.

DynoDonkey said...

If he stays in the race, he will be the Democratic nominee. Kurita spent more last reporting cycle than she took in and Ford at last count has l.l million on hand - and is still raking it in on a weekly basis. And like it or not, money does make the political world go round.

But you know all this. As you constantly like to remind us, you've been around a while. So I have to begin to ask myself - why would you spout half truths and participate in vitriolic mudslinging against the Democratic nominee. What is really going on: personal vendetta, racism, stupidity. I can't be sure. Perhaps a bit of both. Or perhaps, you want to see Ed Bryant as your next U.S. Senator, which is certainly your perrogative - but not exactly in line with your so called Progressive values. So I don't think that's the case and I certainly don't think you can claim ignorance or stupidity. So it must be one of the other two options.

Because as you also know Kurita is no progressive. She voted to support having an referendum in TN to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage; she pro-gun; anti-choice (supporting abortion only when it's necessary to protect the life of the mother) and her own press release touts her as exactly what TN needs "a very moderate to conservative democrat" Well, YIPPEE. All of that on top of the fact that she has very little expereince and continues to talk about issues of State importance that would not come across a U.S. Senator's desk - ever.

All the while - Jr. has one of the highest liberal ratings of any U.S. Congressman. So please, for the love of all that is holy- START BEING HONEST.

Vindictive or Racist? I think I know, but I'll let you tell us which it is.

Perhaps if you had been at the event on Friday, as I was - you'd realize that much of the comments listed by Ken Neil were taken out of context. But I venture to guess you just don't care about accuracy or fairness.

As you also know there are times where the leadership says - especially during election years- look guys - we don't have the votes for this one- I know some of you need political cover- take it- because we'd lose with or without you. I don't like it anymore than you do- but I understand and I think you do too. So I'm still left wondering about your motivations. As for me, vindictiveness or racism are a little more distasteful to me than political cover.

LeftWingCracker said...

Racist my ass; Junior's whiter than I am.

I do expect people who attempt to run under the Democratic ticket to share Democratic principles; other than the CAFTA vote, he has done NONE of that.

If he has ANY progressivity in his bones, he's damned sure hiding it. Rosalind Kurita wouldn't have voted for giveaway to the credit-card companies that would hurt HER constituents, and she also wouldn't have taken her base for granted.

Vindictive? I have no reason, all he's ever done is fail to represent my views in Congress.

When you get right down to it, if there IS a difference between Harold Ford and Ed Bryant, he's doing a damn fine job of hiding it.

And, for that, he can find his votes elsewhere.

One last thing: I've yelled my way out more than one place defending his daddy. If you had to judge whether they were related based on Junior's votes, you'd have to believe he was adopted.

joe said...

if ole bush had said anything radically new about saddam hussein, i could see the point of the "bush lied" band wagon; however, what he said sounds suspiciously just like what president clinton has said and it's unfair to claim otherwise. harold ford junior was actually 100% correct in his comments because what the current administration has said is a reflection of what many believed. . .and rightfully so.

"I want you, and I want the American people, to hear directly from me what is at stake for America in the Persian Gulf, what we are doing to protect the peace, the security, the freedom we cherish, why we have taken the position we have taken. . . .So first, let's just take a step back and consider why meeting the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is important to our security in the new era we are entering. . .There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His regime threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region and the security of all the rest of us. I want the American people to understand first the past how did this crisis come about? And I want them to understand what we must do to protect the national interest, and indeed the interest of all freedom-loving people in the world. Remember, as a condition of the cease-fire after the Gulf War, the United Nations demanded not the United States the United Nations demanded, and Saddam Hussein agreed to declare within 15 days this is way back in 1991 within 15 days his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them, to make a total declaration. That's what he promised to do.. . .Now, instead of playing by the very rules he agreed to at the end of the Gulf War, Saddam has spent the better part of the past decade trying to cheat on this solemn commitment. . . .In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and the chief organizer of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more. Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth. Now listen to this, what did it admit? It admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production. . ."...let's imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal. And I think every one of you who's really worked on this for any length of time believes that, too." President Bill Clinton - 2/18/87

that's not much different than

"In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions. W know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th." President George W. Bush / 10/7/2002

as President Clinton later stated, "When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. (so much for the "Bush Lied" claim) That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the UN and for the UN to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions." --Bill Clinton, July 22, 2003

after all this hussein still did not fully co-operate. if president bush "lied" about saddam hussein and wmd, so did all of these politicians.

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

this sums it up nicely - "In September 2003, the senator (Ted Kennedy) was claiming that the Iraq was was "a fraud made up in Texas to give Republicans a political boost". This is pretty serious stuff - charging that the president of the united states went to war in order to win a re-election. And exactly how would that work? Lets see, President Bush takes the nation to war, an enormously risky political proposition, says that the reason we're going to war is that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, even though the president know that the weapons don't really exist, and that sooner or later, certainly before the election, everyone will know that they don't exist. . .and he does this to give Republicans a political boost? Am I missing something?" Bernard Goldberg

now i have no problem with criticism of harold ford junior but the criticism should be that he wants to have it both ways...he supports the president, he opposes the president but i would tend to agree with him in that, "I wouldn’t blame the president, or anybody else for that matter, from waking up on September 12th and wondering aloud what would happen if Saddam Hussein and bin Laden married."

gee, we could ask old richard clark about that one, eh? from his book "against all enemies" we get this: "EMPTA is a compound that had been used as a prime ingredient in Iraqi nerve gas. . .It has no other known use, nor had any other nation employed EMPTA to our knowledge for any purpose. . .What was an Iraqi chemical weapons agent doing in Sudan? UNSCOM and other U.S. government sources had claimed that the Iraqis were working on something at a facility near Shifa. Could Sudan, using bin Laden's money, have hired some Iraqis to make chemical weapons? It seemed chillingly possible."

yeah...the 9/11 commision of omission report indicated that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened due to a "failure of imagination".

president bush "imagined" what would happen if saddam hussein were to provide WMD to terrorists and viola! we get regime change.

DynoDonkey said...

You have no idea what Kurita would do? When she had to make tough choices at the State level she failed by all "progressive" standards. You don't really know anything about this woman. All you know is she is not Harold Ford Jr. If she were Attilla the Hun and the only one running against him - you'd support her.

Ed Bryant and Junior are the same? You are so caught up in petty hatred that you can't take the blinders off. You are the worst kind of Democrat- you claim to be progressive but you'd put your own petty bitching and selfish vindetta above progress for the Party and the State. Shame on you!

I fully respect your right to write, yell and fight for the things you believe in, but Demorats have got to learn to that you can advocate for change without tearing down our candidate and our Party - and yes, he is our Democratic Candidate for Senate - you know it, I know it. It's counterproductive.

I won't continue to beat my head against your big brick noggin. If you want to self-destruct the Party be my guest - but I not going to help you do it. As a parting gift, I'll send you an Ed Bryant t-shirt and an application to change your voter registration to Republican. Although you appear more ass than elephant, if the trunk fits. . .

LeftWingCracker said...

You really believe that he is going to be the nominee, don't you?

We are 11 months away from the primary; there are trials to be had that may damage him severely, even though he has kept a safe distance away from Uncle John.

He may be a god in Big Shelby, but not everyone buys the bullshit.

I don't hate Harold Ford Junior, I am severely disappointed by him, though. He assumes too much of the time that he has already won over Shelby County, though he has not had serious opposition since 1996.

He will be CRUSHED in a general election, no matter how much he embraces Bush, which, if you call yourself a Democrat, should offend you to the core.

He will carry Shelby and Davidson counties and that's it. Period.

And there's nothing you or Harold or Chuck Schumer can do about that, unless you get behind Kurita.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

That speech is WORSE than his missing the vote on the Federal Budget in DC because he was at Speaker Naifeh's munching down a plate of "coon".

As a Black Woman I have to say this: No self-respecting African-American, be they Republican or Democrat, goes nowhere near any social event that features "coon" either in the title or as a main entree.

Unless you're Harold Ford, Jr. And Harold, Sr. has got to be wondering where did he go wrong with his first born???

DynoDonkey said...

This is what I said and I stand by it - if he does not drop out- he WILL be the nominee. Period. End of story. Maybe he'll get beat. Beat- not slaughtered - which is what Kurita would get - bleeding from one end of this red state to the other. She'd be lucky to carry her own District. With eleven months to go - she's flat broke - ought of dough - zip zilch nada- she's got nothing and her sources for donors is drying up faster than dog piss on a hot summer day.

Chris D. Jackson said...

Congressman Ford will be the Democratic nominee and will be our next US Senator from Tennessee. The quicker all the Democrats realize that and get to work to take back this all important seat instead of backbiting, the better we are.

Go Harold!

http://haroldfordjr2006.blogspot.com/

soandsodem said...

LWB:
Please let me know when the local Dems get past: READY:-FIRE-AIM.

takebackourcountry said...

Can someone point me to a source that shows Jr.'s voting record as one of the most liberal in Congress, as stated above? If that's so, we are all worse off than I thought, but it would be interesting to know.

Also, is all this bloodletting over Jr.'s run really worth it? Does any Democrat have a snowball's chance to get elected senator in this state at this time? If Jr. stays in the race, and his congressional seat is up for grabs, it seems like it is a lot more important to find a decent candidate and make sure the Democrats keep that seat.

Len said...

Congressman Ford will be the Democratic nominee and will be our next US Senator from Tennessee.

Oh gawd, I hope not....

On just about every vote on every issue that matters to me, Harold's been on the wrong side of the issue.

No way am I voting for someone who doesn't represent my interests. If that means Ed Bryant is the next Senator from TN, so be it; Bryant will represent my interests as well as Ford will (which is to say, not very well at all). Frankly, I think some enforced time out of office would do Harold a world of good.

polar donkey said...

Powell Statement:
War opponents and some Congressional Democrats have pointed to a statement Powell made on Feb. 24, 2001, while meeting at Cairo's Ittihadiya Palace with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa.

Asked about the sanctions placed on Iraq, which were then under review at the Security Council, Powell said the measures were working. In fact, he added, "(Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

Transcript of weapons inspector's U.N. presentation
Monday, February 17, 2003 Posted: 2:47 AM EST (0747 GMT)
From Hans Blix
Let me begin today's briefing with a short account of the work being performed by UNMOVIC in Iraq.
We have continued to build up our capabilities. The regional office in Mosul is now fully operational at its temporary headquarters. Plans for a regional office at Basra are being developed. Our Hercules L-100 aircraft continues to operate routine flights between Baghdad and Larnaca. The eight helicopters are fully operational.
With the resolution of the problems raised by Iraq for the transportation of minders into the no-fly zones, our mobility in these zones has improved. We expect to increase utilization of the helicopters.
The number of Iraqi minders during inspections has often reached a ratio -- had often reached a ratio as high as five per inspector. During the talks in January in Baghdad, the Iraqi side agreed to keep the ratio to about 1:1. The situation has improved.
Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the inspectors were coming.
The inspections have taken place throughout Iraq, at industrial sites, ammunition depots, research centers, universities, presidential sites, mobile laboratories, private houses, missile-production facilities, military camps and agricultural sites.
At all sites which had been inspected before 1998, rebase lining activities were performed. This included the identification of the function and contents of each building, new or old, at a site. It also included verification of previously tagged equipment, application of seals and tags, taking samples, and discussions with the site's personnel regarding past and present activities. At certain sites, ground-penetrating radar was used to look for underground structures or buried equipment.

THE STATUS OF NUCLEAR INSPECTIONS IN IRAQ
Statement to the
United Nations Security Council
New York
27 January 2003
Mohamed ElBaradei,
Director General
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY
CONCLUSION
To conclude: we have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons programme since the elimination of the programme in the 1990s. However, our work is steadily progressing and should be allowed to run its natural course. With our verification system now in place, barring exceptional circumstances, and provided there is sustained proactive cooperation by Iraq, we should be able within the next few months to provide credible assurance that Iraq has no nuclear weapons programme. These few months would be a valuable investment in peace because they could help us avoid a war. We trust that we will continue to have your support as we make every effort to verify Iraq’s nuclear disarmament through peaceful means, and to demonstrate that the inspection process can and does work, as a central feature of the international nuclear arms control regime.

Statement by Mohamed Elbaradei to the UN Security Council
February 14, 2003
Since our 27 January report, IAEA has conducted an additional 38 inspections at 19
locations, for a total of 177 inspections at 125 locations. Iraq has continued to provide
immediate access to all locations. In the course of the inspections, we have identified
certain facilities at which we will be re-establishing containment and surveillance
systems in order to monitor, on a continuous basis, activities associated with critical dual-
use equipment. At this time, we are using recurrent inspections to ensure that this
equipment is not being used for prohibited purposes. As I mentioned in my last report to
the Council, we have a number of wide-area and location-specific measures for detecting
indications of undeclared past or ongoing nuclear activities in Iraq, including
environmental sampling and radiation detection surveys. In this regard, we have been
collecting a broad variety of samples, including water, sediment and vegetation, at
inspected facilities and at other locations across Iraq, and analysing them for signature of
nuclear activities.

I guess the UN was proven Right.

Now after these statements, the Dalfur Report, David Kay's statement, the Downing Street Minutes, and this:
In 1999, Mickey Herskowitz is hired to ghostwrite a campaign autobiography for George W. Bush, an assignment that was later withdrawn. Herskowitz later spoke about Bush for an article by journalist Russ Baker: “He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999... It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ ”
In December 1999, "Bush surprises veteran political chroniclers with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” a Boston Globe reporter penned. ‘I’d take ‘em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father… It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker.”

Why is Ford still carrying water for Bush and this idiotic war. Bush had always been gunning for war with Iraq and Ford should have know this. It took 2 minutes of googling to find these statements.

thurbis said...

yeah, two minutes of googling is great research!

lets not also forget that january 27, 2003 report -

THE SECURITY COUNCIL, 27 JANUARY 2003: AN UPDATE ON INSPECTION Executive Chairman of UNMOVIC, Dr. Hans Blix
http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/Bx27.htm

where they note things such as:

"The nerve agent VX is one of the most toxic ever developed. Iraq has declared that it only produced VX on a pilot scale, just a few tonnes and that the quality was poor and the product unstable. Consequently, it was said, that the agent was never weaponised. Iraq said that the small quantity of agent remaining after the Gulf War was unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. UNMOVIC, however, has information that conflicts with this account. There are indications that Iraq had worked on the problem of purity and stabilization and that more had been achieved than has been declared. Indeed, even one of the documents provided by Iraq indicates that the purity of the agent, at least in laboratory production, was higher than declared. There are also indications that the agent was weaponised. In addition, there are questions to be answered concerning the fate of the VX precursor chemicals, which Iraq states were lost during bombing in the Gulf War or were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq. . . .I would now like to turn to the so-called “Air Force document” that I have discussed with the Council before. This document was originally found by an UNSCOM inspector in a safe in Iraqi Air Force Headquarters in 1998 and taken from her by Iraqi minders. It gives an account of the expenditure of bombs, including chemical bombs, by Iraq in the Iraq-Iran War. I am encouraged by the fact that Iraq has now provided this document to UNMOVIC. The document indicates that 13,000 chemical bombs were dropped by the Iraqi Air Force between 1983 and 1988, while Iraq has declared that 19,500 bombs were consumed during this period. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 6,500 bombs. The amount of chemical agent in these bombs would be in the order of about 1,000 tonnes. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must assume that these quantities are now unaccounted for. . . .The discovery of a few rockets does not resolve but rather points to the issue of several thousands of chemical rockets that are unaccounted for. The finding of the rockets shows that Iraq needs to make more effort to ensure that its declaration is currently accurate. . . . .I have mentioned the issue of anthrax to the Council on previous occasions and I come back to it as it is an important one. Iraq has declared that it produced about 8,500 litres of this biological warfare agent, which it states it unilaterally destroyed in the summer of 1991. Iraq has provided little evidence for this production and no convincing evidence for its destruction. There are strong indications that Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared, and that at least some of this was retained after the declared destruction date. It might still exist. Either it should be found and be destroyed under UNMOVIC supervision or else convincing evidence should be produced to show that it was, indeed, destroyed in 1991. . . .In the letter of 24 January to the President of the Council, Iraq’s Foreign Minister stated that “all imported quantities of growth media were declared”. This is not evidence. I note that the quantity of media involved would suffice to produce, for example, about 5,000 litres of concentrated anthrax. . . .turn now to the missile sector. There remain significant questions as to whether Iraq retained SCUD-type missiles after the Gulf War. Iraq declared the consumption of a number of SCUD missiles as targets in the development of an anti-ballistic missile defence system during the 1980s. Yet no technical information has been produced about that programme or data on the consumption of the missiles. . . .Iraq has refurbished its missile production infrastructure. In particular, Iraq reconstituted a number of casting chambers, which had previously been destroyed under UNSCOM supervision. They had been used in the production of solid-fuel missiles. Whatever missile system these chambers are intended for, they could produce motors for missiles capable of ranges significantly greater than 150 km. Also associated with these missiles and related developments is the import, which has been taking place during the last few years, of a number of items despite the sanctions, including as late as December 2002. Foremost amongst these is the import of 380 rocket engines which may be used for the Al Samoud 2. Iraq also declared the recent import of chemicals used in propellants, test instrumentation and, guidance and control systems. These items may well be for proscribed purposes. That is yet to be determined. What is clear is that they were illegally brought into Iraq, that is, Iraq or some company in Iraq, circumvented the restrictions imposed by various resolutions.. . . . .Our Iraqi counterparts are fond of saying that there are no proscribed items and if no evidence is presented to the contrary they should have the benefit of the doubt, be presumed innocent. UNMOVIC, for its part, is not presuming that there are proscribed items and activities in Iraq, but nor is it – or I think anyone else after the inspections between 1991 and 1998 – presuming the opposite, that no such items and activities exist in Iraq. Presumptions do not solve the problem. Evidence and full transparency may help. Let me be specific."

hanx blix said all of the above and more in january 2003 and a month later the whole story is somehow different? if you actually believe that all of the concerns noted above by hans blix were resolved in a month you are a person of great faith!

the point i was making is that president bush did not say anything much different than what president clinton or many democrats were saying in the 1990's.

if george bush is a liar, than they all are.

this was nice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” a Boston Globe reporter penned. ‘I’d take ‘em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there”.

so george w. bush and leading democrats were all on the same page at one time...this shouldn't be news but, apparently, it is.

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

gee, this was sort of mentioned in the Dulfeur Report you mentioned in your kind and thoughtful response.

in it, duelfer made comments like:

"Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were an integral element in the range of tools Saddam drew upon to advance his ambitions. WMD was not an end in itself. Therefore, to examine meaningfully WMD in Iraq means examining the leadership of Iraq concomitantly. The Iraq experience with WMD stretches over 30 years and three wars. Thousands of victims died on battlefields, and civilians have been gassed in domestic terror campaigns. . . . .It is understandable that Saddam may not have understood where international forces were headed. Indeed, the international community’s focus on Iraq and WMD was affected by serendipity as well as considered national policies. Had the events of 11 September 2001 not occurred, Saddam might well be still in power. But, he deeply miscalculated one last time and curtailed his own leadership."
gee, that is sort of what harold ford was trying to convey in his attempt to be fair and not conspiratorily mean spirited.
duelfer continues: "Saddam’s perspective on the world and his place in history was naturally a very long view. He had long timelines—certainly as compared with Western democracies, which are driven by news and election cycles. . . .Saddam refused to admit that Iraq lost the war in 1991. His diplomats were always quick to point out that the resolution ending the war was a cease-fire agreement, not a peace treaty or capitulation. This was not simply bombastic propaganda. Saddam saw it only as a temporary setback. . . . Saddam conducted his confrontation with the United States on many fronts. The main military front was the no-fly zone skirmishes. It must be said that, as much as Saddam hated the intrusion over his airspace of American and British patrols (and, it may be recalled, with the French initially participating as well), this was a battle he was fighting with a very favorable exchange ratio. He cost the United States a lot with almost no cost to himself, and he could readily sustain the battle indefinitely.. . . .in the spring and summer of 1995, Iraq attempted to bring to closure the disarmament inspections of UNSCOM by offering a deal. UNSCOM experts had been pressuring Iraq to acknowledge an offensive biological weapons program.. . . .Tariq Aziz informed UNSCOM Chairman Rolf Ekeus that, if his upcoming June 1995 report to the Security Council was positive in the missile and chemical weapons areas, then Iraq would “satisfy” Ekeus in the biological weapons area. UNSCOM gave a sufficiently positive report on Iraq to the Security Council, and Aziz invited Ekeus to Baghdad where he made a partial admission to having made biological weapons. . . .Tariq Aziz informed UNSCOM Chairman Rolf Ekeus that, if his upcoming June 1995 report to the Security Council was positive in the missile and chemical weapons areas, then Iraq would “satisfy” Ekeus in the biological weapons area. UNSCOM gave a sufficiently positive report on Iraq to the Security Council, and Aziz invited Ekeus to Baghdad where he made a partial admission to having made biological weapons. . . .the Iraqis believed that their possession and willingness to use WMD (CW and BW) contributed substantially to deterring the United States from going to Baghdad in 1991. WMD demonstrated its worth to Saddam. Moreover, senior Iraqis have observed that, if Saddam had waited until he finished his nuclear weapon before invading Kuwait, the outcome would have been much different. . .Ultimately, his top priority (after survival) was to get out of the UN constraints."

oh, you get the picture.

you can find the entire report at http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/

gee, and once more these quotes can't help but make one go "hhhhhmmmm"

"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

my point would be that it is unfair and dishonest to make the "bush lied soldiers died" claim or that he mislead the nation into a war with iraq. harold ford jr. should probably be commended for at least trying to bring some civility, decency and fairness back into the national debate. we should all be nicer to one another.

polar donkey said...

Many people doubted Bush's motivation for the war. Paul O'Neil wrote about the Administration's obsession with Iraq before September 11. Then the discussion of attacking Iraq at Camp David a couple days after the Twin Towers collapsed. (Remember Wolfowitz arguing in the meeting that it was a perfect opprotunity to take out Saddam. Or how about Rumsfeld saying there weren't enough good targets in Afghanistan and we should attack Iraq.)
As for Saddam being a bad guy. Who doesn't agree with that. But that wasn't why we invaded Iraq. It was WMD's. Wolfowitz said that was the only justification that could gather enough support for war in Vanity Fair. The Bad Guy reason doesn't hold up. What about Kim Jung Il? He starved 3 million of his own people a few years ago and he has WMD's. What about Charles Taylor? We didn't give a crap about Liberia and what happened in western Africa. Robert Mugabe? The Junta in Mynamar? The Saudi Royal Family? And Genocide? Powell Declared Darfur genocide over a year ago and what have we done. Nothing. The Bad Guy explaination didn't come up until after we didn't find WMD's.
The thing which cast doubts the most on Bush's honesty and motivation was the rush to war itself. The only intelligence agency operating in Iraq was the UN inspectors. As of Powell's presentation to the Security Council, Blix and Baradei said Iraq was allowing inspections and was cooperating. Hundreds of sites were inspected and Blix requested more time for inspections to continue. Bush repeatedly said the decision for war had not been made even days before the invasion commenced but Bush did not attempt to get a second UN resolution and the Downing Street Minutes illustrated the decision for war had been made in by summer of 2002. Bush never wanted to go to the UN in the first place or have inspections. They were possible roadblocks to his drive to war.
On Al Franken today, Franken quoted JFK. JFK said he "always knew America would never start a war." Because of Bush, America no longer holds that moral high ground anymore. We are a great power exerting its will on a weak country. Iraq spent only $1 billion per year on defense from 1992 until 2003. It took over $2 billion just to maintain the Iraqi Army, let alone persue new weapons programs. The US spent $260 to over $300 billion per year during the same period. That's why Colin Powell said "(Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
Finally, this quote from Bush in 1999 shows his mindset. "He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade•.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker." Many leaders have used military conflict for political means. Why in world would anyone believe Bush is above this. (This is the guy that smeared McCain, Kerry, and Ann Richards. Was an alcoholic unitl the age of forty. Got a DUI in the late 90's and went AWOL from his ANG Unit. Hell, he even lied about Social Security and says he believes Raphael Palmeiro didn't take steroids.) His closest advisor is Karl Rove, the treasonous SOB that outed an undercover CIA agent who worked in WMD proliferation for revenge. I'll commend Ford for bring civility, decency, and fairness back into the national debate when he calls for congressional investigations into war profiteering, the Downing Street Minutes, the Rove-CIA scandal and the missing $8.8 billion during CPA rule of Iraq.

polar donkey said...

Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican’s foreign minister
"No rule of international law authorizes one or more states to resort unilaterally to the use of force in order to change a regime or the form of government of another state because, for example, it is considered to possess weapons of mass destruction."

Michael Kinsley, Washington Post
"Striking first in order to preempt an enemy that has troops massing along your border is one thing. Striking first against a nation that has never even explicitly threatened your sovereign territory, except in response to your own threats, because you believe that this nation may have weapons that could threaten you in five years, is something very different."

Robert Byrd, U.S. Senator
"Today I weep for my country. I have watched the events of recent months with a heavy, heavy heart. No more is the image of America one of strong, yet benevolent peacekeeper. The image of America has changed. Around the globe, our friends mistrust us, our word is disputed, our intentions are questioned."

Tom Daschle, Senate Minority Leader
"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war, saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."

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