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Old 02-12-2010, 06:40 PM   #481
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like the media, you're giving the GOP far too much of a free pass. their behavior -- and the GOP "purity test" -- has rendered government incapable of actually addressing the serious issues the country is currently facing.
The bills I mentioned were bad. Even the super-majority couldn't go along with them.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:57 AM   #482
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The president had a super-majority in the Senate, along with some moderates like my Maine senators who also could have tipped the scales.

The problem was the bills themselves. Cap and Trade was DOA, and we've discussed the health care debacle plenty in here.
Look to the 1st point I made before I hit on the GOP obstruction. The Democrats are ideologically diverse. They had to give alot to get Nelson and Lieberman to support the bill.

Lieberman's issue:Public option, which I have said elsewhere in this forum, was a bad idea to push and something not at all fundamentally necessary for health care reform. However, with 1% of people even going to choose this, it was bound to be as insignificant as it was ineffective in cutting costs, so I don't get Lieberman's filibuster threat over it.

Nelson's issue: Who the hell knows. This joke seems like he played his "moderate" label to extort federal funds for Nebraska. That was despicable. And I fault Reid for this as well- and Obama. You get Nelson in a room and tell him he is dead to the WH and the people who hand out the money in the Democratic Party if he does not support this. That's how Delay did it. That's how LBJ did it. Preferable to us all paying for Nebraska's medicaid.

Plus, Nelson and Lieberman both are owned by the health care lobby, so that could cloud their judgement as to the merits of the bill.

So Obama did not have an automatic super majority.

Plus, the Democrats would not have needed 60 votes if the Republicans did not filibuster everything.

You talk about Collins and Snowe, your Maine Senators. The President reached out to both of them and in the end, both decided that they were not going to be the one profile in courage Republican who stood up and supported this. We are not even talking about voting for it- if they don't like it, that's fine, but don't stop it from coming to a vote. Obama is not completely blameless on this front, in my opinion. He should have turned away from Maine and looked at the 2 retiring Republicans who will not have to face the tea bag primaries- George Voinovich and Mel Martinez. Both are reasonably moderate guys in the mold of the Republicans who proposed what Obama is proposing now in 1994.

The problem is most certainly not the bills themselves.

Lets take Health Care: If, like many Americans, you believe what Republicans have told you is in the bill, like a government takeover and death panels, cuts in medicare and massive new debt(none of which are true) then there is a problem. However, lets look at what is actually in the bill.
If you poll the American public, you find broad support for specific provisions of the health care bill. Exchanges, restrictions on denial of coverage, requirement of individual and employer efforts, sliding scale subsidies, increased focus on prevention and cost cutting focused on outcomes based care.

The problem here was tactics. Obama rolled it out and let the Republicans define it as socialism(its actually undeniably centrist), let Palin and her crazies make up "death panels" and he did not defend it for 2 months. The other big mistake was him giving into Pelosi and pushing the public option, something that was not even remotely part of his campaign plan. Hell, it took Ted Kennedy until May 2009, 14 months after he began work on the bill, to even consider the public option. Obama reasoned this would be a bargaining chip he could drop to get Republican support. He is guilty here of thinking the Republicans were going to let anything he promoted go to the floor for debate. Nebraska we already discussed. All inexcusable, especially for someone who ran a tactically excellent campaign.

Remember that despite all this, and with some admitted mistakes, the House and Senate both passed a major health care overhaul in just one year. There is still the major difference over how to finance it, but taken in the context of the Truman, Nixon, Carter and Clinton attempts, it has been pretty successful. Legislation on such a huge, far reaching issue is always complicated and takes a long time, and this bill would not have gone the furthest the fastest when compared to all other attempts if it was as cringe-worthy as you claim.

Cape and Trade DOA?? It passed the House and John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsay Graham are working on a version that can pass the Senate as we speak. So unless you want to give us a new definition of dead on arrival, then that's flat out wrong.

The problem here is surely not the idea itself, as this was first pushed in the US by McCain and Lieberman, supported by many Republicans and is modeled after successful existing programs on acid rain. It is not socialistic in any way, it is an innovative, market based, efficient program. The only problem with the idea of cap and trade is that Obama is pushing it, and anything that Obama says is reflexively opposed lockstep by Republicans.

This is the same thing that happened with Clinton. Since 1993, the Republican party has taken a bold stance: they will oppose lockstep anything a President with a "D" after his name proposes, and they will do so regardless of consequences for the country and regardless of the merits of the idea. Hell, the right never could accept the fact that Clinton was elected 2 times, and they can't accept the fact that Obama won by a much bigger margin than Clinton or W Bush ever did.


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I also read your post on Joe Biden's foreign policy expertise. He is well respected for his good work in the Balkans. Less so for the Middle East. He voted against the Gulf War, voted for George W's Iraq War, and then strongly opposed the surge.
Ok, so he had a viewpoint. What is the big deal? I did not know being on one side or the other of Gulf War I defined whether you had knowledge of/credentials in middle east policy. Of course, it was a great military success, but it was also used by OBL as the reason for his official declaration of war on the US. Of course, I am not excusing him, and the real grievances of terrorists have to do with a non radical Islam society leading the world, but American troops in Saudi was a huge rallying cry, recruiting tool and fundraiser for OBL.

The way I read it, you take issue with Biden's 2003 vote and his 2007 opposition to the surge? Most Senators in both parties voted for the Iraq war and can only be guilty of believing their President when he says we are threatened. Bush lied to them flat out, and that has been proven factually in many places. If in 2007, after we found out there were no WMD and it became clear that we needed a political solution and could not stay in Iraq forever and wreck our military, Biden opposes the surge, what is wrong with that?

Notice you did not respond to what I said about the goals of the surge regarding political solutions and how what has made progress in Iraq is de facto EXACTLY WHAT BIDEN PROPOSED AS EARLY AS 2005. That plan got 75 votes in the Senate and was sponsored by Democrats and Republicans. The Iraqis basically adopted it and without calling it by its name.

This before we even get to Biden's constant warning about Pakistan being the real threat long before Bhutto was assassinated or most of the AQ leadership had crossed over the border from Afghanistan. The increased focus on the Pakistan tribal areas in the war on terror has been universally praised as successful and is almost entirely attributable to Joe Biden.

As Chair of the Foreign Relations committee, Biden wrote legislation dealing with the interdiction of drugs in Afghanistan, pushed hard for a consensus on Iran sanctions and sponsored the Palestinian Anti Terrorism Act of 2006, which among other things, cut off funds to the Palestinian Authority and other terrorist infiltrated groups posing as legitimate.

Granted, the Republicans were into picking someone who is completely ignorant on the foreign policy area of focus, the Middle East, as a Vice President, but the Democrats, for all their imperfections, certainly were not.

Even if he did none of this and just worked on Balkans and Narcotics, his previously known areas of influence, he would still have infinitely more credibility than Jim Inhofe on Iraq and the Middle East, just by virtue of the fact that he can string together a coherent sentence on these topics.

Come on, Biden, while a 30 something year old with 6 years in the Senate, was over in Moscow face to face with the Soviet prime minister getting him to drop production of naval bombers that was impeding the SALT II treaty. Has Inhofe ever even played a key supporting role in any foreign policy issue?
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:21 AM   #483
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there's little question that Gates has been a superb SecDef.

one wishes Rumsfeld had done the right thing and resigned after Abu Ghraib like any responsible individual would have.

sadly, it took colossal Dem wins in the 2006 elections to convince Bush to finally, finally fire his miserable, failed SecDef, and replace him with the eminently moderate Gates, and for Bush to separate from the Cheney-wing of his WH and listen to the moderates and begin to chart a course for a way for the US to actually get out of Iraq.

Bush did the right thing in 2006 by ignoring Cheney, firing Rumsfeld, and hiring adults like Gates. i will credit him for that.

still, one worries what will happen when the 2.5 million refugees return home to find their homes occupied by Shiites.
This

All credit to Bush for that. Bush, though he said/did so many things I disagreed with between 2006 and 2008, is to be credited for realizing that he had been repudiated at the polls in the midterms and for working to gain the confidence of the Congress and the people. He did this domestically too by accepting the minimum wage increase and the 9/11 recommendations, things he still opposed. The Republicans now should stop emulating his economic/budget policies and remember the one good thing about the man: he realized elections had consequences, and as a result, there were limited cases where he worked with the branch of government controlled by the other party. Not alot by any means, but its a start, and alot more than just saying no to everything.

Also, Daddy and his pals like Baker and Scowcroft certainly slapped W around a bit, let him know in no uncertain terms that any chance at saving face on Iraq would certainly require getting rid of the nuts like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz while marginalizing Cheney.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:40 PM   #484
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The bills I mentioned were bad. Even the super-majority couldn't go along with them.


i know you're not this naive.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:30 PM   #485
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1.)Biden's proposal was a federal system, with a weak central government. Not a partition, but federalism.
Which in the case of Iraq would essentially be partition. Even the Iraq study group rejected this idea. Much of the progress over the past few years has been do to the strengthening of the central grovernment. It is precisely the weakeness of the central grovernment years ago that contributed to so much of the instability of Iraq. Biden's plan would have only reinforced that.

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2.)What has worked in stabilizing Iraq(at least relative to 2004 violence levels) is de facto exactly what Biden's plan sought to do: give local control and assure Sunnis and Kurds that the Shiite majority had no designs on running their affairs from Iran via Baghdad. This was what precipitated the formation of the Sunni awakening council, long before the surge. Our buying them off helped too. We probably paid some of the same people that hung Americans from a bridge in Fallujah in 2004.
Sorry, but no one in either the Bush or Obama administration has seriously considered the Biden plan. The military was forced years ago to often work with locals rather than the central government because the central government was so weak at that time and incapable really of accomplishing much outside of Baghdad. But today that has dramatically changed and most of the country now supports and wants the central government to work.

The United States began to offer Sunni tribes and insurgence money to join forces with the US and the central government to help secure their local area's. Unemployment in these area's was extremely high, and insurgents and Al Quada had succeeded in paying people to attack Iraqi and coalition troops. Many of these former insurgents were in fact people who were just looking for money to help feed their families and were not acting for reasons for ideology or politics. In the absence of economic development at the time because of the security situation, this helped to employ people and reduce the influence of insurgents and Al Quada.

But this was started in 2006. The enormous reductions in violence did not occur until there was a 33% increase in the number of US combat brigades on the ground in Iraq. That increase coupled with a new deployment plan that involved widely dispursing the combat units in small groups over a large area to protect the population is what really turned things around in Iraq. It is the exact same plan under way in Afghanistan at the moment. Its classic counterinsurgency tactics. Clear, hold, and build!

The lion share of what was responsible for turning the situation in Iraq around belongs to the SURGE which Obama and most democrats opposed. Even Obama now admits that it worked and that it was a "good thing".

Unfortunately, some of are forum members still refuse to see the truth.


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3.)The surge was worth about 30,000 troops, a significant amount, but it has been drawn back dramatically while security gains have been maintained. That shows that it was the political process- the decentralization, the local assurances and the elections that ultimately calmed the fears of the Sunnis who made up the insurgency.
The political process, elections, work at the local level, the Sunni Awakening, all happened prior to the Surge but FAILED to reduce the violence. It was only AFTER increasing US combat forces in Iraq by 33% and the dramatic change in how US forces were deployed across the country that violence levels began to significantly decrease. Thousands of Sunni insurgents were killed and captured in Baghdad and then across the country. The operation took over 15 months and involved some of the most intense fighting of the war. The population was finally isolated and protected from the insurgence and Al Quada which allowed for development at the economic and political level to finally proceed in many of the troubled area's.

In addition, the Iraqi military has rapidly increased its strength and capabilities, and as US troops have been withdrawn, there has now been capable Iraqi military units to REPLACE those withdrawn US forces in order to maintain security.


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These people, previously tolerant of Al Qaeda as a buffer against perceived Shiite advancement, then turned on them and kicked them out when they had their assurances of local control.
Most of the people were not concerned about any Shiite advancement. The central government at the time was powerless to help out in Sunni area's like Anbar. Al Quada and Sunni insurgents were able to harras control and manipulate the population in these area's because of the lack of security. The Surge brought with it more troops and different strategy that involved US troops clearing and staying and living with Iraqi's in their communities instead of coming into them on a random patrol and then going back to a large secure base. The 24 hour, 7 days a week of staying out in the field with the population helped to clear insurgents from the area and prevent their return. It helped to win the support of the population and create an environment in which people were not afraid to work with the United States and the Iraqi central government to develop and protect their communities.


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Plus, AQ only made up, at the height of its influence, 5% of the resistance in Iraq. Will this progress lead to sustainable stability? The jury is still out- it is moving in that direction, but lets remember, Iraq has a long way to go. There are still frequent bombings, still not much government capacity to deliver services, etc.
That is not the case in 2010. The murder rate in Iraq today is about the same as that in the United States. Instead of 3,000 or 4,000 people being murdered in a month, there are only hundred or so. Its been like that for a long time now. Iraqi military units and police are now doing nearly all of the security work through out the country. 6 years ago, there were only 700 people in the actual Iraqi military! There has been a massive change in the country.

Iraq's standard of living is now ahead of a country like Morocco. Iraq has the 15th FASTEST growing economy in the world right now! Iraq's vastly improved political, economic, and security situation points to a bright future. While their could be more setbacks, as long as the United States and other countries maintain their support, Iraq will succeed in developing into a relatively prosperous and stable country!


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4.)We are the best military in the history of the world. Of course we can build a foundation for security somewhere with 30,000 of our troops on top of 130,000. All the people calling it successful only look at the military side of it, which no opponents ever denied would be successful. If anyone wants to challenge this, I have a long video of Biden talking about this in 2007 before the surge.
LOL well, I have a little video for you. Watch and listen carefully:

YouTube - Obama Says The Surge Will Fail, We Will Fail.

Obama says in the video:

"We can send, 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops, ah I don't know any expert on the region, or any military officer that I have spoken to privately that believes that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground"



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What the people attacking Obama/Biden's opposition to the surge miss was the STATED GOAL OF THE SURGE AS EXPRESSED BY PRESIDENT BUSH:TO BUY TIME FOR THE IRAQIS TO PURSUE A POLITICAL SOLUTION. That was the stated goal.
Well, guess what, the Iraqi's have gone well beyond that stated goal.

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By that metric, has it worked?

Here is your metric as provided by icasulaties.org.

Iraqi civilian deaths in the last full month available 01/2010: 118
Iraqi military and police deaths in the last full month available01/2010: 17

Now compare that with the situation at the start of the surge in February 2007:
Iraqi civilian deaths during February 2007: 2864
Iraqi military and police deaths during February 2007: 150

Lets look at United States combat deaths in Iraq in February 2007: 71

Now lets look at United States combat deaths in Iraq in January 2010: 2

The change is incredible and its thanks to the SURGE which OBAMA and BIDEN OPPOSED! Again, even Obama now admits that the SURGE was a "good thing"!

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Is Iraq as stable as say, Oman or Kuwait or Egypt or Jordan? Absolutely not. Will it be? The jury is very much still out.
Well, the murder rate in Iraq in January was about the same as the murder rate in the United States! That is indeed progress, almost unbelievable progress actually in this amount of time. No one ever claimed that the Surge would end all violence in Iraq or that there would not still be political challenges or hurdles afterwards. Your holding the SURGE to a standard that no major operation has ever met before, 100% perfection, which is absurd.

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5.)No one can say that the surge has worked by the stated goal of its architect, George W Bush, as of yet without committing an absurdity. We'll have to check back in about 5 or 10 years and see if Iraq as a reasonably democratic government is as stable as it was in 2003 before we invaded to answer the question.
The surge has worked when you look at nearly every reasonable metric you could use. General Patreus, General Ray Ordiano, Ryan Crocker, Admiral Mike Mullen, say the surge has worked. Even President Obama was qouted as saying that "IT WAS A GOOD THING". Now Obama is conducting a similar strategy in Afghanistan and we won't have to wait 5 or 10 years to claim that it has worked.

I would not call Iraq a source of stability in the Persian Gulf before the US invasion. LOL LOL LOL

But yes, lets make that comparison 10 years from now, Iraq in 2020 compared to Iraq in 2003 under Saddam. Will the most stallwart oponents of removing Saddam and opposing the surge in Iraq finally admit they were wrong? We will see.

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6.)Biden is one of the very few people who could take a significant amount of credit for Iraq becoming stable should it materialize, as his outline of decentralization first proposed in 2005 has in fact been implemented by Iraqis and made a great deal of progress. If we use our residual forces to effectively train Iraqis and shift our diplomatic focus toward supporting Iraqi governmental institutions, all while withdrawing our combat troops and not leaving chaos behind, then Obama will have done a much better job than Bush.
No one in Iraq, US central command, or in fact even Obama, is following Biden's plan from 2005. Iraq has continued along the path planned for it by the Bush administration. Obama adopted all of Bush's policies on Iraq when he became President. The power of the central Iraqi government is increasing, not decreasing. The United States has been training and building the Iraqi military force for years now.

It was Bush who stated in 2004: "as they stand up, we'll stand down"

Obama was against that. In January 2007, he wanted to withdraw all US combat forces from Iraq by March 31, 2008 which would have been a disaster. Biden was also in favor of that as well. It was the opposite of the surge strategy and would have led to chaos in Iraq and the region.

All the key decisions on Iraq that have brought us to the point were at today were made DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. The only credit Obama and Biden will get will be for continuing Bush administration policy in Iraq!


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7.)I doubt Obama will take credit, but Bush plunged us into a military adventure in a country that posed no threat to us
Really, well lets see what President Clinton said about Saddam in December 1998 in regards to whether he was a threat or not:

YouTube - President Clinton attacks Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction

The hard fact is, that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that THREAT, once and for all, is with a new Iraqi government. A government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.

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got 4000plus troops killed in the process(at one of the fastest rates during the surge) and destroyed a country to the point where all governance had to be built up from scratch again.
The same thing had to be done with Germany, Japan, and is being done in Afghanistan. The Surge helped to reduce US casualties to extremely low levels. It massively reduced civilian casualties in Iraq. Casualties that would have greatly increased if Obama had succeeded in withdrawing all US combat forces by March 31, 2008!


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Oh, and he caused a shitload of the deficit that the right blames on Obama by doing this. People defending the war on grounds other than WMD(which Bush/Cheney never did by the way) need to ask themselves: was it worth all of this? Missing Bin Laden? 100K dead Iraqis? A reconstruction we have to fund?
People who are still against the removal of Saddam in 2003 need to ask themselves what the CONSEQUENCES of leaving Saddam in power could have been for the world? What would it have cost the Iraqi people, the Persian Gulf, and the rest of the world, based on what Saddam had cost these groups in his previous 24 years in power.

Again, you can't properly assess this unless you have a firm and knowledgable understanding of the security importance of countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the United States and the history of Saddam's behavior, the wars he started, and how this threatened the United States in the decades before he was finally removed from power.

The number of people willing to defend keeping Saddam in power in 2003 gets less every day.




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8.)Anyone who uses "Iraq in violation of UN resolutions" as a justification is wrong. Sure, they were in violation of a bunch of general resolutions that every country, Israel included violates.

Sorry, wrong again. All 17 UN Security Council Resolutions passed against Saddam were passed UNDER CHAPTER VII RULES OF THE UNITED NATIONS. Chapter VII rules allow for the use of military force to bring about COMPLIANCE! All resolutions that have been passed against Israel were passed under CHAPTER VI rules which DO NOT ALLOW the use of military force to bring about compliance.


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The specific violations, which Bush alleged, were related to WEAPONS IRAQ WAS PROVEN NOT TO HAVE, WEAPONS CONDI RICE AND COLIN POWELL SAID THEY DID NOT HAVE IN 2001 AND WERE ALSO BASED ON FALSE ALLEGATIONS THAT IRAQ WAS NON COMPLIANT WITH THE INSPECTORS. THE EXACT OPPOSITE WAS TRUE, THEY WERE COMPLYING AND ABOUT TO COME UP CLEAN, SO BUSH PULLED THE INSPECTORS AND SAID "LETS GO!"
UN security council resolution 1441 specifically states that Iraq was in violation of multiple UN resolutions and must come into compliance or face SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES! UN Security Council resolution 1441 also recalls UN security council resolution 678 which authorized the use of military force to bring Iraq into Compliance in regards to any violations. The Clinton administration sited resolution 678 every time it used military force against Saddam in the 1990s!

SADDAM NEVER COMPLIED WITH THE UN INSPECTORS. To do so they would have had to account for 500 pounds of sarin gas, 1,000 liters of anthrax, 500 pounds of mustard gas, 20,000 Bio-Chem capable shells all of which remained unaccounted for at the start of the invasion!!!!!!

Just as important, PROGRAMS related to production of WMD that violated UN resolutions were found after the US overthrew Saddam. Clear proof that Saddam was decieving the international community, just as he had done for 12 years since the 1991 Gulf War.



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Always remember that Paul Wolfowitz, a deputy secretary of Defense and one of the chief architects of the Iraq war said that they merely settled on weapons of mass destruction for "bureaucratic reasons." .
Thats only because there were numerous reasons why Saddam had to be removed, and weapons of mass destruction was obviously the most convincing reason with the general public.

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There is so much evidence out there it's not even funny attesting to the fact that the people pushing this war knew Saddam had no WMD's in 2003. NONE.
The majority of the intelligence communities in various countries around the world had evidence that Saddam either had WMD or that they simply could not tell whether he did or not. NO ONE, had factual evidence to prove that Saddam had NO WMD in 2003.

Its also irrelevant. The issue here is SADDAM, his behavior, and willingness to comply with UN resolutions passed after the 1991 Gulf War. THE ISSUE IS VERIFIABLE DISARMAMENT, and preventing Saddam from being able to rearm again.

By the year 2000, the sanctions and weapons embargo designed to keep Saddam from getting new conventional weapons and WMD components from abroad had nearly collapsed. Iraq was selling BILLIONS of dollars worth of oil on the black market. Syria was no longer complying with sanctions or the embargo along its entire border with Iraq. France and Russia were both openly violating the sanctions. China was installing new communications for Iraq's airdefense system which would allow Iraq better capability in shooting down coalition aircraft patrolling the no fly zones.

These factors would allow Saddam the chance to rebuild and rearm much of his weapons industry, and the attempts to prevent the erosion of this vital key element of containment had been rebuffed by countries such as Russia, Syria, Jordon, Iran, France and China, all key in maintaining the sanctions and weapons embargo. Containing Saddam into the future would be impossible without fool proof sanctions and weapons embargo, so regardless of what you think Saddam's capabilliites were or were not in 2003, removing him before he could aquire new capababilities do to the erosion of the key component of containment, was a necessity!




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No amount of posting on this board will ever change the fact that Iraq was not a threat to the US and not even a regional threat in 2003.
Its a fact that in 2003, Saddam's Iraq military had the following:

An army of 400,000 troops, over 3,000 tanks, over 2,000 armored personal carriers, over 2,000 artillery pieces, and over 300 combat aircraft. Even the most uninformed person on political/military issues would understand that such conventional military forces in possesion of a man like Saddam was indeed a threat to a country like Kuwait. All US military and CIA assessments showed that Saddam still had the strength to launch a military strike to overrun Kuwait and probably enough strength to strike at the some of the oil fields in Saudi Arabia. This is without considering WMD, or any capabilities Saddam could now get because of the sudden erosion of sanctions and the weapons embargo.

Colin Powell, Democratic anylyst such as Michael O Halon, and Kenneth Pollack, many of President Clintons advisors on Iraq, and the vast majority of the United States military as found from the military times polls every year, still to this day feel that Saddam was a threat worth removing from power!

It goes FAR, FAR BEYOND just the intelligence that suggested what was Saddam's WMD capabilities in 2003 and goes into his decades long defiance of UN inspectors, his four invasions and attacks on other countries in the region, his massive use of WMD on the battlefield and against his own people, his attempts to overrun and annex Kuwait cutting the world off and threatening much of the worlds oil supply, and perhaps most important, the erosion of sanctions and the weapons embargo which were THE ONLY MEANS SHORT OF REGIME REMOVAL of insuring that he could not threaten and harm the region as he did in 1990/1991.
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:42 PM   #486
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sadly, it took colossal Dem wins in the 2006 elections to convince Bush to finally, finally fire his miserable, failed SecDef, and replace him with the eminently moderate Gates, and for Bush to separate from the Cheney-wing of his WH and listen to the moderates and begin to chart a course for a way for the US to actually get out of Iraq.
Well, just to inform you, plans for the surge which started in February 2007 were WELL UNDER WAY before the November 2006 election results. The Bush plan at the time right after the Democrats took control of congress, involved a MASSIVE increase in the number of troops in Iraq. It was the exact opposite of what the new democratic congress was proposing. The November elections did not force Bush to do anything. The division between Bush and the Democrats only became WIDER after the November 2006 election!

The surge was far more in keeping with what Gates and Cheney wanted to see rather than ANYTHING OBAMA, BIDEN or any of the Democrats were proposing at the time.

Once in office, Obama adopted all of Bush policies on Iraq and in fact kept his secretary of Defense, the Republican leaning Robert Gates. There has never been a bigger endorsement of another administrations defense policy by the opposite party than Obama keeping Robert Gates on board as secretary of defense!
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:05 PM   #487
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This

All credit to Bush for that. Bush, though he said/did so many things I disagreed with between 2006 and 2008, is to be credited for realizing that he had been repudiated at the polls in the midterms and for working to gain the confidence of the Congress and the people. He did this domestically too by accepting the minimum wage increase and the 9/11 recommendations, things he still opposed.
This never happened. Bush went FURTHER away from congress after the November 2006 election Iraq. Bush should be credited for sticking to the right plan for Iraq regardless of the democrats political success or what the polls were saying. The Democratic congress tried repeatedly in vain during 2007 to FORCE Bush to withdraw all US combat forces from Iraq. Instead, Bush successfully launched a massive 33% increase in combat forces with the Surge despite the new Democratic congress's fierce opposition to the plan and proposals to do the EXACT OPPOSITE!


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Also, Daddy and his pals like Baker and Scowcroft certainly slapped W around a bit, let him know in no uncertain terms that any chance at saving face on Iraq would certainly require getting rid of the nuts like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz while marginalizing Cheney.
Baker by the way to this day still supports the removal of Saddam, the surge and credits Bush with succeeding at all these things as well as putting Iraq on the road to successful development!
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:11 PM   #488
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You talk about Collins and Snowe, your Maine Senators. The President reached out to both of them and in the end, both decided that they were not going to be the one profile in courage Republican who stood up and supported this. We are not even talking about voting for it- if they don't like it, that's fine, but don't stop it from coming to a vote.
Actually, Snowe's vote helped the health care bill out of the Finance Committee and onto the floor of the Senate.

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The way I read it, you take issue with Biden's 2003 vote and his 2007 opposition to the surge? ....Has Inhofe ever even played a key supporting role in any foreign policy issue?
I was poking fun at Biden's complete spin job on the Larry King show. I could care less about Inhofe.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:23 PM   #489
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Ok, so he had a viewpoint. What is the big deal? I did not know being on one side or the other of Gulf War I defined whether you had knowledge of/credentials in middle east policy. Of course, it was a great military success, but it was also used by OBL as the reason for his official declaration of war on the US. Of course, I am not excusing him, and the real grievances of terrorists have to do with a non radical Islam society leading the world, but American troops in Saudi was a huge rallying cry, recruiting tool and fundraiser for OBL.
Well, guess what, the vote on the Gulf War I was a major issue, a defining moment. Its the reason why Senator Sam Nunn never ran for president in the 1990s. In fact, I don't think any democrats in congress ran for President in the 1990s and also voted against Gulf War I. Al Gore vote for Gulf War I which is one reason why Clinton selected him. Clinton was governer of Arkansas at the time and was wishy washy on his position. Gore's vote and placement as vice presidential candidate helped to defend Clinton's lack of a record on this issue.

It was vital and the stationing of troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia after the war to help maintain the sanctions and embargo on Saddam were also vital to containing Saddam which was the only alternative to regime removal. Unfortunately, other countries refusal to continue with the sanctions and weapons embargo after the year 2000 meant this strategy against Saddam was no longer viable, leaving regime change as the only solution.

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The way I read it, you take issue with Biden's 2003 vote and his 2007 opposition to the surge? Most Senators in both parties voted for the Iraq war and can only be guilty of believing their President when he says we are threatened. Bush lied to them flat out, and that has been proven factually in many places. If in 2007, after we found out there were no WMD and it became clear that we needed a political solution and could not stay in Iraq forever and wreck our military, Biden opposes the surge, what is wrong with that?
BUSH NEVER LIED and saying such is just the a matter of belief of the most zealos liberals out there. Nearly every country with serious intelligence capabilities had intelligence which showed a certain level of WMD capability by Saddam in 2003. Even French intelligence officials came to that conclusion based on their evidence!

Another liberal myth is the idea that Bush wanted to remain in Iraq forever. Bush had always stated that "as they stand up, we'll stand down"

Even in the speech on the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, Bush said that the long hard work of rebuilding and securing Iraq was JUST BEGINNING!

What Iraq needed in 2007 was a certain level of security in order for the political and economic development of the country to continue at a reasonable pace! Bush achieved that with the surge, while Democrats attempted to abandon the whole thing by yanking all US combat troops out of the country as fast as possible. Bush succeeded in implementing the surge and stopping any Democratic plans to do the opposite which would have led to chaos.


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Notice you did not respond to what I said about the goals of the surge regarding political solutions and how what has made progress in Iraq is de facto EXACTLY WHAT BIDEN PROPOSED AS EARLY AS 2005. That plan got 75 votes in the Senate and was sponsored by Democrats and Republicans. The Iraqis basically adopted it and without calling it by its name
No one in Iraq is following the Biden plan! The power of the central government is increasing which is needed to keep Iraq together. Nearly all of the benchmarks congress laid out for political and economic progress in Iraq have been met. Bush's plans in Iraq have gone well beyond his stated goal in the surge!
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:04 PM   #490
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Lieberman's issue: Public option, which I have said elsewhere in this forum, was a bad idea to push and something not at all fundamentally necessary for health care reform. However, with 1% of people even going to choose this, it was bound to be as insignificant as it was ineffective in cutting costs, so I don't get Lieberman's filibuster threat over it.
Where do you get the 1% number?
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:21 PM   #491
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The only problem with the idea of cap and trade is that Obama is pushing it, and anything that Obama says is reflexively opposed lockstep by Republicans.
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Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.

“I am communicating that in every way I know how,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of at least a half-dozen Democrats who've told the White House or their own leaders that it's time to jettison the centerpiece of their party's plan to curb global warming.

“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economywide cap and trade “unlikely.”

At a meeting about health care last month, moderates pushed to table climate legislation in favor of a jobs bill that would be an easier sell during the 2010 elections, according to Senate Democratic aides.

“I’d just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). “What we don’t want to do is have anything get in the way of working to resolve the problems with the economy.”

“Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,” added Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). “I’ve told that to the leadership.”

Asked about cap and trade last week, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said: “At this point I’d like to see a complete bill, but we have to be realistic."
Senate Democrats to W.H.: Drop cap and trade - Lisa Lerer - POLITICO.com
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Old 02-13-2010, 06:26 PM   #492
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Here is what Peter D. Feaver, professor of political science and public policy at Duke University and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, recently said about Biden and his plan for Iraq:


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Will Biden's plan come back to haunt him?
Posted By Peter Feaver Monday, June 29, 2009 - 4:21 PM Share
By Peter Feaver

While I am thinking about the intersection of personnel and policy, I wonder what to make of this bit of news: apparently VP Biden will be tapped as the "unofficial envoy to Iraq." This appears not to be the same role as that filled by General Lute, President Bush's "Iraq czar" who was primarily responsible for knocking heads together back in DC to help the mission overseas. Lute still remains (for the time being) but his position has been downgraded several levels from an Assistant to the President down to a Special Assistant to the President. And, obviously, it is not the same position as the official envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Chris Hill -- the President's personal civilian representative in Baghdad -- although it sounds like it will overlap heavily with that position. Having someone at a senior level focused on Iraq makes sense and it does not get much more senior than the Vice President. So on paper, at least, this is not a bad idea. What concerns me is precisely what Rahm Emanuel told Newsweek, namely that Biden "... knows the players...He brings a lot of experience and expertise on this issue to the table..."

He knows the players alright and, more to the point, the players know him. What they know him best for is his prominent embrace of the Galbraith plan of a forced partition of Iraq into three parts -- one dominated by the Kurds in the north, one dominated by the Shia in the south, and the remainder dominated by the Sunnis. This plan was later picked up by Les Gelb and eventually by then-Senator Biden. By the time the presidential campaign was in full swing, the media was calling it the Biden plan. It certainly was a bold and strategic idea -- one might even call it Churchillian. Unfortunately, except for the Kurds -- for whom Galbraith was a long-time advocate - it was not popular in the region. On the contrary, it was viewed much the way that Churchill was viewed -- as colonialist meddling that would plunge the region still further into war. Indeed, the terrorists had claimed that the purpose of the US invasion of Iraq in the first place was to divide up Iraq and grab its oil and so the Galbraith-Gelb-Biden plan may have felt like a recruiting bonanza. I bet one could find jihadi websites touting it as the secret "real plan" for Iraq. Of course, Vice President Biden is now working for President Obama and President Obama has largely embraced the Bush plan for Iraq not the Galbraith plan. I have no reason to doubt VP Biden's current commitment to this same plan which aims to make Iraq a unified and stable partner. But I wonder if the famously conspiracy-minded folks in the Middle East will have the same benign view or whether instead they will believe that Biden will be seeking to implement partition. If their perceptions veer off in that direction, transition policy in Iraq could get even tougher than it is likely to be -- and that is more than tough enough.
Will Biden's plan come back to haunt him? - By Peter Feaver | Shadow Government
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:55 PM   #493
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Well, guess what, the vote on the Gulf War I was a major issue, a defining moment. Its the reason why Senator Sam Nunn never ran for president in the 1990s. In fact, I don't think any democrats in congress ran for President in the 1990s and also voted against Gulf War I. Al Gore vote for Gulf War I which is one reason why Clinton selected him. Clinton was governer of Arkansas at the time and was wishy washy on his position. Gore's vote and placement as vice presidential candidate helped to defend Clinton's lack of a record on this issue.

It was vital and the stationing of troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia after the war to help maintain the sanctions and embargo on Saddam were also vital to containing Saddam which was the only alternative to regime removal. Unfortunately, other countries refusal to continue with the sanctions and weapons embargo after the year 2000 meant this strategy against Saddam was no longer viable, leaving regime change as the only solution.



BUSH NEVER LIED and saying such is just the a matter of belief of the most zealos liberals out there. Nearly every country with serious intelligence capabilities had intelligence which showed a certain level of WMD capability by Saddam in 2003. Even French intelligence officials came to that conclusion based on their evidence!

Another liberal myth is the idea that Bush wanted to remain in Iraq forever. Bush had always stated that "as they stand up, we'll stand down"

Even in the speech on the aircraft carrier on May 1, 2003, Bush said that the long hard work of rebuilding and securing Iraq was JUST BEGINNING!

What Iraq needed in 2007 was a certain level of security in order for the political and economic development of the country to continue at a reasonable pace! Bush achieved that with the surge, while Democrats attempted to abandon the whole thing by yanking all US combat troops out of the country as fast as possible. Bush succeeded in implementing the surge and stopping any Democratic plans to do the opposite which would have led to chaos.




No one in Iraq is following the Biden plan! The power of the central government is increasing which is needed to keep Iraq together. Nearly all of the benchmarks congress laid out for political and economic progress in Iraq have been met. Bush's plans in Iraq have gone well beyond his stated goal in the surge!
1.)you were told by the moderators to ignore me.

2.)We have been over Iraq a million times before, no one except for you is still saying they were a threat.

Just 2 examples of where you still don't get it: -

A.)Obama's never said in his video that the military could not make security progress. The question is how sustainable the political situation is, which is still very much in question, though progress has been made.

B.)Clinton was speaking in 1998, when the weapons inspectors were still in Iraq and Saddam was having tiffs with them. Plus, Clinton was under a significant amount of pressure to call Iraq a threat by PNAC. Here is what Scott Ritter, the head inspector in Iraq, had to say about Iraq's WMD capability after 1998:'Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed' - Scott Ritter.

Statements Clinton made under pressure from people who were forming Gore's opposition team are to be viewed somewhat dubiously, especially since they were from the same people who pushed the war. Plus, even if Clinton meant it, which common sense says he was just posing, I will believe Scott Ritter over him.

There is no way you can claim Iraq was a threat or that they had WMD given this and Powell/Rice's statements in 2001. Wolfowitz even admitted that they knew in advance there were no WMD, just settled on it for bureaucratic reasons.http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

Everything you mentioned about "the belief of liberal zealots" and foreign government intelligence was comprehensively rebutted by me here in 2008. The facts have proven me right over time, so I am not going over it again. If France was so worried about Iraq, they would have supported the war.

So we have years of you making roundabout, unsubstantiated claims about Iraq's capability to threaten us, and we have the facts. I'll go with the facts.
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Old 02-14-2010, 12:00 AM   #494
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Here is what Peter D. Feaver, professor of political science and public policy at Duke University and director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, recently said about Biden and his plan for Iraq:




Will Biden's plan come back to haunt him? - By Peter Feaver | Shadow Government
Peter Feaver, and you, do not even know the definition of partition.

Anyone who calls the Biden plan a forced partition ends the debate right there. They don't understand the issue.

Nothing in the planned called for a partition, it was, for the 100th time, FEDERALISM.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:07 AM   #495
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1.)you were told by the moderators to ignore me.

2.)We have been over Iraq a million times before, no one except for you is still saying they were a threat.

Gulf War I-No Democrat ran for President who opposed it in the 90s. Nothing remarkable here, no one was running in a Primary against an incumbent President. The Democrats had no problem putting up Kerry in 2004, nor did Biden have to explain his opposition in order to be on a ticket that won big. Neither you or I have any idea why Sam Nunn did not run for President in 1992, but lets look at some facts: Nunn was widely considered for Sec Defense or Sec of State under Clinton, widely considered as running mate for both Gore and Kerry, was tapped by Clinton to lead the forcible departure of Cedras from Haiti, led the securing of loose nukes in Russia and was widely praised by military brass and colleagues of both parties as an expert on defense issues. Still is today. Safe to say, the people who actually make these decisions, not Republican hacks like you, do not see Gulf War I as some kind of foreign/defense policy litmus test. Not an issue that defines expertise. One can be an expert regardless of their stance on an issue. Another thing we went over in 2008.

Before the Gulf War, containing Saddam was not necessary, he was our friend. I am not going to debate the Gulf War with you again, but suffice it to say, Bush Sr was consulted about Saddam's designs on Kuwait and said nothing when he was given ample opportunity to forcefully tell him that was a no go. Something we would respond to strongly. The whole thing could have been avoided.

No, the sanctions were not over in 2000. You are just dead flat wrong. Once again. The sanctions were in place up until the war began, and what are you talking about the only means of addressing the threat? There was no threat, the inspectors took away all of Saddam's weapons between 1991 and 1998, and Colin Powell and Condi Rice said as much. Condi said he was not even a regional threat. Sanction enforcement could have been done from Kuwait and the no fly zones alone, we did not need the troops in Saudi as Saddam never threatened Saudi in 1990 anyway.

Just 3 examples of where you still don't get it: -

A.)Obama's never said in his video that the military could not make security progress. The question is how sustainable the political situation is, which is still very much in question, though progress has been made.

B.)Clinton was speaking in 1998, when the weapons inspectors were still in Iraq and Saddam was having tiffs with them. Plus, Clinton was under a significant amount of pressure to call Iraq a threat by PNAC. Here is what Scott Ritter, the head inspector in Iraq, had to say about Iraq's WMD capability after 1998:'Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed' - Scott Ritter.

Statements Clinton made under pressure from people who were forming Gore's opposition team are to be viewed somewhat dubiously, especially since they were from the same people who pushed the war. Plus, even if Clinton meant it, which common sense says he was just posing, I will believe Scott Ritter over him.

There is no way you can claim Iraq was a threat or that they had WMD given this and Powell/Rice's statements in 2001. Wolfowitz even admitted that they knew in advance there were no WMD, just settled on it for bureaucratic reasons.Letter to President Clinton on Iraq

Everything you mentioned about "the belief of liberal zealots" and foreign government intelligence was comprehensively rebutted by me here in 2008. The facts have proven me right over time, so I am not going over it again. If France was so worried about Iraq, they would have supported the war.

So we have years of you making roundabout, unsubstantiated claims about Iraq's capability to threaten us, and we have the facts. I'll go with the facts.

3.)Bush and the aircraft carrier. What other President has done anything remotely similar, taking credit for the bravery of the troops? It was a photo op, pure and simple. Does not matter that he acknowledged the long rebuilding process ahead, he said "major combat operations are over" when we had thousands more casualties after that. Whatever, keep defending your draft dodging loser President for using the troops as a photo op while simultaneously proposing to cut combat pay and restrict the viewing of fallen troops' flag draped caskets.

4.)The security situation was already improving in 2006, the surge helped with security, no one denies this, but the political situation is still extremely volatile and not really capable of being judged as of yet. The Democrats were not advocating immediate withdrawl or abandonment, but a responsible time line that left a residual training force behind to assist the Iraqis. A time line which, by the way, Bush accepted. Bottom line, you have no idea what would have happened had the surge not taken place, don't pretend to, it makes you look bad. The casualty levels in 2010 are very small, good observation- I was talking about the Spring/Summer of 2007, right after the surge, when they were EXTREMELY HIGH.

MOST ABSURD THING EVER SAID ON INTERFERENCE IS YOUR ASSERTION THAT THE MURDER RATES IN IRAQ AND THE US ARE EVEN COMPARABLE: FOXNews.com - Iraq Homicide Rate 10 Times New York City's - U.S. & World
Informed Comment
Iraq Body Count

Take the total number of 2008 murders, divide by the population of Iraq: .012 The US: .0054: No time to work out the exact per/100,000 rate, but it is clear from this that the murder rate is exponentially lower here.

Common sense, Strongbow, is America a war zone? Do you need a tank to go down any streets here? Do we have a functioning government with the capacity to defend and enforce its laws, or are we like Iraq? Are we the most dangerous place in the world for any religious group? Iraq: The most dangerous place in the world for Christians – Telegraph Blogs

You really show your ignorance when you make statements like this. If you really think Iraq is safer than here, maybe you should go live there! You'd want this country back pretty damn quick.

My parting suggestion to you before I add you to my ignore list as I should have done before: Stop the cutting and the pasting of material you clearly do not understand from discredited Republican sites. Step away from the propaganda, pick up an intelligence report, pick up Congressional hearings testimony, google intelligence officials and world leaders who have testified to Bush's lying or blatant misrepresentation of Iraq intelligence, read the transcript of the 2003 State of the Union address and Bush getting called out by Tenet for this, etc. Why would he out Plame if he had nothing to hide? Long story short, look in the real world where the one man you are manically defending regardless of the facts has been repudiated many times over by credible people(not just liberal zealots) all across the political spectrum.
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