May 5, 2011

The Iraq WMD Non-Hoax

One of the more remarkable (but little remarked) non-events of the last decade was that when no Weapons of Mass Destruction turned up in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, nobody planted any. 

I can imagine a lot of possible reasons. First, Cheney really believed they'd be there, and Bush figured that if a smart guy like Cheney believed it, then they would be there. So, they didn't have a Plan B.

Second, that Bush and Cheney had a certain code of honor: spin, embroider, and cover-up, sure, but don't plant evidence like a dirty cop.

Third, that organizing a hoax would be hard and risky.

Fourth, that U.S. soldiers have too strong a sense of honor to go along with a massive hoax.

142 comments:

Eivind said...

Simple. That's too risky. The planting would inevitably leak, and the fallout from that would be an order of magnitude worse than simply not finding any WMDs to begin with.

Anonymous said...

At that point, nobody cared. Hell, the polls showed that many Americans believed WMDs had already been found.

Also, just to repost my response to that dumb Liveleak thing:

SEALs don't take orders from the head of the CIA. The only Special Forces teams the head of the agency can issue orders to are the SAD.

If he tried to bump Gates off the chain of command, not only would he get no response but he'd be risking lengthy imprisonment at least, capital punishment at most.

Wes said...

I would say it was risky and they were dealing with military men of honor. And a bit of the second reason may have been at work too - going along with groupthink is one thing, being a dirty cop is another.

This, by the way, is a big argument against the more extreme Truther positions. If you know you are about to frame someone, any cop would carry a throw down gun. How could the people who supposedly planted bombs on buildings and killed 3,000 of their fellow Americans on 9-11 in a "false flag" operation, then fail to do something as minor as plant a few WMDs, which is much simpler.

Peter A said...

You can be sure that #4 is not true. Yes, American soldiers are generally good people, especially when compared to the corruption in the Russian or Chinese military, but except for some of the elite units the standards of honor aren't noticeably higher than the general population. Let's not romanticize our military.

Number one seems most plausible, and I think in Cheney's mind the "lack" of WMD is beside the point - Saddam always had the capability to produce or acquire such weapons on fairly short notice. HE was the WMD.

Chicago said...

What is a WMD? The only ones are nuclear weapons and the large size bombs we have. Only the larger, more capable countries have those.
The bogeyman of chemical and biological weaponry is nonsense.Chemical weapons are just WW1 era things like gas attacks, used almost a hundred years ago. The Iraqis gassed massed Iranian troops, supposedly using info supplied by the US as to where they were located. They also killed Kurdish civilians via gas attack. It's low-tech stuff. People thought Saddam Hussein was going to be flying a crop duster over their neighborhood, dumping mustard gas.
Biological weapons are just science fiction. The Japanese tried it in WW II, we gave it a shot in Korea. Results were meager and unreliable. The anthrax attacks of 2001 resulted in a handful of deaths, hardly something that could bring us to our knees.
We are the ones with WMD, along with some of the other developed countries.
What is it with Americans that they are so easily frightened? They're living in a country that has more weapons than anyone else yet fear some pipsqueak somewhere is going to come and get us.

anony-mouse said...

Ah, but maybe they really did plant WMD's in Iraq and are covering up that fact.

You're not really thinking like a conspiracy theorist are you, Steve :)

AMac said...

All four of Steve's suggested reasons likely contributed to the non-hoax outcome, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

One non-event was Cheney's decision to not shoot down at least one of the planes before they had the chance to hit the towers, when he had the opportunity to do so.

I can understand his likely reasoning. It's hard to know what will happen until it actually does happen, i.e., what if the planes never hit the towers?

Anonymous said...

You don't need ordinary soldiers to go along with a massive hoax; you just need a few specialists operating outside the usual chain of command, and suitably compartmentalized such that few people know what is really going on.

Two reasons why the WMD wasn't hoaxed: one, it would not have been enough just to plant a few weapons. The allegation was that Saddam had an entire WMD military industrial complex up and running - you can't fake that with a few special ops guys planting weapons. You need a vast infrastructure of factories and research labs to spring up out of nowhere. It can't be faked on the spur of the moment with a few planted devices.

Second and more importantly, Cheney and Bush and Rumsfeld and the neocons all drank their own koolaid. They really believed they would find the WMD. Thus, they made no plans to plant false WMD evidence. A more realistic bunch who didn't believe their own lies would have had the foresight to plan to plant false evidence - but hypothetically might also have concluded that they were unlikely to pull off such a massive stunt successfully.

RKU said...

The weak point of most "conspiracies" or "coverups" is the number of human moving parts which they need to contain. The risks of the whole thing unraveling are proportional to this.

Now Saddam's hypothetical WMDs would have been pretty bulky and also pretty specialized, so quite a number of people would have been required to fabricate them and then plant them in the heart of an American-occupied country. And the people doing the fabrication and planting would have known (or later easily figured out) what they were doing, and maybe afterward spilled the beans unless they were "bad guys." There's no plausible excuse which "good guys" could have been given to get them to unknowingly cooperate in that part of the conspiracy. And since the vast majority of the American personnel involved in Iraq were "good guys" (or at least thought of themselves as such), locating and identifying a sufficient number of "bad guys" without accidentally tipping off a single "good guy" who might blow the whistle would have been awfully tricky. Telling ordinary American soldiers that they needed to help fabricate evidence to avoid embarrassingly President Bush because he started a war by mistake and got all their friends killed for no reason probably isn't all that easy in our existing political/ideological structure.

By contrast, ensuring that Bin Laden was summarily executed requires zero "bad guys" throughout the chain-of-command. The leaders of the assault team are given the order and told a perfectly plausible reason such as that a show trial would lead to Muslim anger and future terrorist attacks or perhaps reveal American intelligence secrets. The commander giving them that order would have been given a similar sort of explanation, perhaps even the identical one. And that sort of thing would have gone all the way up the chain of command, with perhaps just a couple of people at some very high level having a reason different from the one they were outwardly giving. Not very difficult at all.

One way of thinking of this sort of "conspiracy" is that it involves requiring the vast majority of its participants to act against their national, patriotic interests, so the pieces have to be broken up into small enough chunks that no one realizes this at the time, or probably even later, when it's all in the headlines and the reporters come around asking what everyone say and did. This is extremely tricky and difficult, which is why big "conspiracies" aren't all that common and very often unravel in ways detrimental to their organizers.


On a totally unrelated note, Steve's blogsite seems to be suddenly attracting some new and very energetic commenters. First, our old friend "Whiskey" got all excited a day or two ago, and suddenly posted NINE near-consecutive comments, which he's never remotely done before. Then someone totally new called "Wes" suddenly shows up and posts more comments than any other five commenters combined. I'd almost think "Wes" was just an alternate handle for "Whiskey", except that their writings styles, personal interests, and general choice of focus are almost totally different. I know!---"Whiskey" decided that Steve's blogsite was covering such fascinating stuff that he mentioned it to one of his friends, who's just as excitable and being similarly unemployed, just spends all this time posting comments to blogsites. It's not too surprising that people surviving on unemployment checks have personal hangups, with "Whiskey" blaming all of America's problems on the political views of white women and "Wes" blaming them all on "conspiracy theorists"...

Conrad said...

It took months for the WMD-searchers to scour the country and conclude that there really weren't any stockpiles to be found. By that time, there probably wouldn't have been any plausible storage facility in which to plant a significant quantity of WMD that hadn't already been searched (or wasn't already being occupied or watched in some way).

Moreover, I'd imagine that securing the release of the WMD that would be planted in Iraq from U.S. inventories, transporting it to Iraq, and getting the crew and equipment on the ground to do the planting, would all leave a fairly unmistakeable paper trail. Considering Bush's public standing at that point, it is ludicrous to imagine that everyone in that loop, very few of whom would be political appointees, would keep such an operation secret.

neil craig said...

Heinlein once said that conspiracies, like soap bubbles have an upper size limit because the pressure on them to burst grows geometrically. Thus 9/11 being organised by Mossad & the CIA, spending weeks planting explosives in the basement is not credible but a few people in the CIA knowing something was about to happen & playing the stock market is.

To get WMDs from the US aresenal and cart them around Iraq would have required the complicity of hundreds, possibly thousands of GIs.

A tale of two marionettes said...

With all the insane hatred and mendancity by leftist in the MSM, academia and other elite corners there is no way Bush/Chaney could've gotten away with outright fraud.

Now Obama/Rham/Axelrod are an entirely different matter.

Whiskey said...

Or, Five, everyone from Cheney to Clinton to the Germans to the French to the Russians all believed Saddam had them.

Since Saddam had WMD in the past. And no one really knew what was going on in his regime.

Intelligence is not perfect. Ike got caught flat-footed by Hitler's Ardennes Offensive, his book to the contrary. And that was with both historical (Hitler had broken through the Ardennes in May 1940) and current (the Allies knew Hitler had an offensive planned in the West) information.

Whiskey said...

Basically, the WMD fiasco requires perfect intelligence all the time. Something no human or human system can produce. Its just not possible.

Therefore the US has to either err on the side of caution (acting on imperfect information when dangerous regimes are reasonably suspected of having WMDs) OR ... produce a system of deterrence that "automatically" annihilates the enemy (Ike's Chrome Dome system of constantly circling nuclear bombers).

HOWEVER ... eventually a Western City WILL die from WMD use by unstable/fractured/taken-over regimes like Pakistan or Iran or Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood) or Syria (MB) or Yemen or whatever. And since Westerners don't like being morally pure, rather they'd prefer not to be blown up, they will demand whatever steps are required to prevent it.

dearieme said...

How much of the account of the Osama raid is "hoax"?

1) The account of the gathering of intelligence is, of course, largely false. In such matters it is their duty to lie.

2) The detailed account of the raid that was first given was a pack of lies - as surely seemed likely to any reader not afflicted with rube levels of gullibiity.

3) That American troops flew in in helicopters, fired a lot of shots, and departed having burnt a helicopter - that seems plausible to me.

4) The nub of it: in doing so did they "capture and kill" Osama? Dunno. Possibly. As you hint, Mr Sailer, if that wasn't what happened a lot of people have been very dishonorable.

5) Did they bury the dead Osama at sea? I doubt it. But who knows?

Whiskey said...

Which means IMHO neither Bush's Iraq War (messy/expensive/tedious occupation) nor passive UN-approved letters of regret, nor retaliation only. What good is retaliation if you're already dead? Rather simply pre-emptive wiping out suspect people/regimes with WMD before they hit first.

On a side note, George Herbert Walker Bush was widely panned, including by Clinton, for leaving a "mess" with Saddam intact. Politicians respond to incentives as much as the next guy. Bush the father was defeated largely because he did not remove Saddam. It was stupid to expect his son when confronted by a Saddam problem AGAIN (Saddam kicking out the inspectors) to do what his father did, or repeat Clinton's widely derided failures (bombing to no effect). Particularly after 9/11.

We got the War we created incentives for.

Anonymous said...

There's no doubt in my mind that Bush and Cheney really expected to find WMD in Iraq. Everything, and I mean everything, points to it. Why they believed this, along with lots of other people, and why they didn't find any, is still an unresolved question.

DanJ said...

It is indeed odd that no attempt at planting WMD:s was made.

But perhaps the rationale was a simple "nah, they won´t care".

People who are interested in these issues, like many iSteve readers, were thinking "No WMD:s? Ooh, this is huge. This will be the scandal of the century!".

But nobody really cared. The greatest discovery of the Bush administration was how much you can do wrong, in plain sight, and get away with, because people are just not that interested in current events.

Truth said...

Fifth: They didn't really give a shit what the press or the public thought because they were in office, would be re-elected, and were entrusted to control the Middle East.

VG said...

Evil Bert was in on it, we all know that.

Polichinello said...

They believed their own bullshit, but figured that if nothing showed up, they could still bluff it out and everyone would forget. Remember all the completely fictional atrocity stories used to get us into the Kosovo conflict? Dubya may have figured that if Clinton could get away with it, so could he.

Unfortunately for him and us, the Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites weren't as easily cowed as the Serbs, and what was expected to be an easy "W"* turned into a long slog with its attendant recriminations.

*and by "expected" I mean "expected by everyone who had zero knowledge of the area."

Anonymous said...

Another possibility: Bush & co. thought it was important to establish the precedent of having a war with no good purpose.

John said...

No huge smoking-gun cache of WMD, anyway. Another little-remarked event was the ignoring and downplaying of what they did find.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/wikileaks-show-wmd-hunt-continued-in-iraq-with-surprising-results/

djf said...

Plue the"minor" detail that Saddam had SIX MONTHS TO HIDE OR DESTROY OR MOVE AND EVIDENCE OF WMD's TO SYRIA!!!!!!

If the local pot dealer gets a notice from the sheriff's department vice squad that his house will be subjected to a drug raid sometime six weeks from now, do you think the vice squad is going to find pot in the house when they finally arrive?

Just exactly what was in all those military trucks that went from Iraq to Syria in the months preceding the invasion?

airtommy said...

One rumor was that Valerie Plame's WMD task force accidentally intercepted a Neocon effort to plant WMDs in Iraq.

But the most likely explanation is a variation of your #1. Cheney did not actually believe his own claims that Saddam had a nuclear program, nor that he had an active bio/chem program. But Cheney did think that there were enough scraps left over from the old bio/chem programs to sell to the gullible media as "WMD". As it turned out, the bio/chem remnants just weren't enough to avoid ridicule.

headache said...

You're onto a good point here. I can imagine Obummer actually being part of a hoax in order to ensure reelection, in that sense keeping up with the political morality of his brothas in Africa. But Bush somehow still had some honor in that department.

map said...

That's why I do not buy the whole "Truther" position on 9/11. 9/11 is an exceedingly difficult conspiracy to execute. If that can be done, then planting evidence in Iraq should be easy for that same group.

But dropping the ball on evidence planting thus unraveling the initial conspiracy, when it would've been really easy to plant it, shows that 9/11 was probably not a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

I agree this is a curious dog that didn't bark in the night.

Before the Iraq invasion, I remember reading an Op-Ed column in a Russian paper by a Russian MinDef official in which he basically said the Americans will find WMD in Iraq because they will plant them after the fact. Maybe he was just projecting what the Russians would have done in such a situation.

Personally I don't think the intel was all that wrong; Saddam probably had WMD in some quantity at some point in the timeline leading up to the invasion. They were probably hoovered up by the Russians on their way out the door.

Anonymous said...

"Third, that organizing a hoax would be hard and risky.

Fourth, that U.S. soldiers have too strong a sense of honor to go along with a massive hoax.
"

This has been overcome in other hoaxes by pathologizing "deniers" as morally or mentally defective.

Voted "Present" for the 1,001st time said...

Wow, the story still continues to change.

Version 3.0 of the story changes the narrative yet again:

1.a. OBL armed and killed in firefight using wife a human shield (killed) like the coward he always was.

1.b. OBL unarmed, wife independently trys to shield him and shot in foot. No firefight but shot in head and chest "resisting".

1.c OBL was killed in a firefight at the discretion of the SEALs without any direction from Obama or command center


2.a WH Command center watched the entire raid, had recorded it and would release photos of Osama's corpse. Official photos released show the command team anxiously watching a screen together describing the team watching the raid in real time.

2.b WH would not release photos of Osama's corpse

2.c WH command center now claims it had no contact with the SEAL team and a surprising "20-25min blackout" during the mission. Now, they claim they didn't even have contact to give orders to kill Osama, the SEALS just decided to do that themselves?! Poor bloodless Barry didn't know anything about the execution until he heard the SEAL team say the word "Geronimo" (at which exact time communication link had been miraculously restored).

What incompetence. There guys are the least disciplined, coherent and professional leaders of the WH that I can recall.

Even with the entire MSM covering for Obama, I can think of no major US action that was as badly planned, managed and communicated as this (Gulf of Tonkin, U2 spy plane, Bay of Pigs).

Even with extremely hostile press, Nixon's secret Cambiodia bombing and Bush's many lies about Iraq were on point, largely on message and delivered with conviction.

Panetta seems to be a hard man who can make the hard decisions. Obama and Valarie are gumming up the works trying to bend hard reality into the impossibly twisted illogic of leftism.

For example, the invenerate leftist need to show that Obama had no hand in the decision to execute Osama but was merely "present". They need to show that Obama loves, respects and fears Muslim backlash above all else.

Not only is this limp wristed leftist approach to the event a transparent lie, it just debases the POTUS and the US.

Michael said...

The head of the CIA said there was a 25 minute technical glitch that prevented the live broadcast (from the soldiers' head cams) of the operation that supposedly lead to Bin Laden's death. That photo we all saw of the presidential staff supposedly looking at the operation live was a staged photo-op.

The next thing they'll say is that someone spilled coffee on the computer so the footage hasn't been recorded at all.

ben g said...

I haven't read the history on this, but how do we know Cheney really believed in the WMDs?

Wandrin said...

The majority of people in intelligence believed Saddam had WMDs (of some description) despite no clear evidence.

This was simply because unlike most people in that situation Saddam WANTED his own people to believe he had them because he wanted those pesky Kurds and Shias to believe he could nerve-gas the lot if he felt like it.

I'd vote Cheney etc never thought of planting anything because they simply assumed there'd be something tucked away in a bunker in the desert somewhere.

The big lie on Iraq was less the WMD issue and more the total non-linkage with 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't Cheney and Bush have believed they were there? I believed they were there. I remember speaking with many leftist opponents of Bush before the invasion who were set against it but also believed the WMD would be there. The 'Bush lied" meme partakes of revisionist history. Pre-invasion, almost everyone just assumed Saddam Hussein was the type of guy who would have WMD.

eh said...

...nobody planted any.

There was no need.

Stuff Black People Don't Like said...

Hey Steve,

Here's a link that updates us on how the Obama Administration continues to change its story.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2tu334/www.good.is/post/a-continually-updated-list-of-how-the-administration-says-bin-laden-died/?utm_source=supr

Anonymous said...

Consider the implications if Saddam Hussein really had possessed WMD — especially ones that could be deployed in 45 minutes as asserted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair: the entire US-British invasion force, concentrated in a tiny area of Kuwait, could have been destroyed by one or two weapons. If Bush really believed Iraq had WMD, he was criminally negligent for making sitting ducks out of our troops.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts8.html

Richard Sharpe said...

map said...

That's why I do not buy the whole "Truther" position on 9/11. 9/11 is an exceedingly difficult conspiracy to execute. If that can be done, then planting evidence in Iraq should be easy for that same group.


Of course, this assumes that the "conspirators" had to go out and find a bunch of guys who wanted to pilot planes into the Twin Towers etc, train them, smuggle them into the US, and so forth.

However, that such people would likely exist in the MENA is a given.

So, it is far easier to supply these groups with money, make sure that anti-Arab profiling is not done at entries to the US and for flight schools ...

Wandrin said...

"Consider the implications if Saddam Hussein really had possessed WMD"

I think that's a problem of definitions.

In the popular meaning of the word WMD means weapons with the ability to kill masses of people.

In the technical meaning it means a list of things which apart from nukes are actually really bad at killing masses of people.

In reality with gas, WMD means the ability to kill masses of people without gasmasks and NBC gear if they're standing close together and the wind is right.

Saddam had already used WMD in the technical sense of the word i.e he used debilitiating gas in the war with Iran and nerve gas against some Kurd villages and i'd expect people like Cheney just assumed they'd find something that matched the technical definition of WMD if not the popular meaning and that would have been good enough.

(I guess WMD was the bigger lie in the UK with the government pretending they believed Saddam had the popular meaning of WMD when they only really believed he had the technical meaning. In the US though i'd say the bigger lie was the non-existent 9/11 link.)

Ash said...

They must have believed there would be more significant WMDs found. If they had thought we would only find the sort of thing that Hans Blix was looking for (to whit, a certain number of chemical weapon shells) then they would have trumpeted the fact that a certain number of chemical weapon shells were eventually found (although not after the "there were no WMDs" narrative was cemented in place.)

We went from looking for some chemical weapon shells to looking for SADDAM HUSSEINS'S SECRET UNDERGROUND LAIR with nukes, delivery systems, and sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.

If the Bush administration has repeatedly emphasized that might find what Hans Blix was looking for, they might have come through it all looking better. They must have believed the SECRET UNDERGROUND LAIR stuff.

Anonymous said...

That's why I do not buy the whole "Truther" position on 9/11. 9/11 is an exceedingly difficult conspiracy to execute.

It was a diffcult conspiracy and it was executed. That's not the question. The whole justification for tracking down and killing Osama Bin Laden was that he orchestrated an international conspiracy to crash planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The only dispute is did Bin Laden work in conjunction with other intelligence agencies.

Wandrin said...

"I haven't read the history on this, but how do we know Cheney really believed in the WMDs?"

Saddam used gas in the Iran-Iraq war and against some rebel kurdish villages. He told the outside world he'd scrapped them all - which appears to have been mostly true - but at the same time still dropped hints to the kurds and shias that he still had them.

Most of the people in the foreign policy type circles believed he had some "WMD" but WMD in the form of gas mortar and artillery rounds and a few gas bombs that could be dropped by planes.

They massively exagerrated the level of threat and range of threat but i think they would have been genuinely surprised to not find anything.

Wes said...

RKU, why are you personally insulting me? You wrote half a book in that one post. Sorry if my curiosity about conspiracy theorists offended you. You accused me of being unemployed which isn't true, and you accused me of blaming my "personal problems" on conspiracy theorists, which isn't true. It's curiosity about a topic that cropped up, when I had some free time. M'kay?

There is some real venom in your heart, my brother. Drink a glass of wine.

Anonymous said...

Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ron Suskind interviewed a prominent CIA official that claimed Dick Cheney ordered the forging of the yellowcake documents (the forged papers that showed Saddam was trying to buy nuclear-weapon uranium in Africa). Several sources corroborated this.

They would've planted WMDs in Iraq if they could've gotten away with it. Unfortunately, for them, it'd take a lot more people coordinating together to orchestrate that type of conspiracy. There are too many ethical people to hinder that.

Anonymous said...

If we were really worried about the WMDs, we should've just used surgical strikes. Why do we have to change the entire regime?

I think the entire Iraq war was produced by a combination of incompetence, power hungry people in the government, and hysteria from the public.

Wes said...

I think we have to be careful about our evolution toward a low-trust, cynical society (not that we can do anything about it). I remember going to Mexico as a child, and it was obvious how cynical and distrusting the average Mexican was of the government and their officials. It didn't make Mexico more free.

In fact, the lack of trust seems to get in the way of large scale cooperation, which is necessary for representative government and the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of 911 conspiracies...seems like there are a lot of people with technical backgrounds on this site. Any comments on "the pilots for 911 truth"?

http://pilotsfor911truth.org/index.html

Nutjob pilots?

Their focus seems pretty narrow (reviewing data from the NTSB)and they don't seem interested in assigning blame. For example, they say the flight recorder from the Pentagon jet indicates the flight deck door was never opened which is at odds with the story Ted Olsen relayed from his wife on board that the pilots were "herded" to the back of the plane.

JHB said...

As an aside, I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out that there actually were WMD found in Iraq after invasion. That factoid had its fifteen minutes of fame when Wikileaks included documents citing discovery of WMD in Iraq. Actually, though, it was released before the 2006 Election that there had been roughly 500 WMD found, all of which were chemical weapons.

One could wonder how the Duelfer Report would have missed WMD. If one reads the entire report, however, it becomes very clear how it could have happened. Of twelve major depots believed to have been candidates for WMD storage, only one was searched. At another two vehicles were searched. The other ten were never visited at all. Of the thousands of smaller suspected caches, fewer than one percent were searched. Senior Iraqi officials disagreed on the destruction date of WMD, and the leader of the Iraqi Military-Industrial Complex testified that there were WMD on hand upon the eve of invasion. Nonetheless, the Duelfer Report stated that the WMD had been destroyed, even though documents declassified in 2006 prove that hundreds were being discovered around the time of the report's release. Certainly there was less of an infrastructure for WMD manufacture than we had been led to believe prior to invasion. Still, there were many WMD left in Iraq even after invasion.

Eric said...

Bush has quite a bit more personal honor than his opponents gave him credit for. Once you turn your policy disagreements into hate the guy you hate becomes nothing more than an inverse projection of your own values.

Wandrin said...

"If we were really worried about the WMDs, we should've just used surgical strikes. Why do we have to change the entire regime?"

Which "we?"

"They" wanted regime change for Israel/Oil/Empire (take your pick).

"They" know "we" don't care about those reasons but they know we do care about our kids getting gassed by terrorists.

They weren't really worried about Saddam's WMD because they believed it was just a few mortar bombs full of mustard gas. They used the IDEA of WMD to scare the public.

I'm saying they didn't plant hoax WMD because they expected to find *something* that could have been used to vindicate the WMD story even if it was only a few mortar bombs full of mustard gas.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, the lack of trust seems to get in the way of large scale cooperation, which is necessary for representative government and the rule of law."

Wes, you still come across as someone working for the government.

On another thread someone mentioned that certain ethnic groups could well become dominant in parts of the government when they are hired to interface with their co-ethnics in this country and abroad. At least the idea of a government with many factions must have credibility with you. If one of those factions decided to target more traditional type American citizens, for whatever reason, who would even know to sound the alarm or come to the rescue?

David said...

WMDs. This abysmal deceit and betrayal, and the PC response to the Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond event, made something snap inside me. They were the last straw. The light dawned. Have abominated everything neoconnish since.

I wouldn't vote for a Republican (or a Democrat) for all the money in the world. Not. Ever. Again.

The GOP can go - you know what - forever.

Foresight Gaga said...

If Nixon's boys couldn't even steal a few documents from an abandoned Democratic Party headquarters, what was the chance of Bush's boys planting weapons in Iraq?

Anonymous said...

"They weren't really worried about Saddam's WMD because they believed it was just a few mortar bombs full of mustard gas. They used the IDEA of WMD to scare the public."


You're on to something here, Wanderin. If nothing else, some entities are skilled at manipulating public opinion. I wish I had studied more in the field of communications b/c I am often very aware that what someone is saying as much as how they are saying it create an illusion designed to move the public in one direction or another. Fear is a great motivator.

This has generated yet another type of conspiracy theory for me. I get the impression that weird behaviors in certain cohorts were manipulated by someone just seeing how to push these peoples' buttons. It could go the other way, too, that physical manifestations of social contagions could be traced back to the words and images that convince people to get tattoos, buy certain kinds of music or have their breasts removed before showing any signs of cancer.

Sorry but I've really lost my innocence about concepts such as privacy and even coincidence. This can be done for any number of reasons not strictly related to maintaining the social order. Nevertheless, I can't help feeling jaded over all the ways individuals get scanned and often scammed by government entities, lobbyists, advertisers and even foreign governments.

Foresight Gaga said...

How the GOP(or Neocons)planted Bush II as the president with 'humble foreign policy' is the stranger hoax that was successfully pulled off.

Geoff Matthews said...

Given the emphasis placed on mobile labs that were supposed to be able to make weaponized biological weapons, how hard would it have been to sneak in a few cultures? You could carry a few pocket-sized containers into them and smear the counters with the stuff.
This isn't hard, and choosing a few selected intelligence officers for the task would keep the number of people involved low.
But it didn't happen because they really believed that they were they. When the Iraqi Generals believed they were they, I can understand why we thought that they were there.

Charlesz Martel said...

Everyone seems to forget that the opponents to the Iraq war never claimed that there were no WMD's- they said that Saddam wasn't responsible for 9/11, so leave him alone. The left, right, British, German, Russian, Israeli, and American intelligence all said there were WMD's. Heck, he had a history of using them, so this was hardly a crazy idea. And the real biggie that nearly everyone forgets, which I assume had everyone shitting bricks behind the scenes, was this story, about what our Intel completely missed during Gulf War 1:

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/nuke/program.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/10/opinion/stop-the-nuclear-threat-at-the-source.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=jQwAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=iraq+calutrons+nyt&source=bl&ots=dlH-7hev_T&sig=yRVOg3mJmM4aR8DE-Of4GQCCpT8&hl=en&ei=CjDDTbn3PMW4tgf8isXTBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CE8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Iraq had a nuclear WMD program. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply hasn't done their homework. Read up on the "missile tubes", whose specifications miraculously match the specs for the tubes in the Zebbe centrifuge, as well.

The issue of whether or not we should have gone to war depends on what level of unknowns we were willing to live with. Given the way our leftist-and-Clinton-gutted intelligence services operated, this was not an easy call. The retroscope is always 20-20.

Polichinello said...

Iraq had a nuclear WMD program. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply hasn't done their homework.

Greg Cochran did his homework and correctly predicted that there wouldn't be a serious active nuclear program in Iraq. The Iraq of 2003 was simply not economically or technically capable of mounting such a program.

Wes said...

With regard to the 911 pilots ... I know quite a few pilots and I have a license myself. For what it's worth, I don't know any pilots that put any stock in the 911 Truther theories.

airtommy said...

Iraq had a nuclear WMD program. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply hasn't done their homework.

Nobody has questioned that. It was well documented that after Israel attacked Osirak in 1981, Saddam then ramped up his nuclear weapons program. Heck, the US even authorized a shipment of materials for that program a few days AFTER Saddam invaded Kuwait.

It has been well documented that this program was 100% verified as dead by the late 1990s. There was total consensus in the global intelligence community about this fact.

beowulf said...

Of course, its still an open question how big a role Iranian intelligence played (via Chalabi and INC) in luring the US into invading simply to knock off their enemy Saddam Hussein.

Of course, the Iranians could have been gracious about it and just plant WMDs themselves for Bush to find, but they were going for maximum humiliation.

Anonymous said...

Come on Steve, if you are going to think big, think big!

I'll bet there were some WMDs found and they covered it up, if anything.

NOT finding WMDs was part of the point. Bush lied people died!! The lightworker Obama must save us!

ben tillman said...

Their focus seems pretty narrow (reviewing data from the NTSB)and they don't seem interested in assigning blame. For example, they say the flight recorder from the Pentagon jet indicates the flight deck door was never opened which is at odds with the story Ted Olsen relayed from his wife on board that the pilots were "herded" to the back of the plane.

There were mainstream media reports of eyewitnesses on the ground who saw the plane explode (i.e., the plane was shot down). Obviously, someone -- or something -- was lying, and it wasn't the flight recorder.

AmericanGoy said...

"Plue the"minor" detail that Saddam had SIX MONTHS TO HIDE OR DESTROY OR MOVE AND EVIDENCE OF WMD's TO SYRIA!!!!!!"

Please leave this blog.

gcochran said...

Obviously the retroscope is not 20/20, or we wouldn't have people posting proven falsehoods years after the fact.

First, "WMD" IS a nonsense category. It lumps in weapons whose lethality spans four orders of magnitude. Mustard gas, for example, is less effective at killing people than high explosives. Past-expiration mustard gas isn't very dangerous at all.

We found some dud mustard gas shells dating from the Iran-Iraq war, and a few were left in old bunkers by mistake. All had lost their efficacy. Anyone who thinks that is a good reason to invade a country must want to invade Belgium: farmers plowing turn up old gas shells in their fields every year. After all, our NATO treaty with Belgium is only a 'scrap of paper'.

Nerve gas is more effective, but Iraq was no longer making any.
Again, we found some old dud shells, no longer dangerous.
I would rather have left those duds in the ground than plant 4000 American servicemen there, but I guess I'm just eccentric. And think of the financial trouble the country would be in if we _hadn't_ spent 800 billion on Iraq.

Germ warfare is not just science fiction: it is, or can be, more effective than people think. There is reason to think that it played a possibly-important role in WWII. But the Iraqis had not gotten anywhere on that. That said, both poison gas and germ warfare pale in comparison to nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are more powerful (not counting smallpox) and much more reliable. Their action isn't sensitive to weather, winds, humidity, etc.

I should probably mention that dropping a couple of small fission weapons on our troops in Kuwait in 2003 would have cost us something like a couple of thousand men. The kill radius is not large on a 15-Kt weapon: The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs killed a lot of people because they were dropped on densely populated, flimsily constructed cities.

The Iraqis had no nuclear program. They had no devices, had produced no fissionables (the hard part of a nuke), and had built no facilities for producing fissionables.

They had nothing, nada, nichevo.

gcochran said...

Those famous aluminum tubes were exactly what the Iraqis said they were: artillery rockets. Exact engineering duplicates of the Italian Medusa artillery rocket.
They could not have been used as a centrifuge for separating isotopes, because their walls were too thick. When rotating at extremely high speed, the centrifugal force at the outer edge of a thick-walled tube is too much higher than that at the inner edge: the tube fails.

You can see a nice review of the physics of Zippe-type centrifuges in an old issue of Review of Modern Physics {Part I: Principles of separation physics, Rev. Mod. Phys., 1984, 56, pp. 41-66).

I read and understood it. But you, Charles Martel, did neither.

Those with actual experience with Zippe centrifuges at American labs such as Sandia or Oak Ridge told the Feds that the tubes in questions could not be used that way: the experts were ignored. The IAEA had more actual experience with smuggled nuclear equipment (Khan network): the IAEA engineer simply hefted the tube and knew instantly that it was too heavy.

Could we have missed evidence for secret weapons projects? Forgetting for the moment that Iraq had an average IQ of 85, with about 80% of the population too untrustworthy (Shias and Kurds) to work on any secret project? And stony broke to boot?

Look, we occupied the damn place. We spent a billion dollars and more than a year searching: it wasn't a quickie. Anyone in Iraq who knew a damn thing about such a project - a secretary, a janitor, anybody - could have earned himself a few hundred thousand bucks and a green card out of that hellhole - if they had verifiable evidence.

But nobody did. Which is why even a month in, it was obvious that we had nothing. Only obvious to people who have a halfway-reasonable model of how the world works, which means almost nobody.

gcochran said...

As for people knowing that was no WMD before we invaded: I knew that Iraq had no nuclear program (too difficult to do in an undetectable way with their limited human and material resources), and that there was no evidence of anything else. Every checkable statement that the Bush Administration made was false. Some could only be checked after we invaded the country: of course those were false too. At the time I was a straight-ticket, sixth generation Republican: but I didn't pass the true test of partisanship - being willing to eat shit.

Almost everyone in movement conservatism-land was, however.
Most sounded just like Oliver Twist.

There were other people who doubted Iraqi WMD: quite a few people at the DOE had a pretty good idea.

Nobody in the higher ranks of government has any technical knowledge. Neither do reporters, or pundits. The Feds - to be exact, the Bush Administration - certainly employs numbers of people who do have such expertise, but they were ignored.

Mind you, their lack of technical knowledge does not mean that they know a lot about something else. They're Renaissance idiots.

"Everybody" knew, but none of them actually knew anything. This is not that rare.

As for Saddam bluffing, pretending that he actually had some ace in the hole - I've heard a lot of people say that, usually as exculpation. But none ever say what it is that he is supposed to have done or said that constituted that bluff. I have to think they're shining me. Not for the first time.

AmericanGoy said...

Google "Office of Special Plans" and all will become clear.

When the CIA aaaaaand Mossad before the war both stated that Saddam had no WMD's (or at least they had no evidence), the hustlers (Jewish neocons; American citizens + Cheney) organized OSP, bypassing the CIA aaaaaaaand Mossad.

Likud party apparatchiks had unlimited access to the CIA and Pentagon, bringing any and all evidence of said WMD, no matter how tenous (yellow cake, anyone?).

I thought this was common knowledge?

Whatever you do, just google "Office of Special Plans" and get to learnin'

ben tillman said...

That's why I do not buy the whole "Truther" position on 9/11. 9/11 is an exceedingly difficult conspiracy to execute.

Think about it. The non-"Truther" position on 9/11 posits a vastly more difficult conspiracy -- i.e., that 19 Arab Barney Fifes managed to do it without outside help.

Erik said...

This question was actually asked of Rumsfeld in October 2003. He dismissed it with "Oh, my. It's kind of nice to be out of Washington." (He was in California for an event honoring Ronald Reagan).
http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2003/October/20031011170143attocnich0.7477075.html

One major factor restraining any attempt by interested parties in planting WMD, was that France demanded shortly after the war began that any WMD discoveries made by the U.S. be available to French scientists for verifaction of authenticity. I remember hearing this on the BBC in 2003, but am having a hell of a time finding a source to link to.

Anonymous said...

"With regard to the 911 pilots ... I know quite a few pilots and I have a license myself. For what it's worth, I don't know any pilots that put any stock in the 911 Truther theories."

Thanks for that info, Wes. It's good to know that you and your acquaintances are all perfectly respectable.

rwcg said...

Fifth, the definition of 'WMD' is fuzzy. By some definitions, the U.S. found 'WMD', but not the kind people think of.

Sixth, unbeknownst to apparently many people, physical objects in our universe can actually be moved from one location to another. The entire West conducted a lackadaisical, nearly one-year-discussion over whether to invade Iraq and look for 'WMDs'. Supposing there were, at time T, 'WMDs' in Iraq, it does not follow that they would have necessarily been there at time T+1 when we actually invaded. And it is not as if our intention to invade Iraq, on pretense of 'WMDs', and then to find/announce 'WMDs' as justification, was some sort of closely-held secret. One would think that the regime of Saddam Hussein was as able as any of the rest of us to tune in to CNN or Fox News and follow the debate. Hence, the premise that - if they had 'WMDs' - they would have just left them there, unaltered, for the United States to come in and 'find' (thus the failure to do so proves they were never there), is actually quite a bizarre one and I'm not sure why people believe it.

ben tillman said...

"With regard to the 911 pilots ... I know quite a few pilots and I have a license myself. For what it's worth, I don't know any pilots that put any stock in the 911 Truther theories."

Thanks for that info, Wes. It's good to know that you and your acquaintances are all perfectly respectable.


I know a retired pilot who actually flew one of the jets that crashed into the WTC. He thinks there was a homing device in WTC 7 that enabled Barney & Goober to hit their targets. Of course, he is a genuine conspiracy theorist, so you can take it with a grain of salt, but ot would help to explain the strange fate of that building.

Has to be said...

Do you believe that Israel has nukes? Well, there is less evidence for this than there was for the existence of an Iraqi nuclear program in the 1990s. So it was very reasonable to suppose that Saddam was working on getting nukes. And nukes in the hands of Saddam was really scary possibility. Even 10% probability of that was too much.

So Saddam was like that criminal who gets shot by a cop for possibly possessing a weapon. The cop doesn't go to jail even if the weapons turned out to be a cigarette lighter.

Mr. Anon said...

"gcochran said...

First, "WMD" IS a nonsense category. It lumps in weapons whose lethality spans four orders of magnitude."

I've always found the concept of "WMD" pretty laughable myself. A mustard-gas filled mortar shell - a WWI era weapon - is deemed a weapon of mass destruction; but fuel-air bombs or cluster-munitions, which abound in our arsenal, are not.

Wes said...

Great posts by Cochran,thanks. I have to say I don't think most Republicans and conservatives even cared if Saddam had WMD (in the serious sense). I say that as someone that reluctantly voted for Bush.

Most thought that it would be a quick war to simply get rid of Saddam and perhaps establish a base to protect our interests in the region (not reshape their culture and politics). We thought it would be fought more brutally, quickly and cheaply.

Conservatives played along, pretending they cared about WMDs, but I think most knew it was a non-issue. It's quite amazing how much people will go along with a pretense they are not really sure about. We instinctively feel the need for "useful fictions" - not bragging about it, but I think it's true. It's almost a tribal thing.

And I think a lot of us wanted to just assert American might in sense to make up for 9-11. That's just being honest.

Anonymous said...

Wes, were pulling you out, meet us back at the drop point.

Cas

headache said...

@Voted "Present" for the 1,001st,
leaving behind that stealth chopper til intact wasn't such a smart move either.

gcochran said...

"Do you believe that Israel has nukes? Well, there is less evidence for this than there was for the existence of an Iraqi nuclear program in the 1990s. "

A lie. Uninspected working reactor at Dimona, French collaboration, Vela Incident, Vanunu. They told Diefenbaker that they were building a plutonium reprocessing plant. Delivery vehicles - Jericho II and cruise missiles. Lots and lots of evidence.

And at the same time, we knew that doing much of anything was virtually impossible for Saddam after the Gulf War, because he was under international sanctions, had infinitesimal local talent/technical base, and was broke.

You know, the sort of pinheads that still argue for Iraqi WMD could easily get excited over the time machine being built by the superscientists of Burkina Faso - as long as embracing that nonsense supported their faction or tribe.

As for shipping everything to Syria - tell me how you'd get rid of every possible green-card seeker who could point out where the plant had been. I might also note that we were looking hard at Iraq - satellite recon - the entire time.
If a lot of stuff came out of some hole and was shipped to Syria, we would know.

Down-looking resolution is almost diffraction limited, since the atmospheric turbulence is almost entirely in the far field. Oops, I just slipped up: I just broke the Prime Directive of the Internet.

Anonymous said...

You guys are over estimating the interest of the general public in staying informed about Government policies and demanding accountability from their elected officials. Not everyone reads the NYT or cares about what the government does (even if the gov badly screws things up). It is this group that the Bush administration was catering the WMD stories to, not the informed expert crowd (or the type of people that read this blog).

The lies about the WMD didn't become an issue until the war went sour and the expert crowd began crying foul.

Basically, the Neocons were hoping that the Iraq war would successfully end quickly and that they could pick their next target country and keep going, with newer set of bullshits without ever having to worry about creating facts on the ground to support their stories.

The Neocons were largely correct in their assumptions of the average American voter (Bush was rewarded a second term), but were badly mistaken about the ethnic dynamic of Iraq, which in the end was the root cause of the failure of the war, and hence, blowing up of the WMD story.

georgesdelatour said...

Maybe the whole Iraq invasion was really about Saudi Arabia.

9/11 showed that Saudi Arabia was a US "ally" that was really a US enemy - just like Pakistan today. But it was too important to just throw overboard.

But if we could remake Iraq, turn it into a substitute for Saudi Arabia, then we could dump the Saudis.

RKU said...

Anonymous: "Wes, you still come across as someone working for the government."

Bull's eye!

Steve's blogsite begins to discuss some exceptionally touchy subjects, and a totally new commenter called "Wes" shows up within a day or so, immediately becoming by a wide margin the most frequent commenter on the blogsite. That's never happened before with any newbie. Furthermore, the first wave of the half-dozen "Wes" posts in the first thread or two seem to have been posted very late in the evening or even overnight, since they weren't there in the evening, but they'd all appeared by the next morning (Steve keeps crazy hours).

Obviously, the world is filled with lots of "excitable" people, who become enthralled by wild conspiracies, and spend all their time discussing them on blogsites. I can see some of those people staying up all night to promote conspiracies. However, "Wes" isn't one of those crazy people. He's calm, competent, rational, and writes in an educated, sophisticated manner. Also, his primary focus is debunking "conspiracy theories."

Now ask yourself, what sort of calm, educated, rational, competent person would spend all this time posting such a vast number of blogsite comments (many of them seemingly written late at night, at least American time) mostly debunking conspiracy theories? Why isn't he busy with his work---doesn't he have a job? Actually, I think he probably does. Probably a good, solid government job. Which government I really can't say.

Wes: RKU, why are you personally insulting me?

Well, I enjoy reading blogs and sometimes commenting on them. But I'm also very busy with my own work, so I can only allocate a tiny slice of my time to doing this. Therefore, I get annoyed at people whom I strongly suspect are getting a weekly paycheck to do exactly that.

Wandrin said...

gcochran
"You know, the sort of pinheads that still argue for Iraqi WMD"

That would include you then

"We found some dud mustard gas shells dating from the Iran-Iraq war, and a few were left in old bunkers by mistake."

and

"Nerve gas is more effective, but Iraq was no longer making any.
Again, we found some old dud shells, no longer dangerous."

To the average person that is WMD.

As you say yourself

"First, "WMD" IS a nonsense category. It lumps in weapons whose lethality spans four orders of magnitude."

That's the point. The word can be used to mean something very dangerous or something not dangerous at all and the same dishonest people knew they could use it with one meaning initially to scare people into the war and also assumed they'd find a cache of captured mustard gas somewhere and after the fighting was over they could blow it up on camera with a lot of military personnel in gas masks and as long as gas came out of the shells the folks back home would have been satisfied.

That's why they never thought of planting any - which was the original point of the thread.

.
"As for Saddam bluffing, pretending that he actually had some ace in the hole - I've heard a lot of people say that, usually as exculpation. But none ever say what it is that he is supposed to have done or said that constituted that bluff."

It should be totally obvious. The steps were:

1. He had and used "WMD" in the past. (Yes in reality they were mostly "WAND" (weapons of almost no destruction) but the average person doesn't know that).
2. He said he scrapped them.
3. He made it as difficult as possible for the inspectors.
4. There was almost no human intelligence from inside Iraq.

People assumed he hadn't scrapped it all because he was making it hard for the inspectors. He made it hard for the inspectors because he was trying to walk a line between making the inspectors think he had none while leaving an element of doubt among potential Iraqi rebels.

You think the Shias in the Baghdad slums didn't believe those artillery batteries pointed at them had gas shells?

It's like a guy with his hand in his jacket pretending it's a gun.

.

Anonymous said...

RKU,

I seriously doubt the Government cares about what's going on in this comment thread.

ATBOTL said...

Don't you read Free Republic? We found the WMD's. Bush was right. It's a liberal conspiracy that covered it up.

Wes said...

RKU and whoever else ... are you really paranoid enough to think the government cares about any of these off the radar websites and pays people to take sides on issues in this forum? I guess the world has it's share of RKUs but this is astoundingly stupid.

I use a name so that I can be identified because it is easier if someone wants to respond to my post, but I have posted here off and on for a couple of years. In fact, I have used the name Wes before.

I guess this stems from me questioning Truthers - a group whose sensitivity is only matched by their irrelevance. And I find the paranoid personality interesting I suppose so I made some inquiries. Didn't occur to you I could just post as "anonymous" or use different names if I was working for the KGB?

Ahhh, but I sense my answer only goes to prove how clearly I am in government pay.

Silver said...



HOWEVER ... eventually a Western City WILL die from WMD use by unstable/fractured/taken-over regimes like Pakistan or Iran or Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood) or Syria (MB) or Yemen or whatever. And since Westerners don't like being morally pure, rather they'd prefer not to be blown up, they will demand whatever steps are required to prevent it.


Just out of curiosity, Whiskers, if it had to be one, which would you prefer it be: say, Haifa or Little Rock?

RKU said...

Wes: I guess the world has it's share of RKUs but this is astoundingly stupid.

Well, I certainly may be "astoundingly stupid", but I do think I'm pretty good at pattern recognition...

I sometimes hang out at various fringey blogsites, which discuss all sorts of crazy, controversial things, most of which are total nonsense. Naturally, the commenters are mostly fringey people, with all sorts of weird and eccentric beliefs on lots of things, which I often find pretty amusing when I take short breaks from my own work.

Then one day one of these blogsites starts a thread which becomes focused on 9/11 issues. Immediately thereafter an entirely new commenter appears out of nowhere who posts vastly more comments than anyone else, writes in a sober, restrained, good-quality style yet remarkably also blends entirely into the ideologically-fringey views of the website. But his number one direct focus is debunking and ridiculing "conspiracy theories" and 9/11 ones in particular.

Now that our good friend "Wes" has appeared on this blogsite, it's the third time this sequence has happened, and I say three times a charm. I also apply Occam's Razor.

"Wes" says he's been posting here anonymously for a couple of years. Maybe, maybe not. But given the massive current volume of his posts, unless he produced a gigantic fraction of all the previous "anonymous" postings the blogsite has ever had, his posting volume here suddenly grew by something like 10,000%.

Now everyone knows this is primarily an HBD blogsite, and the commenters it attracts are mostly HBD-enthusiasts. Yet although it appears that "Wes"'s HBD views seem generally in accordance with those of the other commenters here, I can't remember a single time he posted under his current handle. So he's clearly not all that interested in HBD stuff.

On the other hand, he's VERY interested in "conspiracy theories." But strangely enough, he opposes them. Now I've heard of lots of "conspiracy junkies" but I've never heard of an "anti-conspiracy junkie."

Anyway, people can draw their own conclusions and propose their own alternate hypotheses. And by the time I take another look at this blogsite, "Wes" will probably have posted another 37 comments to my single one here...

Polichinello said...

When rotating at extremely high speed, the centrifugal force at the outer edge of a thick-walled tube is too much higher than that at the inner edge: the tube fails.

AHAAAA!!! A lie. There is no such thing as centrifugal force. My physics textbook says so. Confess, Greg, you are a paid Baathist agent trolling Steve's Blog comments!!!


Seriously, I feel like Zeus in Clash of the Titans: "Release the Cochran!"

Svigor said...

Why wouldn't Cheney and Bush have believed they were there? I believed they were there. I remember speaking with many leftist opponents of Bush before the invasion who were set against it but also believed the WMD would be there. The 'Bush lied" meme partakes of revisionist history. Pre-invasion, almost everyone just assumed Saddam Hussein was the type of guy who would have WMD.

He was the type of guy, of course, but, he'd had inspectors and observers crawling all over the place for years.

WNs didn't buy any of it. I was proto-WN at the time but I was telling everyone who could hear that the whole thing stank. A bunch of Saudis attack us, and we're going to invade Iraq again?

Saddam was the kind of guy who'd have WMD, and our government is stocked with the type who don't look to closely when the right people want a war.

My favorite is "the Russians took them on their way out" or "Saddam, sneaky SOB that he was, put them in Syria" thing.

Kinda belies the story he's going to gas the world, dunnit, when he won't even use the stuff on us while we're invading?

Saddam was a madman who hatched an evil plot to get us to invade so he could make us look bad, I guess. Kinda like a guy who waves an empty gun at the police then tosses it into the river between the time they fill him full of holes and he bleeds out. But if all the just-so stories about Hitler's lunacy play okay, so will the "suicidal Saddam" story.

It was as easy for a (race) realist to see the writing on the wall vis-a-vis Iraq Attaq II as it was to see it vis-a-vis the Duke Lacrosse Hoax.

James Kabala said...

"The non-'Truther' position on 9/11 posits a vastly more difficult conspiracy -- i.e., that 19 Arab Barney Fifes managed to do it without outside help."

It doesn't seem that difficult to me - all they needed were pilot skills (and only four of them needed that) and box cutters. Planes have been successfully hijacked by Arab (or Latin American) Barney Fifes before, after all, albeit with less spectacular results, and no one says those must have been frauds or broader conspiracies.

Conspiracy theories are sometimes actually true, but often (both here and with JFK/Oswald) they seem to be driven by a refusal to believe that a nobody or group of nobodies can actually change history.

Dutch Boy said...

If you folks are counting on the integrity of the military to count for anything you are deluded. You don't make rank with integrity, you make rank by pleasing your superiors. That means you have to know when to bark,lick and sniff (the military is the human version of the K9 corps). Remember Abu Ghraib? How about the Pat Tillman fiasco? The guy in charge of that got promoted (McChrystal)! All the officers involved were West Point graduates (you know, honor code and all that).

none of the above said...

RKU:

The existence of people debunking what they see as dumb ideas on the internet is not much evidence of astroturfers/paid shills invading the discussion. That happens from time to time (Yves at Naked Capitalism commented on this recently, and googling for HB Gary and Palintir will get you some detailed information leaked from one such operation), but it's much too easy to convince yourself that someone arguing against your views too coherently is somehow not arguing in good faith. Haven't many of us debunked dumb ideas like "there's no biological meaning of race" or "IQ tests are meaningless and if they mean anything they're racist?"

none of the above said...

gcochran:

Can you suggest a reference for the idea that biological weapons played an important role in WW2?

Biological weapons appear to be very hard to get to work very effectively. That Japanese cult that gassed the Tokyo subway had previously tried to carry out a bunch of biological attacks. Apparently, nobody ever noticed--I imagine a few extra people turned up at the doctor or hospital, but nobody made the connection. The anthrax attacker similarly had an awfully low body count, for a US government bioweapons researcher with access to anthrax spores (apparently not weaponized) and all sorts of classified information on them. (This assumes Ivins did it, but his well-timed death means we'll probably never really know.)

I have an intuition that biological weapons, at least using person-to-person contagious viruses or bacteria, have a huge amount of variability in how much damage they do. Perhaps 99% of the time, things won't work out right and the attack will fizzle out, but 1% of the time, things could go very damned badly indeed. And it's probably not possible for an attacker to test his weapons well enough to find out what he needs to know, which is basically how many new infections come from each infection in the early part of the outbreak.

Eric said...

It doesn't seem that difficult to me - all they needed were pilot skills (and only four of them needed that) and box cutters.

They didn't even need pilot skills in the traditional sense. Taking off and landing are the tricky parts of flying. Any idiot with a few weeks of MS flight simulator under his belt could fly an already-aloft plane into a building.

Truth said...

"It doesn't seem that difficult to me - all they needed were pilot skills (and only four of them needed that) and box cutters"

UH, NO. They also needed to change direction and FLY the planes to where they wanted them to go. Unless you believe that plane's original flight plan called from them to broadside the World Trade Center.)

One plane, for instance, was "hijacked" in Boston and was originally on route to Ohio, the novice pilot had to change course 270 degrees to New York City, after a few lessons in a Piper Cub, in which his instructor said that his piloting skills were so bad he was afraid to fly with him.

Then, without any help from the control tower, he had to pilot this huge airplane perfectly from hundreds of miles away, into the center of a building.

Mr. Anon said...

"ben tillman said...

I know a retired pilot who actually flew one of the jets that crashed into the WTC. He thinks there was a homing device in WTC 7 that enabled Barney & Goober to hit their targets."

Yeah, because it must be really hard to find one of the tallest buildings in the word - a building much wider than a runway - on a clear sunny morning.

RKU said...

None of the Above:

The existence of people debunking what they see as dumb ideas on the internet is not much evidence of astroturfers/paid shills invading the discussion...

Well, I'm certainly not the most hair-trigger suspicious person in the world, and although I've been reading and commenting on this blog for years, this is the first time I've seen what I regard as very likely signs of a "professional visitor."

The facts are pretty simple. Steve's blogsite is read by some reasonably prominent people, including e.g. NYT columnists and lots of pundits, though almost none of them will admit it.

The discussion on the blog now gets into a particularly touchy issue, namely 9/11 suspicions and some related issues. Something like 40% of the American public believes that 9/11 was a "conspiracy", but not a single pundit has ever even hinted at any doubts.

Within about 12 hours depending upon how you count it, someone entirely new called "Wes" shows up, and posts something like 100-150 comments within a 3 day period. Nothing like this has ever remotely happened here before.

He's clearly not a nut or a fanatic, the sort of person who might be expected to post 100+ comments on 9/11. He's calm, rational, articulate, and collected. He also devotes the vast majority of his comments to undercutting/ridiculing "conspiracy theories" and the people who hold them. Otherwise, he's completely amiable and friendly, seems to generally fit in with the HBD views of the blog, and does his best to avoid quarrelling with or offending people. The last aspect alone makes him somewhat unusual as a commenter.

Now he doesn't really seem to have any factual or substantive points to make---no links, citations, or even theories of his own. And his debunking is well-written but mostly totally "generic." A few years ago, changing some words here and there would have made it just as effective at debunking accusations against Madoff or Bush's WMD claims. To use an HBD analogy, it seemed almost entirely "point and sputter," using volume to compensate for lack of substance.

I just don't see why someone calm, rational, and articulate would go to a blogsite he'd never previously visited and spend several days reading a thousand-odd comments by other people while posting 100-150 comments of his own opposing "conspiracy theories" unless he were being paid to do so...

David said...

>Yeah, because it must be really hard to find one of the tallest buildings in the word - a building much wider than a runway - on a clear sunny morning.<

If you can't even fly a Piper cub and you were originally en route to Ohio, it is really hard.

It is pretty hard even if you are headed toward NYC. Next time you fly into La Guardia, take a look out the window and see how much of Manhattan you can identify about 10 minutes before touchdown. (Assuming you aren't a professional pilot, a cartographer, or an NYC resident.) I used to do that all the time in the 1980s, and never saw the WTC. Saw a cluster of tiny stalagmites swimming along.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

UH, NO. They also needed to change direction and FLY the planes to where they wanted them to go. Unless you believe that plane's original flight plan called from them to broadside the World Trade Center.)

One plane, for instance, was "hijacked" in Boston and was originally on route to Ohio, the novice pilot had to change course 270 degrees to New York City, after a few lessons in a Piper Cub, in which his instructor said that his piloting skills were so bad he was afraid to fly with him.

Then, without any help from the control tower, he had to pilot this huge airplane perfectly from hundreds of miles away, into the center of a building."

Microsoft Flight Simulator.

I've no doubt that you couldn't have done it. They were probably smarter than you are.

Truth said...

"I've no doubt that you couldn't have done it. They were probably smarter than you are."

Oh yeah that's it. Well, I guess all of the airlines are now going to replace their six-figure experienced pilots with 12 year olds who play video games now!

And guys in caves with walkie-talkies, issue stand down orders to the U.S. Airforce...

And when they want to demolish skyscrapers they will save all of the money they spend on weeks of demolition engineering, by hiring a helicopter to fly up and dump hot jet fuel on the roof...

gcochran said...

Towards the end of the war, Japanese pilots destined to be kamikazes only managed 30-50 flight hours in training, largely due to gas shortages.

They didn't have autopilots. They didn't get to play Flight Simulator. Without exception, their targets were mobile, and considerably smaller than the
Pentagon or the WTC towers.

Moreover, they faced fierce anti-aircraft fire and superior interceptors.

Yet they got through a fair percentage of the time.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

And when they want to demolish skyscrapers they will save all of the money they spend on weeks of demolition engineering, by hiring a helicopter to fly up and dump hot jet fuel on the roof.."

You don't seem to realize the difference between dumping the (small) fuel supply of a helicopter on a roof with inserting the (large) fuel quantity of a jumbo jet in the interior of a building.

Not surprising. You are a f**king idiot, as you demonstrate with everything you post here.

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...
I just don't see why someone calm, rational, and articulate would go to a blogsite he'd never previously visited and spend several days reading a thousand-odd comments by other people while posting 100-150 comments of his own opposing "conspiracy theories" unless he were being paid to do so..."

And who is stuffing money into your pocket, oh great apologist for the mexican invasion? Carlos Slim?

RKU said...

Well, the problem with keeping large-scale "conspiracies" secret is that they involve a vast number of moving parts. If a plot has 5000 parts and you're 99% effective in keeping these secret, that still means that 50 of those pieces become known, which may be enough to give the whole thing away. But it largely depends on whether anyone ever hears about those 50 pieces, or whether the MSM just ignores them. Therefore, influence/control over the MSM is an extremely useful element in keeping "conspiracies" hidden. As an extreme example, none of Stalin's plots and conspiracies against his rivals ever became widely known in Russia because his media just didn't cover them.

And for most people in our society, something isn't real unless it's on TV, and if something's on TV, it's real because...it's on TV! Also, since people have very short memories, it has to constantly be on TV or people will soon forget about it. That's why so much of the population, especially young adults, had almost forgotten who Osama Bin Laden was until the government announced they shot him a few days ago.

Personally, I've never spent any real time looking into 9/11 "conspiracies" and all I know about plane-flying difficulties or the massive energies needed to level huge buildings is what I occasionally read in the comments of blogsites such as this one. The claims sounds pretty suspicious to me, but I'm no expert. Therefore, when I wonder about 9/11 I tend to focus on the 2 or 3 of those 50 unhidden pieces that don't seem to require much technical expertise.

RKU said...

(continued)

For example, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, someone noticed a group of young men behaving in an extraordinarily suspicious manner in the general vicinity of the WTC. They were videotaping a "souvenir" film of the burning buildings, smiling, laughing, and apparently congratulating each other. Naturally, the woman suspected them of being some of the Arab terrorists involved in the attack, called the police with the details and the license plate of their van, and as luck would have it, they were soon caught. However, strangely enough, they actually turned out to be Israeli Mossad agents, or at least that's what the Jewish newspapers later said. They also worked, along with lots of other young military-age Israeli men, for an NYC company, whose owner fled to Israel the moment they were arrested. The FBI held them for a while, but under political pressure eventually released them, whereupon they permanently left the country. Among others, Barbara Walters did a big ABC newstory about it, and a year or two ago I read the transcript on one of the "9/11 Conspiracy debunking" websites, which correctly pointed out that none of these details prove the group was actually behind the 9/11 attacks.

But let's apply a little common sense. Those young Mossad agents were videotaping the burning WTC before anyone in the country really knew what was happening, and perhaps even while Bush was still reading his silly children's book in that classroom. Unless they tended to spend all their Tuesday mornings just driving around with a videocamera looking for something noteworthy to film, they must have been extremely well prepared for the seemingly unforeseen event. And once it happened, I'd think they were about the only people in New York who seemed very happy and enthusiastic. Even America-hating Muslim jihadis probably wouldn't have been happy until sometime later that day when the media announced they'd been told it was an Arab terrorist attack.

Try as I might, I simply can't come up with a non-sinister explanation for this particular detail, though just how sinister is subject to interpretation.

Incidentally, there was also a big four-part FoxNews series by Carl Cameron aired around the same time on the FBI's massive roundup of Israeli spies in NYC and elsewhere in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But Abe Foxman called Rupert Murdoch and told him it might provoke anti-Semiticism and he should take it down from his website, so he did. However, I think if you hunt around a little on the Internet, you can find it, or at any rate portions of the pre-disappeared transcript.

In investigating scientific hypotheses, it's always useful to focus on the few pieces of evidence that seem to inescapably favor certain theories over competing ones.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, because it must be really hard to find one of the tallest buildings in the word - a building much wider than a runway - on a clear sunny morning."

I'm no pilot (and let me guess you aren't either) but I believe most runways are "hit" at speeds below 200 knots. There are reports that the jets that hit the twin towers were going a little faster.

"A Responsibility to Explain an Aeronautical Improbability

Dwain Deets -
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (Senior Executive Service - retired)
AIAA Associate Fellow

The airplane was UA175, a Boeing 767-200, shortly before crashing into World Trade Center Tower 2. Based on analysis of radar data, the National Transportation and Safety Board reported the ground speed just before impact as 510 knots. This is well beyond the maximum operating velocity of 360 knots, and maximum dive velocity of 410 knots. The possibilities as I see them are: (1) this wasn’t a standard 767-200; (2) the radar data was compromised in some manner; (3) the NTSB analysis was erroneous; or (4) the 767 flew well beyond its flight envelope, was controllable, and managed to hit a relatively small target. Which organization has the greater responsibility for acknowledging the elephant in the room? The NTSB, NASA, Boeing, or the AIAA? Have engineers authored papers, but the AIAA or NASA won’t publish them? Or, does the ethical responsibility lie not with organizations, but with individual aeronautical engineers? Have engineers just looked the other way?"

http://pilotsfor911truth.org/911_Aircraft_Speed_Deets.html

BTW, what gets even stranger is google "Dwain Deets"...curiouser and curiouser

RKU said...

(continued)

For example, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, someone noticed a group of young men behaving in an extraordinarily suspicious manner in the general vicinity of the WTC. They were videotaping a "souvenir" film of the burning buildings, smiling, laughing, and apparently congratulating each other. Naturally, the woman suspected them of being some of the Arab terrorists involved in the attack, called the police with the details and the license plate of their van, and as luck would have it, they were soon caught. However, strangely enough, they actually turned out to be Israeli Mossad agents, or at least that's what the Jewish newspapers later said. They also worked, along with lots of other young military-age Israeli men, for an NYC company, whose owner fled to Israel the moment they were arrested. The FBI held them for a while, but under political pressure eventually released them, whereupon they permanently left the country. Among others, Barbara Walters did a big ABC newstory about it, and a year or two ago I read the transcript on one of the "9/11 Conspiracy debunking" websites, which correctly pointed out that none of these details prove the group was actually behind the 9/11 attacks.

But let's apply a little common sense. Those young Mossad agents were videotaping the burning WTC before anyone in the country really knew what was happening, and perhaps even while Bush was still reading his silly children's book in that classroom. Unless they tended to spend all their Tuesday mornings just driving around with a videocamera looking for something noteworthy to film, they must have been extremely well prepared for the seemingly unforeseen event. And once it happened, I'd think they were about the only people in New York who seemed very happy and enthusiastic. Even America-hating Muslim jihadis probably wouldn't have been happy until sometime later that day when the media announced they'd been told it was an Arab terrorist attack.

Try as I might, I simply can't come up with a non-sinister explanation for this particular detail, though just how sinister is subject to interpretation.

Incidentally, there was also a big four-part FoxNews series by Carl Cameron aired around the same time on the FBI's massive roundup of Israeli spies in NYC and elsewhere in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. But Abe Foxman called Rupert Murdoch and told him it might provoke anti-Semiticism and he should take it down from his website, so he did. However, I think if you hunt around a little on the Internet, you can find it, or at any rate portions of the pre-disappeared transcript.

In investigating scientific hypotheses, it's always useful to focus on the few pieces of evidence that seem to inescapably favor certain theories over competing ones.

Truth said...

"You don't seem to realize the difference between dumping the (small) fuel supply of a helicopter on a roof with inserting the (large) fuel quantity of a jumbo jet in the interior of a building."

Where did I say anything about a small supply, Grasshopper? No, I meant a large payload from a twin-rotor helicopter designed to transport and drop water over forest fires.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

I'm no pilot (and let me guess you aren't either) but I believe most runways are "hit" at speeds below 200 knots. There are reports that the jets that hit the twin towers were going a little faster. "

You are correct - I am not a pilot. And the airplanes were going considerably faster - around 500 mph or so. The problem of hitting a building in level flight however is much easier than hitting a runway. It's only a 2-D problem, even 1-D if you have your altitude fixed. Hitting a target on the ground is a 3-D problem; landing on a runway would be only somewhat easier than that.

"The airplane was UA175, a Boeing 767-200, shortly before crashing into World Trade Center Tower 2. Based on analysis of radar data, the National Transportation and Safety Board reported the ground speed just before impact as 510 knots. This is well beyond the maximum operating velocity of 360 knots, and maximum dive velocity of 410 knots."

Deets is being disingenuous. Jumbo jets routinely fly at speeds greater than 360 knots when they are at their cruising altitude. if they did not, your 5 hour trip coast to coast would take 7 hours (check it out with a calculator). Perhaps the 360 knot speed he refers to is the outermost design limit near sea-level. And the dive velocity limit he mentions probably pertains not to the speed itself - afterall, planes fly faster than that at cruising altitude, so diving at that speed and at that altitude subjects the airplane to no more dynamic pressure than would level flight at that altitude. The limitation on dive velocity is, I would think, is imposed by the g-loading that the plane would be subjected to when you pulled out of the dive. Most pilots who put an airplane into a dive intend on pulling out of it.

Yes, all-in-all, it's probably bad to fly a plane at 510 knots at sea-level. I don't think Mohammed Atta was especially concerned with air-safety.

"BTW, what gets even stranger is google "Dwain Deets"...curiouser and curiouser"

So, what are you saying - that he is blowing the lid off the conspiracy which he is a part of?

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

Where did I say anything about a small supply, Grasshopper? No, I meant a large payload from a twin-rotor helicopter designed to transport and drop water over forest fires."

Okay, Dips**t (my term for "grasshopper"), whatever. Setting a fire on the roof, still wouldn't do anything. Like most "truthers" you don't understand how gravity - the force which brings down buildings - works. This is not surprising as you don't understand how anything works. You probably stare in dumbfounded awe at your stapler. You are an idiot.

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...

For example, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, someone noticed a group of young men behaving in an extraordinarily suspicious manner in the general vicinity of the WTC. They were videotaping a "souvenir" film of the burning buildings, smiling, laughing, and apparently congratulating each other."

ABC has a link to a story they did on this here:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123885&page=1

I guess they didn't get the memo from Conspiracy Central to bury the story.

The only evidence for the five Israelis in question being elated at the event is one semi-anonymous woman (her name is given as Maria) who made the complaint to the police. I don't blame her for doing it - five guys in a white van filming the towers on that day would be suspicious. But we don't really know if they were laughing about it. It's often difficult to distinguish emotions - people sometimes giggle nervously when faced with some awe-inspiring event.

As to what those young men were - well, quite clearly they were israeli spies. I would certainly agree with that. It's no surprise that Israel spies on us, and New York, a city with a large friendly israeli population and a large hostile muslim one would naturally be a place they would target. That's probably why they had video equipment - because their real day job was surveiling arab supporters of Hamas and the like. I don't like it that they spy on us - and it's a good reason to treat visitors from Israel suspiciously.

It is of course possible - though I know of no evidence that supports it - that certain persons in Israel may have had some advance knowledge - not necessarily of the specific attack, but of the general intention. Who knows.

ben tillman said...

"The non-'Truther' position on 9/11 posits a vastly more difficult conspiracy -- i.e., that 19 Arab Barney Fifes managed to do it without outside help."

It doesn't seem that difficult to me - all they needed were pilot skills (and only four of them needed that) and box cutters.


They also needed to get through security to be able to to board the planes and get the government's air defense system to stand down. These things are much more difficult to accomplish without inside help.

Steve Sailer said...

"They also needed to get through security to be able to to board the planes ... These things are much more difficult to accomplish without inside help."

Arab terroristish-looking guys getting through airport security more easily was part of a conspiracy that went all the way to the top!

In fact, the head conspirator, George W. Bush, announced that he intended to lead a conspiracy against profiling Arab air travelers during his second Presidential debate with Al Gore on October 11, 2000.

Peak state, indeed.

James Kabala said...

Ben Tillman: Fair enough, but the basic point stands: Hijackings (including the hard part of getting through security) had happened before; the thing that made these hijackings distinctive (the flying into buildings) was in some ways the easiest part (for the first three planes, of course, before the passengers on the fourth realized what was going on and fought back).

James Kabala said...

RKU:

Through Google I have found posts by Wes as far back as November of last year (the oldest I found was on Election Day), and they covered a wide variety of topics. Is someone being by the government to criticize the Coens' True Grit and speculate as to why there are few Mexican-American celebrities?

Truth said...

"Like most "truthers" you don't understand how gravity - the force which brings down buildings - works."

Apparently neither do trained demolition engineers. For years they've taken months to wire buildings with explosives to implode them, when they could have just melted the girders with hot jet fuel.

Anonymous said...

"So, what are you saying - that he is blowing the lid off the conspiracy which he is a part of?"

Well maybe, or Deets is just one more source of dis-information. What I think is interesting about 911 and JFK and now the death of bin laden is the variety of stories that spring up about what really happened. I've heard the psychological explanations that this is because these are "traumatic" events, which might be so, but I think it may just as well be that the official stories don't seem "real" enough whether its 3 buildings collapsing into dust (and making the recent lessee an even richer man), a magic bullet or running a world wide terrorist network without even "read only" internet access (or has this now changed?). Some of these alternate stories might be attempts to make sense out of the event and others (if official story is not true) could well be planted by the perpetrators, whoever they are, to divert and confuse. (To go back to 911, one thing I find interesting is the FBI has apparently never charged bin laden with 911 despite at least 2 confession tapes? I guess his guilt is just too obvious to bother with the legal part).

BTW, when Deets talks about maximum air speed I think he is saying at sea level. The jets you and I ride across the US in cruise at higher speeds at much higher altitudes where the atmosphere causes less resistance.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

BTW, when Deets talks about maximum air speed I think he is saying at sea level. The jets you and I ride across the US in cruise at higher speeds at much higher altitudes where the atmosphere causes less resistance."

Yes, that's what I said.

Mr. Anon said...

"ben tillman said...

They also needed to get through security to be able to to board the planes and get the government's air defense system to stand down. These things are much more difficult to accomplish without inside help."

Our air-defence system did not "stand down". Planes were scrambled to intercept the jets, but they did not receive orders to shoot them down. Who would readily give such an order? What pilot would readily follow such an order? I don't know about you, but I'm kinda glad that USAF pilots are squeamish about shooting down civilian aircraft.

It may also surprise you to learn that we don't have much of an air-defence system and never have - at least not to protect cities and the civilian population. For most of it's history the primary mission of the Air Force was to protect the Strategic Air Command and its nuclear retaliatory capabilities.

Mr. Anon said...

"Truth said...

Apparently neither do trained demolition engineers. For years they've taken months to wire buildings with explosives to implode them, when they could have just melted the girders with hot jet fuel."

Yeah, that would be SO much easier. And cost-effective.

Go water your car, nitwit.

Silver said...

The only evidence for the five Israelis in question being elated at the event is one semi-anonymous woman (her name is given as Maria) who made the complaint to the police. I don't blame her for doing it - five guys in a white van filming the towers on that day would be suspicious. But we don't really know if they were laughing about it. It's often difficult to distinguish emotions - people sometimes giggle nervously when faced with some awe-inspiring event.

Weren't they also reported to have been high-fiving each other?

My explanation would be that, being israeli spies, they immediately realized what the political implications of the attack would be with respect to Israeli interests, ie Israel would get a boost. "Stupid Arabs inadvertently just gave us a shot in the arm!" And this is regardless of whether they knew anything about the attack beforehand or not. If they did know, it obviously makes a mockery of Israel being America's bestest ever ally (rofl), but their behavior can be explained easily enough even without their foreknowledge of the impending attack.

bruce said...

You've probably never heard of Richard Butler, right?

And you were, what, teenagers during the Clinton years? Really, have you heard of the 1990's? Did the world come into existence in 2000 for you?

I remember 1991 like it was yesterday. Hey! Newsflash! Australian military were in Iraq too! Australian weapons inspector Butler, the best of them, only one who did the job,led the show.

'Reality'? Does this word have a different meaning in parts of the USA? Say around American colleges? I think so.

I wish GWB and Cheney (and Bolton and Rumsfeld) were leading Australia, instead of what we have. You sure don't deserve them.

Svigor said...

That's the point. The word can be used to mean something very dangerous or something not dangerous at all and the same dishonest people knew they could use it with one meaning initially to scare people into the war

Hmm, why am I reminded of the "racism" accusation?

The existence of people debunking what they see as dumb ideas on the internet is not much evidence of astroturfers/paid shills invading the discussion.

Gotta say "ditto" on that one. I've railed against the "whitey did it" conspiracy theory of black failure many times. I bet I even beat the whole house up once or twice.

Something like 40% of the American public believes that 9/11 was a "conspiracy", but not a single pundit has ever even hinted at any doubts.

It's funny that I don't give much of a crap about this conversation either way. I guess there's a limit to every man's appetite for "conspiracy theory." Maybe there's a "conspiracy theory" to be found there, heh; feed a man enough McDonald's and he won't have room for steak.

Svigor said...

Try as I might, I simply can't come up with a non-sinister explanation for this particular detail, though just how sinister is subject to interpretation.

Doesn't Occam's Razor suggest they were tracking the terrorists, knew their timetable and (at least roughly) target, and were cheering the event heralding the WoT?

And this is regardless of whether they knew anything about the attack beforehand or not. If they did know, it obviously makes a mockery of Israel being America's bestest ever ally (rofl), but their behavior can be explained easily enough even without their foreknowledge of the impending attack.

So what were they doing up on that roof with video cameras? Seems to me their foreknowledge of the attack is pretty much written into the story.

Truth said...

"Yeah, that would be SO much easier. And cost-effective."

Obviously it would if you believe the 9/11 story, grasshopper.

none of the above said...

Assuming the whole story of Israelis filming high-fiving each other is true, an alternative is that they were journalists or wannaby journalists, congratulating one another on getting career-making footage of the biggest news event since the fall of the Berlin wall.

none of the above said...

James:

In particular, the 9/11 attacks relied on the fact that all our techniques for dealing with hijackers assumed they wanted to negotiate, land the plane, get flown to Algeria or Cuba or someplace. Everyone following "the book" that had been built up from the previous decades of experience with hijackers played right into the hands of the 9/11 attackers, who had no intention of surviving the hijacking.

Another way of putting this: Before 9/11, the assumption when someone hijacked a plane was that the only lives at risk were the passengers on the plane. They were the hostages, and the goal was to get the plane on the ground and negotiate or storm the plane to save as many of the hostages as possible.

The hijackers used the "book" against us. They knew we'd be thinking "how do we keep these lunatics from murdering any more passengers?" rather than "how do we keep these lunatics from murdering thousands of people on the ground by crashing their planes into them?"

Given that, they didn't need help from the FAA or Air National Guard or the airport screeners or the flight attendants or anyone else. We didn't understand what game they were playing until they started hitting buildings with planes. Once we understood, the passengers on one of the planes were enough to stop the attack. (And that plane was also being tracked by a fighter jet that probably would have shot it down if necessary.)

Anonymous said...

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/us_did_find_iraq_wmd_AYiLgNbw7pDf7AZ3RO9qnM

http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/Iraq_WMD_Declassified.pdf

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=15918

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/13/AR2005081300530.html

Really, WMDs were not found in Iraq? Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/8082447/Wikileaks-Iraq-war-logs-claim-Iran-supplied-chemical-weapons-to-Iraq.html

Oh, look! More about the WMDs which were "not found" in Iraq! Golly!

Here is an illuminating historical account of when Saddam Hussein didn't use WMDs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack


What exactly is a "WMD", anyways?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon_of_mass_destruction

Hm.

Apparently a bottle of this is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarin

But this is not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhAydMLv6AA

However, this guy has been accused in these U.S. court system of having a WMD in his pants.

http://www.elombah.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2578%3Abreaking-news-us-grand-jury-indicts-umar-farouk-abdulmutallab-for-using-weapons-of-mass-destruction&Itemid=54

So apparently there were no WMDs found in Iraq. They were instead found in someone's underpants. And also in various munitions factories and silos and bunkers in..."Babylonia"?

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content
/article/2005/08/13/AR2005081300530.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news
/worldnews/middleeast/iraq
/8082447/Wikileaks-Iraq-war-
logs-claim-Iran-supplied-
chemical-weapons-to-Iraq.html

http://www.foxnews.com/projects
/pdf/Iraq_WMD_Declassified.pdf

http://www.nypost.com/p/news
/international
/us_did_find_iraq_wmd_
AYiLgNbw7pDf7AZ3RO9qnM

RKU said...

"None of the Above": Assuming the whole story of Israelis filming high-fiving each other is true, an alternative is that they were journalists or wannaby journalists, congratulating one another on getting career-making footage of the biggest news event since the fall of the Berlin wall.

Well, as the media reported, they turned out to be Israeli Mossad agents, though I suppose they might have been Mossad agents who also hoped to someday become journalists.

Recapping a bit, I think the evidence is pretty overwhelming that at the very least Mossad had direct advance knowledge of the timing and nature of the 9/11 attacks, and that this knowledge had been distributed to significant numbers of Mossad agents based in NYC (and obviously to the senior Israeli government leaders as well). Does that mean Mossad was *behind* the 9/11 attacks? Not necessarily.

But consider this. Since I'm not a "conspiracy nut," I do not believe that the top ranks of the CIA or the FBI or the NSC or the NSA had advance knowledge of the attacks. Nor do I believe this of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Since Bush reacted by continuing to read this stupid goat story, he's certainly in the clear. I've never heard claims that the intelligence services of any other major country had foreknowledge of the attacks.

So, according to all available evidence, the only two groups of people who definitely had advance knowledge of the impending attacks were the plane hijackers themselves...and the Israeli government together with the members of its Mossad intelligence service. Overall, this seems like a very useful nugget of information to keep in mind when attempting to disentangle the complex details and conflicting theories surrounding the 9/11 attacks.

Also recall that Osama Bin Laden himself disclaimed any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and denounced them as being contrary to Islamic law. If he'd actually been behind the most successful terrorist attack in world history, why would he pretend he wasn't?

Pants on Fire said...

To last anon with 4 posts filled with links re: WMD in Iraq.

You have very poor reading comprehension or are an outright liar to argue WMDs were found in Iraq justifying the invasion.

Looking over a few of your posts, the most authoritive is the 2006 Fax to the Intelligence Committee. You'll note:

* They only found 500 shells/containers throughout the entire country after years of searching. All had degraded mustard and sarin gas despite exhaustive searching and were determined to be manufactured before the Initial Iraq invasion. These were considered remainders due to an oversight during the massive destruction of all WMD equipment, factories and armaments per the first invasion peace settlement..

* The rest of the points use weasel words in lieu of any facts to lessen the embarrassement ("assumed", "could", "would", "possiblity" and "desire"). There is nothing buy attempted CYA.

The final word was given in 2005 by the Iraq Intelligence Commission:


The United States effectively terminated the search effort for unconventional weaponry in January 2005, and the Iraq Intelligence Commission concluded that the judgements of the U.S. intelligence community about the continued existence of weapons of mass destruction and an associated military program were wrong.

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...

Also recall that Osama Bin Laden himself disclaimed any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and denounced them as being contrary to Islamic law. If he'd actually been behind the most successful terrorist attack in world history, why would he pretend he wasn't?"

I am not aware that this statement has any truth other than your contention that it is true. I don't speak arabic, so I can't trasnlate the videos he released shortly after the events, but as I recall, some translations indicated that he at least strongly implied that he was involved.

Short of some proof of you claim, I have to treat it as if you had said: "And remember that Johnny Carson admitted to being the Zodiac Killer".

RKU said...

"Mr. Anon": I am not aware that this statement has any truth other than your contention that it is true...Short of some proof of you claim, I have to treat it as if you had said: "And remember that Johnny Carson admitted to being the Zodiac Killer".

Well, normally I never tend to provide "links", but I'll make a special exception in this case.

(1) Here's a claimed excerpt from a CIA translation of a Bin Laden interview given in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, which I'd previously mentioned in a comment:

www.counterpunch.org/dinh05042011.html

(2) Eric Margolis, a prominent Canadian foreign affairs newspaper columnist specializing in Af-Pak issues who has written several books on this subject over the last 25 years, says exactly the same thing:

www.lewrockwell.com/margolis/margolis205.html

(3) Immediately following 9/11, the American government promised to provide extensive evidence of Bin Laden's involvement, but never ended up doing so. Thus, the case linking Bin Laden to 9/11 is arguably much weaker than that for Saddam's WMD. The latter theory was supported by quite a bit of supposed evidence, e.g. the Niger Yellowcake and Curveball's testimony, although it was totally fraudulent and ridiculous. The former basically had none.

Svigor said...

Well, as the media reported, they turned out to be Israeli Mossad agents, though I suppose they might have been Mossad agents who also hoped to someday become journalists.

Yeah, I think it's safe to assume the Mossad is listening when you're talking to an Israeli journalist. Maybe not accurate, but safe nonetheless. Not that a similar assumption would be bad vis-a-vis journalists from many other places...

but as I recall, some translations indicated that he at least strongly implied that he was involved.

I strongly suggest you "poison tree" anything downstream from the MEMRI tributary.

none of the above said...

Pants on Fire:

Yeah, the Iraqi WMD threat was sold as ongoing programs that might put anthrax spores or nerve gas into the hands of Al Qaida agents in the near future. Everything I've read says what we found were occasional leftovers from the older Iraqi WMD program, back when Saddam could afford such luxuries, and posed no threat.

It was very clear that the reasoning went from desired conclusion (we're gonna invade Iraq) to justification (Mobile bioweapons labs, rape rooms and plastic shredders, Quday and Usay, Al Qaida links to Saddam, too-thick aluminum tubes, yellowcake).

I have to say I was disappointed to see that they didn't work in any stories of Kuwaiti babies dumped out of incubators. (That atrocity story was used for the previous war.)

Mr. Anon said...

@RKU

I can see why you don't often post links, given that the ones you post here don't even make your case for you. From your Margolis link:

"I remain uncertain that Osama bin Laden was really behind the attacks. Much circumstantial evidence points to him and al-Qaida, but conclusive proof still lacks. One thing is certain: the attacks were planned and mounted from Germany, not Afghanistan. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudis, two from the United Arab Emirates, one an Egyptian and a Lebanese."

This doesn't seem to prove the point you try to be making. And it certainly isn't supportive of the whole G.W. Bush / Israel / "false-flag" conspiracy point of view.

"Also recall that Osama Bin Laden himself disclaimed any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, and denounced them as being contrary to Islamic law."

Actually, there are any number of videos in which Osama bin Laden supports the attacks on 9/11. This one for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXX-ZouPf10

Did he plan them? Probably not - he was an impresario of terror, not the stage director. As to your claim that, in one interview, bin Laden disclaims responsibility: Why do you consider that exculpatory in his case? George W. Bush - in every single interview he ever gave - never claimed involvement in or responsibility for the events of 9/11. Benjamin Netanyahu - in ever single interview he ever gave - never claimed involvement in or responsibility for the events of 9/11. Why is the total absence of any confession by them not considered exculpatory by 9/11 conspiracy fantasists?

RKU said...

"Mr. Anon": I can see why you don't often post links, given that the ones you post here don't even make your case for you...Actually, there are any number of videos in which Osama bin Laden supports the attacks on 9/11. This one for example

Well, if you (or anyone else) actually reads the Margolis column, you can see he expresses considerable skepticism for the "official" 9/11 theory.

Margolis is a pretty prominent journalist, with a great deal of regional expertise, and has written a couple of books on Af-Pak issues over the last two decades. Therefore, I was rather surprised when he came out as a 9/11 "skeptic" a year ago, and it made quite an impression on me. He cited a lot of points which sounded reasonably persuasive to a non-specialist such as myself.

He's also actually met Bin Laden, and describes all the tapes in which Bin Laden allegedly took credit for the attacks as "clumsy fakes." And in that other link I provided, Bin Laden explicitly denied any role in the attacks just after they occurred.

Why would a terrorist mastermind deny his role in his greatest success? I honestly can't remember the last time any other "terrorist" leader ever did such a thing.

Why do you consider that exculpatory in his case? George W. Bush - in every single interview he ever gave - never claimed involvement in or responsibility for the events of 9/11. Benjamin Netanyahu - in ever single interview he ever gave - never claimed involvement in or responsibility for the events of 9/11. Why is the total absence of any confession by them not considered exculpatory by 9/11 conspiracy fantasists?

Well, I can actually think of a few reasons why Bush or Sharon (who was relevent Israeli leader) wouldn't have publicly "taken credit" for 9/11, even if they were guilty. Among other things, they weren't "terrorist leaders" who were sworn enemies of America.

Here's a somewhat related question. Did the Israeli government ever take proud credit for the deliberate attack on the Liberty, and the slaughter of so many defenseless American military personnel in international waters?

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...

""Mr. Anon": I can see why you don't often post links, given that the ones you post here don't even make your case for you...Actually, there are any number of videos in which Osama bin Laden supports the attacks on 9/11. This one for example""

Well, if you (or anyone else) actually reads the Margolis column, you can see he expresses considerable skepticism for the "official" 9/11 theory."

I did read that column, from the link you provided. The passage I quoted above came from it. It does not support your thesis.

"He's also actually met Bin Laden, and describes all the tapes in which Bin Laden allegedly took credit for the attacks as "clumsy fakes.""

How often did he meet him, and for how long? Were they bosom pals? I don't necessarily see where he is in a position to judge this or that video as being fake.

"And in that other link I provided, Bin Laden explicitly denied any role in the attacks just after they occurred."

And why might he have done that on September 28th, 2001? Gee, I don't know - perhaps he was getting nervous - nervous that we were preparing an invasion, that pretty much the whole world (including Russia and China) stood behind us and gave us carte-blanche to do what we liked in Afghanistan, and that the Ummah had not risen up as one against the infidel, as he had hoped. And, as I pointed out, there are other videos - like the one I linked to - in which he praises those who carried out the attacks. That's not a fake either - it's from an Al Jezeera interview. You can find a higher-res version of it on You Tube. It's translated into german, but he says the same thing as in the English translation.

And again, I don't understand why you place greater stock in one particular pronouncement of Osama bin Laden - a sworn enemy of the west, regardless what you think he may or may not have done - than in that of George Bush. I don't trust George Bush either (your great friend on the illegal immigration issue I might add). But I don't see why he's less trustworthy than bin Laden. Your naive trust in religious fanatic warlords is quite touching.

Anyway, given that there is no credible physical evidence in support of the 9/11 fantasists claims, it's quite beside the point.

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...

Here's a somewhat related question. Did the Israeli government ever take proud credit for the deliberate attack on the Liberty, and the slaughter of so many defenseless American military personnel in international waters?"

Here's a somewhat related question. Did Al Capone ever publicly take credit for the Valentine's Day Massacre? (answer: No) Did any government ever indict him for it? (answer: No) Was he responsible for it? (answer: Yes)