I arrived back from New York last night in time to see this exchange between Frank Gaffney and Christopher Matthews. David Korn was also in the discussion. Matthews was at his most memorable; abusive of his guests, raving, screaming. Gaffney was at his most egregious, insisting in this case that the idea that Saddam’s regime might have had this or that weapon, or might someday have decided to use it against the United States had been reason enough to invade and occupy the county. Korn looked reasonable and tried to insert into the diatribe the fact that there were international weapons inspectors in Iraq before the ’03 war who reported that they could find no WMD stockpiles or active programs. This attempted intervention mattered not. I left the room unable to watch this any longer.
The low point of the discussion came when Gaffney said that the 4,000 odd US soldiers who died in Iraq "had to die," as though they had died in a "crusade" to make all right. You remember, like the "Crusade in Europe?"
Well, my fellow Americans, these soldiers did not die in vain. They died for us in obedience to the orders of the government that your constitution created. Therefore, the responsibility for their deaths is ours. Some of you will believe that they have gone to something better. The rest of you will just have to live with it. pl
Although by any measure I am not a regular ‘Hard Ball’viewer, I did partake a brief moment of the same show and quickly bailed as the bun toss heated up. It boggles me that any apparently rational and intelligent observer of the American scene for the past 5 years could and would forward a defense for the terrible antics of this discredited administration. We should all be ashamed of what W and the muppet show hath wrought.
As to the gabber between Matthews, Gaffney and Korn; blowhards who have never squatted between a pair of boots nor stood the late night watch on the berm. Don’t know who wrote it, but I like it and it’s probably appropriate here;”I was that which others cared not to be. I went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do. I ask nothing from those who gave nothing…”
With respect to theories linking the Iraq war to oil, and tailing on to the previous discussion about oil prices comes this titbit from a leading Nigerian newspaper (ThisDay):
“Nigeria’s crude oil export to the United States will leap to 25 per cent by 2015. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, made the revelation while delivering a speech at the Southern Center for International Studies, Atlanta, Georgia, entitled “Old Ties in New Times: Nigeria and the next USA Administration.”
The estimate is a progression from the current 15 per cent Nigeria exports to the country and may be an indication of US government’s shift from Middle East oil to African sources.
Nigeria has already surpassed Saudi-Arabia and Venezuela which were two main sources of oil to the US economy.”
Personally, as a Nigerian, I find this very troubling. Nigeria has more than enough problems of its own creation without the burden of those created through such a close relationship with the US.
America has a well deserved reputation for enabling and sustaining reactionary, corrupt political establishments in developing countries and is sure to do the same in Nigeria.
Add to this US pressure on Nigeria to locate AFRICOM in the country, and the future looks dim indeed.
It is not just 4,000 Americans dead. That would be bad enough. It’s also the more than 30,000 Americans wounded. And the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died or been injured. And the millions of Iraqis who are displaced.
And for Gaffney there is no repentance. Darkness made visible.
i saw that ‘exchange’. gaffney is one of the most repulsive beings alive.
and it’s interesting watching tweety (or christopher matthews if you insist…) rewrite history as he rebrands himself an anti-war democrat in anticipation of his pennsylvania senate run.
hardball has been a key propaganda outlet where the bushies could safely go to propel their lies without any concern of being called on them. afterall, it’s just a different viewpoint being expressed — you don’t want facts/evidence to get in the way.
this is the guy who recently told tom delay ‘i like the way you hate, sir’.
Thank you for reminding me why I never watch hardball.
Gaffney, like most of the neocons, has been forced by events from arguing the war was necessary to combat an existing threat to arguing it was necessary to combat a potential threat. War against potential threats is rarely a good idea or justified for a number of reasons – even if that potential has some likelihood.
We now know that Saddam had every intention of restarting all of his WMD programs including pursuit of nuclear weapons. But even this knowledge cannot justify a war since war is not the only option for dealing with that future.
Andy what do you mean ‘we all know that Saddam had every intention of restarting WMD programs’? I don’t know that at all.
Gaffney is a very interesting figure. His Center for Security Policy openly describes itself as involved in political warfare, and there are all sorts of propaganda operations, in both the US and in Europe, that seem to have a link back to him or his sister, Devon Cross.
One example is the CounterJihad Brussels conference last year, which brought together right-wing neocons, revisionist Zionists and section of the European far right, notably the Belgian Vlaams Belang. The organiser, Christine Brim is now a senior figure at the CSP.
Quite a leap for people who invoke the late 1930s at every opportunity.
Some time in the ’60’s there was a slogan that this event brings to mind. From memory and getting the substance and not the poetry: Send the old men and leaders to the war and leave the young at home. Gaffeny values policy and perception over the reality of individuals lives. those below the salt on his table, most of us, are merely pawns in his policy chess match.
Saddam, almost all of his top leadership and his top WMD scientists were interviewed after the war. It’s pretty clear from those interviews, along with evidence found after the war, that Saddam intended to breakout his WMD capabilities once sanctions and the threat of inspections were gone. Saddam intended to destroy the actual weapons to provide deniability to inspectors while maintaining the ability to reconstitute – principally through preserving expertise and key equipment. This was one of the main reasons why Saddam so forcefully interfered with the inspection process during the years following the 1991 war. At the time, we thought he was trying to hide weapons from the inspectors. The reality is that he was, in part, trying to preserve as much capability as he could.
I don’t have time to provide links at the moment, but you can google the 60 minutes interview with Saddam’s interrogator, the JFCOM report called the “Iraqi Perspectives Project” and read books by some of the principles, like Mahdi Obeidi’s “The Bomb in My Garden.” Portions of the Duefler report are also useful.
So… You think this war was justified on the basis of the nuke weapons program that we had dismantled after the First Gulf War, the bio weapons that were just a research program and a lot of aged chemical artillery rockets that hey still had?
You think the war was justified on the basis that Saddam MIGHT someday re-start his nuclear program if he could find a way to do it?
That works for you? pl
PL: Well, my fellow Americans, these soldiers did not die in vain.
From another perspective, they died for the sake of Shiite religious fanatics (e.g. Maliki, Hakim, et al) who have been trying to transform Iraq into a vassal state of Iran for decades!!
This makes me real sick and sad.
Cheney, Gaffney, et al had to have known that if they deposed SH, the Shiite fundies would move in.
And that is exactly what happened.
One can only imagine the look on their faces when their man Chalabi got such a low return in the election: Stupid fuchs!!!
Now, after oceans of blood and treasure has been spilled to prevent another 9/11, all we now we in Iraq is the rising flag of Shiite fundamentalism??
Saying “We now know that Saddam had every intention of restarting all of his WMD programs including pursuit of nuclear weapons” seems a bit dishonest and misleading, especially in conjunction with what you say immediately afterward. Practically everyone, to a degree, wants to have some kind of superweapon program for one reason or other. Everyone “knows” this. But then, what does that mean?
Andy can really cite “60 Minutes” as a source with a straight face?
I never said the war was justified. Here’s what I said in my first comment about the hindsight knowledge of Saddam’s future intentions: “But even this knowledge cannot justify a war since war is not the only option for dealing with that future.”
So no, I don’t think the war was justified. I was simply observing two things. First is the fact that the neocons are forced by reality to change their justifications for the war since it’s impossible for them to admit any fault. The second was a response to par4’s query about Saddam’s future WMD intentions, which in my mind are quite clear. There’s very little basis to argue that somehow Saddam still did not still desire a full WMD capability and quite a bit of evidence he intended to reconstitute. My point was that knowledge of Saddam’s WMD intentions is not enough to go to war on. If that were a viable justification, we’d be going to war with a lot of people. My point was that even knowing what Saddam intended, there are other policy measures that could be taken short of invasion and there was time to mitigate any potential threat. So in the end, what the neocons say now is no legitimate justification at all and even they know they could never get political support for the war on such a basis, so their arguments ring hollow.
I apologize for not being more clear earlier – I was headed out the door to meet friends for dinner and posted too quickly.
Oh, one more thing, I just realized that in my second comment (and this one as well), I posted under my typekey account, which may have caused some confusion. I haven’t quite figured out this new typekey comment thing.
if tweety had a brain he would have riposted with
“so for you it was more morally correct to send 4,000 troops to their death, maim 30,000 more, untold iraq citizens, more morally correct than to strengthen the existing sanctions and let the inspections run their course?”
“Therefore, the responsibility for their deaths is ours. Some of you will believe that they have gone to something better. The rest of you will just have to live with it. pl”
That our political establishment, our media establishment ever gave credence to these nutters like Gaffney, Kristol, Woolsey, et al is gobsmacking.
That the establishment still welcomes them with open arms; indeed considers them members of the very same establishment is the very definition of the inmates running the asylum.
The only optimistic fact that one can take away from this is that every other country in the world likely has the very same crazy people establishment membership, so at least we are not alone.
And yes, I exist on such very small favors. Thin gruel at best, but beggars can’t be choosy. *g*
I could not agree more. We the Citizens are responsible. We’re responsible for what our elected officials do and don’t do. We’re responsible to force our Representatives, Senators, and Pres. Elect Obama to enforce The Law of the Land. This Administration has acted in our name, violating human rights, Geneva Conventions and WE THE PEOPLE have been besmirched by their actions. I believe that War Crimes have been committed. It is time to investigate and prosecute. Not some lowly guard at Abu Ghraib but the Cheney et.al. who has had the audacity to proudly proclaim his accomplishments/atrocities on national tv.
A photograph of the interior of the Rothko “chapel” appears apropos, imo.
Rick, that is more than a brilliant statement, it is truth. I regret only coming to understand what is meant by an “informed electorate” at age seventy. Another truth to Marvel at “With great power comes great responsibility.”
My blood pressure is already high enough without watching cable TV news bloviators. I am absolutely amazed at anyone who can stomach that junk day in and day out. All sorts of things would be thrown at the Boob Tube in my grotto – cats, shoes, remote controls, books, burst blood vessels. We don’t have cable, so my vessels have been spared to a degree…so far.
As for Americans taking responsibility for the wars we enable, I really don’t know how to get most Americans to understand that fact. There was some documentary on PBS the other night exclaiming how horrified Americans were when they saw the first photographs published from Civil War battles. We thought war was just some romantic endeavor without any terrible consequences back then, too.
I guess every generation must learn that the limits of power are marked with crimson border.
“Therefore, the responsibility for their deaths is ours. pl”
Amen to that. It’s a shame that thought won’t get much air time from those who must pander to their viewers for money though.
60% supported this. This doesn’t in any way excuse the leaders who led us into it, but anybody who bothered to look could tell the “case” was full of unsupported assumptions. I have the suspicion that it was a collective memory of Gulf War 1 that caused many to consider war to be now so easy and clean that
the “details” no longer mattered. Absolute power corrupting absolutely?
Only a very small percentage of people have any relatives in the military.
Let’s remember to bring our mirrors when we line up the people who are responsible for this.
“Some of you will believe that they have gone to something better. The rest of you will just have to live with it.” pl
so the believers suffer less. as an unbeliever, i think this is unfair. what is this the “unbelievers’ burden”?
You are clearly feeling sorry for yourself. I sympathise with that.
Seriously, you got it backward. People who are theists often believe that the good and virtuous have gone to a reward.
It is much harder for those who believe only in “their own sharp sword.”
Merry Christmas! pl
If Carl Jung is correct — and who in the world knows the answer to that one — then there is no such thing as a true atheist. Using Jung-jargon or an approximation thereof, a religious imago naturally exists in the human psyche and it is projected out onto something. So, again staying with the Jung way of the world, if a person is an atheist, then odds increase that he or she has a religious approach towards something or another. Typically it is an “ism” with messianic underpinnings, such as nationalism, statism, neoconservatism, Marxism, and maybe anarcho-capitalism. Some may argue Rand’s version of egotism. Regardless, the list is long.
For this reason, Jung was adamantly opposed to Soviet communism because he believed that the Soviet people were treating the Soviet government as a de facto messianic religion. They projected the religious imago onto the State.
I suppose it is possible to treat atheism “religiously” or with a messianic fervor.
Again, this is the Jungian view. So if you disagree, take it up with his crowd. Freud apparently believed in killing the religious patriarch, Moses. Quite frankly, I read neither nowadays.
perhaps i was not clear.
soldiers are dead.
if you are a believer, you can comfort yourself with the “better place” argument.
but non-believers cannot let themselves off the hook so easily. instead they have to live with it.
i don’t understand the “sharp sword” reference. revelations?
I would also like to add that Jung converted to Catholicism when he was in the middle of his psyop war against ol Mr. Hollywood himself, Freud. Freud had tried to push Jung out of the Viennese society and nearly succeeded. But it sure looks like to me that Freud’s creativity plummeted after Jung published his meandering tome, The Symbols of Transformation.
Freud probably was a better writer, cocaine freak, guilt denying fool that he was. But Jung got to him. No doubt about it. I think ultimately they were arguing over the existence of God but who in the world knows with those two.
I’m not so sure I believe in a life after death, but I truly believe there are those that deserve a better life than they get in this one.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Col. Lang.
Thank you again for this web site, it means a lot to many of us.