The Burden of Proof – Cheney

"Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof. Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence gathered over a period of years and within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police," Cheney said.   Reuter

Breathtaking in its boldness!

Let’s see!  WE asserted on the basis of bogus and distorted information that Iraq was in non-compliance with a variety of UN resolutions calling on Iraq to disarm.  A few trenchant points:

-The UN had withdrawn its inspectors from the country in ’98 at our instigation because we were going to bomb extensively in an attempt to trigger a revolt.  Fair enough, but the point is that the IRAQIS did not run the inspectors out of the country.

– "We" believed before our invasion that Iraq still had programs and stockpiles.  After the invasion we were and are unable to find any, anywhere, in the whole country.  We could not find them because they did not exist.  THEY DID NOT EXIST!!!  If they existed, where the hell are they?

– The UN was busily engaged in inspecting all over the country in ’02 and ’03.  They found nothing and said they were not being significantly obstructed.  They wanted a few more months to finish and make sure. We would not give it to them and so after the invasion we used thousands of people and spent vast amounts of money to prove that  the UN was right in their judgments.

– The Iraqis were asked during the UN inspection process to produce an inventory of whatever they had in the way of WMD materiel.  They produced a long list which was proven correct by our later direct search of the country. Nevertheless, we insisted at the time that the list was incomplete and deliberately deceptive because some quantities of parts and raw materials that our intelligence had once believed them to have were "unaccounted for" by the UN’s inspection teams in the ’90s and were still "unaccounted for" in this inventory.  This PROVED that they were hiding a secret capability in WMD.  In fact, it did not prove a damned thing.  This was a 3RD WORLD COUNTRY, people!.  Nothing works right in 3rd World Countries and the fact that they couldn’t do a perfect paper drill on all that stuff just meant that they were inefficient.  The UN was in the process of proving that when we abandoned the process claiming they were deceiving us.

Now the Vice President says that the "burden of proof" lay with the Iraqi government.  In other words it was their responsibility to prove to us that they did not have gas, biological or nuclear weapons or programs to produce them.  They were unable to do that, because these capabilities and programs DID NOT EXIST.

So, citizens beware!  It may become your responsibility to prove that you are not guilty of treason, sedition, being a malcontent, or whatever.

Can you prove that you are not?

Pat Lang

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15 Responses to The Burden of Proof – Cheney

  1. searp says:

    I do not think anyone who thinks for themselves takes Cheney seriously anymore, and those that don’t…

  2. ali says:

    I’m reminded of Rummies “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”.
    Pat would you venture an opinion on Wilkerson’s assertion that he was pretty convinced that Saddam still had WMDs even if now looking back he’s unsure why he was so sure. The man is impressive, does not strike me as a fool and if he’s not sincere he imitates it well.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    He is a bit late as a convert and now can not account for his own foolishness and willingness to accept BS in order to stay “on board.”

  4. Alvord says:

    In a comment to an earlier post I said I was beginning to believe that Cheney was insane. Let me amend that. He is insane.

  5. ikonoklast says:

    Or maybe when W. was filmed searching for WMD’s underneath his desk they were really there in the Oval Office. He just couldn’t find them. Can Cheney prove they weren’t?
    Down the rabbit hole and through the looking-glass …

  6. Some Guy says:

    Cheney’s flailing, self-contradictory and disingenuous attempt to “push back” is surprising. It is surprising first because it is so bad. His arguments have been refuted ad nauseum and they do not sell anymore. There are a shrinking number who think Iraq could be end up being a good venture despite its bad beginnings but only if we achieve a democracy. That entails a stiff drink or too and some very rose colored glasses.
    It is surprising second because the timing is so wrong. Yes, the lid came off Congressional “debate” about the war this week (“talking shit” would be a more apt term). But we are passed the justifying stage. The congressional debate it about how to get out of this mess. Cheney cannot go back now and act like we need to re-argue the whole WMD-as-valid-reason question. Its like trying to re-debate who will lose the World Series after it is over. The anachronistic quality is jarring.

  7. Michael Murry says:

    Great points Pat and everyone. May I venture to now state the obvious?
    The fat lady has sung on this one.
    Now, with the simple, awful truth at last out of the way, we still need (as the sailors say) to “keep a weather eye” out for the ass-covering propaganda that our government and its (adjunct mouthpiece) pet press continue to disseminate at us without shame or pause.
    Pat Lang, for example, correctly points out the malicious meme (in broad circulation for some time now) blaming Saddam Hussein for “kicking out” the UN inspectors in 1998. He did no such thing. President Bill Clinton specifically requested their removal, since he planned to do the bombing Pat mentions, and did not want another Jimmy Carter hostage crisis on his hands should Saddam Hussein react by grabbing the inspectors for POW bargaining leverage.
    Anyway, I once wrote an exasperated letter to the Newshour with Jim Lehrer after watching former (Democratic) Secretary of State Madeleine Albright publicly repeat the canard without either moderator Jim Lehrer or “opposing point of view” guest James Schlesinger, a (Republican) former Secretary of Defense, correcting her. I had thought for sure that Schlesinger would nail her for her lie, but he instead carefully chose his words and said “after the inspectors had finished.” This dodge immediately reminded me of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland who orders an “off with their heads” execution and then asks one of the guards: “Are their heads off?” The guard cleverly replies (of the escaped prisoners): “Their heads are gone, if it please your majesty!” What a farce.
    I once wrote a poem (part of the larger Fernando Po opus) called “Boobie Official Mendacity”) which dealt with just this issue.
    These once and (they hope) future members of the cabinet club will back up each others’ lies to the detriment of public understanding every time. Those that “go overboard” rather than staying “on board,” as Pat Lang says, can look for employment in the private sector for what remains of their careers. Levelling with the public doesn’t come as part of the “public servant” job description. Just ask Daniel Ellsburg. Mr. Wilkerson will — if he hasn’t already — discovered the same bitter truth. I think Pat Lang calls it “shunning.”
    We have only ourselves and our own resources to help us learn the truth. The government and its suck-up, sycophant stenographers will just forever go on moving their lips — and we know what that means.
    “Sentence first! Verdict later!”
    Now, with our very own Genghis Con off riding his bike in Beijing (while his marooned troops ride the IEDs to their deaths in Baghdad) I think I’ll return to writing today’s epic episode: “Boobie Meretricious Mongoloids.” Stay tuned . . .

  8. Gerald A. Lechliter says:

    There is much confusion about the bombing of Iraq in 1998. Some pundits today even say it was part of the effort to remove Saddam from power in support of the “Iraqi Liberation Act” (ILA). President Clinton in his December 16, 1998, public explanation said, however, that the strike was due to Iraq’s refusal to accede to an agreed to UN weapons inspection protocol conducted by UNSCOM. There was no mention of the ILA. I agree with COL Lang’s point about COL Wilkerson because there were many who thought Iraq was qualitatively disarmed in 2003. For example, Powell and Rice, based on a 2000 NIE, publicly stated Iraq was not a threat to its neighbors in 2001. What changed between 2001 and 2003. Nothing except the cherry picking of intelligence reports for information from already discredited sources.

  9. Eric says:

    Just dropped by to wish everyone happy Thanksgiving.
    Saw this interesting article over at Salon(you may need a site pass to read it, but it’s easy) about the ten major pro-war talking points.
    They turn a listener’s mind to mush which is apparently the purpose. Mr. Daou demolishes these straw men very effectively.
    @Michael Murry:
    The SRF in Shenandoah County originated in the nationwide Support Cindy Sheehan vigil night. Don’t know how one would contact Sheehan; saw a news clip where she soon will go on another camping trip in Texas. I was amazed by how many people showed up at our rally. As Pat points out this county is pretty conservative.
    Sheehan almost single-handedly started a serious debate on Iraq. She deserves a great deal of credit.
    And getting out of Iraq is not strategically obtuse.
    William Odom outlines the advantages here and here:

  10. J Thomas says:

    Burden of proof? We’ve had pretty much the whole top layer of the iraqi government in Gitmo for well over 2 years. We got no info about WMDs. Or rather, under torture they came up with all sorts of stories that didn’t match up with each other or with any of the evidence.
    If there was a WMD program, it was run by junior officers and junior scientists and it had no funding.
    If there was a WMD program, this is an awful predictor of our ability to use interrogation to find a ticking bomb.

  11. ed_finnerty says:

    Isn’t the basic tenet of empirisism that you can’t prove a negative.
    During his five deferments didn’t he take a basic course in logic.

  12. Curious says:

    Theleftcoaster summarize our current world image problem rather succintly.
    It’s not that it [9-11 of course, what, you were thinking the Theory of Relativity?] changed us so much as it revealed us, I think. A society that can so easily discard it’s legal and ethical taboos against cruelty and barbarism, is an unstable society to begin with.
    At this rather late stage in life, I’m realizing that the solid America I thought I knew may never have existed. Running very close, under the surface, was a frightened, somewhat hysterical culture that could lose its civilized moorings all at once. I had naively thought that there were some things that Americans would find unthinkable — torture was one of them.

  13. Some Guy says:

    Curious, you capture my feelings exactly.

  14. Curious says:

    Laura Rozen’s take on latest Waas revelation.
    Talk about revisionist history. What is most offensive about the revelations in Murray Waas’ new National Journal article is not that Cheney sought out and received sci-fi intelligence from the Pentagon zealots who shared his obsessions, but that they have all been denying it for the past two years, and trying to blame their mistakes and zealotry on the CIA. That’s what’s offensive. Their utter reckless disregard for the truth, and contempt for the American people they’ve lied to over and over again. Here’s what’s needed: “I’m sorry. We got carried away. We believed and still believe it was for a worthy cause … ” Something like that. Instead, we get this snivelling slandering of everybody else but themselves. It’s hard to have anything but contempt for people who don’t have the courage to admit their mistakes, who demonstrate so little in the way of personal responsibility. And I believe that’s why we are seeing Bush’s and Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s numbers taking a nosedive on just that issue, personal integrity. Everybody in the world knows the difference between “steadfastness” and CYA. And they know the latter when they see it.
    see the article

  15. Some Guy says:

    This WH only has a small bag of tricks, ad hominem and misdirection. Granted you can do a lot with those if done with unrelenting viciousness, as this WH has done. But when they lose a critical mass of public opinion on trust, that strategy is defunct. I am sure they must be aware of this but I do not think they have any clue how to govern with straightforwardly: laying out your plan, pointing to the relevant evidence and listening to critiques to modify the plan as makes sense. Nope, it is about getting what you want, forget what anybody else thinks.
    Such a vile bunch of slimers too, willing to say anything to create doubt about others’ credibility.
    The disdain Bush et al. have earned they have earned well.

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