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10 October 2005

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avedis

Interestingly - to me anyhow - is the fact that Michael Ledeen has long had links to the Italian intelligence community and has participated in various covert activities with it.

Seems like a path that might be worth going down if someone wanted to get to the bottom of this whole Yellowcake/Wilson/Plame incident.

Sonoma

"We did not go to war in Iraq primarily because of bad intelligence and bad analysis by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Bush Administration started a war of choice".

Which is to say, they Big Lied this nation into war. They are the most vile traitors in our Republic's history. May the people soon wise up, and render them infamous in their own lifetimes.

Michael Murry

To summarize:

We went to war in Iraq to depose a dictator we did not fear because of weapons he did not possess in retaliation for an attack upon us in which he did not participate.

Now we don't know whether to shit or go blind.

We will probably do both.

john

I don't really want to defend this administration because it seems to me they have led us into a mess and avoided as many sensible choices as they could.

But I don't think criticism of the process of going into war should be partisan because we're seeing flaws that have occured in a number of instances.

I remember during Kosovo false UN fed reports of huge numbers of males seized by the Serbs and other potential atrocities.

I think the administration really did believe there were WMD and they thought this was the best legal justification to go in with the approval of the UN.

They then distorted intelligence to support what they "knew," but this kind of twisting is not uncommon. There is a very real problem here, but it is subtle. Inconclusive evidence should not be shaped into something else in the analysis process, but we need a public and critics that can deal with "we believe" and imperfect information.

Beyond that Congress needs to take more responsibility. For an act like war they need to launch hearings and take individual responsibility. Of course in case of a major emergency the president needs the power to act, but we knew he wanted to go in nearly a year in advance.

Bush is not the first to abuse the system in this way. We've allowed other abuses to be acceptable so he pushed the line, but the big issue is a lack ofacceptance of responsibility in the system. This varies from insisting that people be informed in simple concepts, denying they have responsibility as citizens to a congress that avoids responsibility with lots of stuff I haven't touched on in between.

IMO.

Pat Lang

John

"I don't think criticism of the process of going into war should be partisan."

What????

pl

Michael Murry

John,

I don't know if this will address your concerns or not, but I think you might want to look at what Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), wrote recently in an article entitled "What's wrong with cutting and running?" (Niemanwatchdog.org, "Ask This," August 3, 2005.) Colonel Lang can probably assess the general's background and political leanings much better than I can, so I'll skip any commentary on that front and get right to what I consider most interesting in General Odom's comments.

To begin with, he seems positively exasperated at the lack of political partisanship: especially, if not exclusively, on the part of the Democratic Party! He writes:

"So why is almost nobody advocating a pullout [from Iraq]? I can only speculate. We face a strange situation today where few if any voices among Democrats in Congress will mention early withdrawal from Iraq, and even the one or two who do will not make a comprehensive case for withdrawal now. Why are the Democrats failing the public on this issue today?"

As General Odom sees it: "Journalists can ask all the questions they like but none will prompt a more serious debate as long as no political leaders create the context and force the issues into the open."

Yes, strange as it may seem, the general does appear to want more not less (one probably couldn't get much less) partisanship from the Democratic Party on this terribly important issue. Not content with mere criticism, however, the general also suggests that journalists help the Democrats become more partisan. "The wisest course for journalists," he writes, "might be to begin sustained investigations of why leading Democrats have failed so miserably to challenge the US occupation of Iraq."

I don't want to turn this into a full-blown review of General Odom's article (much of which I agree with) since I only wanted to address your issues with partisanship. I do not think I distort the general's basic point when I say that, in our system of government, those in power will only change policy when confronted by the threat of losing their own jobs. This necessarily requires a "loyal opposition" prepared to make that threat real and immediate by running for election on a platform of contrary policy. I think that General Odom fears for the fate of the Army and has given up hoping that the Republican Party itself will do anything to rescue our misused and marooned Foreign Legion. I don't think anyone could read his piece without feeling the tone of worry come through in every line. I read it as a plea for the Democratic Party to (1) wake up, (2) become highly partisan in favor of withdrawing from Iraq, and (3) save the Army -- the red-headed stepchild of America's military-industrial complex -- from further needless abuse.

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