Comments: BREAKING: New Biden Plagiarism Scandal!!! MUST CREDIT TINY REVOLUTION!!!

Iraq? Isn't there some kind of war going on there now? I think there was a time when one of the Presidential candidates was going to make an issue of it, pointing out that he'd opposed it before it began, but one hardly hears anything about that anymore, for some reason.

Posted by Donald Johnson at August 27, 2008 05:36 PM

Quote: "The UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn at the direct request of the US so that the US could bomb Iraq in Operation Desert Storm."

That should read Operation Desert Fox, not Storm.

Posted by Adam at August 27, 2008 05:53 PM

Jon, not to pick, but you misnumbered your items, repeating "2" twice.

Posted by DRK at August 27, 2008 05:54 PM

Biden's doing the same lying thing on Georgia.

Biden: "Russia's failure to keep its word and withdraw troops from Georgia . . ."-- The six-point signed cease-fire agreement allows a continued Russian troop presence in Georgia for "additional security measures."

Biden: "The claims of Georgian atrocities that provided the pretext for Russia's invasion . . ." -- The Georgian invasion of autonomous South Ossetia, with the killing of Ossetians and Russian peacekeepers, was the reason for Russia's response.

Posted by Don Bacon at August 27, 2008 06:18 PM

Thank you for using the term WMD (and not tacking an "s" on the end (it just bugs me when someone does that (weapons of mass destructions?))

Posted by Monkay at August 27, 2008 07:04 PM

Hiliarious. We've got a local wingnut blogger who does that kind of hed all the time.

Posted by Mark Gisleson at August 27, 2008 08:37 PM

A DONKEYCRAT that's full-o-horseshit, I'm not sure if I should be amazed or its mundane.

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 28, 2008 12:00 AM

1. "When the inspectors left after Saddam kicked them out..."

It's true that the UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn at the request of the US/UK on 11/14/98 prior to Desert Fox strikes BUT they had been kicked out of inspection sites inside Iraq by Saddam on 8/5/98 and then later prevented from doing ANY monitoring at all on 10/30/98. So it wasn't really "inspectors" who the US/UK removed from Iraq. It was a bunch of people sitting around in hotels who couldn't do inspections. The inspectors did were kicked out of the inspection sites by Saddam, if not out of the country of Iraq. The US/UK decision to launch the Desert Fox strikes was questionable at best but Biden isn't wrong when he says Saddam kicked the inspectors out. He did kick them out of the sites, if not the country.

[see 'A Chronology of UN Inspections' from armscontrol.org]

Posted by joejoejoe at August 28, 2008 04:18 AM

So it wasn't really "inspectors" who the US/UK removed from Iraq. It was a bunch of people sitting around in hotels who couldn't do inspections.

You're confused about what happened, partly because you have the dates wrong. You're correct that Iraq suspended all cooperation at the end of October, 1998. However, Iraq and the UN came to an agreement that allowed inspections to resume several weeks later. They continued until the beginning of December.

During that time UNSCOM carried out about 300 inspections, of which there were minor problems on three or four occasions and major problems on one. The major problem (Iraq blocked UNSCOM's access to a Baath party headquarters) was cited by Clinton during his speech about Desert Fox.

We now know from the CIA's final WMD report that Saddam was actually at the Baath headquarters at the time, and ordered the inspections blocked because he believed (correctly) that UNSCOM had been infiltrated with spies attempting to overthrow him. Hence, the main justification for Desert Fox was the result of the successful US/UK attempt to corrupt the inspections process.

So the inspectors were certainly not "sitting around in hotels." Nevertheless, they were withdrawn, at the request of the Clinton administration, on December 16 (not November 14).

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at August 28, 2008 05:26 AM

darrelsplant: so it was the usual wingnut horseshit. Right.

Posted by me at August 28, 2008 08:52 AM

I hope you can find a place that would be willing to publish such an article--I could imagine Harper's printing a nice long piece. Whether Harper's could imagine it is another question, but it does seem like the type of thing they would print.


I used to fantasize a lot about this sort of thing--an article in a mainstream press outlet that really demonstrated, point by point, how much of our political chatter is based on outright lies repeated so often they become "facts". It would have to be a borderline mainstream outlet like Harpers--"respectable" enough to be outside the far left ghetto, but not so respectable it'd be ridiculous to imagine them publishing it.

Posted by Donald Johnson at August 28, 2008 09:29 AM

Since the UK Guardian has published the Medium Lobster from Fafblog, it's not impossible that Jonathan may find a dead trees outlet someplace.

I am now willing to predict the outcome of the 2008 election:

The candidate of the War Party will win.

Who knows if it's good or bad?

Posted by mistah charley, ph.d. at August 28, 2008 10:38 AM

Jon, I will pay you two dollars cash money to write the article. Now get to it.

Posted by Chris Floyd at August 28, 2008 11:52 AM

From last night's speech:

The fact is, al-Qaida and the Taliban — the people who actually attacked us on 9/11...

Did the Taliban attack us on 9/11? Or is that splitting hairs?

Posted by darrelplant at August 28, 2008 12:40 PM

In 1998, UNSCOM weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq, “at the request of the Clinton Administration” as you say, but that is not the issue that led to the war.

Weapons inspectors from UNMOVIC and IAEA returned to Iraq in December of 2002, and conducted a very thorough review of Iraq’s WMD programs, with a variety of different levels of cooperation. Hans Blix issued a variety of statements, mostly that Iraq was being evasive. Blix pointed out that in 1998 through 2002, Iraq had failed to comply with the UN resolutions that followed the first Gulf War. Bush used that statement as proof that WMD programs were continuing, which was doubtful.

We now know that Blix overestimated Iraq’s capability because Iraq had been so evasive. The VX nerve gas, for example, may have been destroyed, or it may have been shipped to Syria. Since there were no good records, Blix assumed that it was still in Iraq somewhere. Because the results were so unclear, France and China promised to veto any future U.N. resolutions on the use of force. Bush allowed his March, 2003 proposed resolution to die without a vote.

On the evening of March 17, 2003, President Bush issued Saddam Hussein and his sons a 48-hour deadline to leave Iraq in exile or face war.
France called for a ministerial-level meeting of the UN Security Council, and a meeting of heads of state. The U.S. and U.K. ignored French efforts. Only then were UN weapons inspectors withdrawn from Iraq. (Simultaneously, most countries withdrew diplomats and other personnel due to the imminent war.)

U.S. forces launched attacked Iraq on the evening of March 19, 2003 (March 20 in Europe and Iraq)

Biden is just as aware of this time line as anyone else, so why do you suppose he made the comments he made? If we go by your theory, it is because he is a war monger with an underdeveloped sense of morality who has never had an original thought in his life. Should we assume that is the only possible explanation? Should we assume that the most slanderous interpretation is the correct one? Should we reduce every issue to the level of complexity that it would fit on a bumper sticker?

Personally, I consider that lazy thinking, or more generally, “Republican Thinking”.

Posted by FutureDave at August 28, 2008 12:58 PM

Futuredave, rather than throw out a bunch of rhetorical questions with a distinct slant, why not state your own opinion on why Biden is such a liar?

Anyway, it isn't just Biden and if you want to go into the psychology of it, Arthur Silber has a long post up on this general subject right now. My own guess is similar to Silber's. On the whole, people in power sincerely believe in their own propaganda and if they consciously bend the truth a little, they probably think it's for a good cause and wouldn't you know it--the good they do is tied up closely with them having more power. I'd say the same about the leaders of almost any country--very few people, I'm guessing, deliberately set out to do evil things. Soviet leaders probably thought they were working towards a worker's paradise.

Posted by Donald Johnson at August 28, 2008 01:10 PM

BTW, that lazy thinking=Republican thinking insult of yours at the end--that sounds as if it is okay to denigrate some people. Just not Democrats.

Posted by Donald Johnson at August 28, 2008 01:14 PM

Donald
If, as you guess, very few people deliberately set out to do evil things, how did so many stumble into so much evil in the 20th century alone? As German historians calculated recently, it took about 200,000 of their countrymen to run (deliberately) the Holocaust. (Not included millions of onlookers, with glee, indifference or regret.)
That doesn't strike me as "very few."

Posted by donescobar at August 28, 2008 01:43 PM

We now know that Blix overestimated Iraq’s capability because Iraq had been so evasive. The VX nerve gas, for example, may have been destroyed, or it may have been shipped to Syria. Since there were no good records, Blix assumed that it was still in Iraq somewhere. Because the results were so unclear, France and China promised to veto any future U.N. resolutions on the use of force.

Dave, I don't know where you're getting your information, but you really need to find better sources. None of this is true.

Blix didn't overestimate Iraq's capability, because he never estimated it. He simply laid out the evidence on all sides. By his March 7 UNSC appearance he said he'd need several more months to verify that Iraq was disarmed. By that point the IAEA said they'd already verified that was true on the nuclear issue.

The VX nerve gas was destroyed. There is no reason whatsoever to think it was "moved to Syria." Also, Blix did not assume it was still in Iraq.

France and China did not promise to veto any future UN resolutions on the use of force.

Biden is just as aware of this time line as anyone else, so why do you suppose he made the comments he made? If we go by your theory, it is because he is a war monger with an underdeveloped sense of morality who has never had an original thought in his life. Should we assume that is the only possible explanation?

What are the other possible explanations? That his body was suddenly inhabited by some sort of demon that was very badly informed on the WMD issue?

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at August 28, 2008 02:22 PM

I left room for cases where people know they are sadists and just enjoy it. But many Nazis probably believed their own propaganda, which would have been easy, given centuries of antisemitic propaganda to prepare them. Those hundreds of thousands probably thought they were just obeying orders as a good citizen is supposed to do, and also eliminating bad elements. You've probably read much more about it than I have, but I seem to recall some Nazi killers gritting their teeth and telling themselves that what they were doing was unpleasant, but necessary. That's not meant as a defense--suicide bombers also think they're doing something wonderful. People are extremely good at rationalizing evil as good.

I didn't mention Nazis, but I did the Soviet leaders. I suspect the early Bolsheviks all thought that torture and prison camps were a necessary evil on the pathway to a glorious future, and even the later bureaucrats probably half-persuaded themselves of the beneficial nature of the system they worked for. American slaveowners thought they were doing their Christian duty, civilizing the slaves and taking care of them, etc...

In fact I should probably stick to American examples, since I think I understand people from my own culture more easily. And there's no shortage of Americans who stole, tortured, ethnically cleansed, lynched, practiced segregation, and so forth and we all know how the people who do such things think they're in the right.


Posted by Donald Johnson at August 28, 2008 02:32 PM

Actually, Antisemitism was wider and more virulent in Eastern Europe, Austria and France than Germany--until a few years into Weimar.
What I have trouble with is the self-delusion, or accepting that people tell themselves that evil is really good because it's "necessary" or because it serves a greater, if not entirely understood cause. They really know, but...
It's a liar's "but." think we want to believe that they believed their own lie. Then we can pretend that humanity would be, basically, good if only the villains like Stalin or Hitler never came along. Naw. A look at the Balkans tells me otherwise. There is, it seems to me, much more room, in most every society, for the bullies and sadists and haters.

Posted by donescobar at August 28, 2008 03:33 PM

Possible bumper sticker:
Da 2 horsesasses and buggy parties bought U a war of lies---VOTE THE INTERNET

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 28, 2008 07:46 PM

you're kidding about tim russert, right?

Posted by karen marie at August 29, 2008 03:42 PM