America's Priorities

By Keith Kloor | March 20, 2012 10:23 am

Post 9/11, the United States has yet to have a national conversation on whether its political leaders overreacted to the threat of terrorism. You would think that our involvement in two simultaneous wars that lasted longer than any other previous war in the country’s history might have prompted us to reflect on how we got into that position.

That hasn’t happened. We just…moved on. So let’s quickly review the past decade. The short version is that we got ourselves into one war that made no sense at all, and then after messing things up in that one, we woke up to another one we had been sleepwalking in. Lessons learned? Let’s gear up for some more war! Hey, third time is the charm, right? And maybe this one really will be a cakewalk!

So while I agree with David Rothkopf that it’s long past time for reflection on the U.S. military strategies that guided the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan–and the unrestrained budget for military defense in general–I see it as putting the cart before the horse. He writes:

We have lost more than lives in our wars in the Middle East, more than money, more than precious elements of our national reputation. We have also lost our ability to judge our actions or their consequences with a critical eye.

True, but what about the uncritical assumptions, fears and national hysteria that set the stage for those actions? What put us on that trajectory?

Yes, we know it all starts with 9/11, but what came after that? And why haven’t we reexamined this time in our history that led to the color coded alerts, the conflation of Iraq with Al Queda, the endless war footing?

That said, it’s hard to quibble with Rothkopf’s larger critique:

We need to have enough confidence in ourselves and our system to know that asking questions about why our system has not worked as we might have hoped is a sign of strength, not of weakness, of genuine patriotism, not the opposite. The scars of Vietnam have healed, but in their place we are creating, through our unwillingness to have the full and open discussion of both our strengths and our weaknesses on the battlefield, new ones.

As a country, America has made a decision over the past several decades to devote the greatest part of our discretionary budget to national defense, to outspending all the world’s major militaries added together. This should raise perhaps the biggest question of all — about our priorities. Historians will look back and conclude that we bet on raw power to maintain and extend our global leadership, consistently choosing force over investments in our people, schools, infrastructure, or research. Our military leaders and their sponsors in the defense industry have been complicit in helping us arrive at this decision, reducing our risk of foreign attack perhaps but also increasing the likelihood we succumb, as other great powers have, to a combination of overreach and fear of losing what we have gained.

These are all worthy points that hopefully will be raised one day in a meaningful national conversation. But any discussion of America’s “priorities” would seem to require an honest examination of how they became priorities in the first place.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Afghanistan, Iraq
  • sharper00

    Judge actions with a critical eye? Well firstly we need to know which political party made them so we can decide to be critical or whether being critical is akin to treason.

  • harrywr2

    And why haven’t we reexamined this time in our history that led to the color coded alerts, the conflation of Iraq with Al Queda, the endless war footing?
    The Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet-Afghan conflict?
    Nobody likes to talk about the ‘unintended’ side effects of the Cold War.
    Installing a puppet Government in Iran during WWII was a Joint British- Soviet venture. In response to what the US viewed as aggression in South Korea we then replaced the puppet with another puppet in order to close the Soviet Unions Southern Strategic Supply line. Then our puppet got overthrown in the last 1970′s. So the Soviet Strategic supply line became ‘theoretically open’.  The border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq was indenfensible…So we had to ‘make nice’ with the dirt bag in Baghdad until the border could be made ‘defensible’. There was an 8 year war between Iran and Iraq. If Iraq would have lost that war the Iranian’s and Soviets would have been in a position to drive to Riyadh.
    So the short answer to your question is that the current US military activities are basically ‘setting right’ what the cold war ‘set wrong’.
    If we view the cold war thru the lens of a Chess Game…when the Cold War was ‘declared over’ the pawns were left on the board. The pawns didn’t get to be pawns because they were ‘nice guys’. The pawns are dangerous. That was the ‘lesson’ of 9/11.
    Some of the Cold War Pawns went easy…like Manual Noriega in Panama. Others not so easily. Some are just being left alone until they die of old age like Fidel Castro.
    Of course my view of the whole situation is colored by the fact that Jimmy Carter trotted me off to the Middle East 30+ years ago.
    The Cold War was extremely ugly if one views it from the countries where it was ‘fought’.

  • Bobito

    “Yes, we know it all starts with 9/11″

    That’s a bit short-sighted isn’t it?  Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say it all culminated with 9/11?
     

  • jeffn

    Of course, the reason this is coming up is that some people – the nerve of these folks! – think it is “unacceptable” that Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
    The list includes President Obama and all the candidates for the GOP nomination, so sharperOO’s point is meaningless unless you’re willing to admit that one party says it, but doesn’t mean it.
    All you really need to know is that the “we overreacted crowd” won the White House four years ago and, after their briefings on reality, continued  both wars, left Gitmo opened, and doubled down on the policy of spraying missiles from remote control airplanes at brown men (back in the day when the “anti-war” crowd pretended to be anti-war, you would have heard the point that blowing people up in Pakistan and Yemen is traditionally considered an “act of war”) .
    In other words, conservatives and liberals have both given this a hard look from a position of authority over it and came to the same conclusions. There isn’t any evidence that either were wrong much less that only one of them was, but that doesn’t stop the tribal wishful thinking.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Yes, we know it all starts with 9/11

    Uh, what? That’s got to be up there in terms of packing the most revisionist history into the fewest possible words.

    And why haven’t we reexamined this time in our history that led to the color coded alerts, the conflation of Iraq with Al Queda, the endless war footing?

    Because some of the institutions that were most responsible for pushing war (the Executive, the military/private defense revolving door, major media conglomerates, and “respected” political pundits) are the same institutions that would have to actively lead such a reflection?

    Not to mention that the American public isn’t exactly known for being war-averse. Who is to say the public wants to do such soul searching?

  • Keith Kloor

    harrywr2 (2)

    That’s an interesting take. Except taking out Hussein made no strategic sense, since Iran has been the main beneficiary of that. Would you consider this an unintended side effect of our recent war with Iraq?

    Jeffn (4)
    It’s not clear to me what any of you say has to do with my post. There isn’t any evidence that we got it wrong about weapons of mass destruction or Iraq’s Hussein being in cahoots with Al-Qaeda?

    Oh wait, you didn’t address that part of my post.

  • Keith Kloor

    TB (5)

    So I got it wrong, then? The whole Bush Doctrine and preemptive war stuff is based on what? Something that happened Pre-9/11?

    Can you tell me what is “revisionist” about pointing to 9/11 as the event that set in motion two wars and a national security strategy? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    9/11 triggered a lot. A lot of what it triggered had been waiting for a trigger years or even decades before.

    Amazingly enough, the politician who can give you the most coherent narrative about this is Ron Paul. How can that be

    I was out of the country for 9/11. We came back in 2009 after 14 years in Europe. We didn’t recognize the United States of America. This country is more foreign to me today than the places I lived or visited. Mann was right. (No, not that Mann.)

     

  • Bobito

    @Keith – “The whole Bush Doctrine and preemptive war stuff is based on what? Something that happened Pre-9/11?”

    I think the point is best made with a different question:  “If 9/11 was the only thing that happened would it have promted two wars?”

    The big dog will only let a puppy nip at it so many times before it corrects the behavior.  The puppy will get more bold each time it taunts the big dog until the correction happens.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Excellent conversation. Refreshing not to know who the good guys and the bad guys are right off the bat. 

    Not much to add, except to point to this related item (and my comment thereto):

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/103984595971776502972/posts/9fUWoNmzbZb
     

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    One of the saddest consequences of 9/11 was the wholesale manipulation of both the media and public opinion to generate support for a war of choice in Iran.

    What’s even sadder is the fact that the climate consensus adopted the same strategy wholesale. 

  • jeffn

    #6 KK, The country’s position on WMD just before the war was the same one it had in 1997, which was the same one Al Gore espoused in 2000 and Tony Blair reiterated in 2003- the evidence was that it was there and he would use it or share it with other nutjobs. The claim that nobody connected WMD, terrorism (or Al Queda for that matter) to Iraq prior to George Bush’s election is a lie. Plain and simple.
    It’s coming up today not because suddenly someone wants a retrospective of events of 9 years ago, but because some folks want to make hay on the GOP primary field re Iran’s nukes – ie “crazy warmongerer,” “politics of fear”, all the usual BS.  Unfortunately for you, Obama isn’t playing along, just as he didn’t follow the “anti-war” script in any of his first four years in office.
    So how about talking about the present? Do you think Obama is “over-reacting” when he says it is “unacceptable” to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons? I don’t, and applaud him for having the balls to say it no matter how it irritates his “base.” I would like to see what that means in practicality, but I’m sure anyone genuinely interested in concerns about reaction and “over-reaction” would.
    By the way, did it really “start with 9/11″? I seem to remember a bombing of the WTC in the 1990s, bombings of embassies, military bases, a ship… None of this is ringing any bells? My guess, based on the actions of the present administration, is that the rhetoric regarding “over-reaction” was compared to the reality on the ground and found to be… less than robust. Your evidence to the contrary?

  • harrywr2

    Keith Kloor Says:
    harrywr2 (2)
    That’s an interesting take. Except taking out Hussein made no strategic sense, since Iran has been the main beneficiary of that
    Iran is somewhat paranoid.
    They have good cause to be, the Soviet Union and the US interfered in their internal affairs for a long time and the war with Saddam cost them massively in terms of casualties. 1 million killed or wounded in the Iran-Iraq war for a country the size of Iran left a massive psychological mark.
    Removing the main threat to Iran’s security ‘should’ help them feel less threatened. Only time will tell.
    It’s a gamble to be sure. But nothing else anyone had tried in the last 30 years has worked.


     

  • kdk33

    So, let me get this straight…

    On the one hand, we are supposed to destroy trillions in wealth to decarbonize our economies to save us all from CO2.  An activity that will no doubt punish the poorest first and most.  Failing to support this version of mass homocide is anti-science and evil.

    On the other hand, risking american lives and sinking american treasure into an effort to remove the earths most troublesome, and amongst the most evil ever, dictators is “a war that made no sense”.

    Riiiiight.

  • Keith Kloor

    JeffN,

    What Tom Fuller says here (11): 

    “One of the saddest consequences of 9/11 was the wholesale manipulation of both the media and public opinion to generate support for a war of choice in Iran.” [I'm pretty sure that's a typo and Fuller meant Iraq./KK]

    I will only add that most of the mainstream media let itself be manipulated–or went along with it. A black mark in the history of journalism.

  • Keith Kloor

    kdk33 (14)

    Can I just ask you to clarify something: “risking american lives and sinking american treasure into an effort to remove the earths most troublesome, and amongst the most evil ever, dictators” is a war worth deceiving the American public into?

    Because I know you disapprove/tsk,tsk at those means justify the ends tactics we talk about on the climate change threads…

    Just want to see where you stand on that one related to the false pretenses made to sell the Iraq war.

  • jeffn

    KK, all wars are wars of choice. We chose to be at war with Iraq in 1990, 1997, 2003 and 2008. I don’t buy the argument that only one of those four dates is important. Those decisions had consequences.
    We chose not to be at war with Al Queda in 1993 when they attacked New York City, 1998 when they attacked our embassies in Africa in 1998, and 2000 when they attacked the USS Cole. Those decisions had consequences.
    We have experiences with choosing to and choosing not to fight in the middle east. We know both choices resulted in American deaths.
    Your evidence that the choice not to go to war was the best is…..? Still waiting.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hussein does not rank even among the top 10 in evil dictators. (His sons, had they succeeded to his position, might have.)

    How long did we support Saddam? How much money did we give him? For how many decades did we turn a blind eye to his brutality? 

    Keith, you’re right about my typo. I honestly don’t think the media turned a blind eye to the propaganda as much as were seduced by its simple narrative and the very real perks that playing along brought. I think they convinced themselves that it was a higher truth. Kind of Gleick-like, in a way…

    If you take American domestic politics out of discussion of the region, some things are brutally simple. 

    Iran can look at the fates of both Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and see that having nukes is better than not having them. Sadly, Khameini has already said that they don’t want them–but being two steps away from having them might improve their sense of security.

    Should Iran (with an ‘n’) succeed in getting one or two nukes, what will happen? 

    The first thing is that Israel would be able to declare that any missile or plane heading in their direction from Iran would be assumed as nuclear capable and would trigger massive retaliation. Their two hundred nuclear weapons would be able to destroy Iran.

    Should Iran actually launch a nuclear strike on Israel, they would kill almost as many Muslims as Jews. Whoever picked up the pieces in Iran would have a lot to atone for within the Arab world.

    Demonizing Iran is stupidity on the same level as assuming Hussein had an active nuclear program. It is being promulgated for the same stupid reasons.

    Without for a moment suggesting any conspiracy (and I really don’t think there is one), follow the bouncing ball:

    What are the consequences of a war scare regarding Iran? A 10% rise in the price of oil.

    Who benefits from a 10% rise in the cost of oil? Oil companies.

    Who do oil companies support overwhelmingly in elections? Republican candidates.

    Who is leading the war scare on Iran? Republican candidates.

    Seductive narratives and perks trap more than unwary journalists. 

  • huxley

    <i>Post 9/11, the United States has yet to have a national conversation on whether its political leaders overreacted to the threat of terrorism….

    The short version is that we got ourselves into one war that made no sense at all, and then after messing things up in that one, we woke up to another one we had been sleepwalking in.</i>

    KK: But you have no interest in conversation. You skip right to your conclusions that implicitly deride any other viewpoints.

    It is also untrue that there has been no national conversation. There was debate after 9-11, debate throughout Bush’s term, and some during Obama’s term.

    From what I can tell the conversation has ended in a stalemate not unlike the climate debate.

    If you want to hash it out again, fine, but don’t expect to hear anything you haven’t already, and don’t be surprised that your views aren’t universally hailed as the truth.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Keith,

    So I got it wrong, then? The whole Bush Doctrine and preemptive war stuff is based on what? Something that happened Pre-9/11?

    Yes. It would take literally hours to c/p enough links and days for you to read. 9/11 was simply exploited for a lot that was already in the works for years if not decades. Not talking shadowy conspiracy stuff, but competing views of foreign policy, executive power, military precedent, etc. It’s Vulcans, PNAC, Clean Break vs. Sowcroft stuff.

    I wasn’t trying to ding you, I was just kinda taken aback. The “9/11 changed everything” idea was marketing to push actions and policies that were very much pre-9/11. There has been a lot of very good journalism on this, a lot of it edited/anthologized into book form:

    Cobra II
    Rise of the Vulcans
    Angler

    Etc.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    I should add that I don’t think 9/11 was completely irrelevant. It sure wasn’t. I think it genuinely contributed to the ease in which the factions within Bush White House won their case with W. Bush. But I think they would have won it anyway.

    And in terms of the American people, I don’t know if we can say that 9/11 changed the public or simply gave its id cover. We’ve got ~40-50% of people NOW saying they’d support an attack on Iran, even as Iraq and Afghanistan have taken immense tolls on American and foreign lives. I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t take a 9/11 to get an Iraq War.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    t’s Vulcans, PNAC, Clean Break vs. Sowcroft stuff.

    Scowcroft, not Sowcroft.

  • kdk33

    Just want to see where you stand on that one related to the false pretenses made to sell the Iraq war.

    Which false pretense was that Keith.  He had WMD’s, he had used WMD’s (against his own people, no less), he wanted to have WMD’s again, he would have used them again.

    Now, I don’t think WMD’s were the best justification for the war in Iraq.  I rather much prefer the idea that we were bringing democracy and freedom to a part of the world that knew it not (trite, I know, but I’m from the south).  That bringing these things to the middle east would benefit us in the long term.  This kind of thinking requires vision; I suppose Bush choose to sell a simpler ‘narrative’ instead.  Too bad, IMO.  But not quite the false pretense ‘narrative’ you would prefer.

  • kdk33

    Hussein does not rank even among the top 10 in evil dictators. (His sons, had they succeeded to his position, might have.)

    OK.  So….

  • Keith Kloor

    Kdk33 (23)

    Are you suggesting a “simpler narrative” wouldn’t have sufficed to convince Americans to invade Iraq? :)

    Once again, I’m seeing parallels the climate debate. I don’t suppose you can fault climate advocates for pushing a “simple narrative.” 

    In terms of means-justify-the ends rationales, it turns out you and climate advocates have something in common. 

    Or another way to put it, you each are okay with “simple narratives.” 

    TB, Bobito,

    Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum. But the exploitation of 9/11 by the Bush Administration cannot be understated, as you both seem to be doing.

  • kdk33

    Keith,

    You are putting words in my mouth.  Try to pay attention.

    I said  a couple of things:

    1) I prefer the ‘bring democracy to the middle east’ justification for war with Iraq, but Bush preferred ‘keep WMD’s away from crazies’. 

    2) I do not agree that ‘keep WMD’s away from crazies’ was false pretense, or decieveing the American people, as you say.

    I supposed (I guessed, he did not consult me, unfortunately) that Bush choose the latter because it was a simpler narrative than the first.  That was not my preference.  Let me say that in a way you can better understand.  That was not my preference.

    So, you can plainly read that I do not prefer the simpler narrative.

    Are you suggesting a “simpler narrative” wouldn’t have sufficed to convince Americans to invade Iraq?

    You’ve lost me.

    In terms of means-justify-the ends rationales, it turns out you and climate advocates have something in common.

    Please.  What have I written that justifies this?

    Or another way to put it, you each are okay with “simple narratives.”

    No, quite the opposite.

  • Tom Scharf

    KK: “…two simultaneous wars that lasted longer than any other previous war in the country’s history…”

    Boy does this bumper sticker get old quick.  We are still in Germany.  We are still in Japan.  We are still in South Korea.  By your standards these wars have been going on for 70 years.

    We pretty much defeated the Iraqi armed forces in 3 weeks.  Then we babysat a civil war for 6 more years.  Unintended consequences.

    If we have learned anything, it is that when the USA commits to an armed conflict, it is likely to be moving in for a decade or two.  Our adversaries should take note of that as well, if they are smart.
     

  • kdk33

    Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum. But the exploitation of 9/11 by the Bush Administration cannot be understated, as you both seem to be doing.

    Yes, spreading democracy was clearly despicable.

  • harrywr2

    #15
    I will only add that most of the mainstream media let itself be manipulated”“or went along with it.
    There was no shortage of ‘blood lust’ going around in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
    Bill Clinton tried to sell a war with Iraq and couldn’t…different mood in the country.
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.4655.ENR:


     

  • Bobito

    Keith, exploitation is what politicians do!
    For Afghanistan, I’d say they properly exploited 9/11.  And it was right to do so.  9/11 was a culmination of 3 major events on US soil (WTC Bombing 1, the USS Cole, and 9/11).  They would have been wrong to take no action.  One could argue that Clinton didn’t properly exploit WTC 1 to take action against islamic terrorists.

    Iraq is a different story, the Bush administration certainly spun a web of “truths” that inferred a direct link between Iraq and 9/11.  And they oversold the 9/11 link for “Gleik-esque” reason…  I doubt they could have gotten support for that war without selling a link to 9/11.

    So I guess my issue on the post is that you are lumping Afghanistan and Iraq into one narrative.  When the situations are very different… 

  • huxley

    But the exploitation of 9/11 by the Bush Administration cannot be understated, as you both seem to be doing.

    KK: Again, that is your narrative. For those of us on the other side, 9-11 was quite serious and the response of the Bush administration made sense.

    To be sure one can argue with specifics or can one argue with the whole approach. However, those are long detailed conversations that weren’t settled then and I doubt can be settled now.

  • Keith Kloor

    @28

    If Bush chose the “bringing democracy to Iraq” argument, instead of conflating Hussein and Al-Qaeda and playing up the WMDs, would the war have been successfully sold?

    You know the answer. Conflation and playing up fears, now where does take place…hmm

    Again, it’s really okay to make your peace with such means-justify-the ends tactics, if you think your cause is worthwhile. :)  

  • Tom Scharf

    This is such pacifist drivel.  Really.

    Zero thought is given to what would have happened had we not invaded Iraq.  I’m sure these armchair 20-20 hindsight  expert opinionators have a foolproof plan on how we would now be handling So-dumb Insane (Sadam) and an emboldened Al Queda had we not done anything.  Nothing.  Sent strongly worded letters.  Got really really upset .  Possibly even threatened sanctions, or God forbid, sick the scary UN on them.

    Nobody knows what the alternate outcome would have been.  The fallacy in these arguments is the assumption that all would have been well and none of the problems we actually did solve would have come back to haunt us.  

    It is ironic and hypocritical in both directions that the same people screaming the precautionary principle and taking action before it is too late can’t see past the bridge of their nose for making hard decisions in the face of incomplete and uncertain data.

    There are two totally different discussion about did we make the right decision in hindsight, and did we do the right thing at the time knowing what we knew then.  These conversations have nothing to do with each other.

    It would be interesting to know what the definition of a “successful” outcome would be for these conscientious objectors both before the war and what it is now.

    I remember having this debate at the time and I stated that if Iraq was still a democracy 10 years later than it would probably be considered a success, and if democracy spread throughout the Middle East than it would definitely be a success.  The debate on  the origins of the Arab Spring not withstanding.  I remember the people I was debating refusing to state any objective at all.  It was a defined failure before it even begun to many people, some of them quoted here.

     

  • Keith Kloor

    Bobito,

    You mistakenly infer that I’m suggesting Afghanistan was not a just war. (For the express purpose of wiping out the sanctuary the Taliban provided to Al-Qaeda.) What in my post gives you that impression? 

    My argument with some here and in part of my post is using the 9/11 tragedy as a pretext to invade Iraq and also putting America on an endless war footing. 

    Amazing to me how some who get all hot and bothered by transgressions of climate activists (overhyping fears, playing up certainties, conflations with disasters, etc) are okay with it when same tactics used to make a case for Iraq war. Seems to me the latter is pretty egregious, no? 

  • huxley

    KK: You want to restart the conversation with all the anti-war tropes of the media assumed as the truth. For me those are the “black marks” of American journalism.

    For those who have forgotten or ignored why we returned to Iraq, I suggest reading The Joint Resolution for the Authorization of Military Force in Iraq. Twenty-two of the twenty-three counts are simply true.

    As to the WMD issue that anti-war people are so indignant about as a “lie” — Hussein had had WMD in the past, he had used WMD in the past, he had lied about WMD in the past, most Western intelligence believed that he had WMD, most Democratic leaders believed also, it was clear he wanted WMD in the future, he was preventing inspections to verify that he had no WMD, some WMD were found after the war, and it remains possible that WMD were spirited out of Iraq to Syria shortly before the war.

    As far as I’m concerned the case for the Iraq War was much stronger than those who opposed it admit and their trump card — WMD — was not the slam dunk claimed by the “Bush lied; people died” crowd.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Some people like conflating two events–or even theories and use your disagreement with one as evidence that you disagree with another.

    Ex. 1: The War in Iraq is equivalent to The War in Afghanistan. If you think we got railroaded into a war in Iraq under false pretenses, then you obviously are a communist who thinks Osama bin Laden should still be living the high life in Afghanistan.

    Ex. 2: The greenhouse theory and calculations of atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of concentrations of CO2 have equal scientific weight. If you think that sensitivity may possible be lower than proclaimed by Hansen, Schmidt or Tobis than you are a denier pig who believes in skydragons and are anti-scientific. 

  • huxley

    Tom Fuller: And some people like conflating oil, attacking Iran and Republicans into simple-minded syllogisms.

  • Bobito

    Keith, this is was threw me off: “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” but after re-reading I see how I made too much of that.  Still new to your blog so not sure where you stand in some areas.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the “Bush started two wars that blah, blah, blah…” is oversold.  The Afghanistan war was just and widely supported at the time but now gets linked with Iraq regularly.

    On the tactics… the things that pass for ethical in politics sickens me daily.  One would think the information age would get us past Tribalism, but as it turns out, it just gives more avenues in which to pursue it…

  • Keith Kloor

    huxley,

    If you want make the leap that I’m anti-war because of the argument I’m making, then yeah, there’s not much for us to discuss.

    You’ve obviously made your rationalization for the Iraq war. More power to you. But the reality is this: The Bush selling of the war with Iraq was patently dishonest. This is by no means an outlier perspective. 

  • huxley

    But the reality is this: The Bush selling of the war with Iraq was patently dishonest. This is by no means an outlier perspective.

    KK: You keep saying this and things like it. You never support these claims. You say they are reality and insist we move along. I disagree.

    I don’t say yours is an outlier perspective. Yours is largely the other side from mine. How do we converse? Certainly not by your laying down “reality” for me.

  • Tom Scharf

    The smartest thing Bush ever did was holding a high profile vote on the Iraq war.  The left will never live this down.  They are still trying to find a way to rewrite history to make this go away.

    This “media gets black marks” meme is simply a CYA for all the liberals and Democrats who, like the majority of Americans, supported the war at the time, and now want to pretend that they never did.  

    It would be really interesting to play “what if” and see what Obama would have voted on this issue if he had to make that high profile vote at the time.  I don’t think “present” would have cut it, and he would have done the politically expedient thing.

     

  • huxley

    KK brings “the science is settled” approach to the Iraq War.

  • kdk33

    If Bush chose the “bringing democracy to Iraq” argument, instead of conflating Hussein and Al-Qaeda and playing up the WMDs, would the war have been successfully sold?

    Yes, let’s banter in counter-factuals.  It certainly would have sold me, and I believe most other Americans.  And I argued so at the time, BTW.  I found the WMD argument less compelling – we aren’t going to war to keep WMD’s away from every crazy in the world so it amounted to special pleading, IMO. 

    OTOH, it wasn’t the lie you make it out to be, as several other commenters have noted.

    you know the answer.

    No, I don’t; and neither do you.

    Conflation and playing up fears, now where does take place”¦hmm

    In your mind, AFAICT :-) .
    Again, it’s really okay to make your peace with such means-justify-the ends tactics, if you think your cause is worthwhile

    No, I don’t think so.
    —————————————————————-

    Hey, I still like your blog.  So you can have the last word.

  • Tom Scharf

    Keith, if you are not anti-war, than who, pray tell, is?

    Your threshold to enter armed conflict is simply much, much, higher than most people’s.  That’s OK.  But that does make you anti-war.  You simply don’t like the label because it conjours up images of lazy pot smoking hippies who have dropped out of society, which is not the case here.

    BTW, your Bush derangement syndrome is showing quite vividly.  

  • huxley

    But the reality is this: The Bush selling of the war with Iraq was patently dishonest.

    KK: Bush’s reasons for the Iraq War were succinctly and officially summarized in the Joint Resolution I cited above. Explain specifically how that is “patently dishonest.”

  • Nullius in Verba

    Well, it’s certainly more interesting to argue about a different topic, for a change. (No criticism intended. I like the usual topics too.)

    #3,
    Yes. The issues had been causing concern for a long time. But wars are unpopular, expensive, and too messy, and America has long had a historical tendency to try to avoid foreign conflicts at first. 9/11 was simply the trigger that temporarily opened a window in America’s usual isolationism. Eventually it closes.

    The proximate issue was of course the aftermath of the first Gulf War, and the slow corruption of the ineffective UN sanctions, although both of those can be traced back to a long chain of much earlier events.

    #4,
    “There isn’t any evidence that we got it wrong about weapons of mass destruction or Iraq’s Hussein being in cahoots with Al-Qaeda?”

    All intelligence is wrong, and the WMD intelligence was no exception. It turned out to be right enough from a legal and strategic point of view, and by the time we found out the politics was no longer relevant. On the second point, Saddam was certainly in cahoots with Islamic terrorists – I’m not sure that the brand really matters. Although it depends whether it was 9/11 specifically you was interested in, or terrorism generally.

    Terrorism is a political weapon. It does not threaten defeat of America by material force, but by defeating America’s public and political will to resist their demands. Appeasement and ransom never work in the long run. It seems at first the lesser cost, but only encourages more and more of the same until it becomes unbearable, and then the price paid to stop it is far higher.

    Al Qaida and 9/11 were just one example from many.

    #13,
    “Removing the main threat to Iran’s security “˜should’ help them feel less threatened. Only time will tell.”

    As far as Iran is concerned, the main threats to their security are Israel and the US. But it’s probably not threats to their security that motivate them as much as threats to their ambitions.

    #18,
    “Hussein does not rank even among the top 10 in evil dictators.”

    True. He was only selected because of the pre-existing situation with breached UN sanctions made him legally the easiest of the dictators to go after, and because I think their primary concern was the corruption/appeasement practiced in modern international politics and the general erosion of the UN’s role in enforcing order.

    “How long did we support Saddam? How much money did we give him? For how many decades did we turn a blind eye to his brutality?”

    We didn’t. Unless by ‘we’ you mean France, Germany, China, and the UN.

    “Should Iran actually launch a nuclear strike on Israel, they would kill almost as many Muslims as Jews. Whoever picked up the pieces in Iran would have a lot to atone for within the Arab world.”

    This comment fails to understand the mentality of martyrdom. You’re assuming their long-term aim is to live, rather than to win. (And Iran is Persian, not Arab.)

    #23,
    “Now, I don’t think WMD’s were the best justification for the war in Iraq.”

    Probably not. They were, however, the only legal justification. The only thing that allowed action to take place at all was Saddam’s non-compliance with the UN resolutions regarding WMDs, (and he was non-compliant, albeit not as non-compliant as suspected,) so the justification had to be about WMDs.

    Bush really wanted to make regime change the issue, but had to soft-pedal that because it’s not a legal war aim under the UN constitution.

    The UN constitution requires the UN security council to identify threats to international peace and security (and right or wrong, it had done so in the case of Iraq), use sanctions and similar pressure to resolve them where this is possible, and military force where sanctions are considered likely to or have actually proved ineffective. The threat remained, the sanctions were clearly not effective (and were inhumane besides), and so the only legal courses of action for the UN member states to take were to either reverse the judgement and drop the sanctions or to take military action.

    The Iraq war was not about Iraq, but about the UN. The aim of the continental Europeans was to force the sanctions to be dropped, leaving them in prime position to sign oil deals with their client state. They had supported and supplied Saddam, got him deep in debt to them, and promised to get the UN to drop the sanctions in return for his cooperation. In return, Saddam got to keep his WMD capability and his ambitions to militarily dominate the entire Gulf region. Britain and America opposed that, seeing where it would lead, and blocked their moves to drop the sanctions for years and thereby forced the issue. 9/11 gave them the domestic political leeway to finally act. And that’s why the Europeans were so upset about it all – they lost their entire investment.

  • harrywr2

    #25
    Of course, nothing happens in a vacuum. But the exploitation of 9/11 by the Bush Administration cannot be understated, as you both seem to be doing.
    Sitting in a file box over at CIA,State and DOD is the ‘problems’ file.
    Problems that just ‘remain problems’ because the solution can’t be sold. Like say…the fact that the US public was definitely ‘isolationist’ prior to Pearl Harbor.
    Public moods change for whatever reason.
    Whoever happens to be ‘sitting in the White House’ at the time makes a decision. Well…actually in the case of the Bush White house he went to the Senate and Congress and got their consent.
    We have 435 congresspeople and 100 Senators whose job it is to ‘oversee’ the administration.



     

  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    Of course the entire effort in Iraq was misguided.  There was (and is) no reason to risk blood and treasure in Iraq.  Let them fight to the death without outside concern.  They all clearly deserve each other.
    Afganistan is a different story, and a sobering one.  You can’t conquer a herd of cats, no matter how much you might want to.  The reasonable (and very short term) solution in Afghanistan was to simply kill those clearly responsible for allowing terrorists to operate, and to also kill all those plausibly/secondarily responsible.  And most importantly, make very clear to everyone in Afganistan that the same fate immediately awaits anyone who engages with terrorists.  Simple.  Kill the bad guys, without hesitation and without remorse.  Don’t talk,. don’t negotiate, and don’t discuss.  Just kill them.  Attempting to build a country where people obviously do not want one is insane.

  • kdk33

    Probably not. They were, however, the only legal justification.

    NIV, I didn’t realize you were of the one world government ilk.  ;-)

    It isn’t clear to me that ‘legal justification for war’ means anything atall.

    OTOH, you have a reasonable argument that the WMD angle was the ‘narrative’ that would sell to the ‘international community’.  And that’s fine, as far as it goes. 

    I  don’t think anyone considers the last gulf war anything but an American war, and I don’t think we need to ask permission – for that one or any other, it just makes a nicer narrative.

  • huxley

    Of course the entire effort in Iraq was misguided.

    Steve F: Of course that is your opinion which is entirely arguable.

    Hussein was a horrific despot who used WMD on his own people, waged wars on his neighbors, and plotted to become the hegemon for the strategically crucial Middle East.

    We removed him and that is to the good as far as I’m concerned. Furthermore, the Iraqi people have never wavered in polls showing  majority support for our invasion and removal of Hussein.

    Whether it was worth it, all things considered, or whether it might have been better implemented this way or that or whether it might have turned out better if Obama hadn’t cut and run as he just did or how history will look on it in the longer view are all open to debate.

    But attempts to dismiss the Iraq War as folly without argument do not stand up to scrutiny, as I believe KK is discovering.

  • Keith Kloor

    The issue of whether deposing Hussein was good for the Iraqi people, good for the world is separate from the deceptions and half truths that were used to make the case for war.

    Some people on this thread keep overlooking that point. And in doing so, you overlook (some of you) your own intellectual inconsistency when you disapprove of half truths and deceptions used by those to advance the cause of climate change.

    So for me, those of you who are willing to gloss over the dishonest manner the Iraq war was sold to the American public don’t have any standing to tut tut over similar behavior in the climate debate. And you certainly don’t have any standing to sit in judgment of those who came to the defense of Gleick, when they justified his actions on the grounds of it being for a greater good.

    It is a greater good for the world that Hussein is dead. Does that make it right the way it happened? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No. It does not.

    It’s the same argument as I make about capital punishment.

    I’m against it completely. Not because I am overly concerned about the criminals (well, the ones who are actually guilty). It’s not about what execution does to them. It’s about what it does to us.

    The argument against going to war against Iraq should not be about what we did to Hussein or for the Iraqis. It is all about what it did to us. 

  • Jarmo

    Afganistan is a different story, and a sobering one.  You can’t conquer a herd of cats, no matter how much you might want to.  The reasonable (and very short term) solution in Afghanistan was to simply kill those clearly responsible for allowing terrorists to operate, and to also kill all those plausibly/secondarily responsible.  And most importantly, make very clear to everyone in Afganistan that the same fate immediately awaits anyone who engages with terrorists.  Simple.  Kill the bad guys, without hesitation and without remorse.  Don’t talk,. don’t negotiate, and don’t discuss.  Just kill them.  

    This approach works well as America’s former ally demonstrated back in the 80′s. You should have saved Saddam and made him the president of Afghanistan:

    On July 8, 1982, Saddam Hussein was visiting the town of Dujail (50 miles north of Baghdad) when a group of Dawa militants shot at his motorcade. In reprisal for this assassination attempt, the entire town was punished. More than 140 fighting-age men were apprehended and never heard from again. Approximately 1,500 other townspeople, including children, were rounded up and taken to prison, where many were tortured. After a year or more in prison, many were exiled to a southern desert camp. The town itself was destroyed; houses were bulldozed and orchards were demolished.
     

  • grypo

    Wow.  I have so much to add, where to start?

    First, the Iraq is not the only time that the media had membership dropping the ball on war, it’s happened all throughout the century, starting with the Creel Commission in WWI.  The media is generally out-manned in the face of warmongering military propaganda.  The media, meaning well, is usually late to the party, just as a matter of being out-resourced.  By the time the truth gets out the nationalistic cheerleaders will have already generated enough red-scare/terrorists!/evildoers/etc  necessary to sway public opinion by repeating Pentagon fake stories.  This will almost certainly happen in Iran.  In five years we’ll wonder how the hell we lost so many lives and Iran will still have nuclear capability and be a fragmented political mess on the brink of civil war.

    In 2003, Chris Hedges gave a commencement address to a college in which he correctly predicted what would happen in the Iraq War.  He was booed off stage and this eventually led to him leaving the NYT as the department head of foreign correspondence. 

    The media has similar failures in the US’s involvement in South America over the past 50 years.  The media was late on Vietnam. 

    The truth is that the military, the administration, and the powers that be can never be honest about why we go to war and what interests we are protecting.  If they did, they’d never generate enough support and risk undermining the effort.  The goal is to develop a feasible narrative that will hold long enough to finish the job.  The reason that the Iraq war is a good example is because it was a slow motion nuclear missile right up to the time Richard Engle finally said, “wait it looks like we’ve started a civil war here!”  

    The media really doesn’t stand a chance unless it exposes the truth about how these lies are generated beforehand.

  • jeffn

    #51– KK, you are entirely avoiding this very important point – what were the “deceptions and half truths”? I and several others have showed you direct evidence that what you call a “deceptions” and “half-truths” was accepted as gospel prior to George W. Bush’s election by everyone. The UN, international intelligence agencies(from France and Britain to the US CIA), liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans all said Saddam had WMD and supported terrorism. All before Cheney or Bush said word one the question.
    It was because of this that there was bi-partisan support for the war. Support that disappeared only after the left collectively wet itself over the entirely predictable fact that nation-building is hard. The attempt to claim that the WMD/terrorist connection was a “lie” or even the new formula – “deception” – is insupportable. There is no evidence of it- which is why you haven’t provided any.
    To your point about climate change – I don’t think most of the CAGW supporters are “lying”- they genuinely believe what they say based on what they see as expert opinion. What’s that? Experts can be wrong!?! Welcome to Earth, tell me again why you call yourselves the “reality-based” community.
    Let’s use a current example – toward the end of the Bush administration there was an intell “finding” that Iran had stopped pursuing nuclear weapons. Soon after Obama’s election there was a reversal and now intell was telling us that, yes indeedy, Iran was going full-bore for the nukes after all and contrary to prior reports hadn’t bothered to even slow down. Who “lied?”
    You wish to be able to pick one of those reports (after the fact, with 20-20 hindsight of course) and scream “liar” at everyone who considered the other one.  But leaders have to choose prudently at the point where there is uncertainty. On Iraq, we took out a dictator who gasses his own people and fed dissidents into tree shredders and in the process put an end to the uncertainty. We did it in a matter of weeks with a casualty on our side lower than an afternoon on Iwo Jima and on the enemy side was lower than a typical German evening in ’42.
    That was a rational choice. When the political left pulls down the monuments to Franklin Roosevelt, we can talk.
    On global warming the prudent choice in uncertainty is to build some nuclear and natural gas power plants instead of replacing capitalism and democracy. Oddly enough, everyone on both side of the aisle who must chose, picks the prudent choice. Screeching “denier” at them isn’t having any effect. Funny how that works.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    grypo,

    I’m not sure how would it be possible for the media to expose the truth about this goal:

    > [T]o develop a feasible narrative that will hold long enough to finish the job.

    Do you have examples of such endeavour in mind?


    If media is what sells narratives, perhaps we’d have to include the truth exposition as a narrative itself.  Incidentally, this truth exposition narrative reminds me of the auditing sciences.


    To me, the hypothesis to beat is that the media is always late during war times.  Since I can’t recall times without wars, the hypothesis might be tough to beat.


     

  • Keith Kloor

    To paraphrase the immortal Donald Rumsfeld, I’m sensing there are some “dead-enders” on the Iraq war rationale, which no amount of evidence will matter. 

    Yes, I suppose cherrypicking intelligence, reliance on dubious sources (aka curveball), a certain slide presentation before the UN (which the presenter later said would be blot on his record) had nothing to do with it. :) And I haven’t even mentioned the press’s wholescale credulity, Judith Miller…
     

  • Bobito

    “the deceptions and half truths that were used to make the case for war”

    The issue is,  where do you differentiate between “deception” and, frankly, good politics.  The Bush administration was very elegant with the way they presented “facts”.  The WMD rationals given for war were largely taken from the numbers given by the UN weapons inspectors.  Everybody new these “facts” were dubious (being from the UN and all) but how could anyone complain that the US was acting on these “facts” given that the UN is only entity that can stop the US…

  • Keith Kloor

    Bobito, 

    Wait, is this the same UN in charge of the IPCC? :)  

  • Bobito

    However, on spinning the web of “truths” to infer a direct link between Iraq and and 9/11 to the American public…  I think they went way over the top, and did it because they needed more support for the effort…

    Still, was that “good politics” or “deception”?

     

  • Keith Kloor

    Bobito (60)

    “Still, was that ‘good politics’ or ‘deception,’”?

    I guess that question depends on the context. Clearly it’s not okay for climate advocates to use such a strategy. :) Right?  But to make a case for war… 

  • grypo

    Going back through time, it is difficult to extract a singular narrative on any particular war over the past century.  The media usually embarks on a pro/con list of stories in order to fulfill balance.  People will look for a strong voice in a time confusion.  Hedges was reprimanded and silenced because he refused to partake in that balance.  

    What stands out in each instance, but never stands the test of time, is the narrative sold by the administration (although Congress must declare war, it is the Commander in chief and the Pentagon who drive the agenda).  Vietnam and our multiple manipulations of South America were part of the red-scare, Iraq was terrorist scare, etc.  Not only do they find ways to entice our fears, they also find ways to gin up our feelings of comradeship and nationalism.  This part is irreplaceable.  Our lazy individualistic lives cannot recreate that feeling of connection with our neighbors.  We hate our neighbors.  We just don’t realize how much we love to love them until a threat from the “other” emerges.  Not only does it affect the media bias,  but it effects how any singular voice opposing the narrative, is viewed.  

    The media is late to the party because they view each war as its own entity, instead of viewing it as one long string of foreign policy and an indication of how we deal with people who threaten any of our interests.  We are not reflexive, as the article Keith put up asks, but dominant.  Our past precludes any other action.  Fear and nationalism through narrative will trump thoughtful debate.  Hippies will be punched and anti-war protesters will be told to love it or leave it. This is why I predict, if Iran does not back down by November, we will strike with Israel.   And what happens after is likely just as predictable.

  • harrywr2

    #54,
    First, the Iraq is not the only time that the media had membership dropping the ball on war…….  This will almost certainly happen in Iran.
    The media generally doesn’t very do well with ‘slow motion’ changes.
    Mining the Straits of Hormuz doesn’t help the Iranians because it prevents them from exporting oil and more importantly…importing refined gasoline and diesel fuel.
    Bush Jr encouraged the Saudi’s to establish a ‘positive commercial relationship’ with China 10 years ago. That relationship has flourished and China now imports twice as much oil from Saudi Arabia then it does from Iran. China also completed a strategic petroleum reserve a couple of years ago.
    The Saudi port of Yanbu on the Red Sea is now capable of providing 4.5 million barrels of oil a day.
    The ‘cards’ the Iranian’s had to play 10,20 or 30 years ago aren’t the same ‘cards’ they have today.
    Internally they’ve never had a history of having the necessary level of brutality to weather economic sanctions.

  • Bobito

    Keith: “I guess that question depends on the context.” - I don’t think it’s as simplistic as a semantic argument of right and wrong.  Obviously each person’s perception of right and wrong is different based on their filters and the given situation.  What seems fine on one side will be labeled as treasonous by the other.

    It’s a question of the rules of the game.  How do you draw a line on when someone isn’t playing fair when the accepted rules of the game allow for deplorable ethics.  Both side need to keep up with the other to maintain a balance.

    The problem, as you have been pointing out, is that there is a large “base” of people on both sides of every debate that think the other side is the only one pulling this crap!

  • Jeff Norris

    Dr. Pillar has some good advice on the challenges in dealing with terrorism.  Those same challenges can easily be applied to those facing Climate Change.  The money quote would be this one.
    “The  strong domestic public support that is essential for effective counter-terrorism, if the support is to be as sustained as it must be, and if public attitudes are not to exacerbate some of the less-helpful policy tendencies, should be informed support. National leaders must resist the temptation to use emotional or simplistic themes that, although effective at drumming up support in the short term, may reduce the political room for maneuver when it comes to the more complex and delicate issues in counter-terrorism.”

    http://sanford.duke.edu/centers/tiss/pubs/documents/Pillar.pdf
    Of course this gets us back to who is doing the  informing and why.

  • jeffn

    #57. KK Thanks for the link to a story behind a paywall.
    One more time, since you still can’t answer it… do you have any evidence that the idea that Saddam Hussein had WMD and connections to terrorists was invented by the George W. Bush administration? That this evidence did not predate the Bush presidency?
    I’ve given you evidence to the contrary. I’ve pointed out to you that the WMD intell and the terrorism intel predated Bush and was believed to be true in Europe and the US, by conservatives and liberals, by Democrats and Republicans all the way up to the point in time when Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives, Europeans and Americans chose together to go to war with Iraq.
    You reply with a link to a restricted story written in 2006 by the guy who ran the intel desk on the Middle East up to 9/11. Hmmm, the guy who was supposed to pick up on terrorists from the ME and missed the biggest terrorist attack in world history (and it comes from the ME) so, naturally, he’s your go-to guy on what was “really going on?”
    And love that 2020 hindsight! Send me a link from year 2000 and we can talk.
     

  • Nullius in Verba

    #49,
    “NIV, I didn’t realize you were of the one world government ilk.  
    It isn’t clear to me that “˜legal justification for war’ means anything at all.”
    Personally, I’m more of the ‘no government’ ilk, but the law-abiding governments who participate in the UN are of a different mind. They have signed and ratified the treaty, so they have to pay attention to the laws created.

    The UN is corrupted and badly broken, but it’s still better than the alternative. We follow the rules so that they have to. Whether that is morally justified is a sticky question, but international politics is full of those.

    What I was saying was that the formal, legal justification was the continued violation of the UN resolutions and the demonstration that the sanctions had proved ineffective. As such, they would open themselves to attack to use any other argument. As I said, the actual justifications were different – removing a brutal dictator who used torture, rape, and poison gas to enforce his rule and had prisons full of children; upholding the moral authority and effectiveness of the UN’s policing role; to end the suffering brought about by the sanctions; to dry up the funding for a prominent source of UN corruption, and deprive the corruptors of their profits; to prevent Saddam gaining immunity from future measures against whatever he might want to do through a credible WMD capability; to prevent an imminent nuclear arms race in the Middle East as all the others play catch-up; to protect Iraq’s weaker neighbours from threats, pressure, and invasion; to plant an example of Arab freedom and democracy in the Middle East, as demonstration, cultural influence, and friend of the West; to block one source of funding for terrorism in Western countries; to demonstrate that the West won’t always appease and meekly give way to threats; … and so on.

    Saddam’s WMDs were only a small part of the story. But Saddam was selected and the argument was centred around the WMDs only because that was what the UN sanctions that gave legal justification were about. It’s like Al Capone being prosecuted for tax evasion. The US government couldn’t simply arrest him and throw him in jail without trial, and they couldn’t admit they were really doing it because he murdered people when they couldn’t prove in court in front of the Mob’s bent judges that he had. That case too was based on half-truths, but they went with what worked.

    #51,
    “Some people on this thread keep overlooking that point. And in doing so, you overlook (some of you) your own intellectual inconsistency when you disapprove of half truths and deceptions used by those to advance the cause of climate change.”

    Wait… are we talking about politicians or scientists here?

    Newsflash: this just in – politicians sometimes lie!

    Advocates on both sides of the Iraq war issue used half-truths and deceptions to advance their aims. It was a dirty fight. I don’t condone the game of international power politics; we have to accept it as a fact of life, but we don’t have to like it. The ends don’t justify the means. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that the war wasn’t justified. Had both sides told the truth, and people thought about it rationally, it’s arguable that the conclusion might have been to do the same.

    You’re making two separate statements: the war was unjustified (“made no sense at all”) and was sold on the basis of half truths and deceptions. It’s possible to argue against one without disagreeing with the other.

    (And incidentally, I don’t accept “the science is settled” on what was half-truth and deception. Some (not all) of the things people commonly say were lies I happen to know weren’t. It’s a murky subject.)

  • huxley

    The issue of whether deposing Hussein was good for the Iraqi people, good for the world is separate from the deceptions and half truths that were used to make the case for war.

    KK: I never mixed the two arguments. You have put those words in my mouth. I was replying to the claim in #48 that “the entire effort in Iraq was misguided.” The Iraq War, like all wars, was a mixed bag but there were indisputable benefits, commonly overlooked by its opponents.

    Meanwhile, you continue to make claims about “the deceptions and half-truths” (toned down from your previous claim that the Bush administration was “patently dishonest”) and you continue not to support those claims with specifics, as jeffn and I continue to point out.

    Again, you appear uninterested in an actual conversation about the Iraq War, but instead want to start with your conclusions about that war.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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