Carol Platt Liebau: A Debate That Actually <i>Is</i> Simple

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Debate That Actually Is Simple

According to this piece in The Houston Chronicle, defense and policy analysts

find little factual support for Democratic claims that the Bush administration concocted the Iraqi threat or provided purposely exaggerated intelligence to congressional leaders.

But the White House is open to criticism for selectively interpreting thin evidence and rushing into war before diplomacy had been exhausted, they said.

So, in other words, what the experts are saying is that Bush didn't lie. Instead, they fault him for the way he interpreted the evidence and for being unwilling to continue the decade-long U.N. quest to make a maniac comply with international law (law that, incidentally, the international body showed no inclination to enforce).

Here's the thing: Interpreting intelligence is not like reading an instruction manual; it's like reading poetry. Different interpretations of intelligence are possible -- in fact, they're almost impossible to avoid. Given the evidence that they had, the Administration (and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress) decided that the threat posed by Hussein was real and that they should err on the side of protecting the American people -- not of trusting Saddam Hussein's bona fides. Note that the Clinton administration had reached the same conclusion about Hussein -- but had simply declined to do anything to reduce or confront the threat that it, too, believed to exist.

As for the "rushing to war" issue, that's simply a policy criticism, and a not-very-intelligent one at that. All of us know that President Bush waited and went to the U.N. before deciding to wage war with the "coalition of the willing" (France and others were, apparently, unwilling to do anything that would jeopardize their kickbacks under the oil for food program). The position of the US government had been regime change since 1998. Saddam Hussein showed no inclination ever to cooperate with inspections; to the extent they "worked" (and we yet may find his wmd's went to Syria), we know that to be the case because we didn't trust him.

The whole diplomacy vs. force issue -- and the rest of the policy issues -- were addressed in last year's campaign, and resolved on the day that President George W. Bush beat John Kerry. Having lost the policy fight, Democrats have tried to turn the debate into one about the President's integrity -- a deeply cynical and misguided ploy.

In the end, these "experts" have basically clarified that the only issues outstanding are differences over policy -- and that there was no duplicity at any time. So it's actually not complicated . . . it's pretty simple.


Blogger Orphan in Bama said...

Carol wrote:

"Here's the thing: Interpreting intelligence is not like reading an instruction manual; it's like reading poetry."

It's more like putting together a 5000 piece puzzle without benefit of the picture.


3:21 PM  
Blogger Roy Lofquist said...

In the early 60's I was involved in ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) directed at the Russian missile program. In later years I saw speculation in certain obscure publications that they were faking (spoofing) the data. Some said they were trying to mislead us into believing the missiles were more accurate than they actually were. Others said that they were trying to do the opposite. I dunno. Whoever really knows isn't going to talk. That's the way it's done.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Carol wrote, "Here's the thing: Interpreting intelligence is not like reading an instruction manual; it's like reading poetry."

OK, that is a fair enough statement. Here is my question that is open for discussion.

Where in any of the intelligence that was misinterpreted/misread/mis-whatever are the data misinterpreted in such a way to underestimate the Iraq threat? Or, put another way, why do all of the errors favor the side of the argument the Bush Administration was advancing?

9:51 PM  
Blogger Draino said...

Gee, its so comforting to know we went to war based a passage of poetry. Probably NOT this one..

Here dead we lie
Because we did not choose
To live and shame the land
From which we sprung.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

A E Housman

The fact that you all are even having this conversation is disgusting. Carol, go back under your rock.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are a non thinking regurgitating partisan hack.

If you ever had an original thought, we would know the end of the world would be at hand.

Go clean the bathrooms or do something else useful you twit. (sub "a" for "i" and you'll get my meaning)

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

I like it only it would better read:
Liberty, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But liberals think it is,
And we were ignorant.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Ralph Peters:

QUIT. It's that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up.

Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can't win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That's precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we've made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration.

Forget about the consequences. Disregard the immediate encouragement to the terrorists and insurgents to keep killing every American soldier they can. Ignore what would happen in Iraq — and the region — if we bail out. And don't mention how a U.S. surrender would turn al Qaeda into an Islamic superpower, the champ who knocked out Uncle Sam in the third round.

Forget about our dead soldiers, whose sacrifice is nothing but a political club for Democrats to wave in front of the media. After all, one way to create the kind of disaffection in the ranks that the Dems' leaders yearn to see is to tell our troops on the battlefield that they're risking their lives for nothing, we're throwing the game.

Forget that our combat veterans are re-enlisting at remarkable rates — knowing they'll have to leave their families and go back to war again. Ignore the progress on the ground, the squeezing of the insurgency's last strongholds into the badlands on the Syrian border. Blow off the successive Iraqi elections and the astonishing cooperation we've seen between age-old enemies as they struggle to form a decent government.

Just set a time-table for our troops to come home and show the world that America is an unreliable ally with no stomach for a fight, no matter the stakes involved. Tell the world that deserting the South Vietnamese and fleeing from Somalia weren't anomalies — that's what Americans do.

While we're at it, let's just print up recruiting posters for the terrorists, informing the youth of the Middle East that Americans are cowards who can be attacked with impunity.

Whatever you do, don't talk about any possible consequences. Focus on the moment — and the next round of U.S. elections. Just make political points. After all, those dead American soldiers and Marines don't matter — they didn't go to Ivy League schools. (Besides, most would've voted Republican had they lived.)

America's security? Hah! As long as the upcoming elections show Democratic gains, let the terrorist threat explode. So what if hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners might die in a regional war? So what if violent fundamentalism gets a shot of steroids? So what if we make Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the most successful Arab of the past 500 years?

For God's sake, don't talk about democracy in the Middle East. After all, democracy wasn't much fun for the Dems in 2000 or 2004. Why support it overseas, when it's been so disappointing at home?

Human rights? Oh, dear. Human rights are for rich white people who live in Malibu. Unless you can use the issue to whack Republicans. Otherwise, brown, black or yellow people can die by the millions. Dean, Reid & Pelosi, LLC, won't say, "Boo!"

You've got to understand, my fellow citizens: None of this matters. And you don't matter, either. All that matters is scoring political points. Let the world burn. Let the massacres run on. Let the terrorists acquire WMD. Just give the Bush administration a big black eye and we'll call that a win.


The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.

There's plenty I don't like about the Bush administration. Its domestic policies disgust me, and the Bushies got plenty wrong in Iraq. But at least they'll fight. The Dems are ready to betray our troops, our allies and our country's future security for a few House seats.

Surrender is never a winning strategy.

Yes, we've been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what's at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.

What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they're going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 mid-term elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they'll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.

We won't even talk about the effect quitting while we're winning in Iraq might have on the go-to-war calculations of other powers that might want to challenge us in the future. Let's just be good Democrats and prove that Osama bin Laden was right all along: Americans have no stomach for a fight.

As for the 2,000-plus dead American troops about whom the lefties are so awfully concerned? As soon as we abandon Iraq, they'll forget about our casualties quicker than an amnesiac forgets how much small-change he had in his pocket.

If we run away from our enemies overseas, our enemies will make their way to us. Quit Iraq, and far more than 2,000 Americans are going to die.

And they won't all be conservatives.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I want whatever drugs YOU are taking, cause you sure are delusional.

Now get down on your knees you whining bag of scum and help carol clean the toilet like a good little boy.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous fire woodward said...

Please note: If you agree with the following email and feel strongly that Woodward's actions warrant an immediate termination from the washington post as well as agree with the general state of the media, please sign your name at the bottom of the email under the signed section, and forward to as many people as possible and include in the CC field the following emails at the washington post:,,,,,

Let your voice be heard, this is an action that you can take to voice your dissatisfaction and frustration.

From Deep Throat to Cohort:
The Devolution of the American media

The last straw has just descended. The continued debasing of “journalism” has hit a nadir; a profession which is an integral part of our constitution, our way of life, the very fabric of the American ideal has finally disintegrated. We are left with a press toothless, courage less, and faithless in the pursuit of truth. Bob Woodward, the iconic reporter, has devolved into a willing accomplice of the ruling elite. This truly is a sad day for journalism; a sadder day yet for America.

What was revealed should send shockwaves throughout the world. We have witnessed the unmasking of the conglomerate behind the so-called free press, whose only desire is chasing profits instead of leads. Bob Woodward, evidently selling his soul to gain “access” to the White House, is an active participant in the continuing lie perpetrated on the American people. A man whose very job is to expose lies, has instead been lying to the very public he is supposed to serve. While most reporters and journalists refuse to name sources to better serve the public, Woodward instead tells us that he did not want to tell the truth about who the original source of this leak is in order to protect himself from having to testify in front of a grand jury—courage indeed. Has it come to this, a reporter lying about a source, not to protect the public’s right to know, but, rather, to deny it. What a disgrace! My hero exposed for what he is: a lying sycophant more interested in self preservation and the preservation of his access to power. After two years of lying, he finally owns up to his deception and reveals that someone in the White House did in fact speak to him two years ago about the Valerie Plame. He acknowledges this after going on talk shows dismissing the gravity of the case; erstwhile being a willing co-conspirator. How convenient that this “confession” aids an accused criminal, one Louis Libby—does the word aiding and abetting sink in yet?

The truth is that Woodward’s actions are symptomatic of the general state of the press. Reporters have morphed into a tool of power instead of speaking truth to it. In the obsession to “make news”, reporters jumped in the bed of the very people they are supposed to be keeping honest. Moreover, companies such as the new york times and the washington post have embedded in their employees the notion that breadth of reporting is more important than depth of reporting. In the mad dash to capture market share, the modern day news media has settled on a vision of capturing the most amount of readers while making sure to coddle the ruling elite. Sure they will report of some senator who cheated on his wife, but will ignore the actions of the very institution that senator works in that cheats their constituents. News has turned into a snapshot of events which can capture the most attention, instead of a continuous effort to educate and cultivate an informed public. Obsessed with gaining access to news makers, the news media has transformed into whores of the powerful, turning tricks to get two minutes of pleasure with the very people they are supposed to keep in check. Sound bites that tell us nothing, rhetoric reported as news, truth forsaken for an intangible balance. On a scale of news, truth has no balance and counterbalance; truth stands on its own. Yet the state of today’s news media is that of a meek poodle, yelping at its master for a crumb from the table. And they wonder why subscriptions have fallen off, it’s because those you serve are seeing more and more that you are Judas to the public. Unable to bear the cross of truth, you instead sell out for the nearest shekel. Reporters who no longer see the profession as a crusade against tyranny, instead you seek it as a way to get your spot on the stage. Journalists who are more eager to stand in front of the microphone instead of behind it, the silent tool of truth transformed into publicity hounds while you try to land on the new york journal best seller list. Think about that next time you are talking to your agent on a new book deal. For those who might have true passion for journalism, ask yourself if you are really doing today what you came into the business to accomplish when you were in college. For those that have always seen journalism as a means of acclaim, I truly hope that the day will come where you are torn down by your own lack of scruples.

All this leads back to Bob Woodward. From this day on, I urge all readers and subscribers of the washington post to cancel their subscription TODAY. It pains me that a great paper like the washington post has been reduced to enabling an admitted liar and in the end justifying his stance. Until Woodward has been summarily dismissed from the washington post payroll, a full accounting given of what he testified about to the grand jury, and a full page apology given to the readers, I will NEVER pick up another washington post newspaper again. I have already cancelled my subscription and urge all other readers to do the same until the washington post have resolved this situation as described above. I urge all readers to cease and desist visiting the, and I urge all businesses that stand for honor and intergrity to stop selling the paper forthwith until a full accounting is given. There is one weapon that the consumer, vote with your wallet and starve the washington post of its revenue; it seems that is the only way to get a whore’s attention.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last anonymous - which specific parts of Mr. Peters' comments did you find to be "delusional"?

What is your understanding of what the specific "reality" is regarding the war in Iraq?

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thaose are some crazy eyes on carol!

7:10 AM  

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