Carol Platt Liebau: Accountability, At Last

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Accountability, At Last

As Howard Kurtz points out, The Nation's David Corn and The NY Times' Paul Krugman are complaining about Bill Kristol still being able to command influence after having been "wrong" about Iraq's WMD.

At last, the left is calling for accountability for pundits and commentators -- and not a moment too soon. After all,

Who insisted that Alger Hiss was not a Soviet spy? Who refused to accept the fact that the USSR was making real efforts to infiltrate the US government during the Cold War? Who failed to foresee the mass deaths that accompanied the US withdrawal from Vietnam? Who opined that The Great Society would "end" poverty? Who asserted that Ronald Reagan was a heartless, war-mongering crazy who would bankrupt the country and start a nuclear war with the Soviets? Who ridiculed Dan Quayle for emphasizing the importance of fathers? Who predicted that welfare reform would result in children starving in the streets? Who bemoaned the futility of invading Afghanistan during the fearsome "Afghan winter? Who insisted that taking on Iraq would ensure (1) that Saddam used WMD's against American soldiers; (2) a massive refugee crisis; and (3) that the streets of Baghdad would run red with blood as soldiers engaged in door-to-door fighting to take over the city?

And those are just the tips of the liberal-commentariat iceberg.

Before Corn and Krugman start worrying about the accuracy of conservative opinion leaders, perhaps they should look to their own side.


Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

But Back To the Original Point:


Bill Kristol said there were mass destruction weapons in Iraq. This was the reason he supported the war on Iraq. He continues to support the war, even though he's been proven dead wrong about the weapons. Don't you think this undermines his credibility?

4:19 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

This is becoming monotonous but the left is right and the right is wrong again.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...

Bill Kristol's "credibility" is undermined only to the extent that Bill Clinton's, every intelligence service in the world's, and most of the Democrats in the US Senate's credibility have been undermined. Based on the best information everyone had at the time -- which is, as always, the only way that decisions can be made -- it seemed apparent that Saddam had WMD. In fact, as I pointed out, some Democrats didn't want to go into Iraq because they feared Saddam would use "his" WMD on our soldiers!

5:38 PM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

Ok, the obvious again

1. Saddam had WMD's and used them against The Kurds (his own people) and Iran
2. Saddam propagated the story that he had WMD's to keep his enemies from attacking him
3. His own generals thought that Saddam had WMD
4. Roadside bombs containing both Sarin AND mustard gas have been used against our troops.
5. If Israel had not interfered, Saddam would have had Nukes by now
6. Saddam was giving $10,000 to the families of suicide bombers. He was actively supporting terrorism.
7. In the first Gulf War, Iraq sent rockets into Israel, an American ally.
8. The Iraqi government as it existed was a threat to the stability of the Middle East. If that doesn't
imply a world wide threat, then you need to re-examine your personal motivations.

7:44 PM  
Blogger Brian Busse said...

OK, Flombog, let me see if I understand your position.

In January of 2003, UN inspectors were in Iraq, and the inspection effort was ramping up. They had already found and destroyed missiles (largely unsuitable for use with WMD'S) with ranges slightly greater than those allowed after Gulf war 1. Granted SH was dragging his feet and trying to make thing difficult, but only after GWB started diss’ing the inspection effort did he become more intransigent.

So, just to make sure this is what you mean, you're telling us that given the situation that existed in January of 2003, there was no way short of war to insure that SH wasn't an immediate threat to the US or others in the region. Right? I don't want to mischaracterize your position, I'm just asking. As of Jan/Feb/Mar of 2003, no workable options short of war existed?

Please explain to me how the Iraq we have now is less of a threat to regional stability than pre-invasion Iraq.

9:23 PM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...


A response to your points:

1. Yes Saddam once had chemical weapons. You forgot to mention though that these weapons were supplied to Iraq by the US under Reagan.

2. True.

3. Saddam would've been trying to second-guess the motives of his generals and would certainly have given them misinformation. I do think, however, that some miltary leaders knew that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons left.

4. This is the first I've heard of Sarin and Mustard Gas being used in IEDs. Can you please provide a link?

5. I'm assuming you're talking about the 1982 air riad that bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

6. Any links for that? I can pay money to drug addicts but that doesn't mean I'm involved in the illegal drug industry.

7. Iraq did send rockets into Israel. At the time I was seriously scared that the result would be a nuclear war. The reason being that if Iraq had chemical warheads on their scuds then Israel would nuke Baghdad. Fortunately the Iraqi military and/or Saddam should be congratulated for not using WMDs against Israel, even if they acting under self preservation.

8. Just how was Iraq a threat? After being knocked back by Iran (a war that the US encouraged Iraq to participate in) and getting their butts kicked in Kuwait, Iraq and Saddam were no longer any threat at all.

In the months before the invasion there was no real evidence of WMDs in Iraq. The UN weapons inspectors couldn't find any. The spy satellite photos that Colin Powell presented to the UN were completely unconvincing and were later shown to be non-military installations. Then we have the "Dodgy Dossier" and other plainly counterfeit documents that "someone" created to support the case for war.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Tony-Allen said...

Wasn't there a joke about the New York Times in the film "Dr. Strangelove?"

9:40 PM  
Blogger Diane Tomlinson said...

"We have to be careful," he said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. "We can't say something that's inaccurate." He said investigators have to track down the origin of the artillery shell and "figure out . . . what caused that to be there in this improvised explosive device and what might it mean in terms of the risks to our forces, the risks to other people and any other implications that one might draw." Sec'y of State Donald Rumsfeld to the Heritage Foundation, 18 May 2004 as taken from the Washington Post.

Don't you think the debate about whether all of the gas shells sold to Iraq so they could fight an American proxy war against Iran have been destroyed or not is picking nits? The real issue is was Saddam Hussein a threat to America and the answer to that question is no. Resoundingly.

That being the case then Kristol does lose his credibility because the pillars of his raison de guerre fall down. People like Stackja who see every issue as "us against them" them are what cause societies to fail.

Since when is being right and dead or liberal wrong and dead somehow better?

This war was signed, sealed and delivered by George W Bush. The outcome is his responsibility and history centuries from now will hold him to account or laud him for his vision depending on the result. If the war in Iraq, meaning now the presence of 160,000 or more troops in country, were to take and additional seven years, at a cost of twelve billion dollars a month with a slow trickle of American deaths as is the case now would that "sacrifice" be worth it?

Would the American people be willing to spent $1.008 trillion and pay the cost of 5626 more lives to secure Iraq as a nation. That will be the cost, plain and simple. And since there is time would fine citizens like yourselves stand up and volunteer for the much larger United States Army that would be needed to ramp up the numbers of troops in country to 220,000 which is just enough to "clear and hold" in Baghdad with another escalation to 260,000 troops to secure al Anbar province? How many of you armchair patriots would make the greatest sacrifice possible by a citizen for your country?

And Carol,

Politics in Washington means getting elected you should know that. The war is not popular and a third of the Senate is up in 2008. I think the blank check years for the President are over. Many were duped Democrats and republicans alike but worse the American people fearful for their confortable materialist lifestyles were duped into sending the finest army ever to march into combat on Terra into a poorly thoughtout mission without end.

D. T.

6:07 AM  
Blogger The Flomblog said...

Fair questions and they deserve honest answers. I freely admit that in most cases - I am voicing my own opinion.

Diane Tomlinson said "Politics in Washington means getting elected you should know that" -- True, but (the invevitable but) -- President Bush is about the only president in my memory that made decisions without checking the polls first. You may disagree with him, but you have got to give him credit for that.

Brian asked: "Please explain to me how the Iraq we have now is less of a threat to regional stability than pre-invasion Iraq." Plainly it is not --today. However after 25,000,000 Iraqis dared death to vote, we need to honor them. The threat would be intensely real if we backed down.

Whether there where other methods of getting Saddam under control - Well, as I recall - There was major resistance by France and Russia - both nations having a veto on the security council. There is strong evidence that the Oil for Food program was a major source of their resistance. Kofi Anan was apparently part of this?

One Salient Oversight - Here is a note by note response.

1. The source of these weapons are not the issue, their use is. I do not know who gave what to whom, and frankly at this point of time I do not think it is relavent. The point is that Saddam felt free to use them whenever and wherever he wanted.

2. We agree

3. This is admittedly pure conjecture


Note I am referenceing both Fox and the Washington Post in the interest of fairness.

5. Yes

6. This one is fascinating - I was appently wrong on the amount - it was as high as $25,000 - here are some sources:

7. Also congratulate the Isreali's who did not retaliate at all, under US pressure, admittedly

8. Fascinating question. From what I've reas, Saddam became a hero for the fact that "He stood up against the Americans" he propagated the idea that he was in fact the victor.

In all fairness, I do not think that the statement that "There were no WMD's" is any more valid than the statement that "There were WMD's" Saddam was given more than enough time, thanks to Kofi Anan, the French and Russians, to truck them to the Bakaa Valley. Google WMD and Bakaa.

In my opinion. admittedly!, The Islamist challenge is world wide. If we differentiate between the Chechens, Hamas, Somalia, our own home grown Al-Queda, The situtaion in Thailand, etc...

We are living in a fools paradise. Yesterday Mark Steyn propoised that we were heading for another dark age. ( )

I hope he's wrong.

6:58 AM  

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