What it was like, in Connecticut, to oppose the war ten years ago

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I don’t sleep all that well, nor do I have a clean conscience, but my words and actions before the Iraq War are not implicated in either problem.

I opposed going into Iraq. I did so in my newspaper column, and I did so — with my partner Bruce Stevens — on WTIC-AM, for many months preceding the invasion.

Judis’s piece gets at what it was like. But it was one thing to oppose the war in writing, and another to do it on talk radio and yet another thing to do it on a talk station which — except for one’s own show — skews almost entirely conservative. I was called, on the air, by the listeners, a traitor and many worse things. The phone calls to management were, if anything, more severe. They came in massive waves every day, and they demanded my immediate removal. To the credit of the people who ran the place — who are the people who still run the place — nobody ever even hinted we should stop.

One of the criticisms leveled on the left — you see it in Judis’s piece — is that the press wimped out and didn’t ask hard questions.  By March 19, 2003, I think that had become true. The rah-rah tone of the invasion coverage was disturbing. It’s one thing to support our troops. Another to suspend all critical judgment. The coverage that followed the invasion was simplistic and celebratory to a fault.

But in the run-up, there were plenty of journalists exploring the fallacies behind the Bush administration’s push toward Iraq. I know this because every day I had to get ready for those shows, and it wasn’t that hard to find reporting and analysis that would help me prepare.

What there wasn’t was a booming market for the truth.  Americans were so freaked out, still, by 9/11 that the fear-mongering by the Bush administration was very effective. The public wanted two things: security and revenge. The Iraq invasion would provide neither, but it was packaged that way. If you told people the truth: that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and that even now he posed no credible threat to us, people got mad at you. If you tried to explain the complex religious and political situation in Iraq, if you asked them to think about what exactly we would do in Iraq after the first round of battles, they became enraged.  They didn’t want to think about how difficult it would be to assemble a stable government out of thin air. They wanted to think about kicking somebody’s ass really hard as payback for all the fear and effrontery of the preceding 18 months.

You could see it reflected in the 2002 political campaigns in Connecticut. Iraq just wasn’t an issue, because so many Democrats saw opposition to a war as a political loser. Both of our senators voters for authorization. It was more surprising in Dodd’s case, but he had presidential aspirations and was afraid of having an “unpatriotic” vote on his record. In the second district, incumbent Rob Simmons had for a time adopted the sensible position — that Saddam was weak and that we should keep our focus on Al Qaeda. He dropped that and voted for authorization. His opponent, Joe Courtney, agreed with him.  The informal name for this strategy was “hug the president.”

The only politicians who could afford to tell the truth were people with safe seats. John Larson emerged as a leading war opponent in Congress.

Politicians should lead. Journalists should ask hard questions about big policy changes. You could argue that both groups failed pretty badly ten years ago (assuming you think the Iraq invasion was a bad idea). But sometimes it’s impossible to give the citizenry a politics and a journalism that they just don’t want.  I could be wrong about this.  My perspective is imperfect. But I believe the biggest culprits in the misleading of the American people in 2002-2003 were the American people themselves.

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90 thoughts on “What it was like, in Connecticut, to oppose the war ten years ago

  1. SaddenedByHypocrisy

    Really Colin? What hard questions are you asking now? Americans live in a country that is decaying from within at a rapid pace. The government knows this and is preparing for civil unrest. Meanwhile the mainstream media is preaching the administrations gospel of “economic recovery”. What happened to a media that asks hard questions. The DHS has ordered enough ammunition to fight a decades long war but the MSM media continues preaching that we need to disarm the masses. For the sake of the children…

      1. JustToClarify

        I do think his point is relevant, though. Lessons learned are essential. Your article subtly paints you as a maverick swimming up stream. You may be right about that. But as a journalist, you need the same dedication to ethics and fact-finding that you did ten years ago. I don’t really have the knowledge of your career to know if you do or don’t, but the question is absolutely relevant.

    1. Todd Zaino

      Getting a liberal to answer very bacic question is like screaming at a wall-it may give you some relief, but you won’t get a response.

      Colin, you’ve called me a “sniveling hypocrite”, and actually used the word “slavish” to describe me…oh well, telling me to say on point… no biggie. How would you respond to the simple point that liberals hated Gitmo, drones, and the Patriot Act while Bush was president, but suddenly become a bunch of deaf mutes about the three things now that Dear Leader, and prettiest, smartest, most wonderful woman ever are in the White House.
      Please respond Colin-dying to know why the left is so willing to do a 180.

      1. Cynical Susan

        Your comment isn’t directed to me, Todd, so perhaps you’ll once more accuse me of inserting myself into “your” conversation. But why do you not answer questions asked of you? And why do you insist that “all” liberals are silent on the issues you bring up? Perhaps this is the only not-right-wing blog you visit, and perhaps you haven’t seen the questioning and criticism about the issues you bring up.

        1. Todd Zaino

          Cynical, can you see Obama abusing his drone power…even a tiny-little bit? Didn’t Old Barry back in the summer and fall tell all of the people cheering him on…that closing Gitmo was going to be on his short-list? Does Obama enjoy public and media silence regarding the Patriot Act?

          Funny…when Bush was president I remember seeing coffins at Andrews Air Force Base…and gas prices (which really were not bad), yet now-a-days, the media doesn’t seem so interested in Andrews or gas prices…I wonder why?

          1. Cynical Susan

            ” can you see Obama abusing his drone power…even a tiny-little bit? ”

            I guess you didn’t read for comprehension.

  2. mike in Saybrook

    Good piece, Colin. It was a crazy time, and mistakes were made both inside and outside the government, and you are correct in pointing it out. Keep up the good work.

  3. Reader

    Colin, you are as entitled to your own opinion now as you were then, but it’s a little cocky (wouldn’t you agree?) to say that people only believed in the Iraq invasion because they were “misled.” Saddam Hussein was a bad, bad man, and he needed to be removed for dozens of reasons.

    Also, if you do some research, you’ll find that the Bush Administration’s position on Saddam and WMDs was no different than the Clinton Administration’s was. In my opinion, had 9/11 happened on Clinton’s watch, nothing would have been different — except that maybe we would have invaded sooner. Please check these out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwqh4wQPoQk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0f5u_0ytUs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i87cZ3Og6ts

    If your argument is that the government shouldn’t mislead, then I hope you’re as disappointed in Mr. Clinton as you are in Mr. Bush. If your argument is that the Bush Administration misled, then you’ll have a hard time explaining how a Governor of Texas could infiltrate the White House and Congress, and encourage them to make these statements.

    Again, you are as free to have your opinion as I am to have mine, but I think I’m looking at a little longer lens in history, and with greater focus, and I am utterly thrilled that Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge in Iraq.

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      A few quick points.

      We don’t have — and never did have — a policy of invading a country because it is run by “a bad, bad man.” If we did, we would have been would intervening in Africa and South America on a pretty regular basis. We would have invaded lots of other Middle Eastern countries too. To suggest that the American people supported a preemptive invasion because they didn’t approve of Saddam’s character is either naive or cynical. I can’t tell which.

      No, the only possible means of marshaling American opinion on behalf of such an unprecedented invasion was the fear that Hussein was about to attack us with WMDs. It was sold to the public entirely on that basis, and nobody who lived through it can really doubt it.

      You are indeed entitled to your opinion, but I would suggest you look long and hard at what we wound up with. We traded 4,000 American lives and our own solvency for a government that is, with each passing day, more heavily allied with the mullahs in Iran. We got rid of your “bad, bad man,” but what do we have now? Meanwhile the Iraqis have suffered +/- 100,000 deaths, years of civil war and seen their infrastructure broken. After then years, their electrical grid is still not restored to pre-war levels.

      1. Richard

        I’m not as sure as you are about needing WMDs to start the war as far as the US public was concerned. War was inevitable after 9/11. People wanted something to happen. I can’t count the times I heard people say “Bomb them back to the Stone Age”.

        Did WMDs make it easier for Senate Democrats to vote for war allowing themselves plausible denial even if they knew that WMDs was a flimsy and ill supported theory? Possibly so.

        I didn’t buy the WMD theory then. I can’t believe the Senate Democrats did. It simply gave them an out in case world reaction was negative.

      2. Jim

        And Bradley Manning has spent over 1,000 days in jail for trying to tell the American People the truth.

        Thanks Mr. Obama!

      3. Reader

        Colin, you are entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. A few quick other points:

        1. You conveniently overlooked my comment that Bill Clinton and George Bush reached the same conclusions as to Iraq, which is true. Mr. Clinton insisted, repeatedly, that Iraq had WMDs. Based on Mr. Clinton’s clear belief, pre-2001, that Iraq held WMDs and was ready to use them, you are required to either agree with one of the following statements: (1) that Mr. Clinton was in on Mr. Bush’s “ruse” (not likely) or (2) that, since both men had access to the same intelligence, Mr. Bush’s belief that Iraq had WMDs was just as valid as Mr. Clinton’s (more likely). The number and capacity of the WMDs that were found there was very small (i.e., a bunch of sarin canisters) but I think that Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush genuinely believed that there were more.

        Are you willing to criticize Mr. Clinton with equal force? Probably not.

        2. This is not just any “bad man.” This is a man who killed hundreds of thousands of people and used chemical weapons on his own citizens. Frankly, if another “bad man” of Saddam’s caliber takes power in any country around the globe, it’s our fault if we don’t take him out.

        3. “Our own solvency”? At the very worst estimates, the war in Iraq cost us $3 trillion. Yet the national debt was $6.8 trillion in 2003 and $14 trillion in 2011. Even if you assume that the $3 trillion cost is accurate, where are the other $4.2 trillion? (“Cash for Clunkers,” auto bailouts, AIG, etc., come to mind.) Before you go and blame the Bush tax cuts, please recognize that from 2003 to 2008, income tax revenue (particularly from the richest Americans) increased at twice the rate of inflation: http://www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats—Individual-Statistical-Tables-by-Size-of-Adjusted-Gross-Income The deficit is a spending problem, not a taxation problem.

        4. Your comments as to the Iraq electrical grid are a popular but incorrect liberal talking point. Even if you were right, would you rather have electrical power or your freedom? (There’s a joke in there somewhere about the priorities of liberals vs. conservatives, but I’ll let you find it.) As for what’s really going on in Iraq’s infrastructure, please visit:

        http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2011-04-20-electric-iraq-power.htm

        http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/tag/electricity/

        5. You are implying that Iraq lost 100,000 lives strictly because the United States invaded. That’s ridiculous. How many would have been lost had Saddam remained in power?

        1. cmcenroe Post author

          I have a busy day so two quick points.

          1. The whole “Saddam was a bad guy so we took him out” storyline just doesn’t hold water. As I say, we have absolutely no history of preemptive invasions of countries just because they were run by bad guys. What we DO have is a long history of propping up bad guys. One of those bad guys, of course, was Saddam Hussein, who was so terrible, so evil, that the Reagan and Bush I administrations supplied him with every conceivable type of military and intelligence aid.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_support_for_Iraq_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war
          The Clinton stuff seems to me beside the point. Not that I am one of those people who thinks Democrats get everything right. I think Clinton screwed up in all kinds of ways. But what we’re talking about here is not “do you think he has WMDs?” We’re talking about whether you think he has WMDs that constitute so immediate a threat that we need to launch an unprecedented preemptive invasion.
          2. You’re right, it wasn’t just Iraq. But Bush inherited surpluses and ran up a gigantic deficit. I’ll let you figure out how he did it. It did not involve, I can assure, spending on infrastructure or the preparation of American workers t to compete in the global marketplace — you know, the kind of spending that actually pays us back.

          1. Reader

            My (admittedly unprovable) opinion is that Mr. Clinton would have acted no differently, based on his insistence that Iraq had WMDs, which was based on the same intelligence as Mr. Bush’s insistence.

            I believe that the threat of WMDs was enough to go in there, given the fact that Saddam actually used them on his people (it was logical to believe that he had more than one, because he used one). I also believe that any of the U.N. resolutions that Iraq disregarded were also a justification for taking him out.

            Finally, we definitely do have a history of invading countries because they are run by bad men. Places like Grenada and Panama come to mind. You also cited South America — the CIA was active there for decades in the 20th Century for this reason. Let’s not forget Cuba, either.

            Iraq was admittedly the largest country in which we intervened (the size of California).

            With respect to each of the U.S. troops who lost their lives in Iraq, we are a far better and safer planet today than we were ten years ago. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion, but that’s equally unprovable (like my Clinton hypothesis).

          2. cmcenroe Post author

            You might be right. He certainly did some other really stupid stuff. The strike on the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was one of the worst of them.

          3. dom

            Yes, it is quite clear that Clinton was wrong on WMD’s as well. The question remains, was Clinton in on the lie and “fear mongering”? or were he and Bush just using the same intelligence?
            The fact that Clinton was in agreement with Bush (and Blair) yet very few seem to remember that, is another egregious error by the press where they “wimped out and didn’t ask hard questions”, in this case, of former Pres. Clinton

        1. Richard

          Clinton’s one insight: the Hawks wanted an invasion.

          We have the Manning Memo at the White House meeting between Bush and Blair which details the tactics to be used to draw the US and into war.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush%E2%80%93Blair_2003_Iraq_memo

          This all goes back to 1991-92 when the Hawks lost their bid to remove Saddam from power. There were multiple reasons for that decision. What’s important is that the US was not united in favor of that position. The UK also opposed. Much of the subsequent 10 years was spent baiting Saddam into conflict and encouraging civil unrest.

  4. r_sam

    I was 15 win this war started. The fact that I heard so many adults in my life –the president, the newsmedia, teachers, parents, whoever– buying into what were clearly bogus or smoke and mirrors justifications for what anyone (yes even a 15 year old) could see would be a costly and long invasion, constantly infuriated and befuddled me.

    “If you told people the truth: that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and that even now he posed no credible threat to us, people got mad at you.” This was so true of the conversations I had with people as a young person, probably right up through 2008. The dials turned a little (only a little!) towards sanity. But to this day, I couldn’t understand how anyone –full grown adults!– had been duped into supporting the invasion of a country that had so little to do with anything we actually needed to be addressing.

    1. Richard

      They weren’t duped. It went back to the Persian Gulf War when much of America was incensed we left Saddam in power.

      Saber rattling to prop up approval ratings was used by 3 Presidencies after the initial Persian Gulf hostilities were over. Saddam was the gift that kept on giving in the polls. It was like WWE wrestling. Flash a picture of Saddam. Everyone boos on cue and throws rotten fruit and peanuts.

      In the wake of 9/11 people wanted another SCUD fest. It made them feel good the first time around and would do so again.

    2. Bill Katz

      R-sam: I hear you loud and clear. When I was 15, I was encountering the Vietnam Nam war, or as the Vietnamese call it, The American War.

      You know the frustration is just as hard on you when you are 15 or 50. When I was 14, a friend and I took the midnight train to DC to partake in the huge anti war march. For a 14 year old, it was enlightening, really beautiful to be among the good generation – or something like that.

      Years ago, I visited the Viet Nam Memorial in DC. It is a place where when you walk the wall, you don’t stay dried eyed for long. From a distance you see a few people rubbing a pencil over a piece of paper over a name chiseled into the granite stone. And then you hear the sniffles over the memory of a long ago dead warrior from their family. And you then realize that it ceased to matter which side of the war you were on. Only sadness remains and the realization that is was all in vain.

    3. Bill Katz

      r-sam: An afterthought, Perhaps in 25 years, when you are 50, the country will be in another stupid war. If history is our teacher, it probably won’t take 25 years. We are a very aggressive tribe, we Americans. The reptile part of our brain dominates. Consider my friend, we are the most dangerous people on earth. We are the most aggressive. And we can’t stand it when another country beats us to the battle field.

      When that day comes, hopefully you will remember the first stupid war you experienced. And don’t hesitate to resist it. It is the most patriotic thing you can do.

  5. Carole Goldberg

    It always seemed painfully obvious to me that the compelling reason that Bush and his neo-con handlers rushed us into war in Iraq was that observers such as Hans Blix were increasingly vocal that the WMDs did NOT exist. Had they had time to make a full report to the world, our phony rationale for that misbegotten war might have been derailed. Hence, all that “mushroom cloud” garbage they fed us (and we couldn’t wait to swallow.) Shame on you, Condi and Powell, for repeating the lies. Shame on us for believing them, or not examining their BS closely.
    The Bushies were a dangerous mixture of evil and stupid, and the rest of us were a dangerous mixture of stupid and gullible, and, as Colin points out, looking for “payback for all the fear and effrontery of the preceding 18 months.” The Iraq war was a horrible mistake that we will pay for for decades.

    1. Jim

      It was not a mistake Carol. It was “planned” military aggression against a sovereign nation.

      1. Cynical Susan

        …which also resulted in massive amounts of money in the coffers of certain of the “military industrial complex,” no?

        1. Jim

          The question is why? There was plenty of information around disputing the administrations claims…i.e. Scott Ritter. But the MSM Corporate media was almost universally on board with this; and in my mind, should be held accountable.

          Simply criminal.

  6. Richard

    Then there was the cynical and exploitative use of the CT and American war dead by the Unions and Democratic Party in 2006 and 2008. These roaches crawled back into the woodwork once a Democrat was running the wars.

    Help me choose: who is the more disgusting human being!

    http://tinyurl.com/cwxc9cq

    Sponsored by Connecticut Opposes the War: Jerry Brown, President Emeritus, District 1199, SEIU; Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State; Chris Donovan, Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives; Andy Fleischmann, CT State Representative; John Geragosian, CT State Representative; Jonathan Harris, CT State Senator; Dave McClusky, CT State Representative; Tim O’Brien, CT State Representative; John Olsen, President, CT AFL-CIO; Sharon Palmer, President, American Federation of Teachers – CT; David Pudlin, former Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives; Reverend, Dr. Steven Sidorak, Exec. Dir., Christian Council of Churches; Irv Stolberg, former Speaker, CT House of Representatives; Kevin Sullivan, former Lt. Governor; Tom Swan, Executive Director, CT Citizen Action Group; AFSCME Council 4; CT AFL-CIO; District 1199, SEIU; Greater Hartford Labor Council; State Council of Machinists IAM & AW; UE; Northeast Region; UAW CT State CAP Council; Collaborative Center for Justice; Episcopal Peace Fellowship; Hartford Catholic Worker; Interfaith Coalition for Equity & Justice; People of Faith CT; Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice; Sisters Of Notre Dame De Namur; Sisters of Mercy Leadership Team; Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery; Amer. Friends Service Committee CT; Connecticut Citizen Action Group; Council for a Livable World; CT NOW; Charter Oak Cultural Center; CT Coalition for Peace & Justice; Citizens for Global Solutions-NE CT; Congress of CT Community Colleges Peace Caucus; CT Trans Advocacy Coalition; Communist Party USA – CT; Democracy for America – Hartford; Greater Hartford Coalition on Cuba; United Nations Assn. of US – CT Div.; Greater New Haven Peace Council; Green Party CT; Military Families Speak Out; New Haven People‘s Center; Northeast Coalition for Peace & Justice; Northeast CT Media Coalition; Peace Action of Greater Hartford; Socialist Party USA Central CT; West Hartford Citizens for Peace & Justice; Witness for Peace, New Eng.; Veterans for Peace, Central CT

    1. Richard

      I just love me these peacenik Democrats!

      http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/UHACAPPA/CTcow.htm

      I opposed the 1992 war and got kicked in the face by a Chuck Norris wannabe from Westover Air Base over that. I opposed the 2002 war. The worst there was the label ‘treasonous old goat’ for not supporting the Commander-in-Chief. I am not a very good Nationalist I’m afraid.

    2. Bill Shortell

      That is a great list, Richard. I am proud that my union is on it. It was not easy to oppose that invasion. The American people learned a lot about disinformation

      Years
      later, when Iraq was in bloody chaos and the Bush cabinet was resigning, people approached me and said “You were right.”

      As far as blaming the people, Colin, it is important to have a clear understanding of the average level of awareness, but it is never effective, in the struggle for change to blame the people.

      Educate yourself as much as possible. Gather around you a group of thoughtful, caring dutiful people. Find the pressure points to make change. Organize. Mobilize.

  7. Matt

    Sitting in my little study in SE Conn the night of 9/11, a little news item hit my consciousness: among the many world leaders expressing their condolences for the 9/11 attacks was…Saddam Hussein. It did not seem cynical at the time, and it was not reported as such. But two years later when I mentioned it in a “what the hell?” context no one (predictably) wanted to hear it.

    I remember reading a couple of Woodward’s volumes about the Bush administration decision-making process. The striking thing is that there were agents within that process who shut down any talk of Saddam being other than evil. The intelligence about an Iraqi plot to assassinate George H.W. Bush quickly was translated into the personal “He came after my daddy.”

    It seemed to me like a mistake at the time to invade Iraq, and it is obvious now what a foolish move it was.

  8. Todd Zaino

    Fear mongering by the Bush administration…nice Colin nice to read you are the same objective writer you have always been.
    You had a radio show on WTIC? Funny how that escapes me.

    1. Cynical Susan

      Who are the objective writers that you read? How are they addressing this 10th anniversary?

  9. peter brush

    No, the only possible means of marshaling American opinion on behalf of such an unprecedented invasion was the fear that Hussein was about to attack us with WMDs. It was sold to the public entirely on that basis, and nobody who lived through it can really doubt it.
    ————
    But, wait; I lived through it.
    Far from being unprecedented, it was essentially the conclusion, denouement, and idiotic perpetuation of the 1992 war. A war carried on, if you will, by Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend.
    As far as I’m concerned, the grossest idiocy is the nation-building conceit. I resent the suggestion that we’ve done Iraqis an injustice. Pat Buchanan was not anti-semitic for opposing the war for Kuwaiti Liberation conducted by the United Nations during Father Bush’s Administration.

  10. Cynical Susan

    ” I resent the suggestion that we’ve done Iraqis an injustice.”

    I don’t understand — do you mean that the 100,000 dead and loss of modern conveniences like electricity are … okay?

    1. peter brush

      Come on, Cynical. Not okay, but perhaps better than alternatives.
      —————-
      Saddam Hussein was hanged for ordering the deaths of 148 Shiite men and boys in the village of Dujail after an assassination attempt there in 1982. But by the standards of his brutal rule, the Dujail killings were a relatively minor crime.

      The exact number of deaths attributable to Saddam Hussein may never be known, but estimates range as high as half a million. There is evidence of more than 250 mass graves dating to his rule.

      Following is a list of other crimes Saddam is accused of. The most notorious is his genocidal campaign against the Kurds in the north. The trial for those murders, and for others, will now continue with the remaining defendants.
      http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/IraqCoverage/story?id=2761722&page=1

      1. Cynical Susan

        Oh, he was definitely not one of the good guys. Not even when we “supported” him as, what I read as, the lesser of two evils. But it does seem that the – um – collateral damage is very high.

  11. Jim

    Where are the articles now Colin seeking accountability for what has been done to Iraq? Where are the calls for war crime trials? Where are the criticisms of Obama for not only not pursuing accountability; but for expanding this lunacy on the Mid East to Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, etc…..

  12. equality 7-2521

    I’ve made my opinions quite clear on this blog many years ago & it hasn’t changed. GW became the worst prez during my lifetime, even beating out Ronnie, over this issue. He was clearly & continued to demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the semetic-arab world through his actions leading up to and during this stupid episode of American history. What’s worse is the sheepish way the American public followed him & supported him when he was so obviously pixilated.
    I see today how we have been bombarded with much the same anti Iran information & in much the same way, a vast segment of our population supports a similar strike to that country.
    How stupid!!
    We should have learned by now from Iraq, but I don’t think we have & I fear another round of reliving history.

  13. bob

    Hypocrites! Former Vice President Al Gore noted in September 2002 that Saddam had “stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton observed that Saddam hoped to increase his supply of chemical and biological weapons and to “develop nuclear weapons.” Then-Sen. John Kerry claimed that “a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his [Saddam's] hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”

    Even those opposed to using force against Iraq acknowledged that, as then-Sen. Edward Kennedy put it, “we have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing” WMD. When it came time to vote on the authorization for the use of force against Iraq, 81 Democrats in the House voted yes, joined by 29 Democrats in the Senate, including the party’s 2004 standard bearers, John Kerry and John Edwards, plus Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Sen. Joe Biden, Mrs. Clinton, and Sens. Harry Reid, Tom Harkin, Chris Dodd and Jay Rockefeller. The latter, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Saddam would “likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.”…..If Mr. Bush “lied,” as the common accusation has it, then so did many prominent Democrats—and so did the French, whose foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, claimed in February 2003 that “regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of [Iraq's] capacity to produce VX and yperite [mustard gas]; in the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin.” Germany’s intelligence chief August Hanning noted in March 2002 that “it is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years.”

    According to interrogations conducted after the invasion, Saddam’s own generals believed that he had WMD and expected him to use these weapons as the invasion force neared Baghdad.

    Sounds like bi-partisan support. If Bush lied, so did they.

    WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324532004578360574070682516.html

    1. equality 7-2521

      It’s a semetic cultural charecteristic to boast and misrepresent for the purpose of saving face or appearing grander than they actually are. “The Arab Mind,” is an excellent book regarding this and other types of Middle East psychology which Americans don’t seem to understand. The Israelis used it quite effectively by being able to provoke non-Hebrew Arabs into wars over Palestine.
      Most Europeans understood this also with only a minority agreeing with the US for brown nosing purposes. Viva la France for being true friends and not supporting Bush’s drunken folly and trying to protect us from ourselves for Franch has been our best and sanest ally since before our revolution. There probably would not be a USA without the French.
      Saddam did not and never posed a threat to us & despite the terrible methods he used to control his own people, was no worse than other despots we supported & still support.
      I still maintain that if GW had a better handle on the Mid East psychology, he could have had Saddam take out bin Laden and in the process force meaningful change within Iraq.
      For some reason todays Arabs (including the Hebrews) have come to rely on deception and force which has become self perpetuating in the area. The US should do all it can to break that cycle. In doing so, the Indo-european cultures such as Iran, may not see the need for mutual assured destruction.

    2. cmcenroe Post author

      I agree. If you review my original post, you will note that I explore my own displeasure with Democrats.
      This was and always will be Bush’s war, but they too were useless.

  14. Richard

    And no one’s mentioned oil and the Bush administration’s attempts to advance the US position by voiding Russian and Chinese contracts in favor of reparation contracts to the US for war costs.

  15. DrHunterSThompson

    To witless:

    I had no idea your co-host Bruce Stevens was also your partner! Good for you! Happiness can be found in the oddest places and spaces, no?

    Thanks for that information, it explains the on-air synergy of those days and perhaps the lack thereof at NPR?

    HST

    1. cmcenroe Post author

      I see what you’re doing there! On-air partner vs. gay partner! That is so sharp and inventive. Take you a couple of hours?

    2. cmcenroe Post author

      I’ve got another one for you. Pretend that you’ve confused me with John McEnroe! The tennis player! You could say something like “You’ve changed a lot since Wimbledon.” Get it? Really, in your hands, this could be a highly polished and very original piece of comedy.

  16. DrHunterSThompson

    To witless:

    Ha! You never played baseball when you were a kid, huh? Well, if you did you would have been taught never to swing at a pitch in the dirt. You just threw bad after bad. Sad, so very sad.

    HST

  17. bob

    Are we worried that Iran will get and use WMD’s? YES.

    Are we worried that N.Korea will get and use WMD’s? YES.

    Have these two countries ever used WMD’s: NO

    Are those two countries a major threat? YES

    Did Iraq ever have massive amounts of WMD’s? YES.

    Did Iraq ever use WMD’s? YES.

    Was there a big worry and Intel that they where going to get or already had WMD’s again? YES

    Are we worried anymore that Iraq will get WMD’s? NO.

    Is this major threat removed? YES

    Is that a good thing? YES

    1. equality 7-2521

      Bob, don’t be a fear monger. Iraq was never a threat to us nor is N. Korea and certainly not Iran. Besides what country would be crazy enough to mess with a trigger happy US military supported by bands of private citizens armed to the teeth with assault weapons in which some loonies shoot up their own in movie theaters and schools?
      WMD’s? yes we got them plus the NRA.
      The only country that has seriously thought about using nuclear weapons in the middle east is our friend so its no surprise that Iran would feel threatened enough to create a deterrent in order to protect themselves.
      The logic you just used is crap! It is based upon the benign rattle of sabres and the neo-cons certainly have sucked you in.
      If you’ve lived through the cold war, you’d have a better understanding & use better sense in dealing with your fears. Grow up and let’s make the US a better place in other ways than military. We’ve already proven we can kill better and faster than anybody else.

      1. bob

        Yea, I guess you’re right. I mean, who would ever think that a bunch of cavemen living in huts in a far off place like say Afghanistan could could ever plan, carry out and execute a mission that would see 4 simultaneous hijackings that would kill 3000 americans and knock down two of the worlds largest buildings…and in New York City to boot… Nah, that can never happen. And for me to think that some crazy government could plan and execute to smuggle in a just a small amount of some bio weapon or a small nuke and detonate it…killing thousands…tens of thousands..I mean come on, it can NEVER happen! It won’t! I mean smuggling in cocaine, heroin,… people … we have totally put a stop to that. Can’t get by our borders. There are no threats to us. We live in Kumbaya. You’re right. WTFU!

        1. equality 7-2521

          Bob, take your meds. bin Laden was an independent and not supported by any government. We are taking measures against this from happening again. Because of our freedoms, we have always been vulnerable to the actions of a few crazies and we’ve dealt with them. This is not the first time stuff like this has happened. I will not live in fear over some comic book scenerio and as always be vigilant for threats to us and act accordingly but we cannot be in the business of trying to control other cultures and trying to make them like us for we are proving that we are pretty messed up ourselves.
          Common sense should prevail over this mass histeria being perpetuated by folk such as you. As a nation I know we can deal with these threats but if we over react, the threat only looms larger and we become our own worse enemies.
          In my eyes many of these conservative commentators are traitors in that they do not want the will of the people to succeed and are constantly sowing a seed of discord which can create more domestic strife than any foreign power and they are using the threat of foreign dangers to forment this.
          Why don’t we just step away from our electronic gadgets for a moment and contemplate on those values which has made us great. We are safe and secure if we do not take what we have for granted and truly understand before we shoot.
          The US is not the center of the universe nor is it the moral compass of the world. If we act sanely folks will once again seek to emulate us to help us reach our destiny. If we act like idiots then let the chips fall where they may.
          Bob, you probably have the capacity to understand the dynamics of world cultures & governments, but some Shadow has clouded your mind I fear.

          1. bob

            “Clouded my Judgement”. Yea, probably fighting over there maybe had something to do with it. I still travel over there. I have an understanding of them over there. If nomads in huts can do what happened on 9/11, what do you think a government can do? My advice to you Miss Equality is to get out from under your prim and proper safe haven here and check it out over there. You’ll have a whole new perspective of the world.

  18. Bill Katz

    Leading up to the invasion, a letter severely criticizing W Bush for his insistence on invading Iraq made it into The Hartford Courant. This was at a time in which he had a very high poll rating. The majority was in favor of this war advance.

    After publication, I was convince that I had probably been placed on a no fly list. It was a time in which nuns and and other religious activists were in fact placed on these lists.

    I was dumbfounded why everyone was swallowing the administration message. Someone in the administration would give cause why the evidence was so strong. Then someone else would come out and approach it from another position. To me, it was as if they, the Bush pigs, were throwing spaghetti at the ceiling to find out which one would stick.

    The press didn’t’t give a fuck about digging for the truth. I felt that everyone in the administration sold out their country in order to save their jobs. What’s his name, the black dude, Colin Powell didn’t give a dam. Condo Rice was already on her knees giving head so she couldn’t care less. The biggest traitor was the CIA chief who knew that the evidence was flimsy at best. The all sold out this country for a few shekels.

    I made it to DC for the huge anti war protest. But by then, I knew that war protests don’t stop the march to hell. It never could. War is too profitable.

    I returned to CT and tried to lend my support for the local anti war protest effort. The organizers met at Central University for a weekend of workshops. OMG, I never saw a bunch of egos fighting over every opinion advanced to the committee. I knew that had no chance to do anything. Shades of the 1960s. At least in the 1960s, we had people willing to die for the protest cause. People willing to fight and be arrested.

    This time, it was embarrassing. So I went to the anti war protest at the Old State House. The 100 or so protesters walked around the green in Hartford admiring each others signs.

    I must admit that I felt a degree of superiority knowing that I was one of the few enlightened people who knew the real deal. 65 or more percent of the population went to war with W Bush – who went to war as a personal vengeance against his father’s enemy.

    These are my feeling about W Bush’s Iraq war. I guess I admits that it is the darkest period of my life living in this country. Indeed, darker then the Vietnam Nam period because this time I already knew the end. Sometimes, lighting does strike twice in the same place.

    (I hope I didn’t make too many spelling mistakes. I’m onmy IPad and it is too problematic to review.)

  19. peter brush

    An unprecedented invasion?
    ——————————-
    We, in conjunction with the “world community” had for ten years prior to the W. invasion been forcefully imposing our will over Iraqi sovereignty. Or, put differently, the Gulf War had not been concluded.
    And, in any case, American history includes several instances of our invading foreign countries with our without plausible pretexts; 1775 invasion of Canada, Barbary Piracy clean up operation, Mexican War, Spanish-American War, occupations of Haiti and Dominican Republic; not to mention Honest Abe’s war against the Confederate States.
    —————————-
    After the end of the Gulf War and the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait, the sanctions were linked to removal of weapons of mass destruction by Resolution 687 (1991). The effects of government policy and the sanctions regime led to hyperinflation, widespread poverty and malnutrition.[1][2]
    ——————-
    The Iraqi no-fly zones were a set of two separate no-fly zones (NFZs), and were proclaimed by the United States, United Kingdom, and France after the Gulf War of 1991 to protect the Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiite Muslims in the south. Iraqi aircraft were forbidden from flying inside the zones. The policy was enforced by U.S., UK, and French aircraft patrols until France withdrew in 1998. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorizing the operations, the resolution contains no explicit authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time the resolution was passed, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones “illegal” in a later interview with John Pilger.[1][2]
    —————————
    Benon Sevan of Cyprus, who headed the programme, defended it, claiming that it had only a 2.2% administrative cost and that it was subject to more than 100 audits (internal and external), blaming restrictions from the Security Council for making the situation difficult. He also claimed that 90% of Iraq’s population relied on the programme for its monthly food basket. While Benon Sevan was in charge of the programme, he stonewalled efforts to review and investigate the programme.[9] He ordered his staff that complaints about illegal payoffs should be formally filed with the whistleblower’s country, making them public and allowing Iraq to bar any whistleblowers. In 2000, Dileep Nair, the UN corruption watchdog, wanted to determine the programme’s level of vulnerability. Sevan, along with UN Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Frechette, rejected any such investigation, claiming that it would be too expensive to be worthwhile. Sevan ordered the shredding of years’ worth of documents concerning the programme.[10]
    In response to these criticisms, and to evidence acquired after the United States invasion of Iraq, UN Secretary-General accusations were made that skimmed profits were being used to buy influence at the UN and with Kofi Annan himself.

  20. Cristina

    Yeah know I was never totally for the war either and I had no issue with making my feelings known, however I tried to think about it from Bush’s standpoint. It was a total Catch 22!!! IF we went in and found nothing he’d look like an idiot, if we DIDN’T go in and much worse happened we’d NEVER live it down.
    I NEVER however NEVER did not support our troops. They have made a commitment to put themselves in harms way period! They have a tough job and walk a fine line and for them to have to know their own people they put their lives on the line for aren’t supporting them is AWFUL!!!

    1. Cynical Susan

      ” They have a tough job and walk a fine line and for them to have to know their own people they put their lives on the line for aren’t supporting them is AWFUL!!!”

      As is the treatment they’re not getting from the VA.

      1. equality 7-2521

        When I was growing up in this country, German soldiers were criticized for having obeyed orders, yet now our’s are being defended for obeying questionable orders.
        During Nam, the real heros refused to serve and many of those who served and died were cowards.
        We have a moral oblgation to defend our shores but not to stoop down to the level of whom we consider our enemies.
        In this country we had someone named Marion Mitchel Morrison who used his influence to talk numerous young men into doing their patriotic duty to enlist in the armed services. Many were killed yet Marion, although he was able to serve took a differment because he had “hot rocks,” Many others who could have received the same deferrment, refused and served their country otherwise.
        True, morality should be a little soft to allow for unusual circumstances, but it should not be a squissy ball.

  21. Richard

    February 2001

    >> Seven months prior to the September 11 attacks a Gallup poll showed that 52% would favor an invasion of Iraq while 42% would oppose it. Additionally, 64% said that the U.S. should have removed Saddam at the end of the Gulf War. <<

    That's pretty much the state of affairs when Bush was inaugurated and months before 9/11. While Bush owns the commitment, it didn't happen in a vacuum. Americans were sick of the whole Iraq thing at the time and wanted a resolution. Any effort by the Clinton White House to change American opinion and get popular buy-in for a peaceful co-existence with Saddam and Iraq was ineffective.

    The US War Hawks were armed and ready and waiting for the right moment. Didn't matter what party was sitting in the White House.

  22. Cynical Susan

    “The US War Hawks were armed and ready and waiting for the right moment. Didn’t matter what party was sitting in the White House.”

    Seems like a good point to me. And mix in the oil companies and the war profiteers, and it’s a toxic brew.

  23. Todd Zaino

    I honestly hate myself for even bringing this up…but Cynical unless you have a home, and car that are solar powered…why the hate against the oil companies?

    I really feel bad about this too…but there are a lot of people who live in the Nutmeg State who earn a living working at one of those “war profiteers” you wrote about. I suspect that you may have a friend or two who actually work for one of those companies.

    When did oil and war companies become a pejorative? I didn’t get the message.

    1. Cynical Susan

      Yeah, I bet you honestly hate yourself for even bringing it up. Do you not think the oil companies have too much lobbying power with both/all parties? Do you not think the war profiteers have the same? Doesn’t it bother you, when you don’t cheat on your honest taxes, that these huge companies find ways to get around such payment?

      1. Richard

        Mammoth oil and gas contract signed between Russia and China today. It’s official: these players want freedom from Mid East oil politics. Will they build and improve a pipeline out of Iraq? Saddam’s posthumous dream.

        http://bloom.bg/16NEYbc

      2. Todd Zaino

        Oil and defense contractors employ thousands of people, some of them may be friends or relatives you know and love.

        When those companies have jobs it benefits all of us through the multiplier effect. Take those companies away and it can cause hardships for businesses that rely on those companies giving those workers paychecks. I have never thought of either industry being evil, they provide oil and gas to run our cars, and defense contractors keep our military strong. I do however find funding that goes to Planned Parenthood as pure evil.
        Nobody is cheering on corporations who cheat or get special benefits on their taxes.
        The simple question is: Do you use any products that these evil companies use…ever Cynical? I am old-fashioned, if I don’t agree with how a business is run, I simply walk past their products and services…you?

        1. Cynical Susan

          Your questions remind me of the one asking a man if he’s stopped beating his wife.

          Nothing is only either black OR white in this world, Todd. Unless I decide to live in a cave (is there an opening up on Avon Mountain?) in an area where I can grow my own food all year and depend on my aging capabilities to get from one place to another, I’m stuck with the available technologies. I can’t afford to build a lovely passive solar house like that new one featured in the Courant several days ago, nor would a pure electric car remove me or anyone else off the grid.

          So what does a person do who lives in this world, Todd? I could die early, I suppose, and remove myself from the needs for food and warmth and transportation — I certainly wouldn’t have to compromise any more. Too bad the infant renewable energy movement was ridiculed and marginalized so badly in the mid-70s. Just think of those wasted 40 years — we could be much further along by now. And perhaps those newer technologies could have provided replacement jobs.

          But our reliance on fossil fuels (yes, my reliance too, I’m as guilty as the next Northeasterner) makes for some nasty toxic conditions. The Exxon Valdez ran aground 24 years ago tomorrow; two BP explosions (2005, 2010) killed 26 workers and caused more environmental damage; fracking ruins local water wells and gobbles up available water supplies and damages the roads and communities nearby; and the fossil-fuel industries have huge influence in government no matter which party is in power, far more than real “persons” do. (Oh, and we still haven’t figured out how to contain nuclear waste effectively.)

          By the same token, Planned Parenthood, as evil as you perceive it, helps detect cancers in people who cannot afford health insurance or standard care and helps educate people.

  24. Todd Zaino

    A pro-animal rights person probably avoids meat and doesn’t wear fur. All I am saying is that it is pretty easy to knock industries…it is far more difficult to avoid using the products they produce.

    Planned Parenthood will abort over 300,000 babies this year. That is a shameful number even for the most ardent of liberals…yes?

    1. Richard

      300,000 abortions? It’s either that or people use their free pre-conception birth control or learn to practice abstinence or Learn to say “No”.

      The question is which approach most diminishes the human species and lowers it to the state of irrational knuckle draggers?

      A) Proper planning using free, pre-conception Birth Control?
      B) Saying “No”?
      C) Abstinence?
      D) Abortion. Ahh.

      Being anti-abortion isn’t a war against women; its a war against knuckle draggers. Let the knuckle draggers pay out of their own pocket.

    2. Jeb Capoblappo

      Mr Zaino; I’m waiting for you to offer to adopt those 300,000 babies. Come on, you can do it. I have confidence.

      1. Richard

        Don’t we adopt them anyway in the form of their next child? Abortion merely prolongs the inevitable? Or in the case of career women has little or no affect if handled properly?

        Guttmachers (Planned Parenthoods research branch) best study says “the study finds that abortion allowed women to pursue their educational goals. However, similar advantages did not extend to income, welfare dependence or partnership outcomes.”

        Last study I saw showed something like an additional 1.3 years of education was the only known advantage.

        As far as society doing more to support impoverished mothers?

        Full employment. The US needs a full employment guarantee.

      2. Todd Zaino

        Mr. Capo,

        Send me the paperwork, we’ll get started on this right away!

        Mr. Capo doesn’t it seem a little presumptuous of you to be so casual about abortion…after all you mom chose life for you some years ago.

        1. Jeb Capoblappo

          Mr Zaino; quite the contrary, I was never born. I have been drifting through the atomic cosmos for an indeterminate amount of time.

          I am The Lord. And if you were poorly informed in the past, let me tell you that your God, Jeb Capoblappo, is a LIBERAL. No kidding. And I command you, my father commands you to sit your little tush down and shut up. Of course, I have a little sister and she thinks the most of you. But then again, she went off and married some guy named Lucifer and for the sake of peace in the family, we decided to accept the little devil.

          But don’t get you hopes up, he doesn’t carry much weight here and neither do you.

          So begone, Todd Zaino.

  25. Todd Zaino

    Cynical it isn’t conservatives who have made welfare, section 8, and EBT cards a career choice. Just for fun look up Margaret Sanger, the woman behind PP. Once you read about her motives you may want to distance yourself from PP.

    1. Cynical Susan

      Sanger’s dead, Todd, and many of her less altruistic ideas are as well. Again, I ask you to look at that page of numbers if you haven’t already.

      And I have no idea why you brought up welfare — but do you think that ALL people who have to rely on such programs are doing it because it makes their lives so great?

    1. Cynical Susan

      Look at the numbers, Todd. It will be wonderful when education and contraception are all that are needed. In the meantime, safe and legal is better than illegal and dangerous; and the numbers have come down from your statistic.

      1. Richard

        Safe and legal. Next we’ll purchasing guns for hunters as long as they comply with the law and shoot during season.

    2. equality 7-2521

      Yes Todd,
      If there was proper “gun” control, they’d be no need for abortion control.

  26. Todd Zaino

    How many abortions a year is an acceptable number for leftists who cling to Roe v. Wade like it some kind of life jacket? 300,000+ is disgusting, one innocent killed in a Planned “Parenthood” is criminal.

    I’ll never get liberals…all of this energy to protect trees, whales, spotted owls, puppies, and death row inmates…yet nothing for a baby.

  27. alan

    I’m a Republican and a libertarian; i.e., I’m a liberal who likes my guns. Thought I should say that at the outset –

    Not many folks remember it now, but pre – 9/11, Dubya was burning and about to crash into a one-term hole. 9/11 saved his presidency, by giving him a cause to rally folks around. He made a hash of it, as he did with most things; for example, he reshuffled agencies when only tweaks were needed. Above all, he invaded Iraq on a pretext, when really he just wanted to show his dad he had big ones, too. I thought it was a mistake ten years ago; I agreed with Colin then and I still do, on this subject.

    All that said, I think the left must acknowledge one thing. It is folks on the left, by and large, who look to government to protect them – us rightys tend more to rely on ourselves; i.e., thanks very much, but I’ll take care of the bad guy invading my house; you can come clean up the mess. It is this tendency of those on the left which I think tends to shut off their B.S. radar when they need it most – when the government is trying to sell them something they really shouldn’t be buying, using the lie that it will make them safer. That’s something we need to remember during the current screaming match about safety versus liberty. I recall one of the founding fathers saying something to the effect that those who surrender liberty for safety will end up with neither…

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