State of Alabama secondary Archives: on War & Peace


Eric Shinseki: 2003: Undercut for disagreeing with White House on Iraq

After the tragedy of Vietnam, the US military made an impressive commitment to learning everything it could from the experience.

Unfortunately, the Pentagon was forced to discard many of thee lessons during its preparations for invading Iraq. For example, the size of the US invasion force, we now know, was far smaller than military experts had recommended. In February 2003, before the war began, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told Congress that the occupation could require several hundred thousand troops, but the White House had already decided that a much smaller force was adequate. Rather than engaging in a reasoned debate on the question, they undercut Shinseki for disagreeing with their preconceived notion--even though he was an expert and they were not.

The other generals and admirals got the message and stopped expressing disagreement with the White House. Shinseki had been right, of course.

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.113-114 Jul 1, 2008

George W. Bush: 9/11: Persisted in seeking Iraq link to terrorist attacks

As a result of the 9/11 Commission report, we have the sworn testimony of the president's White House head of counterterrorism, Richard Clarke, that on the day after the attack, September 12, the president wanted to connect the attacks to Saddam. Clarke recounted, "The president said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' I said, 'Mr. President, there's no connection.' He came back at me and said, 'Iraq. Saddam. Find out if there's a connection.' The CIA/FBI report we sent to the president got bounced back saying, 'Wrong answer. Do it again.' I don't think the president sees memos that he wouldn't like the answer."

The day after the attack, the president did not ask about Osama bin Laden. He did not ask Mr. Clarke about al-Qaeda. He did not ask about Saudi Arabia or any country other than Iraq. When Clarke responded to that first question by saying that Iraq was not responsible for the attack and that al-Qaeda was, the president persisted in focusing on Iraq.

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.107-108 Jul 1, 2008

Al Gore: Bush engaged in mass deception of the US public about Iraq

The current White House has engaged in an unprecedented and sustained campaign of mass deception--especially where its policies in Iraq are concerned. Active deception by those in power makes true deliberation & meaningful debate by the people virtually impossible. When any administration lies to the people, it weakens America’s ability to make wise collective decisions about our Republic.

It is important to understand how such a horrible set of mistakes could have been made in a great democracy. And it is already obvious that the administration’s abnormal and un-American approach to secrecy, censorship, and massive systematic deception is the principal explanation for how America embraced this catastrophe.

Five years after Pres. Bush first made his case for an invasion of Iraq, it is now clear that virtually all of the arguments he made were based on falsehoods. We were told by the president that war was his last choice. But it is now clear that it was always his first preference.

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.103-104 May 16, 2007

Al Franken: We build barriers in Iraq, but should rebuild infrastructure

There is a monument to L. Paul Bremer in Iraq. And it's as perfect a symbol as the Statue of Liberty. It's called a Bremer wall. And there's not just one Bremer wall, but many, many Bremer walls.

A Bremer wall is a 12-foot-high, 5-ton reinforced concrete barrier that proved to be an innovative solution to the biggest problem in postwar Iraq: explosions.

The Bremer walls represented Bremer's legacy in many ways. Instead of providing security for all Iraqis, Bremer walls provided security for people lucky enough to live inside the Bremer walls--people like Paul Bremer. They reinforced the Iraqi's perception that our mission was not to protect them, but to protect ourselves FROM them. This is what reconstruction in Iraq has become. Building barriers instead of building Iraq's infrastructure.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.267 Oct 25, 2005

Al Franken: Muslims hate our policies; they don't hate our freedom

The Defense Science Board report, a formal report from an advisory board to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, was delivered in Sep. 2004; I think the report is worth quoting at some length: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

Muslims aren't crazy to think that the conduct of the global war on terror has devolved into a self-serving political exercise. You can't trust Cheney and Rumsfeld to give you straight information. You can't trust them not to believe their own propaganda. You can't trust them. Period.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.286 Oct 25, 2005

Colin Powell: 1991: Leave Saddam enough power to threaten Iran

Bush did keep the pressure on Saddam by encouraging the Shias in the south and the Kurds in the north to rise up against the Sunni dictator. But when they did, Bush left them high and dry. And dead. You see, Saddam was still useful to the US in order to keep Iran in check. As Colin Powell wrote in his autobiography, "Our practical intention was to leave Baghdad enough power to survive as a threat to an Iran that remained bitterly hostile to the US." So the Bush administration allowed the Iraqi regime to mow down hundreds of thousands of Shias and Kurds from helicopter gunships before establishing "no-fly zones" and imposing rigorous sanctions.
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.223 Oct 25, 2005

Dick Cheney: 2001: Success in Iraq would be a blow to 9/11 terrorists

Long after the war started, the right-wing media started bleating that the Bush administration had never actually claimed that Iraq and 9/11 were linked. This isn't true. Cheney had told a credulous Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" that it was "pretty well confirmed" that Mohammad Atta, 9/11's lead hijacker, "did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack." Cheney told a wide-eyed Russert what success in Iraq would mean: "We will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 47-48 Oct 25, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld: 1983: friendly talks with Saddam during his war with Iran

Iraq was at war with neighboring Iran, whose ruler [was] Ayatollah Khomeini. Shortly after Saddam's 1983 gassing of Iranian troops, President Reagan sent his Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld to hold friendly talks with Saddam. As Rumsfeld reported back to Reagan, the meeting was a "positive milestone in development of US-Iraqi relations."

Rumsfeld was right. In the years afterward, the Reagan and HW Bush administrations authorized the sale to Iraq of precursors to chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax and bubonic plague, as well as conventional weapons such as Chilean cluster bombs.

But all of that came to an abrupt end when, on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. That put Saddam Hussein in control of 20% of the world's crude oil reserves. The love affair between the Republican right and the Baathist ultraright was over.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.221-222 Oct 25, 2005

George Bush Sr.: Sold Saddam precursors for chemical weapons before Kuwait

Iraq was at war with neighboring Iran. Shortly after Saddam's 1983 gassing of Iranian troops, Pres. Reagan sent his Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld to hold friendly talks with Saddam. Rumsfeld called the meeting a "positive milestone in development of US-Iraqi relations."

Rumsfeld was right. In the years afterward, the Reagan and HW Bush administrations authorized the sale to Iraq of precursors to chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax and bubonic plague, as well as conventional weapons such as Chilean cluster bombs.

The 1988 gassing of thousands of Kurds hardly dimmed the enthusiasm of the two Republican administrations. In fact, US military intelligence actually expanded its contributions to the Butcher of Baghdad after the gas attack. But all of that came to an abrupt end when, on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. That put Saddam Hussein in control of 20% of the world's crude oil reserves. The love affair between the Republican right and the Baathist ultraright was over.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.221-222 Oct 25, 2005

George W. Bush: 2002: Keep the peace by authorizing use of force in Iraq

Yes, Kerry voted to authorize the President to use force against Iraq. But he voted for that in order for Bush to go to the UN and get the inspectors back into Iraq, which Bush lyingly said was the only way to avoid a war.

It sounds counterintuitive that Bush would want an authorization to use force in order to avoid war. But Bush claimed that that's what this was all about. Here's an exchange between Bush and a reporter from September 19, 2002, just before the vote in Congress:

Reporter: Mr. President, how important is it that that resolution give you an authorization of the use of force?

Bush: That will be part of the resolution, the authorization to use force. If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force. This is a chance for Congress to indicate support. It's a chance for Congress to say, "We support the administration's ability to keep the peace." That's what this is all about.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 89-90 Oct 25, 2005

Ronald Reagan: 1983: sold Saddam precursors for chemical weapons

Iraq was at war with neighboring Iran. Shortly after Saddam's 1983 gassing of Iranian troops, Pres. Reagan sent his Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld to hold friendly talks with Saddam. Rumsfeld called the meeting a "positive milestone in development of US-Iraqi relations."

Rumsfeld was right. In the years afterward, the Reagan and HW Bush administrations authorized the sale to Iraq of precursors to chemical and biological weapons, including anthrax and bubonic plague, as well as conventional weapons such as Chilean cluster bombs.

The 1988 gassing of thousands of Kurds hardly dimmed the enthusiasm of the two Republican administrations. In fact, US military intelligence actually expanded its contributions to the Butcher of Baghdad after the gas attack. But all of that came to an abrupt end when, on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. That put Saddam Hussein in control of 20% of the world's crude oil reserves. The love affair between the Republican right and the Baathist ultraright was over.

Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p.221-222 Oct 25, 2005

Rudy Giuliani: OpEd: Gave false impression that Iraq was involved in 9/11

Many speakers at the 2004 Republican National Convention [conflated Iraq with 9/11]. Here's a passage from Giuliani's speech. The former NYC mayor is a master conflater. Watch how skillfully he gives the false impression that Iraq had been involved in 9/11:Who are "they" at this point? Who exactly is hearing from us? And what exactly are they hearing? Is he saying al Qaeda is in Libya? I don't think so. Suddenly, everything is very vague
Source: The Truth (with jokes), by Al Franken, p. 56-57 Oct 25, 2005

Condoleezza Rice: Goal is steady progress toward Israel-Palestine peace

Q: Your views on the Mitchell Process, which lays out a road map toward meaningful political negotiations toward a final status of Palestine?

A: Our goal has been to make certain that we make steady progress toward getting back into the Mitchell plan. It is also important that we work with other Arab leaders. The President does imagine a Palestinian state as a part of his vision for the future.

Q: Would East Jerusalem be the capital of such a state?

A: We understand the importance of Jerusalem to the great religions of the world, and we believe that this is something that must be settled in final status negotiations.

A: Should people in the Arab world look forward to a US plan for the Middle East to be announced?

A: We are constantly evaluating how we can best push the process of Middle East peace forward. I wouldn’t put any time line on what the US might do next. We really do believe right now that our best strategy is to work with the parties to get into the Mitchell Process.

Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV Oct 16, 2001

Condoleezza Rice: War on Terror is not a war against Islam

Q: Post-Sept. 11th, while Arab governments support the US, the public in the Arab & Muslim world do not.

A: We have very good relations with a number of governments in the Middle East. But we care very much also about the people of the Middle East. We think that the US is a place in which religious tolerance and a belief that all people should live together in peace is a message that would resonate with populations in the region. We’re trying to do a better job in getting that message out to people We want it to be very clear that the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam. Islam is a religion that respects innocent human life. So we cannot believe that Islam would countenance the kind of destruction that we saw on September 11th.

We are concerned about the economic opportunity for people in the Middle East. We believe that the policies that the US is pursuing are good for the Middle East as a whole-populations that are Arab, as well as the population of Israel.

Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV Oct 16, 2001

Condoleezza Rice: Monitor Iraq & take action if Saddam threatens US interests

Q: You are personally perceived as one of the few people in the administration who would like to enlarge the war in terrorism to include Iraq. Correct me, please.

A: Iraq has been a problem not just for US policy, but for policy in the region, as well. This is a country that has threatened its neighbors, that has been harmful to its own people. And we believe that our policies toward Iraq simply are to protect the region and to protect Iraq’s people and neighbors.

Q: Is there military action awaiting as a second stage of this war on terrorism?

A: Pres. Bush has made very clear that the war on terrorism is a broad war on terrorism. You can’t be for terrorism in one part of the world and against it in another part of the world. There’s a reason Saddam doesn’t want UN inspectors-because he intends to acquire weapons of mass destruction. But for now, Bush has said that his goal is to watch and monitor Iraq; and the US will act if Iraq threatens its interests.

Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV Oct 16, 2001

Condoleezza Rice: Syria must decide: either for terrorism or against it

Q: How about Syria?

A: We do not believe that Syria can be against al Qaeda, but in favor of other terrorist groups. But we have had some discussions with Syria. President Bush invites countries to stop the practice of harboring terrorism.

Q: So if Syria does not cooperate against people who are from Jihad or Hamas, they should be targeted also?

A: We have ruled out at this point issues that draw distinctions between types of terrorism. We just don’t think that’s the right thing to do. You can’t say there are good terrorists and there are bad terrorists. But the means that we use with different countries to get them to stop harboring terrorists may be very broad. And there are many means at our disposal.

There are not a lot of discussions with Syria, but we have had discussions with Syria that suggest: get out of the business of sponsoring terrorism. We’re asking that of every state of the world. You cannot be neutral in this fight; you either are for terrorism or against it.

Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV Oct 16, 2001

Condoleezza Rice: Blocking bin Laden’s propaganda tapes is not censorship

Q: You asked executives of US networks not to broadcast bin Laden’s tapes or anything coming from Kabul. It has been perceived in the Arab world as censorship. What is your answer to that?

A: The network have been very responsible, because they understood that having a 15-minute or 20-minute tape that was pre-taped, prerecorded, that sat there and did nothing but incite hatred and, ultimately, attacks against innocent Americans was not a matter of news, it was a matter of propaganda, and it was inciting attacks against Americans. Now, I understand that Al Jazeera has guidelines of its own on how to handle a tape like this, and we applaud that you would have guidelines of this kind, because what we do not need is to have a kind of free rein to sit and use the airwaves to incite attacks on innocent people.

Q: Overall, how do you perceive Al Jazeera as a credible or independent media?

A: If I did not have respect for Al Jazeera, I would not be doing this interview.

Source: National Security Advisor Interview with Al Jazeera TV Oct 16, 2001

Al Gore: Supported early action in Bosnia; no “Vietnam syndrome”

Gore’s war experience left him wary of the reflexive anti-interventionism--the so-called Vietnam Syndrome--that characterized Democratic attitudes towards foreign policy in the 1970s and 1980s. As Vice President, he was a strong and early proponent of military action in Bosnia. In Congress he supported intervention in the Persian Gulf and Grenada and, in some instances, aid to the Nicaraguan contras. “We’ve over-learned the lessons of Vietnam,” he said in 1984.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p. 87-8 Mar 3, 2000

Al Gore: Committed to the survival & security of Israel

[In the 1988 presidential campaign, Gore] denounced Jesse Jackson for his embrace of Yasser Arafat and assailed front-runner Michael Dukakis as “absurdly timid” for not confronting him. “I categorically deny Jackson’s notion that there’s a moral equivalency between Israel and the PLO,” he said. “In a Gore administration, no one will have reason to doubt America’s commitment to the survival and security of Israel.” Gore rejected the newest White House proposal of a land-for-peace deal.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.209 Mar 3, 2000

Al Gore: Supported Gulf War; costs of war less than alternative

[In Jan. 1991], with nearly 400,000 troops bug into the Saudi desert, Bush was asking Congress to approve the use of force in the Persian Gulf. Although Gore tended to oversell the hawkish aspects of his record in 1988, he had never been a “Vietnam Syndrome” Democrat, reflexively opposing any projection of American force. He was also squarely on record against the threat posed by Iraq. In the fall of 1988 he had twice called on the Reagan administration to take a hard line against Saddam for his use of chemical weapons against Iran and his own Kurdish population.

On the Senate floor in 1991, Gore said, “I have struggled to confront this issue. [and] to strike a balance. The risks of war are horrendous. The real costs of war are also horrendous. But what are the costs and risks if the alternative policy does not work? I think they are larger, greater, more costly.” Gore joined 9other Democrats who broke ranks on a 52-47 vote to authorize the use of force in the Persian Gulf.

Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.238-9 Mar 3, 2000

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