|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.
At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.
While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs — after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.
Despite President Bush’s repeated claims, Al Qaeda had no significant foothold in Iraq before the invasion, which gave it new base camps, new recruits and new prestige.
This war diverted Pentagon resources from Afghanistan, where the military had a real chance to hunt down Al Qaeda’s leaders. It alienated essential allies in the war against terrorism. It drained the strength and readiness of American troops.
And it created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE IRAQIS; U.S. SAYS HUSSEIN INTENSIFIES QUEST FOR A-BOMB PARTS (9/8/02)
More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said today.
In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.
The diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq's nuclear program, officials said, and that the latest attempt to ship the material had taken place in recent months.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: BAGHDAD'S ARSENAL; White House Lists Iraq Steps To Build Banned Weapons (9/13/02)
Seeking to buttress the case for military action against Iraq, the Bush administration published a brief paper yesterday outlining what it says are efforts by Saddam Hussein to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them.
Some senior Democratic lawmakers have complained that the Central Intelligence Agency has yet to deliver an updated National Intelligence Estimate documenting Iraq's military programs. They have also asserted that some of the intelligence that the administration has provided about Iraq's weapons activities is sketchy and out of date.
But the administration insists that despite Iraq's efforts to hide its activities to develop or acquire nonconventional weapons, Baghdad has shown a clear pattern of violating its commitments in all areas.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: CHEMICAL WEAPONS; IRAQ SAID TO TRY TO BUY ANTIDOTE AGAINST NERVE GAS (11/12/02)
Iraq has ordered large quantities of a drug that can be used to counter the effects of nerve gas, mainly from suppliers in Turkey, which is being pressed to stop the sales, according to senior Bush administration officials.
The officials said the orders far outstripped the amount Iraq could conceivably need for normal hospital use, and they said Turkey had indicated in talks with the State Department that it was willing to review the matter.
''If the Iraqis were going to use nerve agents,'' an official said, ''they would want to take steps to protect their own soldiers, if not their population. This is something that U.S. intelligence is mindful of and very concerned about.''
Iraq has ordered, mainly from a Turkish company, a million doses of the drug, atropine, and the 7-inch autoinjectors that inject it into a person's leg, the officials said.
It is not clear how much, if any, of the drug has actually been delivered.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: GERM WEAPONS; C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie to Soviet Smallpox (12/3/02)
The C.I.A. is investigating an informant's accusation that Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian scientist who worked in a smallpox lab in Moscow during Soviet times, senior American officials and foreign scientists say.
The officials said several American scientists were told in August that Iraq might have obtained the mysterious strain from Nelja N. Maltseva, a virologist who worked for more than 30 years at the Research Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow before her death two years ago.
The information came to the American government from an informant whose identity has not been disclosed. The C.I.A. considered the information reliable enough that President Bush was briefed about its implications. The attempt to verify the information is continuing.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: INTELLIGENCE; Defectors Bolster U.S. Case Against Iraq, Officials Say (1/24/03)
Having concluded that international inspectors are unlikely to find tangible and irrefutable evidence that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction, the Bush administration is preparing its own assessment that will rely heavily on evidence from Iraqi defectors, according to senior administration officials.
Former Iraqi scientists, military officers and contractors have provided American intelligence agencies with a portrait of Saddam Hussein's secret programs to develop and conceal chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that is starkly at odds with the findings so far of the United Nations weapons inspectors.
The administration has been offered information from a growing number of Iraqis who have fled in the last 18 months, officials said. But the number deemed credible is small, around a dozen or so, officials said. The three or four thought to have the most valuable firsthand information have been placed in a witness protection program and offered asylum.
THREATS AND RESPONSES: DISARMING SADDAM HUSSEIN; TEAMS OF EXPERTS TO HUNT IRAQ ARMS (3/19/03)
The Bush administration has deployed mobile labs and new specialized teams of intelligence officials and disarmament experts to Kuwait to help the military search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as soon as war begins, according to senior administration officials.
Defense officials are also reaching out to former international weapons inspectors, as part of an ambitious top-secret effort to rapidly find, secure and ultimately destroy the caches of chemical, biological and other unconventional weapons the administration asserts President Saddam Hussein is hiding.
In recent interviews, officials described the plans as one of the most delicate and crucial missions of the war against Iraq. Never before, they said, had the United States proposed to disarm a nation of unconventional weapons by force.
The Pentagon has deployed several new tactical units called mobile exploitation teams, or MET's, with state-of-the-art equipment and novel tactics to locate and survey at least 130 and as many as 1,400 possible weapons sites.
In addition, officials said the military was planning to find and interview hundreds of Iraqi scientists who worked on germ, chemical or nuclear-related projects, and to seek their cooperation in disarming Iraq of the weapons that the United Nations required Mr. Hussein to destroy after the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
The administration has assigned top priority to the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, officials said. After months of relatively fruitless international inspections, the discovery of such arms, officials said, would vindicate the administration's decision to go to war to disarm Iraq. Conversely, failure to find them would leave the administration vulnerable to charges that it had started a war needlessly.
It's high time the Times came to its senses and advocated for a prompt withdrawal from Iraq. While your change of heart about George W. Bush's ineptitude is welcome, I cannot forget that this is the same newspaper that gave Judith Miller front-page access to parrot Administration lies about WMD in Iraq, and that continuing to allow Michael Gordon to do the Administration's bidding in regard to Iran. As recently as July 2, he unquestioningly parrotted Administration claims that Iran's Quds Force has trained and equipped Shiite militants in Iraq.
The blood of over 3500 American soldiers and countless Iraqis is on your hands too, for having been willing shills for this Administration of Liars.