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Republican Senator to Lead investigation into Iraq's WMD


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Here's the article cited:

US Congress to probe US intelligence on Iraq's alleged WMD

Tue Jun 3,10:55 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Congress is gearing up to investigate the objectivity of US intelligence reports about Iraq (news - web sites)'s alleged weapons of mass destruction that motivated the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Virginia Senator John Warner said that the Senate's Intelligence and Armed Services committees will soon hold joint hearings into whether an intelligence breakdown occurred in the run-up to the Iraq war -- or whether US officials oversold intelligence data to whip up domestic support for the conflict.

The WMD controversy reached the Group of Eight industrialized powers summit in Evian, France, where British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) on Monday angrily denied suggestions that intelligence evidence was deliberately twisted to whip up support for an invasion.

Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites), told CNN that he obtained assurances last week from Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) (CIA (news - web sites)) director George Tenet that the agency would fully cooperate with the probe.

"He assured me that he's going to supply the Congress first and foremost with all the statements made by the administration on weapons of mass destruction and the underlying intelligence that supported those statements," said Warner, interviewed on Sunday.

Meanwhile, a senior US congressman on Monday challenged the George W. Bush administration over the use of forged documents to make its case to the world in favor of invading Iraq, and called on the White House to come clean.

"To date, you have offered no explanation as to why you and your most senior advisers made repeated allegations based on forged documents," California Congressman Henry Waxman wrote in a June 2 letter addressed to the White House.

"Your entire preemption doctrine depends on the ability of the United States to gather accurate intelligence and make honest assessments.

At a press briefing Monday, Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) said he was briefed at length and in detail by US intelligence officials for a February 5 presentation he made to the UN Security Council about Iraq's alleged weapons program.

"This wasn't material I was making up, it came from the intelligence community," Powell told reporters en route from Rome to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for a Mideast peace summit at which Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites) and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas were to take part.

"I wanted to make sure that the intelligence community was comfortable with everything I was going to say and would support everything I was going to say," said Powell, who said senior intelligence analysts and officials took part in briefing him.

"That's why, when we had these sessions, it was with the analysts themselves," he said. "Director Tenet sat there with me throughout this entire period," Powell said.

Bush at a press briefing in Russia on Sunday insisted progress was already being made.

"We've discovered a weapons system, biological labs, that Iraq denied she had, and labs that were prohibited under the UN resolutions," he told reporters in Saint Petersburg, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites).

Warner, meanwhile, said he was certain that weapons would ultimately be found, pointing to what appeared to be two truck-borne biological weapons labs found recently in Iraq.

Those trucks "were made for a purpose, obviously to manufacture and (make) mobile the weapons of mass destruction," he said, noting that fewer than one-third of suspected sites had been scoured for weapons.

In Baghdad on Monday, US civil administrator for Iraq Paul Bremer agreed that it was just a matter of time before Baghdad's weapons program is uncovered.

"It seems very hard to believe that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) would have put his people through the misery he put them through for 12 years ... if he didn't have something to hide," Bremer told reporters.

Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida told CNN on Sunday that the continued inability to find weapons of mass destruction "is going to undercut the confidence of the American people and raise serious doubts with the international community as to the basic truthfulness of the United States."

Before Congress's week-long holiday break, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd also lent his voice to a chorus of doubt on the accuracy and forthrightness of the Bush administration's use of US intelligence.

"It appears to this senator that the American people may have been lured into accepting the unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, in violation of long-standing international law, under false premises," Byrd said in a florid speech delivered from the Senate floor.

"The run-up to our invasion of Iraq featured the president and members of his cabinet invoking every frightening image they could conjure, from mushroom clouds, to buried caches of germ warfare, to drones poised to deliver germ-laden death in our major cities," said Byrd.

The West Virginia Democrat was the most prominent voice in Congress in opposition to the war, and now, in its aftermath, is the legislator who most emphatically alleges wrongdoing by the White House.

"It was the exploitation of fear," said Byrd. "It was a placebo for the anger."

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Good for Warner.

I am actually deeply troubled if the allegations against the administration are true. In essence, we betrayed Tony Blair, misled our public, and ruined our already shaky credibility. I may be a conservative, but I hate deception no matter who perpetrates it. Otherwise I'm simply a hypocrite.

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General admits chemical weapons intelligence was wrong

Julian Borger in Washington

Saturday May 31, 2003

The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,967604,00.html

The leading American marine general in Iraq conceded yesterday that intelligence reports that chemical weapons had been deployed around Baghdad before the war were "wrong".

The admission came at a time when the quality of the intelligence underlying the US and British allegations against Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the conflict is increasingly questioned.

Lieutenant General James Conway, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said he had been convinced that before and during the war, shells with chemical warheads had been distributed to republican guard units around Baghdad.

"It was a surprise to me then - it remains a surprise to me now - that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites," he told reporters in a video-conference at the Pentagon yesterday.

"Believe me, it's not for lack of trying," he added. "We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."

"We were simply wrong," he added. "Whether or not we're wrong at the national level, I think still very much remains to be seen."

The Pentagon has retreated from its initial predictions that a "smoking-gun" justification for the war would be found. The deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, suggested in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine that the elimination of banned weapons was chosen as the main reason for going to war for "bureaucratic" reasons, and that the invasion's strategic impact on the region - allowing US troops to be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia - was a "huge" factor.

The defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, this week said it was possible that Saddam's regime had destroyed banned weapons before the US-led invasion.

Mr Wolfowitz said there were several motives for the invasion, including weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's alleged links with al-Qaida and the oppression of the Iraqi people.

"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on - which was weapons of mass destruction - as the core reason," he said.

Mr Wolfowitz said that the "criminal treatment" of the "Iraqi people is a reason to help the Iraqis, but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did".

He admitted that the al-Qaida link had been the subject of "the most disagreement within the bureaucracy".

He also pointed to another important consequence of the war - the strategic reordering of the Middle East.

"There are a lot of things that are different now, and one that has gone by almost unnoticed-but it's huge-is that by complete mutual agreement between the US and the Saudi government we can now remove almost all of our forces from Saudi Arabia," he said.

"I think just lifting that burden from the Saudis is itself going to open the door to other positive things."

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I think its too early for this.

We clearly misjudged (being charitable) the extent and immediacy of the threat. But even if we turn up 2 rotting barrels of chemical weapons, we'll be able to salvage the situation. There should still be an investigation, but let's wait and find out how this plays out before starting the postmortum.

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Jimbo, I totally agree that it's too early, stuff could still turn up, at the very least they did greatly misjudge the WMD info... In my opinion, what this tells me is that contrary to popular opinion on the board that the "polls" show the US population doesn't care, it does in fact care and politicians are worried about it.

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let's start another poll....

hypothetical: there are no WMDs but we have perfect intel on the murders, torture, genocide, mass graves, etc.; over 1 million have been killed; do we attack?.....just want to be sure where the moralizers on the board truly stand.......

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Originally posted by fansince62

let's start another poll....

hypothetical: there are no WMDs but we have perfect intel on the murders, torture, genocide, mass graves, etc.; over 1 million have been killed; do we attack?.....just want to be sure where the moralizers on the board truly stand.......

No fan, we don't. Otherwise we would be morally compelled to do this in about 12 other countries throughout the world, perhaps including China. We don't have the resources nor responsbility to be saviour.

We got enough heat for Kosovo, imagine if we gallavanted around the world imposing "human rights" crusades.

PS I assume the murders, tortures, etc you are referring to are the ones Saddam has already perpetrated?

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why is there a qualifcation?

if I have perfect information and the ability to exert my will (i.e., the "correlation of forces" support a successful outcome)......why not act?

in perfect confromance with the times....this could easily be a case specific decison calculus. note also tah there are many tools in the bag.

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Originally posted by chiefhogskin48

No fan, we don't. Otherwise we would be morally compelled to do this in about 12 other countries throughout the world, perhaps including China. We don't have the resources nor responsbility to be saviour.

We got enough heat for Kosovo, imagine if we gallavanted around the world imposing "human rights" crusades.

PS I assume the murders, tortures, etc you are referring to are the ones Saddam has already perpetrated?

If you are going to use that criteria; then why aren't we going to IRan to free the Iranians? Going to africa - how many countries have these type horrors there. OR how about our own back yard- CUBA. Those horrors are everywhere but we aren't going to war over that.

The war is over. They have to find some WMD's or else the credibility of the United States will be damaged. Remember, Bush used WMD's as the main reason to go to war. So they better find some.

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Originally posted by fansince62

why is there a qualifcation?

if I have perfect information and the ability to exert my will (i.e., the "correlation of forces" support a successful outcome)......why not act?

in perfect confromance with the times....this could easily be a case specific decison calculus. note also tah there are many tools in the bag.

Thing is the hearings will be over whether or not we have perfect information? Could be the Iraqi exlies overstated the threat and they found people in the Bush administration, who felt their was unfinished business in Iraq.

Bush stated he felt that Iraq had WMD's that he felt were an immediate threat to the U.S. So the U.S. had to go to war to remove that threat. If it turns out that threat:WMD's wasn't there; then his credibility is shot.

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TEG....no seriously!...it's a common moral dilemma addressed in all entry level moral philosophy classes. If you are witness to conduct that is morally objectionable/unacceptable what are your responsibilities? what is the force of a moral universal? The old Humian is/ought argument.....

Suppose you are walking down the sidewalk lost in happy revery over the latest Skins victory, ASF post or democratic filibuster and you happen upon a beating being administered by a stocky male upon a slender female. What are your obligations? Whatever else, you know it is wrong. Further suppose, you know the woman might die. Better yet....the evil doer has five women lined up, two are dead, one is in the process of being beaten, and the last happens to be in the same political party as the assailant, so she is cheering him on. Do you:

1) walk on by

2) run off, search for help, and return once help is found

3) call 911 on your cell phone and wait for help

4) engage and prevent further violence as best you can

Are you morally obligated to engage by the force of the moral universal?

If you answer yes, one is obligated to do something, we can argue over what that something is. But certainly, option 1 is ruled out. And option 1 is what many are proposoing in the international sphere as they express their trepidations about a foreign policy with human rights/moral dimensions.

on second read later that night/next day...it's a tricky matter. i recall how divisive this was when it was proposed as the standard for conducting foreign policy during the Carter years. But doing nothing is certainly not the solution.

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I might be able to propose a litmus test, that can be used to determine whether the US should intervene militarily in Country X, based on Xs behavior. My proposed standard is:

If Country X is doing something so reprehensable that the great majority of the American people believe military intervention is needed, then it is.

(It's sort of the same standard I'd use to determine if something is pornography: If 12 out of 12 people think it's porn, then it is.)

The american people tend to believe in letting countries alone, unless they see (or think they see) a clear, compelling reason.

(Note to Heads of State of other mid-east countries: If the people see pictures of your citizens burning american flags, every week for 20 years, then it becomes much easier to convince the people that military action is needed in your country.)

Now, in the case of Iraq, the criteria may become "If the people are told, vehemently and repetedly, that country X is a threat to us, and then, after the war's over, they turn out not to be a threat, but then we say it was done for moral reasons, . . . "

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Since “doing nothing is certainly not the solution”, are we going to espouse a new Bush Doctrine of the US as world policeman? Not in the sense that Bush the Elder did, preventing one country from invading and annexing another. This Bush Doctrine would seek to examine countries internally and force “regime change” on those found wanting. Is that a foreign policy Americans will support?

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Fan since 62,

Would you be in favor of intervention in LIberia or any of the african nations where genocide is occuring? Wasn't Liberia where the UN human rights commissioner was practically begging us to come help just last week (or was it the end of the week before?)?

I think I might be for it, especially if that is how it is sold to me. I'm just shocked to hear anyone else (especially from the other side of the aisle) for a role as world policeman.

Personally, I'd be happier with that approach than one where we say you have to develope WMD before we are interested in anything you do to wipe whole populations from the earth. Which is easier to live with A) a country developing WMD that might kill 500,000 people if used or B) a country that DOES kill 1 million people but with conventional weopens?

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I would like for us to step forward and rid the world of every brutal, peacehating, dictatorship, theocracy, military oprrseive regime. One by one, take them all out. The problem is once we start their will be someone who objuects to a certain country or objects to the order or objects to the style.

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Yes, that would be oh so lovely, ignoring for the moment the question of how we decide who qualifies.

But let's just at least achieve a true regime change in Iraq before declaring that a successful policy. The old one's gone, but establishing a new one is the harder part.

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Just wanted to see where the board fell on this...cuz one's decision is independent of the justification....that is the nature of a moral universal. as expected, most feel that this must be decided on a case specific, outcomes oriented determination. I have been trying to be cute, straddling the line, by asserting we are obligated to act but only in circumstances in which we enjoy the preponderance of power - that really doesn't cut it logically, but leaves some wiggle room. and it doesn't leave me where all the protestors are who implicitly were willing to accept further murders, torture and genocide.

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Kilmer, I wouldn't be for removing all those who are any one of your requirements. All theocracies need not be wiped off the face of the earth, or did you just advocate taking out the vatican? I think you meant all of your requirements must be met, right?

Jimbo, I understand your need for a pre agreed apon criteria. Under your arguement, should we stay out of places where we see tens of thousands executed and ethnic clensing? We typically do, but our reluctance to step in where we see it happening has also lead to some of our more shameful moments as a country. Ever read how many bombers flew over death camps in WWII without bombing the incinerators?

What about areas where the UN request that somebody, anybody, stop the maddness?

Fan since 62, don't we enjoy the preponderance of power pretty much throughoutthe world wherever we chose? Wasn't that the point of the hyper power article a while back. Is there an equal military (outside of perhaps China due to sheer manpower)?

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A simple grammatical error. I dont mean all theocracies, I mean all brutal, peacehating freedomsquashing theocracies.

jimbo, is the better solution to do nothing? I think we do have the ability to determine who is right and who is wrong in the world. BUt as I pointed out in my post, someone will always complain.

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Originally posted by fansince62

why is there a qualifcation?

if I have perfect information and the ability to exert my will (i.e., the "correlation of forces" support a successful outcome)......why not act?

in perfect confromance with the times....this could easily be a case specific decison calculus. note also tah there are many tools in the bag.

If this was the main impetus to invade Iraq and overthrow the regime, we should have done it years ago when Saddam was slaughtering the Kurds. I believe the prevention of genocide is a justifiable reason to go to war, but you don't wait 10 years and then use it as an excuse. We did not go to war for the benefit of the Iraqi people and if you believe we did you are deluding yourself.

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