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Hussien's Secret Police


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And this is what Iraqi's no longer have to face. But hey the President was wrong to go to war since he may have mis spoke about uranium in Africa :doh:

The Informer in Their Midst

Friend Unveiled as Cog in Hussein's System of Treachery

By Peter Finn

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, July 13, 2003; Page A01

SUWAYRAH, Iraq -- The tape was already running as the two men reached the cafe. Ordinary sounds from a distant past are heard: the rustle of their clothes as they walked, the turn of some loose dirt underfoot, the nearby happy shrieks of children at play. The sounds crowd in on snatches of conversation that began, always, with the warm greeting between two old friends: Faleh Hassan Hmoud, a carpenter, and Salem Joda Shokan Zubeidi, a teacher.

"Ya akhi," they said to each other, "Oh, my brother."

They were neighbors who had known each other since childhood, eaten in each other's houses, and in the evenings, as young single men, hung out together at a local cafe in this town near the Tigris River, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad. Hmoud was a tall, heavyset man with a full moustache and a back-slapping personality; Zubeidi was slighter of build, and more reserved.

The year was 1980. Into the night, in the company of friends, they whispered conspiratorially over coffee about the charged politics of the day and the recent ascension to power of Saddam Hussein, a man they both professed to despise.

The tape turned. Hidden somewhere on the body or clothing of Hmoud, its contents later sent Zubeidi, his "brother," to the gallows. Others around the cafe table were also executed.

After the fall of Hussein's government, a number of audiotapes incriminating Hmoud, along with extensive police files detailing his activities, were found in the archives of the secret police. Hmoud's family, joining the Zubeidis in outrage, said in interviews that they are convinced of his guilt. The man they all still refer to by his first name, Faleh, has fled, but his family remains behind.

"He deserves to be shot," said Mahmoud Shakir Mahmoud, Hmoud's brother-in-law. "Faleh was a dirty, sick man."

Iraq was riddled with informers, according to Iraqis and human rights groups. They were on street corners, in neighborhoods, workplaces, high schools, universities, hospitals, mosques -- even in the intimacy of apparent friendship. Iraqis learned to fear not only the system but each other.

The poison of this treachery will last long after the ouster of Hussein. Like Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, Iraq will have to balance the desire for vengeance among victims with the difficulty of bringing to trial an entire system of repression, which reached down to every neighborhood cafe.

"I want blood," cried Zubeidi's sister-in-law in the family home last week.

Salem's older brother, Salman, vowed that if any justice system is to deal with Hmoud, he must be sentenced to death. "I will wait," he said after being counseled to be patient by a religious leader in the holy city of Najaf. But if the new courts of Iraq do not act, Salman threatened: "I will kill him. That is my right."

Iraq's reckoning with history is buried, in part, in millions of government documents scattered across the country, and the information they contain will resonate for years. "It's a documented oppression; it's all written down," said Mona Rishmawi, senior human rights adviser to the United Nations special envoy to Iraq. "But we need to build the kind of evidence that can be presented before any court in the world -- not blind vengeance. We need to make justice something real for the victims."

Voice of the Betrayer

In early April, as the previous government fell, the citizens of the city of Kut, the capital of a province that includes Suwayrah, stormed the headquarters of the state's general security agency. The files of more than two decades of secret police work were carried away, among them a yellowed paper folder chronicling the betrayal of Salem Zubeidi in 1980 and the role of the man -- code-named "Moudhir" in the police file -- who turned him in.

Who among the many in Zubeidi's circle had sold out the 27-year-old teacher of Arabic? Who was "Moudhir"? The written documents tantalize without ever answering. An accounting with the past might well have stopped there, a mystery trapped in speculation, never to be resolved.

In an extraordinary discovery, however, Zubeidi's file also contained some micro-cassette tapes stored in manila envelopes. Other tapes surfaced in other Suwayrah files. The voice on each, prodding conversations in dangerous directions, was the same: Faleh Hassan Hmoud, according to Hmoud's relatives, former friends of both Hmoud and Zubeidi and members of the families of the executed.

All of the material, including files on two other executed men linked to Hmoud, was provided for review by Zubeidi's family. Hmoud's family said they believe the material is authentic. A reporter listened to the tapes with the assistance of an interpreter.

"Faleh was always talking against the regime," said Ali Hussein Muhsin, 48, an occasional guest at the cafe table who later that summer left to fight in the Iran-Iraq war, where he was captured and spent 10 years as a prisoner of war. "We knew him as a communist so we used to talk to him about political matters. We never doubted him."

Until this April, Hmoud, now 48, was an increasingly prosperous member of the community. After growing up poor, he had expanded his carpentry work into a shop. By 1990 he was trading grains and later moved into the date business. He opened a grocery store.

He was a father of four children. For the last 24 years, a period in which he allegedly sent at least six men to their death, he played his role to perfection. He shook his head at the government's cruelty -- and expressed sympathy for those left grieving for the vanished. He became publicly devout, frequenting the mosque and making pilgrimages to the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, his relatives and neighbors recalled.

"News about the tapes was spread in the town and I heard it like everyone else, in the street," said Jalil Baqir Mahmoud, 49, who is a cousin of Hmoud's wife. "At first I couldn't believe it. Faleh's wife phoned me. I told her I think they are wrong. A voice will change on a tape over the years and they are mixed up. I called Salman, Salem's brother and said, 'How can you be sure this is Faleh?' "

The cousin continued: "When I went to Salman's house and heard the tape I was shocked because once he spoke, I recognized him right away. This is Faleh, 100 percent. I called his wife and let her listen to the tape. She just listened for a few minutes and she said, 'That's enough.' "

Hmoud's wife, Nidhal Shakir Mahmoud, who is suffering from breast cancer, did not wish to be interviewed, according to relatives. Hmoud has been ostracized by his relatives, who fear they will be stigmatized by his actions.

Shortly after they discovered the tapes, the Zubeidis took them to the main market street in town to play for anyone who would listen. Anger mixed with bafflement because the stain of suspicion, which fell on so many others, had never touched Hmoud.

When he first heard the tape, Salman Zubeidi became hysterical, picked up an ax and set out from his home to kill Hmoud. He was restrained by his sons and neighbors, according to Salman and his family. "He was our neighbor, Salem's friend. He came to our house to eat," said Salman, the eldest of four brothers, his face gaunt from the pain of reminiscence.

The Deception's Beginnings

The treachery began in June 1980, according to the police files.

The Iranian revolution was still young that summer. It had galvanized many of Iraq's majority Shiite Muslim population, which had long been dominated by the Sunni minority. Fearing that zeal from the revolution would spill over into Iraq, Hussein intensified a crackdown on the Iraqi Shiite community.

Membership in the Shiite political movement, the Dawa, or Islamic Call party, was made punishable by death. Leading Shiite clerics were murdered.

The violence extended into the ruling Baath Party. At a videotaped party meeting in Baghdad five days after he became president in July 1979, Hussein alleged that some of his party comrades were involved in a Syrian-sponsored plot against the country. Before 1,000 delegates, 66 alleged conspirators were denounced, led out of the hall and shot.

At the cafe, all this was the stuff of conversation. The men even chatted about who in Suwayrah might be an informant. The discussion also was filled with the mundane -- the quality of bricks to build a house, the state of the roads, a local sewage project.

The tapes are scratchy and not always comprehensible. In one snippet of conversation, they talk about a speech by Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Then, Hmoud asks: "What did Saddam Hussein say yesterday? Did you read the newspaper and his speech to the workers?"

"This is not a man," said Zubeidi. Adopting a mocking tone, he mimics Hussein's speech. "Anyone who strikes us with a stone on our borders, we will bomb him.' " Zubeidi's voice trails off in disgust.

Hmoud was supposedly a member of the Iraqi Communist Party, which at the time was also being ruthlessly suppressed by the Baathists. Joined in their apparent hatred of the government, Hmoud and Zubeidi expressed curiosity about each other's political philosophy.

Hmoud told Zubeidi that he could get him books by the executed Iraqi Shiite scholar, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Sadr, who the government had feared could become the Iraqi equivalent of Khomeini. Sadr, along with his sister, another leading thinker, was killed in 1980. Zubeidi asked for copies of Sadr's books, "Our Philosophy" and "Our Economy."

The file notes that the police had trouble finding a copy of "Our Economy" and found only "Our Philosophy" by the "executed criminal," as the file put it. When Hmoud handed the book to Zubeidi, the teacher laughed because it was a censored edition published by the Ministry of Information in Baghdad, according to the file.

Zubeidi said he could get a Lebanese edition from a friend, Hashim Ali Kadhim, a religious student, a fateful admission that would buttress another investigation leading to the arrest and execution of Kadhim and his brother, Merza, both of whom were part of the cafe circle. A few days later, Zubeidi handed Hmoud the Lebanese edition inscribed by Kadhim; "For my respected brother, Salem." A photocopy of the inscription was found in the file.

The young men often spoke of Hussein. On July 17, 1980, the informer reported that he had met Salem on July 9 when he said: "Salem attacked the character of the leader, President Saddam Hussein, saying the Syrian conspiracy in 1979 was not a conspiracy and Syria had nothing to do with this operation. This operation was just the elimination of the leadership because they didn't want Saddam Hussein as leader."

In a report dated Aug. 28, Hmoud reported that Salem said Hussein "considers himself an important man in the world but his speeches are meaningless. I feel embarrassed when I hear his speeches."

The Trap Closes

By early September, the police were ready to strike. Hmoud and Zubeidi left the cafe together early on the morning of Sept. 5, according to Zubeidi's cousin, Khalaf Aaid Shokan, who was also at the cafe that night.

By 3 a.m., Zubeidi's family was searching for him and quickly arrived at Hmoud's house, rousing him from bed.

"Faleh came out and he was very terrified, all of his body was shaking," said Shokan. "He said the security took Salem and warned him not to talk to anyone about what he had seen."

Separately, Abdul Hussein Hussein Abdullah Rubai, 24, who was also at the cafe with Zubeidi and Hmoud, was arrested that night. He was later executed with Zubeidi.

A police mug shot taken after his arrest shows Zubeidi drawn and haggard, his eyes wide with fright, not the carefree young man of his family's memory, preserved in a revered graduation photo. The police initially told the family that Zubeidi was held only for questioning, and would be released quickly. As the weeks and months dragged on, the police simply ignored family members, warning them to stop their inquiries or more of them would be arrested.

At one point, inside the prison, the police tried to recruit Zubeidi to become an informer. The file contains a note in Zubeidi's handwriting that reads, "I, the one who signed below, Salem Joda Shokan Zubeidi, promise to be a good citizen working to serve my country, my nation and the 17th of July Revolution and will cooperate with the security services for the public benefit and write down anything I find which is against the interests of the Baath Party and the Revolution."

On Sept. 4 ,1983, the Revolutionary Court, which heard political cases, sentenced Zubeidi and his friend Rubai to death. The two were executed by hanging along with three other men shortly afterward, according to the police files. Zubeidi's and Rubai's families do not know the other three men.

Zubeidi's brother, Salman, was dismissed from the army without a pension after more than 20 years' service. Two of his sisters, Karima and Naiima, lost their jobs as teachers in a local elementary school. And the file shows the family was kept under surveillance until 2000.

The family, after repeated entreaties, finally learned of the execution in May 1984, after Zubeidi's mother went to Baghdad to appeal in person. A telegram from Baghdad to Kut reads: "He was sentenced to death and hanged until dead. . . . Please inform her of that." A follow-up telegram on May 22, 1984, says, "The family of the criminal was informed."

In Salem Zubeidi's file is also a handwritten note, dated August 1980. It records that Hmoud got about $100 for betraying his friend. "Please reward our agent with 30 dinars for his efforts," the note says.

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The poison of this treachery will last long after the ouster of Hussein. Like Eastern Europe after the fall of communism, Iraq will have to balance the desire for vengeance among victims with the difficulty of bringing to trial an entire system of repression, which reached down to every neighborhood cafe.

Maybe, hopefully, (but not, I fear, very likely), a decent government can come out of this.

How many of the items in our Bill of Rights are the result of things the Redcoats did, that ticked people off?

OTOH, (as we're seeing now), even if a Bill of Rights comes out of this, will it last past the first time the people decide they've got an enemy they need to be "protected" from?

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Let's see, Clinton get lambasted by the right because he lied about sex. The last time I checked presidential sex doesn't require billions in taxpayer funding nor does it affect domestic or international policy.

However with Bush, the means justifies the end, correct? The real issue here isn't whether or not the war was justified. Just as the right repeatedly states that the issue wasn't about Clinton's infidelity, but that he lied about it. There is mounting evidence that Bush, or at least those close to him, had fashioned a list of reasons for declaring war and sought to substantiate those reasons with intelligence reports that, in some cases, were based on shaky if not fabricated information.

The cost of this war, aside from the projected 100 billion dollars of taxpayer money, is the lives of sons and daughters of American people. Bush went before the American people and the rest of the world with information that was misleading. Now the right wishes for us to dismiss this egregious breakdown in reliable intelligence and focus on what a bad man Saddam is. Well, if Saddam's character and ruthless dictatorship is alone a justification for war, and we, the American public should be satisfied with that alone, why wasn't that the focus of the State of the Union Address? Why was the predominant focus on Iraq's possession of WMDs and nuclear ambitions? Tell me why I should swallow this head-jerking spin suddenly coming from the right now that the primary focus for the war is, well, not so luminous?

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Kurp....no offense....but there is limitted interest in whether you swallow this "head jerking spin"...or anything else given recent Supreme Court decisions!

again...meaning no disrespect...tell us how the intelligence process actually works: who the players; how statute law breaks out the various constraints and responsibilities; how technology plays into it; how the IC interfaces with foreign intelligence agencies; how humint works; what the risks are..........if you have a solid background in all of this and can speak authoritatively then you have some credibility......otherwise.......

certainly glad you feel beholden to Clinton...thanks for keeping him in play!!!!!

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Fansince,

Spoken like a true apologist.

While you are no doubt correct in your assessment that there is limited interest in whether I singularly swallow the political spin emanating from the White House, you cannot argue that collectively there is a major focus on this matter.

If I may borrow a bit of your logic, likewise, there is limited interest in how the "intelligence process actually works." The stakes are extraordinarily high in both lives and dollars so it is both inadaquate and inappropriate to demand of the public that they have intimate knowledge of the "intelligence process" or cease to ask questions. We expect that when life-altering decisions are made by our leadership that they be based on incontrovertible evidence; then double-checked and confirmed for accuracy before commiting lives and budgets. This was not done, and if it was, the outcome was ignored.

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Yawn

Thanks to us Iraqi people will be better off and in the long run the entire region.

A better self sufficient and corrupt free Iraq means fewer refugees coming here. Something we need to do in Mexico also

As I said unless people have left the comfort of their couch and ventured into those areas they should shut up.

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A better self sufficient and corrupt free Iraq means fewer refugees coming here. Something we need to do in Mexico also

So, just on the off chance that the public fails to appreciate the superiority of your decision to conquer Mexico:

What reason do you propose we should trump up to justify this one?

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Originally posted by NavyDave

As I said unless people have left the comfort of their couch and ventured into those areas they should shut up.

Can I also assume that also pertains to people voicing their approval/disapproval at the polls?

I find it incredulous that in a country founded on the principles of free speech that there are those of you who demand silence on matters of government ineptitude.

...and you call yourselves patriots?

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Kurp...you and your fellow tavellers put the kabosh on freedom of speech a long, long time ago with political correctness......so, let's not get too afar afield here with self-proclaimed virtuosity...

as per the intelligence issue...you missed my point altogether. if you had process knowledge you would know that "incontrovertible" truth is not the warp and woof of intelligence work. this dictum also does not square with the criteria applied to the risk analyses that are generally applied to decision processes that use intelligence as an input - but not the only input. and it doesn't square with the reality of how decisions are often made that entail life and death: particularly on the battlefield, but in other walks of life as well (law enforcement, for instance).

btw...you have posted ocassionally in the past as to your frustration with goliathan corporations exercising disproportionate (selfish/profit-driven would likely be your term) influence on budgetary and policy matters. I quite agree and wonder if you have raised this issue up the chain-of-command at Lockheed Martin? (if memory serves, either you or TEG posted that you work for LM)

fyi...I'm not apologizing or rationalizing. I fully approve of what has transpired so far. I posted long before the war started that the marker for me will be the long-term success in turning Iraq into a peaceful, quasi democracy. If this doesn't happen, then I do feel the effort will have been a waste of treasure and lives. And I will expect accountability. The apparent difference between you and me is that I am hoping for success.

as for the limitted interest jab...you are right in your retort...but you missed the real joke I was trying to make at the expense of your wording........that was a freebee I couldn't resist!

anywho.......have a good week!

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I think we are all missing the biggest point/problem here.. While everyone has the right to their opinion (thats a given) what no one here has mentioned is why we were in Iraq.. Navydave touched a little of it...... Iraq is the first Pre-emptive strike for americas freedoom.. So when this country elects another democrat president and he cuts our military again so our defenses go down and we are spread thin there is a less organized threat against the US (sorry just my opinion here).. There are huge terrorist training facilities in Northern Iraq Al-queidea.... They torture there people.... and I believe in all my heart they had every intention of creating a wmd.......but not until Bush was out of office.... Bush poses a threat to terrorism and organized terror.. Clinton didnt he wouldnt have used any force after 9-11.....and we would have been sitting ducks again..... He didnt after the first attack on the USS COLE.....Al Gore didnt care when Oliver North told him that Bin Laden was the most evil man on the planet and woul cause the US trouble..... Iraq had to be done or else we would pay greater if a more liberal, defense cutting president gets elected... Again sorry for the rant but I get fired up when it comes to justifying our mission...............

LONG MAY SHE WAVE!!!!!!!!

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Kurp, interestingly Clinton and Bush had the exact same stance on Iraq. Funny that I don't hear many liberals mentioning that fact. They both clearly see the righteousness of deposing Saddam, as do the vast majority of the American people. This is a democratic Republic, first and foremost, and this was a popular cause before, during and after the war. The American people supported this war long before Bush's State of the Union address was even uttered. We don't make war in this country based on the "just war theory" or any other objective legitimization. "We", meaning the vast majority of the American people, believed that the ends justified the means and that we would be safer in the long run with Saddam eliminated. Without arguing semantics and nitpicking, we got what we asked for, which is why the liberal crys of wolf are falling on deaf ears. Would we have still gone to war without Nigerian Uranium even coming into the equation? Of course. This isnt a legal courtroom and one false detail will not destroy the "case", especially since it is far from certain that Bush knowingly perpetuated a lie.

I'm just glad the war is over and hope that we can continue building an eventually prosperous democracy in Iraq. But the price of peace will be somewhat bloody given how many Saddam loyalists still live.

BTW Kurp, would you have been "for" the war if initiated by Clinton in 1998? What reason do you think he had for trying (and failing due to circumstance) to initiate war on Iraq? And are the reasons less legitimate today, more, or about the same?

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fyi...I'm not apologizing or rationalizing. I fully approve of what has transpired so far. I posted long before the war started that the marker for me will be the long-term success in turning Iraq into a peaceful, quasi democracy. If this doesn't happen, then I do feel the effort will have been a waste of treasure and lives. And I will expect accountability. The apparent difference between you and me is that I am hoping for success.

FWIW, I'm hoping for success, too. I dont't think we had enough evidence for a pre-emptive war. In fact, I frankly suspect this war was begun simply because the President needed a boost in his popularity heading into an election. (And to divert attention away from Afghanistan and Osama). (Not so much "I need another war to boost my ratings" as "It's been a while since I got some positive headlines. Everybody's asking where Osama is. We need to do something so we look like we're pro-active.")

But, the instant the President said "go", then the argument about whether we were justified in launching an unprovoked war of conquest suddenly became academic. (At least as far as the war is concerned. It may affect the election.)

If Bush can turn Iraq into a western-style, prosperous, democracy, then he deserves some kind of award. (The Nobel War Prize?) I don't think he can do it, because it's really tough to impose a democracy via conquest. (If I were placing bets as to the outcome of this war, my money would be on us creating another Shah.)

But, I really hope it works. (Since, that's the only way this won't have been loss, from where I sit. This war cost us a bunch, and is continuing to cost. Creating another Saddam, only he feels gratefull toward us for handing all this loot to him, won't be progress, to me.)

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Why must the assumption be that if one is troubled by the appearance of government malfeasance, they must also be against the effort in Iraq?

What is of particular concern to me is the casual way in which the right dismisses the disinformation fed to the American people and the rest of the world by our highest leader. It speaks to the integrity of the office as well as the integrity of our nation. Apparently ethics have no priority among many of you. Truth is only important when it serves the objective, otherwise deception is justified. Do I have this right?

There is but a fine line between aspersion and communicating unverifiable information. There is an expectation of trust in our elected officials and I for one don't shelve that expectation even when I'm in agreement with the objective.

Many of you trouble me. It is nothing short of arrogance to dispense with the blatant disregard for accuracy and accountability for every word spoken in Bush's speech to our nation, and the world.

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Kurp, just curious- why didn't you answer any of the questions I posed? It's not a big deal, of course, but I'd like to see a few instances of either mutual agreement or concessions, if possible.

Originally posted by TheKurp

Why must the assumption be that if one is troubled by the appearance of government malfeasance, they must also be against the effort in Iraq?

What is of particular concern to me is the casual way in which the right dismisses the disinformation fed to the American people and the rest of the world by our highest leader. It speaks to the integrity of the office as well as the integrity of our nation. Apparently ethics have no priority among many of you. Truth is only important when it serves the objective, otherwise deception is justified. Do I have this right?

Uhh, sorry Kurp, I don't think that's correct at all. How seriously have ethics have been breached? I don't like the fact that the Uranium thing turned out to be bogus, but unless Bush and his team knowingly propogated a lie, the whole issue seems trife, and they'd better damn well learn from it. It shouldn't be a scandal, so long as there is an acknowledgement and assurances that it was a mistake rather than deception. Either way, it is such an insignificant part of the "big picture", which is why it doesn't get much play with the American public. I don't see much of a credibility gap, nor do the majority of Americans, and just because you do does not make it so. It's all about perception, and people trust Bush, generally. I'd love to see perfection from all presidential administrations, but it's unrealistic.

Many of you trouble me. It is nothing short of arrogance to dispense with the blatant disregard for accuracy and accountability for every word spoken in Bush's speech to our nation, and the world.

You're making quite a leap with this statement. I just have no reason to believe that this was a deception, so I won't threaten to impeach him for it. :) Nor do I think it was significant in any way. I honestly would believe the same no matter whom the president is. For the record, I was a Clinton supporter throughout his presidency and was firmly against his impeachment because I didn't think a lie pertaining to his private life affected his ability to run our country.

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kurp....wasn't attacking the left: I was very circumspect about the language I chose. You have been consistently opposed to any action in that part of the world all the way back to before operations in Afghanistan. you may have very principled reasons for adopting this position. the fact remains that we are committed. that there is no course but to see this through. the posts from you and others have yet to propose success as a first criterion. the furthest many of you will go is to wish no injury/misfortune to the troops - and a reluctance to state otherwise while the war was being fought. but that is all. principled or not - that is the message many of us are receiving from you and others. not calling you unpatriotic - so don't bother walking down that path. the closest i have seen anyone opposed to the war come out and address immediate issues tied to success/failure was JackC's recommendation to plant WMDs if they aren't found. otherwise, there has been no discussion so far as I can recall indicating a desire that this effort succeed. now, my suspicion is that this traces to a mix of principled anti-war sentiment (n your scheme of things, the grounds for this war were not justified) and a virulent anti-Bush emotionalism. the latter is amusing because it reflects the practice of a mindset that was deemed intolerable when directed at Clinton. sauce for the goose, etc. mind you - I did not vote for W, so this isn't administration homerism.

larry.....I'm glad you hope for success. I disagree on your wag the tail thesis since I don't think bush was in any kind of poliical dilemma that would have warranted this. it's enough for me to know that while you may have been opposed to this war - that you do hope for the best.

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Fansince,

You have me confused with someone else, and by the way, it is I who is employed by Lockheed, not TEG.

I have repeatedly stated that I support our effort in Iraq. On that I have been consistent. I have however, repeatedly criticized the Bush Administration for using as justification Iraq's possession of WMDs and Saddam's supposed ties to al Qaeda. I feel Bush was less than forthright with Congress and the American people and played both these cards because he knew they would elicit memories of 9/11 and thus, garner the greatest support for the Iraq war effort. It was a political ploy that I detected from the beginning and now the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost by way of media coverage. Although from the responses I hear on this board and the American public in general, so far it is apparent that Bush's hoodwink will not come with a price tag.

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Not meaning any disrespect Rykins, but the guy Ollie North called the most dangerous man on earth was ABU NIDAL, not Bin Laden (who was an unknown and actually a US ally at the time of North's deposition). Interestingly, Abu Nidal and his PLF organization had been headquartered just outside of Baghdad since the first Gulf War. Nidal supposedly died earlier this year, but his Lieutenant Abu Abbas was arrested at the end of Gulf War II. The internet rumor about Ollie naming Osama as the most dangerous man is an urban legend based on his testimony against Nidal.

Kurp, let's not forget that Clinton lied about the Kosovo conflict to get us involved, claiming evidence of mass graves and executions were going on, which turned out to be fictitious. We had no strategic interest in Kosovo, no UN approval (at least in Iraq we had an initial resolution), and the KLA was in fact a terrorist organisation financed by Al Quaeda. In addition his proclamations of no ground troops actually encouraged the Serb SOBs to push as many Kosovars over the border as possible - that way Serbia could just "surrender" once the bulk Albanian population had been made to flee, leaving the peacekeepers with the nightmare of trying to repatriate everyone. Furthermore, his actions quite predictably destabilised Macedonia, which otherwise would have remained peaceful.

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Kurp...as I stated to sfrench...I disagree with your reconstruction that this was all sold on nuclear weapons. I also disagree with your notion that the terrorist element was connected to Al Queda alone and there was neglible data in this regard. There was an Al Queda element. But there were connections to many other terrorist organizations. We will simply have to disagree.

thought it was you. so, route these queations up the chain?

and...I do recall very early on posts of yours that were very ASF-like in the manner of hyper-text links, going all the way back to pre-Afghanistan, that this was all about oil and pipelines (and therefore reflected selfish, corporate driven interests by certain White House individuals) and hence did not merit action.

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