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Howard Dean on the Iraq War
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, December 08, 2005

In light of Howard Dean's most recent eruption—"we can't win"—John Judis writes in The New Republic about all the many ways Howard Dean has been right about the war in Iraq...
During the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, and during the invasion and occupation, Dean has been almost consistently correct in his statements. He has been the Democrats' and the nation's Cassandra—willing to reveal bitter truths about which Republicans and his fellow Democrats would prefer that he remain silent. ... Here is a brief timeline of Dean's most controversial statements about Iraq and his critics' responses during the months before and immediately after the invasion:
There follows a list of opinion (the "capture of Saddam has not made America safer"), strawmen (he wasn't convinced there was an "imminent threat"), and fairly obvious predictions ("the occupation will be very difficult"). Fair enough. But here are some more quotes...

Did you know Dean thought we ought to give Saddam a 30-60 day deadline, and then go into Iraq unilaterally?
He gets a deluge of phone calls from reporters asking him to clarify his position. Which is—"as I've said about eight times today," he says, annoyed—that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

Did you know Howard Dean thought that Iraq was a threat to the United States?
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies. The question is, is he an immediate threat? The president has not yet made the case for that."
Did you know that Howard Dean said that President Bush never said Iraq was an immediate threat?
[I]'m not convinced yet and the president has not yet made the case, nor has he ever said, this is an immediate threat. In fact, the only intelligence that has been put out there is the British intelligence report, which says he is a threat but not an immediate one.
Did you know that Howard Dean said that unilateral preemption would be justified if we believed Saddam Hussein could give WMDs to terrorist groups?
SCHIEFFER: [W]hat if he had the means to give them to another terrorist group who could bring them into this country in a suitcase?

DEAN: Well, that's correct, that would certainly be grounds for us to intervene, and if we had so unilaterally, we could do that.
Did you know that Howard Dean said that his problem with the war in Iraq wasn't whether we actually invaded Iraq, but whether we had enough allies?
[My] problem is not whether we're going to end up in Iraq or not. Saddam Hussein appears to be doing everything he can to make sure we do go into Iraq. My problem is, it is important to bring in our allies.
Did you know that Howard Dean espoused a policy of unilateral preemption against Iraq almost identical to that we ultimately undertook?
Look, it's very simple. Here's what we ought to have done. We should have gone to the U.N. Security Council. We should have asked for a resolution to allow the inspectors back in with no pre-conditions. And then we should have given them a deadline saying "If you don't do this, say, within 60 days, we will reserve our right as Americans to defend ourselves and we will go into Iraq."
UPDATE: Atrios argues that "Cassandra Dean was correct on Iraq, and almost universally blasted at the time"—except, of course, when he said the opposite, and was pretty much ignored. The Democratic Party blog is all too happy to cite it, as well.
 
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Yawn. Is this really the best you can do?

Did you know Dean thought we ought to give Saddam a 30-60 day deadline, and then go into Iraq unilaterally?

Dean’s position was that we should invade IF Saddam refused to disarm. So what? That was the correct position to take. The critical question was whether Saddam was, in fact, refusing to disarm. The administration claimed he was. One could always be skeptical of their claims, however there was no real evidence at that point that they were relying on outright lies and the bolstered b.s. of the alcoholic and insane "Curveball".

Did you know Howard Dean thought that Iraq was a threat to the United States?

Of course Iraq was a threat. So what? Iran is a threat. North Korea is a threat. China is a threat. Russia is a threat. Saudi Arabia is a threat. Syria is a threat. Pakistan is a threat. The question was whether Iraq was a threat sufficient to warrant a preventive invasion. Dean never said it was such a threat. And he was right, it wasn’t.

Did you know that Howard Dean said that President Bush never said Iraq was an immediate threat?

Check your dates. That Dean quote is from September of 2002. The Congressional vote was in October and the invasion was in March of 2003. It is irrelevant that Dean said Bush wasn’t trying to make a case for an "immediate threat" nearly 6 months before the war started.

Truth be told, the Bush administration didn’t consistently claim that there was an express imminent or immediate threat. But what they did do was intentionally give the public that impression, without going on the record. Hence the references to deadly drones and mushroom clouds. "Were not saying it’s imminent, but NY could be vaporized at any moment."

Did you know that Howard Dean said that unilateral preemption would be justified if we believed Saddam Hussein could give WMDs to terrorist groups?

Once again, the key word is "IF". Was it ever credible that a secular dictator would give dangerous weapons—weapons which could be traced back to the dictator and invite an invasion of Iraq—to religious extremists who were determined to replace Saddam with a sharia-based government? The answer is no. Was it ever credible that a secular dictator would hand over dangerous weapons to religious extremists who could not be controlled by him? Again, no.

However, IF that was a serious risk, and not a figment of Ahmed Chalabi’s vivid imagination, then forcible disarmament would have been the right decision.

Did you know that Howard Dean said that his problem with the war in Iraq wasn’t whether we actually invaded Iraq, but whether we had enough allies?

Yes, but that belief was based on the—now proven false—assumption that Saddam was refusing to disarm. Take away that assumption and you take away the justification.

Did you know that Howard Dean espoused a policy of unilateral preemption against Iraq almost identical to that we ultimately undertook?

What Dean espoused was utilizing a good faith inspection policy. What Bush espoused and implemented was a policy of publicly backing the inspection process, while planning to pull the plug on said policy at the first oportunity. In other words, the inpection process became a pretext and a sham. Hardly identical to what Dean advocated.

Face it, Dean being wrong about Saddam and Bush being wrong are very different beasts. Bush had the entire U.S. intelligence community at his disposal. Dean largely had what he read in the newspaper...including Judy Miller’s propaganda pieces. Dean was making assumptions. Bush was making conclusions. Dean was trusting Tenet and Powell. Bush was trusting Chalabi and Curveball. History will not be kind.
 
Written By: space
URL: http://
You can’t really quote Dean’s words, since he’s clueless and all over the map. History will judge Bush well, even if the liberal historians and journalists do not
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
What a crock of shit.
 
Written By: Banana
URL: http://
Dean was trusting Tenet
Are you referring to George "Slam Dunk" Tenet? Because if Bush relied on anyone, it was him.

 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
that belief was based on the—now proven false—assumption that Saddam was refusing to disarm

And that proof is where, exactly?

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
." Was it ever credible that a secular dictator would hand over dangerous weapons to religious extremists who could not be controlled by him?"

At least as credible as the Soviet Union and its allies handing over weapons and money to people like the Red Brigade, Bader-Meinhoff, etc.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
And that proof is where, exactly?

That proof is in the pudding into which we have turn Iraq. You can’t disarm if you aren’t armed. And please don’t feed me the old clap trap that everyone thought Saddam was armed with WMD. What "everyone" thought was that there were inconsistencies in the accounting for weapons from 1991 and that inspections should be continued. No one "knew" that he was currently producing or possessed weapon that was any type of immediate threat to anyone.
 
Written By: Cranky yankee
URL: http://crankyyankee.blogspot.com/
Of course we all feel quite comfy trusting a nut job that has used WMDs not to give them to the wrong crowd... Gee wiz, didn’t he pay out for suicide bombers at some point. You have to be flat stupid to claim Saddam had no WMDs when he had already used them in the past.
 
Written By: noboop
URL: http://
"Was it ever credible that a secular dictator would hand over dangerous weapons to religious extremists who could not be controlled by him?"
Oops, I think you just destroyed your own credibility with that rhetorical question. This happens all the time.

I have to laugh at all the WMD arguments, because they’re all so pointless. Does anyone think Saddam & Sons had reformed and given up all WMD ambitions? Inspections only started again when American troops began staging for an invasion. The Kay report found the regime maintained the programs to produce WMD. Even if they had none at the time of invasion, no one can argue they weren’t going to start producing them as soon as it was feasible.

A free, democratic Iraq was the only solution.
 
Written By: TallDave
URL: http://semirandomramblings.blogspot.com
I find the prospect of a secular dictator handing over WMD to a religious fundi group about as likely as:

A Nazi and a Communist making common cause after nearly a decade of trying to undermine each other;

A democracy sacrificing its own lives to keep a Communist dictator in power;

A secular leader allowing a religious fundi terrorist to obtain medical treatment on his own soil;

A democracy and a Communist dictatorship making common cause after nearly three decades of undermining each other;

A Communist country providing troops to protect a capitalist corporation’s oil platforms.

A capitalist country helping to keep its Communist neighbor (which continues to threaten to use force to reunify the two sides) afloat (two examples).


Utterly.......inconceivable.......
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
Trying to discredit Howard Dean (who along with Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Russ Feingold to name a few) has been right all along about Iraq, won’t save America. The truth is the Bushites have unleashed a chain of events in the Middle East that are going to lead to the diminution of our country (and middle class way of life) to which we’ve become accustomed. China and Russia have a vested interest in seeing to it that the US (and especially the right wing neocons) fail in Iraq. Remember how Reagan created bin Laden in Afghanistan, leading to the dissolution of the Soviet state? The same thing is happening to the US, we’re dying by the application of a thousand tiny cuts. Our military is being stretched way too thin (with little or no reinforcements, and dilapidation of their equipment), we’re borrowing over a billion dollars a week to prosecute this war- and give tax cuts to the rich- while our gulf coast looks like it’s been nuked, and civil war in Iraq (and possibly in America if Bush isn’t ousted) is inevitable.
 
Written By: big papa
URL: http://
Trying to discredit Howard Dean (who along with Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Russ Feingold to name a few) has been right all along about Iraq, won’t save America.

Actually, discrediting Howard "the idea that we’re going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong" Dean is something you really don’t have to do.

He does it all by himself.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
The case for the war in Iraq has only gotten stronger with time-we now know that due to the corrupt Oil for Food program and the inevitable collapse of sanctions that Saddam would have soon beeen able to restart his WMD programs, and would have had plenty of money and allies to wreak murderous havoc throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.

The UN sanctions, as some like to forget, put the burden of proof on Saddam to prove that he didn’t have WMD’s, not for the US or anyone else to prove he did have them. And given Saddam’s history, the war’s opponents face the nettlesome burden of proving Saddam’s regime (which he would’ve eventually handed over to his equally barbarous sons) had become peace-loving, simply because at one moment in history that regime had lacked WMD’s.

Who other than a Michael Moore (and Howard Dean?) is credulous enough to believe this?
 
Written By: John Salmon
URL: http://
Howard Dean is the absolute best thing that has ever happened the Republican Party!! He is creating new Republicans by the thousands. Ditto for the disgusting and seditious John Kerry, who actually called our troops terrorists! If there is one thing that Americans hate, it is a coward. The Dem party leaders have taken cowardice to a new level.
 
Written By: MC
URL: http://
Trying to discredit Howard Dean (who along with Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Russ Feingold to name a few) has been right all along about Iraq, won’t save America.

All I can say is hreeeeahhhhrrgggghhaaaa

I’ve tried to explain this many times but "pre-empt" worked if there were programs and no WMDs is perfect timing. Anything later could be too late. I think the truth in losing elections on the left is we could not trust them to act if NY was a crater or even if a few buildings got nocked down. Funny thing also how Saddams guys can meet with terrorists, but that don’t mean nothing, but if a conservative fills his tank at the local Texaco, holy big oil scams!
 
Written By: nobopp
URL: http://
"The case for the war in Iraq has only gotten stronger with time".

Only if you can suspend your disbelief completely. Of all the excuses for the blunders and failures, I feel like I’m watching a bad movie that couldn’t possibly ever actually happen, i mean who believes this crap? And then you find out that movie makes 100 million dollars.
There’s a lot of f*ck*ng idiots in this country who believe whatever the politicians and their mouthpiece minions sh*t out of their faces every day (from both sides). I feel sorry for you if you need to constantly justify why we’re fighting, because you’ve already lost that battle if you have to do that. If the cause were so great, why explain? It should be obvious. But it isn’t, so you fight the propoganda battle for the administration, or against it with the lunatic opposition fringe, and end up a tool of the rich and powerful, left and right. All these politicians need to be replaced. Every single one of them.
 
Written By: indiemind
URL: http://

 
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