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post #31 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
On this I disagree. Most of the problem came from the city and state interaction. The mayor and governor had been squabbling for over a year. The gov had supported the mayor's opponent and stood firmly with the democrat machine iN NOLA, which Nagin was fighting. The drill we ran between all levels of emergency responders in Spring, 2005 and in other years previous (Google Hurricane Pam, if you're interested) pointed directly and unequivocally at the communication and planning failures at state and local levels. It is all there for anybody who cares to read it. The state has taken MILLIONS of DHS dollars to specifically address these issues and it has mismanaged it all.

Now recall 2004 during Hurricane Ivan evacuation. EXACTLY the same events transpired except the hurricane curved eastward. There was absolutely no excuse for teh state NOT to be prepared.

I did S&R immediately after Katrina. Let there be no doubt that FEMA was, at best, retarded. They fucked-up far more than they helped until about Saturday, 4 days after the levee failure. During that interval the City of NOLA gov was even worse than FEMA. I saw city policemen looting while citizens needed help desperately.

The incompetence was NOT equally spread among levels of gov. The local and state are the designated leads on disasters and FEMA assists. State and locals failed and FEMA was slow to pick-up the fact of that incompetence and the thing cascaded.

B
I agree with you completely that state and local government had much to do with the failures of Katrina. My point regarding leadership had to do specifically with FEMA and their inability to get their arms around the issues in a timely manner especially after H. Pam drills. There was absolutely NO excuse for Comms to be a problem on the federal level, nor was there any reason for, as an example the blizzard of paperwork and bureaucracy that FEMA brought to the table for everything from ice to trailers which were not the venue of state and local. I too was there from day six along with a large group from Harlan County and dealt with it first hand also. When Chernoff was unable to focus FEMA quickly to get the job done, which he was NOT doing, a leader would not have waited as long as Bush did to bring in the Coast Guard Admiral. Note how tactical cleaned up as soon as he hit the ground. Only the parts that Chernoff still had purview over was/still is in turmoil.

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post #32 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Sage advise - it should be taken and considered by just about everyone who has commented here, myself included. All any of us know of these men is based on our perceptions. While perceptions usually equate to reality, it doesn't do so equitably.
The difference between Gore and Bush is that in 2001 we did not have a basis to judge either of the two men on their hardcore, balls to the wall decision making ability. Hence my comments regarding an inability to judge Gore's reactions to 9/11. By the way, I thought Bush was EXCELLENT in his 9/11 actions and reactions.

Our abilities to draw negative opinions regarding Bush five years later are based on watching 60 months of poor decision making. Picking the ExO of the National Poodle Club to run FEMA, or his WH counsel to be Supreme Court Justice [who needs to be a judge to be on the SCOTUS?], pushing known false information to the World regarding Iraq. Little things, decisions that have shaped the worlds view of the US. The list goes on and it is not from reading the NYT or CNN. It is from Bush's decisions.

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post #33 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Thank you Botnst for clarifying this for me. The posts by Greg and McBear are full of regurgitated CNN and New York Times mullarkey. I had arguments with people with whom I work on this topic - they are keen to blame Bush for anything and everything, largely because they've no knowledge of how government works (tiny thing called states rights). New Orleans and Louisiana are full to the brim with corruption and ineptitude in the ranks of their public servants. While Katrina wasn't preventable, the resulting disaster was. New Orleans didn't suddenly sink to 6' below sea level overnight...it was BUILT that way.
Sorry but my opinions are not regurgitated malarkey just because you don't agree. My comments on Bush's decisions regarding FEMA and Katrina are based on about 30 years of experience of knowing how government works and my observations on how FEMA failed and Chertoff failed to step in and Bush did nothing to push the matter quicker while people suffered. States rights had little to do with that once the disaster became multistate and FEMA became involved.

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Whether or not an Iraqi flew a plane into the WTC is immaterial. While he's not alone, Saddam and his regime were contributing to (if not outright facilitating) the training and operations of Al Qaeda. Are we going to split hairs over this? Do you think Osama and his lot are getting a pass? What *precisely* does a terrorist regime need to do for you to feel comfortable taking them down - set up camp down the street from you and start slaughtering your neighbors? Is it not enough that your fellow countrymen were murdered by these folks and their ilk? For God's sake man, how can you possibly justify such an irresponsible and callous statement?
Whether Iraq flew a plane into the WTC is immaterial??? Guess what. VERY MATERIAL. Prior to our invasion of Iraq there was minimal Al Qaeda activity in Iraq. We have had threads about this. Saddam did not like Fundamental OBL&Co.

OK, what other Terrorist regimes do you suggest we "take down" next? China? There are several African nations that would fit the bill. The IRA is a bit quiet but there is always Northern Ireland.

A lot of people died in the WTC and Pentagon, including two of my friends. But in no way did 9/11 have anything to do with our invasion of Iraq. That has been proven time and again. Is Saddam bad, YES. Should he have been removed, YES. Should we have invaded a sovereign nation to do it NO. We neutralized Libya with one raid. We have stopped the bad guys before without the need to invade their countries. Normally America acts SMART, this time, not so smart.

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Absolutely everyone involved (the UN, leaders of coalition nations, neighboring nations, etc)acknowledges that Saddam had LARGE quantities of WMD prior to the coalition's invation. The fact that they haven't been found does NOT mean they didn't exist...it means something far more frightening, which is that they're no longer accounted for. There's no telling where they went. I for one blame this on the UN, and on the Bush administrations excessive dedication to the diplomatic process. While the world was handling this assasin with kid gloves (at the bequest of France and Germany - nations with significant financial interests in the status quo vis a vis the corrupt "Oil for Food" program), he and his crew were busy distributing these munitions and technologies to those sympathetic to Saddam and potentially able to utilize them.
Did absolutely everyone involved suggest these were the pre 91 WMD? So because they have not been found you have decided they are no longer accounted for, no telling where they are [some in Syria]. Fear, Uncertainty and Dread. And you suggest it was Bush's 'excessive dedication to the diplomatic process', a spin of Bush had no choice but to obey UN rules until he could lie enough to get a resolution passed to invade.

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post #34 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
The inspectors were given an impossible task by the UN.

It was a waste of time--proving something doesn't exist. The best possible report they could give is that they failed to find evidence of WMD. But they didn't report that.

Regardless, graduate students in history and polisci will be writing theses and scholarly articles for decades over this thing analyzing it from every possible perspective. In 10-20 years the people will come to some sort of consensus opinion on what truth and reality was. The chances are pretty good that from their future perspective we will all be wrong to some degree.

B
You mean Rumsfled didn't tell the inspectors where they were????? Shocking I say.

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post #35 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by JimSmith
The key issue here that you, in spite of your articulate claims to the contrary, seem to fail to understand is when the UN and other nations all agreed Saddam had WMD in the form of chemical and biological agents (not nukes of any sort) was immediately after the first Gulf War. There was no universal acceptance of the US contention that Saddam was busy making WMD stockpiles, including various forms of dirty and thermonuclear "nukes" in the months preceding the US invasion. Or even years.
Anyone else remember that UN weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq, and weren't even allowed back in until late 2002?

When they were allowed back, does nobody else remember the pictures on the news of the Iraqi Republican Guard ushering out UN Weapons Inspectors, and effectively restraining them to very selective areas of the country? This would be the case for a day or so, until they eventually let them in - from the outside, if you suspect them of having WMD's or production capabilities, does this not look like they're covering things up?


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Originally Posted by JimSmith
The UN had inspectors on the ground who were looking for evidence of the existence of these weapons right up to the eve of "shock and awe" and they were unable to substantiate any claims of a WMD program being carried out by Saddam. You conveniently fail to put the acknowledgement of the existence of WMD in context of when it was universally accepted Saddam was pursuing the manufacture of such weapons, and the years preceding the US invasion. It sounds like you are failing to do that on purpose, which is purposely trying to mislead.
Since CNN is probably considered neutral, I'll point you to an article that (sans-spin) quotes several figures from the CIA and foreign governments that acknowledge Saddam was bent on developing WMD...his inability at the time was a fortunate coincidence, as left to his own measures, there is much agreement that he would have infact re-developed stockpiles of WMD.

John Warner (R-VA): "While the ISG has not found stockpiles of WMD, the ISG and other coalition elements have developed a body of fact that shows that Saddam Hussein had, first, the strategic intention to continue to pursue WMD capabilities; two, created ambiguity about his WMD capabilities that he used to extract concessions in the international world of disclosure and discussion and negotiation. He used it as a bargaining tactic and as a strategic deterrent against his neighbors and others."

Report's summary: "[Saddam] wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted," a summary of the report says.

This is information that was not available pre-war. The reason it wasn't available, was because Saddam was purposefully interfering with UN inspectors. I agree, their job was impossible, but a man with nothing to hide will hide nothing. Saddam gave every outward appearence that our suspicions were well founded...the stakes can't be higher - innocent lives would be put at risk if he was given enough time to make good on his intentions. Now maybe we have different views here, but my tolerance for playing "wait-and-see" with someone who professes a hatred for my people and a desire to clean us from the face of the earth is pretty damned low.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JimSmith
...Please provide some kind of data or other reported facts to support your bizarre conclusion that Saddam transported all this limited shelf life chemical and biological weapons stock, right under our intense scrutiny with satellites and eyes and ears on the ground (yes, some of those UN inspectors were our guys) without anyone noticing. Or anyone using them before they became inert.
From the same story, dated 2004:

Unattributed source: One outstanding issue, an official said, is whether Iraq shipped any stockpiles of weapons outside of the country. Another issue, he said, is mobile biological weapons labs, a matter on which he said "there is still useful work to do."

The U.S. official said he believes Saddam decided to give up his weapons in 1991, but tried to conceal his nuclear and biological programs for as long as possible. Then in 1995, when his son-in-law Hussain Kamal defected with information about the programs, he gave those up, too.


Defected Iraqi General Georges Sada contends that a significant portion of Iraq's WMD were moved to Syria.

"Gen. Sada generated headlines when he told the New York Sun that Saddam had shipped his biological and chemical weapons stockpiles to Syria in the weeks before the U.S. attacked in March 2003."

In fact, these weapons were to be used in an attack in Jordan - a discovery made after the plot was foiled.

"It was a major, major operation. It would have decapitated the government," said Jordan's King Abdullah at the time, in an interview about the Zarqawi plot with the San Francisco Chronicle.

In June of 2005, it became evident that weapons material was 'missing' from Iraq.

A third of the chemical items removed came from the Qaa Qaa industrial complex (search) south of Baghdad which the report said "was among the sites possessing the highest number of dual-use production equipment," whose fate is now unknown." Significant quantities of missing material were also located at the Fallujah II and Fallujah III facilities north of the city, which was besieged last year.

Before the first Gulf War in 1991, those facilities played a major part in the production of precursors for Iraq's chemical warfare program.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JimSmith
I think you make your implied conclusion that you represent "the face of common decency" a little hard to believe by your own pretty loose with the facts, actually vacuous rantings, and half-cocked accusations. Other than the genuinely hurt feelings you display about criticism of the President, you haven't shown much that you know that is based on facts - which makes your position one that is based on faith, which is often a politically correct definition of ignorance. No facts required for something taken on faith.
I've made no implication of the sort. I suppose my mistake was in assuming that everyone participating in the discussion was operating from roughly the same base of knowledge as it had been reported by the press - not just the parts they wanted to remember.

Let's be clear on another point - I am NOT an apologist for the intelligence situation...I think it's pretty ridiculous that there's as much uncertainty as there is, given how big the CIA and military are. George W. Bush was not the only person fooled, if that's the term you want to use, by the information that was provided to him.

THAT SAID, I have absolutely no issues with the decision to go to war with Iraq given what was known at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. It's simply unfair to take information that wasn't available or confirmed after the fact, and play the "I told you so!" game...the risks are too high, and the situation is too complicated for those arguments to have any merit.

Sorry that you felt that my commentary was anything other than based on fact - I'm not accustomed to sourcing everything I remember and use in commentary, but typically don't find it difficult to do with Google.
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post #36 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
The inspectors were given an impossible task by the UN.

It was a waste of time--proving something doesn't exist. The best possible report they could give is that they failed to find evidence of WMD. But they didn't report that.

Regardless, graduate students in history and polisci will be writing theses and scholarly articles for decades over this thing analyzing it from every possible perspective. In 10-20 years the people will come to some sort of consensus opinion on what truth and reality was. The chances are pretty good that from their future perspective we will all be wrong to some degree.

B
Yes, an overstatement on my part for dramatic effect. Still, the point is valid. I recall Bush indicating that he would not be dissuaded by any actions or results from the weapons inspectors before they even went in. And, when it seemed clear that the inspection team was likely to produce a careful and significant document that was counter-productive in regard to his personal agenda, he chased them before they had the opportunity to complete their task. There was absolutely no ethical reason for him to do so, since Iraq posed no imminent threat.

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post #37 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Let's be clear on another point - I am NOT an apologist for the intelligence situation...I think it's pretty ridiculous that there's as much uncertainty as there is, given how big the CIA and military are. George W. Bush was not the only person fooled, if that's the term you want to use, by the information that was provided to him.
Here's the part you don't seem to grasp: There was no uncertainty as far as the administration was concerned. They were not interested in true information. They were interested in "good" information to support a predisposed stance, that being the invasion of Iraq. That much was obvious to anyone paying attention at the time, and has been strongly supported by a number of knowledgeable, reliable, and independent sources since those events took place.

Again, for the sake of clarity, George W. Bush was not fooled -- he was disinterested in the truth.

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post #38 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 09:38 AM
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And a week before we actually attacked, Saddam was basically saying, "Well, okay, fine, you can come in and look around. I was just messing with you."

We decided that we were done talking. We decided instead to kill 50,000 civilians rather than continue diplomatic negotiations.
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post #39 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by QBNCGAR
Anyone else remember that UN weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq, and weren't even allowed back in until late 2002?

When they were allowed back, does nobody else remember the pictures on the news of the Iraqi Republican Guard ushering out UN Weapons Inspectors, and effectively restraining them to very selective areas of the country? This would be the case for a day or so, until they eventually let them in - from the outside, if you suspect them of having WMD's or production capabilities, does this not look like they're covering things up?




Since CNN is probably considered neutral, I'll point you to an article that (sans-spin) quotes several figures from the CIA and foreign governments that acknowledge Saddam was bent on developing WMD...his inability at the time was a fortunate coincidence, as left to his own measures, there is much agreement that he would have infact re-developed stockpiles of WMD.

John Warner (R-VA): "While the ISG has not found stockpiles of WMD, the ISG and other coalition elements have developed a body of fact that shows that Saddam Hussein had, first, the strategic intention to continue to pursue WMD capabilities; two, created ambiguity about his WMD capabilities that he used to extract concessions in the international world of disclosure and discussion and negotiation. He used it as a bargaining tactic and as a strategic deterrent against his neighbors and others."

Report's summary: "[Saddam] wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted," a summary of the report says.

This is information that was not available pre-war. The reason it wasn't available, was because Saddam was purposefully interfering with UN inspectors. I agree, their job was impossible, but a man with nothing to hide will hide nothing. Saddam gave every outward appearence that our suspicions were well founded...the stakes can't be higher - innocent lives would be put at risk if he was given enough time to make good on his intentions. Now maybe we have different views here, but my tolerance for playing "wait-and-see" with someone who professes a hatred for my people and a desire to clean us from the face of the earth is pretty damned low.




From the same story, dated 2004:

Unattributed source: One outstanding issue, an official said, is whether Iraq shipped any stockpiles of weapons outside of the country. Another issue, he said, is mobile biological weapons labs, a matter on which he said "there is still useful work to do."

The U.S. official said he believes Saddam decided to give up his weapons in 1991, but tried to conceal his nuclear and biological programs for as long as possible. Then in 1995, when his son-in-law Hussain Kamal defected with information about the programs, he gave those up, too.


Defected Iraqi General Georges Sada contends that a significant portion of Iraq's WMD were moved to Syria.

"Gen. Sada generated headlines when he told the New York Sun that Saddam had shipped his biological and chemical weapons stockpiles to Syria in the weeks before the U.S. attacked in March 2003."

In fact, these weapons were to be used in an attack in Jordan - a discovery made after the plot was foiled.

"It was a major, major operation. It would have decapitated the government," said Jordan's King Abdullah at the time, in an interview about the Zarqawi plot with the San Francisco Chronicle.

In June of 2005, it became evident that weapons material was 'missing' from Iraq.

A third of the chemical items removed came from the Qaa Qaa industrial complex (search) south of Baghdad which the report said "was among the sites possessing the highest number of dual-use production equipment," whose fate is now unknown." Significant quantities of missing material were also located at the Fallujah II and Fallujah III facilities north of the city, which was besieged last year.

Before the first Gulf War in 1991, those facilities played a major part in the production of precursors for Iraq's chemical warfare program.




I've made no implication of the sort. I suppose my mistake was in assuming that everyone participating in the discussion was operating from roughly the same base of knowledge as it had been reported by the press - not just the parts they wanted to remember.

Let's be clear on another point - I am NOT an apologist for the intelligence situation...I think it's pretty ridiculous that there's as much uncertainty as there is, given how big the CIA and military are. George W. Bush was not the only person fooled, if that's the term you want to use, by the information that was provided to him.

THAT SAID, I have absolutely no issues with the decision to go to war with Iraq given what was known at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. It's simply unfair to take information that wasn't available or confirmed after the fact, and play the "I told you so!" game...the risks are too high, and the situation is too complicated for those arguments to have any merit.

Sorry that you felt that my commentary was anything other than based on fact - I'm not accustomed to sourcing everything I remember and use in commentary, but typically don't find it difficult to do with Google.
Welcome to OT, it was hard to get used to having to either source everything or keep posting links. Having to prove everything is annoying but it does actually enhance the info. It is on both sides of every discussion.

Weapons inspectors were in and out of Iraq for over a decade after GW1. You also have to remember we, and the Russians [and I would suppose Israel] have eyes in the sky that keep a very good watch on everything that goes on there. When you add in Kurdish intel and shiite spys there was ample information regarding WMD, guessing that most is still classified since our latest birdpix are still not released to the public at high res. That is one of the big reasons a lot of folks were surprised at the 'weak' intel. If stuff was there, proof would have been available. The escorting was as much to do with political posturing as any thing else. We would do the same thing with empty warehouses.

And you are correct, Syria is the receiver of gifts from Saddam. That is one reason why we have such a strong force on the west side of Iraq.

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post #40 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2006, 12:05 PM
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This thread is a waste of good server capacity. The usual suspects "discussing" the same old issues that have been beat to death in a dozen earlier threads. Come on guys, take it to the Post Whore thread where it belongs.

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