Patterico's Pontifications

6/9/2003

READER RESPONSE: A leftist reader

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:43 pm

READER RESPONSE: A leftist reader with a penchant for tweaking me has peppered me with a number of issues. I thought I might air a few of them for fun.

CONCENTRATION CAMPS: My reader ridicules the June 6 cartoon strip of Day by Day, which argued that we had not mistreated our detained suspected terrorists. My reader comments: “I like the notion that wrongful imprisonment is OK if you feed your prisoners well, give ’em a pair of pants, and a $10 book. No, it’s not as bad as the Nazi concentration camps, but I’d like to think we hold ourselves to a higher moral standard.” My reaction was to wonder whether it was truly “wrongful imprisonment” — weren’t these guys guilty of immigration violations? Well, I looked up the report to see. It states at page 5: “nearly all of the 762 aliens we examined violated immigration laws, either by overstaying their visas, by entering the country illegally, or some other immigration violation.” I wish I knew what constitutes “nearly all” but the report doesn’t say. For more analysis of the issue, check out this WSJ op-ed.

JESSICA LYNCH: My reader wanted my opinion on the Jessica Lynch story. I responded by e-mail that I didn’t care much about it, but I gave the reader this link at which I had briefly mentioned it before. My reader asked: “You don’t care if the Jessica Lynch rescue was pure propaganda manufactured by the Pentagon?” I think the link (to an InstaPundit entry which itself has several links) establishes pretty clearly that the rescue was not “pure propaganda manufactured by the Pentagon.” People who buy the BBC canard that U.S. Special Forces were shooting blanks, for example, have clearly been sold a bill of goods. If you are curious, check the links for yourself.

WMD: My correspondent also complains about Bush’s supposed lying about WMD. Here is a nice column by Robert Kagan on the issue, in that organ of the vast right-wing conspiracy, the Washington Post. I have blogged about this issue before, making the point that people put too much faith in the omniscience of the government. I will add only this: can anyone come up with a single example of countries getting further along with their nuke programs than much-vaunted “intelligence” had suspected? No — because they can come up with multiple ones. North Korea and Iraq pre-Gulf War I leap to mind.

JOHN DEAN: Next my correspondent sends me that piece of junk by John Dean — you know, the piece all your liberal friends and relatives are sending you about how Bush lied. (My reader is relentless, huh?) (He also sends junk from Jim Jeffords, but that is easily ignored. It’s Jim Jeffords! Enough said.) The Dean piece has the following set of lies and distortions:

“Recent statements by one of the high-level officials privy to the decision making process that lead to the Iraqi war also strongly suggest manipulation, if not misuse of the intelligence agencies. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, during an interview with Sam Tannenhaus [sic] of Vanity Fair magazine, said: ‘The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.’ More recently, Wolfowitz added what most have believed all along, that the reason we went after Iraq is that ‘[t]he country swims on a sea of oil.'”

This paragraph is a pack of lies and distortion. The line about settling on WMD for bureaucratic reasons ignores what Wolfowitz said immediately afterwards, according to the transcript: “There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there’s a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two.” Kind of blows the implication that WMD was a phony excuse settled on purely for reasons of convenience.

The line about oil is an even bigger lie. Wolfowitz was explaining why there were no effective ways to punish Iraq economically — because they had a lot of oil. Here’s what he actually said: “The…difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options with Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil.” That line was distorted to make it sound like the U.S. went to war over oil. This canard appeared most famously in London’s The Guardian. Here is the link where they had to ‘fess up that it was a complete distortion. (They blamed it on having translated the story from a German paper without checking the original.)

So much for Honest John Dean.

WMD AGAIN: My persistent reader with the WMD obsession also asks, “why has the liberal media set the stage to let Bush off the hook if WMD are found in Iraq? The question is not: ‘Are there WMD’s in Iraq?’ The question is: ‘Did the Bush administration misrepresent intelligence for the purpose of shifting domestic and foreign beliefs on Iraq’s threat?'”

As regular readers know, I consider “intelligence” overrated — it’s some guy in another country tellin’ you stuff. Your guess is as good as mine as to how reliable it is. Certainly, the fact that some intelligence officials may be skeptical about information x does not prove that it is not true. Failing to footnote every concern some intelligence guy may have had — sorry, that is hardly a scandal. As I have repeatedly said (see this post for the latest plus links to previous posts), the real scandal has been the crappy way Bush has safeguarded the Iraqi nuke sites (i.e. not at all). You Democrats want a scandal, that’s it. Why does nobody talk about it??


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