Saturday, October 09, 2004

Discuss debate #2 here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Since the Duelfer Report is out and is being paraded around like the last nail in Bush's Iraq coffin, I thought I'd post some exerpts from it that probably won't be making the rounds in the mainstream media:

"Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted."

"The introduction of the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) in late 1996 was a key turning point for the Regime. OFF rescued Baghdad’s economy from a terminal decline created by sanctions. The Regime quickly came to see that OFF could be corrupted to acquire foreign exchange both to further undermine sanctions and to provide the means to enhance dual-use infrastructure and potential WMD-related development."

"By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999."

"Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities."

"Iraq Survey Group (ISG) judges that events in the 1980s and early 1990s shaped Saddam’s belief in the value of WMD. In Saddam’s view, WMD helped to save the Regime multiple times. He believed that during the Iran-Iraq war chemical weapons had halted Iranian ground offensives and that ballistic missile attacks on Tehran had broken its political will. Similarly, during Desert Storm, Saddam believed WMD had deterred Coalition Forces from pressing their attack beyond the goal of freeing Kuwait. WMD had even played a role in crushing the Shi’a revolt in the south following the 1991 cease-fi re. "

"Iraq’s decisions in 1996 to accept the Oil-For-Food program (OFF) and later in 1998 to cease cooperation with UNSCOM and IAEA spurred a period of increased activity in delivery systems development. "

"Procurements supporting delivery system programs expanded after the 1998 departure of the UN inspectors. Iraq also hired outside expertise to assist its development programs."

" Given Iraq’s investments in technology and infrastructure improvements, an effective procurement network, skilled scientists, and designs already on the books for longer range missiles, ISG assesses that Saddam clearly intended to reconstitute long-range delivery systems and that the systems potentially were for WMD."

"Nevertheless, after 1991, Saddam did express his intent to retain the intellectual capital developed during the Iraqi Nuclear Program. Senior Iraqis—several of them from the Regime’s inner circle—told ISG they assumed Saddam would restart a nuclear program once UN sanctions ended. "

"Saddam indicated that he would develop the weapons necessary to counter any Iranian threat. "

"Saddam never abandoned his intentions to resume a CW effort when sanctions were lifted and conditions were judged favorable: "

"ISG judges that Iraq’s actions between 1991 and 1996 demonstrate that the state intended to preserve its BW capability and return to a steady, methodical progress toward a mature BW program when and if the opportunity arose. "

Depending on its scale, Iraq could have re-established an elementary BW program within a few weeks to a few months"

"ISG judges that in 1991 and 1992, Iraq appears to have destroyed its undeclared stocks of BW weapons and probably destroyed remaining holdings of bulk BW agent. However ISG lacks evidence to document complete destruction. Iraq retained some BW-related seed stocks until their discovery after Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)."

"The IIS had a series of laboratories that conducted biological work including research into BW agents for assassination purposes until the mid-1990s. ISG has not been able to establish the scope and nature of the work at these laboratories or determine whether any of the work was related to military development of BW agent."

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

•••Official Spot for Discussion of the Vice Presidential Debate•••

I know I'll be tired tonight, so I thought I'd put this up now.

Monday, October 04, 2004


I had the distinct honor of meeting with some incredibly brave Iraqis this weekend in Washington DC. For those of you that think that this war was in vain, that Iraqis are incapable of living the example of freedom and democracy, I’ve got some news….there is so much more going on in Iraq than anyone knows, or could dream, and these people are living proof.
I’m going to profile one every couple of days this week:

Take the 23 year old young lady that I met that is a translator for US service members in Iraq. As we broke bread over a table, I spoke to her about the hardships that she has lived through. Her brother was killed by Saddam in 91 when he participated in the uprising during the 1st Gulf War. Her father was blacklisted, so as never to get work, or the person that hired him would fear for reprisal from Saddam’s forces. They had no money for sugar, or tea. They lived literally hand to mouth, day to day for years. But then came the current regime change. Now, her family has jobs, and money. They are so proud of her, but because she has decided to join the forces that she believes will help bring democracy and peace to her country, they are actively sought after by insurgents. Just 4 months ago, her older sister by a year was shot down, 60 bullets in her body, and why? Because they shot the “wrong” sister, they were after her, because she was translating. She got up and continued going into work, sad, angry, but more determined than ever. She told me, with tears in her eyes, that she hoped only that she would not be killed before she had a chance to do what she could for her country, that she had so much that she wanted to give it over the coming years. She said “before I get killed” in a matter of fact tone. I sat in awe.

The gentleman sitting next to me, seeing my rapt expression turned to me and said, “this is normal, you will find with everyone you speak, that they have lost some member of family to Saddam’s regime, me, I had twelve family members shot in front of my eyes.” “This was normal, for us, you understand…normal.”

Yes, I had heard this, and read it, but hearing it from someone that has lived it, looking into their eyes, seeing the pain, the fear, or in some cases scariest of all, the numbness, humanizes it in a way that can not fully be explained.
Evidence of Saddam's WMD's and terror ties? You be the judge. It will be interesting to see if this gets anywhere in the current political climate.

Tres presidential.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

My wife and I drove to New Jersey this weekend to attend a friend's surprise birthday party. It was a great time, and we're really glad we made the trip. As the party dwindled down to the last six or so guests, we all got into a political discussion. It was a pretty even split between liberals and conservatives, and the debate was lively. A couple of interesting things happened. First, despite the fact that the discussion was fairly heated for a while, nobody lost their temper, nobody cried, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody left the party thinking anyone else was evil or insane. That alone made it a novel discussion. Towards the end of the night, my wife was talking to the guy doing the most talking on the liberal side. He was well spoken, and had a lot of facts to back up his opinions regarding the Iraq invasion, which was the topic that took up most of our debate. Their discussion shifted to domestic policy, and Stacy mentioned that she had calculated how a Kerry presidency would affect our finances (as you all know, we have a small business.) The figure she came up with, after calculating Kerry's proposed removal of the Bush tax cuts and the increased taxes on "the rich," was about a 10% increase in our taxes. This essentially would put us at or above a 50% tax rate. The guy who she was talking to, who all night had been coming back strong with good arguments against Bush, looked a little limp. All he said was "well, I'll have to look that up." The reason for his sudden lack of enthusiasm? He's a small business owner too, and clearly hadn't looked into the impact of Kerry's plan on his business.

This made me wonder how many other people are so pissed off at Bush for invading Iraq that they're completely ignoring Kerry's domestic policies. I'll tell you one thing: Anyone who owns a small business that makes any amount of money needs to go to John Kerry's website and do some math. The results are sobering.

Bush wondered aloud in the debate on Thursday how Kerry would pay for all of his proposals, mentioning that there would be a "tax gap." Well, he can stop wondering how Kerry is going to pay for his plan. He's going to do it with my profits.