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Did the Bush administration claim Iraq was an imminent threat?

post #1 of 299
Thread Starter 
Andrew Sullivan has an "imminent threat watch" in which he cites papers and politicians whenever they claim Bush described Iraq as an imminent threat. Sullivan claims it's a total lie, and Bush never said Iraq was an imminent threat. He claims that Bush said exactly the opposite. For example, Bush said the following in his State of the Union:
Quote:
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.

That seems to indicate that Bush was clearly saying Iraq was NOT an imminent threat, but we should attack before the threat becomes imminent.

On the other side, Josh Marshall wrote this piece for The Hill in which he claims that, perhaps in slightly different words, the administration DID claim Iraq was an imminent threat.
Quote:
Last October, a reporter put this to Ari Fleischer: Ari, the president has been saying that the threat from Iraq is imminent, that we have to act now to disarm the country of its weapons of mass destruction, and that it has to allow the U.N. inspectors in, unfettered, no conditions, so forth.

Fleischers answer? Yes.

In January, Wolf Blitzer asked Dan Bartlett: Is [Saddam] an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home.
Bartletts answer? Well, of course he is.

A month after the war, another reporter asked Fleischer, Well, we went to war, didnt we, to find these because we said that these weapons were a direct and imminent threat to the United States? Isnt that true?

Fleischers answer? Absolutely.

---

Heres how Vice President Cheney described the threat in August 2002: What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is give in to wishful thinking or willful blindness.

A month later, Bush called Iraq an urgent threat to America.

The next month, he described the threat like this: Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

Or Fleischer two days after that: Another way to look at this is if Saddam Hussein holds a gun to your head even while he denies that he actually owns a gun, how safe should you feel?

Or the president justifying war as it got under way: The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.

I'm not particularly impressed with the Ari quotes. Ari could have been saying yes to other aspects of the questions rather than the specific 'imminent threat' line. It seems clear that neither Bush nor anyone else in the administration said "Iraq is an imminent threat." But did they try to leave that impression in so many words?

I don't know, but in my view, that's not really the point. The key issue is that they have tried to redefine the concept of imminent threat so that it includes, well, a non-imminent threat as well. It is generally considered acceptable under international law to attack another country if they pose an imminent threat to you. Israel attacked Arab countries who were massing troops in apparent preparation for an attack, for example. But with Bush's new policy, laid out in the now-infamous National Security Strategy, they said we can engage in "preemptive" attacks if it looks like a country may be a threat in the future:
Quote:
For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat-most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.

We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's adversaries.
...
To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.

In my view, this is the key issue. Should we preemptively go to war even absent an imminent threat?

And this is where I think Sullivan is wrong is when he criticizes Clark for saying the following in a debate:
Quote:
CLARK: I've been against this war from the beginning. I was against it last summer, I was against it in the fall, I was against it in the winter, I was against it in the spring. And I'm against it now. It was an unnecessary war. There was no imminent threat.

Sullivan:
Quote:
No member of the administration used the term "imminent threat" to describe Saddam Hussein's Iraq. No one.

Clark didn't claim Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat. It's possible to be against the war in Iraq because it wasn't an imminent threat, without claiming Bush said Iraq was an imminent threat.

Check outthis piece in Spinsanity about the issue.
post #2 of 299
This whole arguing about sound bytes is just rediculous.

http://www.informationclearinghouse....rticle3711.htm
post #3 of 299
AS is a revisionist blogger in denial.

I forget the incredbile number but it was really high. The night the voted for the war resolution the number of congressman and senators that justified their vote with the words WWMD, nuclear, immenet threat was large.

That's what they get for believe dick cheney and his vice president...
post #4 of 299
Perhaps they just meant that there was an imminent threat of Iraq becoming an imminent threat.
post #5 of 299
Looks like conservatives learned a thing or two from Clinton. I thought Clinton was an utter fool for debating what the word "is" is. Therefore, I find it absolutely insulting to my intelligence that the right would use the same exact tactics by trying to redefine the term "imminent threat" and whether or not anyone in the administration used those exact words.

Who gives a f*ck what they actually said? It's the "message" they sent, not the words. I received the message loud and clear when Condalezza Rice said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "what proof do we need, mushroom clouds over Chicago?"

The Bush Spin Machine is in overdrive.
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post #6 of 299
Thread Starter 
I don't think it's nitpicky to ask whether they used the specific term 'imminent,' because that is a meaningful term in the justification of a preemptive war.

Put it this way. Which of these two options is worse:

1. The administration claimed the threat was imminent, but it really wasn't.

2. The administration said the threat was not imminent, but we should go to war just the same.
post #7 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
I don't think it's nitpicky to ask whether they used the specific term 'imminent,' because that is a meaningful term in the justification of a preemptive war.

Put it this way. Which of these two options is worse:

1. The administration claimed the threat was imminent, but it really wasn't.

2. The administration said the threat was not imminent, but we should go to war just the same.

BRussell I think it is interesting that you raise this topic. What got into you as to explore this subject?

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post #8 of 299
I think the message they put out was complex...

Pound the Drum to get out the WMD message... but say we don't want to wait for them to have the chance to strike us... or wait for the capability to fully develop. It's a scarey message to put out. And fear brings the urge to take care of the problem sooner than later.

They were saying lets take care of it NOW. Which makes it SEEM imminent... We can't wait for the UN inspectors! Makes timing sound important... when in all reality... another 6 to 9 months would have not changed a thing... because... there was NO IMMINENT threat.

Keep the public off balance and scared... and they'll support us. They felt the sooner they got in there the sooner they could "fix and democratize" the Middle East.

A bold plan. But in the end just arrogant and naive.
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post #9 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
The administration said the threat was not imminent, but we should go to war just the same.

But that's not what was said.

They made the argument that it needed to be done in order to avoid attack, plain and simple.

This discussion of specific terms is just a way for the Bush admin to pretend that they are not responsible. Just by virtue of this discussion in the media the Bush admin is partially vinticated, since imminent is not digested in the same way by everyone. While one small group may be debating the term on it's extremely narrow technical merits, most people see the word as meaning a 'coming' and 'urgent' threat, which certainly was the argument.

The is how the Bush admin (and all politicians in a jam) get away with this BS. The argument was made. They made the argument that it was an immenent threat in the common use of the word, even if the sound byte 'Iraq is an imminent threat' doesn't exist.
post #10 of 299
This Thread Is Pure Genius
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post #11 of 299
This. Is. Hysterical.

What the sailors meant with the "Mission Accomplished" sign...

We neither said nor implied that Iraq was an imminent threat, all that talk about nuclear programs and mushroom clouds notwithstanding...

The murder of our troops by insurgents^H^H^H^H^H "enemies of freedom" is a sign of progress because...

If it weren't for the blood in the streets, this administration's antics would be a comedy routine.

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post #12 of 299
For those that were too stupid to understand the reason; I understood the reason US "rushed" to war was that there was a huge build up and the on coming summer in Iraq, making war difficult. The goal of the France, Germany, Iraq alliance was to delay the war until it was too hot for the US to fight the war, or make even more dangerous. So the US had to act before that.


Or was I just the only one thinking clearly?
post #13 of 299
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by giant
But that's not what was said.

They made the argument that it needed to be done in order to avoid attack, plain and simple.

Yes, but to avoid an attack that might occur when? I think their argument was "yeah, we're not going to be attacked now, but we might be attacked at some point in the future, and so we need to attack them first."

The basic evidence for this is

1. the state of the union address, in which Bush said we can't wait until the threat is imminent, and

2. the National Security Strategy in which the logic of preemptive war is laid out.
post #14 of 299
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by groverat
This Thread Is Pure Genius

Feel free to clarify.
post #15 of 299
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by chu_bakka
I think the message they put out was complex...

Pound the Drum to get out the WMD message... but say we don't want to wait for them to have the chance to strike us... or wait for the capability to fully develop. It's a scarey message to put out. And fear brings the urge to take care of the problem sooner than later.

I think that's right. The argument was "they have WMDs now, and at some point in the future they might use them against us."
post #16 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Feel free to clarify.

My experience is that he doesn't clarify or expand on his comments anymore, he just makes some inscrutible comment then "poof", disappears. I miss the old Groverat.
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post #17 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Put it this way. Which of these two options is worse:

1. The administration claimed the threat was imminent, but it really wasn't.

2. The administration said the threat was not imminent, but we should go to war just the same.

My view is that the Administration and its allies certainly suggested both: 1. that there was an imminent threat and 2. that the U.S. was entitled to go to war even in the case of a threat that was less than imminent.

Point (2.) is set out in the National Security Strategy. Point (1.) was perhaps less clearly and directly stated by the Administration, but we have to keep in mind that the Administration relied on arguments that the Iraq regime possessed WMD and that it could deploy them. The administration also positioned its claims within the context of the war on terrorism and the possibility of an unexpected attack. There was a strong suggestion that Iraq represented an imminent threat, even if these precise words were never used.

Further, the Administration was wrong regardless of whether it relied primarily on (1.) or (2.). The Administration and its allies did not have the intelligence basis to make the claim under (1.). Meanwhile, (2.) represents a dangerous doctrine that lowers the threshold for international conflict and which almost certainly violates international law.

Its a tie!
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post #18 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by Chinney
My view is that the Administration and its allies certainly suggested both: 1. that there was an imminent threat and 2. that the U.S. was entitled to go to war even in the case of a threat that was less than imminent.

Point (2.) is set out in the National Security Strategy. Point (1.) was perhaps less clearly and directly stated by the Administration, but we have to keep in mind that the Administration relied on arguments that the Iraq regime possessed WMD and that it could deploy them. The administration also positioned its claims within the context of the war on terrorism and the possibility of an unexpected attack. There was a strong suggestion that Iraq represented an imminent threat, even if these precise words were never used.

Further, the Administration was wrong regardless of whether it relied primarily on (1.) or (2.). The Administration and its allies did not have the intelligence basis to make the claim under (1.). Meanwhile, (2.) represents a dangerous doctrine that lowers the threshold for international conflict and which almost certainly violates international law.

Its a tie!

Just thought I would weigh in and say that I believe you make valid points here Chinney.

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post #19 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
Yes, but to avoid an attack that might occur when? I think their argument was "yeah, we're not going to be attacked now, but we might be attacked at some point in the future, and so we need to attack them first."

The basic evidence for this is

1. the state of the union address, in which Bush said we can't wait until the threat is imminent, and

2. the National Security Strategy in which the logic of preemptive war is laid out.

Check out Bush's Cincinnati address, which was the one where he detailed the threat for the american people:

http://www.informationclearinghouse....rticle3711.htm

He claimed it was urgent
post #20 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
For those that were too stupid to understand the reason; I understood the reason US "rushed" to war was that there was a huge build up and the on coming summer in Iraq, making war difficult. The goal of the France, Germany, Iraq alliance was to delay the war until it was too hot for the US to fight the war, or make even more dangerous. So the US had to act before that.


Or was I just the only one thinking clearly?

Scott, was there an imminent threat to the United States, to justify your position? And if so, can you spell out exactly what that threat to the United States was?

Perhaps you don't remember that this (and other) war(s) in the current series were mooted back in the 1990s by the PNAC group (Feith , Perle, Wolfowitz, Kristol etc etc etc). In their mission statement, they said that these plans would be very slow to implement, unless there was some catastrophic event... a "New Pearl Harbor". (On the evening of 9-11, Bush wrote in his journal: "the new Pearl Harbor happened today). Iraq wasn't an "imminent threat" to the USA or any of its neighbors. But with the PNAC having such leverage on US foreign policy, Iraq never needed to be a threat: the war was to go ahead regardless...hence all the absurd reasons for the war stated by the administration, which they danced around like some grotesque game of musical chairs (WMD, oil, links with al Qaeda, regime change, liberation of the Iraqi people, and so on). Wolfowitz himself stated that it was extremely hard to find consensus on any of these reasons and they eventually came to a compromise and settled on WMD because that was the easiest sell to the American people, who were still reeling from the shock of 9-11. Now even the admin. has acknowledged that the WMD intel was fatally flawed, so they are spinning that "liberation of Iraq" nonsense...ie how very convenient, makes Bush look "charitable"... but that was never the reason for the war, and never could have been. Would the American people cough up $200 billion+ to bring freedom to the people of one middle eastern country? What a joke.

Without 9-11, the Iraq war would have been a complete nonstarter. The American people would never have stood for it....and neither would the British, Spanish, or Italian governments...or any other of the "coalition of the willing" (paid off or threatened). It required the "imminent threat" of Saddam and the FoxNews fantasy of his drones armed with bioweapons and chemicals, Rice and her mushroom clouds over Chicago and...buy that duct tape.

The war happened, and as a result US interests could well be under a greater "imminent threat (from terrorists) than before the war. The entire Bush team is a national security liability at best.
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post #21 of 299
While they may deny that they came out and SAID it was an imminent threat, their actions and tones certainly conveyed the message. Talking about mushroom clouds over Chicago, and possible biological weapons strikes at a whim of Saddam... Even if they didn't come out and lable Iraq as part of the Axis of Evil (I love that speech), doesn't that convey a sense of threat to you?
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post #22 of 299
Scott's point is that we needed to go to war before summer for strategic reasons... there waas no threat reason... why not wait until September? They didn't want to wait because the argument to go to war would become weaker and weaker... and a possible diplomatic solution may have become available.

Germany and France are no heros. They could have done other things than just oppose the US to try to slow the US down. But the administration was already posturing... that it didn't matter what the UN did.

The Whitehouse had set the ball rolling last september... and they weren't going to stop it for any reason. It didn't fit into their re-election strategy.

They thought they could get in and out of Iraq in 18 months... and starting the war later would put the plan behind schedule. TOO CLOSE TO THE ELECTION.

Guess what George... Pre-Emptive War is a bad idea.
And he's the first to start one for the US.
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post #23 of 299
Quote:
My experience is that he doesn't clarify or expand on his comments anymore, he just makes some inscrutible comment then "poof", disappears. I miss the old Groverat.

ennui

--

Expansion!

This is a thread directly about semantics from politicians. The circular arguments are 100% certain to arise and they are built right in to the subject, there is no hope at all for clarity, much less resolution.

Now I understand that almost nothing on message boards that finds resolution or clarity, but almost nothing is more than nothing. And starting a thread that's doomed from the start is hilarious to me.

Hence: This Thread Is Pure Genius.

It's not an attack on BRussell, it's a comment on the golden nature of the thread itself.
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post #24 of 299
Seems to me that the imminent threat is the Islamic "house of learning", and those parties that support to them madrasas, both actively and passively. Many Western thinking government are just as culprit here as the Arab/Islamic governments. Destroying the buildings and those in them, alone is not the optimum solution. But it will slow them down. The show of power is important, as it is part of a psychological war. And that is the key. Rumsfeld is correct in asking question about the war for the heart and mind. And my intuition tells me that an approach that uses total and complete humiliation is the best way to go. Call it the wrath of Kahn the sequel. (Reference is to the Mongols)
post #25 of 299
Umm... what?

your point is?
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post #26 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by chu_bakka
Umm... what?

your point is?

I'll assume this is for me..

Point is,
the question posed was regards an imminent threat to the US and I guess western values in general. I pointed out where that imminent threat lies.

Further,
the politically "correct" muzzle the leftist pinkos have managed to put on free thought and speech is an insidious device used in the benefit of their political cousins: the Marxists/Islamicists. Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of war, expansion, subjugation and worst kind of imperialism. And it should be treated in the same manner as Communism/Nazism/Fascism was.
post #27 of 299
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post #28 of 299


*hugs* and *kisses*
post #29 of 299
Bush lied about his justification for us needing to go to war. That's all we really need to know.
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post #30 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by aapl

Further,
the politically "correct" muzzle the leftist pinkos have managed to put on free thought and speech is an insidious device used in the benefit of their political cousins: the Marxists/Islamicists. Islam is not a religion of peace. It is a religion of war, expansion, subjugation and worst kind of imperialism. And it should be treated in the same manner as Communism/Nazism/Fascism was.

Islam is being treated the same as Communism, that is, as an all purpose cover for the worst kind of abuses, foreign and domestic. It seems we always need a "demon" to keep attention off the ever denied promise of American equality and justice.

Oh, and you're an idiot.
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post #31 of 299
the PC muzzle... nice spin...so if it's not christian it's an imminent threat?

Do you know that the Muslim faith is the largest religion in the world?

I don't think anyone can point a finger at any other culture and say they're the war mongers... that's not being PC... it's being realistic.

There's a big difference in fighting a holy war and fighting a cold war.

You can use all the non "PC" language you want... it's a free country.

You rightwingheadupyourassneoconservativewarmongering tool.
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post #32 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by addabox
Oh, and you're an idiot.

Well, in keeping with the original theme of this thread, as started by BRussell, I think we should decide whether

1. appl is an idiot.
2. appl is a bigot.

Thoughts?
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post #33 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by Chinney
Well, in keeping with the original theme of this thread, as started by BRussell, I think we should decide whether

1. appl is an idiot.
2. appl is a bigot.

Thoughts?

Hmmm.... I gonna stick with idiot, acting as a precursor for biogtry.
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post #34 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by chu_bakka
the PC muzzle... nice spin...so if it's not christian it's an imminent threat?

Do you know that the Muslim faith is the largest religion in the world?

So was/is communism. That means it must be good.



Quote:
Originally posted by Chinney
I think we should decide whether

1. appl is an idiot.
2. appl is a bigot.

Thoughts?

LOL. That was just too predictable.



BTW,
Any time you have the likes of your Sammi Joe's bemoaning US foreign policy in the Middle East, you know you're doing something right.

] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2003Nov6.html
post #35 of 299


Just what we need around here, another black and white, blinded by the right, holy versus evil, inarticulate, neo-con that only flames hatred and adds NOTHING to the general conversation.

Bravo.
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post #36 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by Chinney
Well, in keeping with the original theme of this thread, as started by BRussell, I think we should decide whether

1. appl is an idiot.
2. appl is a bigot.

Thoughts?

People! In an Indian theatre show, appl's entrance would've been preceded by flashing lights and the sound of thunder.

He is The Villain.

Where've you been? It's Mika. It's PC*KILLA. He's not like you and me. He dodges suicide bombs in Haifa every day.

In answer to your question, Chinney, he's both.
post #37 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by Hassan i Sabbah
People! In an Indian theatre show, appl's entrance would've been preceded by flashing lights and the sound of thunder.

He is The Villain.

Where've you been? It's Mika. It's PC*KILLA. He's not like you and me. He dodges suicide bombs in Haifa every day.

In answer to your question, Chinney, he's both.

Hassan, my love, I'm just an lowly amateur compared to you. I pay you my homage.
post #38 of 299
It's a religion. Different than a political system.

We seem to be getting along with China pretty well.

And we have many allies who's citizens are primarily Muslim.

According to you we still have alot of work to do to convert a vast majority of the world's population to our "westerm" ways. And apparently you think we should do it ruthlessly through force.

Doesn't sound like democracy in action to me.
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post #39 of 299
Quote:
Originally posted by chu_bakka
It's a religion. Different than a political system.

We seem to be getting along with China pretty well.

And we have many allies who's citizens are primarily Muslim.

According to you we still have alot of work to do to convert a vast majority of the world's population to our "westerm" ways. And apparently you think we should do it ruthlessly through force.

Doesn't sound like democracy in action to me.


I think I made the point to point out that force can only be part of solution..
post #40 of 299
I think your point was "COMPLETE HUMILIATION". And to insult those of Islamic faith.

Sounds like a winning strategy.
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