Tag Archives: WMD

What does Kim Jong Un want? Part 2

Donald J. Trump has complicated what ought to be the simplest of Kim Jong Un’s reported demands of the United States of America.

He wants guarantees that he can keep his job as North Korea’s strongman. 

In other words, no “regime change.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sounded semi-conciliatory in that regard the other day when he said that United States has no interest in overthrowing Kim and seeks a “diplomatic solution” to the growing crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

Then the president chimed in with comments threatening “fire and fury” and saying that U.S. military is “locked and loaded” in case Kim decides to make any “overt threats” against the United States or its allies.

The term “locked and loaded” means, in military terms, that your weapon is loaded and that you’ve put the first round in the chamber. You’re set to fire said weapon. Is that what the commander in chief meant? Are we now set to launch a first strike against the North Koreans?

Kim is thought to be mindful of past U.S. military actions, providing him with cause to make the demand that he not be tossed out by an invading force.

I present you the March 2013 U.S. invasion of Iraq , which was launched for the expressed purpose of ridding Iraq of its own dictator, the late Saddam Hussein.

President George W. Bush and his national security team told us Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction,” which became the primary selling point for launching the invasion. Our military launched a full frontal assault. It got to Baghdad. We scoured the country from stem to stern looking for WMD. We found none. Nothin’, man.

Oh, we eventually pulled Saddam out of that spider hole. The Iraqis put him on trial, convicted him of crimes against humanity — and hanged him.

Kim doesn’t want that to happen to himself or his closest sycophants.

The secretary of state is trying to sound a reasoned, rational tone. The president, though, keeps pre-empting him with talk of an entirely different nature. What’s more, the secretary of state does serve at the pleasure of the president.

‘W’ trying, perhaps, to be too cute with his critiques

George W. Bush is saying he doesn’t want to “criticize” his successors as president of the United States.

Then he says things that sound oh, so critical of them.

Which is it, Mr. President? Are you going to weigh in fully or are you going to keep one foot off the scales?

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the ex-president warned against “isolationist tendencies,” an apparent reference to some of the statements made by Donald J. Trump and his administration.

It would behoove Bush to steer clear of references to the Iraq War, which in my view, didn’t turn out quite the way he and his team envisioned it and sold it to the United Nations and to the American public. We weren’t greeted as “liberators”; the fight to secure Baghdad was far tougher than advertised; and, oh yes, we never did find those weapons of mass destruction that the Bush team said were in the late Saddam Hussein’s possession.

As USA Today reported, “Bush said that there is a lesson ‘when the United States decides not to take the lead and withdraw,’ an apparent critique of former President Barack Obama.

“’Vacuums can be created when U.S. presence recedes and that vacuum is generally filed with people who don’t share the ideology, the same sense of human rights and human dignity and freedom that we do,’ he added.”

The former president should lose the pretense of “not wanting to be critical” of his successors. That would be too bad if he did decide to weigh in fully. I kind of admired his declaration that he didn’t want to undermine his immediate successor, President Obama, as he sought to craft his own foreign and domestic agenda. Neither did his father, George H.W. Bush, when he turned the presidency over to the man who defeated his re-election effort, Bill Clinton.

If Bush 43 is going to speak critically of current policy, then he just ought to say so and cease trying to sugarcoat it with “I don’t intend to criticize anyone” statements.

Actually, Mr. President, I get what you are trying to say.

Come clean with hacking info, Mr. President-elect

Oh, that Donald J. Trump.

He just cannot keep his trap shut. He now says he has information about the infamous election hacking that “others don’t know.”

I cannot stop thinking about the president-elect’s assertion a number of years ago that he had information about President Barack Obama’s place of birth that others didn’t know.

The birther in chief led the rumor monger parade in asserting that Barack Obama’s presidency was illegitimate. He said he had dispatched teams of spooks to Hawaii to learn the “truth” about the president’s place of birth; it wasn’t in Hawaii, the then-reality TV celebrity said.

It turned out that Trump had nothing. Zero. He was full of bull corn.

Now he has information about whether Russians hacked into our election system? That he knows things others don’t know? That our professional spies and intelligence officials don’t have the goods on the Russians?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-says-he-has-hacking-information-others-%e2%80%98don%e2%80%99t-know%e2%80%99/ar-BBxLW3t?li=BBnb7Kz

Trump keeps expressing skepticism about the CIA analysis, citing bogus intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction prior to the start of the Iraq War in 2003. Hmm. Has anyone suggested to Trump that the WMD “analysis” might have been forwarded by the neocons who comprised President Bush’s inner circle of advisers, that it didn’t come necessarily from the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency?

Stop teasing us, Mr. President-elect, with nutty notions that you’re smarter than the intelligence officers who are charged with keeping us safe from our adversaries.

Bush 41 voting for Hillary

bush

This probably isn’t nearly as spectacular a political story as some are making it out to be.

Still, it’s an important development in the presidential campaign of 2016.

Former President George H.W. Bush — aka Poppy Bush, Bush 41 and Bush the Elder — has told a member of a leading Democratic family that he’s going to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton over Republican Donald J. Trump.

The person who “outed” Bush 41 happens to be Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland — and the eldest child of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Sure, it’s an important story. President Bush is as “establishment Republican” as you can get. He served in many high-profile government capacities before being elected president in 1988. Now he’s going to vote for the wife of the man who defeated him for re-election in 1992. Bush’s forsaking of Trump’s candidacy speaks to the reluctance among many Republicans to back their party’s nominee.

But hold on. Is this a jaw-dropper? Hardly.

President Bush is a dedicated family man who loves his children more than life itself. When a politician attacks the kids, as Trump did this year en route to the GOP nomination, it’s only natural for Dad to take it personally.

Trump called former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb” and chided him repeatedly for his failure to do better against Trump in the GOP primary campaign.

Then there is this: Trump said the younger President Bush — George W. — “lied” the country into going to war in Iraq. He accused W. of fabricating the pretext for taking out Saddam Hussein by saying he had “weapons of mass destruction” and that he was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Setting aside whether one believes Trump’s assertions about W.’s veracity — and they do ring true to me — it’s totally understandable that the first President Bush would hold those utterances against the man who made them.

With 49 days to go before the election, it remains to be seen whether Poppy’s plan to vote for Hillary will bring other disaffected establishment Republicans along.

As for George H.W. Bush’s apparent defection … I do get it.

Cheney wrong on Iraq, but right on Iran?

cheney

Let me stipulate up front that I can be a bit slow on the uptake.

Having made that admission, I now must wonder aloud why the immediate past vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, should be taken seriously when he criticizes the Iran nuclear deal.

Why question it? Because Vice President Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration national security team were woefully wrong about Iraq and the conditions that lured us into the Iraq War.

Yet, there he is, out there blasting the Iran nuclear deal while actually defending the decision to go to war in Iraq. Remember the weapons of mass destruction? Or that Saddam Hussein was working to develop a nuclear arsenal of his own? Or that we’d be greeted as “liberators” by the Iraqis?

Cheney and the rest of the Bush gang said all of that.

Now we are supposed to believe him when he assesses the Iran nuclear deal as presenting a far greater risk to the United States than the terrorists who hit us on 9/11.

Cheney was wrong in 2003. He’s wrong now.

But he stands firm on the rationale he, the president, the national security team and the secretary of state all presented to the world that, by golly, Saddam was going to present a threat to the entire world. We had to take him out, Cheney said.

We weren’t greeted as liberators. The WMD? Not a sign of it anywhere. Ditto for the Iraqi nuke program.

Mr. Vice President, your miscalculation — or perhaps it was a deception — on Iraq disqualifies you from speaking out against an agreement that has far greater chances for success than the misadventure you helped create in Iraq.

 

No, senator: Obama didn't 'create' ISIS

It’s time to correct a misstatement uttered by one of the probable Republican candidates for president in 2016.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said that the Islamic State is the creation of Barack Obama.

The creation? Yes. He said that.

Check out the link here. The statement comes at about the 2:30 mark of the 3-minute video.

http://www.msnbc.com/way-too-early/watch/is-the-us-winning-the-fight-against-isis–449161795946?cid=sm_fb_msnbc_native

I believe the more accurate assessment is that the Islamic State is the creation of the failed Iraq War that was launched in March 2003 by President Bush.

ISIL comprises Sunni extremist militants — monstrous terrorists, at that — who are fighting to get rid of the Shiite government in Baghdad. Why are the Shiites in power, and not the Sunnis? Because we removed the Sunni in chief, Saddam Hussein, after we invaded his country on the false premises that (a) he possessed chemical weapons and was developing a nuclear bomb and that (b) he was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

President Obama did not “create” the Islamic State. He inherited its creation from a mistaken notion that overthrowing the Iraqi government and then remaking Iraq in our image would produce a nation that stands as a bastion for the freedom and liberty we all cherish.

So, let’s cut the crap, Sen. Santorum.

 

Dr. Carson: I wouldn't have invaded Iraq

There you have it.

The growing field of Republican presidential candidates is being sprinkled with individuals who actually are breaking with a key policy of the most recent GOP president.

Dr. Ben Carson said this week he would not have “gone into Iraq.” He said the United States could have employed other means to get rid of the late Saddam Hussein. He said the nation lacked a clear long-term strategy once Saddam had been toppled.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/242729-carson-says-iraq-invasion-was-a-mistake

“When you go into a situation with so many factions and such a complex history, unless you know what you’re doing or have a long-term strategy, it just creates more problems,” Carson told The Hill in a telephone interview.

He becomes the second major Republican figure to put daylight between himself and former President George W. Bush. The other one, more or less, was the former president’s younger brother, Jeb, who took a more awkward approach to trying to take back what he said initially in a clumsy response to a TV reporter’s direct question.

There well might be others GOP candidates who will realize the folly of going to war on what is now known to have been faulty intelligence regarding Iraq’s supposed possession of chemical weapons.

The Iraq War was a mistake. It’s good to hear Dr. Carson acknowledge as much.

I’m now waiting for former Vice President Dick Cheney — who’s been blasting Democratic officials’ criticism of the war — to weigh in against his fellow Republicans.

Well, Mr. Vice President?

 

World is better without Saddam, but …

Marco Rubio said that thing that all of us know to be true.

The world, said the U.S. senator from Florida, “is a better place” without Saddam Hussein walking among us. He told Fox News Sunday that President George W. Bush made the right call in invading Iraq in March 2003, even though he acted on intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be faulty.

Presidents, said Rubio — who’s running for president himself — don’t have the benefit of hindsight when they make critical decisions.

Again, true enough, senator.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/rubio-iraq-invasion-was-not-a-mistake/ar-BBjTt0s

But here’s the issue, as I see it — and no doubt others will see it differently:

The world would be a better place without a long list of sovereign leaders. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe comes to mind. So does North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. How about getting rid of Vladimir Putin in Russia? Other countries are ruled by tinhorn dictators and despots.

Is it our place to invade any of those other countries to get rid of evil rulers?

Rubio was standing behind his fellow Floridian, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who (now) famously told Fox’s Megyn Kelly he would have invaded Iraq, too, even with what we now know about the missing WMDs. Bush also, let’s add, is likely to run for president as well as Rubio and a host of other GOP candidates.

The problem with the Iraq War and the precedent it set is that we’ve now laid down a predicate for future efforts to rid the planet of evil men in high places.

The tough economic sanctions we had imposed on Saddam Hussein after the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 had contained that madman. The invasion was unnecessary, costly and far more troublesome than any of the president’s inner circle led the nation to believe it would be.

Oh, and one more thing: Saddam Hussein had nothing, zero, to do with 9/11.

Is the world better off without Saddam Hussein? Sure it is. Is it a safer place because we got rid of him? Only if you discount the presence of the Islamic State.

 

Well, that clears it up: Jeb wouldn't go to war

Jeb Bush has set the record straight … I think.

He now says he wouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq if he and the rest of the world knew then what we know now — which is that Saddam Hussein didn’t possess weapons of mass destruction.

Does that clear it up for you? The former Republican Florida governor — and likely GOP presidential candidate — surely hopes so.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/14/jeb-bush-clears-air-on-iraq-war-stance-says-would-not-have-authorized-invasion/?intcmp=latestnews

He went from “yes I would” go to war, to “mishearing” the question from Megyn Kelly of Fox News, to “misinterpreting” the question to now reversing himself completely.

MSBNC’s Rachel Maddow — and I’m acutely aware that she is no fan of any of the Republicans running, or thinking of running, for president — pointed out an important element of the botched answer to a simple question. She said Thursday night that Jeb Bush, whose brother George W. Bush, invaded Iraq in 2003, should have been aware that the question would come and he should have had his answer down pat.

He didn’t. He either hasn’t done his homework on the nuts and bolts of running for president, or doesn’t quite understand how the media work. Reporters are going to ask him repeatedly about the Iraq War and whether it was a good or bad idea for the United States to invade another country.

Jeb Bush remains one of the frontrunners for the GOP nomination, whenever he declares his candidacy.

I actually want him to do well as the nomination campaign ramps up.

But, oh man, he must stop fumbling the questions everyone in America knows he’s going to get.

'Mistakes were made' in Iraq … do you think?

There goes Jeb Bush, using that maddening passive-voice cliché that declares “mistakes were made.”

The mistakes occurred in Iraq after his brother, former President George W. Bush, invaded that country on a bogus premise that the Iraqis possessed weapons of mass destruction.

He told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly that he’d invade Iraq also, even he knew there were no WMD.

Now he’s backing away from the statement, telling conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity that predicting what he’d do is a “hypothetical” situation.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/jeb-bush-backs-off-support-of-iraq-invasion/ar-BBjH0wT

The former Florida governor is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination next year. He’s almost certain to join a growing GOP field.

He’d better get his Iraq War spiel lined out.

He told Hannity that President Bush learned from the “faulty intelligence” on which he relied to launch the March 2003 invasion. I guess that’s his view. As for the former president, he hasn’t yet revealed what precisely he “learned” from the mistaken intelligence-gathering.

I’m actually hoping Bush gets his act together. His party needs someone with a reputation for moderation running for president. The TEA party wing of the GOP has a lot of champions in the hunt already for the White House — and I expect fully that Gov. Bush will try to sound like one of them as he launches his own presidential bid.

His record, though, tells a different story.

Jeb Bush’s first major obstacle, though, is to persuade the country he is no carbon copy of his brother.