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The Case of the Missing WMDs
www.4ranters.com ^ | 12-Jun-2003 | xagent

Posted on 06/14/2003 11:11:48 AM PDT by xagent

www.4ranters.com

It seems the anti-Bush crowd has found a new way to attempt to discredit Bush and the war in Iraq. This time, it's the missing WMDs. After the swift liberation of Iraq and the worries of the peaceniks proven wrong, one would figure the anti-war crowd would finally concede. Somehow, the fact that WMDs haven't been found - yet - is supposed to prove the war as unjustified, and make Bush and Tony Blair liars. First the protestors predicted a messy quagmire of a war where thousands of lives would be lost. Massive casualties of both Iraqi civilians and American troops were predicted. As the war drew to a close, they turned to the looting as proof that the US had unleashed chaos and anarchy in Iraq.

After that argument lost interest, the protestors pulled yet another one of their contradictory arguments. They claimed that the US has left a power vacuum in Iraq, leaving Iraq vulnerable to further disorder, and possibly a regime worse than Saddam Hussein. These were valid concerns, except that many of these people also called for the US to pull out of Iraq and hand reconstruction to the UN and Iraqi people. It'd be foolish to give immediate control back to the Iraqis right now, in the current state of Iraq. Doing so would only let theocratic Shiites. Coalition troops carried out this war, so why abandon it now and listen to outsiders? Let the US be in full responsibility, so that in decade or two, if something worse does arise, the US can be held accountable. This might be why those who opposed the war, now demand a multilateral reconstruction, or immediate Iraqi control. They want reconstruction to be botched, so in the end they can act as if they were right all along.

Their latest attempt to discredit the liberation of the Iraqi people comes from the missing WMDs. Some have even called for the impeachment and investigation of Bush and Blair!

Excuse me? The debate was never whether Iraq has these weapons. This was fact, acknowledged by even France, Germany, and the rest of the UN. It is a documented fact that he had WMD during the Gulf War, and had them as reported by UN inspectors until 1998. The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) had confirmed that he possessed, and had repeatedly used chemical and biological weapons. There's no doubt he had these WMDs. Since the Gulf War, UN inspectors have confiscated nearly 700 tons of chemical weapons and agents, nearly 50 Scud missiles, and many traces of biological and chemical agents. Had UNSCOM and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors not closed the operation of Hussein's nuclear facilities, Israel not bombed one of Iraq's nuclear reactors in 1981, and the Gulf War not occurred, it is highly probable that Iraq would have nuclear weapons today. Prior to being halted in 1998, all previous inspections for these weapons had not been effective; inspectors had been frequently blocked and denied access.

The debate to go to war was never about determining if Hussein did possess these weapons. Based on these past UN inspections, and his bold use of WMDs against the Kurds, Shiites, and Iranians, the world knew he possessed WMDs. Instead, the war was about the proper way to disarm Hussein, and to ensure he wasn't building new weapons. It was also about the proper way to punish Hussein for violating some 17 UN resolutions, including Resolution 1441, passed unanimously in November 2002 by all 15 members of the Security Council. Peaceniks seem to have forgotten this fact, as if his possession of WMDs was uncertain all along.

(Source: National Review)

Iraq, shortly before and after the Gulf War, even admitted to having a large cache of various WMDs. Hussein soon went on to claim that he had destroyed most of his weapons, when threatened with UN inspections. If Hussein was honestly disarming Iraq and destroying his WMDs, then why did he refuse inspections, and refuse the UN to oversee the destruction of his weapons programs?

Secondly, WMDs were never the sole reason for going to war. This is obvious by looking back at the speeches of Bush and Colin Powell. It had been clearly stated that the liberation and freedom of the Iraqi people from a repressive regime, and Iraqi sponsorship of terrorism were key factors. Establishing a stable democracy in Iraq will open the floodgates in the Middle East. Creating a model nation will be a tremendous influence for the surrounding Islamic dictatorships. This liberation of Iraq, and the hordes of Iraqis cheering Coalition troops was not an unexpected or lucky result that justifies the war in hindsight. The US has not used this to turn our minds away from the WMDs. It was one of the main goals from the beginning.

So where are the WMDs? They could still be hidden in Iraq's vast desert. Or, Saddam could have destroyed them during the ample time he had while the Coalition was presenting its case for war. This however, seems unlikely, for revealing this to the world could have easily averted a war. Or, the WMDs may be well out of Iraq by now - into Syria, or perhaps Iran. They could have easily been smuggled out of Iraq along with Iraqi weapons facilities and scientists. Either way, the WMDs exist and the war was never about determining if Hussein had any WMDs - this is undebatable. Nor does this discredit the new found freedom of Iraq from 30 years of Baathist oppression.

This "war of preemption", was really a war of liberation, and a war to disarm Hussein's already documented WMDs. With reconstruction underway, hopefully Iraq will turn out to be a model of democracy in a region so plagued with Islamic fundamentalism

What will the anti-war crowd turn to next?

http://www.4ranters.com/detail.php?id=76


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: america; anthrax; arab; arms; biological; bushdoctrineunfold; colinpowell; destruction; disarm; freedom; gas; genocide; georgebush; gulf; hidden; hussein; inspections; iran; iraq; iraqi; islam; kill; killed; kurd; kurds; liberation; mass; muslim; mustard; of; people; persian; saddam; shiites; soldiers; syria; terrorism; troops; un; unitednations; unitedstates; us; vx; war; warlist; weapons; wmd; wmds
An article I wrote for my website www.4ranters.com

http://www.4ranters.com/detail.php?id=76

1 posted on 06/14/2003 11:11:48 AM PDT by xagent
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To: xagent
Too bad Bush didn't use some other logic than WMD's. When none are found it gives the impression that he committed a breach of the truth (lied like hell). After chastising Blix for failing to find any and the fit at the UN, eating crow is hard to do.
2 posted on 06/14/2003 11:46:05 AM PDT by meenie
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To: meenie
Too bad Bush didn't use some other logic than WMD's.

Maybe, but there are always tradeoffs in life. If he hadn't "used" WMD as the "logic", he wouldn't have been able go through the UN at all (because that's what the "resolutions" were about), which would have meant no help from Tony Blair and Britain (since Blair evidently thought at least attempting to use the UN was necessary for him politically), which perhaps would've meant more dead American soldiers.

So, take your pick: increased American casualties, or decreased American casualties + yapping critics afterwards. Hmm, toughie.

3 posted on 06/14/2003 12:16:40 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: xagent
Cogent and logical argument. However the NAYSAYERS on FR as with other more liberal entities throughout the land will NOT stop this hunt for BLOOD and will continue criticizing GW until WMD are found or until something puts it off the front burner or until their pound of flesh is taken.

The SAME people that criticized GW for NOT using sparodic, non-specific and ghostly intelligence to PREVENT 911 are the SAME people who are criticizing him NOW for using SPECIFIC and STEADY intelligence from MANY sources to wage war with IRAQ. Can't please those who are aim to destroy, no matter what the circumstances.

4 posted on 06/14/2003 12:26:50 PM PDT by PISANO
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To: Dr. Frank; meenie
P.S. I should add that if he hadn't "used WMD as the logic", i.e. hadn't gone to the UN at all, he'd have yapping critics on his heels if only for that (the "unilateralism"), right now. There was no critic-proof way of invading Iraq.
5 posted on 06/14/2003 12:29:35 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: meenie
The WMDs existed in 1998. There was no accounting provided regarding the disposal of the quantities indicated at that time. Therefore, in the absence of any credible evidence of their destruction, the WMDs still exist somewhere.

Let us hope their existence is not revealed by a massive terrorist attack on Berlin or Paris or Riyadh or Tokyo.
6 posted on 06/14/2003 12:55:01 PM PDT by alloysteel
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To: alloysteel
Let us hope their existence is not revealed by a massive terrorist attack on Berlin or Paris or Riyadh or Tokyo.

Or New York, LA, Chicago or Boise.....

Prairie

7 posted on 06/14/2003 1:24:30 PM PDT by prairiebreeze (Middle East terrorists to the world: " We don't want no STINKING PEACE!!")
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To: xagent
Excuse me? The debate was never whether Iraq has these weapons.

No indeed, the real debate was over those weapons posed a threat requiring us to go to war. We could have continued our policy of boxing Iraq in at far less cost and risk. We chose to go to war and now we are stuck nation building unless we jump ship and let the country turn into a terrorist haven.

8 posted on 06/14/2003 1:59:26 PM PDT by palmer (Plagiarism is series)
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To: xagent; All
-Weapons of Mass Destruction ( or Distorsion or Deception? You decide...)--
9 posted on 06/14/2003 2:04:01 PM PDT by backhoe ("Pity About Africa...")
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To: meenie
When none are found it gives the impression that he committed a breach of the truth (lied like hell).

Except for all of that circumstantial evidence that has come up during and after the war. The anti-Bush crowd likes to pretend that that evidence doesn't exist. Doesn't fit their agenda.


10 posted on 06/14/2003 2:38:50 PM PDT by alnick ("Never have so many been so wrong about so much." - Rummy)
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To: Bisesi
The SAME people that criticized GW for NOT using sparodic, non-specific and ghostly intelligence to PREVENT 911 are the SAME people who are criticizing him NOW for using SPECIFIC and STEADY intelligence from MANY sources to wage war with IRAQ.

Exactly. They're even using the same slogan for their completely contradictory arguments: "What did Bush know and when did he know it." They're vile.

11 posted on 06/14/2003 2:42:42 PM PDT by alnick ("Never have so many been so wrong about so much." - Rummy)
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To: alnick
Anybody that sees a picture of one of those weapon lab trucks and imagines them being a WMD has to have an overactive imagination. We have wrecks all over the country sitting in salvage yards that are WMD. How can mustard gas or cyanide in the Tigris and Euphrates be considered an WMD?

I think that we had large caches of chem/ bio suits when we went into the Gulf with our troops, we had WMD's? Ditto, atropine. Suicide vests constitute WMD? Come on, you are in a state of denial. Bush and his administration told a big whopper and you are making them look all the more ridiculous.

12 posted on 06/14/2003 4:33:24 PM PDT by meenie
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To: Dr. Frank
Basicall for Bush is: Damned if he did something, Damned if he doesn't do something.
13 posted on 06/14/2003 4:39:16 PM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: alloysteel
Wrong, according to Karmel, the weapons existed in 1991 and were desroyed shortly thereafter. The UN inspectors left in 1998 and hadn't found any prior to their leaving. Any WMD's would have to have been made since then. With constant satellite surveillance, airflights in the no fly zones, and opposition Iraqis on the ground and we did not know whether Saddam had WMD's? Come on! You surely aren't that gullible, are you?
14 posted on 06/14/2003 4:42:07 PM PDT by meenie
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To: Dr. Frank
No critic-proof way of invading Iraq should tell you something. There was no critic proof way of invading Poland by Germany in the late thirties, no critic-proof way of attacking Pearl Harbor, no critic-proof way of destroying the Twin Towers in 9/11.

These were all acts of agression justified by the logic of the individuals that committed them. When the logic is rationalized by misleading the public to approve the actions, this is when the problem gets out of hand. This is where the Bush administration made its mistake. If you cannot make a reasoned argument for your actions and have to rely on mistruths to make your case, you are treading on pretty thin ice.

It is going to take a pretty good period of time for Bush and his entourage, plus some honesty, to regain the trust of the public, here and overseas. Trying to weasel out of it by blaming the intelligence community will not do it. A direct apology to the American people and the families who lost love ones in a cooked up war would be a good start.

15 posted on 06/14/2003 5:03:19 PM PDT by meenie
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To: meenie
I think that we had large caches of chem/ bio suits when we went into the Gulf with our troops, we had WMD's? Ditto, atropine. Suicide vests constitute WMD?

Well, you're determined to take a position contrary to GWB, regardless of what that may be.

We had chem/bio suits and atropine because Saddam was known to have chem/bio weapons. But you already know that.

The stockpile of suicide vests shows SH's regime to be a TERRORIST regime. You remember the war on terror, don't you?

As I said, you've blinded yourself to the facts, so you're not worth my time.

16 posted on 06/14/2003 5:07:49 PM PDT by alnick ("Never have so many been so wrong about so much." - Rummy)
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To: Dr. Frank
It seems to be a given that we had to invade Iraq. If they had no WMD's, what would have been the logic? This defies any reason. Did we have to go because we disliked Saddaam? Did we have to go because we wanted to kill some of the Iraqi people? Did we have to go because Iraq was a danger to our country? What is the reason?

I just cannot understand the logic of defending a war based on mistruths. We saw it in Vietnam with Johnson and the Tonkin incident which was proved to be false and destroyed his administration. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Trying to defend it, places the Republicans in the same box as the party that we so roundly criticize for not being able to tell the truth.

17 posted on 06/14/2003 5:16:55 PM PDT by meenie
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To: meenie
You want the truth? Here it is, naked and unadorned. George W. Bush made a unilateral decision to invade Iraq, to strengthen his position politically here at home, and to undermine the Democrats and reduce them to a permanent minority party status. Once the Bush Administration could declare victory, this would encourage the national economy to rebound, and this had in fact happened.

The BBC and many among the British elite have stopped comparing Bush to Adolf Hitler, and instead have been saying that by establishing a Gulag at Guantanamo, he unmistakeably has become much more like Josef Stalin, a towering icon in the eyes of the British left. So by their estimation, this may very well be as close to admiration as they are able to muster.
18 posted on 06/14/2003 6:17:18 PM PDT by alloysteel
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To: xagent
Lets be thankful our swift invasion forced the Iraqis to get rid of or hide their WMDs. Another great victory for Bush! If the democrtats can ride this to victory, we are, indeed, a pathetic country!
19 posted on 06/14/2003 6:25:37 PM PDT by 2nd Amendment
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To: meenie
Anybody that sees a picture of one of those weapon lab trucks and imagines them being a WMD has to have an overactive imagination.

No one's saying they're "a WMD". What they're saying is that they could be used to produce a WMD. Which is just as bad, from our point of view. You understand that, right?

It's not like we would've been perfectly safe if Iraq "had no WMD" but could produce them in a matter of days...sheesh

How can mustard gas or cyanide in the Tigris and Euphrates be considered an WMD?

It's evidence that they had them. Which was the issue.


20 posted on 06/14/2003 9:12:46 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: meenie
No critic-proof way of invading Iraq should tell you something.

No, it shouldn't. The morality of a given situation is not determined by whether Everyone Agrees With It. In fact the two have nothing to do with each other.

There was no critic proof way of invading Poland by Germany in the late thirties

And, there was no critic-proof way of resisting Germany in the late thirties, either. Should that "tell me something"? Hell no.

The point being that every action has its critics. Critics are not always right. They can even be completely wrong.

no critic-proof way of destroying the Twin Towers in 9/11.

no critic-proof way of responding by attacking Afghanistan... (there were protests, if you've forgotten). Face it, whether there are critics of an action tells us NOTHING about whether it's right or wrong.

These were all acts of agression justified by the logic of the individuals that committed them.

Yes, and sometimes the logic is correct, sometimes not.

When the logic is rationalized by misleading the public

Who misled the public? About what? (keep in mind that the only "the public" I care about in this context are US citizens..)

If you cannot make a reasoned argument for your actions and have to rely on mistruths to make your case,

Which mistruths? Name them.

It is going to take a pretty good period of time for Bush and his entourage, plus some honesty, to regain the trust of the public, here and overseas.

(a) the public "here" doesn't seem to mind all that much. (b) who the F cares about the public "overseas"? Bush is President of the U.S., not "overseas".

A direct apology

for what?

21 posted on 06/14/2003 9:22:47 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: meenie
It seems to be a given that we had to invade Iraq.

Well, in the sense that our Commander-in-Chief seems to have made the determination that this was a necessity, yes.

. If they had no WMD's,

Who says they had no WMD?

what would have been the logic?

Oh, hypothetically, you mean. Well I believe it's well-known that our leadership has an approach to the war on terror (remember this "terror" stuff?) which partially involves removing a dictatorial regime in the Middle East and trying to help a more or less free society grow there.

Did we have to go because we disliked Saddaam?

Not "have to".."want to" maybe

Did we have to go because we wanted to kill some of the Iraqi people?

No, it's obvious that we wanted to kill as few Iraqi people as possible. Fewer than Saddam does, for example.

Did we have to go because Iraq was a danger to our country?

Our C-in-C seems to have thought so.

What is the reason?

ask the C-in-C, he explained it many times. If you don't like his decisions/strategy for the war on terror, you can vote against him next time, of course. be my guest

I just cannot understand the logic of defending a war based on mistruths.

what "mistruths" were those again?

22 posted on 06/14/2003 9:27:23 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: xagent
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/929185/posts

McCain: Past the Point of Justifying

Washington Post ^ | 06/15/03 | John McCain


Posted on 06/14/2003 4:24 PM PDT by Pokey78


Like many Americans, I am surprised that we have yet to locate the weapons of mass destruction that all of us, Republican and Democrat, expected to find immediately in Iraq. But do critics really believe that Saddam Hussein disposed of his weapons and dismantled weapons programs while fooling every major intelligence service on earth, generations of U.N. inspectors, three U.S. presidents and five secretaries of defense into believing he possessed them, in one of the most costly and irrational gambles in history?
23 posted on 06/15/2003 12:19:05 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Support The Brave Iranian Students as they bring about a needed regime change!)
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To: Dr. Frank
It's evidence that they had them. Which was the issue.

No, the issue was whether he still had them and whether they were a threat to us. Everybody aknowledges he had lots in the past and probably still had some.

24 posted on 06/15/2003 2:44:58 AM PDT by palmer (Plagiarism is series)
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To: Dr. Frank
Most of your argument is spin control. In order to legitimize your argument you twist rather than deny. The statement: "What was that again" pretty well sums up your argument and reasoning. You know what the mistruths and exaggerations were. It does you very little good to try to win an agrument by ignoring the issue and concentrating on word play. I ask again: "Where are the WMD's" that Bush stated were the reason we had to go to war to eliminate.
25 posted on 06/15/2003 4:55:40 AM PDT by meenie
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To: palmer
No indeed, the real debate was over those weapons posed a threat requiring us to go to war. We could have continued our policy of boxing Iraq in at far less cost and risk. We chose to go to war and now we are stuck nation building unless we jump ship and let the country turn into a terrorist haven.

Oh puhleeze.... Iraq was well on it's way to becoming a terrorist haven before we invaded. We have set that back, which is a win for the US. Iraq containment m*a*y have been cheaper in the short term financially, but in the long term, it would have been more costly to us and the world because of damage to the economy and the compounding effects on the "maintenance" cost over time. A free trading, non-threatening Iraq will benefit the world and our economy. In your "zero-sum" type cost analysis, you are neglecting the increased economic activity that will offset the war cost.

Endless inspections only allow(ed) Iraq to continue to play the shell game with themselves in charge. It would have continued until they managed to slip a chemical, bio, or nuke agent out and would have been used against us by one of those terror organizations that WERE using Iraq as Afghanistan-II. WE are now in charge, and the shell game now has a limited life. We will find what they are hiding because we are actually looking for it as opposed to Blix and his blind eye approach.

Since the Terror camps were building and the WMD's (which you seem to think existed also) were being moved around or developed, it seems doing nothing but containment would have had significantly MORE risk and $ cost to the USA than containment in the long run.

26 posted on 06/15/2003 6:22:28 AM PDT by SteamShovel
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To: palmer
[[poison in Euphrates] It's evidence that they had them. Which was the issue.] No, the issue was whether he still had them and whether they were a threat to us.

I'm no math professor but by my count you have listed two (2) issues.

1. did he have them

2. "were they a threat to us" in a sense which militates for an armed response from us

Now, issue 2. was ALREADY DECIDED a long time ago. October, if I recall correctly, when OUR CONGRESS voted to grant Bush War Powers. They made their vote, based on whatever they saw and didn't see at the time, and they voted. That's a done deal.

What I was talking about was "the issue" which, it seems, some people are getting their panties in a bind over: namely, was the "justification" for war (in front of the UN) wrong. But the only thing that justification required was for Saddam to be in violation of Resolution XYZ (1441, whatever). And, he was. If you don't want to use the "poison in the Euphrates" example let's just use the "drone found by Blix" example. That's enough.

Everybody aknowledges he had lots in the past and probably still had some.

Apparently, they don't "acknowledge" that, otherwise why is there this criticism for not finding them and thereby proving they were there?

27 posted on 06/15/2003 9:11:52 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: meenie
I'm glad to see you've abandoned your "if an action has critics it must be wrong" silliness. Good for you! :-)

Most of your argument is spin control. In order to legitimize your argument you twist rather than deny.

These are useless sentences. Where's the substance?

The statement: "What was that again" pretty well sums up your argument and reasoning.

huh?

You know what the mistruths and exaggerations were.

No, I don't. Tell me. If you can.

It does you very little good to try to win an agrument by ignoring the issue and concentrating on word play.

I'm not.

I ask again: "Where are the WMD's" that Bush stated were the reason we had to go to war to eliminate.

Actually I've looked at all your posts on this thread and that's the first time you've asked this (so you're not asking "again"). On a similar note I can't figure out who you're quoting. But very well.

You ask me, Where are the WMD? Here's the answer: I don't know and I would like to find out. In particular I'd like to keep that dangerous stuff out of the wrong hands.

Um, so what's your point?

"Where are the WMD", like the rest of your post, is not an argument for anything. It's not the same thing as saying "there were no WMD" for example, because as you know, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

28 posted on 06/15/2003 9:20:08 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: SteamShovel
Since the Terror camps were building and the WMD's (which you seem to think existed also) were being moved around or developed, it seems doing nothing but containment would have had significantly MORE risk and $ cost to the USA than containment in the long run.

I think you are underestimating the risks of intervention. Saddam's regime was stable and ruthless which kept lawless zones from developing. Saddams shiite slums may contain many would-be terrorists but they were contained and disarmed. Contrast that to fundamentalist slums in other Arab countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia) where the police don't dare to go except for a quick in-and-out raid. And when they do that they find all sorts of weapons and explosives.

29 posted on 06/15/2003 9:44:58 AM PDT by palmer (Plagiarism is series)
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To: Dr. Frank
What I was talking about was "the issue" which, it seems, some people are getting their panties in a bind over: namely, was the "justification" for war (in front of the UN) wrong. But the only thing that justification required was for Saddam to be in violation of Resolution XYZ (1441, whatever).

We are not obligated or responsible for enforcing U.N. resolutions. Our defense is for defending us not the U.N.'s existence or effectiveness.

Apparently, they don't "acknowledge" that, otherwise why is there this criticism for not finding them and thereby proving they were there?

I shouldn't have said "everybody". I disagree with people arguing there are no WMD, because I think they will ultimately be proven wrong. I also disagree with people who think Saddam's WMD were a threat to us. As for the wimps in Congress who ceded war powers to president, I don't think that was done only using objective evaluations of the threat. Mostly it seems there was political pressure enhanced by several stories about WMD just before the vote. They turned out to be rubbish (e.g. aluminum tubes, buying uranium in Africa, etc), but they had the desired effect.

30 posted on 06/15/2003 9:53:29 AM PDT by palmer (Plagiarism is series)
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To: palmer
We are not obligated or responsible for enforcing U.N. resolutions.

I know. Who said we were? It just so happened that, in this case, we wanted to. :-)

As for the wimps in Congress who ceded war powers to president, I don't think that was done only using objective evaluations of the threat.

Possibly not. Vote 'em out then. Your argument is with them.

31 posted on 06/15/2003 10:33:15 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Dr. Frank
"...because as you know, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

I keep hearing this koan-like statement. It's not true. Consider this counter-example:

- I suspect that my kid is smoking dope (because of that damn rap music he listens to). To prove my hunch, I search the house from top to bottom. I find no stash. While he's asleep, I take a hair sample and send it to a lab. The test comes back negative. I hire a team of private eyes to follow him 24/7. They find nothing.

There is an absence of evidence here. If this does not, in addition, constitute "evidence of absence", what would? What further evidence would be required to demonstrate that my son is not smoking dope, the testimony of an omniscient being?

I am _not_ suggesting that the above scenario is in any way analagous to the hunt for WMD. My point is that the absence-of-evidence talisman is bunk. I suspect that this silly tongue-twister was initially coined with the intention of inducing cerebral paralysis, thereby nipping discourse in the bud. To that sordid end it has worked wonders.

Part of the problem is that this reasoning could be used in defense of utterly absurd positions:

- I contend that purple crows exist. Since no one has ever seen such crows and ornithologists swear they do not exist, I will reluctantly grant that there is an absence of evidence for my contention. But as Rumsfeld and everybody else keeps telling us "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

This expression is not one of logic's Ten Commandments and has no place in geopolitical discourse. We could perhaps ask "At what point does an absence of evidence become evidence of absence?" but then we're doing conceptual analysis and might as well tackle the all-time gem "Is the difference between a difference of degree and a difference of kind a difference of degree or a difference of kind?" I think both questions are in the same ballpark regarding their practical application.

32 posted on 06/16/2003 12:55:11 AM PDT by Petronius
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To: Petronius
[absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."] I keep hearing this koan-like statement. It's not true.

Yes it is. For example, right now I have no tangible evidence whatsoever that the moon exists (it being daytime where I live, I don't live near the sea to be able to observe tides, I don't have photos of the moon as my PC background or on my wall somewhere, etc.) Shall I start to doubt the moon's existence, then?

That is sophistry.

I will grant, I suppose, that it's conceivable one can construct detailed, complicated examples where Absence Of Evidence seems to legitimately throw more weight behind the "It's Absent" theory. Presumably, that is what you are about to do in your post. Sigh.

P.S. What is "koan-like"?

While he's asleep, I take a hair sample and send it to a lab. The test comes back negative.

Sorry, you screwed up, and so early on too. This isn't an "absence of evidence"; an "absence of evidence" would exist if you had never been able to get your hands on a hair sample in the first place. What you've got here is positive evidence that his system has been clean from dope for the past X days... (that's what such hair tests tell you, as I understand them).

I hire a team of private eyes to follow him 24/7. They find nothing.

Also not an "absence of evidence". An "absence of evidence" would exist if you had no idea what he was doing during certain parts of the day. Here, you've got PIs observing his behavior "24/7". If that's really true you can actually have positive eyewitness testimony to statements like "he definitely did not light up in the past X days".

I am _not_ suggesting that the above scenario is in any way analagous to the hunt for WMD.

Good.

My point is that the absence-of-evidence talisman is bunk.

First it was "koan-like", now it's a "talisman"?? Couldn't you just use "cliche" like a normal person? ;-)

Anyway, it's not "bunk". Your examples are.

Part of the problem is that this reasoning could be used in defense of utterly absurd positions:

That's true and no one, least of all me, would deny that.

This expression is not one of logic's Ten Commandments and has no place in geopolitical discourse.

I don't know whether we're participating in "geopolitical discourse" here, whatever that is, but it does have a place in a discussion where one side is acting like a proposition (Iraq had no WMD) has been proven.

I think both questions are in the same ballpark regarding their practical application.

Very well. I'll make a note of that in my records. (rolls eyes)

So, you think Iraq had no WMD, or not?

33 posted on 06/16/2003 9:04:19 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Dr. Frank
For example, right now I have no tangible evidence whatsoever that the moon exists...Shall I start to doubt the moon's existence, then?

Specious. To doubt that the moon exists you would need to question either the veracity of your memory or whether nature will continue to work the way it has in the past. Theoretically you can doubt both, but I don't think you can really doubt them. In place of "the moon" substitute "Bigfoot", "Zeus", "ghosts", "extraterrestrial visitors" and you not only can doubt their existence, you should - given the dubious evidence. Should we remain agnostic about Zeus & Bigfoot because new evidence could come in? It's a fundamental mindset: no evidence for X = don't believe X. Some of us go through life like this (or at least aspire to - it depends a great deal on how one defines "evidence" and there are some beliefs we're hard-wired to have).

A koan is a puzzling, paradoxical statement used in Zen Buddhism to snap the student out of his rational ways of thought (What is the sound of one hand clapping?) The Absence of Evidence line struck me as being designed to obfuscate, not clarify. It isn't some Universal Logical Truth, though that's the implication. And it isn't a cliche - yet.

...it does have a place in a discussion where one side is acting like a proposition (Iraq had no WMD) has been proven.

This proposition can never be proven, only disproven - very easily. But the more we try to disprove it and fail the more reasonable it becomes to abandon agnosticism and add WMD to the Bigfoot/Zeus category.

So, you think Iraq had no WMD, or not?

They certainly did at one time. Did they recently have massive stockpiles? My fingers are crossed. For one simple reason I hope not: If they did, and we can't find them now, one very likely explanation is that someone else has them.

34 posted on 06/17/2003 12:36:00 AM PDT by Petronius
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To: alnick
I tend to think that Iraq did/does have chemical weapons given their history, but how does having chem suits and atrophine prove anything?

The US also carries the same, does that prove the US intends to use chemical weapons? No, it simply means they think the enemy might.
35 posted on 06/17/2003 12:45:38 AM PDT by stevem99
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To: meenie
Personally I think having US bases in the region (and not in SA) was part of the equation in deciding to invade Iraq.
36 posted on 06/17/2003 12:48:12 AM PDT by stevem99
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To: stevem99
I tend to think that Iraq did/does have chemical weapons given their history, but how does having chem suits and atrophine prove anything? The US also carries the same, does that prove the US intends to use chemical weapons? No, it simply means they think the enemy might.

It is circumstantial evidence.

The difference between the US having them and Iraq having them ready to use is that the US had them ready to use because we were at war with Iraq, who was known to have chem/bio weapons.

The same conclusion cannot be drawn by US having them because the idea that Iraq had them ready to use because they believed that we would use chem/bio against them is not believable because it was clear that the US had no intention of using chem/bio weapons.

So for Iraq to have them at the ready was because they were prepared to use chem/bio weapons, not because anyone seriously thought that they may have to protect themselves against us using them.

37 posted on 06/17/2003 5:42:54 AM PDT by alnick ("Never have so many been so wrong about so much." - Rummy)
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To: Petronius
Specious. To doubt that the moon exists you would need to question either the veracity of your memory or whether nature will continue to work the way it has in the past. Theoretically you can doubt both, but I don't think you can really doubt them. In place of "the moon" substitute "Bigfoot", "Zeus", "ghosts", "extraterrestrial visitors"

You have a point. Looks like both our examples were screwed up :)

[one side is acting like a proposition (Iraq had no WMD) has been proven.] This proposition can never be proven, only disproven - very easily.

Agreed. But one side is acting like it has been proven, which was my point.

But the more we try to disprove it and fail the more reasonable it becomes to abandon agnosticism and add WMD to the Bigfoot/Zeus category.

No argument there, actually. And I suppose reasonable people can disagree about how long we should wait before clicking the stopwatch on our agnosticism, but to me, two chaotic months is a ridiculously short time. And keep in mind WMD and Bigfoot/Zeus are in two different categories; we do have reasonably trustworthy (perhaps not 100% so) positive evidence that the former existed at some time. The theory "WMD are gone" requires some explanation as to what happened to them / where they went; the theory "Bigfoot doesn't exist" requires no such.

Did they recently have massive stockpiles? My fingers are crossed. For one simple reason I hope not: If they did, and we can't find them now, one very likely explanation is that someone else has them.

Agreed.

For the record, I don't believe they necessarily had "massive stockpiles" per se. But some kind of weapons program, sure.

38 posted on 06/17/2003 11:30:54 AM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: alnick
Good statement.
39 posted on 06/17/2003 11:38:00 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: xagent; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; *war_list; W.O.T.; Dog Gone; Grampa Dave; blam; Sabertooth; ...
A most excellent post, thanks!

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40 posted on 06/17/2003 11:40:21 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: meenie
You said:

Too bad Bush didn't use some other logic than WMD's. When none are found it gives the impression that he committed a breach of the truth (lied like hell). After chastising Blix for failing to find any and the fit at the UN, eating crow is hard to do.

Article says:

The debate to go to war was never about determining if Hussein did possess these weapons. Based on these past UN inspections, and his bold use of WMDs against the Kurds, Shiites, and Iranians, the world knew he possessed WMDs. Instead, the war was about the proper way to disarm Hussein, and to ensure he wasn't building new weapons. It was also about the proper way to punish Hussein for violating some 17 UN resolutions, including Resolution 1441, passed unanimously in November 2002 by all 15 members of the Security Council. Peaceniks seem to have forgotten this fact, as if his possession of WMDs was uncertain all along.

You did read this, right?

41 posted on 06/17/2003 11:44:44 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: meenie
The point to be made is the WMD have been found, but it did not satify the media's requirements.

The various chemical weapons concentrations found in the river on the approach to Baghdad is a good example. It hit the media, flashed, and was gone to long lost archive before the war was over. Test showed Sarin, Mustard and VX gas, if I remember correctly.

Then there is the pesticide issue. Either Iraq has some pretty monstrous roaches, or the pesticides they manufactured that made the troops guarding them show the exact same symptoms as nerve gas exposure were a little overstrength. The troops were not just sitting on top of the drums when they found them, so I would suspect the Iraqi use of dual use technology is at work here.
(Pesticide can be easily converted to a Chemical weapon)

Why hasnt anyone in the media used some imagination and seen the connection between the strength of the pesticides used and the Chem Weapons issue. Pesticides and Chemical weapons sometimes share the same symptoms.It isnt out of the realm of imagination that the Iraqis used pesticide formulas with concentrations enough to kill humans as Chemical weapons.

I suppose the media wants the WMD's found to have big, blaring signs on them with a skull and crossbones that grabs them by the neck and chokes the bejeesus outta them before they declare it.


42 posted on 06/17/2003 2:47:27 PM PDT by judicial meanz
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To: judicial meanz
Most pesticides are nerve agents. They are WMD's for most insects. They are also WMD's for people who use them. There is very little difference between them and VX or Sarin. We have pesticides on the farm that contain small amounts of sarin. As far as the mustard and cyanide they caused toxic levels according to the tests. X-rays contain dangerous levels of radiation but they are not WMD's. What it amounts to is the use that these various substances are used for.

As far as I know, there were no weapons of mass destruction used by the Iraqis in Iraqi Freedom. Therefore there were no WMD's in spite of all the speculation generated before. Bush and his administration made the calculation that WMD's would be used. They weren't and they have been backtracking ever since and diverting to other subjects to spin the reasons we went to war. The lesson to be learned is that war is too important and destructive to be made on speculation.

43 posted on 06/17/2003 3:13:52 PM PDT by meenie
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To: meenie
As far as I know, there were no weapons of mass destruction used by the Iraqis in Iraqi Freedom. Therefore there were no WMD's in spite of all the speculation generated before.

The fact that there were (apparently) no WMD used doesn't mean "there were no WMD's". Not by a long shot.

Bush and his administration made the calculation that WMD's would be used.

So did, essentially, every single person in the Western world, pro- or anti-war. Everyone was saying that Saddam would use WMD against our troops. I certainly thought and feared so. It proved not to happen (seemingly), and certainly I wonder why.

They weren't and they have been backtracking ever since

Who's been "backtracking"? About what? Be specific. Remember that virtually everyone thought these WMD would be used. The fact that they weren't doesn't mean anyone needs to "backtrack".

When you pay for auto insurance, but don't have any accidents, do you need to "backtrack" and "explain" why you were "wrong" to gamble that you would get into some accident? Course not, that's silly.

The lesson to be learned is that war is too important and destructive to be made on speculation.

Yeah, I mean after all, just look at the horrible result we have caused: Hussein out of power.

TRAGIC

I suppose I'd agree that war is too important "to be made on speculation". But what "speculation" are you talking about? Who was "speculating"? Cite your evidence.

Further, war may be "too important", but so is not-war. That is, if you're so reluctant to pull that trigger that you wait till attacks are made on your own soil... uh, that ain't any good either.

There needs to be some kind of balance between the two approaches.

44 posted on 06/17/2003 3:39:46 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Dr. Frank
I can't believe the stretches that people are going to, to defend the half-cocked reasons for rushing to Iraq without thinking of the consequences. We have 200,000 troops tied down indefinitely with no end in sight. Sixty billion gone now and billions more to get out gracefully.

I thought it was ridiculous to see the Democrats prostitute themselves trying to defend the impeached President but it is just as ridiculous to see the lengths conservatives(?) are taking to defend their President. After the propaganda was shown to be false, the denial sets in and every sort of theory is advanced to protect the mistruths.

45 posted on 06/17/2003 4:54:18 PM PDT by meenie
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To: meenie
I can't believe the stretches that people are going to

Such as?

to defend the half-cocked reasons

Such as?

for rushing to Iraq

"rushing"? It took a damn year and a half.

without thinking of the consequences

Who says we "didn't think of" the consequences? I thought about them quite a bit. (Still supported the war.)

Deciding to do something is not the same thing as "not thinking of the consequences of" doing something. It's possible to ponder the consequences of doing something and still decide that, on balance, it's worth doing.

How strange that you didn't know any of this.

We have 200,000 troops tied down indefinitely with no end in sight.

As we knew we would. Nobody said the war on terror would be easy; Bush has repeatedly warned us that this would be a long struggle.

Sixty billion gone now and billions more to get out gracefully.

Billion what? Oh, money. Yes, it's expensive to fight a war.

but it is just as ridiculous to see the lengths conservatives(?) are taking to defend their President

Who are you talking about?

Can't be me. You can go back and read Post #31 and #22 (to you!) where I advise you to vote against Bush.

On other threads I've even stated that if he is proved to have lied then I'd have no problem with him being impeached.

After the propaganda was shown to be false,

What "propaganda" is that, specifically?

What was "shown to be false", specifically?

the denial sets in and every sort of theory is advanced to protect the mistruths.

Ah, you're the guy who kept using the word "mistruth". Now I remember you.

Is "mistruth" even a real word? Is it the same as "untruth"? In any event, I remember asking you long ago to tell me precisely which "mistruths" you think were told. For some reason you never did, you kept on posting to other people but not to me. Odd.

Which "mistruths" were told and how do you know that they were "mistruths"? Please be specific.

46 posted on 06/17/2003 5:04:27 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: meenie
Your points are well taken, however I will disagree with the gist of the argument. That doesnt mean I dont respect your opinion.

You are a veteran and so am I. I hate war just as much as the next guy, and I think its the stupidest thing the human race does to itself.

I dont support President Bush when he is wrong, but in this case I support him fully. Read some of my Israel policy posts and you will see proof of that.

I think the mass graves are proof enough for me that we did the traditional American thing of promoting freedom. I think the Iraqi's joyfully pulling down statues of the idiot were also enough. I think the revelations of the horrors that the people over there endured are also enough.


47 posted on 06/17/2003 5:46:38 PM PDT by judicial meanz
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