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"What We Know Now": Iraq revisionism is not knowledge
The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press ^ | May 27, 2015 | Daniel Clark

Posted on 05/27/2015 6:53:45 PM PDT by Daniel Clark

“What We Know Now”: Iraq revisionism is not knowledge

by Daniel Clark

“Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” That was the question that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly put to Jeb Bush about Iraq. The Florida governor’s answer, and his subsequent attempts at clarification, have since been roundly criticized. Little has been said, however, about the awfulness of Kelly’s question.

Bush should have challenged Kelly’s premise, by asking her what it is “we know now” that should produce a different answer than he would have given in 2003. When critics of the Iraq War refer to “what we know now,” they’re really only talking about the prevailing narrative, which contains no actual knowledge whatsoever.

“We know now” that there were no weapons of mass destruction, but in order to learn that, we’ve had to disregard all the genuine knowledge that exists on the subject. From the very beginning, every chemical weapons find in Iraq was met with a declaration by Hans Blix, or some equally unserious person, that it was “not a smoking gun.” This did not mean that the weapons didn’t exist; it only meant that a determination had been made to dismiss them. Large quantities of deadly chemicals and other WMD components have likewise been dismissed, along with an extensive paper trail of evidence, and dual-use equipment being kept under circumstances that precluded any innocent purpose.

We’ve even got one of Saddam Hussein’s secret recordings in which his son-in-law, who was in charge of his chemical weapons program, boasts about how thoroughly they had deceived the inspectors. Not that we needed it, because Saddam’s treatment of the inspectors was itself damning enough to justify the invasion. Iraqi officials physically impeded them at every turn, and repeatedly tried to bribe them. Whereas a rational person would have accepted that as proof of an active WMD program, “what we know now” is that there was none.

“We know now” that Saddam had no terrorist ties, even though a 2006 Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that he’d given massive amounts of aid to Islamic terrorists, including precursors to and affiliates of al-Qaeda. Saddam’s paramilitary irregulars, known as the Fedayeen, acted as a conduit between the Iraqi military and foreign jihadists, and Saddam himself admitted that his intelligence service held direct talks with al-Qaeda.

Another thing “we know now” that goes largely unspoken but is constantly implied is that Saddam posed no threat, therefore we could have left him in power without any significant consequence. If Jeb and the other Jellyphants from the GOP had the fortitude to resist this campaign of media-driven ignorance, they’d point out that what interviewers like Kelly are really asking is whether we should have tolerated the following circumstances:

* Iraq would remain the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, with the possible exception of Iran. Not only would Saddam still be surreptitiously funding al-Qaeda, but he’d also still be paying Palestinian families to turn their children into suicide bombers.

* Saddam would continue to operate multiple training camps for foreign jihadists, one of them basically being a hijacking school. He would retain the ability to deploy his terrorist trainees to coordinate “martyrdom operations” in the Middle East and in Europe, as in the case of his apparently unrealized “Blessed July” project.

* Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terror group, whose creation was directly financed by Osama bin Laden, would have continued operating in Northern Iraq until achieving its goal of toppling the government of Jordan.

* The mobile chemical labs that “we know now” didn’t exist would still be functioning, just as they did throughout the 90s, according to the Duelfer Report. The poisons manufactured there could still be passed on to al-Qaeda for an attack against the USA or England, much like Saddam had mused about in another of his secret recordings.

* Those 500 tons of uranium our soldiers whisked out of the country would still be there. Saddam’s secret recordings, including one of a 2000 meeting he had with two scientists about a new method of uranium enrichment, would never have been discovered. Not only would those efforts have continued to this day, but they would now be driven into high gear by the nuclear arms race that would exist between Iraq and Iran.

* Libya would not have given up its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs as it did in December 2003, when Moammar Khadafy admitted to CNN that the invasion of Iraq had forced his hand.

* Our good friends the Kurds, who serve as an example of what the rest of the Middle East should strive to become, would have continued to be pulverized under Saddam’s iron fist for another 12 years and counting.

* Saddam would have concluded by now that there is no price to be paid for trying to kill an American ex-president. His assassination squads would thus be encouraged to seek out other high-value American targets.

* Not only would Saddam still be alive, but so would his sadistic sons Uday and Qusay, who would carry on his atrocious legacy for the foreseeable future.

Remembering these and other factors, it’s plain to see that the Iraq War is totally vindicated. It’s only after we’ve expunged from our memories all that we knew about Saddam in 2003, and all that we’ve learned about him since, that we arrive at the point of “what we know now.”

Revisionists will glibly concede that Saddam was “a bad guy,” but as political figures go, they seem to perceive him as somewhat less menacing than Trent Lott. They must imagine that Iraq, minus American intervention, would have been the placid land of kites that was depicted in Michael Moore’s movie. The Iraqi dictator’s terrorist ties and WMDs have been made to disappear, simply by uttering the magic words “no smoking gun.” The vacuum that remains is what suffices for “what we know now.”

If it’s true that what somebody doesn’t know can’t hurt him, then the “we” that Kelly talks about have surely rendered themselves invincible.

-- Daniel Clark is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the author and editor of a web publication called The Shinbone: The Frontier of the Free Press, where he also publishes a seasonal sports digest as The College Football Czar.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fedayeen; jeb; saddam; wmd

1 posted on 05/27/2015 6:53:45 PM PDT by Daniel Clark
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To: Daniel Clark

but somehow Saudi Arabia didn’t get touched. And there was no one in the Bush administration that knew that Shia and Sunni hated each other and this would explode into Civil War? We are the public. We weren’t expected to know that. They were. and if it took five hundred thousand troops to secure the border and prevent civil war then we shouldn’t have gone with two hundred thousand men. and we shouldn’t have left the job in Afghanistan up to war lords in the beginning.

2 posted on 05/27/2015 7:07:15 PM PDT by dp0622
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To: dp0622

Ah, don’t try to get sensible (and even biblical) about the question.

3 posted on 05/27/2015 7:09:37 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Embrace the Lion of Judah and He will roar for you and teach you to roar too. See my page.)
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To: Daniel Clark

My recollection is that WMD had little or nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq. I recall Iraq continually thwarting the UN WMD inspections, violating the no-fly zone often threatening our aircraft, twelve years of Security Council deliberations as Iraq tried to stretch out the inevitable, thumbing their nose at the US as they really didn’t believe the US had the guts to invade, and much more.

4 posted on 05/27/2015 7:13:50 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I’m embarrassed that I went along with the mob and was naive enough to think that by 2006 Iraqis would be dining in McDonalds, playing baseball, and eating apple pie.

5 posted on 05/27/2015 7:15:39 PM PDT by dp0622
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To: elpadre

what was the clear and present danger to the United States? Why didnt nato take over the responsibility of enforcing the no fly zone? By these criteria shouldnt we be invading Iran? By any criteria shouldnt we have destroyed Saudi Arabia ready for giving probably tens of billions to terrorists over the decades? Saddam Hussein was a $0.02 dictator and a foil to Iran.

6 posted on 05/27/2015 7:20:42 PM PDT by dp0622
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To: Daniel Clark

My very first posts on FR were expressing my opinion that invading Iraq was unnecessary at that moment. That Saddam was in check and at least he was not a Radical Muslim. I was under the opinion that Afghanistan wasn’t over yet, as many had thought.

I got ripped apart by every single response.

7 posted on 05/27/2015 7:35:36 PM PDT by The Toll
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To: dp0622

That’s mostly Bremer’s fault. Disbanding the army and creating a vacuum was what ruined it all.

Rumsfeld et al. should have known better since they wanted to avoid another Vietnam. Instead they did everything the same.

Demolishing the central government and pandering to sectarian identities did the exact opposite of what they wanted.

8 posted on 05/27/2015 7:56:14 PM PDT by Shadow44
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To: dp0622

thank you

9 posted on 05/27/2015 7:56:28 PM PDT by Lorianne (fed pork, bailouts, gone taxmoney)
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To: Shadow44

absolutely. I didn’t know about that disbanding the army thing until recently. To my shame. but these other guys in charge man they should have known better. They’ve studied history and war etc.and when Rumsfeld made that statement you don’t go to war with the army you want et cetera, I wanted to kill him. these are all precious men and women. I want the GD best machinery and equipment over there for them.

10 posted on 05/27/2015 8:06:59 PM PDT by dp0622
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To: dp0622
"by 2006 Iraqis would be dining in McDonalds, playing baseball, and eating apple pie..."

If you believed that you weren't going along with any "mob," you were out there all by yourself.

The fact is, however, that the Iraqis had had honest national elections, and the possibility of a stable government existed. Indeed by 2012 Obama took credit for Iraq being a peaceful, stable emerging democracy. Then he pulled out the troops that were our insurance policy. ISIS was the result of the power vacuum being filled, the vacuum Obama needlessly created.

11 posted on 05/27/2015 8:20:47 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Daniel Clark

The premise is BS, because everything we know now we knew then.

12 posted on 05/27/2015 8:20:58 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: hinckley buzzard

that’s not exactly the way I recall it. I seem to recall the Sunnis and being a very very angry and oppressed and left out of the new government and a civil war was simmering. Perhaps leaving the troops behind would have delayed the inevitable, or if it wasnt inevitable it would have taken about 20 or 30 years. We all keep thinking in terms of rational civilized  people in a developed country. and perhaps if graft wasn’t so incredibly rampant and we had built a great infrastructure and kept the army intact things would be very different right now. and I don’t remember a time when there weren’t a thousand deaths a month from terrorist attacks. with or without our troops there.

13 posted on 05/27/2015 8:28:11 PM PDT by dp0622
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