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Four Years Ago

Four Years Ago: Bush Didn't Lie

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On December 28, 2005, I posted:

In the words of the December 28, 2005 Chicago Tribune editorial:

On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.
. . .
After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of "the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq." We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.
Was the case for war overstated? Yes. Was there sufficient casus belli to go to war? Reasonable people can disagree. I think yes as well. Saddam was as brutal a tyrant as this world has ever seen. His only difference from monsters such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot is that he "only" killed hundreds of thousands instead of millions. Saddam's removal from power was in and of itself a good thing.

Both kneejerk war hawks and Bush Derangement Syndrome sufferers would benefit themselves and the entire national political debate by reading and comprehending this outstanding series of editorials by the Chicago Tribune. Sometimes Old Media remembers its true calling and purpose. Are you listening, New York Times?

Via Steve Antler and Instapundit.

Four Years Ago: Iraq, and who's responsible for national security, anyway?

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On December 17, 2005, I posted:

I've been trying hard to avoid politics lately--it's gotten so bitter and silly that it's much more fun to simply go on a cruise or two and watch some college basketball.

But, in the interim, a couple of things have happened.

First, Iraq elected a parliament. Now, we don't know who won yet, but the fact remains that for the first time in history, an Arab nation has elected a fully representative government.

Of course, to the extent that this remarkable achievement has been reported in Old Media, it's been spun largely as "what will go wrong now and how it will hurt Bush."


Next, we have the New York Times story on government monitoring of communications between terror suspects in foreign countries and those in the U.S. It is an open question as to what the story really is. Is it "domestic spying" as the Old Media is largely spinning it, or is it the illegal leaking of intelligence information as the Administration asserts?

Or maybe a bit of both?

Certainly we need to be concerned whenever the government monitors U.S. citizens' communications. But should we also be concerned that an intelligence operation, maybe an ongoing one, was (by admission of the New York Times) illegally leaked to them?

Old Media keeps trying to re-live their successes with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

But have they, in their zeal to "get" a sitting Administration, gone too far?

We are in the curious position, it seems, of allowing (unelected and therefore fundamentally undemocratic) major media outlets to decide whether national security will be harmed by revealing secret information.

Despite the libertarian/anarchical notion that "information should be free," I'd suggest that this is, generally, not a good idea.

Hopefully a court will decide who, if anyone, should go to prison for a long, long, long, long time in this affair.

Four Years Ago: Abolish the CIA!

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On November 17, 2005, I posted:

I think the CIA should be abolished.

If you look at the CIA's astonishingly bad intelligence to the President and the U.S. government on the Iraq matter, throw in the whole Valerie Plame thing which looks more and more like a CIA operation against the duly elected President of the U.S., and lay on top of that story after story of general CIA incompetence and you realize that Jack Ryan is very, very much a fictional character.

Shut the CIA down, and round up all of those former "Able Danger" military intelligence types and tell them that it's their show now.

Michael Barone agrees with me.

Via Instapundit.

Four Years Ago: Springtime in Paris

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On October 4, 2005, I posted:

This is just a bit tardy, but . . . Snookums and I took our honeymoon (our FIRST honeymoon, anyway) in Paris. Yes, the one in France. Here are a few pictures:

The French referendum on the European Union was going on while we were there. I wanted to get a picture of Oui and Non posters together and caught this one from the top of a tour bus:

Snookums and I (and some other guy at right) in a mirror in Versailles:

Next, a typical Paris street. Actually, some of them are more picturesque than this one, some of them aren't, so this one is pretty much average.

Of course, any trip to Paris includes an elevator ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower:

Sunset in Paris, from the top of the Eiffel Tower:

(You didn't think all of these blasts from the past would be about dreary politics, did you?)