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The Dems on WMDs

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QUOTE(kapkomet @ Nov 9, 2005 -> 03:26 PM)
1)  He would have acted on the same intelligence

I disagree strongly with the idea that Bill Clinton would have acted on the same intelligence, if by the same intelligence you mean any and all data gathered by our intelligence services on Iraq. I agree with the idea that Bill Clinton would have acted had he been presented with the intelligence that the U.S. presented the world with.

 

Remember what we have learned since the war. Virtually all of our intel on Iraq's WMD programs were based on defectors, many from Chalabi's organization. The CIA knows very well that you can't trust defectors. At least 2 of thsoe defectors were known liars - Curveball and the guy the NYT wrote about over the weekend. Nonetheless, their claims became key elements in Bush's run to war.

 

Furthermore, there is the Niger/Uranium story. We had, through Wilson's trip, good reason to believe Iraq was not trying to acquire uranium from Niger. Beyond that, before we launched the war, we learned unequivocally that our only evidence that Iraq had tried to purchase that uranium, the forged documents, was in fact entirely B.S., when El Baradei said so before the U.N.

 

Beyond that, we know that on a huge number of things that hte Bush administration presented as proven fact, there was in fact huge doubt in the CIA. For example, we know that the CIA had huge doubts about claim that the UAV's could be used to disperse bioweapons (They were held together with duct tape) or that they could reach the U.S. The CIA had huge doubts that those aluminum tubes could have been used in a nuclear program (They were simply the wrong parts).

 

However, none of this data was presented publically. The people who paid attention figured it out. I swore openly every single time in 2002-2003 that Bush referenced the aluminum tubes, because I knew he was lying. People looked at the specs and said that they could not be used in a WMD program. The CIA did the same thing in many cases. But those doubts ended up at backs of booklets, and the administration chose to ignore them..

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Bin Laden and Iraq, contrary to the media bias, are related, at least by correlation.

 

Maybe not DIRECTLY related, but they are related.

 

So is Syria and Iran, and that scares me.

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QUOTE(kapkomet @ Nov 9, 2005 -> 05:35 PM)
Bin Laden and Iraq, contrary to the media bias, are related, at least by correlation.

 

Maybe not DIRECTLY related, but they are related.

 

So is Syria and Iran, and that scares me.

What in the world does "related by correlation" mean? They didn't work together, the defector who said they worked together was a known liar, Bin Laden hated Hussein for running a secular regime, and Al Qaeda was virtually absent in Iraq before the war.

 

Does correlated mean they disliked the U.S.? Yes, but they disliked each other more. Does correlated mean they were both Muslim? Well, yeah. But beyond that, I don't know what you're saying.

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The dialogue here is quite informed, even if it had to be coerced by Kap suggesting the thread was too silent on the side of the Dem backers. :D

 

How about the participants here taking a stab at dissecting this essay by Norman Podhoret?

 

It's an advance piece from the December (newsstand date) Commentary Magazine, so it would be good to get a head start on either countering or supporting (depending on your position) these talking points. Some of this has been touched on in this thread, but there are other specific points that I'd like to hear comments on.

 

It's a long-ish piece, but worth reading even if only to rip holes in it. The central point of the piece is that the anti-war charge that GWB intentionally misled us into war is a falsehood that has been "refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike."

 

My take on it is that the piece very conveniently leaves the most damning evidence out of the mix, namely the fact that the key justification messages AND messengers had been largely discredited months before the invasion yet the administration kept using all of this "evidence" in their argument for war without ever sharing the VERY LIKELY probability that it was bunk.

 

Of course, probability and certainty are key parts of Podhoretz' argument. He reminds us that " "To lie means to say something one knows to be false." And by extension, he pleads with us to accept that as long as the administration didn't know with 100% certainty that all of the intel was bogus then running with it the way they did was technically not lying.

 

This is the new version of arguing over the definition of what "is" is.

 

The piece also utilizes a lot of the recent pro-war gospel statements – that the Brits had 100% confidence in their intel so why shouldn't we. etc. The problem is, we now know a number of British intelligence folks dind't have 100% confidence in the information. There's also a lot of Wilkerson statements in there that are undated, so it's hard to decide how much of that is him talking and how much is the administration spin machine he was still a part of at the time.

 

Lots of other thoughts, but 'd like to see some from all of you as well.

Edited by FlaSoxxJim

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QUOTE(FlaSoxxJim @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 02:22 AM)
The dialogue here is quite informed, even if it had to be coerced by Kap suggesting the thread was too silent on the side of the Dem backers.  :D

 

How about the participants here taking a stab at dissecting this essay by Norman Podhoret?

 

It's an advance piece from the December (newsstand date) Commentary Magazine, so it would be good to get a head start on either countering or supporting (depending on your position) these talking points.  Some of this has been touched on in this thread, but there are other specific points that I'd like to hear comments on.

 

It's a long-ish piece, but worth reading even if only to rip holes in it.  The central point of the piece is that the anti-war charge that GWB intentionally misled us into war is a falsehood that has been "refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike."

 

My take on it is that the piece very conveniently leaves the most damning evidence out of the mix, namely the fact that the key justification messages AND messengers had been largely discredited months before the invasion yet the administration kept using all of this "evidence" in their argument for war without ever sharing the VERY LIKELY probability that it was bunk.

 

Of course, probability and certainty are key parts of Podhoretz' argument.  He reminds us that " "To lie means to say something one knows to be false."  And by extension, he pleads with us to accept that as long as the administration didn't know with 100% certainty that all of the intel was bogus then running with it the way they did was technically not lying.

 

This is the new version of arguing over the definition of what "is" is.

 

The piece also utilizes a lot of the recent pro-war gospel statements – that the Brits had 100% confidence in their intel so why shouldn't we. etc.  The problem is, we now know a number of British intelligence folks dind't have 100% confidence in the information.  There's also a lot of Wilkerson statements in there that are undated, so it's hard to decide how much of that is him talking and how much is the administration spin machine he was still a part of at the time.

 

Lots of other thoughts, but 'd like to see some from all of you as well.

:lol:

 

This is cool s***.

 

I'll read it when I have some time. And I'll disagree with it all because I'm a Rushbo blowhard. LMAO.

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http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/...5_11/007530.php

 

Lots of people did believe that Iraq had WMD before the war. The problem Podhoretz doesn't bother wrestling with, however, is that after the war concluded we discovered that there were also a fair number of people who had been skeptical about Iraqi WMD. INR, for example, thought the African uranium was bogus. DIA thought our prime witness for Iraqi-al-Qaeda WMD collaboration was lying. The Air Force found the evidence on drones to be laughable. DOE didn't believe in the aluminum tubes. None of these dissents was acknowledged by the Bush administration.

 

Nor does Podhoretz apply himself to the entire period before the war. He stops his investigation at the end of 2002. But that's not when we went to war. We went to war in March 2003, and by that time UN inspectors had been combing Iraq for months with the help of U.S. intelligence. They found nothing, and an increasing chorus of informed minds was starting to wonder if perhaps there was nothing there. In response, President Bush and his supporters merely amped up their certainty that Saddam was hiding something.

 

And of course there's the nukes. As Podhoretz surely knows, the evidence for an Iraqi nuclear program was always weak, and once the inspections started the evidence rapidly fell to zero. That kind of thing is just too hard to hide. The warnings of mushroom clouds, however, continued unabated.

 

Unless you think that going to war is no more serious than planning a marketing campaign for a new brand of toothpaste, all of this contrary evidence should have been publicized and acknowledged along with all the evidence that went in the other direction. It wasn't. Given this, the fact that so many people believed that Saddam had an active WMD program simply doesn't perform the analytic heavy lifting that Podhoretz thinks it does.

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QUOTE(Balta1701 @ Nov 9, 2005 -> 09:03 PM)
What in the world does "related by correlation" mean?  They didn't work together, the defector who said they worked together was a known liar, Bin Laden hated Hussein for running a secular regime, and Al Qaeda was virtually absent in Iraq before the war.

 

Does correlated mean they disliked the U.S.?  Yes, but they disliked each other more.  Does correlated mean they were both Muslim?  Well, yeah.  But beyond that, I don't know what you're saying.

Sounds like an ideological statement. And it's the idealogues who have gotten us into trouble here.

 

Axis of Evil and all that. 9-11 gave the US an excuse to take on anybody that disliked us because El Quaida disliked us too and look what they did to us?!?

 

Third grad schoolyard logic. But good enough to let Bush pick a fight with the country he wanted to pick a fight with.

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Tapped

 

READ THE WHOLE THING. He's really going to have to speak up for himself before this situation gets out of hand, but a suspiciously large number of conservative pundits have been offering out-of-context quotations from this Kenneth Pollack article to "prove" that Bush in no sense manipulated intelligence data when selling the Iraq War. Norm Podhoretz is the latest to join this party. Obviously, conservative pundits are all honorable people and they would never deliberately lie to their audiences, so I can only conclude that they're working from some White House talking points and haven't actually read the article. Near the end, Pollack concludes:

 

    For the most part, the problems discussed so far have more to do with the methods of Administration officials than with their motives, which were often misguided and dangerous, but were essentially well-intentioned. The one action for which I cannot hold Administration officials blameless is their distortion of intelligence estimates when making the public case for going to war.

 

Now look. Maybe you want to argue that Pollack doesn't know what he's talking about. Maybe the administration's actions weren't "misguided and dangerous." Maybe they didn't engage in "distortion of intelligence estimates" (or, in layman's terms, "lying") when talking to the public. But surely if there's any justice on earth we can all agree that you can't cite an article that calls Bush a liar as evidence that he did nothing wrong.

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I've been silent on this... but more because of that election I was working on til last night and the hangover I've been nursing since this morning.

 

Yes, Democrats were misinformed by intelligence reports that were wrong. However, to say that statements in 1998 - to a situation that was wholly different because of actual material changes on the ground - justify an invasion five years later is pretty irresponsible.

 

In 1998, the UN was forced to pull out inspectors by the US because Saddam Hussein started fooling around with what they could and couldn't do. Clinton launched a serious bombing operation and wanted to go further but couldn't because he could not get the support of a Republican dominated Congress.

 

Clinton tried to do the right thing, but he didn't try hard enough. In 2002, the Bush administration decided to war with Iraq. The evidence on the ground clearly seemed to show that there was little change in weapons capability between 1998 and 2002. In fact any change seen at all made it less likely that there was any kind of WMD capability.

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1. I don't know if anyone mentioned this above, but the national debt is not the deficit.

 

2. The Democrats clearly have moved to the left. My main man Clinton put the smackdown on Hussein in 1998 unilaterally, and he also helped screw Milosevic in 1999 without UN approval. Now things are a bit different on the left, as the worship of the feeble-minded Cindy Sheehan makes clear.

 

3. Many of the statements made by the administration before the war, for instance, that Iraq developed nuclear weapons fit into a pattern of blatant lies. Despite this, there were good reasons to do Iraq--

 

a) We f---ed Saddam Hussein. His despotism was a WMD threat in the midtern. Ceteris paribus, the world is a better place in his absence.

 

B) The United States of America showed a willingness to spend dollars and spill blood to defend itself. There were 3K Americans dead after 9-11; there have been 25-100K Muslims dead up to this point in the Iraq war. As the recent case of France shows, if one simply appeases militants, they will walk all over everyone.

 

c) Our presence in Iraq functions like a giant terror sponge. All the jihadists are going over to their backyard in Iraq to die at the hands of Americans instead of attacking civilians here in America. This gives truth to the saying "fight them there, or we'll fight them here." There has been no comparable follow up attack since 9-11 on the United States.

 

d) Lastly, our presence in Iraq has strategic value. Iran and Syria sponsor international terror with a passion. If another major attack occurs, they know they're next, no questions asked. As a result, there's a powerful incentive for them, as long as they aren't nuclear, not to support groups aiming terrorism at the USA.

Edited by JHBowden

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QUOTE(JHBowden @ Nov 9, 2005 -> 11:57 PM)
1. I don't know if anyone mentioned this above, but the national debt is not the deficit.

 

2. The Democrats clearly have moved to the left. Clinton put the smackdown on Hussein in 1998 unilaterally, and Clinton also helped screw Milosevic in 1999 without UN approval. Now things are a bit different

 

3. Many of the statements made before the war, for instance, that Iraq developed nuclear weapons fit into a pattern of blatant lies. Despite this, there were good reasons to do Iraq--

 

a) We f---ed Saddam Hussein. His despotism was a WMD threat in the midtern. Ceteris paribus, the world is a better place in his absence.

 

B) The United States of America has shown a willingness to spend dollars and spill blood to defend itself. There were 3K Americans dead after 9-11; there have been 25-100K Muslims dead up to this point in the Iraq war. As the recent case of France shows, if one simply appeases militants, they will walk all over everyone.

 

c) Our presence in Iraq functions like a giant terror sponge. All the jihadists are going over to their backyard in Iraq to die at the hands of Americans instead of attacking civilians home. This gives truth to the saying "fight them there, or we'll fight them here." There has been no comparable follow up attack since 9-11 on the United States.

 

d) Lastly, our presence in Iraq has strategic value. Iran and Syria sponsor international terror with a passion. If another major attack occurs, they know they're next, no questions asked. As a result, there's a powerful incentive for them, as long as they aren't nuclear, not to support groups aiming terrorism at the USA.

 

 

Agreed on all points. Despite the fact that there were no WMD's found, the fight is not all for nothing.

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The Democrats clearly have moved to the left. My main man Clinton put the smackdown on Hussein in 1998 unilaterally, and he also helped screw Milosevic in 1999 without UN approval. Now things are a bit different on the left, as the worship of the feeble-minded Cindy Sheehan makes clear.

 

Many on the left worship at the temple of Sheehan but as for Democrats not really. I can't think of anyone that's been all that close to her other than maybe Jesse Jackson.

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QUOTE(JHBowden @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 05:57 AM)
1. I don't know if anyone mentioned this above, but the national debt is not the deficit.

 

2. The Democrats clearly have moved to the left. My main man Clinton put the smackdown on Hussein in 1998 unilaterally, and he also helped screw Milosevic in 1999 without UN approval. Now things are a bit different on the left, as the worship of the feeble-minded Cindy Sheehan makes clear.

 

3. Many of the statements made by the administration before the war, for instance, that Iraq developed nuclear weapons fit into a pattern of blatant lies. Despite this, there were good reasons to do Iraq--

 

a) We f---ed Saddam Hussein. His despotism was a WMD threat in the midtern. Ceteris paribus, the world is a better place in his absence.

 

B) The United States of America showed a willingness to spend dollars and spill blood to defend itself. There were 3K Americans dead after 9-11; there have been 25-100K Muslims dead up to this point in the Iraq war. As the recent case of France shows, if one simply appeases militants, they will walk all over everyone.

 

c) Our presence in Iraq functions like a giant terror sponge. All the jihadists are going over to their backyard in Iraq to die at the hands of Americans instead of attacking civilians here in America. This gives truth to the saying "fight them there, or we'll fight them here." There has been no comparable follow up attack since 9-11 on the United States.

 

d) Lastly, our presence in Iraq has strategic value. Iran and Syria sponsor international terror with a passion. If another major attack occurs, they know they're next, no questions asked. As a result, there's a powerful incentive for them, as long as they aren't nuclear, not to support groups aiming terrorism at the USA.

 

According to most people on the left, the reasons above are not good enough. Why is that?

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Do you really think Bin Laden would have abandoned his plan to ram jets into the World Trade Center, to swap bombs with the US military? GMAB.

 

Terrorists do not need countries to plan or carry out their attacks. McVeigh is the classic example.

 

So the terror sponge doesn't hold up with me. Terrorists don't want to take on the US Military, they know that too many Americans don't care if the military dies, after all that's what our tax dollars pay for and only anti-American commies believe 1,000 or 2,000 dying is wrong. Bush can hide our war dead, and the GOPerheads believe he is right. You can't hide 2,000 civilian caskets.

 

The terrorists recruit their criminal co-conspirators by preaching America is an evil land, out to destroy them. When we start bombing Iraq, killing women and children (s*** happens in war), we become their greatest recruiter.

 

True, the people of Iraq are better off that Saddam is gone.

 

Thousands of US families are worse off, visiting graves of their loved ones. Millions of Americans are worse off, funding the destruction and reconstruction of Iraq with loans that our children's children will be paying off. Some will say that is a fair trade, others will not.

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QUOTE(Texsox @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 01:49 PM)
Do you really think Bin Laden would have abandoned his plan to ram jets into the World Trade Center, to swap bombs with the US military? GMAB.

 

Terrorists do not need countries to plan or carry out their attacks. McVeigh is the classic example.

 

So the terror sponge doesn't hold up with me. Terrorists don't want to take on the US Military, they know that too many Americans don't care if the military dies, after all that's what our tax dollars pay for and only anti-American commies believe 1,000 or 2,000 dying is wrong. Bush can hide our war dead, and the GOPerheads believe he is right. You can't hide 2,000 civilian caskets.

 

The terrorists recruit their criminal co-conspirators by preaching America is an evil land, out to destroy them. When we start bombing Iraq, killing women and children (s*** happens in war), we become their greatest recruiter.

 

True, the people of Iraq are better off that Saddam is gone.

 

Thousands of US families are worse off, visiting graves of their loved ones. Millions of Americans are worse off, funding the destruction and reconstruction of Iraq with loans that our children's children will be paying off. Some will say that is a fair trade, others will not.

 

Ok, what about Serbia/Yugoslavia/Bosnia whatever it's called today? What about all those people? The scale is smaller, but it's the same thing, isn't it?

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QUOTE(kapkomet @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 08:40 AM)
According to most people on the left, the reasons above are not good enough.  Why is that?

here's the question: If all those reasons were good enough, why not try selling that to the average American when the administration was going to war?

 

The answer, of course, is that it wouldn't have played to Congress and to the public like the fearmongering campaign did.

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QUOTE(Texsox @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 08:49 AM)
So the terror sponge doesn't hold up with me.

 

And not with all the dead people in terror attacks in Bali, Spain, London, Jordan, etc. either I'd imagine.

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QUOTE(kapkomet @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 10:04 AM)
Ok, what about Serbia/Yugoslavia/Bosnia whatever it's called today?  What about all those people?  The scale is smaller, but it's the same thing, isn't it?

 

0 American lives were lost with our actions in Bosnia/Yugoslavia/Kosovo.

American actions were taken under multinational auspices (UN/NATO)

And life didn't degenerate into chaos and everyday bombings there since we got involved.

 

So I don't see how this comparison is apt.

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a.) We have dramatically increased the WMD threat through our actions in Iraq. By invading that country and failing to immediately secure sites that were formerly under U.N. control, we let the equipment that the U.N. had sealed off completely disappear. Equipment which was still operable, but just had 5-10 years of dust covering it and a few U.N. seals. We have no idea who is using this equipment now or where it is. Furthermore, there has been some evidence of insurgents in Iraq trying to develop rudimentary chemical weapons for use since the war ended, possibly using the equipment and expertise that was dispersed when we invaded.

 

b.) By showing a willingness to spend blood and treasure to defend itself, the United States has rendered itself totally unable to defend itself further. Due to the degredation of our army's equipment and the fact that virtually all of our available soldiers are tied down in Iraq, we have no credible force with which, for example, we could use to threaten Iran in the event they really did choose to build a nuclear bomb. Iran has been far less willing to allow inspections than Iraq was under Hussein in his last days...do you claim that Iran would be equally stubborn if the U.S. had an army of 250,000 available to strike Iran if they chose not to comply with the U.N.?

 

Furthermore, by putting so many troops into Iraq, we have still left ourselves unable to truly search and secure the remote areas of Afghanistan, where it is still thought that the cneter of Al Qaeda is hiding.

 

Furthermore, by our actions in Iraq, we have dramatically weakend the coalition that came together to support us in Afghanistan, and therefore we have basically guaranteed that if we ever felt the need for another strike to try to preempt something (again, such as Iran building the bomb), we would be doing so virtually alone (Britain needs years to rebuild its army after Iraq as well).

 

c.) The statement that IRaq is a terror spunge makes 1 terrible assumption. It assumes that there is a finite amount of terrorists in the world. If that were the case, then locking them all up in 1 area would be a wise strategy.

 

However, that is obviously not the case, for the simple reason that it is possible to create more terrorists. In Iraq, that is exactly what we have done. By creating a large, unemployed population which is very unhappy, and giving Muslim countries all the ammunition they could possibly imagine on how to portray us as brutal, uncaring savages (Abu Ghraib, Fallujah), we have spawned an entire generation of terror recruits. The huge majority of the strikes against the U.S. carried out in Iraq are done by Iraqis. The huge majority of those arrested are Iraqis. Virtually no Iraqis were among the terrorists that made up Al Qaeda on 9/11, compared with places like Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Chechnya.

 

We may very well be facing terrorists from Iraq for the next half century. The invasion has provided fertile recruitment and training grounds and radicalized thousands of muslims who never wished to hurt the U.S. before. But when the U.S. locks your brother up, or hits him with a weapon that burns off his skin, or kills him by freezing him to death in an Abu Ghraib torture chamber, that gives plenty of motivation to fight.

 

d. Syria and Iran know without a shadow of a doubt that right now, the U.S. is in a completely inept position and cannot even hope to thereaten them. The U.S. has no army available for a major occupation right now, and even if it did, the U.S. would be doing so against the will of virtually the entire world. This is why Iran is probably racing right now to obtain a nuclear weapon - we gave them the perfect window to do so. We cannot hope to hurt them right now.

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QUOTE(Balta1701 @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 12:52 PM)
d.  Syria and Iran know without a shadow of a doubt that right now, the U.S. is in a completely inept position and cannot even hope to thereaten them.  The U.S. has no army available for a major occupation right now, and even if it did, the U.S. would be doing so against the will of virtually the entire world.  This is why Iran is probably racing right now to obtain a nuclear weapon - we gave them the perfect window to do so.  We cannot hope to hurt them right now.

 

Never mind that if Bush wanted to he could flatten all the suspected WMD sites uhh..like this evening and Iran couldn't do anything but sit there and cry to the UN about it.

 

As for Syria, they're still wetting their pants and begging us not to hit them over the Hariri incident in Lebanon and the terrorists that keep coming across the border.

Edited by NUKE_CLEVELAND

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QUOTE(NUKE_CLEVELAND @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 11:01 AM)
Never mind that if Bush wanted to he could flatten all the suspected WMD sites uhh..like this evening and Iran couldn't do anything but sit there and cry to the UN about it.

 

As for Syria,  they're still wetting their pants and begging us not to hit them over the Hariri incident in Lebanon and the terrorists that keep coming across the border.

Actually, Iran could do a lot about it if they wanted to...first they could flatten Israel, second they could literally attack our army in Iraq, and third and most importantly, we couldn't actually flatten the WMD sites in Iran, they're widely dispersed, often underground or in secure locations, and we don't even know where most of them are.

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QUOTE(Balta1701 @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 01:17 PM)
Actually, Iran could do a lot about it if they wanted to...first they could flatten Israel, second they could literally attack our army in Iraq, and third and most importantly, we couldn't actually flatten the WMD sites in Iran, they're widely dispersed, often underground or in secure locations, and we don't even know where most of them are.

 

 

If Iran tried anything against Isreal they would be made to wish they hadn't. As for attacking our Army in Iraq they have the same POS equipment the Iraqi Army had. That would be like feeding a tree branch into a wood chipper.

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QUOTE(NUKE_CLEVELAND @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 11:22 AM)
If Iran tried anything against Isreal they would be made to wish they hadn't.  As for attacking our Army in Iraq they have the same POS equipment the Iraqi Army had.  That would be like feeding a tree branch into a wood chipper.

Just like our army when it went into Iraq.

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QUOTE(Balta1701 @ Nov 10, 2005 -> 02:25 PM)
Just like our army when it went into Iraq.

 

Since the Iraqi army so held their own against us or something. The only effective technique that has been employed is the hit and run insurgency. Even when the Iraqi army was at its height in the first gulf war, we shredded it and were knocking on Baghdad's doorstep in a heartbeat.

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