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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The blame game

While the over-heated debate continues over Iran, some uncomfortable facts are surfacing:

"The George W. Bush administration's adoption of a policy of threatening to use military force against Iran disregarded a series of official intelligence estimates going back many years that consistently judged Iran's fear of a U.S. attack to be a major motivating factor in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"Two former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials who were directly involved in producing CIA estimates on Iran revealed in separate interviews with IPS that the National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) on Iran have consistently portrayed its concerns about the military threat posed by the United States as a central consideration in Tehran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.

"Paul Pillar, who managed the writing of all NIEs on Iran from 2000 to 2005 as the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, told IPS that all of the NIEs on Iran during that period addressed the Iranian fears of U.S. attack explicitly and related their desire for nuclear weapons to those fears."

16 Comments:

Blogger psydoc said...

Indeed a blame game: but the game is one of Antony's making.

All totalitarian regimes are paranoid and expect to be attacked. This does not have to be based in reality.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 5:44:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

This is true.
In addition, when the guy next door has just had his front door kicked in and he's been thrown in jail, his kid's heads have been put on a pike, the place has been destroyed, and it's treasure is being ravaged and all on the basis of fantastic lies, and you figure the only reason those gutless mother-f*kers did this was because they thought there's no way that your neighbour could fight back-it was gonna be a cakewalk. So what are ya gonna do? Especially since you have been put on the axis of evil list.., you're gonna get the hardest f*king Golf club out of the bag for when that c*ksker tries to break into your house to beat the living crap out of him so that he's f8kin dead when the cops come- that's what I'd do anyway.

Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:34:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Psydoc,

As late as January 2003, most tfo the world didn't believe Iraq would be attacked.

You really should start looking for obvious patterns here. Like IOraq, Iran is nto just paranoid, but paranoid while they sit on large oil and gas reserves. They haev every right to be afraid, very afraid.

Elloquently put Orang. ;-)

Friday, February 10, 2006 12:05:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"As late as January 2003, most tfo the world didn't believe Iraq would be attacked. "

Huhhhhh..? Are you sure you were on earth at that time, Addamo?

Iran does have some useful resources, sure. However a military solution to the problem Iran has created with its dishonest nuclear dabbling is a very last resort due to the

Doesn't stop idiots like Ritter and (more amusingly) Zhirinovsky sounding off. How many times over what period of time has Ritter predicted that Iran is due for imminent invasion?

I do like the way that so many here are referencing Zhirinovsky. Classic.

Friday, February 10, 2006 1:18:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

"Are you sure you were on earth at that time, Addamo?

In fact I was in New York in early 2003 and most people I spoke to didn't believe there would be a war with Iraq.

"How many times over what period of time has Ritter predicted that Iran is due for imminent invasion?"

So what? Just because he is getting the time frame wrong, that makes his a cook? In any case, he has said all along that it is going to happen. When it takes place is pretty irrelevant don’t you think? Early 2005, the Bush administration had the wind in their sails and seemed unstoppable. It turned out that 2005 crippled them in the end, but had things gone their way, who knows what could have happened?

In late 2002, Ritter was telling the public that the war with Iraq was a certainty. He was dismissed then and the rest is history.

I’m glad that you are so amused by references to Zhirinovsky, but history will be the judge of his predictions.

Friday, February 10, 2006 10:01:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Nice extrapolation there. From "most of the world" to "most of the people I talked to".

I really hope you're not a scientist.

"Just because he is getting the time frame wrong, that makes his a cook?"

Well, I guess a broken clock is right twice a day.

"He was dismissed then"

By whom? I remember many people calling for war, as well as a general expectation of war with Iraq in 2002. Your historical perspective is somewhat skewed. Don't try to paint Ritter as some kind of outspoken (but correct) maverick who predicted the Iraq war before anyone else. That's verifiable rubbish. You should know better than to try to pull that shit with me.

Well, he's such an amusing character. I find it more amusing that you've seized him as your latest pin up boy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 2:36:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

James,

Seeing as I was in the US, in the thick of things at the time, I felt it was a valuable perspective. More that half of the US citizens thought Saddam was behind 911 too.

That's not to say informed people like yourself didn’t see the writing on the wall was, and see through Bush’s Bs about diplomacy well into December of 2002. And the media were buying his crap, hook line and sinker, as you might recall

What is it about Ritter that has got up your arse in such a big way? Has he offended you?

I never said Ritter was the first to say anything, only that what he did say was accurate and the right hate him for that. They are now re-writing history by spreading the false myth that he was wrong on all counts and will be again.

The reason I respect the guy is because he has a remarkable insight into what took place, What happened on the ground on Iraq, and especially behind the scenes. I would have though that an empirical thinker like yourself would appreciate those qualities in a person.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 10:29:00 am  
Blogger James Waterton said...

The last paragraph in my previous post refers to Zhirinovsky. Sorry - I must have forgotten to post the quote.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 1:45:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

I thought in 2002 that there was a reasonable chance of war, given that Saddam was unlikely to accept the diplomatic demands placed upon him.

I personally think that the Iraq war has and will bring positive human benefits for the people of Iraq, despite the professed motivations for war of the Americans. Real outcomes are most important - this is a point lost by many. I think the Americans will eventually defeat the insurgency in Iraq, and I believe the Middle East will be in a better state by the time the Americans leave Iraq. In hindsight, I don't think the war was a good idea for the American people, despite the number of people its prosecution have assisted and will assist in the future. The Americans have expended a great deal of resources for what tangible benefits? It seems like a remarkably bad deal for them. I don't think they'll be repeating a war with such quixotic outcomes any time soon in the future.

Regarding Ritter - I don't like him because I perceive him to be a purveyor of convenient perspectives. I could be wrong regarding this - I look forward to reading his opinions in 1999. Then I shall make a final judgement on the man.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 3:53:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Fair enough James,

As I said before, most informaed people, who get their information outside of the MSM would also have seen the war as a foregone conclusion.

I don't share your optimism for Iraq, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

If you do a search of Ritter's speeches in 2002, you will find a number of interview and talks he gave ,refuting the WMD claim and arguing against the war. He also gave a spech a few days after Powell's adress to the UN refuting it entriely, so he certainyl didn't wait until after the invasion to become vocal about it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

The right don't like Ritter for the same reason they don't like Chomsky - because has hasn't "cashed in", to use Finkelstein's term. In other words, because he's telling truth to power.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 11:27:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

1. If one dismisses the underlying theory because it gets its particular predictions wrong, then you have to dismiss every theory in economics.

2. One can make the argument with respect to almost anything that it brings beneficial outcomes to mankind. (e.g. it's the excuse for the stolen generation).

Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:24:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

"If one dismisses the underlying theory because it gets its particular predictions wrong, then you have to dismiss every theory in economics."

Huh? The level of muddle-headedness exhibited in this quote is heroic. For starters, the primary role of economics is not to predict the future. The veracity of Ritter's "underlying theory" is based unfolding events supporting his predictions. If the predictions turn out to be incorrect, his theory is incorrect - or at best irrelevant.

"One can make the argument with respect to almost anything that it brings beneficial outcomes to mankind."

So what? Sometimes it's a justifiable argument and sometimes it isn't.

Ostensibly, what you've just said in your last comment sounds terribly clever. Scratch the millimetre-thick veneer and it dissolves into a vacuous, meaningless non-event.

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:33:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Progressive Atheist,

I agree.

The president and his merry men are allowed to lie, flip, sidestep, and be repeatedly wrong on all counts, yet are still held up as the ultimate source of inromatino. When critics of these people are even slightly wrong, they are crucified.

Take Powell and Condi's comments from January and June 2001. Both said that Saddam was no threat to anyone and was being contained. Six months later, they changed their tune completely,. This is in spite of the fact that no new information about Saddam's WMD had become available sicne 1999.

There is always a verry high price to be paid for speaking truth to power.

Monday, February 13, 2006 3:10:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Stop the presses:

Luminary of the economics profession, unergraduate student of international standing, James Waterton, sets second-rate Nobel Prize dullard Milton Friedman straight: "For starters, the primary role of economics is not to predict the future."

I'll write to Milt immediately.

Monday, February 13, 2006 10:53:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

Edward - you do that, squire, you do that. Why'd you pick on Friedman, anyway? I bet I know why - he's the only laissez-faire economist you've heard of, right?

What are the primary functions of economics? Explain to me how and where Milton Friedman (a man whose writings I'm pretty well versed in) suggested that the primary role of economics was to predict the future.

Go back to your pretentious Socratic delusions of grandeur...gadfly *chortle* You remind me of a schoolboy who takes himself oh-so-terribly seriously - hell, I've certainly been there done that - difference is that I grew out of it eight years ago. You're a further eight years older than me and you're still in the thick of it. Tragic, but if it helps you sleep at night...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:40:00 am  

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