:: Skeptical Notion

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:: Friday, August 15, 2003 ::

Promoting Unhealthy Forests

The Left Coaster has a good guest post up on Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative.
The Bush Administration has had kicking around for a while something called the Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI). In the midst of a tense fire season, while most of the West is suffering a fourth year of drought, with fresh memories of the seven million acres burned by unintended fires in 2002, and with increasing numbers of people purchasing homes adjacent to national forests, they are attempting to take advantage of the situation this summer and make the HFI law. They are, as before, using fear and a desire in the midst of tension to "do something" to subsidize commercial interests at the expense of taxpayers while creating a situation that make the situation worse for all involved once implemented.
To the vast surprise of no one, Bush's plan doesn't actually reduce the risk of forest fires, and seems to make a lot of money for lumber companies.

However, in order to be fair and balanced, I have to admit that Bush wouldn't be driven to such deceptive practices if we would let him give the money straight to the companies in question. It's our fault, for getting up set at this 450 billion dollar "deficit thing", that he has to resort to such drastic measures.
:: Morat 11:42 AM :: ::

Idiot Web Policy of the Day.

In an attempt to be Fair and Balanced, after bashing the Washington Post for their stupidity, I felt it necessary to bash someone else. Otherwise, it's not fair and balanced. Via Volokh, we have what appears to be one of the stupidest web policies I've ever seen. Pennridge School District Guidelines For External Links:
The Pennridge School District gives unlimited permission for governmental, educational, and publicly funded organizational web sites to incorporate links to the Pennridge School District web site or to web sites created under the auspices of the school district. Examples of acceptable links include the web sites of agencies such as the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, other school districts, the public library system, museums, and municipal governments or their agencies.
Non-profit organizations and for-profit commercial enterprises may apply for special permission to establish a link to the Pennridge School District. This request must be submitted in written form and must be signed by an officer of the organization or agency. The request should be sent to the Superintendent of Schools, District Education Center, 1506 North Fifth Street, Perkasie, PA 18944. The request should specify the purpose for link, the general content of the web page and/or web site where the link would appear, and the specific Pennridge web page address requested.
Yep. It appears that the Pennridge School District will not allow you to link to their site unless you meet their specific criteria. Like Volokh, I'm pretty sure I don't meet it. And, like Volokh, I'm linking to it anyways. Aren't I naughty?

I realize that local school boards are the last bastions of undiluted power in America (I keep meaning to run for my local schoolboard. At least two members deserve someone like me making their life difficult), but this is ridiculous even for them.
:: Morat 11:27 AM :: ::

Fair and Balanced

I'd like to reiterate my support for Fair and Balanced day. Skeptical Notion is proud to be a fair and balanced blog, offering you fair and balanced commentary.

And anyone who says otherwise is, in the immortal words of Stephen Colbert, a Hitler loving queer.
:: Morat 11:18 AM :: ::

Idiot Editorial of the Day

Atrios pointed out this Washington Post editorial.
Okay, so maybe it's a bit warmer than usual. Temperatures across the continent have shot up into the 90s and once or twice have topped 100 degrees in London and Paris. But is this really hot -- hot enough to close businesses, hot enough to cancel trains (the tracks might buckle), hot enough to wax nostalgic for the summer rain to which some Europeans, notably residents of the British Isles, are more accustomed?

Last time we checked, the weather here in Washington was in the upper 80s, which is average to low for this time of year. Temperatures in Houston and Dallas in the past couple of days have topped 100, as they usually do in summer. Yet somehow, no one's talking about extraordinary measures being taken by Texans or Washingtonians.
Now, I realize that papers occasionally print editorials by idiots, but this one is a generic Post editorial. It's not by the idiot of the week.

I live in Texas. I live in Houston, to be specific, and we just had several days of 100+ heat. But you know what? I live in Houston. I have central air conditioning. I have AC in my car. I have lived here all my life. I am acclimated to the heat. We have infrastructure in place to deal with it. This city was built in the full knowledge that it occasionally gets damn hot.

We know how much water to drink, we know how to deal with heat stroke. We spend 3 months or more a year living in hot temperatures.

But get this...one inch of snowfall and we close the schools. Why? Because no one has snow chains. We don't have snowplows. No one here ever drives in the snow. We don't even really have much in the way of cold weather gear. Every once in awhile it gets cold, and the only reason I have warm enough clothes to deal with the occasional sub-zero temperature is that I've gone skiing before.

So, to the idiots at the Post: It's not the heat. It's the variation from the norm. People in Europe aren't wusses, aren't idiots, and aren't exaggerating. They are simply unprepared for this sort of heat, because it happens so rarely. It's a rare place that has air conditioning. They've spent their whole lives dealing with cooler climates. If you can't grasp something this simple, what the hell are you doing writing for a major newspaper?
:: Morat 9:33 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, August 14, 2003 ::

Bush: No new tax cuts needed

HoustonChronicle.com - Bush: No new tax cuts needed:
President Bush said Wednesday he does not believe a new round of tax cuts is needed to boost the economy, which his aides say is recovering despite stagnant job growth and a ballooning federal deficit.
Bush delivered his no-new-tax-cut message after a two-hour huddle at his Texas ranch with his top economic advisers, a meeting intended to buoy sagging public confidence over the president's handling of the economy.
You know the economy is in trouble when George Bush realizes he can't cut taxes anymore.
:: Morat 1:06 PM :: ::

Supporting the troops....

Tbogg points out this: Troops in Iraq face pay cut:
The Pentagon wants to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who are already contending with guerrilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120- degree-plus heat.
Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved last April of $75 a month in 'imminent danger pay' and $150 a month in 'family separation allowances.'
The Defense Department supports the cuts, saying its budget can't sustain the higher payments amid a host of other priorities.
...
WHITE HOUSE DUCKS ISSUE
A White House spokesman referred questions about the administration's view on the pay cut to the Pentagon report.
I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating.

In the runup to war, I was called many things. I was accused of many things. I was called a pacifist, a communist, an appeaser, "objectively pro-torture" was one of my favorites....

Most often, however, I was accused of a failure to "support our troops".

Well, to all you hawks out there, especially those hawks who actually started this war (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz), I have only this to say: If you think cutting the hazard pay of troops you stuck in danger is "supporting the troops", then I'm asking you to stop supporting them.

And I think all 140,000 US soldiers currently stationed in Iraq, some of them getting shot at daily, and others who have been away from family, career and lives for a year or more, would agree with me. If "support the troops" means "cutting their pay", I'm pretty sure they don't want your support.
:: Morat 9:50 AM :: ::

Internet Explorer 6, Macintosh, and you....

Just in case people were wondering, I've finally tracked down my issue with IE 6 and image loading. The problem, for those who don't recall, is that I'm having to shut down and restart my browser all the time, because image files will suddenly stop loading. I'll have text, but no buttons, graphics, images, etc.

The problem, it turns out, is with IE. It's a known issue (there's a hotfix, apparently, but I can't find it). If IE tries to load an image that was saved from Adobe Photoshop 7.0 on Mac OS 10, it hoses the browser.

I'm guessing that at least one of the websites I hang out on uses a Mac and Photoshop 7 to create images. Supposedly, the next service pack for IE 6 will fix it. I'm not holding my breath.

:: Morat 9:34 AM :: ::

U.S. Dreams a Little Dream

U.S. Abandons Idea of Bigger U.N. Role in Iraq Occupation:
The Bush administration has abandoned the idea of giving the United Nations more of a role in the occupation of Iraq as sought by France, India and other countries as a condition for their participation in peacekeeping there, administration officials said today.

Instead, the officials said, the United States would widen its effort to enlist other countries to assist the occupation forces in Iraq, which are dominated by the 139,000 United States troops there.
I look forward to the flying pigs and snowball-throwing demons.

I'm not sure this point needs to be made again, but just in case...If George W. Bush wants to make any progress in Iraq, he needs a lot more troops. Other than Britain (which is drawing down it's troops commitment, last I checked) and Turkey (now there's an idea the Kurds will love), nobody is willing to donate significant numbers of troops without a UN commitment.

Currently the situation is: US: 139,000 troops. UK: 11,000. The other 17 countries: 10,000.

Near the end of the article, you can see the countries we're asking for troops: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Portugal and Thailand.

All told, I'm not sure those countries are capable of ponying up the numbers needed to replace the British soldiers who have already left, much less increasing the number of "boots on the ground". Further, as best I can tell, hardly anyone is donating combat troops. No one wants to stick their soldiers into a meat grinder.
:: Morat 9:17 AM :: ::

Helpful Bloggers

One of the benefits of blogging, of the internet in general, is it puts you in touch with a wide array of experts, or at the very least, knowledgeable amateurs.

I've got, for your average American, a fairly good grasp of history and economics. Enough to get by in casual conversations, and to have at least something of a clue on where to look if I need more information.

Sometimes that isn't nearly enough, and I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank two bloggers who've helped me out when a "good grasp of the basics" wasn't nearly enough. Angry Bear helped me out in an area of economics I know little about, and Tom Spencer did the same with history.

Thanks!
:: Morat 9:04 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ::

The Big O

A few weeks ago, I was watching Adult Swim. Well, technically I was reading and waiting for Aqua Teen Hunger Force to come on. So, as I'm reading and waiting, this new anime show pops up. It's called The Big O.

Bear in mind, I only saw one episode (the first of season 2, I think) and wasn't watching terribly closely. The show takes place in Paradigm City, a town where everyone lost their memories at some point in the past. It's done in a pseudo-film noir style, at least as far as narratives go, and has a lot of musing about the nature of personality and self and how it relates to memory. To paraphrase the main character "A man is more than the sum of his memories".

And giant fighting robots.

Seriously. One second we're talking about the nature of self, and then it's flash to giant fighting robots.

Anyways, I was informed by a friend (I had asked "What the heck is this Big O thing?") that there's a female android character, who is trying to figure out what it means to be human.

And I thought "Of course she is". If there's one universal constant with andriods and robots, it's that they spend quite a bit of their spare time trying to understand, or be, human.

It's something of a parallel to the human fascination with understanding God. Except, of course, that the robots know humans exist and generally have a pretty good and detailed history of how and why humans created robots.

Still, I wonder....is there secular robotism? Are there, somewhere in the depths of sci-fi, robots who muse on what it means to be a robot? Who reject humans and all their flaws, striving for a better way?
:: Morat 2:07 PM :: ::

More Killer D nonsense

Absent Democrats may be fined $57,000 each:
Seventeen Republican state senators Tuesday voted to fine Democrats up to $57,000 each if they do not end a boycott that has kept the Senate from passing a Republican redistricting bill.
Republicans are pushing a redrawing of congressional districts that could give the GOP up to seven U.S. House seats from Texas now held by Democrats.
...
The stage for the fines dispute was set Monday when the Texas Supreme Court refused to grant a request from Dewhurst and Gov. Rick Perry for an order forcing the Democrats to return to the Capitol.

Dewhurst called the Republican senators into a three-hour, closed-door session Tuesday. Through narrow windows, reporters occasionally could see the senators arguing heatedly.

Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, who had opposed the fines, stormed angrily out of the meeting and returned to his northeast Texas home. He declined to talk to reporters on his way out of the Capitol.
Offhand, I'm not sure if these fines are legal. First off, I'm pretty sure the closed-door session violated Texas' Open Meetings rules. (The Senate is in session, every Senator not breaking quorum or formally excused was there, and with one Democrat present, it can't be considered a GOP Caucus meeting. Given that the meeting resulted in levied fines, definitely an act of the Senate, it was a big no-no). Secondly, since fines aren't provided for in the Texas Constitution, I'm not sure it's possible for the Senate to fine it's members, because they lack a quorum with which to do business. It's my understanding that, without a quorum, the Senate can't do anything. Perhaps fines are considered parliamentary procedures and not covered under the quorum rule. Anyone know for sure?

As it is, there is no practical way to enforce the fines anyways.

According to Off the Kuff, Governor Perry has already stated he will continue to call special sessions until he gets his redistricting bill.

What a fricking mess. And I think, ultimately, that Perry and Dewhurst are going to pay the price. Redistricting isn't exactly a popular issue in Texas. The vast majority of those who care at all are against it, and most of the population is merely apathetic to the whole mess. Perry can call session after session if he wants, but I think the public is going to consider him to be the problem, and not the Democrats.
:: Morat 12:24 PM :: ::

Just finished a new book.

Ideally, my "current reading" book would be, you know, the book I was currently reading. However, given my posting and reading habits, a better label would be "Books I just got done reading, or just bought and plan to read, or fully intend to buy this week".

I do read them all. I promise. My newest addition falls under the "Books I just got done reading, but plan to call "current reading" anyways". As a general comment: I like the Amazon links. Not that anyone ever buys from me. *weep*. However, I don't really like the new static links. I'm glad they're finally offering to host the images themselves, but I do wish they'd offer a simple image link, as opposed to the image + price + author + whatever else thing they've got going.

So for the moment, I'm still hosting the images myself. And all they had was a small version, oddly enough. Oh well. Back to the book in question.

I just got done with Ilium, by Dan Simmons. (The guy that wrote Hyperion). I'm not sure, exactly, what to say about it. A lot of it takes place during the Trojan War. Quite a bit of it takes place on Mars. Some of it takes place in a futuristic post-literate society. Prospero and Caliban show up. There's a few sentient machines, one of whom has a real love of Shakespeare's sonnets. Did I mention the Greek Gods are running around, and one of the main characters is a 20th Century Iliad scholar?

In a lot of ways, trying to explain the book reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother a few years back. He picked up my copy of In the Balance, scanned the back, and stated "Okay, let me get this straight. The plot is "Aliens invade during World War 2. Okay....". I couldn't really articulate why I found the book interesting, and more or less resorted to "It's really not as stupid as it sounds.". He did read it, and agreed with me. The plot sounded, at the very least, B-movie material. But the books themselves were quite good.

Ilium is much the same. Greek Gods, sentient robots, the Trojan War, nanotechnology and The Tempest don't really seem to go together, and it's hard to imagine a coherent (much less intriguing) plot line with those elements. Nonetheless, Ilium manages. It's a good book, although it's ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. It's sequel, Olympus, is more the second half of one large novel than a sequel.

If you liked Hyperion, or good sci-fi in general, go out and read it. You won't be disappointed.
:: Morat 10:37 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 ::

Ralph Nader Gets Pie In Face At SF Event

Ralph Nader Gets Pie In Face At SF Event:
Ralph Nader got a pie in the face at an event today with one of the people running for California governor.
The former Green Party presidential candidate was in San Francisco to endorse Peter Camejo, who's one of six declared Greens running in the recall election.
At the end of a news conference, a man ran into the room, shoved a pie in Nader's face, and ran out.
Hehehehehe. Okay. Now that's funny. It shouldn't be. But it is. And, of course, Camejo said he thought the "Democrats were behind it". I think Camejo takes himself (and the greens) a bit too seriously. Thanks to Not Geniuses for the link. Made my whole night.
:: Morat 10:47 PM :: ::

Franken and Fox

By now, I'm sure everyone is aware of the lawsuit against Al Franken. For those few who haven't heard about it, Al Franken is being sued over his new book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

apparently, Fox feels that Al Franken is infringing on their trademark phrase "Fair and Balanced". Amusingly, the lawsuit refers to Franken as ""Franken is neither a journalist nor a television news personality" and "He is not a well-respected voice in American politics; rather, he appears to be shrill and unstable. His views lack any serious depth or insight." I'm going to be very amused if Franken turns around and sues Fox for saying it. How actionable those statements are is debatable, but offhand I'd think Franken would have more of a case than Fox.

Well, in honor of Fox News' stupidity, I'm becoming a Fair and Balanced website myself.
:: Morat 5:52 PM :: ::

Son of a....

Well, it turns out my wife doesn't have a job. She gets down there, is halfway through the paperwork, and the school administrators tell her "Sorry. We made a mistake. We can't hire you for this position without a special permit...and the superintendent has made it clear no such permits will be offered this year."

She was devastated. All this worry, and work, and she was so happy to have finally gotten a teaching position. She was ecstatic. She called everyone and told them. And not it's gone. Can you believe that? She's heartbroken.

The only potential bright side is that there's a change a 4th Grade slot will open up in the next few days, and she's more or less the only person on the list if it does. And she does qualify for that job.
:: Morat 12:47 PM :: ::

Well, well, well...isn't this interesting?

Attorney General Calls For Federal Probe of White House
Role in Lawsuit to Discredit Global Warming Report
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe today called on US Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate whether White House officials working at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) solicited a lawsuit filed by a conservative organization to discredit a federal report on global warming. The lawsuit, brought by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and filed last week against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, seeks to invalidate a 2000 report that documents the grave dangers posed by global warming.
Blumenthal called for the investigation after discovering an e-mail sent in June 2002 by an executive at CEI, Myron Ebell, to Phil Cooney, the Chief of Staff at CEQ, thanking Cooney for 'calling and asking for our help.' The e-mail goes on to suggest strategies for minimizing the problem of global warming, including finding a 'fall guy (or gal)…as high up as possible' in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to blame for the report, and indicating that CEI might call for then-EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman to be fired.
'This e-mail indicates a secret initiative by the Administration to invite and orchestrate a lawsuit against itself seeking to discredit an official United States government report on global warming dangers. If White House officials conspired with anti-environmental interests in a court attack on its own EPA report, as this document suggests, it would constitute improper and possibly illegal misconduct that should be investigated and sanctioned promptly,' said Blumenthal. 'Such misconduct would be effectively a fraud on the court. This e-mail demonstrates again how the Administration has consistently demeaned and dismissed powerful scientific evidence of global warming dangers. Now apparently it is seeking to undermine findings that it has formally approved and issued, showing how greenhouse gas pollution damages our health and environment.
I don't have any problems, whatsoever, believing that the White House was behind a lawsuit aimed at it's own EPA reports. I'll leave it to better minds than mine (or at least minds with more time) to comment more fully.

Thanks for the tip, andrea.
:: Morat 11:02 AM :: ::

O Frabjous Day!

My wife got hired. One of the closer school districts (her new school is maybe 10 miles away), in fact. She's heading out now to sign the paperwork and get shown her new classroom. She'll be teaching kindergarten for the next year, possible two, but luckily she has three years to complete her certification (generalist for grades four through eight). All she has to do is spend a year teaching a qualifying class.

No matter. She has a job now. And, given the fact that our savings were going dry and her interviews were coming up dry....this is good news. Heck, the new salary is something akin to a 10% raise over her last job. (Teacher benefits are pretty awful, which is why she wasn't teaching in the first place. Luckily, my benefits are excellent).

The practical upshot of this is I might be a bit absent the next few days. School starts Thursday, so she's got today and tomorrow to get ready for students. I might end up helping.

This news certainly takes all the sting out of my car repairs (200 dollars to get the stupid check engine light off. But the car is old enough and rickety enough that I need working idiot lights).

All in all, today is a wonderful, amazing, very good day.
:: Morat 10:33 AM :: ::

:: Monday, August 11, 2003 ::

Business as Usual for Chemical Plants

Business as Usual for Chemical Plants:
In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush administration, working with Congress, moved quickly to shore up homeland security in some of our most critical areas. Airports are now safer, and some municipal water supplies are better protected. But the government has failed to plug a gaping hole in homeland security: our vulnerable chemical plants.

The 15,000 facilities around the country that produce, use or store significant quantities of toxic chemicals present attractive targets for terrorists. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 100 of these plants, especially those near urban areas, could endanger a million or more Americans if attacked. In 2001 the Army's surgeon general reportedly ranked this health risk second only to a widespread biological attack. Earlier this year the National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that al Qaeda might target chemical facilities in the United States as part of its terror campaign. And Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said that the administration is concerned that terrorists could turn a chemical facility 'into a weapon.'
I don't have any real commentary, other than a deep sigh of disgust.
:: Morat 12:41 PM :: ::

Housing Prices and Bubbles

Just a question, in case some economist or expert comes wandering by. I just bought a house (well, technically the wife did a year ago). We're looking at moving in the next five years (no sooner than 3 years from now, no later than 5 years from now) to a larger house.

I've got a great deal or equity in the house (we put 25% down) and, at current prices, our new house would be roughly twice as expensive.

Assuming the bubble bursts, housing prices drop and long-term rates rise, how screwed am I? Really screwed, or just marginally screwed, or is it a wash?

Not that it really matters. I can't afford to move for three years or so, and at that point I'm more or less going to have to move, but I'm curious here...
:: Morat 10:56 AM :: ::

Victory Act

Billmon has a short post about the new "VICTORY Act". As Billmon notes, hasn't anyone read 1984?

I personally despite the trend of giving laws their own cutesy names, and I've noticed that the cutesy names often mask not-so-cute actions. But for the love of Pete...the Victory Act?

Could you get any creepier?
:: Morat 10:13 AM :: ::

This is Lieberman's brain on drugs...

I agree with Matt. Lieberman's talking points are getting old really fast.
Lieberman lashes left-wing Democrats:
Sen. Joe Lieberman attacked the left wing of his party Sunday, saying Democrats 'don't deserve to run the country' if they move left and embrace 'the failed solutions of the past.'
'If we're for middle-class tax increases, if we send a message of weakness and ambivalence on defense, if we go back to big government spending, if we're against trade [and] for protectionism -- which never created a job -- we don't deserve to run the country,' Lieberman, a presidential candidate, said on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Now, I side with Kos and Atrios on the issue of whether Lieberman is a Democrat. He certainly is, and is far more liberal than even the most moderate Republicans. And I'm perfectly content to defend him against charges of being closet Republican. It's BS, and I won't stand for it.

On the other hand, I'm not going to defend him against charges of being an idiot. That's getting pretty self-evident. I've had issues with several of his statements and positions going back several years now, but this takes the cake.

For starters, I find it difficult to believe how out of touch he is with the rank-and-file of the Democratic party. Statements like this seem designed to alienate primary voters, not court them. And I'm assuming Lieberman does realize he has to win the primary first.

Reading this interview really makes me wonder what election Lieberman is running in. Perhaps he thinks it's 1992? 1988? Because he's not running in 2003. It's not like the poll numbers are disputed. Americans have been, from the day Bush started pushing them, pretty ambivalent about tax cuts. In poll after poll, for three years, Americans have supported balanced budgets and paying off the debt over tax cuts. As the deficit grows larger, this support grows. I've got friends and family, lifelong Republicans all, who want the tax cuts repealed and the budget balanced. It's not like they (or I) ever got much out of them.

Looking at this interview, hearing his positions...well, let's just say I see a troubling willingness to walk down the path Bush blazed, a path where ideology and wishful thinking triumph over reality. Either that, or the man is basing his views on some truly flawed polls. One way or another, Lieberman doesn't appear to be running in this Democratic primary.

I see him being utterly crushed in the primary. I simply don't see him being in this race at all.

Update: Yes, I do realize that Lieberman's polling well. But no one I know is terribly excited about him. I don't think he's going to do nearly as well in the first primaries as most people think. Frankly speaking, is anyone excited about a Lieberman presidency? Anyone at all?
:: Morat 9:45 AM :: ::

Weather Balloons of Mass Destruction

Iraqi Trailers Said to Make Hydrogen, Not Biological Arms:
Engineering experts from the Defense Intelligence Agency have come to believe that the most likely use for two mysterious trailers found in Iraq was to produce hydrogen for weather balloons rather than to make biological weapons, government officials say.

The classified findings by a majority of the engineering experts differ from the view put forward in a white paper made public on May 28 by the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency, which said that the trailers were for making biological weapons
Is anyone really surprised?
:: Morat 9:21 AM :: ::

Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence

Everyone and their dog has been linking to this Washington Post story. Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence:
The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their subordinates -- in public and behind the scenes -- made allegations depicting Iraq's nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied:
It's a good read. If nothing else, it renders Bush's only real defense untenable. This wasn't a case of "better safe than sorry", as there was no credible intelligence that Saddam represented any sort of threat to the United States. Maybe in a decade, if we dropped all sanctions and removed the inspectors. But not in the next six months, not in the next year, not in the next five years.

Saddam was a paper tiger, and the Post makes it pretty clear that the White House knew that. Certainly everyone else did.
:: Morat 9:14 AM :: ::

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