micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Thursday, October 02, 2003
Did the Bush Administration expect to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

[I've tried to get this published elsewhere, but without success. Since it appears that events will soon make it out of date, I've decided to publish it here, even though some of it repeats previous entries.]

he very question may seem counterintuitive since George W. Bush and friends proposed the invading Iraq and separating Saddam Hussein from his weapons of mass destruction was the only sure way to avoid a “mushroom cloud” rising up over the United States. (Saddam, in the administration’s statements, would either attack the U.S. himself or give the weapons to one or more of “the terrorists” so that they could attack the U.S. When this was going to happen wasn’t clear. Seemingly, if Saddam’s life ambition were to attack the U.S. or aid someone else in this endeavor, he would have managed to find time to do so between 1990 and 2003.) Still, the evidence indicates that the possibility that the Bush Administration didn’t expect to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at least deserves consideration.

To begin with, the long and public build-up to the invasion is incongruent with fears that Saddam might attack with weapons of mass destruction. The administration seemingly wouldn’t wanted to have placed thousands of U.S. troops near the Iraqi border for months while talking about “regime change” as this would seemingly be a provocation for Saddam to last out at the U.S., something they ostensibly feared that Saddam was likely to do even if left alone, a detail that no less of a hawk than Christopher Hitchens has pointed out.

Then there is the issue of how much of a priority finding the alleged weapons of mass destruction was. When asked about the search on March 24, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “[r]ight now, our troops are essentially fighting the battle and when this battle has been won and when things have settled down, we'll have more than ample opportunity to take a thorough look at the country and determine what weapons of mass destruction programs we can show to the world.”

This answer sounds like it is coming from an individual who views finding these weapons as a political accomplishment. If they were a threat, finding them would be of the highest priority for the military since only by doing so could they ensure that they are neither used against U.S. troops nor in the possession of “the terrorists” who the administration said were prevalent in the country.

Even once the war was completed, the search for the weapons did not spring into action. It was a month before the U.S. secured suspected nuclear sites in Iraq and when a Defense Department team did go to the seven suspected sites, they found that materials may have been removed from each, Barto Gellman of The Washington Post reported in early May. Furthermore, Raymond Whitaker and Glen Rangwala report in the September 21 edition of The Independent that little effort has been made to find the weapons. This appears inconsistent with the view that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction constitute, in the words of Dick Cheney, a “mortal threat” to the U.S.

It also leads one to question Bush’s recent declaration before the United Nations that the overthrow of Saddam "has made sure that Iraq's former dictator will never again use weapons of mass destruction.” If the combination of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction posed a threat before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, as the Bush Administration said that it did, there is no reason to think that the threat no longer exists. Saddam is believed to still be at large and if the weapons existed and have yet to be found, it would be possible that he has them and is waiting for the right time to use them. The Bush Administration shouldn’t be able to rule this out without admitting that they were at least “wrong” about what weapons Saddam had.

But they do. When confronted with this logic on Thursday, White House Press Secretary refused to engage with the argument, preferring to speak irrelevant platitudes.

There are only two explanations for this behavior. Either the Bush Administration was dishonest about what it knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the threat they posed at some point or combination of points or they are incompetent to the point of being unable to accurately assess and neutralize the threats that it claims to be concerned about. (The latter possibility seems more likely in light of Lowell Bergman and Eric Schmitt's September 30 New York Times report that said, "as much as 650,000 tons of ammunition remains at thousands of sites used by the former Iraqi security forces, and that much of it has not been secured and will take years to destroy.")

Either way there is no reason to trust the members of the Bush Administration as they advocate and pursue further interventions in the name of eliminating the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, which they continue to do despite the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"[O]ur Coalition’s operations in Iraq showed that this Administration and the international community take the link between terrorism and WMD [weapons of mass destruction] most seriously,” Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said on September 16. “There is no graver threat to our country today than states that both sponsor terrorism and possess or aspire to possess weapons of mass destruction.”

Bolton was testifying before hearings of the House International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia and trying to paint a picture of the “threat” coming from Syria because that country possessed weapons of mass destruction and had ties to terrorist groups.

Where have we heard that before?

UPDATE: Saragon has responded to this entry. In other news, I am persuaded by his argument about the do not call list. 9:35 p.m. 10/02/03