It seems someone copied my previous post to a discussion board. That's great that it's getting around.

Then on that forum, someone else going by the name geerair attempted to fisk it. The half-truths and distortions are so outrageous that I will present the rebuttal here, because apparently many are "thinking" in the same sloppy manner and it would be useful to have all the counterarguments in one place.

The basic advice to geerair, for those who don't wish to wade into the text below, is that arguing by appeals to authority are rather weak when the authority is one's own anonymous self, and that arguing by pure assertion is even weaker.

My original text will be italicized in the blockquotes to distinguish it from geerair's responses.
First, let's review the "mistakes" of the war. There was a plan for the postwar, namely that certain exiles would quickly take power being welcomed by the people. Events however turned out to make that plan worthless, as the exiles had no clout, so a new plan for the postwar had to be improvised. Also, no large WMD stockpiles were found, which is (incorrectly) given as the only "justification" for the war. These two facts are taken to make the whole effort a "failure."

Yes, we already knew Bush lied about the reasons for his excursion into Iraq and that he had no workable occupation plan. Nothing new here.
Bush lied? Do you know the definition of the word? Tell me specifically what he said that he knew at the time was false -- not merely disputed among advisors, but known at the time to be an untruth. Prove he lied. You can't, because that claim is intellectually dishonest. Not a good way to start off...
For example, we had no idea about the UN's Oil for Fraud program that was undermining the sanctions and funneling money to weapons, terrorists, and the corruption of Western politicians.

Really? Seeing as how the Bush administration was itself fraudulently circumventing oil for food and that a U.S. oil company was in it up to it's neck, that assertion doesn't hold water.
The war put an end to the oil scam. Its breadth would not have been known to the general public otherwise. If the administration was benefitting from it, they would have cut a deal with Hussein like the French and Russians. The U.N. was running it, not the administration.
We had no idea about Libya's advanced, secret nuclear weapons program.

Ummmm.......We knew about Libya's nuclear programs for quite some time before the war

Which the war ended.

Ummm.....Negotiations had been ongoing for quite some time before the war.
It was suspected he had a program, obviously. As it was suspected of Hussein and Iran. That mere suspicion wasn't enough to make any of them quit now, was it? You make my own point for me in say ing the negotiations were underway before the war. They didn't get anywhere until right after Hussein was dragged from his spider-hole, did they? Don't be deliberately naive. A sting operation has no persuasive power by itself without the credible threat of serious consequences, which the whole ME had flaunted for years. Until that moment.

The scope of the secret program turned out to be a surprise.
We had no idea about Dr. Khan's vast nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan and supplying Iran, Libya, and North Korea with weapons know-how and parts.

Ummmm.......A.G. Khan was known as a nuclear black-marketeer for quite some time, even U.S. intelligence knew it.

Which the war ended.

Sorry, the consensus view is that combined intelligence investigations and a nicely turned sting ended Khan's activities.
Sorry, again you make my point. Even though we "knew" about it, you just proved we hadn't been able to shut him down before the war. That required it becoming well-known so that our govt. couldn't avoid the issue, as well as having credibility that regime change is really on the table to force compliance.

The Libya sting showed just how big the Khan network was and spurred us on to pressure Pakistan. And as above, the Libya sting wouldn't necessarily have yielded as much fruit without ol' Qadaffi having second thoughts -- due to the war.
And most importantly, we had no idea how threatened the jihadists felt from the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq.

Which the war revealed.

Anybody who thinks jihadists are motivated by a Democratic Iraq has little understanding of the region, it's motivations or history. Of course that is one reason Bush's little excursion had turned into a bloody, costly quagmire. Bin Laden and other terrorists and Islamic radicals have consistently stated their reasons for their actions and a democratic Iraq or "they hate our freedoms" (as Bush continually bleats)were never listed among them.
So I have "little understanding" of history? Oh, that's rich. That's really funny. Readers who know me will find that particularly amusing.

And you do have this knowledge? The argumentative style of "appeal to authority" is rather weak when the only authority you appeal to is apparently your anonymous self.

You haven't been following the intercepted Zarqawi letters, have you? You have little understanding of islamism if you don't see what a mortal blow our freedoms are to their vision of reviving the caliphate.

And please, it's no quagmire -- as shown here, the total number of military deaths (including combat in Iraq) per month is indistinguishable from the normal monthly death toll during peacetime in the 1980s and 1990s due simply to accidents. Astonishing, but true.
One reason the "insurgency" caught the planners by surprise is nobody appreciated how much the al-Qaeda types as well as the Iranian clerics -- our deadly enemies -- saw the result of the war to be a Very Bad Thing for them.

Really? Rational people ascribe it to Bush's bungling and disastrous decisions.

Being unforeseen, it's taken as a "failure", but the jihad the war encouraged just proves how right the whole enterprise is.

Bush bungles into a stiff resistance which is killing our troops, emptying our treasury, turning Iraq into ruins, crippling our Army, dividing our people and increasing terrorism and this Bozo thinks that is just wonderful?
It would be bad if all those things were true, but they're not. You're perceptions are flawed. Would you have advocated retreat in 1942 because fighting with Germans had increased? You've just stated a bunch of opinions without backing them up. Here are some concrete facts about how Iraq is not in ruins. You can start with "good news from Iraq, part 23" and then work your way through parts 1-22.
As Tilo Reber mentions at Belmont Club,

Yep, Bush has never understood the threat that democracy poses to Islamofascism. He really did believe that Islam was just another religion and that Al Queda was a small group of radicals. But that is what most people thought. And many still believe this today. Few understood then and few still understand today that Islam would be put in a position of having to fight for it's life on it's home peninsula. The fact that Bush did not understand this puts him in no worse a position than most of humanity. The left still doesn't understand it.

Another uninformed Bozo with little understanding of the ME, it's motivations or it's history.
Like Tilo said, the left still doesn't understand it, and neither do you.
There were upwards of 10,000 jihadists that trained at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. There could be thousands more than that. Or at least, there WERE that many, until they all started swarming into the meatgrinder of Iraq where we have a free-fire zone and a geared-up military to take them on.

What we are killing is mainly Iraqis. Army and CIA intelligence estimate that foreign fighters in Iraq make up no more than 10% of the total of the insurgent forces. CIA estimates that very few Al-qaeda "regulars" are participating in the insurgency, mainly in training roles. The most credible and extensive study of foreign fighters reveals that most of the fighters were not terrorists and did not have ties to terrorism before the occupation of Iraq.
I made reference to the locals. Most of those are either criminals or former regime elements that melted away. That the foreign jihadists are "only" 10% still makes a big dent in their absolute numbers. You mention a study without providing a source.
They do this because they know a free Iraq will be mortal blow to their ideology.

Already mentioned, still wrong.
You haven't read the philosphy of Sayyid Qutb that drives al-Qaeda, have you? You aren't familiar with the instructions of radical imams to their followers in democratic countries about not participating in such kafir "unbelief", are you?

If you think they attack us just to get us to leave the ME, why do they take such pains to attack the Iraqi people themselves who they claim to be liberating, if not to undermine the prospect of some form of democracy? What about Iran's motivations?
So we stay to send them to "paradise" as long as they keep coming.

Ah, I hear the call of the Chickenhawk.
Ah, I hear the call of a desperate ad-hominem attack.

Don't even pretend to know me.

You don't think beyond slogans, do you? The logical conclusion of such an argument is that what, only military people should have a say in foreign policy? Are you really advocating that? Be careful what you wish for.
For one thing, it is KNOWN Hussein was supporting terrorism in general.

For another thing it is known that every nation in the ME supported terrorism. Saddam was a minor player and his focus was Israel. I wonder if this doofus remembers where most of the 9/11 highjackers and Bin Laden were from? Here is a hint: None of them were from Iraq.
Now you're really getting yourself tangled. What, you're advocating an invasion of Saudi Arabia? Might be a good idea. First things first, however. But your argument is really stupid. The nationality of the 9/11 footsoldiers is a factoid of no importance in the separate issue of Iraq's role in world terror. You're using a strawman in which you implicitly posit that I'm claiming 9/11 is a purely Iraqi operation, which is the only thing that would make the hijackers' nationality relevant as a disproof -- but nobody is saying that, doofus.

Hussein a minor player? Surely you jest! Here is a list of 59 connections of Hussein to terrorism and al-Qaeda, all with full documentation. Are all of them false? You can't find a single casus bellum among them?

That's just what's known publicly!
For another, there are several open-source links between Hussein and bin Laden.

That his regime was having cooperation talks with al-Qaeda is not disputed.
That's pretty serious. Al-Qaeda openly declared war on the U.S. and bin Laden explicitly stated in 1998 that he would make no distinction between civilian and military targets and meant to kill us in large numbers.

Now in my book, anyone who would so much as give such an enemy the time of day, let alone talks about cooperation, needs to be destroyed along with them. You disagree? You have no understanding of the threat we face.
Of course these talks led nowhere.
How do you know that? Sources, please. You can only claim that if you take it as an article of Faith, and ignore all the connections listed above.
Why do we have to prove he drew up the plans for 9/11 specifically to take him out as a supporter of our mortal enemy? Did Bush not say "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them?"

Did Hussein not harbor arch-terrorist Abu Nidal as well as bin Laden lieutenant Zarqawi before the war?

Harbor? More like house arrest. Saddam's agents are killed Abu-Nidal. Zarqawi? Was in Northern Iraq, a region over which Saddam had no control.
Killed him when they wanted a dead man to tell no tales. And Zarqawi first freely travelled through Baghdad, getting special medical care in an exclusive VIP hospital there on his way to the North from Afghanistan. All under Hussein's nose? In a police state?
Did not extant news reports just prior to 9/11 mention the curious fact that German officials arrested several Iraqi intelligence agents for planning attacks on American interests? Whether that was 9/11 itself or a different attack they were planning should be irrelevant.

Later reports confirm the two men arrested had no ties to Iraqi intelligence.
Interesting, if true. Sources? Links? What reports? Speculation doesn't count.
And -- AND! -- there even ARE growing links between Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers: the Czech intelligence report that Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague has not been withdrawn

Dear Zeus,the Atta in Prague myth again. Noboby but Bush apologists buy this old yarn. The FBI has documentary evidence that Atta was in Florida at the time of this meeting.
You mischaracterize. All they know is somebody used his cell phone -- a phone that would not have worked in Europe, so it's likely he'd leave it behind. That proves nothing. Don't you know anything about counterintelligence operations?
and some of the other 9/11 hijackers are known to have definitely met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Malaysia.

Mistaken identity. The man who met with the 9/11 highjackers had no ties to Iraq intelligence.
BZZZZZ! Now you're really being either dishonest, or you lack elementary logical reasoning powers. You conclude too much. It was for a time thought this man might also be an officer in the Fedayeen. It turns out the Fedayeen officer is probably someone else with a similar name. It is the Fedayeen officer who is the one lacking further ties to terrorists. But that still leaves the original guy who "worked for the Iraqi embassy" in Malaysia who met the terrorists! And if you knew anything at all about real-life spies, you'd know what "worked for the embassy" means.

Here are the facts, which ones do you deny?
This is a man who, undeniably, was called from a 1993 World Trade Center bombing safehouse, got a 9/11 hijacker through Malaysian customs, apparently attended a foundational 9/11 gathering, disappeared from sight (as did the hijackers and their co-conspirators) right after the Malaysia meeting, and turns up in Qatar a few days after 9/11 with contact information for the brother Khalid Sheik Mohammed (the 9/11 mastermind) and other terrorists. What is the good reason not to be curious about this apparent co-conspirator (whom the CIA once thought important enough to travel to Jordan to interview)?

Just because he also wasn't in the Fedayeen doesn't change a thing.
What more do they want?

The truth, not some inept Bush apologetics
Argument by pure assertion is even weaker than appealing to yourself as an anonymous authority.
How about attempted assassination of Bush the Elder?

There is doubt that Bush was the intended target and that the evidence is conclusive.
Who doubts? You? Seymour Hersh? So, they were after Chief of Staff Sununu instead? Articles like Hersh's contain no hard facts, only innuendo and speculation.
How about violating the cease-fire agreement of Gulf War 1 repeatedly?

How about Israel's repeated violations of cease-fire agreements?
Now you've really gone stupid.

You don't answer my question because you can't. Instead you pose another, which is a whopper of a non-sequitor.

Are you saying Israel has violated cease-fire agreements with the United States of America? If so, you're loony.

But of course you aren't saying that. You're saying Israel has violated them with some palestinian entity (which is generally a lie -- your anti-semitism is showing). So what's your point? What does that have to do with Iraq violating a cease-fire agreement with the United States? If you're implying we should take action against Israel, surely then you'd agree we should against Iraq. If you're implying we shouldn't against Iraq because we don't against Israel, that's the looniest apples-oranges argument I've ever seen!
How about material breach of UN resolutions?

The Security Council didn't find material breach of 1441.
The Security Council's failure to act on the truth due to conflicts of interest doesn't change the truth. The material breach is clear for anyone to see.
How about still to this day failing to account for tons of WMD the UN inspectors themselves believe was produced?

It was destroyed as the inspectors reported.
They reported no such thing. Apparently you and Hussein are the only 2 people in the world who know what happened to it. And maybe Scott Ritter. Get your facts straight.
Not to mention the strategic goals of pressuring Iran and changing the whole dynamic of the Middle East.

Yeah, that worked out well. Bush's ignorant remarks helped elect a Radical over a more U.S. friendly moderate.
Are you a willing tool, or just naive? You think those elections were real? As if the president in Iran has any power at all anyway? A "U.S. friendly moderate"??? You must be joking.

I'll wrap up with the final opinions of geerair:
We stay in this quagmire because Bush hasn't the moral courage to admit his lies and appalling bungling.
All Bush has to do is come up with a compelling, noble reason for the death of Sheehan's son. So far, none of his everchanging reasons for this quagmire have come close to meeting this standard.
I'll let your unreasonable, petulant, and unhelpful demands speak for themselves.

I won't respond further unless a rational discussion of actual evidence is presented.