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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:46 PM

GOP pre-emptive attack on Susan Rice misfires - USA Today editorial

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/editorials/2012/11/25/susan-rice-benghazi-attack-criticism/1725999/

Last week, Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona vowed to block confirmation of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, if she is tapped to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State. Not to be outdone, nearly 100 House Republicans, led by Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, signed a letter charging that a Rice nomination would undermine U.S. credibility abroad.

Their complaint? Misleading comments Rice made 10 weeks ago on Sunday talk shows about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Working from talking points put together by intelligence officials and later edited by others, Rice peddled the story that the attack sprang from a spontaneous protest, spurred by an anti-Muslim video produced by an American.

That account turned out to be wrong, but it's hardly a reason to block Rice's potential nomination. After all, if misleading comments based on flawed intelligence were disqualifying, Colin Powell would have been forced to resign as George W. Bush's secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice never would have succeeded Powell. Powell's powerful speech before the United Nations in 2003, proclaiming proof of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, helped push the United States into a misguided war. Condoleezza Rice also touted the story line about Iraq's supposed nuclear program, warning on CNN that "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." No such weapons were found.

Susan Rice's comments about events in Benghazi are at best a sideshow. Instead of obsessing about what she said on TV after the tragedy, lawmakers ought to be more concerned about finding out what went wrong and preventing a repeat. Why weren't security warnings heeded and requests for more protection granted? As U.N. ambassador, Rice most likely had zero involvement with those decisions.
(more)

if Rice's comments on tv were a 'sideshow' McCain's and Graham's actions would qualify as a vaudeville act. McCain and Graham have shown Republicans never pass up an opportunity to engage in hypocritical political opportunism at the expense of responsible governance. While McCain and Graham are showing what consummate clowns they are their antics are an offense to a responsible public servant such as Suzan Rice and taking time away from actually getting something practical done.

McCain and Graham might as well be dancing around in clown suits and whacking each other with rubber chickens. This at least would be more forethright than pretending to be doing anything constructive in their offensive, nonsensical questioning of Rice.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply GOP pre-emptive attack on Susan Rice misfires - USA Today editorial (Original post)
Bill USA Nov 2012 OP
bemildred Nov 2012 #1
Oldfolkie Nov 2012 #2
rhett o rick Nov 2012 #4
BrainMann1 Nov 2012 #3
fleabiscuit Nov 2012 #5
wisteria Nov 2012 #8
Fearless Nov 2012 #12
MADem Dec 2012 #26
wisteria Nov 2012 #7
MADem Dec 2012 #27
politicasista Dec 2012 #28
MADem Dec 2012 #29
politicasista Dec 2012 #30
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #15
geckosfeet Nov 2012 #6
yurbud Nov 2012 #9
SunSeeker Nov 2012 #10
yurbud Nov 2012 #11
Bill USA Dec 2012 #13
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #14
yurbud Dec 2012 #16
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #17
yurbud Dec 2012 #18
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #19
yurbud Dec 2012 #20
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #21
yurbud Dec 2012 #22
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #23
yurbud Dec 2012 #24
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #25
yurbud Dec 2012 #31
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #32
yurbud Dec 2012 #33
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #34
yurbud Dec 2012 #35
reACTIONary Dec 2012 #36

Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:34 PM

1. "lawmakers ought to be more concerned about finding out what went wrong"

They don't want to find out what went wrong, they know what went wrong, they've been defunding security for years.

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Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 06:56 PM

2. Not to mention Cheney...

...who stated in a big speech just before the invasion of Iraq that Saddam was one year away from having a nuclear weapon. This was utterly untrue.

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Response to Oldfolkie (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:15 PM

4. Pleeez dont mention Cheney. nm

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Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 07:36 PM

3. John Kerry is whom the bird brained McCain

and his friends want for the job so they can get one of their buddies to fill his seat, nice try but we gotcha! It's not going to happen.

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Response to BrainMann1 (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:25 PM

5. You don't think Kerry is the one

calling in a favor from his buddies in order to torpedo Rice? Anyone every think about why Obama prefers dinner home with his family. Why he catches flack for not getting out and glad-handing enough? Why he takes his appeals directly to the people? Way to much slime in Washington. Just MHO.

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:37 PM

8. Senator Kerry is a good man. He would never resort to tactics like this to get a post.

He should be asked just on his qualifications & experience. And, he has to much integrity and honesty to sabatage Rice. He has been disapointed before, if this doesn't come through for him, he will be fine.

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:40 PM

12. No, absolutely not.

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Response to fleabiscuit (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:34 PM

26. That's not the way to do it--I'd be very surprised if what you are saying is true.

Kerry is, at long last, the SENIOR Senator from Massachusetts, after decades as Number Two. It's not that bad a gig.

He may have liked the opportunity to serve in State or Defense, but I don't think he'd go so far as to encourage McCain to trash a fellow Democrat.

I just can't see that as a viable scenario, simply because no one in the GOP could keep their mouths shut about it if that were the case.

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Response to BrainMann1 (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:33 PM

7. Stupid reasoning. If Kerry isn't picked for SOS, there is a good possibility he could be SOD.

So, he wouldn't be staying in the senate anyway.

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Response to wisteria (Reply #7)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:44 PM

27. Luger supposedly leads the short list for the DOD post, ahead of Kerry.

Time will tell, though.

I think Kerry should stay put, myself.

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Response to MADem (Reply #27)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 07:18 PM

28. People should stop hating on Kerry. He hasn't done anything

to Rice or Obama.

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Response to politicasista (Reply #28)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:28 PM

29. He's MY Senior Senator--I'm not "hating on him."

He is a valuable member of the Democratic caucus and he is seasoned--I would like him to stay put for those reasons; with seniority comes clout. He leads the MA delegation, and that delegation has some new members this year (Warren in the Senate, Joe K in the House).

I just don't want the Dems to go down by one and the GOP up by one--and that will happen if there's a special to replace him. Scott Brown still has half a million he didn't spend. He's got ads already made.

He's gunning for bear, too.

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Response to MADem (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 8, 2012, 08:39 PM

30. No you are ok.

Just unhappy that we are falling for the GOP's (McGrahayotte's) mind games toward Kerry and Rice. The posters above are making it seem like Kerry is the enemy trying to derail Rice and/or undermine Obama. He isn't the enemy here and isn't the reason why the Obamas choose to stay in, remain in their inner circle or take their case on the road. That is the talented pol of Obama and it shouldn't be used to slam a good Democrat and a surrogate that did more for his re-election team than maybe most in Senator Kerry.

Your concern is genuine. For the record, cool with Rice, but not cool with people throwing shade at Senator Kerry just out of fear for Bogeyman Brown. He seems to be Senator with a lot to offer.

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Response to BrainMann1 (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 09:36 PM

15. I think Kerry is the better person for the job

But now, the president is in a situation where if he picks anyone but Rice he will look like he is caving to GOP pressure.

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Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:26 PM

6. I hope they blow off all their feet with high caliber bullshit and are forced to

limp and crawl through the rest of the 2012, 2013 and 2014.

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Response to Bill USA (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:42 PM

9. and the intelligence wasn't "flawed" in Bush admin--it was faked. Cheney pressured CIA to change

reports to make them sound more certain and threatening.

That's more deliberate than "flawed."

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Response to yurbud (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:28 AM

10. Exactly. That whole WMD meme was stated deliberately and without qualification.

Whereas all of Susan Rice's statements where prefaced with qualifiers like "preliminary reports are that...but the investigation is ongoing and all the facts are not in." The Bush gang not only knew they were lying but said it without qualifiers. What Susan Rice said was correct at the time she said it based on the intelligence she was aware of.

What the Bushies said was an outright intentional lie that got us into two wars and cost us thousands of Americans lives. Not one life was lost due to what Susan Rice said on a Sunday talk show--and the info she porvided was corrected and supplemented within days. The Bushies still won't admit they were wrong 10 years later.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 12:26 PM

11. I wish the term "WMD" would be retired it sounds like Rocky and Bullwinkle childishness

The military had a perfectly serviceable and more accurate term, "NBC," nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare that politicians figured wasn't scary enough.

But every time one of our politicians says WMD, it makes us sound like idiots or like Netahyahu with his recent proof of Iranian "WMD":



You can tell we're supposed to be scared because he drew a red line.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 05:26 PM

13. "Rocky and Bullwinkle childishness" is a very good characterization of the sophistication of the

bush administrations war propaganda office called the Office of Special Plans, headed up by doug feith ...

see the Lie Factory

Six months after the end of major combat in Iraq, the United States had spent $300 million trying to find banned weapons in Iraq, and President Bush was seeking $600 million more to extend the search. Not found were Iraq's Scuds and other long-range missiles, thousands of barrels and tons of anthrax and botulism stock, sarin and VX nerve agents, mustard gas, biological and chemical munitions, mobile labs for producing biological weapons, and any and all evidence of a reconstituted nuclear-arms program, all of which had been repeatedly cited as justification for the war. Also missing was evidence of Iraqi collaboration with Al Qaeda.

The reports, virtually all false, of Iraqi weapons and terrorism ties emanated from an apparatus that began to gestate almost as soon as the Bush administration took power. In the very first meeting of the Bush national-security team, one day after President Bush took the oath of office in January 2001, the issue of invading Iraq was raised, according to one of the participants in the meeting‚ -- and officials all the way down the line started to get the message, long before 9/11. Indeed, the Bush team at the Pentagon hadn't even been formally installed before Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense, and Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy, began putting together what would become the vanguard for regime change in Iraq.

Both Wolfowitz and Feith have deep roots in the neoconservative movement. One of the most influential Washington neo- conservatives in the foreign-policy establishment during the Republicans' wilderness years of the 1990s, Wolfowitz has long held that not taking Baghdad in 1991 was a grievous mistake. He and others now prominent in the administration said so repeatedly over the past decade in a slew of letters and policy papers from neoconservative groups like the Project for the New American Century and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Feith, a former aide to Richard Perle at the Pentagon in the 1980s and an activist in far-right Zionist circles, held the view that there was no difference between U.S. and Israeli security policy and that the best way to secure both countries' future was to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem not by serving as a broker, but with the United States as a force for "regime change" in the region.

Called in to help organize the Iraq war-planning team was a longtime Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, a specialist on Islam who speaks Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and Farsi. Though Feith would not be officially confirmed until July 2001, career military and civilian officials in NESA began to watch his office with concern after Rhode set up shop in Feith's office in early January. Rhode, seen by many veteran staffers as an ideological gadfly, was officially assigned to the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment, an in-house Pentagon think tank headed by fellow neocon Andrew Marshall. Rhode helped Feith lay down the law about the department's new anti-Iraq, and broadly anti-Arab, orientation. In one telling incident, Rhode accosted and harangued a visiting senior Arab diplomat, telling him that there would be no "bartering in the bazaar anymore. You're going to have to sit up and pay attention when we say so."
(more)

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Response to yurbud (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:14 AM

14. NBC is too specific and restricted to state actors...

...it doesn't cover large fertilizer bombs or fuel laden commercial jets, which are WMD.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #14)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 02:45 AM

16. so every country with fertilizer and a commercial airport was WMD?

you have a uniquely dry sense of human.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:08 PM

17. Whats your point? These are weapons of mass destruction...

...when used or intended for use as a weapon that would cause massive destruction. You remember Timothy McVeigh , don't you? That fertilizer bomb was, by the current legal statutes, a weapon of mass destruction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon_of_mass_destruction

Criminal (Civilian): For the purposes of US Criminal law concerning terrorism, weapons of mass destruction are defined as: any destructive device defined as any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses; any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors; any weapon involving a biological agent, toxin, or vector; any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #17)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:14 PM

18. because propaganda was enshrined in law doesn't make it any less embarrassing

as a scare tactic to get us to kill other people.

Also, the "threat" of Syrian WMD will likely be used exactly the way the "threat" of Iraqi ones was: as an excuse for us to kill far more people in the targeted country than their scary weapons would ever have a chance to here or even in their own country.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #18)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 09:35 PM

19. Specifically in the case of Syria...

...Obama has been specific and referenced the use of chemical weapons. Not (to my knowledge) generic weapons of mass destruction.

No one looks for an "excuse to kill people." Killing people is not the end objective of a military intervention, it is a means to some other end. And if that end could be achieved without killing, I'm sure that other course of action would be taken.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:31 AM

20. the end is not altruistic in any case

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Response to yurbud (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:14 PM

21. Generally, the ends pursued by a nation state...

...are in the collective self interest of that nation's people. That, of course, is what a nation state is all about. However, it doesn't mean that the interests of others are not also served, even in a conflict situation.

Broadly, the adoption of a system of justice similar to or comparable to our own by another state is in our self interest. Aiding those who are moving in that direction is in our self interest and may also be seen as altruistic.

It can also be in our own interest as well as the the interest of others to "draw a line in the sand" and take a stand against any escalation beyond some significant point. Thus a credible threat to gang up on and punish anyone who moves toward using weapons of mass destruction can create a deterrent effect that inhibits their use in many different situations both to our own benefit and the benefit of others.

Of course, I don't claim that these consideration are necessarily relevant to the current situation in Syria, or advocate intervention in this particular case. But they may be and I'm willing to keep an open mind.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:34 AM

22. you need to read more detailed histories or get out of Washington DC

because that's about the only place intelligent people can say such things with a straight face.

If our national interests or security were served by invading Iraq, and backing the overthrow of the government of Libya and now Syria, those cases were not honestly made to the American people--probably because they serve the interest of a narrow few corporations and are no threat to our security in any case.

It could be that Syria is really thinking of using weapons like that though recent history makes our government an unreliable source for such reports.

But the reason our government is taking an interest has nothing to do with concern for Iraqis, Libyans, or Syrians, anymore than noise about the repressive Islamic regime in Iran does about our concern there.

If we were really concerned about WMD, we would be far more aggressive toward Israel and North Korea than anyone else, and if we were concerned about repressive Islamic regimes, the far more repressive one without even the pretense of democracy in Saudi Arabia would get all of our attention not Iran.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 6, 2012, 10:09 PM

23. Say what with a stright face?

That nation states pursue the collective self interest of their people? That isn't a very controversial statement. I don't think that you would find much in history to to show otherwise, but if you know of some historical tomb that maintains otherwise, let me know what it is and I'll check it out.

You may mean that the interests that are pursued are selected by an elite, and represent a narrow focus on the elites' own interests. That may be more or less true under various forms of governance and circumstance. Almost all collective decision making involves a hierarchical process that favors some more than others to a greater or lessor extent. This does not mean that the decisions that are made are NOT in the interest of the entire people, even if they may be MORE in the interest of some. That's just the nature of a collective, hierarchical decision making processes. Oh well.

Peace, stability and containment of conflict in the middle east are in our collective self interest, and in the interests of other western industrial democracies. We may not be making the right decisions all the time, and some may make better decisions than others, but the goal is our collective self interest.

I believe that often, when we act in our own interest and the interests we share with other societies like ours, we often also benefit the wider interests of others, even, in a sense, of all mankind. Our actions in Libya were in the pursuit of our own interests - I believe they also benefited the Libyan people and more generally the people of the middle east. I'm glad we were able to help out and I'm glad Gaddafi is gone.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:56 PM

24. so intervening in other countries to keep the minimum wage low, dump our crop surpluses so

farmers in those countries can't make a profit on their crops and kill themselves or trying to force Iraqis to give up as much as possible of their oil income to oil companies helps you and me and the people in those countries how?

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Response to yurbud (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 10:21 PM

25. You and I are helped when our fellow citizens are helped...

You and I are helped when our fellow citizens are helped, and it is evident that farmers here are helped by price supports such as the foreign food aid programs. It is also true that we pay more for food than we might otherwise because of this. In a sense agricultural price supports are like the minimum wage, they insure a decent living for some of us at a small extra expense to almost all of us. There are other ways of doing this, and you could argue whether or not farmers are worthy of this help as opposed to, say, actually raising the minimum wage. But there isn't any difference in principle between agricultural price supports and the minimum wage, and it seems to be more or less supported by our fellow citizens, so I would have to put this in the "helps you and me" category.

Does it help the foreigners who receive the food aid? Prima facia, if you are starving and someone gives you food, they are helping you. Does it have the long term "untended consequence" of suppressing agricultural development and self-sufficiency? Maybe, maybe not. Its a reasonable hypothesis, but it is none the less speculative. In any case, the recipients don't have to take it, and some of these countries have refused. If they do take it, it would seem that their own judgement is that, over all, its better for them than it is harmful.

Taking an even longer range view, it may be that there are certain countries of the world that are more suited for agricultural production than others - due to geography, climate and historical experience. Long term, and speaking very speculatively, foreign food aid may have the potential to become a global agricultural production and distribution system that most effectively uses those resources where they exist - geography, climate and know-how - for the benefit of all, including those in regions where they don't exist.

"Trying to force Iraqis to give up as much as possible of their oil income to oil companies" is (in my humble opinion) an oversimplification of the Iraq conflicts. Iraq adopted an aggressive, hostile, expansionist policy in a volatile region that is of great importance to the industrialized world. The Iraq-Iran war spilled over into international waters and disrupted the Persian Gulf shipping lanes. They invaded one of our allies, Kuwait, and threatened another, Saudi Arabia. Whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, getting rid of Saddam and more or less pacifying Iraq has been of great benefit to us and our allies - both in and out of the region.

I don't know what you mean by intervening in other countries to keep the minimum wage low, perhaps you would provide an example or further explanation.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #25)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 03:16 PM

31. On Iraq, I was talking very specifically about provisions of the Hydrocarbon Law we tried to force

on them.
http://professorsmartass.blogspot.com/2007/03/iraqi-scholars-pols-say-reject.html

The law we wanted them to adopt would have given 88% of their oil income to the international oil companies and left them with far less than their other oil rich neighbors, like Saudi, Kuwait, and Iran get.

On minimum wage, you only have to look as far as Haiti.

http://www.thenation.com/article/161057/wikileaks-haiti-let-them-live-3-day#

Saddam checked with us before attacking Iran and Kuwait. He got an ambiguous answer on Kuwait, but an unambiguous greenlight and military aid from us to fight Iran. The threat to Saudi was propaganda to scare us into the war.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #31)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 04:55 PM

32. Thanks for the clarification on Iraq...

... and I stand by what I said about Iraq in my previous post.

I'll take a look at the article on Haiti.

Given the almost immediate and universal Westren condemnation of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, it is hard to believe that Saddam "checked in" with us on that.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Background:

On the 25th, Saddam met with April Glaspie, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, in Baghdad According to an Iraqi transcript of that meeting, Glaspie told the Iraqi delegation, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts." According to Glaspie's own account, she stated in reference to the precise border between Kuwait and Iraq, "(...) that she had served in Kuwait 20 years before; 'then, as now, we took no position on these Arab affairs'." Glaspie similarly believed that war was not imminent.


Saying that we take no position on Arab/Arab boarder disputes is not giving permission to invade and conquer another country.

The threat to the Saudis was not mere propaganda:

Soon after his conquest of Kuwait, Saddam began verbally attacking the Saudis. He argued that the U.S.-supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis. (Gilles Kepel Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam.)


From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War#Military_means

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 05:32 PM

33. google "april glaspie," "saddam hussein," and "kuwait" Wikipedia has a good summary of the meeting

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Response to yurbud (Reply #33)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:47 PM

34. I'm familiar with the conversation and quoted it in my previous response...

... the United States did not "green light" or encourage the invasion of Kuwait, and certainly not deliberately. This would not have made any sense, whatsoever at all. It would have been irrationally contrary to our interests.

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Response to reACTIONary (Reply #34)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 07:46 PM

35. I said, "He got an ambiguous answer on Kuwait" and a green light on Iran

Since the Iran green light was years before, he probably figured it meant we wouldn't help him, not that we would actively oppose him as we did.

There's a pretty reasonable theory that Glaspie was duped into saying that to set a trap for Saddam and give us an excuse to get troops in Saudi among other things.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #35)

Mon Dec 10, 2012, 10:11 PM

36. Reasonable Theory? Or do you mean...

... conspiracy theory?

Who duped her? To start a war in a strategic, volatile region, that cost us and our allies dearly, in order to...... Put troops in Saudi Arabia? Huh? What sort of achievement or goal is that? Seems like a whole lot of trouble for a whole lot of nothing.

As explained in the wiki article you pointed me to, her answer was the standard diplomatic answer that would have been given to any such query in any number of contexts.

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