The Wartime Economy and Tax Policy

So Shinseki was right.


General Shinseki revealing his estimates of several hundred thousand men for the required complement to occupy Iraq. Senate hearing, February 2003.

The President now wants to escalate U.S. involvement in Iraq by increasing troop levels (although to nowhere near the levels that former Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki estimated would be necessary to stabilize Iraq). With “burn rates” likely to rise up from the current 9.17 bdpm (or about $110 billion per fiscal year), he also wants to increase the size of the army. Presumably he also wants to ensure the armed forces have the equipment needed. Finally, he is adamant in wanting to make the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent. The following puts into high relief the fact that tradeoffs need to be made (see also here). From the below excerpt, we know what the President has traded off thus far in order to maintain the tax cuts. Whether he will continue to do so is an open question.

According to the GAO’s new report, Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq:

“DOD also faced the challenge of supplying sufficient amounts of armor for Army and Marine Corps trucks. U.S. military forces in Iraq have experienced shortages of truck armor due to problems with production and installation of armor kits. Although the Army first identified a requirement for 3,780 truck armor kits for five types of trucks in November 2003, it did not produce all of the kits until February 2005 and did not install the kits to meet the initial requirement until May 2005 — 18 months after the requirement was identified. Requirements continued to increase after May 2005, but the time lag to meet them lessened. A number of factors contributed to the time needed to provide truck armor to deployed Army troops. As a result, troops were placed at greater risk as they conducted wartime operations in vehicles not equipped with the preferred level of protection. For example, the Army missed a valuable opportunity to have substantial numbers of truck armor kits available for OIF by not fully capitalizing on approved requirements for these kits established in 1996. In addition, production time lengthened because contracts were awarded for amounts less than total requirements due to increasing needs for truck armor and inadequate funding. Sufficient documentation was lacking to determine why funding was not available when needed, limiting effective oversight over funding decisions. Material shortages and limited kit installation rates also affected the availability of truck armor.” (page 88)

The following also illustrates how systemic these problems are:

“OIF [“Operation Iraqi Freedom”] tested the DOD logistics system and the industry’s capability to meet rapidly increasing demands, and in many instances the supply chain failed to respond quickly enough to meet the needs of modern warfare. In prior reports, we have reported on shortages of critical items1 and the systemic deficiencies in supply support that led to these shortages. These deficiencies included (1) inaccurate and inadequately funded Army war reserve requirements, (2) inaccurate supply forecasts, (3) insufficient and delayed funding, (4) delayed acquisition, and (5) ineffective distribution. DOD developed short-term solutions to manage item shortages during OIF, and DOD and the services have begun to undertake systemic, long-term changes to fix some of the supply problems identified.” (page 92) [emphasis added]

I highly recommend the entire document.

[Addendum: 2pm 1/11]

Iraq Coalition Casualties website released the WIA figures last night. As of 9 January, cumulative fatalities are 3018, and cumulative wounded are 22728.


Figure 1: Fatalities and wounded in Iraq, end-of-month. Source: Iraq Coalition Casualities, accessed 11 January 2007. Note: ISG report released on 12/6.


Figure 2: Cumulative Fatalities and wounded in Iraq, end-of-month. Source: Iraq Coalition Casualities, accessed 11 January 2007. Note: ISG report released on 12/6.

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41 thoughts on “The Wartime Economy and Tax Policy

  1. mp

    There is only one way to secure territory: a heavily-armed infantryman or marine has to stand on it. If more of the citizenry and congressional “leadership” had served, they would have understood Shinseki when he laid it on the line for them. I did. Rumsfeld’s response was arrogant, pure and simple. Bush and his followers thought the Iraqis-and don’t forget the Afghanis-would be a pushover. I know who’s full of “bullshit” and it isn’t Gen. Eric Shinseki.

  2. Aaron Krowne

    Great illustration of how the war has been among the things sacrificed to wage this war.

    Bush has failed at everything.

    Which, ironically, was his track record before getting elected, too.

  3. spencer

    It has always been very simple.
    If the administration had been honest about what the war would cost they would not have gotten their tax cuts. Note, the first casulty of the Iraq war may have been Larry Linsey for making an honest attempt to extimate the cost of the war.
    In economics we have the concept of revealed preference that in its simplist form says, do not pay attention to what people say they want, pay attention to what people actually do.
    So the revealed preference of this administration is that their tax cut was more important then providing the military with the resources it needed to win the war.
    We are losing the war so that the wealthy can have their tax cut.

  4. DickF

    More important than estimating the cost of the war is estimating the cost if there were no war. What would be the cost of a 9-11 event every 3 to 4 years? Granted there is no evidence that Iraq was directly involved in 9-11, but Iraq was involved in 9-11 through providing training bases, military leaders meeting with Al Qaeda prior to the events, and Saddam giving monetary support to militants worldwide. That is not to mention how much classified information we got from Saddam’s spider-hole. Naivet prevents connecting the dots which leads to a repeat of 9-11.
    The war was not justified with one 9-11. Would it be justified with two, three, more? When is our system of government worth fighting for? Never?

  5. DickF

    A couple of questions.
    1. Did you believe immediately after our victory over the Iraqi army that we needed more troops sent to Iraq?
    2. Do you agree with more troops being sent to Iraq now?
    3. Granted compared to the ideal the US Military is not totally equipped. Can you name any military in the rest of the world that is better equipped than the US military?

  6. menzie chinn

    DickF: We are rehashing allegations that have been already dismissed (you will remember the exchange following this post). I await your documentation for al Qaeda training camps in Saddam Hussein controlled regions of Iraq.

    I still don’t think you have assimilated the idea of opportunity cost. Consider whether we would be safer if we spent the approximately $110 billion per fiscal year on port security, air cargo screening, safeguarding chemical plants, than in Iraq, where it is unclear that the net effect is increase U.S. national security.

    In response to your questions: (1) Yes. That’s what my point “Shinseki was right” meant. (2) 21,500 is not a sufficiently large number to stabilize Iraq; it’s just delaying the inevitable. A much larger number requiring wartime funding is called for in order to achieve the goals set forth by the President. (3) The comparison is not relevant. The question is whether we should spend the money in the right places, and perhaps cut back on, say, capital gains tax cuts or oil production subsidies, or ballistic missile defense. In other words, trade-offs need to be made.

  7. mp

    DickF, there is absolutely no evidence of any type of Iraqi support for al Qaeda. Further, there is absolutely no evidence that Iraqi officials met with al Qaeda personnel prior to 9-11. The story of a meeting, and only one meeting, between Iraqi and al Qaeda intelligence operatives immediately prior to 9-11 was sourced to Curveball, who was repudiated by his German handlers and the CIA. The only people who touted Curveball’s story were Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz’s special group, who were cherry-picking raw intelligence they weren’t qualified to evaluate to justify their war.
    Afghanistan is another matter. Post-911 military operations there were justified by sound intelligence.

  8. Ezequiel Martin Camara

    “The war was not justified with one 9-11. Would it be justified with two, three, more? When is our system of government worth fighting for? Never?”
    If something, the Irak war will provide the US with more 9-11, not less. You want to get rid of 9-11? Stop bombing people and feed, cure and educate them (estimated cost, 50 G$, check the UN millenium goals, the destruction of Irak is 350 G$ and counting).
    9-11 was a one off. Stop fighting the last war. You (and I) have no idea where the next attack will come from, a McVeigh, or the bunch of loser drug dealers turned religious warriors that bombed Madrid, or a… (wait, who sent all that anthrax all over the US? fast, who do we have to bomb now? Los Alamos National Laboratory?). There are extremists in Asia, Mexico, South America, Africa, Europe, Illinois.
    There was Al Quaeda for a long time before 9-11. They attacked the US before that, but very infrequently. There is no reason someone will not again; many western democracies have been attacked before.

  9. esb

    Many in the “commentariat” noticed the not-so-subtle hints with respect to the new war that Bush clearly wants to overlap this one…Iran.
    And today the Bushies invaded an Iranian consulate in Iraq.
    There is no one today who can give any sort of accurate cost estimate for an Iran/US war…far to many variables.
    I have come to conclude that GWB fits the definition of a fanatic…an messianiac evangelical fundamentalist christian fanatic. It’s the only thing that really can explain all this.

  10. Sonia

    Who pays for the war? We can expect to see in the next Budget substantial cuts in current service levels of spending for public housing and other social programs as well as programs serving the general public such as National Parks. From the GAO report cited above we know that a substantial defense budget outlay will be required to restock the military. Somewhere along the line the taxes deferred will have to be raised. Will the wealthy continue to escape payment for the war?

  11. mp

    Sonia makes an excellent point. The ones who will “pay” are the ones who can afford it the least. Isn’t it always so?

  12. Joseph

    Since we are on the topic of Iraq and we have some new information now, perhaps it is time to revisit one of JDH’s most memorable posts. This is the one in which he seems to say that the thousands of deaths in Iraq to come are not the responsibility George Bush and Dick Cheney but instead Christopher Hayes. Never heard of him? Me neither but he writes for a magazine that has a total circulation of about 21,000 and dared to criticize the Bush plan to write an oil law for Iraq. It sounds like he is so dangerous that maybe we should send him to Guantanamo. Hayes argued that because of Bush administration’s history of mendacity and incompetence, let alone their ties to the U.S. oil business, we should not expect the plan to give the Iraqis a fair shake.
    We now have new information. The details of the secret oil agreement have begun to leak out, here and here.
    It turns out that the agreement has wired in the western oil companies Exxon, BP and Shell. There will be no competitive bidding from the world’s oil companies. JDH’s suggestion that China and France be included as a showing of good faith? Don’t make me laugh. Cheney will never give up western control over the mid-east oil, which was his stated goal at least as far back as 1998 when he headed Halliburton. The agreements take the form of Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) in which Iraq will technically retain legal ownership of its oil, but in fact will be completely controlled by the western oil companies. PSAs typically are used only in the most speculative regions of the world where exploration is expensive and quantities unknown. They are unheard of in the mid-east where the oil fields are well-mapped, among the closest to the surface and easiest to extract in the world. Technical Service Agreements are more common in the mid-east which allow countries to maintain sovereignty over their oil resources. Instead, the PSAs will allow the west to finally wrestle Iraq out of OPEC.
    The PSAs will give the oil companies up to 70% of revenues until investment costs are recouped and 20% thereafter for a period of 30 years, essentially the lifetime of the fields. Typical PSAs share only 40% in the beginning and 10% thereafter. In other words, the Iraqis are getting ripped off. Iraq is in a very weak position right now, with an occupying army, and the current government literally has a gun at its head. They are under the protection of the U.S. military. If the military were to back off slightly, most of the current Iraqi officials would be dead within a week. So the big rush is to lock the Iraqis into a bad deal for the next 30 years while they are most vulnerable.
    JDH said that even a bad deal was better than no deal. I believe that it is just the opposite. This deal will inflame the resentments of Muslims when they realize that once again that the western imperialists have interfered in their affairs to take advantage of their resources as they have for almost a century. Contrary to JDH’s claim that evn a bad oil law will save Iraqi lives, instead it will lead to more terrorists and the loss of American lives at home.

  13. foo

    If you examine events in the real world, you might be inclined to think this oil law is a good law. Consider this thought experiment:
    Western oil company with deep pockets and modern technology signs contract to develop oil field in foreign land, in return for 30 years of mind-blowing profits. Contract is heavily biased in favour of said oil company, because the foreign land lies prostrate.
    Five years pass. Western oil company has successfully developed oil field with latest technology. Profits are ready to gush. Foreign land, no longer occupied by US troops, controlled rather by neighbouring Iran, with heavy backing from Russia, China and France, “re-negotiates” contract.
    Western oil company is left with small profits. Foreign land and backers are left with enormous profits and spiffy new technology.
    While conducting this thought experiment, think of Sakhalin Island. Kazakhstan. Venezuela. Bolivia.
    The bottom line is, you don’t control the oil resources because you have a piece of paper with signatures. You control it because you have men with guns at the gates. In any future Iraq, the men with guns will not be American.

  14. Martin

    Professor Chinn,
    Naturally, this is sobering reading. It would seem that some combination of both tax rises and public service cuts is going to be necessary within the administration’s final two years merely in order to cover the bald cost of the war, let alone in order to make any meaningful dent in the costs incurred by the past seven years’ reckless discretionary spending.
    One has never been able to rationalise the difference between the ‘single bid’ reconstruction contracts and tribute demanded from conquered people by their conquerors.

  15. calmo

    It is a test this 21,000 more soldiers, yes? Something less (10,000?) would have been hooted off the stage as insignificant (or clowning or timid). Something more (40,000?) would have enraged everyone that this was nothing but an escalation with no clear objectives.
    I wonder who the military experts are and who the political experts are that come up with this palatable number, this compromise, this first step.
    I’m surprised that MSNBC’s Olbermann is as defiant as he is
    A few more media types like him and we could have a new administration that represents American voters and not American Corporate interests.

  16. mp

    Calmo, I read the Olbermann piece and am surprised that someone in the media is finally standing up to Bush and his poodles in that fashion. It’s a refreshing change.

  17. jg

    Shinseki wanted 300-400K troops, total; Bush is adding 20K to 130-150K. Big difference. We’re not adopting the Shinseki doctrine, here. Shinseki was stuck in his Cold War mindset; big footprint, big weapons, slow movement. Dinosaur-like.
    The big difference is not the additional troops. The big difference is that, now, we and Iraqis will be taking the fight to the Shia and Sunni militias; no more areas out of bounds for pursuit; no more failing to take out Al-Sadr if he stands and fights.
    We’re going to win this over these next two years.

  18. Valuethinker

    Ever heard of the British General Haig? Commanded the British Army on the Western Front in the First World War?
    Your rhetoric is precisely of that calibre.
    The reality is the best estimates are that to fight a counterinsurgency, you need 20 soldiers per 1000 occupied inhabitants. In the case of Iraq, that would be 500,000 troops.
    Trying to blame Syria and Iran for what is happening in Iraq is blaming an effect, rather than a cause. There are enough weapons floating around in Iraq (Second Amendment Rights 😉 to arm 10 dozen militias and insurgencies, let alone the ones which we have.
    Oh, and all Iraqi men have had military training.
    So you have a massive, armed and trained population, bitterly divided sectarians, and a occupying force which doesn’t share their language or religion. The US forces *don’t even speak Arabic*.
    Are we surprised at the outcome?

  19. mp

    According to the latest Pentagon estimates, if the “surge” proceeds there could be 6,000 dead by the end of 2007, 10,000 by the end of 2008 and 100,000 wounded.
    Impeach Bush. Do it now.

  20. menzie chinn

    jg: My understanding of the basis of the calculation was experience in previous successful counter-insurgency programs — e.g., the British in Malaya, U.S. in Philippines. Hardly an analysis grounded in “Cold War” conventional warfare. Hence, I agree: “big difference”. The President’s “strategy” is unlikely to succeed, while a really large escalation — combined with a realignment of diplomatic initiatives — might have. The President’s approach shares more with the incrementalism of Vietnam than with previous successful counter-insurgency episodes.

    mp: I only found one article citing estimates from this report. Do you have other references?

  21. DickF

    Menzie wrote:
    I await your documentation for al Qaeda training camps in Saddam Hussein controlled regions of Iraq.

    Sorry, Menzie I thought I posted this the first time we had this discussion. I have a lot more than just these but here is a sample. If you would like more let me know. I don’t really want to post too much on one issue. Please note that this is only the the information from the public record. I have had some information leaked to me about classified documents that support some of these comments.
    Weekly Standard:
    The secret training took place primarily at three camps–in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak–and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria’s GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.
    The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million “exploitable items” captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.

    Washington Post:
    Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of “professionalized” terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director’s think tank.
    Iraq provides terrorists with “a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills,” said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. “There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries.”

    Excerpt from Staff Briefing on 9-11 report:
    Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded [It is important to note here that there was never any evidence of either acceptance or rejection of this request, but there is evidence that contact continued. But it is important to recognize that there was a relationship between Bin Laden and Iraq strong enough to allow him to make this the request.] There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan…
    Gaurdian Unlimited:
    An alleged terrorist accused of helping the 11 September conspirators was invited to a party by the Iraqi ambassador to Spain under his al-Qaeda nom de guerre, according to documents seized by Spanish investigators.
    Yusuf Galan, who was photographed being trained at a camp run by Osama bin Laden, is now in jail, awaiting trial in Madrid. The indictment against him, drawn up by investigating judge Baltasar Garzon, claims he was ‘directly involved with the preparation and carrying out of the attacks … by the suicide pilots on 11 September’.
    Evidence of Galan’s links with Iraqi government officials came to light only recently, as investigators pored through more than 40,000 pages of documents seized in raids at the homes of Galan and seven alleged co-conspirators. The Spanish authorities have supplied copies to lawyers in America, and this week the documents will form part of a dossier to be filed in a federal court in Washington, claiming damages of approximately $100 billion on behalf of more than 2,500 11 September victims.
    The lawsuit lists Saddam’s government in Iraq as one of its principal defendants, claiming it provided ‘material support’ to the al-Qaeda terrorists.

    Wall Street Journal:
    Newly uncovered files examined by US military investigators in Baghdad show what is being described as ‘a direct link’ between Saddam Hussein’s elite Fedayeen military unit and the terrorist attacks on America September 11, 2001.
    Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, who attended a 2000 Al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where the 9/11 attacks were planned, is listed among the officers on three Fedayeen rosters reviewed by US probers, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
    ‘Our government sources, who have seen the translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lt. Colonel,’ the paper said.
    Saddam’s Fedayeen has been identified in previous reports as the group that conducted 9/11 style hijack training drills on a parked Boeing 707 airliner at the south Baghdad terrorist camp Salman Pak.

  22. calmo

    ken’s purse so cryptic, so unleaked…
    Norwegian Blues can be tacked to their perches though, even discovered (and elaborately confirmed) to be “passed it”…and exchanged for a talking slug.
    So, have you seen my sow? Beautiful silky ears!

  23. Barkley Rosser

    At it again, eh, DickF? Since I shot you down last time, guess I need to do it again.
    You do not give a date on the Weekly Standard article, but I have double checked, and the story on Salman Pak is that while INC operatives made claims both about it being a terrorist training camp and a bio lab location, which were duly reported in outlets like WS, once US troops got in there and US intel agencies got in there, the conclusion by both CIA and DIA folks as reported in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was that it was not a functioning bio weapons lab and that it was actually a counterterrorism training camp for the Iraqi regime. Seattle Times of November 1, 2005 is one source on this. One of the huffing and puffing reports you have is from early 2005. Your stuff is out of date and plain wrong on this, as before. I will also note that this point was made the last time you brought this kind of stuff up.
    No dates on that WaPo story about Iraq replacing Afghanistan as a terrorist training camp either, but I think that story comes from after we invaded Iraq. I have seen stories in WaPo making such arguments, although I do not have an exact date. Of course this is the point that people like me have made to you before, although you continue to ignore it: the invasion of Iraq has made terrorism against the US worse, not better. Camps have been set up since we went in, not before. Fighting in Iraq is the best training terrorists can have, not to mention the enormous recruiting our involvement there provides, as reported in an NIE from last year.
    Yes, it is known that in the 1990s there were some conversations and that bin Laden made requests of Saddam. While you remain vague on the matter it is known what the answer was and why: Saddam turned him down, both because he was not a friend of Islamist radicals who wished to ultimately overthrow his regime and because he knew the US was after bin Laden and he did not wish to give the US an excuse to invade him, which of course we did anyway with no good excuse whatsoever. Saddam did harbor anti-Israeli terrorists like Abu Nidal, but they were strictly secular types and stayed away from messing with the US or its assets.
    On Galan, well gosh, maybe you have something there. A guy who was trained at an al Qaeda camp and may have been involved in 9/11 got invited to a cocktail party at the Iraqi ambassador to Spain’s. Maybe that’s it, but that looks like pretty weak stuff, and no date is given on the report. Even if it happened, did the ambassador know what Galan was up to? So, there is a lawsuit that claims that Saddam gave material support, but no details or evidence are provided. The only link we see between Iraq and Galan is one cocktail party. Pretty weak.
    Then we have the tail of Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. It does appear that someone of that name was a Lt. colonel in the Saddam fedayeen irregulars. However, looking at the WSJ column you cited (from May, 2004) I find the following you did not quote. I shall.
    “The US has never been sure if he [Shakir] was there on behalf of the Iraq regime or was simply an Islamist on his own.”
    “It is possible that the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir listed on the Fedayeen rosters is a different man from the Iraqi of the same name with proven al Qaeda connection. His identification awaits confirmation by al Qaeda operatives in US custody or perhaps other documents.”
    I would note that certain names in the Arab world are held by many people, an ongoing problem. I would also note that this report is now almost three years old, and we have no further word on any confirmation of the supposed links or actual identity of these folks. I conclude with a comment from the article about a book by Stephen Hayes called The Connection that made an effort to establish these connections.
    “There is no smoking gun, but there sure is a lot of smoke.” While you may find the second part of this excieing, I would say the first part of this remains operational the three plus years after these claims were made without any further confirmations.
    BTW, DickF, please do not try to impress people with claims of secret leaks to you by intel folks or whatever. This just damages your credibility further rather than enhancing it.

  24. Barkley Rosser

    So, I have checked out further this Galan business. Turns out to be another pile of garbage peddled by the INC Chalabi crowd.
    The story DickF cited from Guardian Unlimited dates from March 16, 2003 and was full of a whole bunch of other discredited INC claims, that Atta met in Czech Rep with an Iraqi agent, that Salman Pak was a major center, and a bunch more, quite the breathless piece. All of this was alleged to be part of a damage lawsuit that appears to have gone exactly nowhere.
    So, later reports, such as the Pittsburgh Times-Review of June 5, 2005 report that Galan was part of a group of 24 people in Spain who were tried for 9/11 offenses. I never could find out the final outcome of this trial, although I did find that all involved proclaimed their innocence of anything to do with either al Qaeda or bin Laden or 9/11.
    BTW, that paper was interested in all this because it was reported that among other odd things in Galan’s possession was a map of Pittsburgh.
    However, more important for our question here, given all this self-righteous huffing and puffing by good old DickF, is the following quote from the story, which I saw reproduced in variations in several other sources:
    “Accused cell member, Yusuf Galan, is not one of the major players. Galan, a Spaniard who converted to Islam, faces only 18 years [the “major players” faced 30 years each] for being part of the cell, for visiting an Islamic militant training camp in Indonesia in 2001, and having illegal guns and knives in his home when he was arrested after the 9/11 attacks.”
    No mention of a meeting at the Iraqi ambassador’s residence, no mention of robbing banks for Atta that were in that 2/16/03 story from the Guardian Unlimited that DickF cited, none of that.
    In short, DickF has simply handed out a piece of propaganda from the Chalabi crowd that was reported as the US invaded Iraq and which has not been substantiated at all, indeed whose main gist has been shown to be false. Galan was/is basically a bit player, a nobody, with no Iraqi connections and little if any role in 9/11.
    I am afraid you are left with nothing at all, once again, DickF, although I suppose you can hope for a confirmation from somebody tortured at Gitmo that there really was only one Shakir and that he really was sent by Saddam to Kuala Lumpur, just as we continue to wait for all those WMD sent to Syria to show up…

  25. M1EK

    JDH, with all due respect, DickF got you and Menzie and everybody else to do exactly what he wanted: waste your time refuting the already convincingly refuted so that your main point was lost in the noise. That’s why I jumped straight to noting that the duck was quacking, as it were.
    Have you not dealt with this type before?

  26. STS

    Time to ask Bush’s enablers to write some checks to pay for this stupid war. Let’s tack a one-time surtax on top incomes/cap gains to pay for the $100B Iraq supplemental coming next month. Then threaten to do the same for each successive bill. No more charging it to the big Chinese credit card.
    Bush can have all the war his $100K “Pioneers” want to pay for. My guess is the troops will start packing up to leave in a hurry.

  27. Grzesiek

    “I still don’t think you have assimilated the idea of opportunity cost. Consider whether we would be safer if we spent the approximately $110 billion per fiscal year on port security, air cargo screening, safeguarding chemical plants, than in Iraq, where it is unclear that the net effect is increase U.S. national security.”

    Menzie, how do those jobs get created? Who fills those positions? Who trains these folks?

    Can we use some of that money to build nuclear powers plants? You’re an advocate for nuclear power aren’t you?

  28. DickF

    All you asked was that I present the evidence. I did that. You have a right to accept it or reject it but it is offensive for you to say that I have not supported my point. There was and is ample evidence that Saddam was involved with forces aligned against the US.
    Barkley you have a right to be wrong, but please do not endanger the rest of us with your naieve opinions. 9-11 was real and those who desire to destroy the United States are real. It is fine for you to hide your head in the sand and hope for the best, but do it by yourself.

  29. wunsacon

    >> but Iraq was involved in 9-11 through providing training bases, military leaders meeting with Al Qaeda prior to the events
    DickF, let me remind you that al Qaeda operatives received critical training in bases in Florida. Write your Congressman and declare we invade.

  30. Barkley Rosser

    Good lord, man, no one is denying the existence of 9/11. What people are denying is all the claims of links between Saddam and al Qaeda and 9/11 that you have trumpeted here so frequently. Even President Bush has admitted on more than one occasion that there was no such link, although you keep providing these leftover tales spun by Chalabi and his INC gang, the liars who convinced us that there were WMDs in Iraq when there were not.
    Offhand, sir, I would say that you are the one with your head firmly stuck deep in the sand. I am sorry if I have demonstrated that you have no credibility whatsoever with the various claims you have put forward on this matter. But if you are going to spout nonsense that has been publicly demonstrated to be nonsense, I am afraid that is what you are going to have to expect.

  31. DickF

    Our enemy is being emboldened by those who lack the will to resist. Two examples are the Talaban stepping up attackes in Afghanistan (the last number I heard was a 200% increase), and Pakistan making a truce with the war lords. We have begun to lose our allies against Islmo-Fascists not because we were willing to fight be because we are showing signs of tucking tail and running. The playground bully will not pick on others if he believes the teacher will discipline him, but the minute he sees that the teacher is a wimp and will not act he will rule the playground. Our change in direction is exactly the wrong thing to do to protect our nation. Those who wish to separate Saddam from the problems with Islmo-Fascism delude themselves, and what is more I believe that most of them know it. But their hatred of Bush and their lust for power drives them to endanger our nation.
    If you think the world is dangerous now just wait.

  32. Barkley Rosser

    As this is beginning to run in circles, this will be my last post on this thread. So you can have the last word.
    That said, most observers believe that a major part of the problem in Afghanistan is due to the fact that we pulled out crucial forces from there before we got bin Laden and before we fully stabilized the situation in order to carry out the self-defeating and self destructive invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with ant-US terrorism, contrary to the lying INC sources that you keep citing on this blog.
    If anything, your favorite president is the one who lacked the will to see things through properly in Afghanistan where we were clearly dealing with al Qaeda and the Taliban, rather than going off on this wild goose chase in Iraq that has turned into a world class disaster, stimulating al Qaeda recruitment and all the rest of it.

  33. DickF

    I was not going to post again to this thread but something you wrote almost made me laugh out loud as it is typical of the anti-Bush analysis. Bush is criticized for pulling forces out of Afghanistan too soon yet he is criticized for not pulling out of Iraq. Your inconsistency does reveal an extreme level of bias in your analysis.

  34. menzie chinn

    DickF: There is a substantive difference. We can document the fact that Al Qaeda were based in Afghanistan, and received support and protection from the Taleban. We cannot in my opinion (and even the Administration now allows we cannot) document the fact that the Saddam Hussein regime monetarily and logistically supported activities of Al Qaeda, notwithstanding assertions contained in the Weekly Standard.

  35. Anonymous

    DckF – there seem to be two ways to deal with counter insurgency – leave or kil them all.
    DO you advocate killing all Iraqi’s?

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