Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Weekend Lost Perspective

How can a column like this even make it into print, much less be placed under the title "Weekend Perspectives"??

I'm all for a spirited debate on most topics, but the sheer magnitude of errors in this column boggles the mind. To name a few:

[the Iraqi war has] long since [been] identified as illicit by legal tribunals around the world

Certainly Hans Blix and Kofi Annan have posited that the war is illegal, as well as countless other lawyers I'm sure. But I know of no "legal tribunal" that has made that finding. I don't think there is much doubt that the war was legal under US law. And others have made the case for why the war was legal under international law, so I won't rehash those arguments here. If someone could point me to any legal tribunal to support the above statement, I'd be much obliged.

Few if any noted that the idea for the war had been hatched in the 1990s by Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, I. Lewis Libby, Richard Perle and other easily recognizable neoconservatives.

Lets add Bill Clinton to this list of neocons. His administration signed into law the policy of "regime change" for Iraq. Bravo, President Clinton! [Really.]

The fact that the invasion and occupation of Iraq went ahead as scheduled strongly indicates that the commanders knew very well that there were no such weapons there in the first place.

I don't follow. So President Bush launched a war based (at least in part) on WMD being in Iraq knowing that he wouldn't find any there? If so, that would have to be the most boneheaded political move of all time. Almost every intel organization in the world surmised that Saddam still possessed WMD. Tenet said it was a "slam dunk" case. This is where the "Bush lied" crowd loses me. Just because that intel was wrong, doesn't mean that the president didn't believe it. Plus, wasn't there a significant opposition to the war based on the fact that Saddam might feel cornered and actually use his WMD? Weren't those folks LIARS! too?

Quick to defend torture as a justifiable tactic to be used in war was Alan Dershowitz (as well as Alberto Gonzales)

Neither of the above-referenced gentlemen have been "quick to defend torture." Dershowitz's views on the subject are much more extreme than the measured views of Judge Gonzales, which are not accurately summarized in the quote. Oh, by the way, Professor Dershowitz supported Senator Kerry in the Presidential election. So why is he making an appearance in this column complaining about the Republicans who sold us the war?

The Justice Dept brought forced deportation based upon ethnicity alone;

Besides from the easy target (forced deportation? is there another kind??), this one just isn't true. DOJ has the power to deport folks who have violated US immigration laws. Imagine that. DOJ doesn't have the power to deport based on ethnicity alone.

the right of the government to search homes without the permission or even the presence of the home-owner;

A right based on over 50 years of precedent. The Supreme Court has called arguments against the constitutionality of delayed-notice search warrants as "frivolous." They have been used for drug and other investigations for years. See this report for a good discussion.

the right of the government to access computer files, library borrowings and other private records at will.

The government could already access these materials with a simple warrant; a document prosecutors have on their desks and only need to fill out and take to records custodian, without any judicial approval in the first instance. The Patriot Act allowed for seizure of business records (the word "library" does not make an appearance in the Patriot Act) in terrorism cases, but only after getting approval from a special terrorism court (a FISA court, for you law dweebs). Hardly "at will."

I leave aside the $8,000 expenditure incurred by Ashcroft to curtain the 67-year-old breasts of the Goddess of Justice as an action best left to psychiatry or ridicule or both.

Glad he leaves it aside, as that story has never been verified. I'd say its been thoroughly debunked, but I know many of you may not take DOJ's word over the press. Here's an href="">unbiased analysis.

"I would rather fight the terrorists in Iraq," said Mr. Perle, "than here." His statement suggested that he was preparing to enlist and put his body where his words were, but at last sighting he had not yet volunteered.

Yeah, what we need in Iraq now is 63 yr old policy wonks. I have said the same words, and I did volunteer. So his response TO ME is . . .

There's much more, but you get the picture. And I'm tired. But seriously, how does this drivel make it into print? There are plenty of legitimate arguments against the Iraqi war in general and its execution in particular. Couldn't the Pitt Post-Gazette find a better mouthpiece for those views than the Director of the International Poetry Forum?