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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Sophistry from a Post-Dispatch Movie Critic

Timothy Birdnow

Recently my brother got into a tiff with a left-wing movie critic over his pleasure that the new movie Captain America was not pro-American, and I put in my two cents to boot.

The argument continues, and I just e-mailed Brian a response to Joe Williams which I hope he'll receive. Notice the classic liberal approach; turn personal when the facts go against you. He suggests that anyone with an education simply must believe the liberal lies, and he cannot fathom that a college professor would see things differently.

From Joe Williams:


I deplore Pres. Obama's handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and almost everything else he has done). He is one of the aggressors to whom I referred.

The war in Iraq was irrefutably an act of aggression. It was a pre-emptive war of choice, unprecedented in American history. Even before 9/11, the president, the vice president and the secretary of defense had formulated plans for an invasion of Iraq, and on 9/11 the defense secretary asked his aides to find a link to 9/11 so his war of choice could begin.

Thus my point about the US being an aggressor in the past decade is proved, whether or not the other war during that period--in Afghanistan--was justified. Because it was 15 Saudis and zero Afghans who attacked us; because Al Qaeda was and is financed by Saudi money; because Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts were unknown at the time of the invasion and because he has now been declared dead in another country, I'm not seeing the justification for the blood and billions that are still being spent.

I could have said that after World War II, the U.S. has become more aggressive in its foreign policy, but that would be wishy-washy while U.S. troops are dying in specific blunders begun in the past decade.

Joe Williams

from Brian:


A Post-Dispatch guy deploring Obamaism is certainly encouraging and I take comfort wherever I find it! Now, on to the material points made in your earlier message:
As to the Iraq War being an unprecedented act in American history you need only look back to the wars against the Barbary Pirates circa 1803-1816 to refute your supposition. The pirates, based in Algiers, Tripoli, Casablanca and other North African city-states did not attack us on our soil but they seized American ships and captured American military and civilian personnel alike, and held them for ransom. Jefferson and Madison engaged in war with the pirates w/o a Congressional declaration of hostilities.

You insist that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. He used weapons of mass destruction on numerous occasions. Saddam used poison gas against the Iranians in the late '80's and against the Kurds in the rebellion of 1991-92. Also, if you watched the run-up to the beginning of the war on television in March of 2003 (and I'm guessing you did) you saw the vast caravan of 350 tractor-trailer semis heading up the highway from Baghdad to Syria. That convoy contained all of the Iraqi secret weapons program apparatus that could be moved, as stated by Iraqi senior officers during debriefings.

In the period from 1987-2003 Iraq committed many acts of war against the United States. Iraqi air forces attacked an American naval vessel in the Persian Gulf in 1987. Saddam Hussein dispatched a team of agents to kill former President George HW Bush when he visited Kuwait in 1993. Czech intelligence warned us of Iraqi complicity in the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Liberals have thrown a fit about this supposed misinformation, but the Czech intelligence agency stands by their assertion...and by the videotape of Iraqi operatives meeting with terrorism suspects in Prague in the spring of 2001.

Despite the so-called "rush to war" that the left still claims as fact, the United Nations issued many edicts and ultimatums to the Iraqi government. These were ignored, skirted, or rejected outright. The war began after U.N. resolutions were issued supporting the operation, and after Congress (with considerable Democratic support) sanctioned the operation. It should also be remembered that President Clinton attacked Iraq in 1993 and again in 1998.

Finally, you give the neocons and the Project For A New American Century too much credit (or censure) here. Some conservatives criticized this war as being something that did not involve a vital American interest. But liberal insistence that a small band of neocons forced this war on George W. Bush to remake the international order under American hegemony is absurd. I remember a time when liberals used to chortle about so-called conservative conspiracy theories linking the Trilateralist Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers and their supposed spider-like efforts to seize American power for their own ends. Now the liberals are peddling the same kind of moonshine, and wonder why they aren't taken seriously.

On Afghanistan, we knew that Al-Qaeda was operating there and openly executing terrorist plots worldwide. President Clinton refused a Sudanese offer to arrest Bin Laden in 1996. Osama and company decamped to Afghanistan several weeks later and set up shop. There is no question that the 9/11 attacks were planned on Afghan soil and that the financing, outfitting, and operational capabilities of the attack were launched from Afghanistan. When the Taliban refused an American request for the arrest and extradition of the perpetrators of the 9/11 bombings we invaded Afghanistan. Now, nearly ten years later we have killed Osama Bin Laden. Or, as you say, Bin Laden is declared dead. Obviously you consider this to be suspicious. So, you are saying that this is also a myth? Apparently, to those who share your views, any success in the war on terror is either mindless American jingoism, or a hoax engineered by the U.S. government. It's a very interesting alternative universe that you have created!

Brian Birdnow

From Joe Williams:

You've said nothing to disprove my assertion (in a measly half sentence in a movie review0 that America has acted aggressively in the past decade. You think there was justification for it. I don't. But that's a different issue.

From Brian:

Actually, we differ on the meaning of aggression. As I said in my last message, Iraq committed numerous acts of war against the USA before we eliminated the nuisance. Similarly, we acted to remove the Taliban after they became a menace to world civilization. I know that you don't think that 9/11 was a big deal, but most Americans do!

B. Birdnow

From Joe Williams:


I am disheartened that a fellow who uses an .edu address and can write in complete sentences still falls for that bullshit about Iraq having WMDs. Even Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld now admit that they didn't exist.

The weapons inspectors and U.N. personnel, including Hans Blix, Mohammad El-Baradei and American Marine Scott Ritter, insisted that Iraq did not have WMDs. Ambassador Joe Wilson reported, accurately, that Iraq did not seek uranium from Africa--so the White House endangered his wife by leaking that she was an undercover agent. Colin Powell was practically laughed out of the U.N. Security Council when he presented evidence that he knew (and now admits) was false. The flimsy evidence is why allies such as Canada, France and German did not join the puny “coalition of the willing” and denounced the war as an illegal act of aggression. The Downing Street memo, to which you haven't referred, acknowledged that the “facts” were changed to fit a predetermined outcome.

Was Iraq the gravest threat to the U.S. in 2003? Was it the most oppressive regime we could find and overthrow? Russia had—and still has—thousands of nukes pointed at the U.S., but we have never invaded that country. How about North Korea? Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo were all in the midst of conflicts that could be called “genocidal,” yet we did nothing to “free” those people.

We picked a country that had oil, no WMDs except that remnants of the nerve gas we helped Saddam obtain a decade earlier, no link to 9/11 and no capability or intention of attacking the U.S.

You think an invasion based on lies (or “honest mistakes” or “clear evidence which the liberal media and the ex-president won't acknowledge”) is worth $1 trillion and 4,000 American lives, and is somehow comparable to scuffles with Barbary pirates. Seriously Brian, the invasion of Iraq was indefensible, and almost every American now regrets it.

And by the way, you don't “know” that I think 9/11 was not a big deal any more than you “know” that Saddam had WMDs two years later.

Now go see the movie and let me know what you think.

Your pal,

Joe W.

I sent Brian (and it should have forwarded to Mr. Williams) this reply:

Brian, Mr. Williams is incorrect on a number of his assertions here (as I am sure you are aware but too polite to correct). He says Joe Wilson was correct, that Saddam didn't seek to buy uranium from Niger, and that has been proven false. Hussein DID try to buy uranium from Niger; Wilson was too busy drinking tea and talking to people wandering around the hotel lobby. Hardly a serious investigation into clandestine operations.

He ignores the fact that every intelligence agency on Earth believed those weapons were there - everyone but the U.N., and the U.N. itself had repeated resolutions that were not being enforced. It turns out the French and Russians and Germans were pushing the U.N. NOT to enforce them because of commercial interests. Oh, and let's not forget Oil for Food, in which Kofi Anan's son was reaping huge profits. Hardly makes the U.N. credible. And Scott Ritter had changed his tune only recently, having been making apocalyptic warnings about Saddam's weapons only a year or so prior.

Again, I ask "where were the weapons destroyed". We should be able to find those factories as easily as the wmd's.

I suppose Mr. Wilson advocates a war with Russia, since he says they are a graver threat. In point of fact, there were four nations that were the cornerstone of international terrorism, and now there are two. Weapons of mass destruction was only one reason to invade Iraq. This was about containment of radical islam. Saddam was financing international terrorism, and if Mr. Williams wasn't lazy he would have found that fact out. And what of international law? Liberals love that - until it works against them. Bush was enforcing U.N. resolutions.

And where did all that oil go after the invasion? Yeah; it was all about oil. Right.

If Mr. Williams is worried about his views being misinterpreted, perhaps he should be more forthcoming with them. He certainly does appear to think that "shit happens" is the proper response.


And the last word from Brian:

As an addendum to my sign-off message a bit earlier, I must reiterate that Iraq committed a number of acts of war against the USA between 1987-2003. Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo, and North Korea did not commit acts of war against the USA during that period. The only one of the nations you listed that ever committed acts of war against the United States was North Korea during the 1950-53 conflict. The Sudanese actually offered to arrest Osama Bin Laden and turn him over to us for trial, as I mentioned in my post last night. If the feckless President Clinton had accepted this offer it is reasonable to infer that 9/11 would not have taken place. In any event, I find it curious that liberals suggest that we should invade African and Asian republics, while caterwauling about the fact that we have done exactly that in Iraq and Afghanistan.

B. Birdnow

P.S. While you dredge up the old "War for oil" canard with regards to the Iraq conflict, I remind you that Afghanistan has no oil, nor anything we can use or want. Call this one an imperialist war, if you can do so with a straight face!

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