A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.
A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.
Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.
A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.
Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?
A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.
Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?
A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement.
There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.
“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” President George W. Bush said in his State of the Union address on January 28th, 2003, referring to Niger’s mostly foreign-owned uranium mines. Bush’s notorious “Sixteen Words” were based on intelligence the CIA believed to be false. Nevertheless, it formed the core of the Bush administration’s pretext for war, that Iraq’s formerly U.S.-backed dictator Saddam Hussein was secretly amassing weapons of mass destruction – WMDs.
Months earlier, then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned of the WMD threat, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Bush invoked the same imagery one month later, in a major address in Cincinnati, laying out the case for invading Iraq, saying, “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” Bush’s Secretary of State General Colin Powell sealed the deal at the United Nations on February 5th, 2003, with a presentation laced with false intelligence on Iraq’s alleged WMD program that he said included nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He would later call the speech a “blot” on his career.
The Bush administration’s lies and misrepresentations were amplified by the corporate media, most notably by The New York Times. Story after story ran above the fold on the front page by reporter Judith Miller, often co-written by Michael R. Gordon, hyping the claim that Saddam Hussein was attempting to build nuclear weapons. In a 3,400-word article hyping the threat of WMDs published on September 8, 2002, Miller and Gordon cite unnamed “officials,” “American intelligence” and Bush administration “hard-liners” three dozen times, along with unnamed Iraqi defectors and dissidents.
Months after the invasion, the Times also published a piece by the late Ambassador Joe Wilson. “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” was Wilson’s first-hand account of a CIA-sponsored trip he took to Niger in February, 2002, to assess the veracity of the uranium claims being pushed by the Bush administration. Wilson reported to the CIA that he had found no evidence that Niger had sold uranium to Iraq. His Times piece was a damning indictment of the Bush administration’s manipulation of intelligence to push an illegal war.
In retaliation, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, leaked the name of Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, to select members of the press, including Judith Miller. Plame was a covert CIA agent, and when a rightwing columnist published her name, her undercover career was essentially over. Judith Miller refused to reveal her source to a grand jury investigating the leak, and was jailed for 85 days for contempt of court. She was released after agreeing to cooperate.
As these legal battles raged in Washington, DC, the real war raging in Iraq was killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and thousands of U.S. and coalition troops. Millions of Iraqis became refugees, later joined by Syrians as the conflagration sparked by the U.S. invasion spread.
While the true cost of the Iraq war will never be fully known, Brown University researchers put it at close to $3 trillion. They also estimate that up to 580,000 people – civilians and combatants – have been killed in Iraq and Syria since 2003. “Four times that number may have died due to indirect causes such as displacement, poor access to safe drinking water, healthcare, and preventable diseases,” their Cost of War report grimly notes.
This week, Brown University Professor Nadje Al-Ali, Director of the Centre for Middle East Studies, speaking on the Democracy Now! news hour, reflected,
“The young generation of Iraqis are trying to go beyond the impact of the invasion and occupation. There’s lots of creativity, resourcefulness and positive energy. So I have some hope. For people, especially in this country, it’s high time to really rethink US military involvement and policy more broadly, not just in Iraq but in the Middle East and the world.”
Senate Takes First Step in Repealing Iraq War Authorizations
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., center, and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., center left, are joined by representatives of the American Legion as they speak to reporters about ending the authorization for use of military force enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 16, 2023. Senators voted 68-27 Thursday to move forward with a bill to repeal the 2002 measure that authorized the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and a 1991 measure that sanctioned the U.S.-led Gulf War to expel Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate took a first step Thursday toward repealing two measures that give open-ended approval for military action in Iraq, pushing to end that authority as the United States marks the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War.
The bipartisan effort comes as lawmakers in both parties are increasingly seeking to claw back congressional powers over U.S. military strikes and deployments, arguing that the war authorizations are no longer necessary and subject to misuse if they are left on the books. President Joe Biden has backed the push, and the White House issued a statement Thursday in support.
“Repeal of these authorizations would have no impact on current U.S. military operations and would support this administration’s commitment to a strong and comprehensive relationship with our Iraqi partners,” the White House said.
Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Todd Young, R-Ind., said they believe the 68 votes in support send a powerful message to Americans who believe their voice should be heard on matters of war and peace. Kaine and Young have led the push for repeal and have worked for several years on the issue.
“It is time for Congress to have its voice heard on these matters, and I believe this will establish a very important precedent moving forward,” Young said.
It’s unclear whether leaders in the Republican-controlled House will bring the bill up for a vote, even if it passes the Senate. Forty-nine House Republicans supported the legislation when then-majority Democrats held a vote two years ago, but current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has opposed it.
Senate Republicans are also split on the legislation. While the 19 GOP senators voted for it, opponents argue that the repeal could project weakness to U.S. enemies. They have pointed out that President Donald Trump’s administration cited the 2002 Iraq war resolution as part of its legal justification for a 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani.
The October 2002 votes to give President George W. Bush broad authority for the invasion — coming just a month before the midterm elections that year — became a defining moment for many members of Congress as the country debated whether a military strike was warranted. The U.S. was already at war then in Afghanistan, the country that hosted the al-Qaida plotters responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, something Iraq played no part in.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat who was in the Senate at the time and voted against the resolution, said on the floor before Thursday’s vote that “I look back on it, as I’m sure others do, as one of the most important votes that I ever cast.”
“The repeal of this authorization of use the use of military force does not mean the United States has become a pacifist nation,” Durbin said. “It means that the United States is going to be a constitutional nation and the premise of our Founding Fathers will be respected.”
After the initial March 2003 invasion, American ground forces quickly discovered that the allegations of nuclear or chemical weapons programs were baseless. But the U.S. overthrow of Iraq’s security forces precipitated a brutal sectarian fight and violent campaigns by Islamic extremist groups in Iraq. Car bombings, assassinations, torture and kidnapping became a part of daily life in Iraq for years.
Nearly 5,000 U.S. troops were killed in the war. Iraqi deaths are estimated in the hundreds of thousands.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in the hours before the vote that he was glad that the repeal is a bipartisan effort after the Iraq conflict was the cause of “so much bitterness” in the past.
“Americans are tired of endless wars in the Middle East,” Schumer said.
The Senate will consider the legislation next week, with possible amendments from both sides.
One of the amendments that could be considered would repeal a separate authorization of military force passed immediately after the 2001 attacks. It gave Bush broad authority for the invasion of Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism but did not name one country, instead broadly approving force “against those nations, organizations, or persons” that planned or aided the attacks on the U.S.
But there is less support in the Senate and Congress overall for repealing the broader authority. Biden and some lawmakers have supported replacing or revising that authorization in the future, but “not right now,” Kaine said, as it is still used by the military.
In its statement of policy, the White House appeared to reference the 2001 authority, saying that Biden “remains committed to working with the Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a narrow and specific framework more appropriate to protecting Americans from modern terrorist threats.”
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Russia’s aid to China’s plutonium reactors proves that when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, they really meant it. Pictured: Putin confers with Xi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders’ summit in Uzbekistan on Sept. 16. (Photo: Sergei Bobylyov/Sputnik/AFP/ Getty Images)
Patty-Jane Geller, a policy analyst, focuses on nuclear deterrence and missile defense in the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.
Policymakers are increasingly concerned about evidence of increasing cooperation between the United States’ two greatest adversaries, Russia and China.
While recent discussion has focused on China providing Russia with lethal aid to support its aggression in Ukraine, a potentially more dangerous element to this budding relationship has just come into public view: Russian support for China’s nuclear buildup.
Central to this nuclear buildup is China’s need for nuclear material; namely, plutonium.
Historically, China operated two nuclear power plants capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. The two plants were shut down in 1984 and 1989, respectively, leaving China with only a limited stockpile of plutonium. But at that time, China still maintained its historic posture of “minimum deterrence,” possessing just a very limited arsenal of nuclear weapons.
With its newfound nuclear ambitions, China must remedy its limited access to plutonium. As part of the effort, China has been constructing new fast-breeder reactors called the CFR-600. While China claims these reactors serve civilian purposes, they are also equally capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Compared with a typical nuclear reactor that utilizes the energy from nuclear fission to power a generator or create electricity, a fast-breeder reactor can be designed to maximize the output of plutonium from the fission reactions. For that reason, these reactors are useful for nuclear weapons programs.
That’s where Russia enters the picture.
Recent reports reveal that Russia, through its state-owned nuclear corporation, Rosatom, has been providing fuel for China’s new fast-breeder reactors. China is thought to have already purchased more than 25,000 kilograms (55,000 pounds) of fuel for a price of $384 million since shipments from Russia began arriving in September.
Nuclear collaboration between Russia and China is not entirely new. It dates back to the 1950s, when the Soviet Union provided materials and technical assistance to China’s fledging nuclear program. While tensions developed between the two states for much of the rest of the Cold War, causing nuclear aid to stop, they resumed cooperation in the 21st century.
This time, the implications of Russia’s aid to China’s plutonium reactors are quite significant. For starters, it proves that when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, they really meant it.
Perhaps worse, this development means that the more fuel Russia provides, the more plutonium China can produce. And the more plutonium China can produce, the more nuclear weapons it can build.
China is already on track to multiply the size of its stockpile over the next several years, and it’s moving faster than the U.S. had expected. In 2020, the Pentagon predicted China would double its stockpile by the end of the decade, but by the end of 2022, it had already done so. With Russian help, China might be able to accelerate this buildup even further.
Given the state of geopolitics, any advancing relationship between Russia, a country with significant nuclear experience and an abundance of nuclear material, and China, an aspiring nuclear superpower with money to spend, comes with great risk.
Meanwhile, as Russia supports China’s efforts to crank out more nuclear weapons, the United States has no similar capability to produce the cores of weapons-grade plutonium needed for new nuclear weapons, called plutonium pits.
In fact, the U.S. is the only nuclear weapons state without this capability.
The U.S. Energy Department is pursuing a project to ultimately be able to produce 80 of these plutonium pits per year, but it has been delayed, and will not be complete until after 2030. And even then, at first it will produce enough pits only to replace current aging warheads, rather than expand the inventory.
To avoid falling behind China, the U.S. needs to significantly progress on this program.
Whether the United States is prepared to admit it or not, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it will need to compete in the nuclear arena to prevent China from surging ahead and gaining nuclear advantages.
Combined with the threats posed by a recalcitrant Russia, the U.S. needs to strengthen its nuclear deterrent to ensure it retains a strategic edge against these increasingly hostile adversaries.
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As Pakistan drifts rapidly towards default, there is intense speculation daily on its future. Many in India feel that it will auto-Balkanise. There is huge commentary on how to deal with the fallout of such a break up. There is also considerable nationalistic fervour to retake the entire POK. Many also assess that Pakistan being a nuclear state will not be allowed to break up. Such assessments opine that the strong Pakistani Army will hold it together and continue to pose a threat to India. From within Pakistan, there are many voices of despair. They indicate a slow descent into anarchy. Editorials across the border, talk of Neros’ who are constantly fiddling as Pakistan burns. The fact of the matter is that the nuclear armed country is at a dead end; caught in a debt trap from which it cannot escape. It goes, hat in hand, from country to country, institution to institution, begging for alms. It expects IMF, World Bank, ‘friendly’ and ‘once friendly’ countries to rescue it. A recent opinion from within refers to Pakistan as a serial beggar. What is the future of this nuclear beggar?
Pakistan was once the gateway to the oil-rich countries of the Middle East and Central Asia. It provided the Islamic Bomb to the Muslim world. It was the great enabler in the Sino-US entente in the 70s. It gave access to the warm waters of the Gulf for those who sought it. It was the bulwark against the expanding arc of communism. It acquired the tag of being the frontline state in the Cold War between the USA and USSR. It continued with its moniker of indispensability in the war against terror. It was the lifeline for everything and everyone in a turbulent Afghanistan to meet their respective ends – USA, Mujahedeen, and Taliban et al. It was legendary in being able to take on a stronger India by proxy through radical jihadis and repeatedly tie it in knots. Its modern military with visionary thoughts could take on adversaries far greater than itself. The USA, rich gulf nations, China and all other benefactors provided it with ample financial , political, and diplomatic resources that helped it tide over the near death financial and economic paroxysms it periodically suffered. Pakistan was a friend to all except India. It was the toast of the international community for the best part of its seven decades of eventful existence.
Those heady days are over due to a palpable geopolitical shift. The global energy situation and the fossil fuel economy, driven by the impending climate change is morphing. There is a world-wide search for renewable and alternative energy sources. In this uncertain future , the once oil-cash rich gulf states are looking for wealth preservation through diversification. Once inimical states like Israel and UAE or Saudi Arabia and Iran are seeking mutual accommodation. West Asia and the Middle East were the geopolitical focus of the last century. Presently, the focus has shifted to the Indo Pacific. The latest focus is Ukraine. Pakistan is an unaffordable luxury in this prominent geopolitical shift. It has lost its strategic value. In fact the economic conduit from across the Gulf is looking to be increasingly and strictly transactional. The USA has learnt its lesson after the double cross it experienced in Afghanistan. China is facing its own financial issues. It further sees that CPEC as an economic proposition is losing value. The cost benefit equation of rescuing Pakistan is in negative territory. Richer nations do not want to invest into Pakistan which is considered to be the most dangerous country in the world. External aid into Pakistan is only limited to the IMF. That too comes with huge strings. Overall, Pakistan has entered into a state of suspended geostrategic animation with diminished value. This condition will remain so for at least a decade if not more.
Pakistan is not failing due to its poor economy, terrorism or over-militarism. All other factors aside, it is failing on a permanent basis due to lack of water. Pakistan’s water availability graph (above) , indicates that as its population exploded, it became a water-stressed nation in the 90’s. Around 2005, it entered the water-scarcity zone. Beyond 2025, it is heading into the absolute water scarcity zone. When Pakistan goes below the absolute water scarcity zone shortly, it will enter the arena of perpetual failure. Pakistan’s two major water reservoirs, Tarbela and Mangla, are silted up. Both dams dip to dead water levels in summer. The under construction Diamer Bhasha Dam caters only partially, for loss of water capacity due to silting of existing dams. There are no additional sources of water other than a dying Indus nor has Pakistan’s water storage capacity increased. The IMF bailout(s), now or before, are not for ameliorating its dismal water situation. The current bailout does not even meet its short term requirement to tide over the recent crisis due to unprecedented floods. Every penny spent on Pakistan’s relentless increase in military expenditure has been a penny less for water. All water-related projects have either been pulled out from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) or are under review with no time line whatsoever. Pakistan’s slide into water scarcity is unchecked. For a country in which agriculture is 20% of the GDP, this is scary. Pakistan was once a net food exporter. It is now a net food importer in perpetuity. There is no solution for its looming food insecurity in sight. Climate change and global warming will further affect water availability and food security adversely. Population growth in future, and any intended economic growth will only increase the requirement of water; which is not available in the first place. In a couple of years when absolute water scarcity takes grip, the situation will spiral down even further. The existing low levels of productivity can only dip further. Pakistan faces an existential crisis. Not from India but from water, rather the lack of it
Pakistanis are not able to put three meals on the table on a daily basis as per their media. Yet their main political parties and leaders are constantly feuding for power. Even if one of them emerges a winner, there will be nothing to light up the land of the pure with undistilled joy. Afterall , it was these very politicians who have ruled the nation for 75 years and have brought Pakistan to this state of penury. They can only take it down further. The judiciary in the country is in disarray. Earlier, they were unanimously playing second fiddle to the Army with occasional flashes of independent judgement. One does not even know who they are supporting now. The country has a president who passes all kinds of orders. Those are promptly ignored or challenged or rubbished publicly by the PM and all institutions. Under such conditions, the Army used to step up and take over the country. However, the Army, for the first time in its 75 years of existence, is itself deeply divided. It is no more the darling of the Pakistan masses. More importantly it has no solutions to offer to rectify the dismal state of the nation. In the event it is visibly hesitant to even entertain the idea of a takeover and preside over ashes. Further, it is unable to stem the mayhem and violence wreaked by the TTP and Baloch rebels. The Taliban which was hoisted into power by the venerable generals of the Pakistani Army are cocking a snook at it. The Army seems unsure, helpless and vulnerable. It is more bent on self-preservation. Combine this disarray with the debt, financial and economic problems of the nation duly factoring in the radical elements. The picture which emerges is that of a dismal and bleak future worse than the brightest English summer. The elites of the nation are in an each to himself mode. In this scenario, a Pakistani messiah is as invisible as the ‘Id ka Chand’.
Pakistan prided itself on being a frontline state. Today it is turning into a frontline pawn in the oncoming international competition between the USA and China. Till some time back the USA was heavily invested in Pakistan geo-strategically. In that period, China came forth to woo Pakistan away from the US fold. It successfully did so with the CPEC. After the Afghanistan fiasco, as USA has dis-engaged itself from the region, China and Pakistan exulted. However the USA still retains the keys and levers to keep Pakistan afloat. China’s heavy investments in Pakistan are coming unstuck. It is being forced to keep advancing loans to keep Pakistan on its side. In this entire play, one sees that Pakistan is slowly but steadily becoming a battleground state between the USA and China in their great power rivalry. The notable feature is that each great power wants to push the other out without coming to Pakistan’s rescue. These are interestingly challenging times for Pakistan. The interesting part is for others and the challenge is for Pakistanis.
Last but not the least, there are no forces or political factors which can propel the break-up of the nation. On the contrary, all the elite vultures and other forces in Pakistan seem to want to rule over a dead donkey. If not for anything else, a dead donkey provides some meat even if it is putrefied. These are difficult times even for Pakistani vultures. We in India must understand that it is better to let that dead donkey alone rather than go near it and get infected.
I will end this article with an allegory duly plagiarised from a leading Pakistani daily. Whenever Pakistan found itself in a crisis it behaved like a frog. Dump a frog into boiling water. It will struggle, jump out and escape.That’s what Pakistan always did. It jumped out of all the crises it encountered.On the other hand, if you dump frog intrepid water, it will exist happily there. As the water heats up gradually the frog ignores the danger. The “creeping normality” of water slowly warming to a boil proves deadly for the frog. Pakistan now finds itself in a similar situation. The water is boiling and there is no escape route. The nuclear beggar can morph into a frog or a donkey. Its relevance will remain only that. India must be prepared to deal with one.
The author is PVSM, AVSM, VSM, and a retired Director General of Artillery. He is currently a Professor in the Aerospace Department of IIT Madras. He writes extensively on defence and strategic affairs @ www.gunnersshot.com.
The men and women who launched this catastrophic, criminal war have paid no price over the past two decades. On the contrary, they’ve been showered with promotions and cash. There are two ways to look at this.
One is that their job was to make the right decisions for America (politicians) and to tell the truth (journalists). This would mean that since then, the system has malfunctioned over and over again, accidentally promoting people who are blatantly incompetent failures.
Another way to look at it is that their job was to start a war that would extend the U.S. empire and be extremely profitable for the U.S. defense establishment and oil industry, with no regard for what’s best for America or telling the truth. This would mean that they were extremely competent, and the system has not been making hundreds of terrible mistakes, but rather has done exactly the right thing by promoting them.
You can read this and then decide for yourself which perspective makes the most sense.
The following list doesn’t include anything about the Iraqis who’ve died since 2003. Partly, this is because it’s traditional for the U.S. media to pay no attention to the lives of foreigners. Partly, this is because we have no idea how many Iraqis deaths there have been. Various estimates range from 151,000 to over a million. While the U.S. ultimately spent at least $3 trillion on the war and the CIA put down $1 billion just to figure out that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, we’ve allocated exactly zero dollars to learn how many Iraqis have died thanks to us. Come on, we’re not made of money!
George W. Bush
Former president Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin are the 21st century’s premier war criminals. In a better world, they’d be sharing a cell at The Hague, playing lots of pinochle and getting up to various mass murderer hijinks.
But here in this universe, Bush is gobbling down huge quantities of money on the speaking circuit, where he charges at least $100,000 for an hour of his pensées. He recently condemned “the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.” Then he said, “I mean, of Ukraine!” and he and his audience all chortled, because you have to admit that’s pretty funny.
Since leaving office, Cheney has spent his time fishing, endorsing Donald Trump for president in 2016, and not being prosecuted for torture. Also, for a period of time, he had a kind of external mechanical heart that pushed blood through his veins continuously, meaning that he had no heartbeat yet was still alive (?).
Rumsfeld died in 2021, but before then, he got in some quality time at his antebellum vacation home on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The nickname of Rumsfeld’s estate was Mount Misery. As the New York Times reported, it had once been owned by a man named Edward Covey, who was “notorious for breaking unruly slaves for other farmers.” One subjected to this treatment was a 16-year-old Frederick Douglass, who later wrote it made him “wrecked, changed, and bewildered; goaded almost to madness.”
You have to admit there’s a nice historical symmetry here, given Rumsfeld’s own role in tormenting other humans. You can imagine Covey’s ghost visiting Rumsfeld in the darkest night and telling him, “Hey — great job.”
Powell also died in 2021, but before that, he spent his post-political life being rich. Every now and then, people would ask him about his U.N. appearance, and he would tell them he had been horribly misled by individuals he never identified.
Under Secretary of State Bolton played a central role in the Bush administration’s WMD lies by pushing out José Bustani, the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW. Bustani had committed a supreme crime: planning to conduct inspections to determine if Iraq had chemical weapons. Bolton’s concern was that the OPCW would discover that Iraq did not. In a particularly nice touch, Bolton threatened Bustani’s children.
Bolton was rewarded for this by being named national security adviser by Trump. He did experience some distress, however: Trump wasn’t completely sure who he was and sometimes would refer to him as “Mike Bolton.”
Anti-war protesters dressed as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in prison garb march down Broadway in New York City on April 29, 2006.
National security adviser Rice explained in January 2003 why the U.S. had to invade Iraq if there was any uncertainty: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” The prestigious Hoover Institution at Stanford University later considered her career and decided this was exactly who they wanted as their director. Why? Because of “her commitment to the Institution’s core mission of safeguarding peace, prosperity, and freedom.” Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis were not available for comment on this commitment.
Frum was a speechwriter in the Bush White House. He famously coined the phrase “axis of evil,” consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, for Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address. Iraq and Iran were a peculiar axis, given that they were mortal enemies, but Frum was not hobbled by such concepts as “making sense.”
After leaving the White House, Frum co-wrote a book called “An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror.” Sadly, we did not follow his advice, and evil still besets us.
In “An End to Evil,” Frum reported that “there is overwhelming evidence that Saddam had extensive chemical and biological weapons programs.” You may not be surprised to learn that this was absolutely false.
Frum was rewarded for this performance by The Atlantic with a job there as a staff writer. This week, Frum wrote a 20th anniversary piece for the magazine, which led off with the revelation that Iraq possessed “an arsenal of chemical-warfare shells and warheads.”
You might wonder: Given that Bush and Cheney were totally vindicated by this arsenal, why did they never mention it? Are they just super-modest? This is exactly the kind of question asking that will destroy your career in the prestige media.
Journalist Brooks contributed an article to the Weekly Standard just after the start of the war called “The Collapse of the Dream Palaces.” You absolutely must read it; it’s one of the most bonkers things ever to appear in the English language. Its core argument is that opponents of the Iraq War had been “unable to achieve enough emotional detachment from their own political passions to see the world as it really is,” and their fantasy world was about to meet cold, hard reality. North Korean propagandists would have rejected it as too embarrassing.
The New York Times saw the quality of this work and soon afterward hired Brooks as a regular columnist.
Goldberg, then a staff writer at the New Yorker, was one of the most influential proponents of the invasion of Iraq outside of the government. His work was entered into the Congressional Record during the debate on the authorization to use military force in fall 2002. In the New Yorker, Goldberg wrote that “there is no disagreement that Iraq, if unchecked, will have [nuclear weapons] soon.” And of course, everyone knew it already had “stocks of biological and chemical weapons.”
In October 2002, Goldberg argued, “The administration is planning today to launch what many people would undoubtedly call a short-sighted and inexcusable act of aggression. In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.” You may recall that October 2007 came and went without a lot of celebration of this profound morality.
Jeffrey Goldberg is now the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.
Miller wrote or co-wrote many of the hilariously credulous New York Times articles warning readers of the terrifying threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the funniest piece of her oeuvre was published soon after the invasion, headlined “Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, An Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert.”
It wasn’t based on Miller ever talking to this scientist. However, Miller reported, “While this reporter could not interview the scientist, she was permitted to see him from a distance.” This is always how the best journalism has always been done: watching from a distance. She soon went on TV to declare this was “more than a smoking gun. What they’ve found is a silver bullet.” Whoops!
Don’t feel too bad for her, however. She went on to work for Fox and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR, you see, is devoted to helping Americans “better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States.”
This article has to stop here because otherwise it would become an unbelievably depressing 800-page book.
The reality is that most of the D.C. foreign policy blob signed up to push the Iraq War, and for the most part, they’re all still there, several big steps up the career ladder, just blobbing away. Voltaire said that humanity invented hell to dissuade people from doing wrong when they noticed there didn’t seem to be any consequences for it here on Earth. On this bleak anniversary, you can certainly understand where he was coming from.
47 km (29 mi) ESE of New Rochelle (New York) (pop: 79,800) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 53 km (33 mi) SE of Scarsdale (New York) (pop: 17,900) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 53 km (33 mi) SE of White Plains (New York) (pop: 58,500) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 56 km (35 mi) E of Brooklyn (New York) (pop: 2,300,700) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 57 km (35 mi) ESE of Yonkers (New York) (pop: 201,100) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 58 km (36 mi) SE of Greenburgh (New York) (pop: 86,800) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 60 km (38 mi) E of New York (pop: 8,175,100) | Show on map | Quakes nearby 379 km (235 mi) NE of Washington (District of Columbia) (pop: 601,700) | Show on map | Quakes nearby