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All > Politics > Foreign Policy > Iraq  

Likeliest 'Source' for WMD Information

Revision History - v1

Published by casaba, January 15, 2007, 5:43 pm GMT
Participation: default  
Type: Inductive  


1) PREMISE:   
GW Bush and his cabinet used the threat of WMD as the primary moving force in justifying an attack on Iraq.

      100% likely


2) PREMISE:   
GW Bush and cabinet claimed that Iraq's government had links to Al Qaeda.

      100% likely


3) PREMISE:   
Sources of information existed, outside the GW Bush's administration, that claimed Iraq had WMD and had ties to Al Qaeda.

      70% likely


Certain members of GW Bush's cabinet believed, based on gathered information, that Iraq had WMD and ties to Al Qaeda.

      70% likely


5) PREMISE:   
GW Bush and his advisors wanted to invade Iraq before he took office, long before the attacks of 11 September, 2001, and this information was known to the public via published policy papers.

      100% likely

CRITIQUE by soc (c1), Jan 16, 2007, 6:31 pm GMT   
Can you provide links?

Statement #5 likelihood should be: 50%


6) PREMISE:   
The US invasion of Iraq necessitated a decrease in emphasis on the ongoing war in Afghanistan, against admitted Al Qaeda combatants.

      100% likely

CRITIQUE by DanielLC (c1), Aug 26, 2009, 11:12 pm GMT   
I would expect that declaring a war would increase militarization, and thus increase the size of the war in Afghanistan.

Do you have a source?

Statement #6 likelihood should be: 50%


Al Qaeda has benefited by the US invasion in Iraq.

      85% likely

CRITIQUE by JoelKatz (c3), Jan 23, 2007, 12:57 am GMT   
I just don't think the argument supports this conclusion. If, for example, the net result of the invasion in Iraq is a functional Democracy in Iraq, Al Qaeda will definitely not be seen to have benefited.

I think it's just way to early to have any idea what affect the war in Iraq will have on Al Qaeda.

I think the fundamental approach in your rebuttal is erroneous. To see why, consider a couple who are short on money. One of them spends $50 per week on lottery tickets. The other of them thinks that's a ridiculous waste that they can't afford.

Suppose we are trying to decide which of them is right. Suppose we look at the situation closely and conclude that buying lottery tickets is a bad risk, they can't afford the expected losses, and we agree with the one who thinks it's a bad idea.

Two weeks later, they win the lottery, $15 million. Do we know say that our previous analysis was wrong and the one who wanted to buy the tickets was right all along?

Your "So, who is looking more likely to have been correct?" is just this type of request to reanalyze the wisdom and causation of prior decisions based on unexpected results.

Analogously to the previous situation, you would have to show that the person who wanted to buy lottery tickets had some special reason to *expect* to win, thus justifying his decision to enter what we have every reason to think is a bad gamble.

"Put differently, with no other knowledge, the odds that the current outcome was the 'most likely' outcome is greater than 50%."

No, this is a fundamental misconception that often pops up in probability. With no other knowledge, we have no idea what the odds are that the current outcome was the most likely.

One can get immediate contradictions with the above assumption. (Consider treating multiple independent events first as a single outcome and then as multiple outcomes.)

Statement #7 likelihood should be: 35%

REBUTTAL by casaba (r3), Jan 24, 2007, 5:45 pm GMT   

I think statement 7 is most likely true of the current situation. I will try adding one or two premises supporting statement 7 (the current likelyhood of of a "functional Democracy" looks to be low; the appearance of the US losing the war). I will lower the liklihood of statement 7 until I do that.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1), c2 (r2), c3 (r3)

CRITIQUE by DanielLC (c1), Aug 26, 2009, 11:17 pm GMT   
There are other factors, such as the al-Qaeda presence in Iraq being hurt, and the fact that a Christian country attacked a Muslim country causing more people to support al-Qaeda.

Statement #7 likelihood should be: 85%


8) PREMISE:   
The information that Iraq had WMD was false.

      95% likely

CRITIQUE by soc (c4), Jan 16, 2007, 6:36 pm GMT   
This premise is simply untrue for Iraq had used WMD in the past so they clearly had them at some point. Even Clinton believed this to be the case in 1998. Intelligence services all of the world believed Saddam still had them; it wasn't just the US.

You say that you are only talking about the current war but Saddam's earlier possession of WMD undercuts your misinformation argument. He HAD them and he refused to come clean to the UN on his existing stocks. No conspiracy is required.

And some old WMD stocks have been found in Iraq. Saddam seemingly bluffed the world to fool his enemies and he violated every UN resolution regarding full disclosure. No AQ conspiracy is required.

Statement #8 likelihood should be: 0%

REBUTTAL by casaba (r2), Jan 16, 2007, 5:41 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

The argument regards the most recent war. The Bush administration claimed that Iraq had WMD when they attacked, which has been shown to be most probably wrong.

(Yes, Iraq had WMD in the past; I don't have references but I believe that the technology for which was provided by the US during Iraq's war with Iran. The Iraqi government held onto such capabilities into the 1990's and a UN team was set up to investigate. The team, in 2001, determined that it was most likely that Iraq no longer had WMD; the non-existence of something is notoriously difficult to prove.)

As far as 'pinning' it on Bush: are you suggesting Bush wasn't planning to attack Iraq before he even took office, let alone the attacks of 11 September? Or that Clinton had any sort of plan to wage war on Iraq? Please, let us keep this site to debating the likelihood of statements and not attempt to claim political points.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1), c2 (r2), c3, c4


9) PREMISE:   
The information that Iraq had ties to Al Qaeda was false.

      75% likely

CRITIQUE by soc (c4), Jan 17, 2007, 4:55 pm GMT   
Depends on what you mean by "had ties" as the Iraq Survey Group found that Saddam and AQ had a great many contacts over the years but didn't have an "established relationship." Your premise is misleading.

"Credible information indicates that Iraq and al Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal non-aggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom [in Afghanistan], we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have credible reporting that al Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs." In sum, the letter said, "Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians, coupled with
growing indications of a relationship with al Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent US military actions."
from Saddam's al Qaeda Connection

more: al-Shifa
and: Case Closed
or see the book for all of the details.

The MSM has not been very forthcoming on this front so the general misunderstandings are unsurprising.

Statement #9 likelihood should be: 0%

REBUTTAL by casaba (r4), Jan 17, 2007, 3:39 pm GMT   

[This rebuttal addresses an earlier critique version
and has not been revised.]

Accepted for now. 'Having ties' is a rather difficult thing to define much less prove positive or negative. I admit I was more or less repeating the often stated belief that the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda were overstated if not entirely invented; I will look for more concrete information.

Thank you for the link. I would suggest that giving asylum and having ties are two very different things. According to the CNN report linked, the offers for asylum were public; if you have additional information regarding "private communications" please provide a link. The very fact that the anouncment was made in public suggests to me that there were no ties, for if there were, wouldn't the offer be made directly? It is much more likely a PR stunt (or a good will measure, depending your viewpoint) than a demonstration of ties.

Here is a link indicating that in 2001 the only contacts that the US intelligence was aware of between Iraq and Al Qaeda was an attempt by Iraq to "establish surveillance over" Al Qaeda because Iraq was affraid that Al Qaeda "represented a threat" to the Iraqi "secular regime". I suggest this is further support for the idea that the asylum offer was a PR stunt.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1), c2 (r2), c3 (r3, r4), c4


One or more persons gave false information to the US indicating that Iraq had WMD and had ties to Al Qaeda.

      85% likely


11) PREMISE:   
The supplier of incorrect information is someone who benefits by the actions carried out on the basis of this information.

      90% likely


12) PREMISE:   
Those well versed in Middle East politics foresaw many of the problems now seen in post-invation Iraq.

      90% likely


13) PREMISE:   
Al Qaeda is well versed in Middle East politics.

      100% likely


14) IF 4,5,7,10,11,12 AND 13 IT LIKELY FOLLOWS THAT:   
Al Qaeda carried out a successful disinformation campaign that drew a gullible Bush adminstration into war with Iraq.

      60% likely

CRITIQUE by jefftheworld (c2), Mar 22, 2007, 1:27 pm GMT   
Though Al Qaeda is a likely suspect in such a disinformation campaign, they are not the only group in a position to do such and with a motive to do such. I would not claim them to be the most likely, though they may have had a lot to gain.

Statement #14 likelihood should be: 60%

REBUTTAL by casaba (r3), Apr 3, 2007, 2:30 pm GMT   

I agree. The % likelihood has been adjusted.

Critique (Rebuttal) history: c1 (r1, r2), c2 (r3)


Overall Topic Rating:

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I find this topic to be sound

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Title Published
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