Tag Archives: iraq war

515 days since the Iraq War ended

Jesus Christ.

Again?

The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.

Again with the trembling. But instead of plotzing over scared-up A-bombs, this time we’re scared of actual words. Maybe, too, a missile, targeted for the ocean. Our national interests being constructed of butterfly tears, it’s time for you to die. Sorry. When you’re a citizen of the planet’s pre-eminent superpower, you can’t expect to live for too long.

President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon. . . And he should explain that this is a limited defensive strike on a military target — an operation that poses no threat to civilians.

Shorter: They’re a nuclear power with a missile, so let’s attack them. Lord.

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Don’t you talk to me about Junior

The pundits have decided to convince you that George W. Bush was an acceptable president. Among the huddled intelligentsia in the McCarthy Library, it was Victor Davis Hanson pulling the short straw:

At times the venom accorded Bush in popular culture reached absurd — and even sick — levels . . that hysteria once led to Charles Krauthammer’s identification of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” — a pathology in which the unbalanced seemed to channel all their anxieties, frustrations, and paranoias onto George W. Bush. And yet, following 9/11, Bush had calmly led the nation and enjoyed one of the highest positive appraisals of any president since the advent of modern polling . .

He was so great we could not resist. You’re the best, Junior! Having our psyches shattered to shards, driving ourselves to funerals, these were the things that buoyed our love for him. That guy is awesome.

Hanson’s six-point Bush rehabilitation continues in this manner, blind and debilitated, with a recurring theme: Other people were just as stupid. Good job! Go with that, Vic. Americans love a middling dolt, especially one you’re not allowed to assign any blame to ALTHOUGH HE WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

“Bush lied, thousands died,” was a popular mantra that followed from the absence of stockpiles of WMD in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — the chief casus belli of the Iraq War. But looking back, quite apart from the politics of the moment, we now remember that Congress had approved 23 writs authorizing the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Wrong. Despite the ongoing legislative rhetoric, only the Iraq War Resolution “authoriz[ed] the removal of Saddam Hussein.” The approval came only after 1.) The greatest failure of an American president to protect and defend his citizens, resulting in thousands of deaths, and 2.) A massive Bush administration deception, extending to the chambers of the U.N., to establish a bogus link between Hussein and Al Qaeda, and to forecast the use of fairytale weapons of mass destruction against us here at home. Whether it was purposeful lying or murderous incompetence to blame, the consequences were horrifying: 4,844 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis dead, many of them women and children.

The pro-war speeches of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were simply amplifications of President Clinton’s signing into law of the 1998 “Iraq Liberation Act,” in which were outlined in graphic detail the dangers of the Hussein WMD arsenal. We do not know what exactly happened to those weapons, but perhaps the end sometime soon of the Bashar Assad regime in Syria — amid rampant rumors of a sizable WMD depot — could shed some light on prior cross-border traffic between Assad and Hussein.

Do you love how breezy Victor is? George W. Bush was a lot like everybody else, so why fuss? Maybe this weekend we’ll find the weapons of mass destruction and everything will get sorted out. Right. Maybe we’ll hear clapping from the VA cemeteries and the sewers of Baghdad, but I wouldn’t count on it. Victor doesn’t hold the slightest interest in seeing a president as any different from you or me despite the gob-smacking power and responsibility. Until of course someone else enters the picture . .

George Bush averaged a 2.7 percent ratio of deficits to GDP (less than those of Reagan or George H. W. Bush), Barack Obama so far 8.9 percent. Under Bush, quite excessive federal spending reached about 20 percent of GDP, but under Obama it has already grown to 24 percent . . whether we count Bush’s responsibility from 2001 to 2008 or 2002 to 2009, and Obama’s from 2009 to 2012 or 2010 to 20012, we are nevertheless arguing whether the latter doubled or nearly tripled the Bush rate of borrowing.

By my calculations Franklin Roosevelt ran up a modest $23.5 billion yearly deficit throughout his first two administrations. But then his successor took over and the deficit exploded to $320.4 billion! In only his first year! Do any of you sleuths have any explanation why that should be, other than Truman being a bastard? Hint:



Oh I see. How about some hints for Victor? The current drivers of our deficits:



. . George W. Bush’s tax cuts, George W. Bush’s wars, George W. Bush’s collapsed economy and our attempts to clean up the mess. It’s his greed, his violence, his incompetence, but it’s only our desperate efforts that earn any criticism. Victor’s the kind of guy who’d run over your grandmother then complain about the sirens. He’d be appalled the way anorexia survivors eat like pigs. You can’t expect the deranged who would defend Bush to come to any terms with epic indictments: our current reality.

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Katie Pavlich speaks to history, the weirdo right-wing one

What makes conservatism special? In a sentence, this:

Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal
by Katie Pavlich | News Editor, Townhall | April 15, 2012

Operation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history.

War is never a scandal. Vietnam and the War in Iraq are gymnastic expressions of military power and therefore, by definition, fine. Really they’re damned impressive if you’d like to know. Also they’re not bloody. That pertains to something other than what you think. It’s a thing that certain people do when its politically advantageous. Like innocent Mexicans, very suddenly. Now you know.

A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

Additionally: When the actual President does something bad, like when Nixon directs the government to destroy the Democratic Party’s chances in the 1972 election, attack his political enemies through the IRS, destroy his critics by stealing their psychiatric files, then launches a massive cover-up to avoid jail, that’s like a “high school prank.”

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Glenn Beck: Rick Santorum better than Abe Lincoln, Journey

Of the current Republican poltergeists candidates, one rates above all others. One candidate is so sublime an American, he’s pretty much The Father of Our Country.

You hadn’t noticed? Gosh, why do you think Glenn Beck hangs around?




Let’s see. Rick Santorum on the War in Iraq:

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq.”

George Washington on the American Revolution:

“In the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair. But Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her, yeah. There ain’t nothin’ I can do, no.”

Check.

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Michele Bachmann wants Iraq War death reparations

From the Serious People Foundation:

Let’s consider both sides, shall we? Seeing as how we invited ourselves in?

We lost 4,000, they lost . .

Let’s just take a middle estimate of 150,000 dead. If they pay us 25 times what we pay them for every death, we owe them more. If a sense of fairness intrudes, we might go the equal compensation route instead. If we pay the same for our soldiers and their women and children? We owe them much, much more.

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I suppose mean streaks don’t show up in the mirror

Take that lash out of the President’s hands! Hear me, sir: you shall refrain from beating such kindly men of good will.

Mean streak: Obama is not as nice as he looks
Washington Examiner Editorial | 04/16/11

. . The speech was advertised by the White House as a major address in which the president would join the serious conversation initiated two weeks ago by Ryan in his detailed proposal for cutting spending. What Obama instead delivered, with Ryan sitting in the front row, was, in the Wall Street Journal’s unsparing description, a “poison pen” speech dripping with mean-spirited partisanship, gross misrepresentations of fact, and sophistry of the lowest sort concerning Republicans’ alleged desire to hurt old people, the poor and mentally challenged children. It was the sort of harangue one would expect from a rabidly devoted partisan hack, with no relation whatever to the thoughtful appeals to reason and common values that historically have characterized presidential leadership in this country.

Ha! Do you have to be mentally ill to write something like this? No, but it certainly helps.

Wasn’t anybody at the Washington Examiner alive during the Nixon years? Didn’t the President authorize his ‘Plumbers’ to break into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office to get enough dirt on the guy to destroy him?

Nixon tells his aide Charles Colson: “We’ve got a countergovernment here and we’ve got to fight it. I don’t give a damn how it’s done. Do whatever has to be done to stop those leaks.… I don’t want to be told why it can’t be done.”

Yep. Dick, by way of Kissinger, also wiretapped reporters and employees because of their non-Nixon thoughts and opinions. He was kindness and civility personified.

George W. Bush and his buddies were similarly presidential, respectful and kind. George’s Vice President, Richard Cheney, got so annoyed with Senator Pat Leahy that he snapped “Go fuck yourself.” Because he’s so civil, this Dick not only refused to apologize for it, he actually crowed to Dennis Miller about it.

“That’s sort of the best thing I ever did.”

From the horse’s mouth, Dick’s life never got any better than that. Although it might have — Dennis would have gladly fellated his hero.

When former Ambassador Joseph Wilson took to the New York Times to criticize the administration’s false claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to obtain uranium from Niger, Cheney and his aide Lewis Libby outed his wife, Valerie Plame, as a spy for the CIA.

That ended her career. In an investigation of the affair, Libby lied so thoroughly about his actions that he was convicted of multiple crimes. This is a routine consequence of acting civilized. The President, appearing presidential and non-partisan, commuted Libby’s sentence.

George’s penchant for trucking in class and mutual respect is legendary.

In a chapter entitled “The Smirk,” Dr. Frank offered abundant evidence for Bush’s sadism and destructiveness, from blowing up frogs as a child to rubber-stamping the execution of a record number of death-row inmates while governor of Texas.

George thought the executions were hilarious. Once he got to be President, after failing fatally to protect America on 9/11, he invaded two nations and waterboarded detainees. Nowadays, 60% of young Americans believe it’s okay to torture people, so Bush’s “thoughtful appeals to reason and common values” prove, unfortunately, to be contagious.

Perhaps Americans will avoid mimicking the cruel and nasty ways of this current President. He’s the type of guy who retaliates against his enemies with hurtful words, this way:

. . tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this: In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

But that’s not what happened.

They would do better to act like a guy who’d leave 100,000 corpses rotting in the Iraqi sun. Those people never did anything bad to George, but he murdered them anyway. Now that’s a mean streak.

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Insta-concerned Senator Coburn beats on Obama administration with Bush’s earmarks

Senator Coburn from Oklahoma is nothing if not consistent: a political opportunist to the end.

In an era where screaming about government waste is a convenient and typically self-serving political exercise, you could bet Tom wouldn’t miss out on the fun. He’s increasingly showing up everywhere as an anti-earmark crusader, a perhaps contender for the last honest man in Washington.

His September report on wasteful spending in the Department of Education is one of the first things he’d seek to feature:

Coburn Report Shows Billions in Education Budget Spent on ‘School House Pork’
September 30, 2010 | FoxNews.com

What do mariachi classes, wine studies and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have in common? They were all funded by federal Department of Education earmarks, according to an extensive new report released Thursday by Sen. Tom Coburn.

The Oklahoma Republican, in a study called “School House Pork,” is urging the federal government to suspend these education “slush funds” . .

“We’re in tough times and we’re still doing this kind of stupid stuff,” Coburn said Thursday. “Everybody’s thinking we have to raise taxes, the first thing we need to do is cut back waste.”

Yes, cut the government and cut the government. And then, eliminate the Department of Education — I know the drill. It’s right there at the top of Tom’s report:

Dear Taxpayers:

The U.S. Constitution provides no role to the federal government in education – and for good reason. Greater federal expenditures have not proven effective, efficient means of improving American schools. To the contrary, federal involvement has led to a loss of individual control and an increased bureaucracy that stifles innovation and increases burdens on school teachers and administrators.

Anyways, I became a little more interested in all of this because I was intrigued by a peculiar thing Coburn called attention to (I think I caught this particular bit on Sunday’s nightly news): an earmark to fight “Goth culture” in Blue Springs, Missouri. Really? Really:

state to crack down on gothic culture
By Erik W. Robelen

“Goth culture” in Blue Springs, Mo., may be in for some tough times. Thanks to Rep. Sam Graves, a Republican who represents the Kansas City suburb, $273,000 out of the Department of Education’s fiscal . . budget will help the Blue Springs Outreach Unit take on a perceived problem for local youths.

“It is my hope that this funding will give the officers in the Youth Outreach Unit the tools they need to identify Goth culture leaders that are preying on our kids,” Rep. Graves said in a press release announcing the appropriation last month.

. . and, sure enough, in Coburn’s “School of Pork” report, the anti-Goth earmark is prominently featured. In the 98 page PDF file, it’s mentioned at least six times and footnoted twice.

So, what’s the big deal? Other than any anti-Goth effort being laughable? The earmark is from 2002. It’s from the first year of Bush Administration earmarking, pre-Iraq War era.

After 8 years of obscene Bush spending, getting shards of shrapnel and corpses by the thousands in return, Tom Coburn now cares. Eight years later, long after this tiny earmark’s been allocated and distributed, somebody really oughta do something about all this, you know?

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Ilario Pantano goes to Iraq, pumps 60 rounds into two unarmed men, calls himself ‘Warlord,’ joins the Tea Party

Now this is a compelling political story.

A smart, talented, highly motivated guy, albeit one given to romanticizing himself, commits a war crime, and then he joins the Tea Party. Wow.

I could easily write a couple thousand words on this guy, but I’ll keep it short, for today: he’s the Tea Party candidate in North Carolina’s 7th district. He beat fellow Republican William Breazeale in the primary and takes on incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre for the congressional seat. Polls have him trailing McIntyre by up to 12 points for the traditionally Democratic spot.

After serving in the first Gulf War, he returned to the states and began to put together a career, working at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere. Putting down roots, getting married, having kids.

After 9/11, the desire to go back into the service overcame him, and he joined the Marines, went to officer candidate’s school. He shipped off to Iraq and was serving as a Second Lieutenant when the Iraqi insurgency began.

On April 15th, 2004, Lt. Pantano led his platoon to an area near Mahmuhdiyah, outside of Fallujah. While the rest of his men went through a compound suspected of holding insurgents, Pantano and two of his men detained a car containing two men that had exited the compound. They pulled the men out, cuffed them with zip ties, and went through the car, finding some suspicious looking wires. The Marines who ransacked the compound found AKs, mortar stakes and more wires.

Pantano ordered the men un-cuffed. He ordered his own two men to stand watch at the front and rear of the car, which they did, turning their backs to the scene. He ordered the two detainees to kneel inside the open front and back doors of the car, to pull the interior apart again to prove to Pantano they weren’t secreting anything else, which they did. When they began to talk to each other, he told them in Arabic to be quiet.

And then Pantano began shooting. After emptying one magazine into the two detainees, he pulled a second magazine and loaded it, and then emptied that magazine as well. 60 bullets in all.

After the shooting, he fashioned a placard with his favorite Marine motto: “NO BETTER FRIEND, NO WORSE ENEMY”. He left the placard against the window of the car.

Eventually, word of the shooting got around to Marine authorities, and he was brought up in court martial. He was charged with pre-meditated murder, among six other charges, and faced a possible death sentence.

But one of the two men at the scene was a bad witness (and probably a spotty Marine), and the charges were dropped. Pantano’s career essentially over, he was honorably discharged and returned to the U.S.

And now, years later, he’s a Tea Party guy. This is no surprise. In reading about Ilario Pantano and his history (see this New York Magazine article — also: Time Magazine, The Guardian, Raw Story), one thing becomes clear: he can romanticize himself at any time.

. . as a child, Pantano dreamed about rescuers. He wanted to be Lancelot, knight of the Round Table. “He thought it was such an important job,” his aunt recalls. Then he wanted to be a samurai, practicing for hours with a sword. “There was something that was so powerful to me about being a protector of others,” Pantano says. It was a way, as he put it, “to order the chaos.”

That is Pantano. After 9/11, when his father told him that, at 30 and with a family already, he didn’t have to join the Marines, he said:

“No, Daddy,” Pantano told his father. “I want to be a Marine.” He explained, “The Marine Corps was the closest I could get to a knight.”

So, after returning stateside, when word got round of his exploits, or his crimes (depending on your mindset), you understand why he found no reason to resist writing his autobiography once asked. It is “Warlord: No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” (Amazon).

The far-right are absolutely gaga over this guy. Michael Savage thinks he’s a god. Others, too:

–North Carolina Third District Representative Walter B. Jones introduced House Resolution 167 which expressed the support of the House of Representatives for Pantano. On February 25, Congressman Jones wrote a letter to President Bush asking for his support for Pantano.

–On April 14, 2005, the Association for Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs sent a letter to then President Bush endorsing House Resolution 167 in support of Ilario Pantano.

On The Congressional Record:
–House Resolution 167 in support of 2LT Ilario Pantano, March 17, 2005.
–LA Deputy Sheriff’s endorsement of HR 167, April 14, 2005.
–Congressman Walter Jones’ public statement of support, May 5, 2005.
–Congressman Walter Jones’ endorsement of Pantano’s memoir, June 6, 2006.

But certainly not everybody. Iraq War veterans included, like the Republican candidate Pantano beat in the primary:

Will Breazeale, a former lieutenant colonel who served in both Iraq wars, says Pantano has “no excuse for what he did.”

“To shoot two unarmed prisoners 60 times and put a sign over their dead bodies is inexcusable,” Breazeale told The Daily Beast. “And once people know the real story, he has no chance of winning in November. I know people think it’s sour grapes, but I have nothing to gain by opposing him except clearing my conscience and fighting for good government.”

I don’t blame Breazeale. With everything that I’ve read about the shooting incident, there’s no indication that the ‘threatening’ Iraqis ever managed so much as to get up on their feet. Many, if not most, of the bullets were fired into their backs. But the case has long since been adjudicated, it’s over.

So this is your North Carolina Tea Partier, Ilario Pantano. If nothing else, I’m confident I can say this about him: he’s the most talented, most accomplished person the Tea Party has ever had. He’s probably the most dangerous, too.

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2001 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs: Rumsfeld and Bushies lied us into the Iraq War

General Hugh Shelton, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 through the events of 9/11, has written a memoir which details what was happening behind the scenes in the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks. Titled ‘Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior’, reviewed by Thomas E. Ricks and excerpted at RawStory, it levels harsh criticism at Bush’s neo-cons and, especially, Donald Rumsfeld:

The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of “a series of lies” told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US’s top military officer . .

“President Bush and his team got us enmeshed in Iraq based on extraordinarily poor intelligence and a series of lies purporting that we had to protect Americans from Saddam’s evil empire because it posed such a threat to our national security,” Shelton writes in his memoir.

Runsfeld gets described as being bent on taking America to war, as an arrogant and reckless Secretary of Defense uninterested in the advice or opinions of anybody but himself:

According to Ricks, Shelton states that, in order to get the war going, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “elbowed aside Gen. Richard Myers and the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and also intimidated and flattered Gen. Tommy R. Franks while working directly with him, and so basically went to war without getting the advice of his top military advisors.”

As a result, Shelton says of Rumsfeld’s tenure: “the worst style of leadership I witnessed in 38 years of service.”

When Rumsfeld was proven wrong in a meeting, Shelton says, he wouldn’t admit it, but rather would press on and do “his best to stay afloat amid the bullshit he was shoveling out.”

At one point, Rumsfeld utterly rejected a plan for how to deal with Iraqi attacks on U.S. warplanes in the old “no-fly zones.” Shelton liked the plan how it was, so when ordered to revamp it, he let it sit on his desk for a couple of weeks, and then sent it back to the defense secretary with a new label on it: “Rumsfeld Auto-Response Matrix.” “He loved every word of it,” Shelton reports with unconcealed contempt.

These descriptions of Rumsfeld as a conniving, narcissistic bureucrat jibe with previous descriptions of him. Here, he pasted Biblical quotes on the covers of Department of Defense reports to gain favor with his born-again boss. Here, he and his ‘snowflake’ memos attempted to micro-manage every aspect of the war, including the psyches of the American people.

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Widdle Meg McAwdle wuz wong about Waw in Iwaq

Feew bad fowe Meg:

I Wuz Wrong
AUG 27 2010, 11:52 AM ET
The Atlantic

Tyler Cowen and Brad DeLong are fessing up. It’s a Friday in August, with nothing to report but the dismal GDP figures we were all expecting. So I’ll start with the Iraq War:

Meg is bowed. I hate being bowed.

1) I erroneously believed that I could interpret the actions of Saddam Hussein. He seemed to be acting like I’d act if I had WMD. Whoops!

No! Whoops!

. . I wasn’t an Iraqi dictator, which left huge gaps in my mental model of Hussein.

None of us wuz bad owe’ Saddam. Yet a howe bunch of us said “No! Don’t go! Peopowe wiw die.”

2) I erroneously extrapolated the experience of World War II to Iraq. This took several forms:

Dat wuz a wong, wong time ago. And wuzn’t it mostowy Sawdi Awabians dat sneak attacked us at Peaw Hawbow? Whoops!

a) I overlooked the fact that Japan and Germany were both stable bourgeois nations with solid industrial bases long before we got into the act.

Wuzn’t Veewetnam in duwh Sixties? And Seventies?

b) I overlooked the fact that we completely destroyed this nations before occupying and reconstructing them.

‘. . this nations’? Whoops! And isn’t dat onwy two? Not ‘several’?
Wet’s see: a) . . and . . b). Whoops!

3) I was insufficiently empathetic in imagining how Iraqis would feel about our invasion.

You should hab twied to get fuwthew inside Iwaqis’ heads. Like Saddam Hussein — what wuz HE dinking? Oh — whoops! Whoops!

We liked the French for giving us military help during the Revolution. Now imagine that France had invaded in order to liberate us from the British. Even if they really did eventually leave, this would have had much worse results. Looking back, my confi-dence in our liberatory powers seems terribly callous, and it doesn’t really do the dead Iraqis much good that I’m sorry for it.

Meg’s owdew now, smawtew now. Vewy matchew.

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Karl Rove holds the line on George W. Bush’s Iraq War madness

Karl Rove was George W. Bush’s right-hand political guy during the horrible 2001-through-2008 years of our American history.

He’s recently written a memoir of the time he spent as adviser to the most powerful man in the world. In the account, he doesn’t apparently regret telling the nation that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or that Iraqis would give them to terrorists, or regret using those falsehoods to take the country to war, killing thousands of Americans.

Once the truth became known, he regrets not pushing back harder against his and the president’s opponents:

Rove Admits to Error On Iraq As Bush Strategist

Political strategist Karl Rove says President George W. Bush made the right decision to launch the Iraq war in 2003, but the former White House adviser admits the failure to find weapons of mass destruction badly damaged the administration’s credibility.

In his new memoir, “Courage and Consequence,” Rove blames himself for not pushing back against claims that Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency.

Rove says Bush did not knowingly mislead the American public about the existence of such weapons.

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