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On Sabre/Farelogix Merger, DOJ Mustn’t Undertake a Misguided Antitrust Boondoggle

The U.S. travel technology firm Sabre may not ring an immediate bell, and perhaps you’ve not yet heard of its proposed acquisition of Farelogix, but it looms as one of the most important antitrust cases to approach trial since AT&T/Time-Warner. The transaction’s most significant aspect is the way in which it offers a perfect illustration of overzealous bureaucratic antitrust enforcement, and the way that can delay and also punish American consumers. Specifically, the transaction enhances rather than inhibits market competition, and will benefit both travelers and the travel industry by accelerating innovation.  That’s in part because Sabre and Farelogix aren’t head-to-head market competitors, but rather complementary businesses.  While Sabre serves customers throughout the…[more]

January 13, 2020 • 03:53 pm

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New York Times: Massive Quantities of WMD Discovered in Iraq After All Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 16 2014
It is shameful that the Times not only engaged in political spin, but also failed to check some very basic facts.

So it turns out that "Bush lied!" proved itself a lie. 

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed massive quantities of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) after all.  That according to none other than the leftist New York Times

First, let's address that deranged "Bush lied, people died!" slogan. 

Anyone who casts that invective in reference to the 2003 Iraq invasion and the question of WMD demonstrates an unfitness to participate in political discourse.  It is uninformed, dishonest or an amalgam thereof. 

To "lie" requires deliberate falsification, as opposed to honest misjudgment, however severe.  And among other obvious defects, it is illogical to assert that President Bush was somehow willing and capable of telling the enormous "lie" to trigger a massive invasion of a sovereign country, yet somehow was unwilling or incapable of telling a much smaller lie of covertly planting post-invasion WMD in Iraq to be "discovered" and justify the invasion. 

Additionally, the "Bush lied" allegation ignores the fact that so many liberals and Democrats, who possessed the same intelligence and had every reason to expose any "lies" told by a President of the opposing party, also asserted with certitude that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and voted in Congress to invade. 

Unfortunately, the accusation is a disturbingly enduring one, but it's simply unworthy of serious and honest political discourse. 

Now back to this week's New York Times revelation.  Following our 2003 invasion, U.S. troops apparently encountered "thousands" of WMD: 

"Five years after President George W. Bush sent troops into Iraq, these soldiers had entered an expansive but largely secret chapter of America's long and bitter involvement in Iraq.  From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein's rule.  In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act." 

Accordingly, the underlying premise of the hysterical "Bush lied!" slurs disappears, as it turns out that Iraq possessed massive quantities of WMD after all. 

Sadly, however, partisans on the political left and even some people who should know better attempted to dismiss these revelations or descended into transparent spin mode. 

Their primary response to the news is that none of the WMD stockpiles were part of an "active" WMD program under Hussein.  "The United States had gone to war," the Times article asserted, "declaring that it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program.  Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West." 

But that's simply not true.  It is shameful that the Times not only engaged in political spin, but also failed to check some very basic facts. 

Namely, President Bush never emphasized an "active" Iraqi WMD program in his three major speeches leading up to the invasion. 

In his September 2002 speech to the United Nations (U.N.), President Bush highlighted Hussein's existing stockpiles, his inclinations and behavioral history: 

"United Nations inspections also reveal that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.  And in 1995 - after four years of deception - Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War.  We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.  Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program - weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance.  Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians.  It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon.  Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year.  And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons." 

Nowhere in the speech does Bush single out an "active Iraqi WMD program" as the focus of action.   

Similarly, in his 2003 State of the Union speech famous for its "Axis of Evil" reference, Bush never asserts an "active" Iraqi WMD program: 

"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction.  Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th.  But we know their true nature...  Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror.  The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade.  This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens - leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children.  This is a regime that agreed to international inspections - then kicked out the inspectors.  This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.  States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.  By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger.  They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.  They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States.  In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic." 

Again, Bush's warning didn't assert an "active" Iraqi WMD program, let alone rest entirely upon such a program.   

Then, on the eve of invasion in March 2003, Bush again set forth the danger posed by Saddam Hussein, which did not rest upon an "active" WMD program: 

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.  This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.  The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East.  It has a deep hatred of America and our friends.  And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.  The danger is clear:  using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other." 

Thus, the new attempt on the left to dismiss the WMD discovery as irrelevant because it wasn't part of an "active" program is transparently dishonest.  The slur that "no WMD were found in Iraq" has evaporated, and the weapons discovered obviously remain potent as the Times story itself describes. 

It now becomes a matter of stubborn partisans acknowledging facts, learning the applicable lesson and foregoing their dishonest attempt to rewrite history. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first African-American soloist to appear at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Perhaps if Democrats had not spent the last three years calling Trump a Russian stooge and traitor then they would have some credibility today. However, the special counsel investigation and the unceasing march to impeach Trump for whatever they find now makes them impossible to take seriously. Despite their best efforts there was no public outcry for impeachment and no break in the ranks by Republicans…[more]
 
 
—Joseph Moreno, Former DOJ Federal Prosecutor
— Joseph Moreno, Former DOJ Federal Prosecutor
 
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