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Diplomat Kiesling to Secretary Powell: Dear Mr. Secretary...

By shinshin in News
Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:22:48 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

John Brady Kiesling, a distinguished career foreign service officer, resigned his post as political counselor at the American embassy in Athens last week to protest President Bush's foreign policy, as reported by Reuters. As a career diplomat, he has served in United States embassies from Tel Aviv to Casablanca to Yerevan. Following is the full body of his resignation letter, perhaps the most elegant statement of dissent over the Republican administration's foreign policy to date:

Dear Mr. Secretary...


Dear Mr. Secretary:

I am writing you to submit my resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States and from my position as Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, effective March 7. I do so with a heavy heart. The baggage of my upbringing included a felt obligation to give something back to my country. Service as a U.S. diplomat was a dream job. I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, to seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that U.S. interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal.

It is inevitable that during twenty years with the State Department I would become more sophisticated and cynical about the narrow and selfish bureaucratic motives that sometimes shaped our policies. Human nature is what it is, and I was rewarded and promoted for understanding human nature. But until this Administration it had been possible to believe that by upholding the policies of my president I was also upholding the interests of the American people and the world. I believe it no longer.

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

We should ask ourselves why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary. We have over the past two years done too much to assert to our world partners that narrow and mercenary U.S. interests override the cherished values of our partners. Even where our aims were not in question, our consistency is at issue. The model of Afghanistan is little comfort to allies wondering on what basis we plan to rebuild the Middle East, and in whose image and interests. Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

We have a coalition still, a good one. The loyalty of many of our friends is impressive, a tribute to American moral capital built up over a century. But our closest allies are persuaded less that war is justified than that it would be perilous to allow the U.S. to drift into complete solipsism. Loyalty should be reciprocal. Why does our President condone the swaggering and contemptuous approach to our friends and allies this Administration is fostering, including among its most senior officials. Has oderint dum metuant really become our motto?

I urge you to listen to America's friends around the world. Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine. Even when they complain about American arrogance, Greeks know that the world is a difficult and dangerous place, and they want a strong international system, with the U.S. and EU in close partnership. When our friends are afraid of us rather than for us, it is time to worry. And now they are afraid. Who will tell them convincingly that the United States is as it was, a beacon of liberty, security, and justice for the planet?

Mr. Secretary, I have enormous respect for your character and ability. You have preserved more international credibility for us than our policy deserves, and salvaged something positive from the excesses of an ideological and self-serving Administration. But your loyalty to the President goes too far. We are straining beyond its limits an international system we built with such toil and treasure, a web of laws, treaties, organizations, and shared values that sets limits on our foes far more effectively than it ever constrained America's ability to defend its interests.

I am resigning because I have tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current U.S. Administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside to shaping policies that better serve the security and prosperity of the American people and the world we share.

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Kiesling is...
o Understandably disillusioned 91%
o Vitriolic and bitter 8%

Votes: 135
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Display: Sort:
Diplomat Kiesling to Secretary Powell: Dear Mr. Secretary... | 227 comments (212 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hmmm, sure (3.00 / 17) (#5)
by RyoCokey on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 02:29:56 PM EST

Even here in Greece, purported hotbed of European anti-Americanism, we have more and closer friends than the American newspaper reader can possibly imagine.

I suppose in a way this guy's lucky. Many of our diplomats there didn't live long enough to retire.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
Good point but... (4.50 / 2) (#12)
by gmol on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 07:19:07 PM EST

I was not aware of the magnitude and history of anti-Americanism in Greece until you pointed it out.  

But the report says that American officials were killed, not diplomats.  You know that those two things are different.

[ Parent ]

But as that article reports ... (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by ukryule on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:40:59 AM EST

... and Americans are seven times more likely to be murdered in their own nation's capital than anywhere in Greece.
Which rather supports his point. Despite the fact that Greece does have terrorist problems, the majority of the country is moderately pro-American. However, branding it a place you'll be lucky to escape alive from is unlikely to improve Greek-US relations.

[ Parent ]
They had huge protests over Clinton (none / 0) (#38)
by RyoCokey on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:48:18 AM EST

If they didn't care for one of the most internationally likable presidents the US has ever had, I don't see an outpouring of support for Mr. Bush.

This from a country that's basically the fifth column of NATO. They pull their troops out of joint exercises every time the Turks get involved.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
You are an ignorant byproduct of propaganda (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 12:07:57 PM EST

Because if you were not, you would realise that Greece has on-going issues with Turkey and to have joint exercises is not a wise move from a strategic point of view.
Next time you have this urge to bash greece and its people you'd better check your story first.
I've seen you post the same fallacies and inconsistent accusations many times in the past even when the issue is not directly in discussion - as with the current article.
At this point, I have to ask you what's your problem with an entire nation. You are definately presenting yourself a lot more anti-greek than greeks ever presented themselves as anti-americans (again, not liking a government policy is not equal to not liking the people). In any case, I'm glad you are alone in this strange crussade of defamation and false acussations.

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
I don't hate Greece (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by RyoCokey on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:28:36 PM EST

...I just think they're a lousy ally. In the meantime, the country they disagree with, Turkey, has always been a great ally. I personally feel the best thing they could do is politely withdraw from NATO. If they don't feel they share our interests, they shouldn't be obligated to defend us, and vice versa. That'll spare us the time of having to reschedule deployments and exercises 'cause they wish to trade missiles with Turkey, while loosing little in the way of anything valuable. In the event that a real war did break out between Turkey and Greece, it would rip the NATO alliance to shreds. Why take the chance?



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
Greece withdraw from NATO (4.00 / 4) (#70)
by yokaze on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:41:53 PM EST

And with them France and Germany? And any other nation which is against a invasion  in Iraq?

BTW, the relationship of almost all other nations of the NATO are better with Greece than Turkey. Greece is a member of the EU, Turkey not.

Oh, and by the way. The Turkish parliament did not agree to let more US-troops into Turkey (in exchange for IRC, $6 billion as support and $20 billion as loan)

Finally, a good partner is not the one, who always agrees with you.


[ Parent ]

Erm.. is this a bit outdated? (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by stpap on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:17:03 AM EST

All known members of November 17th (or N17 for short) are on trial in Greece today (Mar 3rd) (www.ana.gr) after their capture this winter. It is absurd to claim that these people have had the support of the Greek people or links to the government as the article points out, unless there is evidence of the fact (which there isn't). In fact the members of N17 were apprehended by the same government that the article suggests had links with them! It took about 20 years to disolve the group but it was eventually done with the help of British and American antiterrorist experts. A lot of Greek people take offense to US policies that they see as serving just US interests. A grand example of this is the US support of the notorious Greek Junta, something which Bill Clinton (to his credit) apologised for. (http://www.hri.org/MFA/gpap/november99/UPI_ienterview_211199.html) Even so, many people find US policies controversial and view US concern with scepticism. However that does not mean that the Greek people "hate" Americans or any such ridiculous claim especially since over 2 million Greeks now live in the USA (search for "greek americans" in google). Furthermore, for country that depends so much on tourism it would be financially suicidal of the Greeks to start resenting "nations" in general. As a long time resident of Athens, Greece (and now of Glasgow,Scotland) I have seen much resentment towards US policies (in both countries) but seldomly towards the American people.

[ Parent ]
Yes, it is (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by RyoCokey on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:07:42 PM EST

I merely chose the article as the one that most clearly summarized the attacks that have occured in Greece.

Actually, the apprehension of the November 17th terrorists should do wonders for American-Greecian relations and perceptions in general. I still wouldn't want to be the guy assigned to the embassy, there, though.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
The article you yourself linked to... (3.33 / 3) (#84)
by amarodeeps on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:02:34 PM EST

...disputes the propaganda that you are responding to. Funny, that.

Besides, the kind of connection you are trying to make is as if the, say, Symbionese Liberation Army killed a Greek visiting official in 1975 and therefore all Greek officials here are in danger of losing their lives. Specious at best.



[ Parent ]
One more fifth columnist goes down (1.45 / 37) (#14)
by thom2 on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 09:10:02 PM EST

Cause for celebration, I'd say.

I find highly amusing Mr. Quisling... er, Kiesling's comment that "overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism". Let's examine the facts, shall we? The Clinton administration's policy of appeasement toward Al-Quaeda got us 9/11. Military force, meanwhile, had gotten rid of the Taliban, and in a roundabout way, has delivered Al Quaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into the hands of justice.

Looks to me like military power's been doing a pretty good job.

Bush/Ascroft's redirection of the FBI (4.16 / 6) (#18)
by michaelp on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:15:44 AM EST

from terrorism to druggies and ignoring of Clinton's plan to deal with Qaeda, got us 911 as much anything Clinton did or didn't do.

Bush was on the job for 9 months, if that wasn't enough time for him to make whatever changes he needed to prevent anyone from flying a plane into the WTC, he was obviously the wrong man for the job. It certainly was enough time for Bush to attack Qaeda directly, if he had thought of it. But there is no evidence that prior to 911 Qaeda had been a top or even a middling priority of the Bush team, no effort they were making to redirect FBI/CIA/NSA to pay more attention to Qaeda than in the Clinton era.

Though I know rightwingnuts will still be blaming Clinton for every problem a decade from now, Clinton presided over an increasingly safe nation and an economic boom, Bush has been able to match neither accomplishment, and no amount of Limbaughian 'tell a lie enough and people will think it's true' will change that.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Pointless finger-pointing (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by ukryule on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:25:42 AM EST

It's a bit silly to blame either Bush or Clinton for 911 when there are a bunch of extremist religous loonies who are pretty obviously the ones to blame.

Could things have been done better to prevent it? Sure. Do I hope lessons are learnt from it? Yeah. However, political name-calling hinders this.

Judge Bush on what he's done after 911 not before.

Clinton presided over an increasingly safe nation and an economic boom, Bush has been able to match neither accomplishment
From a British perspective, Churchill presided over an unparallelled time of hardship and death. Strangely, noone reckons he was a useless leader though ...

[ Parent ]
True but... (4.50 / 8) (#36)
by Malhavok on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:08:23 AM EST

Churchill brought the British through a time of unparallelled hardship. Bush hasn't turned the economy around, hasn't made the world a safer place, hasn't brought in tax revenue from corporations in foreign countries. What has he done? At the very least he allowed the California energy crisis to continue claiming it was not a "federal responsibility" to regulate between states. Created protests around the world. So far he hasn't done much of anything good at all. That's not to say he won't, he just hasn't done it yet. So far Bushenomics has accelerated our economy backwards where it was 10 years ago. Hey, maybe if we have WW3 the economy will turn around, wouldn't that just be great? As far Clinton, he had an "easy" administration. When he took office the economy was doing well, and it continued to grow and do well. Is he solely responsible for our economic boom? Of course not.

[ Parent ]
Don't forget time (4.00 / 2) (#78)
by ph317 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:24:02 PM EST

The decisions of a US President, and the ramifications of them, are often a long time in showing real effect.  It's as much a fallacy to say Clinton was responsible for the peace and economic growth as it is to say he benefitted from BushI and created the problems BushII faces.  The reality is, the moves of the current and past few presidents are always equally at play, and you can't really make distinct time correlations between presidents and the overall national/global state of affairs.

[ Parent ]
No soup for you. (4.86 / 15) (#20)
by Zontar The Mindless on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:29:08 AM EST

Your attempts at wordplay notwithstanding, there's a world of difference between a sellout (Quisling), and someone voting his conscience with his career as currency (Kiesling).

BTW, get your facts straight before indulging in ex-Prez bashing: Clinton also bombed Iraq on a fairly regular basis, and used cruise missiles on the Sudan.

As for the Taliban -- there would never have been a Taliban if it hadn't been for Ronald Reagan and George The First. And now that the Taliban have been tossed out, it's back to warlordism in Afghnaistan, in sace you hadn't noticed.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps you should try opening a book... (4.00 / 7) (#21)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:30:20 AM EST

If you had, you would learn that more terror is never the way to fix the terrorism problem. If you don't believe me, just examine any of the countries that have had to deal with terrorism. The only way to fix it is to deal with underlying issues. What the idiot aristocrat in charge has done is to create more terrorism. Your arguement that the terrorist attacks were caused by Clinton since they happened after his term has too many holes in it to be credible, and is over-simplified to say the least. One could use the same arguement to say that Bush I caused this terrorism, since it happened after he was President, or Reagan for that matter. In fact, given that fact that the Taliban were trained in the 80's at Fort Benning, then one could actually make a fair argument that it was in fact Reagan's fault. Instead, I would say that this problem is the fault of every US president since World War II, who has contributed to the bloodshed in the Middle East through armed intervention and escalated the violence by supplying arms.

[ Parent ]
Really? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:22:56 AM EST

In fact, given that fact that the Taliban were trained in the 80's at Fort Benning, then one could actually make a fair argument that it was in fact Reagan's fault.

Care to substantiate? Who among the Taliban were trained at Fort Benning?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Correction (1.00 / 1) (#50)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:10:18 PM EST

Sorry, I meant Al Queada. I'm not sure if that's what you were getting at. It's a well know fact that Bin Laden and members of Al Queada were trained at The School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. This news was mentioned after 9/11 in mainstream media. If you would like, I can look it up for you.

[ Parent ]
You're still incorrect (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:48:13 PM EST

There were apparently some Mujahedin who might have received training at Ft. Benning during the eighties, but there's no evidence that any members of Al Qaeda were ever trained at the School of the Americas and certainly not Bin Laden (who's never made any such claim himself by the way).

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
You are going to need some white-out. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:32:07 PM EST

Bin Laden never actually fought in the 80's. he funded various Mujahedin groups and supported US intervention against the Soviets.

Bin Laden was outraged by the US occupation of Saudi soil and was banished from the kingdom during the Gulf War.

[ Parent ]

I stand corrected.. (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:19:07 PM EST

It was my understanding that CIA support for Al Qaeda included training at Fort Benning.  It appears that Bin Laden did not get the top notch terrorist training that some of the other terrorists did.  j/k  Sorry for the inaccuracy, however, the fact that we supported them is still true.  

[ Parent ]
PS. (4.50 / 2) (#120)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:23:18 PM EST

Just to be clear,

"It appears that Bin Laden did not get the top notch terrorist training that some of the other terrorists did."

means that I am acknowledging that as far as I can hastily determine by doing an online search, that neither Bin Laden nor al Qaeda were trained at Fort Benning.  By saying "other terrorists", I am referring to other terrorist organizations.  

[ Parent ]

Interesting reads (3.00 / 1) (#51)
by Graymalkin on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:24:00 PM EST

http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,583254,00.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/111900-01.htm

http://www.soaw.org/new/

[ Parent ]

Uhm... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:49:58 PM EST

...I know about the School of the Americas. How does that relate to the charge that the US trained Bin Laden himself and other Al Qaeda operatives?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Zbig's plan actually (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by anaesthetica on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:25:23 PM EST

While a lot of the funding for the Taliban occurred under the Reagan administration, the planning and initial execution of the so-called 'afghan trap' was done by the Carter Administration, specifically the National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. To think... Carter actually won a Nobel Peace Prize.

The link to Clinton is not uncredible. Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden after the USS Cole and Embassy bombings, but he turned their offer down because they wanted him to lift the sanctions he had placed on them. The bombing of the pharmaceutical plant in the Islamic part of Sudan, suspected to be a chemical weapons manufacturing plant (actually an asprin factory), occured on September 11 1998—the same day the Lewinsky trials began. Not a coincidence.


—I'm the little engine that didn't.
k5: our trolls go to eleven
[A]S FAR AS A PERSON'S ACTIONS ARE CONCERNED, IT IS NOT TRUE THAT NOTHING BUT GOOD COMES FROM GOOD AND NOTHING BUT EVIL COMES FROM EVIL, BUT RATHER QUITE FREQUENTLY THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT REALIZE THIS IS IN FACT A MERE CHILD IN POLITICAL MATTERS. max weber, politics as a vocation


[ Parent ]
Not all Clinton's fault (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by dbt on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:59:18 PM EST

Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden after the USS Cole and Embassy bombings, but he turned their offer down because they wanted him to lift the sanctions he had placed on them.

Actually, they wanted hard cash, and Clinton didn't believe they would actually turn Osama Bin Laden over.

Besides, if Clinton had invaded afghanistan in 1999 to try to capture bin Laden, Congress would have gone nuts; yet that's what's being suggested today would have been about the only course of action to shut down Al Qaeda.



[ Parent ]
SItuation in Afghanistan (2.50 / 2) (#23)
by jeti on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:49:01 AM EST

Let's examine the facts, shall we? The Clinton administration's policy of appeasement toward Al-Quaeda got us 9/11.
And I thought it is the harsh embargo on Iraq that causes so much hate in the middle east. According to UNICEF, over 567000 children under five died as a result of it. Al-Quaida uses this fact in its recruitment videos.

Military force, meanwhile, had gotten rid of the Taliban...
The last thing I heard is that Hekmatjar teamed up with remaining Taleban troops and is winning land. US troops have left the country, and the 4000 men of the peacekeeping troops begin to look besieged. Plus these troops already claimed that they will leave the country as soon as the US attacks Iraq.

and in a roundabout way, has delivered Al Quaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into the hands of justice.
Only Pakistan hasn't delivered him to the US. Maybe they won't, because they're afraid of an uproar in the population.

[ Parent ]

Situation, revised (5.00 / 2) (#25)
by Stickerboy on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:48:38 AM EST

>>"Let's examine the facts, shall we? The Clinton administration's policy of appeasement toward Al-Quaeda got us 9/11."
>"And I thought it is the harsh embargo on Iraq that causes so much hate in the middle east. According to UNICEF, over 567000 children under five died as a result of it. Al-Quaida uses this fact in its recruitment videos."

It's a combination of both and several other factors. The weak US response to the USS Cole attack, the African US embassy bombings, and the US withdrawing from Somalia after 18 soldiers died are all mentioned frequently by al Qaeda members and leaders, events that happened during Clinton's watch.

As for the UN sanctions, yes, that's very true, but consider this: if the US goes to war, perhaps 2,000-4,000 civilians are killed during the conflict. UN sanctions and Saddam's deliberate neglect are killing 5,000 children a month. Isn't that a rather powerful humanitarian argument to depose Saddam Hussein and install a government that will actually feed its people, rather than continue on with UN sanctions and containment for another 10 years and kill another half a million civilians?

To continue on with the logic of removing al Qaeda recruitment aids, thousands of US troops are kept in Saudi Arabia to deter Saddam Hussein from attempting anything, troops that are seen as "occupying Mecca". With Hussein removed, the US can finally get its soldiers out of Saudi Arabia.

>>"Military force, meanwhile, had gotten rid of the Taliban... "
>"The last thing I heard is that Hekmatjar teamed up with remaining Taleban troops and is winning land. US troops have left the country, and the 4000 men of the peacekeeping troops begin to look besieged. Plus these troops already claimed that they will leave the country as soon as the US attacks Iraq."

Completely untrue. The US, in fact, is launching successful operations against the Taliban, who have proven to be nothing more than weak and ineffectual in organizing any sort of armed resistance short of the occasional blind shoot-and-run tactic.

As for rumors that the US withdrawing from Afghanistan, this article reports that the US is actually increasing its Afghanistan presence in terms of aid and military involvement.

>>and in a roundabout way, has delivered Al Quaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed into the hands of justice.
>Only Pakistan hasn't delivered him to the US. Maybe they won't, because they're afraid of an uproar in the population.

Except that they have. Read a current account of Mohammed's arrest. Note what it says: "Mr. Mohammed, who was on the F.B.I.'s most-wanted terror list and is believed to have been the operational planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, was quickly handed over to the Americans for questioning at an undisclosed foreign location."

[ Parent ]

Re: Situation, revised (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by jeti on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:05:01 AM EST

Thank you for the info. The coverage of Afghanistan has gotten pretty weak over here.

"As for the UN sanctions, yes, that's very true, but consider this: if the US goes to war, perhaps 2,000-4,000 civilians are killed during the conflict. UN sanctions and Saddam's deliberate neglect are killing 5,000 children a month. Isn't that a rather powerful humanitarian argument to depose Saddam Hussein and install a government that will actually feed its people, rather than continue on with UN sanctions and containment for another 10 years and kill another half a million civilians?"

It is a powerful argument. But I wonder about this: Why can Saddam smuggle oil for up to $2 billion a year without any real hindrance? And why isn't Iraq allowed to import chlorine and basic antibiotics. Combined with the fact that the US air force has destroyed 7 out of 8 dams "for post war leverage", it looks like neither Saddam nor the US gov care for civilians in Iraq. In fact it looks like the US uses the UN to make life in Iraq unbearable in the hope of an uprise.

"Completely untrue. The US, in fact, is launching successful operations against the Taliban, who have proven to be nothing more than weak and ineffectual in organizing any sort of armed resistance short of the occasional blind shoot-and-run tactic."

I'll have to check my information. The last I heard was that US troops largely moved on to Iraq and only 4000 peacekeeping troops remained (2000 of them Germans).

"Except that they have. Read a current account of Mohammed's arrest. Note what it says: "Mr. Mohammed, who was on the F.B.I.'s most-wanted terror list and is believed to have been the operational planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, was quickly handed over to the Americans for questioning at an undisclosed foreign location." "

At first I read Mohammed was handed over, than it was stated that he hasn't been. I'll try to find out what's the latest on this.

[ Parent ]

Not smuggling (none / 0) (#40)
by Dolohov on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:53:52 AM EST

Why can Saddam smuggle oil for up to $2 billion a year without any real hindrance? And why isn't Iraq allowed to import chlorine and basic antibiotics.

Because it's permitted according to the oil-for-food deal the UN approved. The US, as I recall, is a major buyer of that oil. (Unless you're thinking of something other than the approved oil sales, which as I recall are on that scale)

As for chlorine and antibiotics, I hadn't heard that before, but it makes me a little suspicious. I have a hard time believing that the UN would take the political step of banning all antibiotics; it's not really their style. As for chlorine, there is a concern over the use of chlorine gas as a weapon, but as I recall, chlorine isn't all that hard to manufacture.

[ Parent ]

Yes, smuggling (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by jeti on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:50:32 AM EST

Under the "Food for Oil" program, Iraq is allowed to export oil for something like $14 billion a year. However 30% of that money goes to Kuwait as reparation. And Saddam does not have direct access to the rest of the money.

Therefore Iraq began to smuggle a growing amount of oil out of the country. It is estimeated that it smuggled oil worth $2 billion in 2001. In that year, the official exports were even considerably less than the "Food for Oil" program would have allowed.

[ Parent ]

Illegal Oil Trade. (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:32:18 PM EST

France, Syria, and Russia are the main beneficiaries of the oil trade in Iraq both legitimate and not.

[ Parent ]
If coverage is so weak.... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:29:08 PM EST

...and you are so ignorant, why don't you stop flapping your jaw (or fingers in this case) and read before you start spreading FUD.

Every major newspaper in the industrialized world is online -- try reading them.

There are just under 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan  including special forces. They are actively working to disarm some of the warlord factions near Kabul and are flipping Al-Queda officers to inform on other memebers. Mr. Mohammed's arrest was undoubtably the fruit of one of those operations.

I'd also like to see your proof that 5,000 people are dying every month in Iraq as a result of sanctions. Just like your information regarding the military state of affairs in Afghanistan, it is based on rumor and supposition rather than fact.


[ Parent ]

No need to insult me - and some links (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by jeti on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:01:09 PM EST

If coverage is so weak and you are so ignorant, why don't you stop flapping your jaw (or fingers in this case) and read before you start spreading FUD.
Well -thank you for insulting me.

There are just under 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan including special forces.
As I stated, there are around 4000 men of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan.

I'd also like to see your proof that 5,000 people are dying every month in Iraq as a result of sanctions. Just like your information regarding the military state of affairs in Afghanistan, it is based on rumor and supposition rather than fact.
As I said, those numbers are provided by UNICEF.

[ Parent ]

Read that article again. (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by mohaine on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:38:25 PM EST

As I stated, there are around 4000 men of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan.

That isn't what the article says.

It says the the EU members would contribute to a 3k- 4k force that would go to Afghanistan.

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel told a news conference that all 15 EU member states would contribute to a force of between 3,000 and 4,000 soldiers.

The article never mentions how many troops are already there.

[ Parent ]
Ok. It's 4800 peacekeeping troops (none / 0) (#137)
by jeti on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:03:49 AM EST

As I stated, there are around 4000 men of peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan.

That isn't what the article says.

My apologies. I linked the first article I found that seemed to contain the numbers I was looking for.
Here's a recent article, including up to date numbers:
4,800 peacekeeping troops total,
2,500 of them German,
and the threat to retreat the German troops when the war on Iraq starts.

[ Parent ]

The United States made a deal... (2.00 / 1) (#142)
by DominantParadigm on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 07:44:02 AM EST

That went something like this "You keep the people oppressed (or some other, basically evil condition. I can't remember exactly), and we guarantee that the peacekeepers won't be around" Saw it on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) This wasn't hear-say, it was a video clip of an American military leader.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Strike that (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by DominantParadigm on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 07:49:42 AM EST

It's not quite that bad. The Americans made a deal that the warlords have to work together to keep order in Afghanistan, or they'll threaten to bring in more peacekeepers:

Marty Rose says American forces struck a deal with the local warlords to avoid bringing peacekeepers here. He says that although Dostum and Atta have their differences, they will be able to work with the U.S.

"At one point, we got them all together and we said you've got to work together or you're going to have peacekeepers here," says Rose. "They made arrangements with each other and they're still jockeying. I think each of them got positions of various importance in the country-wide set up and they're not all exactly happy, but I think they're working for the greater good of Afghanistan."



Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
One more link on "postwar leverage" (3.00 / 1) (#85)
by jeti on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:06:20 PM EST

Here's a link to an article that seems to support some of the "FUD" I've been spreading.

[ Parent ]
An estimation of Iraq war victims (none / 0) (#214)
by jeti on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 09:50:11 AM EST

if the US goes to war, perhaps 2,000-4,000 civilians are killed during the conflict.

The "International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War" has published their estimation of victims in a new war on Iraq:
250000

Typically 80% of the victims are civilians.

[ Parent ]

If the U.S has pulled out of Afghanistan (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by AtADeadRun on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:25:27 AM EST

Somebody better tell my Airborne buddies sitting in Kabul; looks like they missed the ship.

-------
Pain heals. Glory is forever. Keep running.

We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
[ Parent ]
Sitting in Kabul (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by dachshund on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:43:37 AM EST

Somebody better tell my Airborne buddies sitting in Kabul; looks like they missed the ship.

"Sitting in Kabul" looks to be an appropriate description of our occupation. There are some forays out to bomb Al Queda, but the US doesn't maintain much of a presence in the rest of the country.

From what I hear, it's more a question of the local warlords caring less about peace than about territory, although there is talk of the Taliban regrouping and launching raids across from Pakistan.

[ Parent ]

Do you suggest... (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:25:58 PM EST

...we proceed according the Soviet model?

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Being practical (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by dachshund on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:31:02 PM EST

...we proceed according the Soviet model?

I suggest we stop pretending that the US is willing to really nation-build, and recognize that what's promised before a war can be very different from what actually comes to pass.

[ Parent ]

That's fair... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:38:19 PM EST

...and I'd agree with you there. I just wanted point out that trying to gain effective control over all of Afghanistan has been tried in the recent past and it was an absolute disaster for all involved. I see no reason to believe that the US would fare any better.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
CIA training of Al-Qaeda founders created 911 [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by boxed on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:34:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Let's look at example of military response (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by DeAshcroft on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:18:29 AM EST

We should examine a modern, democractic nation with overwhelming military power that has a decades-long history of dealing with terrorism. Surrounded by hostile neighbors, and with a de-facto policy of "ten dead enemies for each dead citizen" - and the military and political will to back up that policy.

This country has even used its overwhelming military strength against its enemies in "relatively bloodless [to us] lightning war" that lasted less than a week - but the repercussions and retribution for this war can, arguably, be said to continue until today.

Is this country "safe"? Is this country "secure"? Is this country at "peace"? Is this country suffering a shortage of duct tape?

The lessons of history and humanity are out there. You can't beat terrorists with the military, because to do so sacrifices all the values that make the United States a terrorist target. You may stop the bombs, but if the response to terror changes society dramatically enough to eliminate the threat of terror, the terrorists have won.

Tip: Invent a bomb-proof trash can, and you will clean up when the United States follows this country's example and we are left with a perpetual low-level terrorist threat. Every mall in America will need new trash cans... and that's a lot of trash cans.
left or right? http://www.cafeshops.com/usingrights/
[ Parent ]

not a good example (5.00 / 1) (#127)
by MuteWinter on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:29:09 AM EST

Thats not a very good example. You are looking at the situation objectively enough. Military force is not doing Israel any good because they are restraining themselves.

Additionally, the situation is completely different from the US. Palestine is right next door to Israel. Both states are very small. The US can identify terrorists or suspected terrorists quite a bit easier. In the US they even joked around with airport security after Sept 11th. They did ridiculous things like searching old ladies boarding planes, in Israel they can't joke around with their counter-terrorist strategies. Palestinians and Eastern Jews are almost genetically the same, which doesn't help them out very much either.

If you examine Isreal from a military perspective, they have an enormous disadvantage, and are in a situation completely different from the US. Using force and effective Intelligence the US has successfully kept terrorism out of their borders after September 11th. About all Isreal can do is prevent itself from being wiped out.

Military victories can fix problems, but only if they are victories. When dragged out indefinately in a stalemate, nothing is solved, and the conflict itself may become the problem.

What the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does show us, is there will be no end to terrorism anytime soon. I doubt either fundamental Islam or the US is about to dissappear anytime soon. Nor do I expect the political views of either to change within the next 20 years, hell maybe 100. However, don't expect terrorism to run rampent in the US as it does in Israel . I'm sure there will continue to be incidents overseas, but doubtfully many more on US soil, especially on a Sept 11th scale.

In Israel, they may retaliate after a terrorist act is committed. The US invaded an entire country after a single (or multiple, depending how you look at it) terrorist attack.

I wish WWI never happened, and the US didn't keep getting dragged into foreign wars. Unforunately that didn't happen, and now we must deal with the consequences.

I might sound like a supporter of Israel. I am simply fed up with people who see nothing wrong with terrorists targetting and killing innocent civilians to achieve political goals. War is war, but terrorism is murder.

[ Parent ]

So unrestrained military response is the answer? (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by DeAshcroft on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 10:16:39 PM EST

Thats not a very good example.
It's not a complete example, but I think it's a very good, and very relevant, example. This was in response to a post suggesting that "military power's been doing a pretty good job." I disagree. Military power has done what military power does, but it hasn't, and won't, eliminate the threat of terrorism or make the United States or its citizens secure.

Are you aware of a better example of a successful military response to terrorism? I'd be quite happy to learn about it.

Military force is not doing Israel any good because they are restraining themselves.
I'll just assume you're serious about this "restraining themselves" concept. This begs the question: are you saying that "unrestrained military response" is the answer to terrorism? Can you tell me where "unrestrained military response" stops and "genocide" begins? Would you care to predict how long an "unrestrained military response" is possible before [national, global] public opinion turns so sour that it becomes impossible to sustain?
Additionally, the situation is completely different from the US. Palestine is right next door to Israel.
Perhaps the lesson that geography is irrelevant to low-level terrorism has escaped this country. In the 80's, discos in Germany (frequented by Americans station there) were bombed by terrorists. In this century, embassies in Africa were bombed by terrorists. The United States has interests throughout the world, so there isn't exactly a lack of potential targets. Everything is "right next door" to the United States.

If it's only the "homeland" you're protecting, then how far can you lock down the borders and screen out the people already in North America so you don't leave any potential backpack bombers in the homeland? How far can you push that policy before you compromise everything that defines the United States of America? And how far can you "cut loose" American interests on foreign territory before the hosts decide it's not worth letting the presence of Americans make their own citizens "incidental casualties"? Do you propose to solve the problem by withdrawing from all foreign lands, sealing the borders and bombing anyone who says mean things?

If you examine Isreal from a military perspective, they have an enormous disadvantage, and are in a situation completely different from the US. Using force and effective Intelligence the US has successfully kept terrorism out of their borders after September 11th. About all Isreal can do is prevent itself from being wiped out.
Could you explain the enormous military disadvantage? I'm afraid I don't see Israel as militarily disadvantaged in the region. Has Israel lost wars? Is there a significantly more capable military presence in the region? What is the source of this disadvantage?

The threat here is that the United States appears to be trying very hard to put itself in a very similar (to Israel) situation - and that is a situation that decades of history have demonstrated is a) untenable, b) insecure, and c) incompatible with human and civil rights.

Military victories can fix problems, but only if they are victories. When dragged out indefinately in a stalemate, nothing is solved, and the conflict itself may become the problem.
Then there are examples of non-military "success" against terrorism. There's an example from a little island off the north coast of Europe that might be a useful lesson.

I'm suggesting that the conflict is already the problem. And the most prominent evidence of that is that the vast goodwill toward the United States that was present on September 12, 2001 has evaporated and turned into open, public (thankfully mostly verbal) hostility.

What the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does show us, is there will be no end to terrorism anytime soon. I doubt either fundamental Islam or the US is about to dissappear anytime soon.
So you are suggesting genocide is the only answer? There will be no end to terrorism until there is no "fundamental Islam" or no "United States"?
I wish WWI never happened, and the US didn't keep getting dragged into foreign wars. Unforunately that didn't happen, and now we must deal with the consequences.
Are you really prepared to deal with the consquences of this new conflict? Shouldn't every effort be made to solve this before it turns into another century of trouble? Shouldn't we find (or at least try) a different solution before your grandkids post on some small message forum "I wish the War On Terror never happened, and the US didn't keep getting dragged into foreign wars. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and we're still dealing with the consequences"?
I might sound like a supporter of Israel. I am simply fed up with people who see nothing wrong with terrorists targetting and killing innocent civilians to achieve political goals. War is war, but terrorism is murder.
I'm not suggesting that there's nothing wrong with terrorists. I'm suggesting that the solution to terrorism is not more dead potential terrorists. Dead potential terrorists (and non-terrorists that just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time) have families and friends. Family and friends of dead potential terrorists make really good new potential terrorists. Unless, and I hope I'm wrong about this, you actually think you can identify and kill them all.

You are apparently aware that there is a difference between terrorism and war. The military is a solution to war; it is not a solution to terrorism.
left or right? http://www.cafeshops.com/usingrights/
[ Parent ]

I call shenanigans (4.25 / 4) (#43)
by ghjm on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:34:32 AM EST

I call shenanigans on you.

Name one policy action the Clinton administration undertook with the purpose of appeasing Al Quaeda.

-Graham

[ Parent ]

don't know much about history? (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by ghosty on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:16:02 PM EST

The Clinton administration's policy of appeasement toward Al-Quaeda got us 9/11.

Appeasement? Clinton let them keep Poland so they wouldn't invade the rest of Europe? He let them keep Manchuria so they wouldn't take the rest of Asia? Exactly what "appeasement" are we talking about here?

The Bush people have been throwing that word around regarding Iraq too. Personally, I take it as proof that they understand nothing of world history.



[ Parent ]

I agree on the appeasement point ... (none / 0) (#178)
by elotiumq32 on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 10:35:47 AM EST

... if the definition of "appeasement" is "ordering a cruise missile strike against".  The usage is shown in this example:

"After the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen during 2000, the Clinton appeased an Al Qaeda base in Afghanistan."

Ouch.

...
______________ yeah whatever
[ Parent ]

Wow (4.30 / 13) (#22)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:34:00 AM EST

This is truly inspiring to see someone use their conscience to make such a powerful political statement. Hopefully he will give others enough strength to stand for what they believe in. This man is a true patriot.

What if he had stayed? (none / 0) (#157)
by hughk on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:43:38 PM EST

This is always the big question. A resignation is a gesture that cannot be repeated. Maybe others would, but this is not an easy time for brave gestures as there is not much for a slightly used second-hand diplomat to do. Actually, I can think of one heck of a lot, but it is doubtful wether that would be paid.

What could have Kiesling have done if he stayed. To lie for your country has always been the job of the diplomat. COuldn't there be a way for him to express his dissent in another way and maintained his influence?

Kiesling was brave and he did the honorable thing. I hope his gesture was not in vain.

[ Parent ]

Not much you can say to this... (4.53 / 15) (#29)
by treefrog on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:26:01 AM EST

Mr Kiesling is obviously a highly intelligent articulate man who has decided that he cannot square his conscience with his job. He has done the honourable thing and resigned.

Would that we all had his moral fibre.

regards, treefrog


Twin fin swallowtail fish. You don't see many of those these days - rare as gold dust Customs officer to Treefrog

... except wonder if it's really a good thing ... (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by drtrogg on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:44:15 AM EST

If everyone that can't stomach the current administration's policies (i.e. anyone that stops to question it) quits - then where will we be?

[ Parent ]
Well... (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by Amesha Spentas on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:53:22 AM EST

His letter was to Powell. My suspicion is that Mr. Kiesling was hoping to enlist the support of Mr. Powell as an insider in the current Administration to apply breaks to the current stampede occurring over lady Liberty and her friends Truth and Justice.

I only hope Mr. Powell was listening and still has his hand on the break.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

Regarding Powell (4.83 / 6) (#47)
by gauntlet on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:57:17 AM EST

I may be giving him more credit than he is due, but I really don't think so. According to the sources I've had access to, Powell was the one that argued for going into Afghanistan first, because that's what the international community would provide support for. The idea of going into Iraq had always been there, and 9/11 was seen as an excuse to do it. He prevented that from happening, at least right away.

That gave him a little time, not a lot, to work on Bush. Eventually, he sat down with Bush and convinced him that if he's going to go into Iraq, he should go with the international community behind him. That discussion eventually led to Bush asking the UN for 1441, and getting it.

Powell's thinking, I think, is that Bush was going to attack, one way or the other. It would be better for the US and the rest of the world that he do it in a multilateral way. So, now the UN is involved. What I'm not clear on is what comes next.

Powell must have been aware how weak the case was for linking Hussein and terrorism. He must have known what the various members of the security council thought about going into Iraq. He therefore must have known that it wouldn't be a happy-go-lucky sort of affair. I'm not sure, though, that he knew exactly how hard it would be to get the international community onside.

So now, Powell has a problem. He has to go to the UN and argue the case himself. He's putting his credibility on the line doing that, but for good reason. It's not for the benefit of US foreign policy, with which he likely disagrees, but for the benefit of the international community.

I think Powell feels that if the US takes action without the backing of the UN, it will simply show that the members of the UN have no reason to believe that even permanent security council members will abide by decisions made therein. If the strongest guy on the hockey team decides he's not going to pay attention to the no-slashing rule, and the referee can't do anything about it, people either start slashing, or stop playing.

I think Powell is trying to protect the UN, by attempting to convince them to get onside with something that's going to happen anyway.

I think Powell feels almost exactly the same way this particular civil servant does. But he's known for a long time that in this particular situation, preventing the train wreck isn't an option. So he's just trying to minimalize the casualties.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

FrontLine (2.00 / 2) (#147)
by Amesha Spentas on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 10:58:10 AM EST

According to the sources I've had access to, Powell was the one that argued for going into Afghanistan first, because that's what the international community would provide support for.

I have also seen the Frontline episode about the battle in the Administration between Wolfowitz (sp?) and Powell and I agree with both your arguments. I'm only hoping that Powell can use this resignation as ammunition to derail the runaway war train Bush has this country clinging to.

Registered to die for the government at 18, and had to pay postage on the registration form - AnalogBoy
[ Parent ]

length of administration (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by perlchild on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:31:05 AM EST

You'll need new elections?
Would that be so bad, except MAYBE for Mr. Bush?

[ Parent ]
Possibly it will focus some attention? (none / 0) (#49)
by hatshepsut on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 12:11:02 PM EST

Bush seems to think (from my perspective, which is not based in the US) that everyone will support him because he is the President. Well, if his own people try to make a change, inform him that they can't support his policies, then quit if he doesn't change his ways, maybe it will get his attention?

At the very least, if some elected officials would do this, maybe it would force some by-elections? Or is that even an option?

[ Parent ]

Re: Elections (4.50 / 2) (#133)
by Thomas M Hughes on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:27:39 AM EST

At the very least, if some elected officials would do this, maybe it would force some by-elections? Or is that even an option?
It doesn't work that way in the US.  Our elections occur on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, every 2 years for the House of Representitives, every 4 years for the President, and every 6 years for Senators (staggered for Senators, so the entire Senate is never up for election at once).  The President is voted for somewhat directly by the population, as opposed to a Parlimentary system.  As such, the President doesn't need the support of any elected officals in the Congress, he still remains President and still has a legitimate amount of power (though somewhat limited, since the Congress is supposed to provide funding, or not).

In fact, Bush doesn't even need the majority of the voting public to support him to remain in Office when elections do come up.  In 2000, he had something like 46% or 48% of the total voting population (which is only around 50% anyway, so we're talking about less then 1/4th of the total US population voting for this person).  Aside from not having a majority of the non-majority of voting Americans, he didn't even come in first there in the popular vote.  He came in second in the popular vote, but due to the US electorial system that provides more strength to the local States then to their populations, Bush was appointed President of the US.  (This occurs approximately every 40 years or so, give or take).

However, despite noting that (1) Bush is definately going to be in office until a November 2004 election, and (2) he does not need anywhere near a majority of American votes to remain in office according to the US law, even if there was an election it wouldn't ensure his removal.  We had a non-Presidential election in 2002 (where the House came up for election, which happens every 2 years), and Republicans gained more control over the Congress (Republicans being Bush's party).  This was interpreted as suggesting that Americans were backing the Bush policies, though the truth of that is not really determinable by the data.  Politicians tend to use things like that as a mandate though.

Ignoring all the bad news about elections in general, there is also the fact that Bush has made it quite clear that he feels that pursuing this method of International Relations is to the benefit of the American people, whether they like it or not.  Despite the fact that millions are protesting in the streets against a potential war in Iraq, Bush has made it clear that these protests do not enter into the equasion for him.  I believe the phrase was something along the lines of "Changing my mind based on a protest would be like changing my mind based on a focus group."

Summary: Bush isn't politically affected by nor morally cares about a massive protest against him.  Neither will stop him anytime soon.

[ Parent ]

And this is the real cost... (5.00 / 1) (#146)
by Control Group on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 10:33:04 AM EST

...of people protesting every bloody thing that happens. I'm sure the same students of UW-Madison who protested the new Starbucks because it would hurt locally-owned coffee shop business are also protesting the war. The fact that their response to both problems (even granting that the former is a "problem") is identical rather makes it difficult to take them seriously.

This sort of thing makes it easy for a President to say he ignores protests. Remember the protest during the Gulf War? And how much of the population was completely in favor of it? Protests and picketing have become so commonplace as to be meaningless.

In much the same fashion that I don't even notice most car alarms, I ignore most protests.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Re: Protests (4.00 / 2) (#148)
by Thomas M Hughes on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 11:14:49 AM EST

It feels different this time.  While there are usually a number of minor protests occuring at any given time, it is my understanding that there have been days when 50,000-100,000+ people will show up at a protest at each location, with there being multiple locations protesting at once (both within the US, and across the globe).  The fact that you literally have millions of people in the street protesting is a pretty good indication that this is different then 20 people chaining themselves to some trees to save them.  Part of what makes certain protests memorable is the fact that they pull in large numbers of people.  However, these protests against the war have been sustained and gaining momentum since at least September of 2002, if not longer.

In relation to the car alarm...if 20 people is a car alarm going off, then would this be the equivilant of thousands of car alarms going off at once while driving down downtown in a number of major cities all at once?

[ Parent ]

You're right, scale is important (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by Control Group on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:13:31 PM EST

The size of the protest is a critical factor to consider, and by no means am I saying that all protests are bunk just because some of them are. Let's assume that, in this case, these are legitimate protests which represent the will of far more than the people who are actually protesting. (And we'll ignore poll results for or against the war; if there's one thing those polls have proved, it's that polls are unreliable when most people are undecided) Given this, it only makes sense for the President to listen to the protesters (though he is by no means beholden to. Even if every single person in the country rose up on one day and cried out "NO WAR IN IRAQ," it is still not the President's duty to listen, but that's a different issue for a different discussion).

The problem is that with so many protests going on over trivial (IMHO) issues, it becomes easy to ignore protests in general. It allows the President to say he ignores protests without fearing the repercussions on his approval rating; many people will just say to themselves "good, no one should pay attention to those wackos." Whereas, if the protest tactic hadn't been employed so often by so many disparate groups for so many disparate reasons, more people would see the fact that there was a protest as important, and perhaps be more critical of a President who says he ignores them.

To extend the car analogy (though I don't know that it was a very good analogy to begin with, and I don't know that it scales all that well - sorry), it's not so much a matter of going from 20 car alarms to thousands as much as it is going from 20 car alarms to 25, but making each one twice as loud. Most people still won't listen.

Perhaps I would have done better using signal:noise than car alarms...ah, well.

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

A president can be removed (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by shinshin on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:33:31 PM EST

Bush is definately going to be in office until a November 2004 election

It should be noted, for the purposes of education, that it is possible to remove a president from office if he misbehaves badly enough. The process is called "impeachment".

You can impeach a president for pretty much anything. The Republicans tried (and failed) to remove President Clinton through impeachment for having an extra-marital affair with a White House intern. However, violating Amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7, as well as Article 1 section 8, of the US Constitution by the Bush Administration do not appear to be sufficient grounds for impeachment.



____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Re: Impeachment (5.00 / 1) (#159)
by Thomas M Hughes on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:51:56 PM EST

You can impeach a president for pretty much anything.
Yes and no.  You need a legal reason to impeach a President (as in they have done something illegal).  The Congress cannot impeach a President because they dislike the policies of the President (or hold an equivilent vote-of-no-confidence).  It is only if the President does something illegal that the Congress can remove the President from office.  

In the case of Clinton, it was not the extra-marital affair that was the center of the case, but if Clinton had lied under oath in a case related to the extra-marital affair.  The fact that Clinton was cheating on his wife was what Republicans focused on when talking to the public, with the hope that people would dislike Clinton as a person, so they would support his impeachment.  On the other hand, the legal issue, and what he was being impeached for, was potentially commiting purjury.

Furthermore, violating amendments of clauses of the constitution does not appear to be a reason for impeachment based on historical precedent.  Rather, the policies of the administration are challenged in the judicial system as "Plantiff v. Attorney General" (ie, the ACLU v John Ashcroft).  However, these violations, on their own, are ruled as constitutional or unconstitutional, and as such are rejected on their own.  If they are rejected, there is no negative feedback to the institution that had created the illegal law in the first place (be it Congress, or execuitive order and the President).

For George W. Bush to be impeached, he would have to do something criminally illegal, not constitutionally illegal.  For example, if he lied under oath, or killed someone, he could be impeached.  He could not be impeached for imprisoning Americans without a trial.

[ Parent ]

Doesn't have to be a violation of law (none / 0) (#173)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:19:41 AM EST

The impeachment of a President is not, I believe, reviewable by any court, so Congress could impeach for any reason whatever. The Clinton perjury charge was certainly not the real reason.

If a US President were to simply leave the country and refuse to return, I'm sure that would result in impeachment, despite it being quite legal. Likewise, he could renounce his citizenship, run for office in Belize...

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

Re: Impeachment (none / 0) (#185)
by Thomas M Hughes on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:02:32 PM EST

The impeachment of a President is not, I believe, reviewable by any court, so Congress could impeach for any reason whatever. The Clinton perjury charge was certainly not the real reason.
I can give you the exact wording of what the constitution requires for an impeachment, in Article II, Section IV:
Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
Thus, the President does need to be impeached for a crime, according to the Constitution.  And while there is no offical review process in an impeachment case, all Federal State action can be challenged as unconstitutional, and brought into the Federal Court System.  However, there is no precedent for this, as very few Presidents have actually been impeached (I believe the offical number is 2).

So, theoretically it is possible to attempt to impeach someone without any legal basis, but that action would be unconstitutional, and as such could be challenged in the legal system, and in turn ruled as unconstitutional.  On the other hand, if its done for a criminal reason, no court would touch it as its clearly a legal constitutional action.

The real reason that the Impeachment of Clinton took place was because the Republicans wanted to get rid of Clinton, yes.  However, that was not the legal reason, no the actual challenge made against Clinton in his impeachment case.  The legal argument was that he commited purjury.  That was a criminal act that the Republicans argued that Clinton had engaged in, and that was the grounds for his impeachment.  Now, how they voted might have nothing to do with that reason (or it might).  The Constitution doesn't specify how the Congress has to vote, only the conditions in which they can vote, which must be criminal.

[ Parent ]

Impeachment (none / 0) (#189)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:40:29 PM EST

I stand corrected.

Question: If the current administration were discovered to have trumped up this whole war against Iraq thing for the purpose of personally profiting from some oil deal, I'm sure that would be illegal. But, assuming some US soldiers are killed in this war for profit scheme, would it be treason?

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

Re: War for Profit and Treason (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by Thomas M Hughes on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 05:28:31 PM EST

But, assuming some US soldiers are killed in this war for profit scheme, would it be treason?
I cannot give a solid legal answer for this one, but my first impression would be that it is not treason. Though, just to be clear on this, let me throw up a definition of treason from Merriam Webster:
Main Entry: trea·son
Pronunciation: 'trE-z&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tresoun, from Old French traison, from Latin tradition-, traditio act of handing over, from tradere to hand over, betray -- more at TRAITOR
Date: 13th century
1 : the betrayal of a trust : TREACHERY
2 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family
I believe the legal definition used is often the second one. Since Bush's willingness to theoretically sacrifice soldiers for personal oil profits does nothing to threaten the sovereign (that is, the President or the Congress), then he has not commited an act of treason. It would be a treasonous act if he disolved the Congress though.

However, running a war effort for his own personal profit would most likely be found illegal on a number of different legal grounds. I don't think treason would be one of them though.

[ Parent ]
25th Amendment (4.00 / 1) (#168)
by bwcbwc on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 09:18:29 PM EST

A president can also be removed (or remove himself) because of incapacity to perform the duties of president. Of course, this isn't going to happen  either, because this is pretty much the same gang that kept Ronald Reagan in office after he developed Alzheimer's. It's much more fun to be the power behind the throne in a situation like that.

[ Parent ]
Yes (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by btb on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:36:22 PM EST

Resigning is the most effective thing he can do, really.  
His job is to represent the current administration, no matter what its policies are.  He can either do his job, resign, or get fired.


[ Parent ]
Excellent (4.69 / 13) (#34)
by Gromit on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:59:06 AM EST

That is, indeed, one of the best letters of dissent I've read.

BTW, if anyone out there is as suspicious as I am about being misled ("I read it on the web! It must be true!"), I did verify the text against two other sources (NYT [requires free login] and truthout.org). It's genuine and accurate (that is, if you believe NYT and truthout.org, which I do).



--
"The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race." - Hans Blix

Surely you can't be serious... (3.50 / 2) (#145)
by Silent Chris on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 09:05:22 AM EST

You mean protesting in the streets, with large-headed puppets hoisting buckets of blood and oil is not an effective means to show dissent?  </sarcasm>

[ Parent ]
sah-chasm (none / 0) (#208)
by lorian69 on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 12:50:07 AM EST

You forgot your enclosing <sarcasm> tag.  What are you trying to do?  Spread improper sarcastic HTML throughout the serious, serious world of the internet?

[ Parent ]
Mostly okay... (2.54 / 11) (#41)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:05:12 AM EST

...but his biases and prejudices are revealed in this statement:

Have we indeed become blind, as Russia is blind in Chechnya, as Israel is blind in the Occupied Territories, to our own advice, that overwhelming military power is not the answer to terrorism? After the shambles of post-war Iraq joins the shambles in Grozny and Ramallah, it will be a brave foreigner who forms ranks with Micronesia to follow where we lead.

He lost all credibility with me there. How can he impute Russia's actions in Grozny and Israel's actions in Ramallah to the USA? I suppose he thinks we let those things happen, and are guilty therefore. Of course, when we intervened in the balkans, everyone complained that we were bombing civilians and using dangerous ammunition (is that redundant or what?!) And how can he dismiss Afghanistan so easily? It seems to me that Hamid Karzai is a major fucking step forward. He might be a puppet, but's he's a damn good puppet with serious street creds in Pashtun circles.

On the other hand, I think he makes some good points (although fairly vague) on the loss of domestic freedoms.

Some day I am going to publish a book of essays spanning from the Roman empire until today in which the authors are claiming that the sky is falling. I've only been alive for 30 years, and all my life, all I ever hear people talking about is how the sky is falling. First it was nukes from the USSR. Then it was terrorist bombs. Before all of that it was something else. I really want people that are pathological doomsayers to get some fucking perspective.
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Bias, or inside info/assumptions? (none / 0) (#45)
by dcheesi on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:57:43 AM EST

True, I wish he had elaborated on the basis of his analogy. He's obviously suggesting that we haven't done a good job of rebuilding Afghanistan, but he doesn't give any examples. I suppose as a diplomatic insider, he assumes his audience (his boss) knows what he's talking about.

Since the media hasn't been covering Afghnistan lately, I have no idea how much we're doing to help out. I do think that helping rebuild is the best way to ward off post-war resentment and revenge attacks; however, I have to wonder how much rebuilding is necessary in what was always an undeveloped country.

RE: doomsayers, I would suggest that they are there for a reason. The fact that the worst never happens may well be because the pessimists point out the dangers ahead of time. Even though their predictions may be exaggerated, they still provoke us to think about the direction we're heading in a way we might do not otherwise.

[ Parent ]

reading comprehension (4.55 / 9) (#46)
by linca on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:41:15 AM EST

How can he impute Russia's actions in Grozny and Israel's actions in Ramallah to the USA?

He doesn't. he says the US has become blind to its own (former) advice, blind in the same way as Russia and Israel. the "to our own advice" is a complement to the verb blind. Indeed, the complement to "advice", "that overwhelming... ", clearly shows that the advice was opposed to the actions of Russia and Israel.

Hamid Karzai is a major fucking step forward

but's he's a damn good puppet with serious street creds in Pashtun circles.

Recent reports are that the Pashtuns are uniting under Taliban and Hekmatyar ; that they prefer the former's stability to the current state of warlord driven violent anarchy.

Actually, the present state of Afghanistan is one of the strongest arguments against invasion in Iraq. If Bush doesn't care about pacifying Afghanistan out of Kabul, he has no business waging war in Iraq, bringing only destruction but no reconstruction.

[ Parent ]

I think you overstate a bit (4.50 / 2) (#58)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:24:24 PM EST

Recent reports are that the Pashtuns are uniting under Taliban and Hekmatyar ; that they prefer the former's stability to the current state of warlord driven violent anarchy.

Which tribes, which regions, and what Taliban? Do a couple dozen mostly ineffectual attacks over the last 6 months by Hekmatyar really represent a widespread Pashtun alliance with whatever remnants of the Taliban might still exist? And from what I've seen he's not offering stability, just more jihad.

If Bush doesn't care about pacifying Afghanistan out of Kabul, he has no business waging war in Iraq, bringing only destruction but no reconstruction.

Do you really think this can be done without incurring massive casualties on both sides? Should we feel compelled to step into the same trap that the Soviets did?

I'm pretty much with you on Iraq though. The administration has yet to demonstrate any commitment to a plan for seriously reconstructing a post war Iraq.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Oh.... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:44:06 PM EST

...would that be the same 'advice' that spawned the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force (e.g., Gulf War I)? Please provide some credible evidence that the current administration (or Bush I) openly opposed the use of overwhelming force in response to a threat. Or is your position that the original author is trying to say that this current administration is out of line with policies articulated by other administrations with which Bush is not politically aligned? If so, I would argue that the essence of democracy is the pendulum of policy-making.

The original author is obviously expressing a biased view of the Israeli and Chechen conflicts, and imputing that same behavior to the USA. It's a bullshit point that robs the original author of his credibility in my eyes. Show me evidence that opposition to overwhelming force is the policy of this government in the recent past, and I will concede your (collateral and frivolous) point with respect to the comparison to Israel/Russia. In any event, if he really wanted to condemn the USA, he would have imputed to it the behavior of Palestinians and Chechens.

On the other point regarding Karzai--I think you are not aware of who Hamid Karzai was before he took the reigns of his country. During the allied campaign, Karzai drove at extreme peril to himself through the night on a motorcycle across the border of Pakistan to rejoin his tribal family. When he arrived, the Taliban surrounded his hideout and laid seige on it. For a day, he and his people, outnumbered and outgunned, fought off the Taliban (eventually using small arms dropped by US special forces) and then joined the US commandos for a daring campaign to retake the south of the country and, eventually, Kabul. He did these things with the help of America, but at his own impetus and risk. On the dangerous road to his retaking of Aghanistan, he was nearly killed by an errant American bomb. He is an articulate and gentle man, a skilled warrior-philosopher, an ideologue and a champion of his people and their progress. He has persisted (partly under the careful watch and protection of private American security firms) in power in arguably the most hostile environment on the planet despite Hektymar's repeated and pathetic attempts to unseat Karzai to further his insane, nihilistic and narcissistic cause. To say that the Talibs are in any position to revolt and retake power is sheer fantasy.

Meanwhile, contrary to your unfounded comments, the allied commandos and rangers continue to scour the landscape of rural Afghanistan to root out the local fanatics and despots that threaten Karzai (and peace and stability more generally). There is a probably the same amount, more likely less, warlord-driven anarchy in Afghanistan today than perhaps ever before in that nation's recent history.

Certainly the main city in that country and its capital has been transformed, and the effects of that transformation ought not to be underestimated. After all, in Iraq, the only region that will present an obstacle to US intervention is Baghdad. Take a look at the no-fly zones in Iraq for God's sake. We already took most of the rural areas more than ten years ago and we still hold them. For that reason, Afghanistan is an extremely encouraging experience when applied to Iraq.
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[ Parent ]

biases? (1.00 / 1) (#52)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:26:20 PM EST

I suppose he thinks we let those things happen, and are guilty therefore. He's talking about our response to the terrorist attacks. He's not talking about the terrorist attacks themselves. I would have thought that was obvious. I really want people that are pathological doomsayers to get some fucking perspective. Then that means you are against Reagan when he blew the USSR threat out of proportion in the 80's. You knew that was a smokescreen, right? Either that, or you think the CIA was totally incompetent to not have know that the Soviet Union was about to collapse. I guess that also means you are against Bush and his war mongering government who seeks to incite public fear of terror in order to further his own agenda. Again, I agree with you there too. You shouldn't blame the terror of the US population on themselves. A big chunk of it is the result of an assault of propaganda on the US population by it's own government.

[ Parent ]
Sorry... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:51:16 PM EST

...not sure if I follow your pretzel logic.

1) The original author is talking about Israel responding to Palestinian terror, and Russia responding to Chechen terror. And the original author is directly comparing the USA within the context of Iraq to Israel's and Russia's handling of their own terror threats. So, yes, it was obvious, and, no, you don't seem to get it.

2) I said pathological doomsayers should get some perspective. If you want to accuse Bush and Reagan of being pathological doomsayers, that's your business. Personally, I think presidential politics are about as relevant as the Super Bowl. It's people like you that chit-chat over wine and red herring.
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[ Parent ]

OK. (none / 0) (#98)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:30:02 PM EST

1)  Ok, now I understand what you were saying.  You thought that he was implying that the US was guilty of the actions of Russia and Israel in their responses to terrorism.  I did not read it that way at all.  I understood him as pointing out Israel and Russia's retaliation as a mistake, and asking us if we, as Americans, want to commit the same mistake of escalating the violence.  

2)  "I said pathological doomsayers should get some perspective".

Ok, fine, I agree with this statement.  Let's just be careful that context doesn't cause the reader of this statement to assume that you are refering to people such as Kiesling, and that you are saying that he should get "perspective".  It's important to remember that or otherwise someone might get the wrong idea.  

[ Parent ]

Sorry, forgot to preview (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:28:34 PM EST

I suppose he thinks we let those things happen, and are guilty therefore.

He's talking about our response to the terrorist attacks. He's not talking about the terrorist attacks themselves. I would have thought that was obvious.

I really want people that are pathological doomsayers to get some fucking perspective.

Then that means you are against Reagan when he blew the USSR threat out of proportion in the 80's. You knew that was a smokescreen, right? Either that, or you think the CIA was totally incompetent to not have know that the Soviet Union was about to collapse.

I guess that also means you are against Bush and his war mongering government who seeks to incite public fear of terror in order to further his own agenda. Again, I agree with you there too.

You shouldn't blame the terror of the US population on themselves. A big chunk of it is the result of an assault of propaganda on the US population by it's own government.


[ Parent ]

"doomsayers" (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by jhouserizer on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 01:47:05 PM EST

Perhaps your "pathological doomsayers" are the reason "doom" never came?

In general, it's the people with extreme views that make the noise. We never hear much in the news from people that say "the status quo is just great!" - those people aren't impassioned enough to get up and make noise. It's the far-left abortionists, far right anti-abortionists, animial rights activists, globalism nay-sayers, "world-war III is coming any day"-zealots, who make the rest of us get off our asses and think and act.

I think that there is a real possiblility that had the cold war not been so much on the front burner for 2 decades, nuclear exchange (or at least some type of war) just might have happened.



[ Parent ]
The sky is not falling (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by ryanamos on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:57:25 PM EST

No, he compares them to our current actions because in both cases, Russia and Israel's national interests would be better served by not being involved in the conflict. Russia and Israel are wrapped in the Grozny and Ramallah conflicts because of stubborn, pride-driven administrations, not any real need to do anything. It's politically popular to kill Palestinians in Israel (retaliation for terrorist attacks) so Israeli politicians are going to do it. I have no fucking clue what Russia is doing in Chechnya, but is it REALLY worth the number of casualties their military has suffered for what basically amounts to a city-state where the population really doesn't want to be part of Russia anyway?

What interests do we really have in Iraq anyway? I don't buy the Al Qaeda link for a second. Al Qaeda's ideals don't link up with Saddam's. Iraq is far from a fundamentalist Muslim nation. Saddam is a notorious drunk, and liquor flows freely throughout the country (even non-strict Muslims usually abstain from alcohol.) Should we prevent Iraq's aggression in the region? Saudi Arabia is more than capable of defending itself (their military is as technologically advanced as ours) and I doubt Iraq wants to get into another war with Iran (they almost lost the last one.) Kuwait is the easiest target there, but there's so much of a US military presence there that they don't dare. I really don't see what Iraq has done recently to deserve being attacked. Should they ever use chemical/biological weapons again, Saddam knows he's finished.

The only realistic explanations for this are oil or simply a distraction for the fact that the economy is in the shitter. Ironically, war with Iraq would plunge the economy into even more of a slump, as oil prices would skyrocket and US industry would be crippled. I don't look forward to a gas shortage. Anyway, the sky is not falling, it's just that Kiesling is tired of seeing domestic politics unjustly influence world politics. Especially to the tune of war, where people WILL die, Americans and Iraqis alike. Killing Americans so we can forget the fact that there's no money is a horrible diversion. And it's totally inexcusable.


[ Parent ]

Counter view from another Diplomat (3.20 / 10) (#60)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:25:36 PM EST

From Howard H. BakerC Jr., ambassador to Japan. Iraq's choice and U.S. resolve
The United States and the entire world have taken a profoundly multilateral approach to combat Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Over 12 years, the U.N. Security Council has passed 17 resolutions expressing the will of the international community that Iraq must disarm. Last year, the United States worked closely with its partners and other like-minded states to secure U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 that passed by a unanimous vote of 15-0. This issue, therefore, is neither new nor bilateral. Iraq has had 12 years to respond to the will of the United Nations. The Japanese government has been in the forefront of this movement to persuade Iraq to disarm and Britain has been courageous in its leadership against terrorism, as have Australia, Spain and other nations. We all recognize that it is in our common interest to disarm Iraq. It invaded its neighbors and it continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is not the responsibility of the inspectors to find the weapons; it is the responsibility of the Iraqis to make it possible for the inspectors to verify compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.

The United States would welcome another U.N. resolution, and a new draft has been tabled, but let us recall that there have already been 17 resolutions. There is no indication that another resolution would bring Iraq closer to coming clean. Saddam's intentions are clear. As with the 17 other Security Council resolutions that he has ignored over the past 12 years, Saddam has chosen not to comply unless forced to. U.S. President George W. Bush told me personally in the Oval Office that he would like to avoid a war with Iraq. The United States did not sponsor Resolution 1441 to go to war. We sponsored Resolution 1441 to preserve the peace. The resolution gave Saddam one last chance to choose peace, but he has chosen confrontation and defiance.

After 12 years, diplomacy has nearly run its course. It is now time for the nations of the world to demonstrate their resolve to respond to Iraq's chosen path. While the United States has set no deadlines, it has established firm principles. Allowing Saddam to stockpile weapons of mass destruction and harbor terrorists is not an option.



What weapons? (1.00 / 2) (#64)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 02:46:44 PM EST

It's too bad they haven't even found any WMD's.  If they did, then that would help keep us from jumping to the conclusion that the diplomat you just quoted is lying through his teeth.  

Can I ask why you keep lying?  You have no proof, and you keep making a claim which is untrue.  How are we supposed to take you seriously?  

[ Parent ]

Longing the Good old days... (2.14 / 7) (#66)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:23:14 PM EST

It's too bad they haven't even found any WMD's.

Why, do you want a war? No one I know of wants one. But I find a strong correlation to that and the fact that no one I know of likes cleaning up sewage after a toilet malfunction either. Some messes need to be cleaned up.

If they did, then that would help keep us from jumping to the conclusion that the diplomat you just quoted is lying through his teeth.

It may help, and would definately convince some. Arguably, Saddam showing the level of cooperation in 1998 would have helpe a bunch more to convince people that he was on the level. Showing any sign of pro-active and forthcoming cooperation would go even farther.

Did you see the dance this last week? Saddam began talking tough and reniging on his promises after the wake of the world wide protests. When polls came out on Thursday that although people were against the war, they would be for the war if Saddam didn't destroy his weapons he had a change of heart.

Can I ask why you keep lying?... How are we supposed to take you seriously?

I'd like to think that as person who recognizes the seriousness of the situation, you would do better then trying to prove a position with little more then a loaded question. This is a time that needs information, facts, and reason. Your comments are devoid of these things, and makes little more of an arguement then is accustomed to the play-yards of primary education.

You have no proof, and you keep making a claim which is untrue.

You're right, but the evidence is marked. I don't even have a reasonable evidence to suggest that he destroyed what he was supposed to. I have no proof that Hussein has destroyed the weapons the UN ordered him to in 1991.

Except that some people would like to think that 100 inspectors trying to search an area the size of California shows otherwise. I fail to grasp where this arguement plays any relevance.

The man who probably knows the most about this situation and what is required to show disarmament, Hans Blix, has said that the current attempt is not conclusive in the slightest. Never the less it pulls plenty fodder for wolves ready to put on the sheeps clothing of anti-war to use for their "enlightened" purposes.

Hussein is a convicted criminal as far as the UN is concerned, the trial ended a long time ago when Desert Storm started. Now he's up for parole, and doing a good job of showing some of the kind of cooperation needed to restore trust in his outfit. However, he is not showing enough, and the little cooperation he has shown is strongly correlated to armed buildup just outside his country.

Most everyone has heard the shrill voice of a rabid anti-war protester enough to immediately tune them out when they resort to such grade-school arguements. I suggest a stronger tact if you really want to stop a war, involving facts, reason and peaceful discussion.

[ Parent ]

Burden of proof (3.50 / 4) (#74)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:03:58 PM EST

It's too bad they haven't even found any WMD's.

Why, do you want a war? No one I know of wants one. But I find a strong correlation to that and the fact that no one I know of likes cleaning up sewage after a toilet malfunction either. Some messes need to be cleaned up.

The literary device that I was using is better known as sarcasm.  Furthermore, this begs the question, what makes you think we would be going to War with Iraq if they had WMD's?  If you want to see an example of how we deal with countries that we know have WMD's, you need look no further than North Korea.  I find it hard to believe that you think we would go to war with Iraq, given the way we have been dealing with NK.  

If they did, then that would help keep us from jumping to the conclusion that the diplomat you just quoted is lying through his teeth.

It may help, and would definately convince some. Arguably, Saddam showing the level of cooperation in 1998 would have helpe a bunch more to convince people that he was on the level. Showing any sign of pro-active and forthcoming cooperation would go even farther.

Did you see the dance this last week? Saddam began talking tough and reniging on his promises after the wake of the world wide protests. When polls came out on Thursday that although people were against the war, they would be for the war if Saddam didn't destroy his weapons he had a change of heart.

You are trying to say that because he didn't want to destroy some missiles that only go a few Kilometers over the maximum range that he has WMD's?  That's like saying someone is a criminal because they jaywalked.  Technically correct, but absurd once you put it in the right context.

You have no proof, and you keep making a claim which is untrue.

You're right, but the evidence is marked. I don't even have a reasonable evidence to suggest that he destroyed what he was supposed to. I have no proof that Hussein has destroyed the weapons the UN ordered him to in 1991.

I will state this once and once only, and as an American, you should understand this implicitly.  The burden of proof is always on those who argue in favor of violence.  Proof of this is trivial, and I'll give you a few examples.  Imagine if the burden of proof were on those who sought to escape violence.  That would mean that a person could go buy a handgun and kill half their neighborhood, since, after all, his neighbors had no proof that they weren't planning to kill him.  The state could lock up anyone they wanted, since, after all, it's nearly  impossible to prove that you are 100% innocent.  Extending to states dealing with states, that would mean that the entire Middle East could attack us next, since, after all, their isn't any proof that we won't find another country to go to war with after Iraq.  I'll leave it as an excercise for the reader to come up with other examples.  

Except that some people would like to think that 100 inspectors trying to search an area the size of California shows otherwise. I fail to grasp where this arguement plays any relevance.

It's worked for other countries, why not Iraq?  And, need I point out the hypocrisy required for us not to be going to war with North Korea?  They have WMD's, and have threatened to use them pre-emptively, if needed, against the US.  I must congratulate you, since it requires quite a bit of self-discipline not to mention North Korea.  

The man who probably knows the most about this situation and what is required to show disarmament, Hans Blix, has said that the current attempt is not conclusive in the slightest. Never the less it pulls plenty fodder for wolves ready to put on the sheeps clothing of anti-war to use for their "enlightened" purposes.

Again, the burden of proof is always on those who argue in favor of violence, not those who argue against.  I see, so those who argue against war are "wolves in sheeps clothing"?  Are you sure you aren't biased?

Hussein is a convicted criminal as far as the UN is concerned, the trial ended a long time ago when Desert Storm started. Now he's up for parole, and doing a good job of showing some of the kind of cooperation needed to restore trust in his outfit. However, he is not showing enough, and the little cooperation he has shown is strongly correlated to armed buildup just outside his country.

Again, burden of proof..  

Most everyone has heard the shrill voice of a rabid anti-war protester enough to immediately tune them out when they resort to such grade-school arguements. I suggest a stronger tact if you really want to stop a war, involving facts, reason and peaceful discussion.

Don't worry about me, I think I can handle myself just fine.  

[ Parent ]

Summer is coming, how are your grades? (1.50 / 4) (#79)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:39:05 PM EST

You are trying to say that because he didn't want to destroy some missiles that only go a few Kilometers over the maximum range that he has WMD's? That's like saying someone is a criminal because they jaywalked. Technically correct, but absurd once you put it in the right context.

No one likes to be made a strawman out of. If you want to ignore his status as a UN criminal who has brought on himself military action and sanctions that is your choice. But don't pretend that others, including myself will turn a blind eye to UN resolution after resolution to the contrary.

The burden of proof is always on those who argue in favor of violence.

I suggest that you take these absolutist high ideals then, and do some research. Criminals looking for parole, and others found guilty of crimes, must prove their reform or wilingness to reform in order to stave off the worst in the sentance mandated by the judge.

You can quote simplistic absolutes all day long. You are certainly invited to do so. But if you want to be shown as reasonable, you perchance should show more *ahem* reason.

It's worked for other countries, why not Iraq?

South Africa, for one, voluntarily decided for disarmament at some pressure from the UN. They invited inspectors as verification of their claims. Saddam has shown quite the opposite of these tacts. Seven years after inspectors were showing his non-compliance, Saddam kicked them out. He only agreed at gun-point (note that sanctions did nothing) to disarm and allow in inspectors.

I suppose that is why it worked for other countries. They were showing more cooperation under much less pressure. Its called being pro-active to establish trust, by asking for verification from a third party. Saddam's rhetoric even up to this past week has been the need to "keep his dignity" by defying the wishes of the inspectors and the world community.

And, need I point out the hypocrisy required for us not to be going to war with North Korea?

North Korea, for one, thinks we are. There is no evidence that its been ruled out. Iraq is simularly on the stage of national politics and negotiations. However, Iraq has shown numerous violations of proper national conduct in trying to take over neighboring nations. Their strict punishments for that, and defiance of resolutions since then have happened over a period of over a decade so they are most definately in the more advanced stages.

NK just recently decided to defy its treaties and UN pressure. Its beginning on that same dance, and it will probably take years before we see how it works out. But the pressure is on, and the threat of war is looming there too. But they seem more like they are goading on the US then anything else. Forestalling war to those asking for it is usually a good thing.

I see, so those who argue against war are "wolves in sheeps clothing"? Are you sure you aren't biased?

Thats a rather different statement then, "Never the less it pulls plenty fodder for wolves ready to put on the sheeps clothing of anti-war to use for their `enlightened' purposes." Perhaps your strong tendancies towards absolutes and extremes has colored your judgement from seeing much else.

Statements that compare Iraq to NK, as if we should fight NK, tend to make me wonder about how genuine some one is in their anti-war position. People, even nations (*ahem* what is going on in the Ivory Coast, Mr Chirac?) are suspect in their values when they hold such duplicity of intention.

I think I can handle myself just fine.

Indeed, stuffing your ears and shouting louder is always a useful tact. But it does not go far towards persuation. I hope you are interested in persuation rather then simply trying to dominate, intimidate, goad and loath. I'd be much more interested in hearing more persuasive arguements from you.

[ Parent ]

Ad hominem (2.00 / 2) (#93)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:45:01 PM EST

The title is in response to your previous post's title.  As long as we are talking about fallacies.  It is also a fallacy called "error of fact", since I am out of school and have been for years.  

You are trying to say that because he didn't want to destroy some missiles that only go a few Kilometers over the maximum range that he has WMD's? That's like saying someone is a criminal because they jaywalked. Technically correct, but absurd once you put it in the right context.

No one likes to be made a strawman out of.

The purpose of the analogy was to point out that the missiles were only in the slightest breach of the agreement, they were merely a few Kilometers over and there was no real reason to destroy these missiles.  I assumed that you were pointing out the fact that Saddam stalled and even, gasp, lied about his intentions to destroy the missiles by the deadline was an excuse to attack.  We gave him a deadline, and he abided by it.  You can try to use it as a pretext for war, but it's fairly flimsy.  

You might then say that it's not just the fact that he is lying, but the fact that he is also in defiance of the UN resolution.  Ok, that arguement has some substance, however, it's just hard to justify bombing and killing 1,000's of Iraqi civilians over a few Kilometers of range.  Can you explain what difference those few Kilometers would make?  

Again, sorry to use any "bad" analogies, but I think that your judgement of Hussein for not wanting to destroy his missiles, which he might need in the next few months, is somewhat ignoring the spirit of the resolutions in favor of the letter.  

I also think that your reference to 1998 is again deliberately misleading.  Hussein did not throw out the weapons inspectors.  They were ordered to leave by the US/UN before the US bombed Iraq.  This is the second time that you have deliberately lied.  

If you want to ignore his status as a UN criminal who has brought on himself military action and sanctions that is your choice. But don't pretend that others, including myself will turn a blind eye to UN resolution after resolution to the contrary.

This fallacy is called "straw man".  You may have heard of it.  

I suggest that you take these absolutist high ideals then, and do some research. Criminals looking for parole, and others found guilty of crimes, must prove their reform or wilingness to reform in order to stave off the worst in the sentance mandated by the judge.

Quite frankly, I would be happy if you merely were able to keep from lying a third time.  As far as high ideals goes, you are leaving out part of this analogy.  If the judge were an unrepentant criminal, would you feel that he had any right to impose violence on others?  I am merely saying that we need to stop being hypocrites and reenforcing the violence before we have a right to judge.  

You can quote simplistic absolutes all day long. You are certainly invited to do so. But if you want to be shown as reasonable, you perchance should show more ahem reason.

This is elementary morality.  If we cannot live up to this, then we have no right to talk about the crimes of others.  I'm not saying that we need to be perfect, but we need to at least attempt to live up to the standards that we hold other countries accountable for.  

The means do not justify the ends.  The last country we invaded is Afghanistan.  Perhaps we should try to install a democracy there first.  

South Africa, for one, voluntarily decided for disarmament at some pressure from the UN. They invited inspectors as verification of their claims. Saddam has shown quite the opposite of these tacts. Seven years after inspectors were showing his non-compliance, Saddam kicked them out. He only agreed at gun-point (note that sanctions did nothing) to disarm and allow in inspectors.

Yes, and our government supported the South African government to the very end.  Do you trust our government to do the right thing in Iraq?  

You again said that Saddam Hussein kicked out the inspectors.  He did not, and this is a deliberate lie.  The inspectors were removed before the bombing by the US, which happened without any UN sanctions.  

I suppose that is why it worked for other countries. They were showing more cooperation under much less pressure. Its called being pro-active to establish trust, by asking for verification from a third party. Saddam's rhetoric even up to this past week has been the need to "keep his dignity" by defying the wishes of the inspectors and the world community.

What do you expect?   We are threatening to attack no matter what.  And then when he cooperates, we are saying that he is not cooperating enough.   The reports by Hans Blix have been very positive, especially after Friday.  

North Korea, for one, thinks we are. There is no evidence that its been ruled out. Iraq is simularly on the stage of national politics and negotiations. However, Iraq has shown numerous violations of proper national conduct in trying to take over neighboring nations. Their strict punishments for that, and defiance of resolutions since then have happened over a period of over a decade so they are most definately in the more advanced stages.

So, the fact that "Iraq has shown numerous violations of proper national conduct" has put them further along the path to war with the US than North Korea, who has threatened to use these weapons against the US?  You actually are more concerned with "proper national conduct" than a country which has threatened to use their nuclear arsenal against us?  Again, that last statement was an assumption, however, I can only make that assumption given your lack of proper outrage that we are not also attacking North Korea.  

NK just recently decided to defy its treaties and UN pressure. Its beginning on that same dance, and it will probably take years before we see how it works out. But the pressure is on, and the threat of war is looming there too. But they seem more like they are goading on the US then anything else. Forestalling war to those asking for it is usually a good thing.

I disagree, I would say that actually creating weapons and threatening to use them is a bigger act of defiance than "violations of proper national conduct.  This is the fourth lie you have told, since, in effect, North Korea has been in defiance of international treaties for the period of time that is has been manufacturing their nuclear weapons.  This period started in 1985, when the CIA first caught wind that North Korea had a secret nuclear reactor.  In July 1991, NK signed a non-proliferation treaty.  Therefore North Korea has been violating their treaties for roughly the same amount of time as Iraq.  Furthermore, we have proof that they are in egregious violation of these treaties.  

Thats a rather different statement then, "Never the less it pulls plenty fodder for wolves ready to put on the sheeps clothing of anti-war to use for their `enlightened' purposes." Perhaps your strong tendancies towards absolutes and extremes has colored your judgement from seeing much else.

Then what was the purpose of your statement?  I assume that you were trying to imply that this what I was doing.  Otherwise, why would you say it?  What does it have to do with the current discussion?  

Statements that compare Iraq to NK, as if we should fight NK, tend to make me wonder about how genuine some one is in their anti-war position. People, even nations (ahem what is going on in the Ivory Coast, Mr Chirac?) are suspect in their values when they hold such duplicity of intention.

I am very genuine.  I think the hypocrisy of our government is blinding.  It needs to be pointed out at every opportunity.  The reason I am pointing out NK is to show the hypocrisy of our government, not to promote war.  I am merely showing the logical extension of their reasoning for attacking Iraq.  They say they are after countries with WMD's, well North Korea is a known violator, thus showing a discrpancy.  

Indeed, stuffing your ears and shouting louder is always a useful tact. But it does not go far towards persuation. I hope you are interested in persuation rather then simply trying to dominate, intimidate, goad and loath. I'd be much more interested in hearing more persuasive arguements from you.

Again, this statement is another fallacy.  It's called an ad hominem attack, where  you attack the person rather their arguement.  You are also combining it with a fair amount of selective reading, where you are throwing out my better arguements and only paying attention to those that you can make look bad.  This is similar to a straw man, which you have also used, along with quite a bit of outright deception.  Can you explain why the arguements are not persausive?  


[ Parent ]

Already out? Going for the GED? (1.50 / 2) (#103)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:58:50 PM EST

they were merely a few Kilometers over and there was no real reason to destroy these missiles.

Thats just one of the many areas I side with the UN, and not you.

I assumed that you were pointing out the fact that Saddam stalled and even, gasp, lied about his intentions to destroy the missiles by the deadline was an excuse to attack.

Rather over reaching don't you think? Polls showed that greater than a 70% majority agreed that the war should happen if he failed to cooperate with the UN on that account. When that came out, Bagdad did a 180. Pretexts for attack are one thing, but getting compliance from a convicted criminal becuase force is an option is another. You may have heard of playing "good cop and bad cop". Granted, yhe bad cop cannot cross the line, but then again Bush certainly has not.

His compliance is the spirit and the letter of the resolution. Its rather ludicrous to try to justify Saddam's blustering and postering to keep his missles as obeying the spirit of the resolution.

I also think that your reference to 1998 is again deliberately misleading. Hussein did not throw out the weapons inspectors. They were ordered to leave by the US/UN before the US bombed Iraq. This is the second time that you have deliberately lied.

Thats hardly a lie, and you very well know that.

When Iraq stiffed the weapons inspectors and ended their work in the country, it was violating U.N. resolutions. It was, effectively, not allowing them to do their job; Saddam gave them no alternative but to leave. The particulars of who ordered them to get on a plane is a side detail that Saddam -- and, frankly, some of those who make this argument -- are using to obscure the reality of what happened.

This fallacy is called "straw man".

Call it a straw-man if you will. But you deliberately avoided his criminal convictions in your arguement, and the resolutions stating such. Re-reading what I said, and how you respond in this article only confirms that opinion.

Pointing out fallacy is rather passe. I'd rather you show me where I do this. Saying that I do with this nothing more then an explanation of what it is is just slander, and condescending.

If the judge were an unrepentant criminal, would you feel that he had any right to impose violence on others?

The judge in this instance is the UN. Often the US/UN line was blurred in anti-american fodder built by sentimant against the sanctions also. You seem rather preclusive to calling people liar with one hand, and then moving on to more tricks with another. Perhaps you can refrain for the purposes of this arguement. Show me, don't tell me.

This is elementary morality.

Justice and mercy make for a more complex framework of morality. A morality with insufficient understanding and dimentions fail to be useful in describing and prescribing the results of corrective actions.

Yes, and our government supported the South African government to the very end. Do you trust our government to do the right thing in Iraq?

David Brin has an excellent work called "The Transeparent Society" where he makes a convincing case that the suspicion of government is the most widely disperced propeganda on the planet. He also does a good job of arguing why that is good and bad. But since reading it I've found that any arguement that requires a foundation of suspicion to be about as useful as chewing gum to allay hunger.

We are threatening to attack no matter what.

Yes, I knew I would find it. He who checks behind the door checks becuase he hid there once before. I knew that someone who was so disposed shout "liar" was not far from lying themselves.

In every speach by every national advocating military action against Iraq, they have all gone out of their way to say it is not a forgone conclusion.

The reports by Hans Blix have been very positive, especially after Friday.

You do realize that Hans is saying that Saddam is not cooperating enough. He's definately a voice of reason in this tumult of politics, and is quick to compliment when they do cooperate. I like that about him, I think he's doing a good job. But your representation of his conclusion is far from accurate.

You actually are more concerned with "proper national conduct" than a country which has threatened to use their nuclear arsenal against us?

You are comparing a violator and a threatoning violator? The violator gets the retribution while the one making threats is mearly cojoled to getting help before they do follow through on the threat. This is an excellent example where an absolute metrics of morality fails, and why I try to take everything into consideration.

This is the fourth lie you have told, since, in effect, North Korea has been in defiance of international treaties for the period of time that is has been manufacturing their nuclear weapons.

Not a lie at all, and again you know it I'm sure. Since 1996, they've been rather compliant and have stopped their manufacture of nuclear weapons. As a side note, in contrast Saddam has shown compliance only since four months ago (with signs of ditching that compliance at the first lack of resolve in the UN.)

Truely someone like yourself that is against war is not advocating war with NK, unless they continue to buck as strong an international pressure as Iraq has.

I am very genuine.

Again, show me don't tell me. Your actions would lead me to conclude otherwise.

I am merely showing the logical extension of their reasoning for attacking Iraq. They say they are after countries with WMD's, well North Korea is a known violator, thus showing a discrpancy.

I don't think you bear this out. Even in your writing shows a recognition of the differences of the situations as well as the simularities (noted above). As it is, I find the need to attack NK to be rather over-reaching at this point in time. There are many options they have yet to exhaust. Options that Iraq has exhausted. Perhaps you could show where the UN resolutions are so simular between the countries.

It's called an ad hominem attack, where you attack the person rather their arguement.

Technically, ad-hominem can include an attack on their arguement also. Here I drew a conclusion that your arguement is more slander (e.g. "Liar") and suspicion rather then factual, reasonable or logical. Your arguements have an emotional ring of increasing the intensity that dominates and intimidates rather then persuades. I stand by that conclusion, now more then before.

where you are throwing out my better arguements

Becuase I do not paste everything you type, does not mean I do not respond to it. There are some times your arguements have some merit, I rather let it stand. Theres no reason to attack the baby with the bath water, as it were. But where they take a turn off the deap end is where I take exception and attempt to point it out.

Can you explain why the arguements are not persausive?

Point me to the arguements, and the concusions they are persuading me to and I'll be happy to return with such a favor (where I haven't already).

[ Parent ]

This discussion is over... (none / 0) (#107)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:46:43 PM EST

Have a nice day.

[ Parent ]
Et toi, tu bien sur mon ami! (none / 0) (#113)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:26:37 PM EST

Forgive my french, I have a test tomorrow ;) Can somone correct my sentance?

[ Parent ]
Suggestions (none / 0) (#108)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:49:12 PM EST

1.  Don't get off-topic.  The original topic was war with Iraq.

2.  Don't use Ad Hominem attacks in your title.  That's a quick way to get the reader to dismiss everything that you wrote.

3.  Attempt to practice some honesty, rather than mislead the reader.

If I'm in the mood tomorrow, I may choose to continue this discussion.  

[ Parent ]

Re: 1,2,3 (none / 0) (#112)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:23:43 PM EST

The original topic was war with Iraq.

Which right now is not a war but only a intense diplomacy with military buildup. And a buildup that is showing results, at that.

That's a quick way to get the reader to dismiss everything that you wrote.

Its a question, I accused you of nothing. I'll admit it was rather baiting, but with a purpose. You assumed it was ad-homenim, and that is no less a suspicion mongering then you accuse of GWB.

Attempt to practice some honesty, rather than mislead the reader.

Again, your trying to slander rather then persuade. After repeated requests to show me, don't tell me, you continue to do no more then attempt to slander rather then argue.

I may choose to continue this discussion.

At your leisure.

[ Parent ]

Fourth Suggestion (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:56:09 PM EST

If you are wrong, admit it graciously, and give it the importance it deserves.  

Your original arguement that you quoted was based on the pretext that Iraq definitely has WMD's.  
Once it is pointed out that there is no proof that Iraq has WMD's, the arguement for war fails.  Then you come up with other arguements.  How many times am I supposed to put up with you shifting position?  At some point, we have to say that we cannot take you very seriously.    

This entire discussion has been a straw man.  My original post was to point out the dishonesty in the message that you were posting.  The person you quoted claimed that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, when there has been NO proof.

You can spin it any way you want, but the original statement I made was that it is a lie to claim that Iraq has WMD's.  You have done nothing to convince me of the error in this statement.  In fact, you have made several mis-steps since then, which have convinced me that your primary goal is to "win", not to discover truth.  

[ Parent ]

Re: 4 (none / 0) (#111)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:17:30 PM EST

Your original arguement that you quoted was based on the pretext that Iraq definitely has WMD's. Where do you see that? Me thinks your trying to pigeon hole my arguement with another you'd rather fight against.

[ Parent ]
intellectual dishonesty (1.00 / 1) (#114)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:35:45 PM EST

The point of my original statement:

You have no proof, and you keep making a claim which is untrue.

Here's your response:
You're right, but the evidence is marked. I don't even have a reasonable evidence to suggest that he destroyed what he was supposed to. I have no proof that Hussein has destroyed the weapons the UN ordered him to in 1991.

So, basicly you admit to lying.  One might assume from some of your references to my supposed "lack of education" that you are indeed educated and familiar with how scholarly debate and research works.  Basicly, if one is caught lying, then usually his reputation is destroyed.  There are many examples of this.  The reason for this is simple, the whole foundation of discoverty of truth is based on people being honest with each other.  People don't always have time to research and fact check what the other person is saying.  When you admit to lying, you leave me with the upperhand.  By exiting this debate, I am not admitting defeat.  You admitted that you liked to distort the truth in your first response, and in fact, I may have made a mistake by wasting my time on you.  My goal is to show people that are willing to listen and learn the proper path, not to dive in the mud with people who have no ethics or morals.  

Let's break down the arguement one final time for the sake of the audience:

Despite lying about:

  1. The proof of WMD's in Iraq.
  2. The length of time in which North Korea has been in violation of it's treaties, which extend back to 1991.
  3. Iraq ousting the weapons inspectors in 1998...
On Lawn still wants the reader to believe his arguements in favor of the war in Iraq.

My arguements state quite simply enough that there is no proof of WMD's in Iraq, and that Iraq has cooperated and met every deadline so far.  

I'll leave it as an excercise to the reader to determine which party is more credible.  


[ Parent ]

Resolution 687 (4.50 / 2) (#129)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:16:47 AM EST

The Security Council investigated Iraq in 1991 and passed resolution 687 to instruct Iraq to get rid of Chemical and Biological weapons under UN Supervision. They knew that UN Supervision was required. Even France and Germany acknowledge that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction, they feel that they can force Saddam to disarm without war, but they do recognize the need to disarm. If you want to, you can dig through the UN records and see what evidence the Security Council used to decide that Iraq had WMD, and try to refute this evidence. Unless you do that, the rest of us will worry about what Saddam will do with his WMDs.

North Korea has been dancing with the UN about as long as Iraq has, but in the last 49 years, they haven't attacked anybody, so we believe we have more time to deal with North Korea than with Iraq. Saddam attacked Kuwait, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia and tried assassinate a US President. That's the difference.

The other reason for the time pressure on Iraq is the example set by the 9/11 attacks, which make perfectly clear that Saddams weapons can be put to use anywhere in the world. Saddams ties to terrorists other than al-Queda are quite extensive and quite well documented publicly.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

intellectual dishonesty (3.33 / 3) (#115)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:44:06 PM EST

The point of my original statement:

You have no proof, and you keep making a claim which is untrue.

Here's your response:
You're right, but the evidence is marked. I don't even have a reasonable evidence to suggest that he destroyed what he was supposed to. I have no proof that Hussein has destroyed the weapons the UN ordered him to in 1991.

So, basicly you admit to lying.  One might assume from some of your references to my supposed "lack of education" that you are indeed educated and familiar with how scholarly debate and research works.  Basicly, if one is caught lying, then usually his reputation is destroyed.  There are many examples of this.  The reason for this is simple, the whole foundation of discovery of truth is based on people being honest with each other.  People don't always have time to research and fact check what the other person is saying.  When you admit to lying, you leave me with the upperhand.  By exiting this debate, I am not admitting defeat.  You admitted that you liked to distort the truth in your first response, and in fact, I may have made a mistake by wasting my time on you.  My goal is to show people that are willing to listen and learn the proper path, not to dive in the mud with people who have no ethics or morals.  

Let's break down the argument one final time for the sake of the audience:

Despite lying about:

  1. The proof of WMD's in Iraq.
  2. The length of time in which North Korea has been in violation of it's treaties, which extend back to 1991.
  3. Iraq ousting the weapons inspectors in 1998...
On Lawn still wants the reader to believe his arguments in favor of the war in Iraq.

My arguments state quite simply enough that there is no proof of WMD's in Iraq, and that Iraq has cooperated and met every deadline so far.  

I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine which party is more credible.  


[ Parent ]

Re: (1.50 / 2) (#121)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:31:58 PM EST

So, basicly you admit to lying.

Oh, thats how you are reading that. Rest assured, you are right that the recent rounds of inspections have not turned up a smoking gun proof. I have no problem recognizing it. I feel no weakness from it. After all its rather simplistic to think that no smoking gun so far is conclusive for this arguement's sake. Hans Blix himself finds the recent investigations to be inconclusive. So does the UN for that matter. The debate in the UN is not whether he has them, only Iraq is claiming it doesn't but its doing little to use the inspectors to show that point. The debate more centered on the question of if he is going to get rid of them the easy way, or the hard way.

This is something that you used elsewhere in your post saying that I lied about, ah yes your #1. But accusing me of lying on both sides of an issue is probably not even the worse thing you've done. In your first post you started accusing me of lying before I even said anything. Thats a pre-emptive strike if I ever heard one! Aren't you arguing that such a pre-emption just shows a pre-disposition to war and lack of rational thought? That was you or someone esle against the impending war. I happen to agree with that statement.

if one is caught lying, then usually his reputation is destroyed...When you admit to lying, you leave me with the upperhand.

No, really you don't need to explain how it works. I think everyone knows why you are so eager to use that accusation.

By exiting this debate, I am not admitting defeat.

Again you are correct, leaving should not be taken as a sign of defeat. Its what one does in the debate that shows defeat. Frustration, resorting to name calling, and ignoring the discussion to repeate a simplistic mantra of an arguement would tend to show defeat more then leaving would. It does for me at least.

You admitted that you liked to distort the truth in your first response.

Now you're just being cheaky. Poor form indeed!

My goal is to show people that are willing to listen and learn the proper path,

I've seen little in your arguements of persuasion or facts. I would advise that your abundant use of accusations and slander is not a "proper path".

My arguments state quite simply enough that there is no proof of WMD's in Iraq, and that Iraq has cooperated and met every deadline so far.

No there is plenty of proof of WMD's in Iraq. Read the 1998 report to the UN if you like. What happened to them is up for debate, but as Hans says, Iraq needs to do more to show he has gotten rid of them.

Your slander does not distract me from your obvious mis-information. Iraq has only met deadlines since the military buildup began. Before that they were incourigable. I'm sure you knew that, even yet you chose to phrase it the way you did. Hmmmm. Is this your proper path? What kind of people are you hoping will listen to this kind of falsehood?

[ Parent ]

Berlin and Paris call for more co-operation (none / 0) (#128)
by On Lawn on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:36:19 AM EST

France and Germany have called for more cooperation from Iraq with UN weapons inspectors. French President Jacques Chirac said Baghdad should do more but he emphasised that U.N. arms inspections were "still the way to go", Chirac said during a trip to Algiers. Strong pressure on Iraq must be maintained to achieve the elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction by peaceful means. In Berlin a government spokesman welcomed Iraq's latest moves to destroy its al Samoud missiles as a good step, but it had to be followed up with further disarmament efforts. Bagdad should also provide information as soon as possible about the whereabouts of its biological weapon stockpiles, he added.
Thats the latest blurb from a German news source.

[ Parent ]
Burden of Proof (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:37:26 PM EST

Go out and carefully read UN Security Council Resolution 687. The Security Council examined the situation in 1991 and told Iraq to get rid of chemical and biological weapons under UN supervision. If you want to claim no such weapons existed then, dig up the UN evidence and try to refute it.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
WMD (4.50 / 2) (#176)
by Robb on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 09:45:28 AM EST

Of course Iraq had wepons of mass destruction. We (the US) should know since we sold him many of them. Most of the strains of bacteria needed for biological weapons were provided by the US. We know that France was helping Iraq build a nuclear reactor and that Saddam was certainly buying dual use technology from the US, France, UK and Germany.

The real question is what is left and what kind of danger does it represent to others.

[ Parent ]

However, my posts have contained (3.50 / 4) (#76)
by michaelp on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:07:55 PM EST

information, facts, and reason.

And you have consistently given them a '1' rating, without providing any reasons of your own.

Seems to me you don't really want 'facts, information, and reason' unless they conform to your preconcieved notions of what should be done.

Hussein is a convicted criminal as far as the UN is concerned

That is certainly true. The debate is how best to arrest him. Many folks don't think killing thousands of human beings in the process is serving justice.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Sorry, (1.00 / 3) (#80)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:41:05 PM EST

I'm always willing to discuss my ratings when people don't like them. Feel free to point me to those posts so we can discuss them. In the future, just message me when you think I've been unfair. I know I hate it when people "1" me for no apperant good reason.

[ Parent ]
Arresting Saddam (1.00 / 1) (#86)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:28:33 PM EST

Sometimes its better to seperate points into different posts. I thought your other statement deserved that.
The debate is how best to arrest him. Many folks don't think killing thousands of human beings in the process is serving justice.
I can only concurr whole-heartedly. Unfortunately, I don't see a way that won't cost lives given Saddam's policies. And surely, the buildup and sabre rattling is going a lot farther to gaining Saddam's compliance then sanctions did.

[ Parent ]
What do you mean they haven't? (4.00 / 3) (#132)
by Demiurge on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:26:41 AM EST

Did you miss the chemical weapons shell found by inspectors? Or the intercepts Powell presented to the SC with high-ranking Iraqi officials talking about nerve agents. What did you think they were doing at the factory equipped with decontamination tents, making cookies?

[ Parent ]
Believability (4.33 / 3) (#94)
by DarkZero on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:46:59 PM EST

It is not the responsibility of the inspectors to find the weapons; it is the responsibility of the Iraqis to make it possible for the inspectors to verify compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441.

-----

U.S. President George W. Bush told me personally in the Oval Office that he would like to avoid a war with Iraq. The United States did not sponsor Resolution 1441 to go to war. We sponsored Resolution 1441 to preserve the peace. The resolution gave Saddam one last chance to choose peace, but he has chosen confrontation and defiance.

These statements would have been a lot more believable if the first signs of Iraqi compliance, the destruction of missiles which exceeded their allowed distance in only the most highly technical sense, and the beginning of a process of volunteered Iraqi compliance strictly monitored and verified by UN weapons inspectors, had been met with anything other than insults and an insistence on war. Rather than showing the Bush Administration to be reluctant to go to war and stress that the process intended by Resolution 1441 was one of volunteered Iraqi compliance and strict UN monitoring, it gave the clear message that the United States is going to attack regardless of what Iraq does, so Saddam might as well just hold back and stock up, I guess.

[ Parent ]

Think about this a moment (3.50 / 2) (#117)
by godix on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:00:29 PM EST

These statements would have been a lot more believable if the first signs of Iraqi compliance

Think about what you just said. It's been twelve years and we've just seen the FIRST sign of Iraqi compliance. Iraq never complied until the US threatened to attack. It's taken over a decade, but we've FINALLY found something that makes Saddam comply with UN resolutions and you're opposed to it. Are you actively trying to see if we can drag the Iraq sanctions out as long as we have the Cuba sanctions or do you just not understand what's going on?


If McDonalds began putting little Klansmen statues in their happy meals and talked about how neat it was to be white and proud...
- The Parent ]

Think about this (3.66 / 3) (#166)
by GooseKirk on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:57:18 PM EST

If what you say is true, then Saddam has had WMD sitting around for the past 12 years of no-fly zones, uprisings, sanctions, and generally getting bitch-slapped around by the US whenever we feel like it... AND HE HASN'T USED THEM. Or maybe he doesn't really have them. Seems pretty plausible, if this guy really is the Madman Hitler of the Middle East that must be stopped at all costs, if he'd had them, he might've found some crazy excuse to use them at some point in the past 12 years. Or, hell, at some point in the past 15 years - notice he didn't use them even while we were stomping the shit out of him during the first Gulf War. Why is that? Either Saddam doesn't have them, or has them and isn't willing to use them. You figure it out. All I know is, the Bushies sure get their underwear in a wad about it, while they don't show so much as an angstrom of real evidence. If they know so much, why don't they show? That just lends credence to the first theory - he doesn't have them. It's a flimsy Bush team pretext for a war that has nothing to do with WMD or freedom or any of that crap, and everything to do with power, money and resources, just like every other war. Don't believe me? Then why don't you explain to me, using more than just empty "evildoer"-level rhetoric, why Saddam is such a big hoo-hah threat. Twelve years and he hasn't threatened shit. Tell me why you're trembling with fear at the thought of Saddam sitting on WMD for fifteen years and doing nothing.

[ Parent ]
Hey, looks like I was right (none / 0) (#227)
by GooseKirk on Fri Jul 11, 2003 at 09:42:49 PM EST

Whaddaya know.

So, all of you who supported the current boondoggle, I've got an idea... now why don't you morons come up with a good way to get ourselves OUT of Iraq? Now that we've stepped in it, get it off our shoes, please. Oh, and, preferably in a way that doesn't cause even more problems down the road. Can you fucktards do that, please? Thanks! Me and the rest of planet Earth would really appreciate it!

Failing that, how about at least switching on the power over there? People like electricity, especially in big, important places like world capitals. It took less time to wire the entire Ozarks than it's taking just to restore power to one Iraqi city. Douchebags. Maybe instead of a useless gimpweasel of a president who can do nothing but toss off pithy one-liners like "Bring it on!" and "It's Tenet's fault," it would help if we had some decent goddamn leadership.

I know no one's actually reading this, but I feel better now.

[ Parent ]

It's not an if/or thing. (2.66 / 3) (#131)
by Demiurge on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:24:59 AM EST

It's all of the resolution, or none of it. It should have been clear the missiles issue was a smokescreen for Saddam. He declares that he won't comply with the UN and destroy them! But then, suddenly, he has a change of heart and decides to comply and destroy them.

Resolution 1441 makes very clear that if Iraq has not failed to comply fully, it faces military action. When that resolution was enacted, no one, including the French, Germans, and Russians, said it meant anything else. Now, even Blix concedes the Iraqis aren't complying with the resolutions. But as long as they're making empty gesture, France and Germany can claim there's "progress", make impassioned pleas for world peace, and when the whole Iraq issue fades after a year or two, they can get back to selling Saddam nuclear reactors and poison gas in exchange for oil contracts.

[ Parent ]
more like... (2.33 / 3) (#102)
by QuantumG on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:50:26 PM EST

The United States and their appeasers around the world have taken a profoundly unilateral approach to combat Iraq's supposed weapons of mass distraction. Over 12 years, the U.N. Security Council has passed 17 resolutions expressing the will of the international community that Iraq allow itself to become a satelite of the US. Last year, the United States worked closely with its trade partners and other bribed states to secure U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 that passed by a unanimous vote of 15-0. This issue, therefore, is neither new nor bilateral. Iraq has had 12 years to respond to the will of the United Nations and has complied in every way. The Japanese government has been in the forefront of this movement to persuade Iraq to disarm and Britain has been courageous in its leadership against terrorism, as have Australia, Spain and other nations we have trade agreements with. We all recognize that it is in US interests to disarm Iraq. It invaded its neighbors with our help and the help of the international community and it continues to develop weapons of mass distraction. It is not the responsibility of the inspectors to find the weapons; it is the responsibility of the Iraqis to make it possible for CIA agents to pose as weapons inspectors claiming to be verifying compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 when, in actual fact, they are assessing whether Iraq still has any ability to fend off the imending return of US soldiers to their soil.

The United States would welcome another U.N. resolution as long as it served US interests, and a new draft has been tabled, but let us recall that there have already been 17 resolutions. There is no indication that another resolution would bring Iraq closer to coming clean, and it is only countries like Iraq that need to be the subject of resolutions, the US need not go through proper channels when breaking the UN charter of peace. Saddam's intentions are clear (don't you watch CNN?) As with the 17 other Security Council resolutions that he has complied with in ever way over the past 12 years, Saddam has chosen to defend his country instead of submitting to US might. U.S. President George W. Bush told me personally in the Oval Office that he would like to avoid a war with Iraq. The United States did not sponsor Resolution 1441 to go to war. We sponsored Resolution 1441 to preserve the peace, and get the oil. The resolution gave Saddam one last chance to hand over the oil, but he has chosen confrontation and defiance.

After 12 years, diplomacy has nearly run its course. It is now time for the nations of the world to demonstrate their resolve to respond to Iraq's chosen path. While the United States has set no deadlines, it has established firm principles. Allowing Saddam to stockpile weapons of mass distraction and harbor terrorists is not an option. Saddam must comply with US demands or die.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
[ Parent ]

Puppeting is pretty lame...(n/t) (none / 0) (#116)
by On Lawn on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:02:16 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Less credible than Kiesling (3.50 / 2) (#135)
by Sessamoid on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 02:40:07 AM EST

Kiesling is a lifelong diplomat who's worked in the State Department for over 20 years. Like so many in the foreign service, he worked his way up from grunthood into a position of importance and great usefulness with deft diplomacy and hard work.

Howard Baker Jr. is a lifelong politician with a strong Republican background. In general, I have much less faith in our Ambassadors because those positions are generally filled by a newly elected president with his cronies. This usually happens regardless of party, though Clinton's choices of Ambassadors that I know of were less politically generated than most. Ambassadors often do not have any foreign policy experience, do not know anything about the country to which they have been assigned, and often do remarkably poor jobs at diplomacy, relying instead upon the workhorse diplomats in the their particular embassy. Some such "ambassadors" often do not even spend much time in the countries to which they are supposed to be representing the United States.

I do not know which type of ambassador this Howard Baker is, but he certainly doesn't have much in the way of foreign policy experience compared to Kiesling, or even for a typical ambassadorial appointee. His resume lists only a three year stint in the Navy as a time when he might have spent any significant time overseas. The rest of the time he's been a US politician.

So in summary, what Howard Baker says is worth little to nothing in shaping my opinion of the President's policies since he's already about as biased a source as exists.

[ Parent ]

The boy, the liar and the thief (4.50 / 4) (#65)
by hughk on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:12:05 PM EST

I heard someone (and not a junior person) from the US foreign service referring to the current US govt as the boy, the liar and the thief. He was talking with a fellow foreign service colleagues who seemed to share his thoughts.

It is my feeling that Kiesling is far from unique in the foreign service. They travel and hav e to live in a lot of different countries. They get to learn a lot about despotic and undemocratic regimes and are accutely embarrassed when it happens at home.

The strange thing is that their boss, Colin Powell, is probably the most travelled out of the current administration and although he toes the party line in public, he does sometimes seem less than enthusiastic about the 'invade regardless' policy.

If true, FO's got some explaining to do. (1.00 / 1) (#206)
by word man on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 09:59:15 PM EST

Colin Powell? Who would have thought... He failed at everything he tried abroad. I guess these people are just hanging out there waiting for the post-war broom.

[ Parent ]
let history record... (1.75 / 12) (#77)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:15:51 PM EST

let history record, that in the struggle for human progress...

some were willing to risk nothing for progress out of fear.

while others were willing to risk it all for the good of the cause, no matter what that cause, on either side of a given conflict.

in a 1000 years we will all be dust.

in a 1000 years all that matters about our lives is what we did to change things for the better, whatever we thought "better" was.

and the do-nothings, those who see no reason to act, ever, will not be recorded in history, nor will they matter, then, or now.

history is watching.

i respect, but hate, al qaeda, because they act on their beliefs. i think they have character, but no conscience.

i have no respect for the vast majority of backbiting, do-nothing westerners... children of their democracies, and unwilling to do anything to protect them. nominally, they are liberal, but actually, they are empty humans, no character, no conviction, only good at acting in kneejerk reflection of anyone who tries to change the world for the better, no matter how flawed their vision.

there are those on the left who are for invading iraq, and these are true liberals, they recognize progress when they see it.

the rest are simply the malcontents of society. all society has pointless malcontents. do not mistake them with true revolutionaries, those who have some real progress to give their society. i see no progress in those who oppose war with iraq. they have no idea what the right thing to do is. they merely oppose aciton because it is messy, not understanding that action is messy by nature. you cannot act simply because you despise the messiness. this is weakness of character. it is conscience, but it is conscience without understanding, without experience, without character.

in today's malcontents i see nothing but so much babbling doubt and insincerity and hypocrisy.

in a thousand years, none of them will matter. in a thousand years, only the good that is done will matter.

and if you can't see the good that will be done in invading iraq, you are lost to this world, to the idea of historical progress, to any relevancy at all.

dust in the wind.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I see... (3.33 / 3) (#81)
by composer777 on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:48:44 PM EST

let history record, that in the struggle for human progress...

some were willing to risk nothing for progress out of fear.

Yes, there are many people who are too lazy to get out and protest the war out of fear.  But I don't hold that against them.  Our society has very little tolerance for those who practice the free speech that our forefathers fought so hard for.  

while others were willing to risk it all for the good of the cause, no matter what that cause, on either side of a given conflict.

Can't say I agree with you there.  After all, what idiot would say that war is the best solution?


in a 1000 years we will all be dust.

Not if we manage to avoid World War III.


in a 1000 years all that matters about our lives is what we did to change things for the better, whatever we thought "better" was.

I wouldn't speak in such generalities.  

and the do-nothings, those who see no reason to act, ever, will not be recorded in history, nor will they matter, then, or now.

Sure they will.

history is watching.

i respect, but hate, al qaeda, because they act on their beliefs. i think they have character, but no conscience.

One could say the same thing about us when we attacked Afghanistan.  Perhaps we should look at our own crimes before looking at the crimes of others.  

i have no respect for the vast majority of backbiting, do-nothing westerners... children of their democracies, and unwilling to do anything to protect them. nominally, they are liberal, but actually, they are empty humans, no character, no conviction, only good at acting in kneejerk reflection of anyone who tries to change the world for the better, no matter how flawed their vision.

You respect Al Qaeda, but not most Americans?  But you are for freedom?  Ok....

there are those on the left who are for invading iraq, and these are true liberals, they recognize progress when they see it.

Kind of like the devastation in Afghanistan, that's "progress".  

the rest are simply the malcontents of society. all society has pointless malcontents. do not mistake them with true revolutionaries, those who have some real progress to give their society. i see no progress in those who oppose war with iraq. they have no idea what the right thing to do is. they merely oppose aciton because it is messy, not understanding that action is messy by nature. you cannot act simply because you despise the messiness. this is weakness of character. it is conscience, but it is conscience without understanding, without experience, without character.

Wow, this is really getting pointless with you, isn't it?  So, sending other people to Iraq to fight a war with questionable morals is "courage".  If you are in such high favor of war, then perhaps you should be the one fighting it.  I'll be the first to buy you a plane ticket.  You can tell Saddam that you're there to take over.  

in today's malcontents i see nothing but so much babbling doubt and insincerity and hypocrisy.

What I am promoting is that we look at our own crimes first.  This is not a radical or left wing idea.  It is a quote from George W Bush's favorite philosopher, Jesus Christ, who defined hypocrite.  A hypocrite is someone who examines someone else's crimes before looking at his own.  
If we cannot live up to our own standards, we have no reason to be criticizing others.  


in a thousand years, none of them will matter. in a thousand years, only the good that is done will matter.

Fine, if war is what you want, then just admit that you are a Nazi and that you will do whatever you want whenever you want because you think that it will serve you the best.  

and if you can't see the good that will be done in invading iraq, you are lost to this world, to the idea of historical progress, to any relevancy at all.

I fail to see how you can "install" democracy.  It seems counterintuitive.  I also fail to see how you can so arrogantly promote the death of Iraqi civilians that will result from this invasion as "good".  

dust in the wind.

What a waste of time...


[ Parent ]

there are those who act, and those who don't (2.33 / 3) (#82)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:59:11 PM EST

there are those who act, and those who continually convince themselves that action is never right.

your words wall away my calls for action very well... in your mind, not mine.

you see that acting without thinking is folly, am i right?

so do you not see the folly of thinking without acting? do you not see how it is just as dangerous?

you go on thinking great thoughts. but in the end, you contribute nothing, because all you have is a pile of thoughts and no action.

dust in the wind my friend, dust in the wind.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

What the hell are you babbling about?? (none / 0) (#95)
by Cougaris on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:55:17 PM EST

[p]The poster refuted your strange musings with some decent application of logic. I recommend you come down a bit from your "enlightened" hand-me-down tone of text and join the rest of us in the front lines of reality.[/p] [p] And who's to say he has had "no action"? [/p]

[ Parent ]
that you see in my words only babbling (1.00 / 1) (#96)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:58:45 PM EST

that you see in my words only babbling might be more informative of your problems, not mine

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
that you see those words as meaningful. (none / 0) (#99)
by ghosty on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:39:18 PM EST

that you see those words as meaningful is more informative of my desire to obtain some of that wild stuff you're smoking

Careful though, I think I saw the Ashcroft at the supermarket this afternoon...



[ Parent ]

salvia divinorum (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#126)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:09:26 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
All that is needed.. (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by ryanamos on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:38:06 PM EST

All that is needed for the tyrrany of evil men is that good men do nothing. Of course, that depends on who you see as good and evil.

[ Parent ]
i see democracy as good, not bush or america (nt) (2.50 / 2) (#90)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:42:31 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
On "risking it all", and more (none / 0) (#138)
by onemorechip on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:09:19 AM EST

while others were willing to risk it all for the good of the cause, no matter what that cause, on either side of a given conflict.

"Risking it all", even when the odds are in your favor, is always a fool's bet. It's the quickest path to bankruptcy (economic, political, and moral bankruptcy in this case). The wise man isn't completely risk-averse, but takes measured risks when the odds favor it (see Kelly strategy, for example). It's not even clear that the expected outcome of a war against Iraq is positive, in the long term.

in a 1000 years we will all be dust.

I think it's wise to think about what kind of payoff this war effort will achieve beyond the next 1000 hours or so, which seems to be about as far ahead as the Bush administration is thinking. The war could be over in 1000 hours or less, but what kind of geopolitical environment will we have to deal with in 1000 days, or 1000 weeks, if many of our allies (the ones who contributed to the Gulf War) are alienated? Is it wrong to ask this question?

i have no respect for the vast majority of backbiting, do-nothing westerners... children of their democracies, and unwilling to do anything to protect them. nominally, they are liberal, but actually, they are empty humans, no character, no conviction, only good at acting in kneejerk reflection of anyone who tries to change the world for the better, no matter how flawed their vision.

OK, that's nothing more than unfounded character assassination. What do you know of the depth of thought that goes into this so-called "kneejerk reflection"?

there are those on the left who are for invading iraq, and these are true liberals, they recognize progress when they see it.

You can't be a true liberal without questioning authority (or, to be more accurate but not quite as catchy, "holding authority accountable"). Few liberals would look at an unprovoked invasion where containment has worked, and call it progress.

Many supporters look at this radical notion of preventive war and call it conservative, but that doesn't ring true either. Heaven help me, for once I agree with Patrick Buchanan.

the rest are simply the malcontents of society. all society has pointless malcontents. do not mistake them with true revolutionaries, those who have some real progress to give their society. i see no progress in those who oppose war with iraq. they have no idea what the right thing to do is. they merely oppose aciton because it is messy, not understanding that action is messy by nature. you cannot act simply because you despise the messiness. this is weakness of character. it is conscience, but it is conscience without understanding, without experience, without character.

OK, you dismiss people as malcontents because they oppose war, then you discredit opposition to war because it comes from malcontents. Sorry to tell you I find this reasoning very circular. Then you have a straw-man argument about opposing war "because it is messy". The last half of the paragraph, and the remainder of your post, is just a bunch of non-specific charges with no foundation.
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.
[ Parent ]

you have thought well (none / 0) (#141)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:08:21 AM EST

your thoughts are clear and strong, and convince you to do nothing.

so you are meaningless to history and cease to matter.

action is required, not thought that prevents action.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Balance the broom. (5.00 / 1) (#152)
by IPFreely on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:32:17 PM EST

To anyone you ask, they should respond that Saddam is evil. To anyone you ask, they should respond that It would be nice if Saddam could be removed. No argument there.

It is the action on cleaning up Iraq that is the problem, not the need. The world is a mix of many attitudes, many needs and many motivations. Working all these needs into an equilibrium is a difficut task. It is certain that no one nation or group will ever get completely what they want. But it is vital that the best equilibrium be found.

Have you ever tried to balance a broom on your finger. You stand it up, then move your hand around in wild, eratic motions to keep the broom up. If you just watch your hand, it appears erratic, unpredictable. But it has a logic all its own. It knows what it needs to do to achieve its goal. The world economy and world peace are the broom. Its hard to hold, its difficult to maintain. But everyone tries.

Except when one interest grabs that hand and jerks it off in one direction, and tries to achieve their own goals. Then the whole thing comes crashing down to the detrement of everyone. Someone who either doesn't understand the need for equilibirum, or someone who doesn't care.

Does Saddam kill? Yes. But POVERTY KILLS MORE. The world economy is crashing because of this war. Foreign aid for poor countries is drying up. No food. No medicine. Millions of people are being driven further into poverty. More starvation, more death. These are real effects, happening right now. Millions dead. Already. Because if Bushes war. Saddam couldn't kill this many people if he tried.

Saddam may be evil, but he's the lesser of two evils. The world needs to bring the economy back into shape, and the push for war is only making it worse. That is why so many people oppose war. You ramble on about how anyone who doesn't support war is some kind of sympathizer or pacifist or apoligist. FORK you. If you could contimplate anything greater than your own navel (or maybe that thing a little below your navel) then you'd see that the people opposing war are the ones who are trying to save the most lives, trying to preserve the most civilization. If Saddam survives, then it is just part of that apparently random motion of equilibrium. And who is doing the most damage to civilization and lives? That would be the ones who are jerking the hand.

[ Parent ]

saddam is evil (1.00 / 2) (#154)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:01:57 PM EST

saddam is evil and must go

every other thought on the matter, after 12 years of this crap, is overthought

what does it take some of you to act instead of think?

for some of you, there is never any acting, just thought and thought and thought and explanations and reinterpretations and deeper meanings and reexplanations... nothing, anywhere, ever seems to require action for you

post-sept 11, it is a new world, get used to it or become irrelevant

and for people who are so caught up in explaining it all and interested in... equilibrium (huh?!), you do nothing but watch on the sidelines as your world crumbles...

forgive me if i act instead of sit on the sidelines of history

forgive me if i care more than you

or should i do as you say and not as you do?

because you say a lot, but you do nothing

you have it all figured out, and yet no solutions

pathetic, sickening, empty people

big words and no heart


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Strike (none / 0) (#158)
by IPFreely on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:48:30 PM EST

You strike me as the kind of person who would burn down your house to kill a mouse hiding in the wall. You would kill your neighbor to avoid catching his cold. You would backrunpt yourself buying Terrorist insurance.

What is the point of going overbord to get rid of one problem if there is nothing left over when you are done?

you do nothing but watch on the sidelines as your world crumbles
At least I'm one step ahead of you. I know why the world is crumbling. And I am doing something about it. I am taking action to stop GWB and prevent his war. To you it looks like nothing because it isn't what you want. To me it is very important action.

When you are trying to stabalize a world, taking radical, blind destructive action is the worst possible thing to do. "Take Action" just for the point of taking action is no better than "Drink Poision" just because you're thirsty. Thinking is the first thing you should do, not the last.

Just curious, but have you been tested for rabies?

[ Parent ]

yawn (none / 0) (#165)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:31:15 PM EST

You strike me as the kind of person who would burn down your house to kill a mouse hiding in the wall. You would kill your neighbor to avoid catching his cold. You would backrunpt yourself buying Terrorist insurance.

we will take out saddam, and that will be the end of it.

oh wait i forgot, saddam stands at the top of a radical chain of events at the end of which is armageddeon.

oh shoot, forgive me! i forgot myself! i am a blood thirsty american! quick! kill more iraqi children! i need to fill up my suv! where is my cowboy hat!

any other propaganda party line bullshit i should be aware of?

At least I'm one step ahead of you. I know why the world is crumbling. And I am doing something about it. I am taking action to stop GWB and prevent his war. To you it looks like nothing because it isn't what you want. To me it is very important action.

nice to know mr. timothy mcveigh. i look forward to your radical revolutionary activities. lol

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Saddam Kills More -- Potentially (none / 0) (#202)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 07:37:51 PM EST

Your figure of additional millions dying of poverty because of the additional economic slowdown caused by the war build-up (in contrast to the slowdown caused by the dot com meltdown) is totally unsubstantiated and manufactured out of thin air.

On the other hand, Saddam Hussein has used every weapon he has been able to get his hands on, when permitted to -- he has not shown any voluntary restraint. In 1991 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists issued this Report on his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. We know that since then, he has tried to continue his nuclear program. If Saddam Hussein has not killed more people, it is because he has been restrained.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

because he has been restrained? (none / 0) (#224)
by IPFreely on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 11:41:01 AM EST

If Saddam Hussein has not killed more people, it is because he has been restrained.

It's funny you should say that. That's almost exactly the same thing I was thinking. The most promanent part being "has been restrained".
If he hasn't been able to do squat in the last ten years, because he "has been restrained" by economic sanctions and watchful neighbors, then whiy is it suddenly necessary to go to war? Has the restraint failed? Has Saddam suddenly jumped out and killed a bunch of people?

Mostly what confuses me is "What changed?" Saddam existed before 2002. Saddam existed After 2002. Saddam had some amount of weapons before 2002. Saddam had some weapons after 2002.

Some might say Clinton was a wimp and didn't do enough. Well, he did send in several air raids, bomb some sites. All specific targets that were positively identified as threats. That seems consistant with the economic sanctions and watchfull neighbors plan. It certainly wasn't nothing.

Here's my theory.

GWB is Pissed at Saddam because he wanted to see Saddam go down after 1991. Saddam didn't. So Bush takes a personal vindeta against Saddam "to show him up, not let that evil man beat us." Even though Saddam lost the war, it wasn't enough of a victory for GWB. He wanted Total Dominance. He is mad at Saddam because he didn't get it.
So now, he's publicly claiming any half reasonable excuse he can come up with to start a war and complete the "total domination" of Saddam. Creating public fear is part of that campaign, and it seems to have been believed by enough people. So we can argue all day long about whether there are WMD, or terrorist or human rights violations or any number of other problems sufficient to go to war. But at the root, GWB just wants a war. If one excuse fails, he'll find another one. But the war must go on.

What's your theory?

[ Parent ]

a little more substance (none / 0) (#177)
by elotiumq32 on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 10:16:20 AM EST

Why don't you try writing in paragraphs?  I'm guessing you think your "style" makes you seem more enigmatic and sophisticated.  It distracted me and made it a bit harder for me to follow your points.

In any case, I'd like to see more substance in your comment.  Could you possibly make your objections toward anti-war supporters a bit less abstract?  I know that I will be dust in a thousand years, but how exactly does that relate to my anti-war stance?

Out of curiousity, do you, assuming you are an American citizen, write your congressional rep. and senators to inform them that you are in support of war with Iraq?  Do you go to rallies in support of war?  Do you give any money to organizations that help spread a pro-war message?  Do you discuss the imminent war with your family, friends and co-workers in attempts to convince them that your argument rings true?  

I hope you do all these things, because I do.  I'm sure many of the people you aim your diatribe at do.  If you don't do this, then you need to think about where your place in history will be.  And maybe spend less time trolling on discussion sites.

...
______________ yeah whatever
[ Parent ]

creative destruction (2.08 / 12) (#89)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:41:49 PM EST

human existence, human progress, is a record of a cycle of creative destruction.

for those who see a cycle of destruction without creation are cynical, blind.

for those who see a cycle of creation without destruction are ignorant, naive.

there really is progress in this world, and it is not always pretty.

action is required sometimes, and you can't disavow it because it is messy.

for those who do not see instilling democracy in iraq by force as not progress, do not understand human history.

those who stand against war on iraq offer no progress, no solutions, they only offer fear, uncertainty, doubt.

hisotry records what you do in your life. for the vast majority, it will record you did nothing- not stand for this and that high noble principle that in the end means nothing but a heap of idealism in an imperfect world.

most of you see that action without thinking is folly.

what a lot of you don't see is thought without action is just as dangerous.

all that is reuiqred for evil is good men to do nothing. a lot of you are morally autistic: you have deathgrip on a high and noble ideal, but no real world solutions, no way to make your high noble ideals work in an imperfect world.

history is nothing but a record of human progress.

where are you going to be in the historical record?

dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

wow, it's all so simple. (none / 0) (#124)
by sfenders on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:58:24 PM EST

are you related to that Time Cube guy?

[ Parent ]
i'm glad you can crack jokes (1.00 / 1) (#125)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:08:59 AM EST

excuse me if you have no more credibility on the subject matter with me for joking about it

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
okay, here's the rational version. (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by sfenders on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:18:38 AM EST

The one-liner was much more efficient, but here's the longer version.

Your post, as I read it, says approximately:  "It is sometimes neccessary and good to go to war, for the benefit of the world.  Therefore, it is now neccessary to go to war against Iraq."  I find it hard to take that kind of argument seriously.

I picked on you only because your comment was near the top of the page.  Plenty of people on both sides of this debate are guilty of dramatically over-simplifying things.  A good number of them are probably just following the example of their chosen news media.

Reducing everything to irrelevant platitudes is bad enough under any conditions when talking about a subject of such complexity as international politics.  In this thread it annoys me all the more, since the original article had nothing to do with that kind of "WAR vs. PEACE" false dilemma.

Should anyone care for my own opinion:  I have some knowledge picked up here and there, a lot more than 98.3% of the people that vote in opinion polls on these questions, but I still do not have enough information to be anything but undecided on the merits of the current US plan.  Acting on incomplete information is inevitable, of course.  I'm inclined to agree that military action to remove the Iraqi government could be justified if there were a workable plan in place for putting a real, solid, internationally supported human-rights-friendly regime in its place; and if the (long-term) cost of doing so would not outweigh the benefit.  Recent developments, Kiesling's words included, discourage me from thinking that the US and its allies can manage all that right now.  

Aside from the potentially disastrous results that could come if things go badly wrong in Iraq, the US is, as Kiesling pointed out, already doing damage to its own interests in the world.  Its reputation and credibility have suffered, and if anything goes wrong when they do go to war, that damage might become irreparable.  It's a pretty big risk, and the potential benefit is not spelled out very clearly right now.  

Instead of honest accounting of risks and realities, we get increasingly dire warnings of Pure Evil, and vague promises of Freedom and Progress.  The threats and promises we're all subjected to have reached heights of absurdity where even many US citizens can't take them seriously.  And we're meant to trust them?

Until I see honest evaluations of the situation from the Bush party (ie. "yes, we know Iraq isn't a threat to us right now, but here is exactly why we believe this is the right time to prevent them becoming one in the future...")  and a detailed plan of action for creating stability and peace in the region post-war, until then I cannot support the idea.


[ Parent ]

reduced to... (1.50 / 6) (#134)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 02:06:38 AM EST

reduced to:

"blah blah blah...
so, quid pro quo, i see no reason to act"

i'm glad you see no reason to act

you are meaningless to history

thinking without acting is just as dangerous to the world as acting without thinking


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Say wha? (none / 0) (#139)
by carbon on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:19:07 AM EST

thinking without acting is just as dangerous to the world as acting without thinking

Only if you have the ability to make things explode at will.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
to wit (none / 0) (#140)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:04:19 AM EST

all that is required for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

doing nothing in deep thought is as dangerous as doing something without thinking


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Mystery Men (none / 0) (#216)
by Quidnunc on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 01:56:01 AM EST

Sphinx: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage-- Furious: Your rage will become your master? That's what you were gonna say, right? Right? Sphinx: ...Not necessarily.

[ Parent ]
OT: English. (none / 0) (#149)
by Matadon on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:13:13 PM EST

I know this is an obvious stretch for a person of your vast and all-encompassing intellect, but us mere humans are accustomed to the conventions of standard written English.  Namely, the use of paragraphs to group like-minded statements, capitalization, proper punctuation, and some sort of "flow" or connection from one sentence (and paragraph) to the next.

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]
grammar and punctuation trolls (none / 0) (#170)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 11:10:08 PM EST

are only surpassed in comic diversion value by spelling fascist trolls

just call me e e cumming

lol ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

pseudocreative lofty nonsense (none / 0) (#174)
by kavandje on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:26:10 AM EST

With respect, you make it seem like such a lofty issue. I don't think it's that lofty.

Have you lived in a country riven by war brought upon it by the interactions of its regime with one purporting to be "righteous"? Take it from me - it sucks.

Frankly, while you may be right in a fairly abstract sort of way, I wouldn't wish your historical metamorphic fantasies on anyone. The notion that one is a part of an inevitable historical flux is scant comfort to someone just trying to get by.

Put another way: while you may or may not be right to criticise the passive pacifists who complain but do not contribute, your lofty utterances beg a simple question from any Iraqi man-on-the-street: Would you - really - swallow your own medicine? Yes? Are you sure? Are you really sure?
Because if not, the Iraqi man-on-the-street has the moral authority to kick you in the ass.

Imagine - really imagine - what would happen if the rest of the world decided that it would be a better place if a large coalition of heavily-armed nations started to wonder how it might install a (quoted from elsewhere in this discussion) "real, solid, internationally supported, human-rights-friendly regime" in your country...

If men and women in a different country decided that the way out of historical mediocrity would be to impose their political will on you by the use of overwhelming force. The thought sucks, huh?

On the other hand, you're right in suggesting (between the conveniently double-spaced lines) that Saddam must go - just like the Taliban had to go. I can think of a few other regimes which could probably go; I just wish that the US wasn't trying to spoon-feed the world such complete garbage in trying to concoct a causus belli. It smacks of moral bankruptcy.

Where am I in the historical record? In a footnote somewhere, as one of the people living under a less-than-perfect regime who spoke out for things they believed in, in order to preserve, and not to lose that which they cherished.

And let me make this pefectly clear - very carefully and distinctly, for fear of being misunderstood: I am speaking out against war.


jackal magic
[ Parent ]
alright (2.88 / 9) (#92)
by tweetsygalore on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:04:41 PM EST


let's just say that all of a sudden, we unequivocally left Saddam Hussein alone.  what do you think he and his allies would do?
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
Allies? (3.66 / 3) (#100)
by ppb on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:43:32 PM EST

Exactly what allies are you talking about? And PLEASE don't say Al-Quaeda...

[ Parent ]
as in (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by tweetsygalore on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:59:36 PM EST


oil reserves buyers, Arab symphatisers, etc
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]
False dilemma, he's not suggesting that (3.66 / 6) (#101)
by michaelp on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:45:25 PM EST

He is asking "why we have failed to persuade more of the world that a war with Iraq is necessary?"

Point is, war may be necessary, but if we don't do it with the support of our major allies and partners, we will end up doing more harm than good in the process:

We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known.

We had widespread support after 9/11 for seriously dealing with international terror.

The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism.

With such support, even a middling competant statesperson should be able to convince the world that a war is necessary, if a war is necessary. Where did it go? Even more importantly, how did Bush's team lose it?

And now having lost it, Bush is trying to buy and bully other nations rather than persuade them with facts and logic.

Which never works in the long run. So why is Bush's team doing it?

We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq.

You know Qaeda and Iraq are different problems with different solutions. So how can you support the practices Kiesling decries?


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
nonsense (3.50 / 4) (#105)
by tweetsygalore on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:04:05 PM EST


if war truly IS necessary, you'd do it with or without allies and with or without the polls.  of course, allies and ratings help.  but if one's stance is truly warranted and justified, sometimes you just have to do it alone.  

and i don't understand why you have to go to war to get rid of saddam hussein.  there were a few dictators who were eliminated without having been assassinated!
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]

The purpose of the UN (4.00 / 4) (#109)
by michaelp on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:54:45 PM EST

is to prevent wars unless they are 'warranted and justified'. Nations who felt war was 'warrented and justified' for their self interest and therefore went at it were the reason for the formation of the UN, after all.

Thus in the modern world, a just and responsible nation does not go to war without the UN's support. One would think George W. would have learned this from his father.

and i don't understand why you have to go to war to get rid of saddam hussein. there were a few dictators who were eliminated without having been assassinated!

On that point I agree: I would say that war would probably be justified if the US could provide solid evidence that Hussein was funding Qaeda or was behind the attacks on S11, or if Hussein presented a clear and present danger to world peace. And if Bush's team could prove these points to the UN, France, Russia, Germany, China, etc. would agree.

The current UN policy of active containment and inspections seems to be keeping Hussein in check, and the best argument for war seems to be that many of Hussein's people are suffering due to this policy.

However, I don't think a good enough case has been made that killing thousands to millions of Iraqis is the best way to alleviate their suffering, nor apparently do our major allies and partners in the UN.

"Because we can" go it alone, and make the unilateral decision to kill all those human beings in order to save them from their suffering does not seem to be the argument of a responsible, modern, nation. Which I think is Kiesling's point: the easy way may seem like a good idea in the short term, but in the long run we lose the respect and trust of the international community, which makes it much harder in the long run to achieve the primary goal (which I hope is the goal of the Bush admin as well): a peaceful, stable, increasingly democratic world.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Okay, I'll bite. (4.50 / 8) (#136)
by Stickerboy on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 02:47:15 AM EST

"Thus in the modern world, a just and responsible nation does not go to war without the UN's support."

I think you're placing way too much respect and veneration in the UN, which is not some hallowed body of international law and order but an organization where the little countries rant and vent and the big countries come to horse trade and "debate" about which direction they believe the current world order should proceed.

For instance, let's put your statement to two tests, hypothetical and real: a unilateral intervention in Rwanda, mid-1990s and the Kosovo War. If the US, or Britain, or France, had gone into Rwanda without a Security Council directive with several thousand combat troops, killed several hundred Hutu militiamen and saved hundreds of thousands of civilians from the machete's edge, would you call that nation unjust or irresponsible? Would anyone? Security Council support would have been impossible to receive in a timely manner, due to the glacial pace at which the diplomacy and backroom haggling proceeds and due to China's and Russia's everpresent concern over "interference in internal matters". I would say intrinsic justification for a war will always trump whatever chorus of yes-countries a nation can rally behind them in deciding a course of action.

And then there's my second example, the Kosovo War, where the NATO nations, without a UN mandate, went to war with Serbia to prevent two things: the further brutalization of the Kosovar Albanians and an escalation in tensions which could have led to a full regional conflict. In both cases they succeeded, and the conflict's outcome led directly to the shattering of Slobodan Milosevic's power and his eventual imprisonment. Would UN backing have been nice? Sure. Did the lack of it take anything away from what the NATO nations accomplished? No.

"On that point I agree: I would say that war would probably be justified if the US could provide solid evidence that Hussein was funding Qaeda or was behind the attacks on S11, or if Hussein presented a clear and present danger to world peace. And if Bush's team could prove these points to the UN, France, Russia, Germany, China, etc. would agree."

First of all, no one is claiming that Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. Secondly, the US is claiming that Iraq harbors a known terrorist and his al Qaeda-affiliated cell (al Zarqawi). Based on the New York Times' excellent reporting in "Intelligence Break Led U.S. to Tie Envoy Killing to Iraq Qaeda Cell" (2/6/2003), where Tyler traces the Baghdad cell from the assassins of Lawrence Foley to al Zarqawi's lieutenant's capture on the Iraq-Jordan border, I'm inclined to believe that the cell does exist, unless Hussein summarily executed them after Powell's UN speech.

Finally, there is a danger posed by Saddam Hussein, but it isn't clear and present, and if it becomes so, it will be too late. For the anti-war crowd, disarming a country of weapons of mass destruction occurs either too early or too late: either it doesn't have the capability to threaten widespread destruction (Iraq), in which case its too early, or it has the capability (North Korea), in which case it's too late to do anything about it.

The US has plenty of legal backing through the systematic violations of both the terms of the 1991 armistice agreement and subsequent UN Resolutions aimed at getting Iraq to modify its behavior and disarm without resorting to war. 12 years of diplomatic pressure, sanctions, no-fly zones, limited military strikes, and ultimately, failure in getting Hussein to disarm and comply with the Armistice and the UN Resolutions: there is no "rush to war" about it; pressure and action has escalated for 12 years since the end of the first Gulf War. In that respect, any US intervention will be the logical conclusion of that conflict, much like World War II was an extension of World War I after an extended cease-fire and rearmament.

"The current UN policy of active containment and inspections seems to be keeping Hussein in check, and the best argument for war seems to be that many of Hussein's people are suffering due to this policy. ...However, I don't think a good enough case has been made that killing thousands to millions of Iraqis is the best way to alleviate their suffering, nor apparently do our major allies and partners in the UN."

Instead of generalizing, let's put some appropriate numbers into play here. The UN estimates 5,000 children die each month as a direct result of the UN sanctions and containment regime and Hussein's policy of deliberate neglect. Human rights agencies estimate the total civilian cost of containment at well over half a million lives.

Let's talk about military action. The Kosovo War killed between 250-750 civilians (most agencies pinning their estimates at around 500), the Gulf War killed 3,200 civilians according to the UN, and the Afghanistan conflict killed anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 civilians, depending on whose methodology and numbers you refer to. Now, none of the three empirical examples are a perfect fit, but it's safe to say that US action will kill 5,000 innocents or less, whereas a containment regime of just one year will kill over 50,000 civilians.

So, between the French and German position of indefinite containment of Saddam Hussein because he doesn't pose a clear and present danger, and the US position of military action to remove Hussein, rebuild Iraq and feed its people, which is the more humanitarian? By sheer quantitative comparison, not to mention the whole "freedom from the repressive totalitarian state" quality of life thing, the humanitarian case is easy to make.

[ Parent ]

Just one nit to pick (4.50 / 2) (#144)
by RiotNrrd on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:21:37 AM EST

There were reports from defectors, backed up by some surveillance photographs, of people learning how to take over airliners at a camp inside Iraq, with support from the Republican Guard.

Now where did I see that? <google google>

AH! there it is: http://edwardjayepstein.com/2002question/salmanpak.htm

It does look mighty suspicious, you have to admit - and even if it is not directly related to 9/11, it must surely count as conspiracy to commit muiltiple crimes against humanity.

Apart from that, good rebuttal - I was about to do it myself but you saved me the bother.


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

scary info (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by tweetsygalore on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:21:39 PM EST


in the link.  with the kind of dangers that the U.S. have been facing lately, people should wonder how we've managed to stay rational and admire us for being so.  best, C
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]
re (none / 0) (#161)
by tweetsygalore on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:03:09 PM EST


      I think you're placing way too much respect
      and veneration in the UN, which is not some
      hallowed body of international law and
      order but an organization where the little
      countries rant and vent and the big
      countries come to horse trade and "debate"
      about which direction they believe the
      current world order should proceed.

ouch!  :D
 
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]

i definitely (none / 0) (#162)
by tweetsygalore on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:06:47 PM EST


agree with this

    For instance, let's put your statement to two
    tests, hypothetical and real: a unilateral
    intervention in Rwanda, mid-1990s and the
    Kosovo War. If the US, or Britain, or France,
    had gone into Rwanda without a Security
    Council directive with several thousand
    combat troops, killed several hundred Hutu
    militiamen and saved hundreds of thousands of
    civilians from the machete's edge, would you
    call that nation unjust or irresponsible?
    Would anyone? Security Council support would
    have been impossible to receive in a timely
    manner, due to the glacial pace at which the
    diplomacy and backroom haggling proceeds and
    due to China's and Russia's everpresent
    concern over "interference in internal
    matters". I would say intrinsic justification
    for a war will always trump whatever chorus
    of yes-countries a nation can rally behind
    them in deciding a course of action.

    And then there's my second example, the
    Kosovo War, where the NATO nations, without a
    UN mandate, went to war with Serbia to
    prevent two things: the further brutalization
    of the Kosovar Albanians and an escalation in
    tensions which could have led to a full
    regional conflict. In both cases they
    succeeded, and the conflict's outcome led
    directly to the shattering of Slobodan
    Milosevic's power and his eventual
    imprisonment. Would UN backing have been
    nice? Sure. Did the lack of it take anything
    away from what the NATO nations accomplished?
    No.

who are you, stickerboy?  i'm impressed.  :)

After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]

Who said that dictatorship is easier? (5.00 / 1) (#167)
by michaelp on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:36:34 PM EST

I think you're placing way too much respect and veneration in the UN, which is not some hallowed body of international law and order but an organization where the little countries rant and vent and the big countries come to horse trade and "debate" about which direction they believe the current world order should proceed.

Hew sounds like Congress:-). Be the behavior of the UN as it may, it is not acceptable for a modern nation to go off on it's own in a war. Many nations have serious issues with each other (India/Pakistan for instance). As the world's most powerful nation, the US has a responsibility to set a good example, and that means not engaging in vigilante justice.

NATO nations, without a UN mandate, went to war with Serbia

Good point, but Serbia was engaged in a genocideal war of conquest, quite a different issue, and at least within a treaty structure that was more or less legally allowed to act in self defense. It is a good point though, but I don't think it is telling for two reasons:

The UN has not yet failed in handling the situation

And there is no war to stop, no genocide to prevent.

Instead of generalizing, let's put some appropriate numbers into play here.

Regarding the '5000 children a month issue', it is this sort of mixing of fact with fiction that brutally weakens your's and the Bush team's arguments. Come on, the 5000 children a month myth was thouroughly debunked in the National Review and other sources:
As embargo critic Richard Garfield, a public health specialist at Columbia University, wrote in his own comprehensive 1999 survey of under-5 deaths in Iraq, "The 1995 study's conclusions were subsequently withdrawn by the authors....Notwithstanding the retraction of the original data, their estimate of more than 500,000 excess child deaths due to the embargo is still often repeated by sanctions critics."
It may well be possible to argue that war is likely to be more merciful than the current situation, but lets use some straight numbers, or admit that we don't know them yet.
And I think arguements made with reason and honest data would go a much longer way to getting the UN security council to sanction Hussein's forceful removal than the policy of bullying and/or buying.

Based on the New York Times' excellent reporting in "Intelligence Break Led U.S. to Tie Envoy Killing to Iraq Qaeda Cell" (2/6/2003),

It is good reporting, and damming evidence. It is too bad that Bush's team hasn't stuck to presenting straight facts on this issue in a rational manner rather than trying to bully and buy support. It may still be that Powell can win UN support, the first step of course is for the US to say we won't go in without it.

Again, you are talking about killing thousands to millions of human beings here, put the troops in place, gather evidence, and make the case. Of course many other nations are reluctent to see what may well be a brutal war causing destabilization in a already shaky region, lets understand that and make the case like a member of the community of democratic nations we say we want to add Iraq to.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
I disagree (none / 0) (#172)
by RiotNrrd on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 06:25:33 AM EST

You say
It may still be that Powell can win UN support, the first step of course is for the US to say we won't go in without it.
The threat of "unilateral" action by the US and its allies is what has stopped the process from grinding to a complete halt, despite the best efforts of e.g. France. M Chirac would like nothing better than for the US to ignore the UNSC and liberate Iraq anyway, because then he has a peg to hang his claim of being the good guy on.

If France is forced into the open, it has a very bad choice to make. It can either go back on all its public statements for the last year and a half or so and vote for, or it can put its money where its mouth is and vote against. If it goes one way it has thrown away its diplomacy with the non-aligneds and undermined its EU policies into the bargain. There is also no guarantee that the US will forgive and forget, even if France does try this. But if it goes the other way, France will go down in history as having destroyed both NATO and the UN in the space of a couple of months. In addition, if the US start turning up all sorts of nasty things with "Fabriqué en France" stickers on them, they will have a lot of explaining to do.

Basically, the threat of force is the only thing still making everyobdy even pretend to play a straight game.


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

If France was alone in opposing war (5.00 / 1) (#183)
by michaelp on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 02:12:09 PM EST

now we would have a very different situation.

France isn't going to go down as having destroyed the UNSC so long as Germany and Russia are in agreement with her, so singling her out is an unrepresentative sample.

The importance of saying we will only go to war with the UN's ok is simple: you can't on the one hand say we are going to war because Iraq has ignored the UN, and then ignore the UN and go to war to enforce the UN's resolutions. If the UN has no authority to order the US not to fight, then they have no authority to order Iraq to disarm, and our cause has no more legitimacy than 'might makes right'.

So if the US goes to war in the face of a UNSC council nay vote or a veto, the US will be the one "going down in history" as having broken "the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known", not France.

Further, from our own (US) self interest, going to war in the face of a UNSC veto (or even without a vote in favor to veto) would not only set an extremely poor example for other nations, but it will seriously damage the international unity we need to fight international terrorism.

Basically, the threat of force is the only thing still making everyobdy even pretend

Yes, but I'm saying that the threat that should cause the UN to vote in favor of force is the Iraqi threat to world peace, not the US threat. What is the rationale for flouting the UN resolutions and going to war now? Russia et al. have asked for another 3 months for inspections. Why not give it to them and use the time to build a stronger case and line up more SC votes?


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
To take your points in order (none / 0) (#211)
by RiotNrrd on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 06:12:03 AM EST

France is a representative sample. Thank you for the explanation, but I am perfectly aware of the intricacies of basic logic, thankyouverymuch. The reason France is a representative sample is that, unlike Germany, it has a permanent seat on the UNSC, and unlike Russia it has a constant position rather than on-again, off-again. It is also generally understood to be the "ringleader" of the anti-Liberation movement. It was only once France was taken out of the picture that NATO managed to achieve a decision about defence for Turkey.

That episode was a microcosm of what is happening at the UNSC. France did not come out and say "no", they used delaying tactics and leant heavily on client states and allies in the European power struggle to support these demands. Once the discussion moved to the military council, in which De Gaulle has given up France's seat, a completely non-controversial unanimous decision was achieved.

You are talking as if the UN were the be-all and end-all of global politics. My point is that the member nations of the UN have signed eighteen resolutions demanding some cooperation from Iraq, and are busily debating a nineteenth. I maintain that member nations have the right to enforce these resolutions, if the body as a whole is tied up in internal wrangling to the point of complete demonstrated uselessness (see Balkans, Rwanda, "Palestine", etc.). This is quite beside my other point, which is that the UN is too over-inclusive for its own goals. Libya should not be allowed anywhere near a Human Rights Commision, except possibly as a defendant against charges, to quote only the most egregious of recent examples.

I would further stipulate that the unity is enhanced by, e.g. France not being a part of the coalition. (sorry to pick on them again, but they are just such a good target) Their behaviour in Afghanistan was disgraceful, and I'm not even American. Their aircraft carrier cruising around in circles and occasionally breaking down isn't helping their credibility either.

And to save the best for the last: I too think the UN should vote for Liberation spurred only by the threat to world peace. The fact that they are not doing so is saddening, but it should not be allowed to paralyse others. I would rather the right thing be done out of questionable motives, than that we all sit around passing motions criticising the USA's human rights based on testimony from Tripoli until Saddam comes knocking with nukes.


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

cite? (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by linca on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 09:32:13 AM EST

France not being a part of the coalition. (sorry to pick on them again, but they are just such a good target) Their behaviour in Afghanistan was disgraceful

How? France did its part in Afghanistan, sending ground soldiers and planes. (The Charles de Gaulle was working at the time)

And to save the best for the last: I too think the UN should vote for Liberation spurred only by the threat to world peace. The fact that they are not doing so is saddening, but it should not be allowed to paralyse others.

When you disagree with the result of a court sentence, do you enact "justice" by yourself?

The reason France is a representative sample is that, unlike Germany, it has a permanent seat on the UNSC, and unlike Russia it has a constant position rather than on-again, off-again.

So France is representative because it is, uh, UNLIKE its partners?

That episode was a microcosm of what is happening at the UNSC. France did not come out and say "no"

In the UNSC France was very clear from the beginnning ; 1441 would be the first of two resolutions that'd be needed before a UN-sponsored attack on Iraq. It's from this premise that 1441 was negociated. The US voted for it, but now seems to refuse to follow it.

I maintain that member nations have the right to enforce these resolutions, if the body as a whole is tied up in internal wrangling to the point of complete demonstrated uselessness

The Balkans and Rwanda were urgent situations when  nations intervened without UN support. I have seen no reports of Genocide risks in Iraq. That's a very different situation.

The US currently needs at least ten years before actually enacting a death penalty. Do you think that process should be cut short by law abiding citizens?

[ Parent ]

Disgraceful behaviour, et al (none / 0) (#217)
by RiotNrrd on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 04:01:58 AM EST

The particular instance of disgraceful behaviour I was referring to is referenced at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1864879.stm. The relevant paragraph follows:
In a separate development, a French newspaper says France has refused to allow its warplanes to attack some of the targets assigned to it by American commanders in eastern Afghanistan.
Such a nice clean term, isn't it? Difference of opinion. So troops under fire called in for air support, and the high command assigned some convenient planes, and the planes didn't go out. And other planes had to be found, and scrambled, and were over 20 minutes later. Fortunately none of the US troops died, but that was in my opinion completely unforgivable. France did not "do its part", by any conceivable stretch of the immagination. They were there as a token gesture only, and they refused orders.

The UNSC is not a court.

France is representative because it is generic. The other two examples I mentioned are degenerate cases. michaelp would probably suggest that you look that up.

I do not agree that France made anything clear at all. They voted for 1441, which includes language that explicitly does not require a further (nineteenth) resolution. The reason one is being introduced at all is to force France out into the open. The US is following 1441, France is not.

The Balkans and Rwanda were urgent cases because the UN did not intervene, or intervened effectively. The US was still vilified for intervening in the Balkans. I lived in Italy at the time, near one of the airbases that was used, and there were several demonstrations, anti-US and anti-NATO graffiti, etc... In Rwanda my point is that nobody did intervene effectively at all, once the UN had abdicated its responsibilities.

The process should not be cut short, but neither should a convicted murderer get nineteen paroles!


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

ORDERS? (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by linca on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 04:22:34 AM EST

The US army has no direct authority over the French army. There's no such thing as "refusing orders" in a coalition. And that's how a coalition work. The American army was as disgraceful to its allies in the Balkans, if that's what you call "disgraceful"

The French army being more careful than the US air force might not be a bad idea anyway, given the record of the later in bombing weddings and Canadians.

And of course your interpretation of what happened it total bullshit, unless you have references that the bombing refused was as tactical as you say.

1441 is very clear in its language that "serious consequences" will have to be decided further down the line by the Security council. Paragraph 12 is veery clear about it. France wouldn't have voted for it in any other case.

/The process should not be cut short, but neither should a convicted murderer get nineteen paroles!/

As you say so well, the UNSC is not a court but an executive office. Saddam Hussein is not a "convicted murderer".

Nor did the immediate risk of mass killing, which was present in Rwanda and the Balkans, is present in Irak. That is the major difference, and why, while I supported intervention in the first two cases, in this one I refuse it.

Oh, and in Rwanda France intervened effectively, avoiding a Hutu genocide at the hand of the revengeful Tutsi.


[ Parent ]

Yes, orders (none / 0) (#219)
by RiotNrrd on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 05:27:08 AM EST

You obviously have no conception of how a real coalition operates - or is supposed to. The moment for diplomacy is when you join the coalition. After that, you place your forces at the disposal of a high command, which is usually representative, and was in this case. The US troops on the ground called in a request for air support to this high command, which looked at the forces explicitly placed at its disposal and assigned the most conveniently placed. At that time, the planes were coalition planes first, French second. That they refused to carry out orders in the heat of battle is and will remain inexcusable.

As for your claims on 1441:

  • Paragraph 1: Iraq is in material breach of previous resolutions
  • Paragraph 2: This is the final opportunity for Iraq
  • Paragraph 4: Any fault in the report from Iraq will be an automatic further material breach.
  • Paragraph 9: Iraq will cooperate unconditionally. Conditions seem to have featured heavily in everything that Iraq has done.
  • Paragraph 12: Nowhere is a second resolution mentioned. Only full compliance is. Given that Iraq is in material breach, by the definitions in the body of 1441, no further resolution is required.
The immediate risk of mass killing is not present in Iraq because Saddam has already done that. He committed genocide twice, and involved his population in a long, costly, and even more than usually pointless war against Iran.

I referred to Saddam as a convicted murderer based on the UNSC resolutions above. Don't get me wrong, I support the UN - more than it does itself, seemingly. That is what is most galling. By temperament I would be marching against unilateral aggression, but the facts of the matter are that Bush and his allies are right about this issue.


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

Can you read? (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by linca on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 06:18:03 AM EST

in the heat of battle

Document this. Your source doesn't at all document that the situation happened during the heat of the battle.

And anyway, refusing unlawful orders is always legal and excusable. High risk of hitting civilians make an order unlawful.

12. Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 above, in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance with all of the relevant Council resolutions in order to secure international peace and security;

It is clearly up to the security council to decide what to happen. The Security council takes decisions through resolution. A second resolution is needed. Why do you think Blair is so intent on having one? He knows perfectly well "UN legal" means  a second resolution.

Consequences of paragraph 4 are stated in paragraph 12 and 11, neither of which allow member countries to attack Iraq.

Member countries are to restrain themselves from war, until the security council explicitly allows it. Resolution 1441 doesn't.

The immediate risk of mass killing is not present in Iraq because Saddam has already done that. He committed genocide twice,

Please document "commited genocide twice". Gassing cities under enemy control is not exactly "genocide". There are still a lot of Kurds around.

A genocide is not simply a massive killing of enemies, or under this case genocide is a word that applies very well to many operations done by the US in the recent past - but it doesn't.

And even in that case, you don't wage a war to punish a man. You wage a war to avoid a tragedy. I haven't seen a case that there might be a tragedy this war will prevent.

I referred to Saddam as a convicted murderer based on the UNSC resolutions above.

The UNSC doesn't convict. The ICC and the International courts do.

[ Parent ]

speechless (2.00 / 1) (#221)
by RiotNrrd on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 06:40:32 AM EST

Gassing cities under enemy control is not exactly "genocide". There are still a lot of Kurds around.
You disgust me.

The ICC is nothing. It has no legal standing. And you are drawing unwarranted inferences. The UNSC can and should send in the boys (and girls) in blue helmets NOW without any second resolution.

You seem to think that of the two outcomes

  • Saddam deposed and Iraq freed by a Coalition of the Willing that bypasses the UN
  • Saddam remains in power and continues torturing, gassing and executing until the UN has reached an agreement or Satan is seen shopping for snowshoes, whichever is sooner
the second is worse. I have no word in my vocabulary to define my opinion of that position.


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]

Difficulties enumerating (5.00 / 2) (#223)
by linca on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 08:01:13 AM EST

Genocide has a precise definition ; it means the organised and sustained effort to destroy an ethny. There has been bo such thing from Saddam. Throwing the word around only lessens its meaning. Did the US commit genocide against the Japanese in WWII? No. Neither did Saddam Hussein in is inhuman, violent Iran-Iraq war.

The ICC has legal standing in most countries since the beginning of the year (or in July, not sure). If as you claim you support the UN you might try to inform yourself on what it is.

The UNSC can only send the blue helmets with a new resolution, obviously.

You imply that I think that the first (not the second, as that is your opinion) is worse. Which I do. But I don't see it in the same light as you do.

The alternatives are

  • Saddam deposed and Iraq freed by a Coalition of the Willing that bypasses the UN. Meanwhile, many civilians are killed. The US then imposes another Baath dictator, that goes on torturing and executing (That was one of the State Departement's plans).  Kurds loose their autonomy. Potentially, the US doesn't give a damn about even installing a dictator, and the country falls at the hand of warlords, as has happened in Afghanistan.
  • Saddam remains in power and continues torturing and executing. (Hussein hasn't gased many people lately, sorry)
The alternatives aren't so clear cut as you'd like them to be. It is not because the US is goodwilling that good comes out of it, and Hell is paved with good intentions.

US hardly improved the situation of the Afghani people by his war there. Replacing Saddam by another dictator, or worse, letting Iraq fall at the hand of warlords, isn't doing any good ; killing a few thousand people in the process is criminal.

Until any country shows an ability in creating democracy ex nihilo, "freeing" countries is something we don't know how to do, and shouldn't do unless it clearly will avoid lots of death just about to happen. That's why there should have been interventions in Bosnia, Rwanda or Kosove, and why there shouldn't be one in Iraq. Hussein isn't preparing a genocide, or even mass murders, right now.

By being ready to sell the Kurds' freedom to the Turks, Bush showed that he cared only about deposing Saddam, not about freeing the Iraqis. That disgusts me. Killing thousands to punish one man is criminal.

[ Parent ]

Do you have a summary? (none / 0) (#215)
by epepke on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 05:20:46 PM EST

Their behaviour in Afghanistan was disgraceful, and I'm not even American.

Do you have a summary of what their behavior was?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
summary in other reply [ n/t ] (none / 0) (#222)
by RiotNrrd on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 06:45:14 AM EST


-- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
[ Parent ]
Direct outcome? (5.00 / 2) (#190)
by MrEd on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:43:52 PM EST

[bombing Serbia was to]...prevent two things: the further brutalization of the Kosovar Albanians and an escalation in tensions which could have led to a full regional conflict. In both cases they succeeded, and the conflict's outcome led directly to the shattering of Slobodan Milosevic's power and his eventual imprisonment.

You make it sound as if the NATO armies marched up to the presidential palace and tossed him out. Actually, it wasn't as 'direct' as you claim: Slobodan Milosevic was outsted in democratic elections a year and a half later. Here's another link.

Watch out for the k5 superiority complex!


[ Parent ]
Re: nonsense (4.60 / 5) (#118)
by daani on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:09:59 PM EST

if war truly IS necessary, you'd do it with or without allies and with or without the polls. of course, allies and ratings help.

There are of course those who will subscribe to that rabid left-wing obsession that international perception of the United States government and it's hegemony somehow contributes to the evil-ones annual recruitment drive.

I think that the way in which American diplomacy is conducted is a large contributing factor as to whether or not the proverbial man-on-the-street accepts the "the US is the great satan" doctrine that now prevails in some areas. And I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that this has a big effect on US domestic security.

[ Parent ]

Perception (3.33 / 3) (#151)
by Grognard on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:31:20 PM EST

There are of course those who will subscribe to that rabid left-wing obsession that international perception of the United States government and it's hegemony somehow contributes to the evil-ones annual recruitment drive.

Indeed - the more toothless we appear, the more likely attacks are.  To wit:  we responded to the embassy bombings and the Cole attack with pretty lackluster actions, 9/11 occurred.  Our response to 9/11 - forcibly ejected al Qaeda from their home base, denying them their training grounds and sanctuary, has resulted in no further incidents on US soil.

[ Parent ]

well, not so far (none / 0) (#160)
by tweetsygalore on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:00:38 PM EST


which is why we shouldn't be so naive about it and we definitely need to be more vigilant and keep our eyes and ears way open!  best, C
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]
You're point is rather invalid. (4.50 / 2) (#204)
by WhiteBandit on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:28:12 PM EST

While I understand your point, I don't think it is valid. You're disregarding the issue of time.

WTC Bombing: 1993
Kuwaiti Barracks Bombing: 1996
Embassy Bombings: 1998
USS Cole Bombing: 2000
9/11: 2001

Look at the first WTC bombing in 1993. We didn't really do *anything* (militarily) to respond to this and the next major terrorist attack wasn't for another 3 years.

Sure, we went into Afghanistan and messed up al Queda, but that was only within the last year and a half. You can't subjectively say nothing is going to happen just because we gave them a "tough" response. Hell, the nightclub bombing in Bali was thought to have been caused by al Queda operatives.

Hell, look at Israel. They respond with a fairly tough hand every single time they are attacked and the status quo hasn't changed at all. I don't think it matters how aggressive you attack someone. What is comes down to is how they are treated and how they perceive the other side.

[ Parent ]

Not quantity but quality (1.00 / 1) (#205)
by Grognard on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:36:21 PM EST

Hell, look at Israel. They respond with a fairly tough hand every single time they are attacked and the status quo hasn't changed at all. I don't think it matters how aggressive you attack someone.

The difference is that Israel is attacking the actors and not the sponsors (luckily for all involved).  Terrorist movements can take casualties, but wither very quickly when the source of money/weapons goes away (eg European terrorist groups after the fall of the Soviet Union).

[ Parent ]

Additionally... (3.00 / 2) (#212)
by Grognard on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 08:47:47 AM EST

During the 94-95 time period, they were busily trying to assasinate the Pope and blow up airliners over the Pacific - they just weren't successful at anything for a three year period.

[ Parent ]
what if we all left Saddam alone? (4.66 / 6) (#123)
by sfenders on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:50:44 PM EST

What would Saddam do? I peer into my crystal ball, and shadowy images begin to form...
  • Saddam will get very nervous, thinking it's a ruse.
  • He will make dramatic, provocative proclamations of victory.
  • Throw a party.
  • Kill a few political dissidents for sport.
  • Try to rebuild his country.
  • Try to rebuild his military.
  • By the time he succeeds in above, he'll have mellowed out a bit in old age.
  • Get assassinated, new regime takes over.
  • New President decides to invade Kuwait again.
  • USA bombs them back into submission.
  • repeat as neccessary.


[ Parent ]
oh my God (none / 0) (#164)
by tweetsygalore on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:23:58 PM EST


this is hilarious.  haha!  best, C
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan
[ Parent ]
Trying to see through the fog... (3.83 / 6) (#153)
by smapty on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:46:52 PM EST

At the heart of the debate over war in Iraq there seems to be an assumption that many on both sides of the argument have slid into the fact column without question: "Saddam Hussein is an evil dictator who abuses human rights, is seeking WMDs, and therefore without our intervention will likely plunge the region into apocolypse". On the surface this is an extremely easy sell to the uneducated masses, but aside from McCarthyist fear-mongering of a generated "enemy", does any of this REALLY hold water in the debate to go to war? There are a couple issues which complicate this easy line of thinking:

1. Yes, Saddam is an "evil dictator", but can you name a regime in that region that isn't an "evil dictator", with outright human-rights violations abounding in them all? An exercise for the reader: ask our ex-ally Turkey what they did to their pesky Kurdish population, who funded the "final solution", and what big brother got in return. Specific to the Iraq issue, it is well known that throughout the 80's when we where concerned about Iran we facilitated the financial support and supplied Iraq's buildup of the WMD stockpile we're now waiting for him to divulge, fully aware at the time he was using them on northern Kurds as well. Rumsfeld was even the point man for the entire affair. Talk about schizofrenia! Does this mean our nation's concern for human rights registers somwhere on the lower portion of a long list of priorities? Is there any question? How many times could we have possibly proven that fact in the 20th century. Yet once again our government has spun the "human rights violation" card at us at an opportune time, stroking our belief that we are a beacon of good throughout the world and MUST act for the sake of humanity. Does it not seem blatently disingenuous to make this a pillar for action? Please go to Human Rights Watch and marvel at all of the attrocities our government could care less about, or worse, currently support.

2. Unlike al Quaida, Iraq is a sovereign country, and thus must adhere to the principle of mutually assured destruction. Is it reasonable to assume that the second Saddam got his greasy paws on a nuke he would immediately launch it on Tel Aviv or Kuwait City, or strap it to a camel and swim it into New York harbor? Wouldn't that pretty much end his career, not to mention his country's collective careers? We somehow are sleeping at night knowing North Korea has nuclear weapons and the capability of cranking out more. Could Saddam be any more of a loose cannon than Kim Jong Il? I'd be amazed! Of course one can assume Saddam will supply WMDs to al Quaida, but how are we preventing North Korea, Iran, or Pakistan (who harbors a huge al Quaida presence for sure) from doing the same? Do we have a containment strategy in place which could be applied to Iraq as well, or are in we in for a long series of "regime changes"?

Let's be honest... our government's fear of Iraq gaining a nuclear capibility could only stem from the fact that it is MUCH harder to assert domination over an oil-rich region when they have nuclear weapons. That reality doesn't look very pleasant on a headline, so it has to be packaged and spun to the American people in the form of fear (see McCarthy's "Red Scare") and a "need to act for the good of humanity". Those are the words that get Middle America up in arms and ready for war. It's amazing and scary that such obvious tactics, pushing good people's buttons, are so effective and predictable to those running the show.

it's larger than Iraq, that much is sure. (4.50 / 2) (#155)
by sfenders on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:17:16 PM EST

That reminds me of John Barlow's comments.

It's amazing and scary that such obvious tactics, pushing good people's buttons, are so effective and predictable

Predictable maybe, but I don't think it's been nearly as effective as they'd have liked.

[ Parent ]

Trying to X-Ray through the fog. (3.00 / 6) (#175)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:48:07 AM EST

Having decided for war against Iraq, the Bush administration has begun to espouse a variety of arguments for the war designed to bring on board a variety of people: UN Lovers (don't let the UN become irrelevant), Human Rights advocates (Saddam is really nasty...), and so on. This is all too transparent but is also just what politicians do. Bush just doesn't do it very well.

Of course, pointing out doubts about US sincerity on the issue of Human Rights does not mean that Bush is wrong. Replacing Saddam Hussein (SH) will almost certainly improve Human Rights (HR) over there tremendously. However "Used" the HR people themselves feel, this is the truth.

The real issue regarding Iraq can be discerned by listening to the negotiations in the Security Council and reading the Security Council resolutions 687 and 1441. The issues discussed are nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (and sanctions). Even France and Russia agree that SH must be disarmed, when the want to "Let the inspections work".

On the issue of deterrence. There is no way to deter a suicide bomber. Contemplate that for a moment. The expected number of deaths from suicide bombing can be estimated as the probability of being attacked times the size (lethality) of the bomb. Giving WMDs to suicide bombers would result in many more deaths than are anticipated by the war in Iraq. Then the counter attack would result in still more deaths. The support that SH provides to the Palestinian terrorists are very public and well known, no need to rely on secret information.

Given the overall history of SH, and his known possession of chemical and biological weapons, and his known efforts to acquire nukes, and the fact that he really uses WMDs on real people, often, it seems very prudent to disarm SH and further to prevent him from using that large flow of oil money to re-arm himself on the worlds arms markets. The events of 9/11 heighten that anxiety, and serve as an example to the terrorists and to SH himself.

If SH were deterrable in a normal way, he would have pulled out of Kuwait when faced with overwhelming force, rather than preside over the destruction of his ground and air forces. SH is brazen and aggressive to the point of foolishness, and this makes him ever more dangerous.

Proposals to disarm SH with inspections and diplomacy and time and sanctions, have already failed, and failed big. Some level of force is required.

North Korea clearly wants nukes to use them as bargaining chips for aid, treaties, electrical power, and so on, not to actually kill anybody with them, so there is simply less time pressure on the North Korean situation.

The leaders of Pakistan are not as Imperialistic as Saddam, are fighting an old, limited battle over Kashmir, and are using the nukes as a deterrence against the Indian nukes.

Hopefully, the fog has begun to lift, and you can see that the loose cannon on the deck of starship earth is Saddam Hussein.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

A few fallacies tossed in there... (5.00 / 2) (#179)
by smapty on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 12:19:00 PM EST

Giving WMDs to suicide bombers would result in many more deaths than are anticipated by the war in Iraq ... The support that SH provides to the Palestinian terrorists are very public and well known...

As I said before, Saddam has certainly had chemical and biological WMDs since the early 80's and has used them liberally to deal with his problems, but in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict how many times have WMDs been brought into a cafe or bus by a suicide bomber? Zero. Why the sudden fear-mongering that that is all going to be different now? A more interesting issue (likely better suited for a different thread) is the way the Palestinians have been conveniently labeled "terrorists" for resisting a 36 year occupation, the first 33 relatively peacefully I might add. It is an "occupation" isn't it? What does that even mean? To be fair I'm sure you also consider every Native American who scalped a "settler" during our "occupation" a terrorist as well.

Given the overall history of SH ... and the fact that he really uses WMDs on real people

I'm an American and I love my country (which requires me to bitch like this), but you do realize Saddam's Kurd issue is not unlike the aforementioned Native American issue that we eliminated, and when is comes to actually using WMDs on real people, I know I don't have to tell you that there's only ONE country with a proven track record on using nuclear weapons on another. I'm sure Saddam justified gassing Iranians with a line out of our playbook, "This will save thousands of our soldiers' lives". Did you know that both Japanese cities we nuked where 100% civilian, and had been unbombed throught the entire Pacific war to allow a proper assesment of the bomb's destructive power. Nice.

If SH were deterrable in a normal way, he would have pulled out of Kuwait when faced with overwhelming force, rather than preside over the destruction of his ground and air forces. SH is brazen and aggressive to the point of foolishness, and this makes him ever more dangerous.

Imagine for a moment after our invasion of Panama a hypothetical country FAR more powerful than us sweeping in, crushing our military, and then for the next dozen years flying patterns over New York and D.C., scouring all of our secret files in the Pentagon, and imposing global sanctions against the American People to get to our leader resulting in over a half-million deaths. From the beginning of that proccess we surely would have a "screw you" attitude, and I'm sure we would be less cooperative as time dragged on. It's easy to forget that Iraq is a sovereign country, not one of our lap dogs that failed to bark on command. Was our plan from the beginning to "not let them be a country anymore". Every country has the right to move forward and build weapons to defend itself. Remember after WWI what the Treaty of Versailles (inspired by French anger) did to the German economy over the next decades... add a nutball with a promise to "make German's proud again", stir well, and you get WWII.

Of course, pointing out doubts about US sincerity on the issue of Human Rights does not mean that Bush is wrong. Replacing Saddam Hussein will almost certainly improve Human Rights over there tremendously.

No, it just means our government is being hypocritical and masking true motives from the American people. Not something I particularly enjoy in my leadership. What are the purpose of our sanctions, again? To keep them from building a new army? To get him to give back the gas we sold him? To create a starving mass of people to overthrow their leader so we can get a "Yes" man back at the helm. Ending the sanctions and putting an end to this maddness will without a doubt improve Human Rights over there tremendously.

North Korea clearly wants nukes to use them as bargaining chips for aid, treaties, electrical power, and so on, not to actually kill anybody with them... The leaders of Pakistan are not as Imperialistic as Saddam, are fighting an old, limited battle over Kashmir, and are using the nukes as a deterrence against the Indian nukes.

Every country (including us) has a justification for having or wanting WMDs... I brought up N.Korea, Iran, and Pakistan to address the concern of proliferating WMDs to al Quaida. Those counties, especially Pakistan, who has a HUGE al Quaida presence, are surely more of a threat than Saddam in that reguard, yet their regimes aren't considered a major threat.

[ Parent ]

The Fallacy Gap (3.50 / 2) (#180)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 01:40:50 PM EST

You write as if this were a moral contest, and if you could raise up our opinion of Saddam Hussein (SH) or lower the moral evaluation of the USA, things would be different. But it is not a contest of virtue or of listing past misdeeds, it is a matter of predicting how a government will behave. If you could argue that SH could be trusted to build up whatever military he wanted without restraint, and still not be dangerous to the world, then you might have something to say, but you don't argue that.

The Danger is More than we Thought
I suppose SH could have given WMDs to the Palestinians at almost any time in the last decade or so. The Palestinians, "Terrorist" or not, have not been using suicide bombing for all that time. Suicide bombing is a growing phenomenon, and the examples of doing it very successfully against the USA has changed the whole world situation. What was a distant, academic/fictional threat has become quite real. It is hard to prove that SH will let some of his people or some terrorist use WMDs, but that must be balanced against the enormous number of lives in the balance. I don't know if George Bush has secret information that Osama bin Ladin is sitting the basement of one of the Palaces in Iraq, or if there is no contact at all. I do know that from the point of view of the US, the world is a lot more dangerous than we used to think it was. What is the future of suicide bombing? I don't think we want to find out.

Comparing Saddam Hussein to Roosevelt
I think it is facile and simplistic to compare the US use of A bombs on Japan to the things that Saddam Hussein has done. The US was at war with the Axis, totalitarianism was taking over the entire world, atomic bombs had never been used before and were not fully understood. The Second World War was a massive cataclysm that took the lives of 30 or 40 million human beings. The need to defeat totalitarianisms that were more murderous and vicious even than Suddam Hussein was much more urgent, and decisions made under that pressure cannot be compared to the massacres of the Kurds or the waging of aggressive poison gas warfare against Iran. Western complicity in Saddams crimes do not make Saddam less dangerous.

Despite the horror of using atomic bombs, it was thought more lives would be saved (millions, not thousands) than lost, and this appears to be correct. In any case that was a different world more than 50 years ago, and the US, despite many opportunities and provocations, has not used them again, and refrained from using them even when losing in the early days of the Korean war and in Vietnam. To compare the moral level of Roosevelt and Churchill to that of Saddam Hussein is not defensible. Even if you could heap all the moral scorn in the universe on the US bombing of Japan, it would still be imprudent to let SH keep his WMDs, and somebody would have to take them away from him. Your excoriation of the USA is just an attempt at "Mass distraction" and not germane to the point. If George Bush were a cannibal who nuked and ate his children, somebody would still have to take the WMDs away from Saddam. Every weapon he gets his hands on he uses against somebody, as soon as he is able. The river of oil money flowing into Iraq is enough to buy megadeath destructive power from the worlds arms and technology markets, and SH is too dangerous and violent a man to be allowed to do that.

Your next item seems to have drifted from the invasion of Panama to the Treaty of Versailles. All SH would have had to do in order to get the UN off its back was get rid of the WMDs and be non-aggressive. It isn't that hard to get along with the UN, US, and UK, Pakistan does it, so do other nuclear powers and Arab and Muslim States. You write as if the UN was being unreasonable.

Human Rights and Sanctions
The purpose of the sanctions, as you'd learn if you would read Security Council resolution 687, was to disarm Iraq regarding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. After invading Iran and invading Kuwait, the Security Council decided that Iraq could not be trusted with these aggressive and dangerous weapons. Everything SH has done since then has reinforced that view. The world may be hypocritical about Human Rights, but nobody who values Human Rights would argue that Saddam Hussein should be allowed to keep and expand his stockpile of WMDs. You seem to think it's just peachy.

Comparing Iraq to Other Countries
The governments of North Korea and of Pakistan are demonstrably less aggressive, less violent, and less supportive of terrorism than Iraq. It's that simple. They aren't angels, sweethearts, or pacifists, just less dangerous than the government of Iraq. The government of Pakistan, with all those al Queda people in their country, just arrested a very important al Queda leader. This is the same government that controls their nukes. Very different from Saddam Hussein.

Your entire rant seems aimed at the unfairness the world has shown to Iraq and to Saddam Hussein. Do you think the world does this because it doesn't like his mustache? It's the weapons and the personality controlling those weapons.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

Speaking of UN resolutions... (none / 0) (#182)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 02:05:52 PM EST

If Palestinian terrorism is the threat, wouldn't enforcing Security Council resolution 242 (or something like it) be a more effective way to deal with it? Destroying all their potential allies with overwhelming military force is easier, you think?

[ Parent ]
Resolutions and Palestinians (none / 0) (#187)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:36:03 PM EST

If you compare the texts of security council resolutions 242 to the text of resolutions 687 and its recent emphasizer, resolution 1441, you will see that 242 just authorizes the beginning of negotiations and reporting. It mentions the principle of Israeli withdrawal, as well as the principle of security for Israel and the other States. It takes two to tango and the negotiations outlined in 242 have yet to come to fruition. On the other hand, resolution 687 is an enforced and enforcing resolution, that implements sanctions to enforce the requirements that Iraq give up its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and its long range missiles.

There's quite a difference.

In any case, solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is more than 50 years old, as a means of resolving the Iraqi problem, is to confuse problems of vastly different scales. The Iraqi problem is one of just a small dangerous contingent that must be ousted -- there are no valid claims on Saddam Husseins side.

In any case, the danger is not limited to Palestinian terrorists, as that is just one way of Saddam Hussein making trouble. Saddams violence against the Iranians, the Kurds and the Saudis was not a result of his love of the Palestinians, but of his violent and dangerous nature. If the Palestinians won't take Iraqs WMDs, perhaps SH will make a deal with al-Queda or somebody else. Yes, it might be really really dumb for SH to trust al-Queda with WMDs, but SH does quite a lot of things that seem really really dumb.

Further, pulling Israeli troops out of the territories isn't the quick fix that lots of people seem to think it is. The Palestinians could be taken over by Hamas, for example, and the war could wage on for a few more decades, in a much more lethal form, with many more deaths on both sides.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

Nobody likes Saddam Hussein. (none / 0) (#194)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 04:47:09 PM EST

In any case, the danger is not limited to Palestinian terrorists, as that is just one way of Saddam Hussein making trouble.

Quite. I was responding to what I took to be your suggestion that it was.

On the other hand, I'd say that the Palestinian conflict, and the violence and hatred it inspires, is on its own more of a threat than Iraq is likely to become. Iraq is, and for at least the next little while will remain, effectively powerless.

[...] there are no valid claims on Saddam Husseins side.

Well, Saddam does seem to have a more legitimate claim to representing the Iraqi state than anyone else does. If appearing violent and dangerous is enough to justify his removal, there are many who would argue for the removal of the U.S. government on the same grounds. I'm not among them, of course.

[ Parent ]

North Korea less aggressive ? (none / 0) (#207)
by mami on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 11:53:23 PM EST

Comparing Iraq to Other Countries The governments of North Korea and of Pakistan are demonstrably less aggressive, less violent, and less supportive of terrorism than Iraq. It's that simple. They aren't angels, sweethearts, or pacifists, just less dangerous than the government of Iraq.

I just wonder how you can come up with such an evaluation of the North Korean government. As far as I have heard, aside from their militarism and totalitarianism, they are headed by a very eccentric man from a very eccentric family, who shows all signs of being capable of perverse reactions.

I wouldn't be so sure that they would be less dangerous than Saddam on a personality level. Contrary I think they would be definitely much more cruel, when they would unleash their destructive forces. They just might not do so for "petty things".

I believe that the Bush administration has "learned" from their experience. Whereas they can't turn down their rhetoric with regards to Saddam, they might consider same style of anti-Kim-Jong-Il rhetoric just not that "suitable".

The dilemma is that bilateral talks would be needed and that President Bush can't talk. He can send Colin Powell, but whatever Colin Powell would be able to negotiate, the President wouldn't be able to build on that. He would risk damaging well crafted words from Powell by his own clumsy expressions and lack of preciseness in diplomatic "small talk about nuclear disarmament".

[ Parent ]

North Korea Less Aggressive (none / 0) (#210)
by OldCoder on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 04:01:20 AM EST

Even counting this mornings aircraft incident, the history of the last 49 years of North Korean behaviour shows them to be much less aggressive than Saddams Iraq. North Korea is very confrontational, anti-American, demanding, isolated, and paranoid, but they haven't invaded or attacked a whole bunch of neighbors. Saddam has, that's the difference.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
To my original point... (none / 0) (#226)
by smapty on Mon Mar 10, 2003 at 11:17:26 AM EST

You are completely illustrating my initial point. On what exactly are you basing this irrational fear that Saddam is a threat to the world? The only "evil" action he's undertaken yet without some level of support from us is the invasion of Kuwait. Yes, he has WMD's, and is probably trying to get more, but it's as rediculous as the "War on Drugs" to think we can stop the rest of the world from eventually getting something we already have. Is the plan to ultimately take over any regime that is not already and extension of our government in the name of our security? I don't think Iraq has the market cornered on "regimes that could potentially proliferate WMDs to terrorists", and it is obvious from years of terrorism without WMDs that he has kept his arsenal of chem and bio weapons at home. So in what way is his existence threatening world stability? You say he uses every weapon he get as soon as he can, but that is absolutely unfounded. In fact, he never used his WMDs against Kuwait... only during conflicts in which we where supporting him. Maybe fear of the "mutually assured destruction" thing works after all?

Anyway, the analogies that where lost on you where an attempt to illustrate that the nature of political power is Machievellian, and while that appears evil when you're on the other side of it, it is the only way states seem to be run, especially ours. The US has a long history of what others would consider "evil" acts in the name of our own self-interest, things that dwarf what Saddam's regime has done, but years of ethnocentric programming from childhood lock us into a belief that we are at all times on the moral high-ground (WWII is a prime example... you should check out this book: Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of "the Good War" by Michael Zezima), with a steady demonization of our enemies (Fidel Castro?). When our military actions do result in creating a greater moral good it is most certainly a side-effect and not our true intention for engaging in the conflict; it doesn't take a historian to connect those dots. It's reminiscent of an oil company being forced by government regulation to clean up a lake, then running an add campaign professing it's lake cleanup efforts as a testiment to it's love of the environment.

So what, then, is the true nature of this desire to invade Iraq? That is what the American people need to find out, as THAT is putting our well-being in great peril.

[ Parent ]

The Nuclear Issue (none / 0) (#181)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 02:04:46 PM EST

"Let's be honest... our government's fear of Iraq gaining a nuclear capibility could only stem from the fact that it is MUCH harder to assert domination over an oil-rich region when they have nuclear weapons."

Why would the government need to "assert domination"? On the oil side of things, Saddam just wants to sell the same oil on the same market that his successors will. This makes no difference to the US. Do you think that the US and UK and the UN Security Council have installed sanctions that keep oil off the market in order to get the oil back onto the market? The mind reels.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]

Your kidding... (none / 0) (#225)
by smapty on Sat Mar 08, 2003 at 12:57:51 PM EST

Are you actually suggesting that something as economically vital to our empire as oil is just left to chance? Any potential destabilization of that region (beyond what Israel has done) is simply not acceptable to us, and that is enforced by our overwhelming military superiority. The sanctions where and are an effort to starve his people to the point of revolution, the cleanest and cheapest possible "regime change" in our book.

As a side note, do you think it's the least bit interesting that every single OPEC country has a regime in place which totally controls their oil export... no free market, just one "national oil company" controlling the tap. It sure makes OPEC's ability to force prices up and down easy, and that makes our life REALLY easy. We seem to be the "Champion of Democracy", unless you have oil, in which case we will happily prop up your totalitarian dictatorship.

[ Parent ]

UN Resolution this, UN Resolution that... (4.00 / 8) (#171)
by pfooosk on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 12:02:16 AM EST

What irks me is the "talk".

"Iraq is not complying (insert current Administration spin here) with UN Resolution (#)."

If you're going to tell me that you're doing this because of a UN Resolution, please be sure that you have a good track record of enforcing others... Need I point out the number of seemingly irrelevant UN Resolutions calling for a Palestinian state; the number of UN Resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories? Most vetoed or ignored by the US. While this is not big talk here, (from what I've heard) it is around the world. This is perhaps what irks the Arab world the most. Hypocrisy. Oh, and the bit about the UN disappearing into, "irrelevance' is great marketing too... Odd it doesn't happen when the US doesn't listen to Resolutions...

"Iraq has close links with Al-Qaeda". One operative travels through Iraq and stays a while and has lunch. This and Saddam's track record of supporting terrorism is the substantive proof offered of Iraqi links to Al-Qaeda.

"We will instill peace and democracy in the region" Yes, it's rather good to plant democracy at this time of year, the spring rains are rather helpful.

I know the area; I lived there quite a while. Nobody likes Saddam, but most of all, the Iraqis don't like Saddam. Saddam threatens oil supply, regional stability, and US allies in the region; he has been prone to using chemical weapons on his indigenous populations. Given enough time, he could put together a nuclear weapon, (not "nu-kee-ler"). More deadly than a dirty, home-spun nuke would be a reliable delivery system of some sort that could carry his present chem-bio weapons into neighboring regions... This can be construed as a reason for, "regime change".

It's this Administration's pretext for, "regime change" that is the biggest danger to our foreign policy. Credibility is your strongest ally, and this Administration doesn't have any... especially after visits to Europe by Mr. Rumsfeld and Co.

Please stop treating us like gits.

<<All this is personal opinion.>>

I admire Mr. Keisling's strength. It could not have been an easy decision.
pfooosk, inc.
That's fair (1.00 / 1) (#184)
by epepke on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 02:28:43 PM EST

Need I point out the number of seemingly irrelevant UN Resolutions calling for a Palestinian state; the number of UN Resolutions calling for Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories?

That's fair. Now, can you name another UN country that has spent more money and effort trying to negotiate a Palestinian state than the U.S.?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Yes, the US has spent a lot of effort on this. (5.00 / 1) (#186)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:22:01 PM EST

The United States' credibility in negotiating may have been hindered by the history of some of their other efforts in the region. Here's one account . Some excerpts:

1967-: U.S. blocks any effort in the Security Council to enforce SC Resolution 242, calling for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war.

1975: U.S. vetoes Security Council resolution condemning Israeli attacks on Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.5

1982: U.S. gives "green light" to Israeli invasion of Lebanon,9 killing some 17 thousand civilians. [...] vetoes several Security Council resolutions condemning the invasion.

1988: U.S. vetoes 3 Security Council resolutions condemning continuing Israeli occupation of and repression in Lebanon.

And, of course: 2000-: Israel uses U.S. arms in attempt to crush Palestinian uprising

Anyway, the question is not the history, it's what they're going to do now.

[ Parent ]

Answer the question (none / 0) (#188)
by epepke on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 03:38:19 PM EST

I already realize that it's terribly easy for any moron with a net connection to find ways to say, "Neener neener boo-boo!" Although, I would have thought that "with U.S. arms" would have fallen under the radar of even the most microcephalic.

Any jackass can knock down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one. You might at least have mentioned Norway or Canada, both of whom have done someought.

The question is not "what country in the UN has some jackasses that can knock down a barn." The answer is already known: all of them, including the U.S.

So answer the question. What country in the UN has expended more money and effort to try to make a Palestinian state?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
how much of an effort has the U.S. made? (none / 0) (#193)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 04:21:31 PM EST

So answer the question.

I don't see how it's a relevant question.

The U.S. hasn't expended anywhere near the kind of money and effort on it that they're now proposing to spend (and have already spent) in attacking Iraq.

What country in the UN has expended more money and effort to try to make a Palestinian state?

As far as I know, at least in recent years, none.

And what country in or out of the UN has expended more effort supplying arms to the increasingly militant Israelis? Also, none.

The U.S. made its effort for negotiation, and it was good, but it seems like they weren't exactly ready to lose any lucrative arms deals over it, let alone go to war. Perfectly understandable I suppose, but it does make their agitation about Iraq look rather suspect.

[ Parent ]

OK, then (none / 0) (#195)
by epepke on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 04:51:34 PM EST

I don't see how it's a relevant question.

I don't really expect you to. The original message of this thread talked about the UN resolutions in favor of a Palestinian state, with the implied message that the U.S. is specifically ignoring them. While, the fact is that the U.S. has spent more money and effort trying to get a Palestinian state than any other UN country. But this doesn't count, I guess, because it hasn't worked. Damn the U.S. for not enforcing UN resolutions! All those other countries who didn't enforce those resolutions, either, are totally innocent.

The U.S. hasn't expended anywhere near the kind of money and effort on it that they're now proposing to spend (and have already spent) in attacking Iraq.

Yeah, and the U.S. has probably spent more on food, too. Besides, the fact that there are inspectors in Iraq today has nothing whatsoever to do with the U.S. expenditures on war. It would just have happened due to astrology or something, I guess.

As far as I know, at least in recent years, none.

Good.

And what country in or out of the UN has expended more effort supplying arms to the increasingly militant Israelis? Also, none.

Notice that the "increasingly militant" Israelis haven't invaded any large countries lately? Like they did with Egypt when the French were their primary support? Jordan, Lebanon, anyone? No, I expect not.

On my darker days, I wonder if it would serve the Middle East and the rest of the world bloody well right if the U.S. were to stop all their "support" of Israel and just let things go according to the Nu-Perfect UN Diplomacy. But then reason prevails. It's annoying, but it can't be helped.

The U.S. made its effort for negotiation, and it was good, but it seems like they weren't exactly ready to lose any lucrative arms deals over it, let alone go to war.

And, of course, we're all sure that giving up those "lucrative arms deals" which actually cost U.S. taxpayers (that's why it's called "aid") is just the right way to get the Israelis to listen to you? Because of what, all the other countries that don't have "lucrative arms deals" who have been so utterly successful in curbing Israeli aggression over the years? Like the French, maybe, or assorted others without "lucrative arms deals" that haven't gotten anything settled either?

Perfectly understandable I suppose, but it does make their agitation about Iraq look rather suspect.

"The U.S. agitation about Iraq looks rather suspect" I can deal with. "The UN has resolutions on a Palestinian state and there isn't one so the U.S. ignores UN resolutions," however diplomatically put, is just so much pablum down the bib.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
yes, okay. (none / 0) (#198)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 05:40:01 PM EST

Notice that the "increasingly militant" Israelis haven't invaded any large countries lately? Like they did with Egypt when the French were their primary support? Jordan, Lebanon, anyone? No, I expect not.

Egypt? In the 1950's you mean? If you want to go back that far in history then it could be argued that the U.S. has worked against a Palestinian state as often as it's worked for it, right? Not that I see this as "hypocrisy" myself, but I suppose that's where the the sentiments described in the original post come from.

Sorry about the "lucrative arms deals" comment, that was stupid, though in a way irrelevant to what I was saying.

"The U.S. agitation about Iraq looks rather suspect" I can deal with. "The UN has resolutions on a Palestinian state and there isn't one so the U.S. ignores UN resolutions," however diplomatically put, is just so much pablum down the bib.

Fine. How about simply "The fact that there are UN resolutions about it has nothing to do with the U.S. motivation for re-making Iraq."

[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#199)
by epepke on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 06:14:59 PM EST

Egypt? In the 1950's you mean? If you want to go back that far in history then it could be argued that the U.S. has worked against a Palestinian state as often as it's worked for it, right? Not that I see this as "hypocrisy" myself, but I suppose that's where the the sentiments described in the original post come from.

Fine, though the modern concept of "Palestine" isn't really older than 1967. Before that, we're basically talking Jordan with a bit of Lebanon thrown in for good measure. As far as older notions of Palestine go, I think the Boomer Bible said it best: "After World War II, the Hebrews decided to move back to Israel,/Or Zion,/Or Palestine,/Or Whatever it was,/Which caused problems,/Because Canaan was this really beautiful land,/Full of sand,/Which is why all the Arabs feel like they just can't live without it,/Since it goes great with all the other lands in the near east,/Which are also full of sand,/As well as oil,/Which causes problems too."

Fine. How about simply "The fact that there are UN resolutions about it has nothing to do with the U.S. motivation for re-making Iraq."

Sure, fine. No problem. I don't think that Colin Powell's assertions about the viability of the UN are really true to the heart of the Bush admininstration. I do hear Tony Blair talking about it all the time. And still, it may be an issue, even though it isn't a primary motivation. After all, do you really care that three-phase alternating current was the result of the mental illness of a Serb obsessive-compulsive who had a fascination for the number 3? The stuff works anyway.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
ha. 3-phase AC. (5.00 / 1) (#201)
by sfenders on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 07:32:38 PM EST

After all, do you really care that three-phase alternating current was the result of the mental illness of a Serb obsessive-compulsive who had a fascination for the number 3? The stuff works anyway.

Sure, it works great, but half his ideas, uh... didn't. Wouldn't exactly want to put him in charge of the foreign policy of a heavily-armed nation-state. Let's hope whatever mad genius schemes Bush and Blair are plotting don't blow out any transformers.

[ Parent ]

The US supplies both... (4.00 / 1) (#209)
by divinus on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 03:03:31 AM EST

...sides quite often. =) It's nothing new.

-----
Amount the U.S. Agency for International Development spent to build Bethlehem University's Millennium Hall : $1,200,000

Months after the building's inauguration in December that Israel used three U.S.-made missiles to destroy it : 2.5
Source: Amnesty International (London) / Harper's research
-----

Harper's index [harpers.org] says it most eloquently I think.



[ Parent ]
When it comes to the resolutions.... (5.00 / 2) (#197)
by akma on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 05:39:15 PM EST

It would help if they would mention the types of resolutions involved and what the difference is between them now and then in the media. Most if not all the ones telling Israel to do this or that, or about a palestinian state are Chapter 6 resolutions. Resolutions of that type do not allow for the use of force or sanctions. They're little more than political statements with no teeth as they are not legally binding and have no method of enforcement besides talking. The target has to agree and willingly follow them. If they don't agree, nothing can really be done under the authority of the resolution.

 The ones concerning Iraq are Chapter 7 resolutions that do allow for the use of force and sanctions. They are also legally binding. Roughly 27 of this type apply to Iraq currently and can legally be enforced by way of force and/or sanctions.

 It would help if the media would insert this kinda stuff into more of their stories when they mention resolutions. As it is now, far too many people seem to think all resolutions are somehow equal. Then you have all the groups out there with various agendas who intentionally fail to mention the difference as doing so would undermine the propoganda value of their statements.


__
Those in the world shouting "Yankee go home" should bear in mind that the people of the South have been saying the same thing for over 100 years now, but the damned bastards won't leave.
[ Parent ]

...I had no idea... (4.00 / 1) (#200)
by pfooosk on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 07:02:20 PM EST

"As it is now, far too many people seem to think all resolutions are somehow equal."

This is why I'm not published in national reviews and other stately magazines. I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about : )

On the other hand, when I wrote this comment, I was referring to the administration's use of the, "UN Resolution" as a spin tool. I didn't know that there were different models or, "Chapters" of resolution that applied differently. 'Course, Chapter 6 or 7, not many pay much attention to Resolutions in general.

And this from someone who was in Model UN... Ouch...

And as for the other comments to how much money has been expended in the creation of a Palestianian state; uh, not much if you're looking at the US donations in the billions to Israel... Some, if you look at the money donated to Egypt, though that's probably questionable.

pfooosk, inc.
[ Parent ]
Resignation vs. Firing (1.00 / 1) (#191)
by mmuskratt on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 04:07:46 PM EST

Anyone else notice how many people are resigning their posts lately?  It used to be that the Republican party fired their employees after they did the dirty work in the name of Freedom...at least under Reagan.

Maybe that is the difference in compassionate (none / 0) (#203)
by michaelp on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 08:25:01 PM EST

conservatives: resignation in disgust rather than unexplained termination?


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
negotiate a Palestinian state? (1.00 / 2) (#192)
by mmuskratt on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 04:18:57 PM EST

It seems to me that the US doesn't want a Palestinian state, they want to appease the Arab countries that supply us with oil...hence, it is worth a lot of money to them to maintain Israel/Palestine relations for as long as they can.  If Israel buckles under the pressure of their neighbors, then we lose an important pipeline to the Meditteranean, and an ally that is not on our Axis of Evil list.  The Arabs would then have complete control of the Middle East, and tribal fighting would continue over the oil resources...we would just be at the mercy of a Muslim-dominated territory.  Funny how Islam rests primarily on oil-rich land, isn't it?

Diplomat Kiesling to Secretary Powell: Dear Mr. Secretary... | 227 comments (212 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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