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[P]
Attacking Iraq: Myth and Reality

By wji in Op-Ed
Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:38:25 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

In the United States there is currently a debate over the methods and extent of military action to be taken against the Iraqi regime. This debate is constrained very narrowly, and all sides accept certain presuppositions which are not discussed. Both sides agree that Hussein is a dangerous menace developing weapons of mass destruction and the United States plans to restore democracy, or at least a more moderate leadership, in order to enhance stability and protect America and her allies from attack.

The problem is that virtually every claim about Iraq made by the Bush administration and its compliant "opposition" is an outright lie.


Weapons of Mass Destruction

Bush's story: Saddam Hussein was never disarmed. "The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade...This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world...By seeking weapons of mass destruction, [Iraq] poses a grave and growing danger."

Reality: By 1997 the inspectors tasked with destroying Iraq's nuclear program had demolished more than 50,000 square metres of laboratory space and 1,900 pieces of equipment. They reported that "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance." [IAEA]

By 1996, over 480,000 litres of live chemical weapons agent, 28,000 chemical munitions and approximately 1.8 million litres, and over 1 million kilograms of some 45 different precursor chemicals and a variety of production equipment had been destroyed by UNSCOM inspectors. [UNSCOM]

According to the former head of the UNSCOM inspection team, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel and registered Republican, by 1998 "we could account for 90 percent to 95 percent of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, versus the 100 percent required by the Security Council". Ritter believes the remaining 5 to 10 percent were destroyed by Iraq and their existence denied. In any case, he says, the chemical and biological agents in question would have been rendered useless by natural decay by now. [RealAudio]

The Bush regime has not presented evidence regarding Iraq's weapons capabilities, either to the UN or, according to a TIME article, to its own Congress. [TIME]

United Nations Action on Iraq

Bush's Story: The UN has failed to deal with Iraq, allowing it to defy the world without punishment. It needs to "grow some backbone", and "will either be able to function as a peacekeeping body as we head into the 21st century, or it will be irrelevant, and that's what we are about to find out."

Reality: United Nations sanctions on Iraq, now in their twelfth year, have been absolutely crushing to the country. Mortality rates in the country skyrocketed during the 1990s, accounting for a half a million more deaths than would be otherwise expected among children under 5. The Executive Director of UNICEF said that "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war." [UNICEF]

Dennis Halliday, former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, resigned after thirteen months, calling the sanctions "genocide". He rejects the argument that the oil-for-food program could care for the Iraqi people, pointing out that the approximate amount provided amounts to less than ten dollars a month per person. He rejects the claim that Hussein is deliberately withholding aid, pointing out that before the war his Ba'ath party provided the best health care in the Arab world. His succsessor Hans van Spoeneck resigned for similar reasons.

Far from being "spineless", UN -- really US -- policy towards Iraq has been indescribably harsh and will be remembered, if there is ever an honest accounting, as one of the great atrocities of history.

Objectives

Bush's Story:Iraq must comply with UN resolution and allow inspectors back in. "This is deemed to be such an important issue and such an important problem that we will address [it] by ourselves if we have to."

Reality: It is a logical impossibility that the US is actually concerned over Iraqi chemical weapons, given that when Hussein most certainly did posess them and repreatedly used them the US continued to support him in his aggressive war against Iran.

The United States government has repeatedly stated that its objective is "regime change" in Iraq. It refuses to allow lifting of UN sanctions in exchange for compliance on weapons of mass destruction, which makes the US, not Iraq, the country violating resolution 687 which calls for "review" of the sanctions "on a regular basis...taking into account Iraq's compliance with the resolution and general progress towards the control of armaments in the region". (paragraph 28) [ Resolution 687]

Unilateralism

Bush's Story: Bush's recent speech to the General Assembly shows his commitment to multilateral action on Iraq, not unilateralism.

Reality: The Administration has made it extremely clear that it will be attacking Iraq regardless of the United Nations. Bush has declared that the UN must comply with his policies or it will be "irrelevant". The speech was a gesture to allow American liberals to act as if they had courageously opposed Bush and won important concessions, while in reality it represented no changes at all from the previous agenda.

Conclusion

America's attack on Iraq is being driven by three factors: the "full spectrum dominance" ideology of the Bush regime, domestic American politics, and the desire to re-establish a client state in Iraq in order to control its oil supplies. It is unlikely that the UN will stop the American attack, therefore it rests on the citizens of America to restrain their leaders or act as accomplices to aggression.

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Poll
Iraq?
o Why haven't we bombed them already! Come on! 7%
o We need to act quickly unless Saddam complies. 7%
o We should act if we can obtain UN authorization. 8%
o Unless there's proof of Iraqi WMD, we have no justification. 11%
o Unless Iraq actually attacks someone, or is obviously about to, we have no justification. 31%
o How about Saddam pull a "regime change" in Washington? 33%

Votes: 163
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o [IAEA]
o [UNSCOM]
o According
o [RealAudio ]
o [TIME]
o [UNICEF]
o rejects
o resigned
o [ Resolution 687]
o Also by wji


Display: Sort:
Attacking Iraq: Myth and Reality | 469 comments (435 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
Another big giveaway (4.13 / 22) (#1)
by Stick on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:46:46 AM EST

Have you noticed the timing. Saddam conviently becomes a threat just after operations in afghanistan have slowed down, and he will be capable of launching nukes, within a few months, which just happens to be the amount of time it will take to start a war on them, and don't forget we have September 11th in the middle of this. If these are saddams military tactics I'm surprised he's managed to retain control of the country for so long.

And again I ask, where's the evidence?


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n

Taking on Any Oppponent not the Same as All (3.50 / 4) (#24)
by HidingMyName on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:30:54 AM EST

The U.S. has a good chance of succesfully baattling (from the U.S. point of view) any opponent in the world today (some would give us a very hard time, e.g. England, India, China, Russia, Japan) but the U.S. cannot deal with every opponent (due to resource constraints). This may be why IRAQ is being handled after Afghanistan is slowing down. By the way, I do NOT think the U.S. is done in Afghanistan/Pakistan (high ranking Taliban and Al Qaeda are still unaccounted for).

[ Parent ]
You miss the point (3.66 / 3) (#39)
by Stick on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:28:26 AM EST

The point is that Saddam has become a threat at this time according to Blair and Bush. They have tried to tell us that we have a timeframe of months in which to prevent Saddam from building nuclear weapons. The timing of this is suspiciously convenient. Why wasn't he a threat 6 months ago? Why not 5 years ago? Why do we only have a few months in which to act?


---
Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
[ Parent ]
Perhaps recent intelligence reports have new data? (4.50 / 4) (#69)
by HidingMyName on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:29:14 PM EST

The point is that Saddam has become a threat at this time according to Blair and Bush. They have tried to tell us that we have a timeframe of months in which to prevent Saddam from building nuclear weapons. The timing of this is suspiciously convenient. Why wasn't he a threat 6 months ago? Why not 5 years ago? Why do we only have a few months in which to act?
Iraq has a documented history of chemical weapon usage (against Iran). While I wish that we had a better relationship with Iraq, they have not complied with the terms of surrender. As the victors, we thought carefully about the terms of surrender since we feared acts of mass destruction enabled by chemical/biological and/or nuclear weapons. It is the responsibility of the U.S. and the U.N. to enforce the terms of surrender as needed. The U.N. sanctions are not likely to ever bring about compliance with the terms of surrender. Now Bush and Blair both claim that there is serious risk of danger in the next few months after years of non-enforcement of inspections and destructions of weapons production systems. It is plausible that there has been weapons production facilities built in Iraq during this time and that weapons construction may be nearing completion. Perhaps Iraq stepped up its efforts after September 11, since the U.S. and U.N. was distracted. If the U.S. or U.K. has the means to detect weapons construction sites, they are not obliged under the terms of surrender to disclose how they discovered it or what they know. So tell me what the U.S. should do in this situation? Call a cop? Oops, The U.S. is the Cops, when the U.N.does "Peacekeeping" U.S. forces make up the bulk of the troops.

[ Parent ]
Or Perhaps Not (5.00 / 1) (#262)
by czolgosz on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:15:15 AM EST

Pat Moynihan did an analysis a few years ago of the effectiveness of the CIA, and found that, secret information or not, they didn't find out anything that wasn't already available from public sources (academia and the press). Or at least, if they did, that it wasn't significant enough to influence policy (i.e., more of the same, or irrelevant data like what brand of coffee Chirac drinks).

9/11 showed that, even when information was available to the intelligence agencies, they couldn't discern it from background noise or subject it to analysis that allowed them to respond appropriately.

Both these are strong evidence that secret government is a means of avoiding accountability, not of making better decisions.

And I fully concur with the other posters who observe that, if the US has suddenly abandoned the Bush administration's unilateralism and has finally acquired an interest in enforcing UN resolutions, we should do so even-handedly. It should, for example, be possible to persuade Israel to comply with several without our having to invade them: just threatening to cut off a few billion dollars in aid might help to concentrate their attention. Unless, of course, Bush is such a hypocrite that he only cites US resolutions when it suits him to do so, and ignores the rest...?
Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
Beer. (o/t) (none / 0) (#274)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:51:41 AM EST

what brand of coffee Chirac drinks
Beer. Chirac drinks beer, not coffee. Which explains a lot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Sometimes it pays to have a secret (none / 0) (#390)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:38:53 PM EST

Your remark:
Both these are strong evidence that secret government is a means of avoiding accountability, not of making better decisions.
has a kernel of truth, but the evidence does not quite support the conclusion. While open government is generally preferable, in anti-terrorist actions it may be that open government grants the terrorist the initiative rendering the governance ineffective.
Pat Moynihan did an analysis a few years ago of the effectiveness of the CIA, and found that, secret information or not, they didn't find out anything that wasn't already available from public sources (academia and the press). Or at least, if they did, that it wasn't significant enough to influence policy (i.e., more of the same, or irrelevant data like what brand of coffee Chirac drinks).
I'm not sure Moynihan had all the information available to the president (after all he is head of the executive branch, so he has many more sources of intelligence than the CIA or FBI).
9/11 showed that, even when information was available to the intelligence agencies, they couldn't discern it from background noise or subject it to analysis that allowed them to respond appropriately.
This is a big problem (not just in intelligence circles but in general because current technology allows data acquisition at rates exceeding our ability to analyze it.) Disclosing our information can provide our opponents a sense of how we got the information and what analysis techniques we used. Moynihan's remarks that much of the information seemed irrelevant could reflect the difficulty of doing proper analysis of the data.

[ Parent ]
open government is always better (5.00 / 1) (#400)
by martingale on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:23:10 PM EST

Remember that the beneficiaries of government must be the people, unless you are talking about a dictatorship of some ruling class.

Open government is always preferable simply because by being open, mistakes (which always occur) can be addressed and solved more readily. Think of it this way: if you have a handful of high officials trying to solve a problem, they will always perform worse than if you have a much larger number of people (which includes those officials, hence everything they can come up with) discussing and finding ways to solve the problem.

When you have a whole population able to deal with security issues, the terrorist's initiative is much more limited than when they're up against a couple of thousand civil servants.

The idea that some government decisions and policies should be kept secret is only appropriate if the government players consider the wider nation as adversaries, tools or nuisances. In each case, that government no longer works for the people it governs.

I'm not sure Moynihan had all the information available to the president
This is a problem isn't it? If it was clear from the beginning that he didn't have all the information and wouldn't get it, then his analysis was just a waste of taxpayers' money.

Disclosing our information can provide our opponents a sense of how we got the information and what analysis techniques we used.
The benefit of disclosure is that any member of the wider community can also get a sense of the techniques used and point out the weaknesses a potential terrorist is likely to turn to given this same information. Here's a simple calculation to do: for each terrorist thinking about how to bypass security, there might be a CIA agent thinking like that terrorist, but there's at least a hundred members of the community who could and would think about this as well if they had the information. Clearly those people would come up with possible terrorist plots much faster and comprehensively than that lone CIA agent. Why is this potential not tapped? All it needs is full disclosure.

[ Parent ]
Security Can Benefit From Secrets (none / 0) (#424)
by HidingMyName on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:27:43 AM EST

The U.S. practices Representative Democracy NOT Absolute Democracy. Thus our citizens are in the decision making loop at election time, but not at every step of the way. As such there needs to be a balance between disclosure (for open governance) and secrecy (for security reasons). Another non-security related issue is that the amount of data gathered is overwhelming, and if they reported it to you, it would arrive at a rate faster than you could analyze it. Summarization is critical.

Suppose I agreed when you said

The benefit of disclosure is that any member of the wider community can also get a sense of the techniques used and point out the weaknesses a potential terrorist is likely to turn to given this same information. Here's a simple calculation to do: for each terrorist thinking about how to bypass security, there might be a CIA agent thinking like that terrorist, but there's at least a hundred members of the community who could and would think about this as well if they had the information. Clearly those people would come up with possible terrorist plots much faster and comprehensively than that lone CIA agent. Why is this potential not tapped? All it needs is full disclosure.
Suppose that we took that approach to weapons design or your bank account number? Why not disclose everything? Suppose the Manhatten Project published their findings during WWII, after all millions of people can often solve a problem faster than a few hand chosen people, right? Perhaps you will claim that is different, since we are talking about intelligence data, not research. However, even in that case, suppose the work at Bletchley Park (the people who broke the Enigma encryption during WWII) was made public (not the mechanism, but the decoded messages). The Germans would have changed their keys more frequently and adopted a harder encryption scheme. Disclosing means telling the enemies something that they can often use to their advantage. I do not think that after disclosure that the intelligence methods will continue to work.

[ Parent ]
whose security though? (none / 0) (#437)
by martingale on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:31:28 PM EST

The U.S. practices Representative Democracy NOT Absolute Democracy. Thus our citizens are in the decision making loop at election time, but not at every step of the way.
I don't really disagree with you there. Open government is a question of transparency, and does not specify a protocol for the interaction between the governing and the governed.

What all types of democracies share in common though is the idea that government is for the benefit of the governed. This means that governments which act in their own interest are perverting democracy. Disclosure must be for the benefit of the governed, even at the expense of the governing body, and security must be for the benefit of the governed, even at the expense of the governing body.

The Manhatten Project is actually a bad example to support in your case, since the nuclear weapons' role is as a deterrent. So publishing the scientific findings widely would have (1) promoted further research and possibly speeded up the development, and (2) advertised to the Axis the advanced state of the nuclear weapons development, its potential power, and the state of readiness to deployability. In the case of Japan, widely distributed information might have precluded their use for demonstration purposes.

The other counterexamples are better, but note that I'm arguing for openness in government. Since the example of account numbers is for the benefit of an individual, there is a difference. Do you believe in undisclosed hidden bank accounts for government organizations to use as they see fit?

The Enigma example is good. I can only say that, within the context of our discussion, it suggests an adversarial system wherein the government is acting in its own interest to the detriment of the people, which are treated as an enemy.

[ Parent ]

I'm not quite in agreement with you (none / 0) (#438)
by HidingMyName on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:54:21 PM EST

What all types of democracies share in common though is the idea that government is for the benefit of the governed.
Correct, this is very nicely stated! However, in our scenario the terrorists are not among "the governed". When it comes to security, transparency can be fatal.

I must take exception to your analysis of the Manhatten project. If those plans were disclosed, our opponents might have taken that knowledge, secretly done the finishing touches on the research and scooped us. It would have accelerated the development time, but the odds of us being first would have been very weak. Furthermore some of our allies were not all sweetness and light. Could you imagine if Stalin was the only leader with access to nuclear weapons?

For the same reason you don't want personal bank account numbers made public, government bank account numbers should be kept secret. If the existence and the amount of funds in the accounts is public information, that is a different story.

The real problem is disclosure of secrets weakens security. I like open government, but the actions of bad people make secrets necessary. Security is a necessary but unpleasant fact of life.

[ Parent ]

of course you know this means war :-) (none / 0) (#446)
by martingale on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 07:05:11 AM EST

I must take exception to your analysis of the Manhatten project. If those plans were disclosed, our opponents might have taken that knowledge, secretly done the finishing touches on the research and scooped us. It would have accelerated the development time, but the odds of us being first would have been very weak. Furthermore some of our allies were not all sweetness and light. Could you imagine if Stalin was the only leader with access to nuclear weapons?
This is very debatable I think. The theory and basic plans for nuclear bombs have been available publicly for ages, but that hasn't helped all nations that want them from building the bomb. Besides the plans, there's the need for an appropriate infrastructure to build and test the results.

It's no coincidence that the US and Britain carpet bombed first and foremost all the factories and industrial complexes in Germany they could find. Germany was in the race too, but even if it had solved the problems faster than Oppenheimer and co., it would have needed those facilities to build their bomb. By not being in imminent danger on American soil, the United States had an immense advantage.

By the way, it is also true that the secret of the Manhatten project was predicted by British physicists. In one of the courses on fluid dynamics I took at university, we were presented with photocopies of a series of british classified papers dating back to the very early 40s. The author, a Fellow of the Royal Society whose name escapes me, had calculated the effects of a nuclear blast using a technique known as "dimensional analysis". Around 1944 he attended a US briefing, without technical details, on Project Manhatten, he estimated the energy released and other variables in his head during the talk, by plugging constants into his simple formula developed a few years earlier. Apparently, this caused a small commotion at the end of the talk because his estimates were sufficiently accurate that the US delegation thought there had been spying going on.

The Russians did obtain the bomb through spying, though, while the French developed it on their own.

For the same reason you don't want personal bank account numbers made public, government bank account numbers should be kept secret. If the existence and the amount of funds in the accounts is public information, that is a different story.
I think what you are really arguing for here is not secrecy, but authentication. The account numbers and the existence of the accounts are irrelevant if there is a solid authentication mechanism to ensure only authorized persons can access the funds. This is compatible with disclosure.

The real problem is disclosure of secrets weakens security. I like open government, but the actions of bad people make secrets necessary. Security is a necessary but unpleasant fact of life.
I still think this has to be balanced with the benefits of disclosure, which can also *increase* security. It is too easy for a handful of individuals to overlook something which is glaringly obvious to the rare outsider. The comp.risks digest is full of such examples, and that's just computer related.

[ Parent ]
Rabbit Season, no Duck Season ... :-) (none / 0) (#456)
by HidingMyName on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 06:37:45 PM EST

Dimensional analysis is a good technique. I use it and so do my students.

Regarding Authentication, the way it works is that the parties who participate in the protocol have a shared secret (or parts of a shared secret), in cryptographic approaches, this is called the key . If the key is divulged then the secret is broken (in public-key/private-key, the private key must not be divulged, except possibly to a certificate authority).

Regarding your sensible call for balance, I agree. Real security is a pain in the ... However, when you need it, you need it.

[ Parent ]

But he was a threat then (4.00 / 1) (#225)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:46:49 AM EST

The US felt that Al Qaeda was more of a threat. Now that the threat from Al Qaeda is lessened, Iraq is, relatively, more of a threat.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
I doubt you need evidence (4.14 / 7) (#52)
by mami on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:13:47 PM EST

1.)

There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein is determined to send a nuclear missile right now to the US or to Israel without any further event that might trigger him to react that way. If he were able to do it, which we don't know, of course, as of now.

But that is not what really counts in the decision to take actions against him, if he would not comply with a UN security council resolution, and there would nobody there to enforce that resolution.

2.)

If you look at the potential danger of a man, regime or cult, you have to look about the _threshold_ of that regime to use "terror and murder" to accomplish their goals, not only the _underlying causes_ they use to _justify_ their _wars_ with.

Osama and Hussein were on opposite ends of the scale to justify their intentions to murder and kill their "enemies". They do have though a _similar absolute value_ of being a danger to the world community, even if they come from opposite directions.

3.)

Osama came up with a "religiously based fight against the evil-doers of the Western culture and the Americans, supporting the heroic efforts of his followers up to and including the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom".

Because his justifications were based on "religious beliefs" (or at least he abused religious beliefs of others), his fight is not only completely unacceptable, but truly dangerous, because nothing is more dangerous than using your faith to your God to justify killing your fellow man.

4.)

Saddam's low threshold to kill anybody, who doesn't agree with him using his power in his absolute totalitarian police state, reveals an emotionally tortured man with a psychopathology that has lead him to be viewed as completely unaccountable dictator with a Hitleresce-like vigor and ego problem. It would be unacceptable to belittle this and overlook it.

5.)

Why would I care if anybody would get gassed or killed, because an Osama follower attacks, for example, in a subway with some chemical weapon in the US, Europe or Asia, or if Saddam attacks him, because he is member of the US military, happens to live in Israel or wherever is a regime that Saddam doesn't like?

6.)

I don't care one bit. Both is unacceptable.

7.)

So, if you can't avoid that both Saddam and Osama spread out their propaganda that incites and supports any lunatic to use those weapons, you have to take care that they stop it.

Colin Powell said it quite well today on "Meet the Press". No sane person would ever want to go into a war, unless it is absolutely unavoidable. There are though times it might become unavoidable. Bless those who try hardest to do everything humanely and diplomatically possible to avoid those times.

You should listen to Colin Powell. He is the only one in the administration, who actually gives answers to questions so many have.

[ Parent ]

Powell and Bush (3.50 / 4) (#67)
by demi on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:25:30 PM EST

You should listen to Colin Powell. He is the only one in the administration, who actually gives answers to questions so many have.

But beacuse of Bush's inability to clearly articulate the most basic and resonant arguments of his administration, those unanswered questions lead to fear, anger, and more questions. Really, a few clear words of reassurance to our important allies would be so simple and effective. Until Bush came along, I never fully appreciated the value of eloquent and attentive speaking on the part of the President; it's a personal flaw that puts the entire world on alert constantly.

[ Parent ]

very true ... (none / 0) (#199)
by mami on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:19:55 AM EST

I never said that I appreciate the way President Bush talks. He can fluently and freely and "convincingly" talk only about one issue, and that is going to war against the evil-doers. Everything else has to be written for him to come out in a way that it doesn't scare half the globe and doesnt' insult the other half the globe's intelligence.

The problem seems to be that a couple of his advisers seem to be happy about this. It serves their bizarre motivations.

All others most probably can't wait til the whole "spook" is over. I know I can't wait. I hope it's over soon and I hope the member states of the UN know what they have to do to stop the fire from spreading.

[ Parent ]

Saddam ? Well, he's around, HE. (none / 0) (#307)
by Chep on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:11:12 PM EST

http://www.chepelov.org/cyrille/bush/

--

Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
Thucydide II, 37


[ Parent ]

Well (3.75 / 4) (#2)
by carbon on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:54:14 AM EST

You make some good points and some bad ones.

First of all, even if all weapons were destroyed as a result of inspections or decay, what's to prevent the acquisition of new weapons?

Also, regardless of the illogicality of previous US actions, that does not have any real relevance on considering any sort of action against Iraq right now. Of course, it has bearing on the fidelity of current or previous politicans, but that's another matter entirely...

However, I do agree as a whole that the Bush administration's actions lean rather on the nonsensical side. The question is: what can USians do about it? Letter writing and such are unlikely to make any difference, since preperations for an attack seem to have been made, and the degree of public support for an attack is relatively high (anyone have a decent survey result as to exactly how high?).


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
Exceedingly low (4.00 / 3) (#4)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:02:49 AM EST

Only 54 percent support for a war, and only 30 percent for unilaterial action.

So get off your defeatist intellectual ass! :) Turning off CNN is a good place to start. After that you might have to smash your television. It's a small sacrifice.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

How does CNN get their statistics? (4.50 / 2) (#5)
by kholmes on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:34:10 AM EST

I've always wondered this. CNN or Fox News or any news source might be pulling numbers out of their ass for all I know. I suspect they do actuall polls, but who do they poll? Do they only ask registered voters? people near HQ? Internet poll? I'd really be interested to know how they conduct their statistics.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
48% of all statistics... (3.66 / 3) (#20)
by PhyreFox on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:03:14 AM EST

...are made up on the spot.

[ Parent ]
Gallup + others (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:47:54 AM EST

Most polls are from Gallup, especially about the big topics. Then there are various corporate polling companies. We're polled quite heavily in this society so that business and government can design their propaganda properly.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Infrastructure (none / 0) (#38)
by DarkZero on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:28:23 AM EST

First of all, even if all weapons were destroyed as a result of inspections or decay, what's to prevent the acquisition of new weapons?

The complete lack of a chemical weapons infrastructure that was constructed almost entirely before strict United Nations economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq. And those economic sanctions shouldn't be scoffed at the way most people do, either. According to the print issue of Time magazine about two months ago, Iraq's standing army is currently one fifth the size of what it was in the Gulf War, despite reports that a very large amount of Iraq's economy goes into troops, tanks, and anti-air missile defenses.

[ Parent ]

Good Sources (1.00 / 10) (#3)
by medham on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:00:07 AM EST

Claim that the U.S. is using the Iraqi invasion as a pretext for an actual invasion of Pakistan. As the only country in the region with genuine WMD (Israel and India don't count--as only Islamic-oriented civilizations would be so foolhardy to use them in a situation where American lives weren't in imminent danger), Bush's advisers have convinced him that Musharrif's dictatorial regime has to go.

Using a lightning-quick strike of the command centers in Islamabad or Istanbul or whatever the hell Pakistan's capital is, U.S. forces will gain control of the practically-broken arrows and rebuild the country according to MacArthurite principles. The RMA people have had to take saltpeter to get to sleep at night, sources close to the sheets indicate.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

whimsical fantasies (5.00 / 3) (#13)
by drquick on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:47:07 AM EST

Using a lightning-quick strike of the command centers in Islamabad or Istanbul or whatever the hell Pakistan's capital is
You really don't know what you are talking about, do you?

[ Parent ]
Well (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by medham on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:08:30 PM EST

Which is it, doc?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Islamabad (none / 0) (#160)
by drquick on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:27:13 AM EST

It's Islamabad. Istanbul is in Turky, formerly known as Constantinople. A really famous place.

You ought to know. So, what's the point in asking. You had the web at your disposal... Is there a hidden hint here?

[ Parent ]

baffling (3.75 / 4) (#22)
by akb on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:16:04 AM EST

as only Islamic-oriented civilizations would be so foolhardy to use them in a situation where American lives weren't in imminent danger What a baffling statment. Aside from the bigotry it overlooks the US use of nuclear weapons in WWII, Agent Orange in Vietnam, and depleted uranium in the Gulf War and the former Yugoslavia. Also, why would most countries want to use WMD to save American lives and not their own citizen's lives?

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Obviously (1.00 / 2) (#77)
by medham on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:08:09 PM EST

American lives were in imminent danger in all of the scenarios you mention, though the depleted uranium shells are spurious.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Pakistan. (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by /dev/trash on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:52:34 PM EST

Well if maybe perhaps Pakistan had a real election, sometime before now and their next coup, things would be different.  Musharraf came into power at a very lucky time.  Otherwise he'd be gone now. ( yeah I believe that when the US makes you an ally, they 'help' in certain ways, such as getting rid of certain opponents.)


---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
What I want to know (4.30 / 10) (#6)
by kholmes on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:42:05 AM EST

Why are we, a country way on the other side of the world, so worried about Saddam having weapons of mass destruction? Wouldn't the other nations surrounding Iraq be the ones more upset and asking for the US's help?

And thats my problem. Even if everything Bush says is true, our involvement *still* doesn't make any sense because we seem to have less at stake then many of the "neutral" countries.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.

Yeah (3.80 / 5) (#45)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:46:09 AM EST

If Iraq really did have WMD and intend to use them, you'd find out when the first Israeli nukes started going off above Baghdad.

Really, the fact that we're attacking is probably the best indicator of the threat. Ever since Vietnam direct US intervention has only been trie against defenceless countries -- Haiti, Panama, Libya -- with a few exceptions where we've gone after mostly defenceless countries. We won't be attacking North Korea because they could actually put up a fight or even nuke SF.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

incorrect (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by demi on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:06:57 PM EST

Ever since Vietnam direct US intervention has only been trie against defenceless countries

There's Iraq, of course, which once had the world's fourth largest army (bigger than any of the armies in C. Europe), so it wasn't exactly defenseless.

We won't be attacking North Korea because they could actually put up a fight or even nuke SF.

Once, the North Koreans fired a missile across Japan, but they don't have any intercontinental capability AFAIK. Anyway, the obvious reason we aren't seeking further intervention in North Korea is because of its ties to Russia and especially China. Saddam has very few friends left in the world right now, considering that even Russia and France currently seem to be considering the possibility of a new UN resolution...

[ Parent ]

Not again! (none / 0) (#202)
by zocky on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:45:27 AM EST

Again this fud about Iraq's army being the 4th largest in the world.

As said before, that idea is totally incredible.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Not FUD (4.50 / 2) (#229)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:03:29 AM EST

4'th largest army. Not "Armed Forces", army. Ground troops+tanks+artillery. Army. Army is not naval forces, neither is it air forces. It is men, on the ground, with weapons. The ones you have to defeat in battle in order to win a war.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
Still (none / 0) (#366)
by zocky on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:18:16 PM EST

At least china, usa, ussr, france, india, pakistan and most likely indonesia had larger armies (don't tell me that iraqi had more conscripts, any of these countries could have many more conscripts in time of need).

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Dictionary fascism (none / 0) (#372)
by zocky on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:09:04 PM EST

Some dictionary fascism for your pleasure.
American heritage dictionary says:

ar·my, n. pl. ar·mies
1)
  a) A large body of people organized and trained for land warfare.
  b) The entire military land forces of a country.
  c) A tactical and administrative military unit consisting of a headquarters, two or more corps, and auxiliary forces.

Plus 2 irrelevant entries. Websters revised unabriged omits mentioning of land warfare completely:

  Army: 1) A collection or body of men armed for war, esp. one organized in companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, under proper officers.

Also, calling land armed forces "Army" is British and American thing. In many languages, land armed forces are called "land armed forces", and in none of those languages newspapers reported Iraq had the 4th largest land armed forces.

Even if I admit that army might mean just land armed forces, how do you compare the size of two armies? Compare their manpower? Calculate the sum of men, tanks and artillery pieces? 1 tank = x men? Or measure which one is stronger i.e. start a war?

What does the fourth largest mean at all? I think it's only a pretty stupid sound byte.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Persian Gulf Distraction (none / 0) (#396)
by kaemaril on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:13:15 PM EST

As the late, great, and VERY sorely needed right now genius Bill Hicks once said: " ... People said 'uh-uh Bill, Iraq had the fourth largest army in the world.' Yeah maybe, but you know what? After the first three largest armies, there's a real big fuckin' drop off, all right? The Hare Krishnas are the fifth biggest army in the world... and they've already got our airports."

God, we need somebody like Bill right now :(


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
uhhhhh (2.00 / 2) (#123)
by /dev/trash on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:52:55 PM EST

Oil.  Even to the ultra right-wing Bush can do no wrong people out there, it's quite obvious.  The whole region is about oil.

But hey, I see the Sauds are falling in line now saying "Get UN approval and you can use our Air fields.  Too bad, I wanted to see the Sauds be the next to go.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#137)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:33:07 AM EST

But isn't that, you know, wrong? As in a breach of ethics?

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]
ethics? (2.00 / 1) (#275)
by /dev/trash on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:53:15 AM EST

come on it's OIL!

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
This is what you wanted to know (4.00 / 1) (#241)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:38:58 AM EST

Even after 9/11 you still have no conception of the ways mass murder can be brought to America? It's very simple: Saddam acquires or develops a nuclear weapon; Saddam loathes the US and has been in a seething rage ever since losing the Persian Gulf War; Saddam wants to hit the US with the nuke, but he has no intercontinental delivery vehicle; Saddam doesn't want the nuke traced to Iraq because he knows the end would come swiftly after that. SO, Saddam gives the nuke to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-style terrorists. They slip it into Manhattan and that's that. I'm amazed I had to spell this out for you.

[ Parent ]
Okay, but... (none / 0) (#380)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:39:26 PM EST

Okay, it seems you argue that we are more worried about Saddam than the other neighboring countries of Iraq because he is more angry at us than anyone else. I would really like to see more evidence to back this up. And is Saddam that idiotic to put his military force behind his prejudices? (but then again, is Bush?)

It all seems unlikely to me.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Why Iraq? Why now? (2.37 / 8) (#7)
by simonsays on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:05:32 AM EST

Here are my assumptions:
1) GW Bush is a bad leader and not super smart, but an excellent politician who makes decisions based purely on demographic opinion. That is, he likes to step up in front of the parade and pretend like he's leading it.
2) Osama Bin Laden is dead, and GW Bush knows it.

With these two assumptions, the actions of the President make some sort of sense, at least from a certain perspective. When GW took office, and many times since especially since 9/11 there have been media articles about how he wants to attack Iraq to avenge his father. These were just fluff articles, but Bush's team makes decisions by 'reading' the people, trying to please them by getting in front of them and taking them where they were already going. So he makes some comments about attacking Iraq and judges the reaction; the media jumps on it, and there is feedback. He makes more comments, more positive feedback. It snowballs and gets out of control.
Also, he knows that Osama is dead. If you think about it much, you will come to the conclusion that the best course of action for the US to take after capturing (and killing) Osama is staying mum, no media circus, no martyrdom. And, they can use this knowledge as a ruse to search out his supporters. So GW knows Osama is dead, so has to find something else to pump up with, and Iraq is already in the media. He jumps on it, forgetting that the people don't know that Bin Laden is gone, and that it looks very bizarre for him to change enemies so quickly without closure.

So here we are today, GW dug into a big hole because he thought war was what america wanted, when all they really wanted was gossip. He doesn't actually know how to lead, and thinks leadership is bullying, so there he is on the soapbox, trying to bully the UN and everyone else into beating up Iraq.

You need to provide support for your assertions (4.33 / 3) (#9)
by Demiurge on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:58:02 AM EST

or your argument will be completely baseless. What evidence do you have that Osama bin Laden is dead, and the White House knows it?

[ Parent ]
False Assumptions (none / 0) (#34)
by DarkZero on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:06:04 AM EST

Your assumptions, although somewhat plausible, are based on a falsehood: that Bush has recently decided to attack Iraq. Actually, "dealing with Iraq", and by that I mean "dealing with" in the "blow shit up" sense, was one of the secondary points of his campaign for the 2000 Republican primary.

Of course, that creates an entirely new, even more cynical theory: That Bush has been intent on attacking Iraq since well before he was privvy to intelligence data as the President of the United States and is thus just hellbent on killing Saddam Hussein for personal reasons that have no basis in fact or reality.

[ Parent ]

Unnecessary conspiracy (none / 0) (#83)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:42:18 PM EST

You make certain controversial assertions about supposed secret facts (bin Laden is dead) and supposed public attitudes (pro-war). Aside from the correctness or otherwise of these assertions, they are not necessary. Given the three theories raised in this debate as to why the US wants to attack Iraq:
  1. The US is genuinely concerned about Iraq acquiring WMD (the official view).
  2. The US is merely reacting to fluctuations in public opinion, unwittingly amplified by the media (your theory).
  3. The US wants to install a puppet regime to control the oil, and also to have a war with someone for political and economic benefit (the view of the main article).
Do you seriously think that your theory is a more economical and likely explanation of US policy than either 1 or 3? Bush is a bit stupid, we all agree, but not that stupid.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Budgets (3.71 / 7) (#16)
by FatHed on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:29:43 AM EST

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but here are the numbers.
US Military Budget: $420 Billion.
Iraq Military Budget: $3 Billion.

Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
In comparison... (4.20 / 5) (#21)
by PhyreFox on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:06:26 AM EST

One American dollar in America can buy a candy bar, or two, tops, provided you don't get screwed on sales tax in California.

One American dollar in any third-world country can bring food for your entire family for a day, if not a week.

[ Parent ]

Is Iraq a threat? (4.33 / 3) (#33)
by svampa on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:02:50 AM EST

According with absolute numbers, and being aware that Iraq is in the other side of the world.
Do you think iraq is a threat for USA?

I don't. I think that this attack has more to do with a pure aggression that with defense.



[ Parent ]
Wow. (none / 0) (#387)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:05:51 PM EST

I don't think Bush is scared that Saddam is going to load of boats with tanks and soldiers and the rest of the trappings of a multi-billion dollar war.  That isn't going to happen.  Frickin' obviously it's not going to happen.  Nobody is worried about that.

The weapons Bush is worried about in real life are significantly cheaper, and much easier to deploy.  Small nuclear weapons transported into the US by non-military transports.  That sort of thing.

Your comment belies a complete failure to understand the situation.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

So... (none / 0) (#427)
by zocky on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:43:37 AM EST

...what you're telling us is that a country which spends $4.2E11 on "defense" can't easily defend itself from any attack by a country which spends $3E9 on "defense"?

So if it's not working, why isn't the US spending that money on solving real-world problems, like the ones that allow extremists organisations to actually recrute hundreds of people desperate enough to die for the cause. Interestingly enough there are no suicide bombings in Sweden.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#430)
by jmzero on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 02:52:28 PM EST

If the US didn't have a substantial conventional military, then who would we blame for not solving all the world's problems?

what you're telling us is that a country which spends $4.2E11 on "defense" can't easily defend itself from any attack by a country which spends $3E9 on "defense"?

Let's call this great new idea "assymetric warfare".

If the US was willing to use the same means as a guy like Saddam, then they could substantially lower their budget.  Clearing Afghanistan with nukes or chemical weapons would have been much cheaper than sending soldiers.  And you wouldn't have any pesky Afghanis to worry about after the war was over.

It would be great if defending yourself from a nuclear strike was a cheap as building a nuke.

It would be great if the US didn't need a substantial military.  It would be great if no country needed a military.  Unfortunately, that's not the way the world works right now, and no amount of platitude will change that.

why isn't the US spending that money on solving real-world problems

I'm confident that US leaders are trying to solve "real world" problems.  They actually have a lot of experience with this "real world".  You may believe that there's some solution that they're missing - and likely they are.  However, there's also a real good chance that many of the things you think are great ideas aren't.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Terrorists are like pirates (5.00 / 1) (#448)
by zocky on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:26:39 PM EST

The point is that no matter how much money you spend on defense, you won't be able to defend yourself from terrorists. It's like software pirates. You can't build a pirate-proof copy protection and you can't build a terrorist-proof defense.

As long as there is demand, there's going to be software pirates and terrorists.

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Wester weapons (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:13:21 AM EST

Yes but the weapons Iraquis buy are
bought on the global free market (coincidently
the US is the largest weapon seller).

Even the 'economy' armaments (Russian and Chinese)
still are only about 30% at most of the western.

Besides the point of an argument is the US
is going to use the equivalent of a Jackhammer
to squash a roach.
-

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Yes (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by greenrd on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:14:29 AM EST

Superficially, this is one of the things that makes Iraq an attractive target for military planners - its weakness.

Which may be true, but... you've got to consider the implications on the powder keg that is the Middle East (and I don't just mean Israel/Palestine).


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I don't understand the US adminstration (4.26 / 15) (#17)
by Gambu on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:32:34 AM EST

I have a hard time understanding the motives behind this drive to overthrough Saddam.

They started talking about weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They said Saddam has got WMD (or at least the capability to build them, I never understood quite right), therefore the international comunity must attack. But.... don't other countries have weapons of mass destruction? For example, India and Pakistan. Shouldn't the world be as worried about these 2 as it is with Iraq? Hell, for that matter the US has weapons of mass destruction. ;)

Then President Bush goes to the UN and rants that if the UN does nothing to uphold its resolutions regarding Iraq it becomes "irrelevant". Well, I agree with Mr Bush on this one. But.... wait a minute... haven't other countries ignored the UN before? Aren't there countries ignoring UN resolutions right now? (I suppose Israel/Palestine is full of such cases) Will Mr Bush propose the UN invade theses countries after dealing with Iraq? This is just the logical extention of his reasoning!!!

All this gives the impresion that the US is out to get Iraq, and it's this kind of notion that drives people to terrorism.

I am worried.
Even if Mr Bush has the best of intentions on this affair, I'm afraid the invasion of Iraq will only serve to drive people to join Al Quaeda and the like...

Motives (4.00 / 5) (#42)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:39:07 AM EST

Yeah, I listed three motivations at the end and I think they're all important. Obviously oil is a major factor; we don't need it now but at some point we will want a puppet regime in Baghdad to give us our oil. (And that, not "civilized European values", is why France is opposed -- they want their own puppet regime.) Domestic politics are a factor too -- Bush needs to keep the "War on Terror" going -- if you look at a graph of his approval, it was extremely low on S-10, shot up to near a hundred percent, and has been crawling down ever since.

I don't think you can overlook the fact that the Bush administration is composed almost entirely of sociopaths as well. Rumsfeld is an almost unrestrainiable maniac, Cheney and Rice are realpolitik types who will justify just about anything they decide to do. Powell, the administration "moderate", used to pass the time by strafing civillians from helicopters and presided over dozens of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention in Iraq, though he's a genuine coward who won't risk his precious troops. And of course Bush would press for an invasion of South Dakota if they fed him the right lines. This is a genuinely Strangelove-ian administration.

On the other hand, the public is 46 percent opposed to the war. That's an absolutely astonishing number -- I don't think it went above 30 percent in the darkest days of Vietnam. If the basic facts were available I suspect the number would be more like 80 percent.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Poll numbers (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:55:00 PM EST

Where do you get the 46% opposed from? I haven't seen a poll with those numbers. [MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/news/807985.asp] has a very recent poll that contradicts this. I quote: MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS of Americans (69 percent) now say they would support the use of military force against Iraq (26 percent do not, and 7 percent aren't sure). That's an increase of five percent from late August (though still down from 81 percent in a poll taken a month after last year's terrorist attacks). Heck, I came across a _Canadian_ poll that indicated that only 44% of _Canadians_ oppose an invasion!

[ Parent ]
Poll Numbers take 2 (3.50 / 2) (#62)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:56:24 PM EST

[Once again, K5 ate my formating choice. It used to stay where I put it, but now seems to default to HTML]

Where do you get the 46% opposed from? I haven't seen a poll with those numbers.

MSNBC has a very recent poll that contradicts this.

I quote:

MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS of Americans (69 percent) now say they would support the use of military force against Iraq (26 percent do not, and 7 percent aren't sure). That's an increase of five percent from late August (though still down from 81 percent in a poll taken a month after last year's terrorist attacks).

Heck, I came across a Canadian poll that indicated that only 44% of Canadians oppose an invasion!

[ Parent ]

Answer. (2.66 / 3) (#64)
by mideast on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:11:41 PM EST

...A recent poll on the web site antiwar.com found that 46% of its visitors oppose war with Iraq...
And then "visitors" was changed to "Americans" to get a number that better expressed the idea that the author was trying to get across.

Well, I made that story up, but something similar was probably done to get that number, if it wasn't pulled straight from someone's ass.

[ Parent ]

Data from Gallup. (3.50 / 2) (#71)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:35:36 PM EST

Here's  a gallup press release from before Bush's speach to the U.N.

[ Parent ]
K5 trouble, more discussion of gallup report. (4.50 / 2) (#73)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:41:44 PM EST

I'm having a lot of K5 trouble. This posted before it was done.

The interesting bits are that the lowest numbers they give for attacking Iraq is 51% but this is for sending in ground troops. That may mean that even more support war, as long as there isn't excessive use of ground troops.

This is also before Bush made his case to the U.N.

The numbers are higher today.

So what exact poll say 46% opposed? When was it done, and what exactly was the question that 46% say no to?

[ Parent ]

As long as its not them... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:09:43 AM EST

"A number of polls conducted in recent weeks have confirmed the basic finding that a majority of Americans -- between 51% and 64% -- support the concept of U.S. military action in Iraq in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power. "

As long as its not their son thats going to
come back in the body bag its fine with them.

As long as its not their family thats going
to burn alive because of collateral damage
they support it.

What the poll actually says is;
"A number of polls conducted in recent weeks have confirmed the basic finding that a majority of Americans -- between 51% and 64% -- are incapable of making their mind up on their own
instead using the prefabricated regime propaganda
of FOX NEWS and (to a lesser degree) CNN. "
-

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Unrestrainiable maniac? (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:42:15 PM EST

Rumsfeild an unrestrainiable maniac? I think not. Until recently, the funniest man in American government, James Traficant, was a certifiable loon, but now that he is gone Rumsfield holds the title of undisputed funniest man in government. He has a way with a phrase and is sometimes painfully honest.

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


[ Parent ]
More polls: TIME magazine (none / 0) (#124)
by nonsisente on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:55:58 PM EST

Recent poll by TIME:

Should the U.S. attack Iraq?

- Yes  16.9%
- No   83.1%

http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020513/index.html

[ Parent ]

nevertheless (none / 0) (#271)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:39:13 AM EST

the bottom line is: yer whacked out, Bush is right and Saddam will soon be history.

[ Parent ]
Iraq vs India and Pakistan (4.20 / 10) (#55)
by khallow on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:42:32 PM EST

I think the big difference is that Iraq appears to have much broader territorial ambitions than either India or Pakistan, and much less ethic quibbles about using any tools possible to achieve those objectives.

For example, Iraq has invaded two of it's neighbors (Iran and Kuwait) in the last twenty or so years. Further, these were major wars for the time period (other wars of similar scale being the Afghanistan war and the Rwanda and Congo civil wars). I'm not sure how many people died in the above wars, but it's probably in excess of a million people.

Iraq's ambitions are pretty clear, to dominate the entire Middle East through military power. To this end, Iraq had built at the time of the Persian Gulf war what was considered to be the fourth most powerful army, was within a year of building nuclear weapons, had deployable chemical weapons which it had used before, biological agents (anthrax for sure, possibly smallpox and ebola), rockets, and was working on a "space gun" which might provide it not just with the opportunity to attack fairly distant locations (like Saudi Arabia, Israel) but also launch stuff into space (it's stated purpose).

Perhaps, the leaders of India or Pakistan have similar ambitions. However, they haven't tried to carry them out - unlike Iraq. Further, as has been pointed out before, the US has big interests at stake in the Middle East.

The speculation in the original story on the extent of Iraq's WMD capability is misdirected. First, it's not clear to me why we should trust the several year old assurance from UN inspection team that all weapons have been destroyed. In particular, it seems to me to be stupidly optimistic to assume that Iraq has lost it's WMD capability particularly since it went to great lengths to retain it.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Iraq vs India and Pakistan (4.00 / 2) (#163)
by otmar on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:33:06 AM EST

For example, Iraq has invaded two of it's neighbors (Iran and Kuwait) in the last twenty or so years.

The Iran one was encouraged and supported by the US. See this newsweek article for some recent coverage.

It is quite absurd that the US is using one of Saddam's actions to justify war against him that they themselves commissioned from him in the first place.

That kind of double moral standards accounts for a lot of the anti-american sentiments.

/ol

[ Parent ]

Yes and no (5.00 / 1) (#269)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:25:37 AM EST

I have not heard any official utterance from a representative of the US government saying Iraq must be invaded because of what happened during the war with Iran; it's mostly been about kuwait, and WMD, and the kurds.

To attack 'the US' for being hypocritical because individual Americans posting on this forum believe Iran is an example of why Hussein is evil is bizarre; unless you know how that individual poster felt about the Iran-Iraq war, and US support for it, you can't reasonably accuse that individual of hypocrisy; and since the US government hasn't used that as an excuse, you can't reasonably accuse the US government of hypocrisy, either.

[ Parent ]

Another difference between Iraq and other nations (5.00 / 1) (#306)
by dachshund on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:11:11 PM EST

Not to mention that most of Iraq's aggressive actions over the past years have been driven by a totalitarian ruler, rather than any sort of overwhelming grassroots desire on the part of Iraq's people. "Regime change" all by itself wouldn't be a terrible idea for that nation, as it will probably reduce the chances of Iraq invading other nations.

Now, having made this clear, I also believe that the baggage the US will carry into the situation may actually produce a worse result than what exists now.

Of course, the situation is totally different with India and Pakistan. For one thing, the tensions between those countries would seem to exist at a deeper level. Even if someone did change the regimes in those nations, the underlying problems would still exist.

[ Parent ]

Pakistan (5.00 / 3) (#277)
by FourDegreez on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:05:49 PM EST

If all recent accounts of Pakistani demographics are to be believed, the country is teeming with terrorists and their sympathizers. Additionally, the Pakistani leadership appears to be much less stable than that of Iraq. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons. We know this as a fact. Iraq does not. So let's review

Iraq: stable government, no nukes, not teeming with terrorists.
Pakistan: unstable government, nukes, teeming with terrorists.

What logical conclusion can we come to here? That we're focused on the wrong nation at the wrong time for the wrong reasons? Saudi Arabia supplies the world with Wahabism, 15 of the 9/11 hijackers, and is a major funding ground for international terrorism. Yet, we are focused on Iraq? Why? Because GWBush has some freudian need to avenge his father?

[ Parent ]
Misleading. (3.58 / 12) (#26)
by m0rzo on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:58:58 AM EST

You say:
Reality: United Nations sanctions on Iraq, now in their twelfth year, have been absolutely crushing to the country. Mortality rates in the country skyrocketed during the 1990s, accounting for a half a million more deaths than would be otherwise expected among children under 5. The Executive Director of UNICEF said that "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war." [UNICEF]

This is true. But it also a result of the regime in place. Whilst Saddam's people continue to suffer under the guise of US-led UN sanctions, Saddam continues to build lavish palaces and live a life totally diametric to the people on the streets in Baghdad. The people of Iraq are suffering because Saddam and his regime withold any money that is going into the country. Saddam Hussein, since 1998, has been expanding his conventional army no end.

Following the passing of United Nations resolution 986 in nineteen-ninty-five, a comprehensive system of 'Oil-for-Food' has existed. Iraq agreed to this, and to date over $40billion worth of contracts for humanitarian supplies and equipment have been approved.

The people of Iraq are suffering because of Saddam and Saddam only. That's not to say that I think the UN sanctions that exist today are warranted but it's important to shatter the lie that the United Nations is responsible in whole for the deaths of countless Iraqi children.


My last sig was just plain offensive.

So, want to show any evidence? (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by kiltedtaco on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:24:11 AM EST

Please back up your comment.

[ Parent ]
Yeah sure. (4.25 / 4) (#29)
by m0rzo on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:37:03 AM EST

Thanks for the one!

United Nations Resolution 986, passed 1995, details provision of food and humanitarian aid in exchange for Iraq's providing oil worth $5.2billion every six months.

Saddam Hussein has used the oil-for-food programme not to help the Iraqi people, as it was intended, but to replenish his armed forces and live a life of luxury. Since 1990, Saddam Hussein has spent more than $2billion building Palaces and rebuilding damaged ones. Iraq has continually obstructed with the oil-for-food project and subsequently has ensured its ineffectiveness at dealing with Iraqi poverty and deprivation.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Almost (none / 0) (#392)
by kiltedtaco on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:48:25 PM EST

Ok, so you show that the oil-for-food program exists, and that Saddam has spent $2 bil on luxuries. Still no evidence of him 'obstructing' the oil-for-food program, other than your own statements.

I agree that the oil-for-food program is worthless, but not because of Saddam.  Straight from the article, http://www.cnn.com/COMMUNITY/transcripts/2001/01/16/halliday/

[ Parent ]

Do the math, jackass (1.66 / 6) (#40)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:28:56 AM EST

40 billion dollars / 22 million people / 7 years = 22 dollars per person per month.

So if we assume every dollar of every contract goes directly to the people who need it, they get to feed themselves on three Big Mac Meals a month. But it's evil Saddam's machinations, isn't it!

You might consider that Iraq had impressive social services right up to the Gulf War -- in 1990 the main childhood health problem in Iraq was obesity, today it's malnourishment.

But hey, whatever preserves your worldview.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

22 Dollars / Month (3.66 / 3) (#47)
by br284 on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:53:40 AM EST

I don't think that 22 dollars a month is enough to take care of a person for a month, but it is a pretty significant chunck of change outside the United States. Outside the United States and other Western nations, 22 dollars will go much farther than it would in the US / Europe.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Wonderful! (4.00 / 4) (#51)
by m0rzo on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:11:05 PM EST

Do you bestow everyone that happens to disagree with your view of the world with lame insults like 'jackass'? That's $22 a month per person that hasn't gone to the Iraqi people, but towards Saddam Hussein's lavish lifestyle. What the fuck are you asking for? A $10,000US per anum wage? This isn't welfare, jackass.

Like someone has already said, $22 goes a whole lot further in the third world than it does in the West. I imagine that 40 billion dollars would buy ALOT of rice, grain and that kind of stuff. Your ignorance is astounding; where does a Big Mac fit into this rubbish? Everyone knows Big Macs are overpriced shite. The price of a Big Mac will buy a big bag of rice over here in the UK.

But it's evil Saddam's machinations, isn't it! - Yes. You said it, gumbo. If you like Saint Saddam so much, go and live in Baghdad.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

"Saint Saddam" (2.66 / 3) (#58)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:19:17 PM EST

Saddam Hussein is one of the worst dictators in the world and if we actually cared we'd want to help the people he rules, not bomb and sanction the shit out of them.

Hussein had the opportunity to take all the oil revenues for himself before the Gulf War; instead he built up probably the best social services in the Gulf War (for those who didn't oppose him, of course). It would be a reversal if he started stealing all the oil-for-food money -- and for that matter, he doesn't get money, he gets medical and food supplies.

Actually, the amount of money probably isn't the problem -- everything Iraq wants has to be approved in New York City by a bunch of burecrats. You try running an economy that way.

It takes a remarkable amount of indoctrination to get someone to brand any opponent of an American policy a supporter of whoever the demon-of-the-week is. I suggest you go smash your television right now.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Wow (none / 0) (#385)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:01:07 PM EST

I think I agree with you about a lot of things, wji, but your arguing style is infuriating.

Saddam Hussein is one of the worst dictators in the world and if we actually cared we'd want to help the people he rules, not bomb and sanction the shit out of them.

Why not acknowledge that the situation is complex?  Can you imagine a situation in which invading a country to depose a "monster" of a leader would be good for the populace in general?  Can you imagine a situation in which bombs might aid in this task?

I can.  

I don't think Iraq is that kind of situation, but to pretend that the choice is between "helping the Iraqis" and "bombing them" is disingenuous.  The choice is more complicated, and many people believe that bombing them will, in a larger perspective, help them.

Why not reason about why you don't think the invasion is a good idea, instead of just waving your hands and insulting those who disagree with you?  You might actually convince someone someday.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Replace the names (2.50 / 2) (#81)
by bayankaran on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:26:21 PM EST

Whilst Saddam's people continue to suffer under the guise of US-led UN sanctions, Saddam continues to build lavish palaces and live a life totally diametric to the people on the streets in Baghdad. The people of Iraq are suffering because Saddam and his regime withold any money that is going into the country.

Replace Saddam Hussein with Mobutu Sese Seko and Zaire, Islam Karimov and Uzbekistan, any latin American/middle east monarchy/dictator present and past etc. and what do you get?

Another set of people who are 'evil'.

To make it complete there should be another small change...the word sanctions should be replaced with support.

[ Parent ]
We'll set you free, even if we kill you to do it (3.33 / 3) (#114)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:42:22 PM EST

If I may caricature this argument:

  • Pacifist: We should not go to war with Iraq because it will harm the Iraquis. Look at the last war and the sanctions.
  • Warmonger: That is Saddam's fault. He could conveniently step down, or not force his troops to fight us, and they wouldn't be harmed.
  • Pacifist: You would then happily kill thousands of US troops and civilians in order to get at Saddam?
  • Warmonger: Of course! It's a price worth paying! We need to save them from this bloody dictator. It's all his fault.

Argh! Please adopt a consistent stance. Is it the Iraqui people or Mr. Saddam that you are against? If it's Mr. Saddam (and I'm with you on that one) please send special forces to assasinate him and then support a democratic regime. Everyone would applaud. If it's the oil and you don't care for the Iraqui people, please own up. What I don't buy is this idea of "We'll kill lots of Iraqui conscripts, demolish their infrastructure, and sanction them out of basic medicine, all for their own good."

War is complex. It is almost always caused by small elites in either of the countries involved. The population is either forced or misled into fighting. If you want to fight a just war, a country is not the appropriate size of enemy, even as it may be a conveniently sized target. You have to take the trouble to attack the individuals that drive the war at the other side. This may be impossible, but it is the proper goal. Saying "I can't easily reach the enemy ruler so I'll fight their army and their citizens" is not an ethical stance.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Ooops! (none / 0) (#115)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:44:21 PM EST

Of course I meant "... happily kill thousands of Iraqui troops and citizens...". I'm sorry. It is late, I'm going to bed.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Palaces (none / 0) (#432)
by izogi on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:16:23 PM EST

Saddam continues to build lavish palaces and live a life totally diametric to the people on the streets in Baghdad.

For what it's worth, I don't think the main reason for building lavish palaces was for Saddam to live in them, although I'm sure he may have. I think that when the weapons inspectors were first let in, one of the clauses in the agreement was that palaces would not be inspected. Suddenly Iraq was building palaces-galore.

I'm not sure if this is still a clause, or if the inspectors ever worked around it. Presumably they did, because I can't imagine the UN/US allowing Iraq to get away with it in the long term.


- izogi


[ Parent ]
We've (2.66 / 3) (#28)
by Ward57 on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:36:07 AM EST

Been bombing them for the last ten years you moron first option you.

I know that (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:24:46 AM EST

But it's kind of Stalinist to put only your own opinion on an opinion poll. isn't it?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
I don't like it (3.54 / 11) (#48)
by khallow on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:54:56 AM EST

I gave it a -1 because you confuse your viewpoint with "Reality:".

Stating the obvious since 1969.

"Viewpoint" (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:13:14 PM EST

Do the UNSCOM reports look different from your "viewpoint"? Maybe your browser's broken? Or is there some kind of Magic Eye thing going on?

Look, "viewpoint" is one thing, these are facts. UNSCOM really did report those items destroyed. Scott Ritter really did say those things, Halliday and von Sponeck really did resign and they really did say those things, etc. "Viewpoint" is value judgements like morals or aesthetics. These are facts and conclusions.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

sorry, I disagree (5.00 / 3) (#75)
by khallow on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:45:01 PM EST

You are quoting facts and authority sources that fit your conclusions. This isn't "reality" despite the inclusion of facts, but merely another opinion. Plus your air of condescension is annoying. For example:

The problem is that virtually every claim about Iraq made by the Bush administration and its compliant "opposition" is an outright lie.

BTW, which of the "Bush's Story" quotes was meant to be an "outright lie"? Let's go through the list of stories:

  • Saddam Hussein was never disarmed. "The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade...This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world...By seeking weapons of mass destruction, [Iraq] poses a grave and growing danger."

    I think it's utterly foolish to assume that a WMD reduction program that ended several years ago has "disarmed" Iraq (particularly given how hard Iraq has worked to maintain its WMD program). It has substantially slowed down his rearmament program, but "disarm Iraq"? Nonsense. It's interesting that Ritter one of the key spokespeople for stating that Iraq is WMD deficient apparently has different opinions now than back in 1998 when his information on Iraq's WMD program was more up to date.

  • The UN has failed to deal with Iraq, allowing it to defy the world without punishment. It needs to "grow some backbone", and "will either be able to function as a peacekeeping body as we head into the 21st century, or it will be irrelevant, and that's what we are about to find out."

    What part of this do you disagree with? You cite evidence that the key UN tactic (economic embargos) are harsh, but the question should be are they doing the job of making Iraq less of a risk to the world or is it a feel-good substitute? That answer seems to be mixed which yields some strength to Bush's side. You also slip in an opinion:

    Far from being "spineless", UN -- really US -- policy towards Iraq has been indescribably harsh and will be remembered, if there is ever an honest accounting, as one of the great atrocities of history.

    Maybe this is true, but it's an example of confusing your opinion with reality.

  • Iraq must comply with UN resolution and allow inspectors back in. "This is deemed to be such an important issue and such an important problem that we will address [it] by ourselves if we have to."

    Ok, this looks like posturing on Bush's part to me. Bush would need to come up with a new pretext for invasion (and he probably would IMHO) if Hussein complied. I'll chalk it up as a lie. However, you insert another opinion:

    It is a logical impossibility that the US is actually concerned over Iraqi chemical weapons, given that when Hussein most certainly did posess them and repreatedly used them the US continued to support him in his aggressive war against Iran.

    So are you saying it's logically acceptable for Iraq to have WMD now? It's pretty clear to me that a lot of foreign policy (US and others) is driven by a sort of pragmatic convenience. Iraq was in the final stages of a desperate struggle with Iran and its pretty clear that the US looked the other way when the targets weren't of concern to the US (Kurd citizens and Iranian soldiers). Now the targets are likely to be US soldiers or US allies. Why is it such a mystery?

  • Bush's recent speech to the General Assembly shows his commitment to multilateral action on Iraq, not unilateralism.

    I don't see any inconsistency (certainly no "outright lies") with his actions. He's willing to do this multilaterally, but he'll do it unilaterally if the UN refuses to participate (which will probably be the case). Also, your entire response to this perceived lie is opinion not reality.


Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Reality? (3.41 / 17) (#54)
by Anatta on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 12:42:25 PM EST

First off, those numbers on deaths as a result of sancations are sketchy at best. See this to get a better idea of what the sanctions are doing (not as bad as the left suggests, but certainly not good, regardless).

Take a look at this absolutely oustanding examination of what's going on in Iraq/Kurdistan, written in the New Yorker. The article seems awfully credible, and gives names, dates, and places. It suggests Al Qaeda and Iraq are deeply intertwined with each other (the reporter even interviews Al Qaeda members captured in Kurdistan), and gives a pretty good idea of what Saddam is capable of. In many ways, reading that article has pushed me from solidly in the "dove" category much closer to the "hawk" category. It is a must read.

As for Scott Ritter, yes, he's become the left's new poster child. I haven't the slightest idea what's going on in his head, however it is very clear that his recent comments completely contradict what he said in 1997 when the facts of the Iraqi regime were freshest in his mind, and when the inspectors were last in Iraq.


My Music

Oh, LOL (3.42 / 7) (#56)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:09:39 PM EST

Is that the one where the tortured captives in a Kurdish prison swear they're al Qaeda? Would you take it seriously if, say, federal officials held captive by the Republic of Texas swore that the New World Order's black helicopters were coming in to committ genocide?

Maybe you missed it, but the "support for terror" branch of the propaganda has been abandoned by now. Here's a hint: as a secular dictator, Saddam is the kind of guy bin Laden most despises.

And no, Ritter's comments aren't contradictory. He maintains to this day that the full tally of weaponry can't be accounted for, that the Iraqis tried to cover up as much as possible, etc. Don't you think that Ritter would be hesitant to denounce his bosses while still heading UNSCOM?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Contradictions. (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:41:15 PM EST

I posted this in a diary titled "Fun with Multiple Personalities". So who said this? If deemed necessary to compel Iraq into compliance (and I believe this to be the case), then Iraq should be subjected to a major campaign that seeks to destroy the regime of Saddam Hussein. Given context, I guess I don't have to answer the question now, do I?

[ Parent ]
Contradictions, take 2. (3.50 / 2) (#60)
by sonovel on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 01:42:12 PM EST

I posted this in a diary titled "Fun with Multiple Personalities".

So who said this?

If deemed necessary to compel Iraq into compliance (and I believe this to be the case), then Iraq should be subjected to a major campaign that seeks to destroy the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Given context, I guess I don't have to answer the question now, do I?

(damn HTML formating!)

[ Parent ]

Nonsense (3.83 / 6) (#66)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 02:23:51 PM EST

And no, Ritter's comments aren't contradictory. He maintains to this day that the full tally of weaponry can't be accounted for, that the Iraqis tried to cover up as much as possible, etc. Don't you think that Ritter would be hesitant to denounce his bosses while still heading UNSCOM?

Ritter's claims after leaving UNSCOM do not match what he is claiming today. We've had this discussion before and you dropped out without accounting for the obvious discrepancies. This doesn't necessarily mean that Ritter's current position is incorrect, but at the very least you must admit Ritter cahnged his mind as to Iraqi capabilities and the appropriate response to that fact.

If you read the interview he did in 88 with PBS's newshour you'll see that presents himself as being very much in support of a hardline policy with respect to Iraq.

Here are a few of the real intersting quotes:


ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Mr. Ritter, does Iraq still have prescribed weapons?

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Iraq still has prescribed weapons capability. There needs to be a careful distinction here. Iraq today is challenging the special commission to come up with a weapon and say where is the weapon in Iraq, and yet part of their efforts to conceal their capabilities, I believe, have been to disassemble weapons into various components and to hide these components throughout Iraq. I think the danger right now is that without effective inspections, without effective monitoring, Iraq can in a very short period of time measure the months, reconstitute chemical biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles to deliver these weapons, and even certain aspects of their nuclear weaponization program.

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: And is it your contention that without a significant and realistic threat of military action, Iraq will not allow the investigations to begin again, beyond just the monitoring that's already going on?

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Well, in this I would only echo the words made by the Secretary-General and other personnel back in February, who said that you couldn't have had the February MOU without the real and credible threat of military force. That's an obvious statement. You can't expect to enforce the law unless you have the means to carry out the enforcement.


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


[ Parent ]
There's no contradiction at all (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:01:10 PM EST

You haven't presented any contradiction at all. Ritter still says Iraq could possibly re-assemble a WMD program and that UNSCOM should go back in. He says he'll support military action if Iraq is actually found to be producing WMD.

Ritter has hardly grown long hair and moved to a commune. He's just stating the obvious, that no evidece of Iraqi WMD programs have been presented. He seems to think Iraq has been disarmed and hasn't started production again, but he's repeatedly demanded UNSCOM be allowed back in.

I should say, it's pointless to talk as if the US wants UNSCOM back in. They've made it clear they intend to attack regardless of anything as long as Saddam is still there -- according to CNN's current top page, "Powell said it was too late for Iraq to negotiate terms for the return of international inspectors". So, let the inspectors back in but it's too late to let the inspectors back in, so we have to bomb you unless you let the inspectors back in. No "haggling" -- open every square inch of your country to any arbitrary people we designate as "inspectors" or we bomb. Would you accept that? Especially when the inspectors are known to have been penetrated by CIA and Mossad, and their intelligence used for assassination attempts on Hussein?

The terms are being deliberately set imposibly high in order to claim Iraq is defying us and refusing inspections so as to justify attack. This is not new -- Rambouillet Appendix B, anyone?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

maybe (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by khallow on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:24:35 PM EST

Is that the one where the tortured captives in a Kurdish prison swear they're al Qaeda? Would you take it seriously if, say, federal officials held captive by the Republic of Texas swore that the New World Order's black helicopters were coming in to committ genocide?

That indeed is the case. Perhaps you should read the story (at least the first part). The reporter in question first interviews people effected by the Iraqi chemical weapons attacks in the 80's. The claims by prisoners are pretty dubious, but the reporter doesn't claim much about their truthfulness (aside from the remark that the prisoners don't appear to be under duress), but he does record the stories as they are told fairly. I skipped over most of that since the information content was pretty small.

FWIW, it appears that appears that the Kurdish groups are attempting to present the argument that 1) Iraq has supported Al Queda for ten years including WMD information and material, and 2) in the last year, Iraq has sheltered Al Queda members and supported a militia group supposedly associated with Al Queda.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

In the future, to avoid looking like a total fool, (5.00 / 1) (#188)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:03:13 AM EST

try to read the article before you dismiss it. It notes precisely why Saddam, a product of Arab socialist nationalism, would ally himself with Islamic extremists. I'm not going to repeat it here, I'm going to make you actually read an article that does something other than unquestioningly reinforce your insipid beliefs.

[ Parent ]
It May Shatter Your Worldview, But (none / 0) (#212)
by Anatta on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:20:21 AM EST

Is that the one where the tortured captives in a Kurdish prison swear they're al Qaeda?

The article never mentioned any torture, which you'd know if you read it. The article is exceptionally detailed, with numerous eyewitness accounts recorded from one of the few reporters who actually went to the scene. You can't dismiss it as easily as you have, and you've refuted not a single actual fact.

Here's a hint: as a secular dictator, Saddam is the kind of guy bin Laden most despises.

You never studied history, did you? I suppose the US and the USSR would never work together on a common goal, now would they? By the way, the British government is about to announce what it calls the "first definitive evidence that Saddam Hussein trained some of Osama bin Laden's lieutenants as terrorists." Keep your eye out so that you can remind them that Saddam and Osama would never work together. Impossible!

Don't you think that Ritter would be hesitant to denounce his bosses while still heading UNSCOM?

I don't know what Ritter's motivation are, as I mentioned. His behavior is bizarre enough that I am forced to somewhat discount what he says, and to heavily weigh his ideas vs. some of his colleagues ideas. It could be that he's ashamed to be part of an organization that was so inept that even when it examined sites, it failed to find chemical or biological weapons. Often the only successes UNSCOM had were from people who defected from Iraq and told them what they had missed.

And if Scott Ritter appeals to you so much, why not examine what Richard Butler, the head of UNSCOM, thinks? If Scott Ritter gains credibility because he was on the inspection team, does Richard Butler not gain the same credibility?


My Music
[ Parent ]

Reality (3.28 / 7) (#84)
by Hot For The Teacher on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:46:41 PM EST

By 1997 the inspectors tasked with destroying (...)

It's great to know that everything was gone by 1997, because this means everyone's safe now. After all, Saddam couldn't have possibly manufactured biological or chemical weapons/agents in less than 5 years.

Oh wait, HE TOTALLY COULD!

Yes, he could (none / 0) (#92)
by Sleepy on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:08:45 PM EST

But we don't KNOW this, now do we? Doesn't the US have at least SOME burden of proof here?

I don't believe that we are making the world a safer place by allowing mere suspicion to be grounds for engaging in mass murder. (let's not kid ourselves here, "invasion" is merely a eufemism for killing a LOT of people)



[ Parent ]
Precisely (1.00 / 1) (#97)
by Hot For The Teacher on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:57:16 PM EST

I agree with you, but what I wanted to point out is that most articles against the war cite UN reports that are at least 5 years old.

5 years are certainly more than enough to produce biological or chemical weapons, since Iraq already detains the "technology", but authors conveniently ignore this.

[ Parent ]

Not too much (none / 0) (#93)
by svampa on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:11:14 PM EST

Building a factory in the third world is difficult. Iraq is not the old USSR, it hasn't the resources neither the technology to build a secret factory under the ground, 200 m Dept.

The proof shown by USA is a photo of a Nuclear plant that is being repared. Iraq has show that plant to international press, and they are growing mushrooms. There is no trick, they went exactly where the nuclear plant is supposed to be.

That's the ONLY proof shown so far by USA.

Where are the evidences poping everywhere of the imminent contruction/use of WMD so that a war, colateral damages, blood, destruction is so urgent?



[ Parent ]
But you don't know that, do you? (none / 0) (#98)
by Hot For The Teacher on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:59:38 PM EST

I'm also against the war if no proof is presented, but the "I don't think (...)" argument is as baseless as Bush's.

[ Parent ]
Sure, but... (none / 0) (#133)
by rantweasel on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:53:48 AM EST

But Bush has the burden of proof.  If he wants a war, he needs someone else to attack him or he needs to convince the UN & the US Congress that he is justified in attacking someone else.  

mathias

[ Parent ]

Actually, no. (none / 0) (#139)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:40:09 AM EST

The U.N. resolutions are clear in that respect. The burden of proof is on Iraq.

Try again.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Actually, yes (none / 0) (#158)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:19:55 AM EST

The 'burden of proof' only means that Iraq has to cover the costs of the inspections.

Baghdad [...] states that the new inspection body will be admitted, if 'the locations to be searched are identified and a timetable is set up and respected.' (FT, 19 March 2002, p. 11)

Not in a position to answer the questions, Mr Annan forwarded them to the Security Council. [...] Mr Annan never received any response to the questions from the Security Council. (FT, 5 July 2002, p. 10)

[ Parent ]

Cost? Who cares... (5.00 / 1) (#167)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:01:14 AM EST

Burden of proof means Iraq has to accept weapons inspections. Cost is irrelevant.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Wow (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:15:57 AM EST

Baghdad [...] states that the new inspection body will be admitted, if 'the locations to be searched are identified and a timetable is set up and respected.' (FT, 19 March 2002, p. 11)

That, of course, is a recipie for inspections that don't find anything. The only inspections that could possibly work are no notice inspections that give the people being inspected no time to hide anything that needs to be hidden.

Also, "Baghdad states"? Why should they be able to determine the composition or actions of UNSCOM?

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]

The Bush argument (3.75 / 4) (#85)
by khallow on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 03:54:53 PM EST

When Bush spoke to the UN on September 12, there was a US report issued with the speech. As far as I can tell, this report contains the full official reasons why the US is planning to invade Iraq minus any speculation on intent (more later on).

The sections cover various acts of aggression and defiance by Saddam Hussein (note that this report is targeted against the person not the country). The chapters cover many things including: defiance of UN resolutions, WMD activities, support for terrorism, and circumventing economic sanctions. I noticed that one thing is glaringly missing. The "why" of these purported activities. Ie, we have a listing of actual misdeeds without the speculation on Iraq's reason for performing these misdeeds.

Such speculation might be inappropriate for a UN document, but it seems to be a core implied part of the US's argument for invasion. Namely, Iraq is a threat to the US and to the international community because Saddam Hussein's ambitions are so broad and complete they will threaten the well-being of all. Or something to that effect.

So here is the full US case for war. FWIW, a story or two that analyzes this report fairly would get a +1 from me.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Israel Next? (3.50 / 2) (#145)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:58:55 AM EST

If the US has suddenly developed concience
are we to assume its going to prosecute
all the warmongers with weapons of mass destruction
who oppress civilians in defiance of UN motions?

If so, Isreal will be next (yeah right).

In another example of 'Do what I say not what I do'
The Bush junta is criticising Putin for making
warmongering grunts against Georgia.
Yes you guessed it, because Georgia is not
stopping those damned terrorists.

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Israel Next? (3.50 / 2) (#147)
by Wulfius on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:01:22 AM EST

If the US has suddenly developed concience
are we to assume its going to prosecute
all the warmongers with weapons of mass destruction
who oppress civilians in defiance of UN resolutions?

If so, Isreal will be next (yeah right).

In another example of 'Do what I say not what I do'
The Bush junta is criticising Putin for making
warmongering grunts against Georgia.
Yes you guessed it, because Georgia is not
stopping those damned terrorists.

Lastly, just how far to the warmongering, lunatic
right the Shrub junta is, is the fact that
Colin Powel the man responsible for a massacre
of withdrawing Iraquis in the Gulf war
is considered a MODERATE in the this Administration.
-

---
"We must believe in free will, we have no choice."
http://wulfspawprints.blogspot.com/ - Not a journal dammit!
[ Parent ]

Heh, another thing left out (none / 0) (#276)
by khallow on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:05:09 PM EST

I forgot the "we don't like them" criteria for invasion. Still it's nice that Bush actually put something into writing. Maybe there's something to multilateralism after all.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Better Title: Myth and Myth (3.46 / 13) (#86)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:35:29 PM EST

Under the "Reality" heading we find the following sources cited without qualification or questioning:
  • FAS
  • zmag
  • UNICEF
  • Time
  • CNN
  • and lots of proofs by vigorous assertion
I realize that this is op-ed and that spurious claims to objectivity are common here, but placing zmag and CNN in the "Reality" category (juxtaposed with Dubya's "stories") is just an insult to our collective intelligence.

How is George W. Bush any less objective than some CNN or zmag --especially zmag in this scenario, wji-- flack? Say what you like about Shrub, but in the case of Iraq he's much more informed and much more moral than the cadres of lefty Saddam-apologists who so vocally oppose efforts to bring freedom to Iraqis.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Iraqis are not your playthings, oh Guardian readers. They're real people and they deserve real freedom; and if you overtly act to delay their freedom because you dislike American hegemony, then you're accomplices to oppression.

I'm amused (3.00 / 3) (#88)
by andrewm on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 05:52:14 PM EST

It doesn't matter whether CNN is pro or anti Bush - it's always described as biased. Do you have any actual evidence to indicate their bias in one direction or another? Or have they somehow managed to be biased in every direction simultaneously? Being an anti-republican republican mouthpiece is a really neat trick.

Still, at least the Iraqi people have been free for the last 10 years, thanks to the noble American government's tireless efforts to free them, and it's about time people stop criticising that war. After all, if it was up to those damn lefties, America would have secured the oil then buggered off, and left the Iraqi civilians to suffer.

Er, hold on a minute. Something just doesn't sound right here.

Do you seriously believe that somehow this Bush is going to do something differently? It's not like either of them are known for their extreme left wing policies, after all. You go on believing that Bush is only concerned about the suffering of innocent civilians.

[ Parent ]

moron (3.00 / 2) (#89)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:12:19 PM EST

When did I ever claim or even suggest that Bush is only concerned about suffering Iraqis? That he is fighting to secure an economic resource is not mutally exclusive with leftists becoming Saddam boosters. I'm getting tired of torching strawmen... I swear, kuro5hin is becoming dumber with each passing day.

[ Parent ]
You're completely right (2.50 / 4) (#91)
by andrewm on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 06:43:04 PM EST

Ten years ago, the US government secured an economic resource for Americans, and freed the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator who was never funded by the US government no matter what those Evil Lefties say.

Er, you may have missed this, but the US government did not free the Iraqi people 10 years ago. Instead, they won what the US government wanted then buggered off. There was a distinct lack of support for the revolution against Saddam that was supposed to happen. Some people have expressed doubt that anything will be different this time round.

Most people are pretty much aware that oil has a lot to do with this war, and that the Iraqi people are going to be screwed again. But that's ok, because dead US citizens is a tragedy that requires carpet bombing civilians, but dead foreigners are (at best) "regretable but necessary collateral damage".

Of course, you probably believe that the US government is led by compassionate and caring people who would never, for example, bomb civilian targets in order to save those civilians from evil oppressors.

In case you missed my point: I'm saying Bush couldn't give a damn about a single Iraqi citizen. Not that he's concerned about more than just that. Get it, now?

[ Parent ]

wow, (3.00 / 4) (#94)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:15:00 PM EST

you're even dumber than I imagined, and a perousal of the comment and rating histories of vulch and J'raxis can really fire the imagination... I hereby renew my request that all with uids except 2, 3309, 6831, and 20737 submit a writing sample before they're allowed to post.

Your "point" does not follow from the arguments you've made. Your penultimate paragraph makes no sense. The middle paragraph attempts to be contrarian, but comes out as a non-sequitur. The second paragraph contains the truth but does not justify your current stance; the same goes for your sarcastic leader.

My point, in case you missed it, is that for all of Bush's disingenuity, his leftist opposition is equally uncaring about the lives of the Iraqis. For Bush, it's a war for oil; for Fisk and Monbiot and pals, it's a war to contain American hegemony.



[ Parent ]

ZMAG is not the source, you idiot (2.57 / 7) (#96)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 07:41:23 PM EST

For the zillionth time, znet.org reprints articles from print media. That was a Newsday article by Scott Ritter. Zmag did not magically corrupt it with leftist propaganda-beams.

Nor is CNN the source. That's a CNN transcript of Dennis Halliday talking.

As for "freedom", you're utterly ignorant of the US role in Iraq and their intentions. They want another iron-fisted Sunni general, not democracy -- why do you think they betrayed the Shi'ite/Kurdish uprisings in 1991?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

calm down (4.20 / 5) (#101)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:26:27 PM EST

Are you sitting down?

Zmag is a secondary source --do you understand the difference between a primary and secondary source?-- and one must always keep in mind that the very act of selectively retransmitting articles can lead to/stem from bias. Zmag's retransmitting of Scott Ritter's piece without also retransmitting rigirous objections to Ritter's arguments does effectively endow the original piece with "leftist propaganda-beams." Always, always remember that zmag has an agenda. Didn't you learn anything of substance by reading all of that Chomsky? Or were you just in it for the searing critique of American foreign policy (not his main point)?

As for the CNN transcript --a primary source-- it's a transcript of Denis (sic) Halliday talking to CNN and its viewing audience. It wasn't Halliday on his own, nor was CNN retransmitting Halliday's discussion with somebody else; the whole discourse was sculpted by the CNN moderators. It was a CNN original, and therefore carries all the baggage of CNN's bias, capiche?

I'll refer you to my man Kanan Makiya for further discussion on the American "abandonment" of the Shiites and the Kurds.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, the US loves Sunni's (none / 0) (#254)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:01:20 AM EST

Bin Laden and all of Al Qaeda are Sunni, schmuck.

[ Parent ]
Pathetic. (none / 0) (#250)
by Noam Chompsky on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:56:01 AM EST

They're real people and they deserve real freedom;

What compassionate right-wing jackasses won't tell you -- because the miasmatic "left" is choking the words in their throat as I write this -- is that if we did nothing but wait for Saddam to die of a ripe old age, we would have liberated more Iraqis than if we rushed in to liberate them with their deaths.

But of course there is a third option between free dead people and waiting. It's just that, traditional statecraft is frankly wasted on anonymous towelheads. We know this is true because we are urgently doing everything in our power (infinitesimally short of nothing) to liberate Iraqis from Saddam's politics and deliver them to ________.

Yes, that's right, blank. This is how much thought we've given to the "real people" who "deserve real freedom." It's just as well, because the last time we took an interest in Iraq's internal politics, we created Saddam.

Maybe the right believes its own rhetoric, for which we should be eternally grateful, I suppose. Make no mistake: the right is full of more shit than the left, but only one direction has the power to fuck people up the ass.

--
Faster, liberalists, kill kill kill!
[ Parent ]

Death to iraq (3.30 / 10) (#99)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:10:13 PM EST

I don't get all the lefties who are pro iraq. An example:

"CNN.COM: You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?

Scott Ritter: The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children -- toddlers up to pre-adolescents -- whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace. " Source

There you have it, typical leftist thinking. The guy quoted is the former UN weapons inpsector. This guy saw something so horrible in iraq, that he thinks it'd make someone want to attack iraq, so he keeps it to himself, because he doesn't want to promote war. I don't understand how anybody takes the Left seriously with shit like this.

i dont get all the righties who support iraq (4.33 / 6) (#103)
by turmeric on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 08:52:03 PM EST

i mean, this guy murders his political opponents and slaughters his own civilians with chemical weapons. why the hell did you support his parties overthrow , and his years in the iran iraq war? dont tell me 'he was against communism', you right wingers have been shipping factories to china faster than you can say 'only nixon can'

[ Parent ]
!Left != Right (4.33 / 3) (#104)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:07:41 PM EST

Just because I'm not Leftist doesn't mean I'm a Rightie. Saddam and his gov't is evil in my opinion, and anything that destroys him is fine by me. It seems whenever i say i'm all for a regieme change in Iraq, I get the three common responses:

1) Past evil: This is where i'm reminded of all the past wrongs done by the US in various parts of the world

2) US Intervention Is Wrong: This is basically the opinion that the US has no right to do this.

3) Other Evils: This is the old "there are a hundred other evil regiemes in the world bla bla bla"

Has it ever occured to anyone that I'm not American or even Pro-US? Whether the US has the right, or whether the US should act like Globo-Cop, or whether destroying iraq will leave 150 other evil dictators untouched means nothing to me. I don't care if the reasons stated by Bush are garbage. I don't care if the US has no right. All I know is that Saddam deserves the worst, regardless of where it comes from. Why don't you do a google search, and get some tales of iraqi torture, or even better, iraqi torture of children while making their parents watch, or any other attrocity you like. Don't take Bush's word for it, try Amnesty International if you prefer to get your news from a more leftist organization.

[ Parent ]
who else deserves the worst (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by turmeric on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:14:25 PM EST

why dont you do a google search on www.amnesty.org

[ Parent ]
We just don't trust the US to install democracy (4.60 / 5) (#109)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:56:06 PM EST

I, too, would be delighted to see a regime change in Iraq. However, I just don't trust the US to:
  1. Limit the damage to the individual, not the country.
  2. Actually change the regime.
  3. Install a democratic regime agreeable to the people.
  4. Not exploit the country like a colony in the following years.
In the recent case of the Taliban, a despicable regime, the US succeeded in #2 but failed #3 (they installed another loathsome regime) and did a mediocre job of #1 and #4, though I can't see what they could destroy or exploit in Afghanistan if they tried.

In Serbia, they failed #1 and didn't directly accomplish #2. The Serbians voted Milosevic out themselves after the ceasefire. It is too early and complex to know about #3 and #4.

In the previous Gulf War, Bush Sr. completely failed goals #1, #2, and #3. Although they didn't exploit Iraq as an oil source (#4), they sanctioned it, effectively removing it from the oil market and freezing its oil assets for later.

In Panama in the 80s, they did achieve #2, failed #4, and I don't know about #1 and #3.

In Libya, they failed #2, and of course they have been failing both #1 and 2 in Cuba for decades. In Viet-Nam they failed #1 to such a colossal extent that #2 was irrelevant. I don't know what happened with #3 and #4.

Now, I was delighted to see the end of Suharto, Pinochet, and Marcos, all of them tyrranical regimes to a greater or lesser extent supported by the US. The difference is that in these countries, one the dictator outgrew its usefulness to the US and was no longer supported, the local population deposed the regime and managed to install some form of fledgling democracy. I would also be delighted if the US withdraws support from current dictators, such as the Saudi regime or Mr. Musharraf, so that democracy there can begin to take its course.

So, I don't think that the main pacifist argument is about UN protocol or about the illogical idea that US business interests somehow disqualify the US from doing anything anywhare. We are just not convinced, based on past record, that the US intends to do something beneficial to the people of Iraq, even leaving its oil interests aside. Please convince us otherwise.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

How will change take place then? (3.00 / 1) (#113)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:27:49 PM EST

It doesn't look like the people of iraq are capible of doing this themselves.

[ Parent ]
Errr... I don't know. Let's practice! (5.00 / 2) (#120)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:28:53 PM EST

I don't know how the West should go about installing democracies where there are now dictatorships. You seem to be suggesting that we should try doing it in Iraq by means of a war on the off chance that it works. This seems risky to me. I think we ought to practice this novel concept elsewhere and see what yields good results.

For example, the US could try various methods of installing democracy in Saudi Arabia. It should be an easier case. The US has enormous leverage and there are many pro-democracy, educated, wealthy citizens. Perhaps the US could declare that its support for the house of Saud is over and it would fully support a democratic regime in their place. If that doesn't work, The US could offer the Sauds an ultimatum to step down (with amnesty) or have their assets seized and be indicted for human rights infringements.

Similarly, the US could try and see what works in Pakistan. They could make it clear that they will not deal with Mr Musharraf, but instead will deal with a democratically elected regime, and offer large rewards in terms of trade and aid should Pakistan become democratic. They could finance democratic Pakistani media and activists abroad and support Pakistani political parties if they still exist (I don't know what the situation is).

Iraq is a hard case, in no small part because the US helped create and fortify this autocratic regime when it was useful against Iran (Saddam was pro-west, whereas the evil Iranians were independent islamists). Perhaps some carefully applied violence against Mr Hussein specifically is the only way. So far the US has tried nothing other than bombing the Iraqui army from the air. It didn't even extend credible and trustworthy support for democratic forces in Iraq. They briefly talked of supporting the Kurds, but then quickly realized that would not help US interests and let them be slaughtered.

So, I don't know, but I think there is a progression of non-violent and slighlty-violent methods to be tried before outright war, starting with some credible commitment to democracy. We don't yet know if the Iraqui people could topple Saddam if they were confident that the US would support democracy (real democracy, as in do what the Iraquis want) in his place. So far, they probably think that the US would like to see another puppet dictator in Saddam's place.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Here's what worked... (3.00 / 2) (#132)
by ti dave on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:48:09 AM EST

I don't know how the West should go about installing democracies where there are now dictatorships... I think we ought to practice this novel concept elsewhere and see what yields good results.

Based on my own experiences, I would offer the example of the U.S. intervention in Haiti, ca. 1994-96.

Though Democracy there still has some rough edges and there is [healthy] opposition to Aristide and the Lavalas party, life for the average Haitian on the street is better now than under Cedras or the Duvaliers.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
works one time every hundred (3.50 / 2) (#142)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:44:46 AM EST

Out of around 200 US-sponsored 'regime changes'  in the last 50 years they managed a couple of times to support the 'good guy'.

Every other time US intervention brought a bloody dictatorship.

[ Parent ]

Afghanistan (none / 0) (#235)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:26:27 AM EST

So you expect immediate results? It took several years in Western Europe (decades in the East) to bring democracy. The Real World takes time. It's been less than a year since the US went into Afghanistan, and fighting is still going on.

Regarding your points:

  • 1. This would require knowing exactly where Saddam is several hours (at least) before he gets there. Also, the left would scream bloody murder if he was assassinated.
  • 2. This would require getting rid of not just Saddam, but most of his top people. To ensure that he isn't replaced with someone just as bad. This conflicts with point 1.
  • 3. See 4.
  • 4. The US won't, since we've already sold the oil rights to the French and Russians.


Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
immediate results (none / 0) (#256)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:04:49 AM EST

So you expect immediate results?

I believe this is the fundamental cause of most cynicism in America regarding politics: people wan't change *now*, and aren't aware of how long change actually takes, or how much work it requires, so when things don't change now, they give up and become bitter.

[ Parent ]

"Past evils" (3.66 / 3) (#110)
by wji on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:09:12 PM EST

"Past evils" are obviously relevant if the same structures -- let alone the same people! -- are still making policy.

As for Saddam deserving the worst because he's awful, if you actually cared about his victims you wouldn't support murdering them in huge numbers. So you're obviously full of shit.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

The US has done bad things. Ergo, the US can... (3.00 / 5) (#126)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:08:15 AM EST

only stand idly by while Saddam commits unspeakable cruelties.

This is how people like wji think. Since the US is not completely perfect, then they're not allowed to even attempt to do good.

[ Parent ]
Double standards (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:01:43 AM EST

So ironic other certified war criminals (see http://www.mediamonitors.net/drbenalofs1.html) are instead praised as 'man of peace'.

So ironic other bloodthirsty dictators (see http://www.southendpress.org/books/rogueexc.shtml) are 'our kind of guy'.

When Saddam committed the war crimes that you are referring to he was on the right (pro-US) side, so that was OK. Now he opposes US policies, and all of the sudden is a threat to the civilized world.

And BTW: what unspeakable cruelties are being committed in Iraq right now, and by whom?

[ Parent ]

Necrohypposadism (2.50 / 2) (#140)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:42:14 AM EST

is a deviation.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
No such word (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:46:38 AM EST

Care to elaborate?

[ Parent ]
No. (1.00 / 1) (#144)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:47:56 AM EST

Figure it out. A little Latin will help.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Say it (1.00 / 1) (#149)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:07:40 AM EST

if you dare

[ Parent ]
Go ahead (1.00 / 1) (#153)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:05:09 AM EST

modstorm all you want. Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Latin, eh? (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by J'raxis on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:39:38 AM EST

Necro- is greek. The Latin would be mort-.

Hyppo- (actually spelled hippo-) is Greek. The Latin would be equest-.

Sadism is a modern scientific word named after a Frenchman, the Marquis de Sade. The closest Latin I can think of would be flagellare.

...Idiot.

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Bingo! (3.00 / 2) (#244)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:45:32 AM EST

...Idiot.
Yes. I know. I shouldn't bait 'em. Oh well...



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Thanks for confirming the above (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:27:41 AM EST

Since you decided not to clarify your point of view (and throwing mud at me instead), let me do it for you.

Crimes against humanity committed by US allies in the past or present are passé: we shouldn't look at them.

Crimes against humanity committed by non US allies are forever present and should be dealt with deadly force.

As I said, double standards. Now go ahead and call me an idiot if that makes you feel better.

[ Parent ]

Yes, you *are* an idiot (1.00 / 2) (#168)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:04:55 AM EST

Sabra and Chatila indeed. More than once leftish idiots like yourself have gone to court to try Sharon for war crimes. Each time the conclusion of the court has been the same: no responsability. Not Guilty. Yet you keep beating that dead horse. Double standards indeed: who cares how many courts say Sharon is innocent, you are going to keep saying he's guilty, even when proved innocent and keep saying he has to be tried.

Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Abusive language won't bring you anywhere (5.00 / 1) (#173)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:30:59 AM EST

The Kahan Commission (named after the President of the Israeli Supreme Court) that investigated the massacre in 1983 concluded that "Minister of Defense [Sharon] bears personal responsibility"
[...]
Human Rights Watch takes the position that what happened at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that all those responsible need to be brought to justice.

http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/06/isr0622.htm

Even the Israeli government accepted the fact that Sharon was responsible for that - only you deny that?

[ Parent ]

Right. I'm sorry you're an idiot. (2.50 / 2) (#175)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:41:05 AM EST

Why don't you link to the report itself? You think maybe people will read it and check the difference between direct responsability, indirect responsability and political responsability that is made in the report? Or maybe you just didn't read it?

The report says:

The Commission determined that the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla was carried out by a Phalangist unit, acting on its own but its entry was known to Israel. No Israeli was directly responsible for the events which occurred in the camps. But the Commission asserted that Israel had indirect responsibility for the massacre since the I.D.F. held the area, Mr. Begin was found responsible for not exercising greater involvement and awareness in the matter of introducing the Phalangists into the camps.
Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
You start contradicting yourself - good! (4.00 / 1) (#178)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:47:33 AM EST

First you said he had no responsibility - now you say it was only 'indirect responsibility' citing the whitewash of the israeli government.

Your position is starting to crumble - maybe raising your level of abuse will help?

[ Parent ]

Did your I.Q. drop sharply just now? (1.00 / 2) (#181)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:52:45 AM EST

Sharon is not and has not ever been responsible of any war crime, let alone crime against humanity. This has nothing to do with his political responsibility as Minister of Defense.

In other news, the U.S. Air Force pilots that bombed and killed Canadian troops in Afghanistan will be tried, and the U.S. President has political responsibility.

Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Disingenuous arguments (3.00 / 2) (#183)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:59:11 AM EST

You note that Sharon was found to hold (indirect)responsbility for Sabra and Chatila. Then you go on to note international human rights groups consider Sabra and Chatilla a war crime.

But the perpetrators of war crimes were the Christian militia-men who carried out the killings, not the Israeli soldiers, and certainly not Ariel Sharon. While it was a collossal fuck-up on Sharon's part, his role does certainly not rise to the level of war crimes. Unlike, say, Arafat and most of the Palestinian leadership, whose role in terrorism is quite personal and still ongoing.

[ Parent ]
OK, let me put it this way. (4.00 / 1) (#369)
by wji on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:39:38 PM EST

Israel has committed lots of atrocities. Or, let's take one that you won't dispute, Saudi Arabia. Let's say Saddam invades Saudi Arabia. Would we bother for a second with the claim that he's trying to liberate Saudi from its tyrannical rulers? Of course not. We'd point to his past record and conclude that he was just going to impose his own dictatorial rule. This is perfectly valid thinking and you would be an idiot not to use it. So when the US goes to invade Iraq, we look at its past record and conclude it doesn't give a damn about Iraqi human rights and just wants to impose a friendly dictator. It's elementary thinking.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Me neither... (none / 0) (#428)
by zocky on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:49:19 AM EST

I don't get it either. This guy murders his political opponents and slaughters his own civilians with chemical weapons. Isn't that what the Right stands for?

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

He thought the material would be misused (4.50 / 2) (#106)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:15:18 PM EST

Suppose I worked in Israel as some sort of UN official. I might have toured Israeli prisons in some kind of official capacity and been witness to palaestinian captives being tortured (I'm not saying this actually happens - it's just a plausible example). Later in a visit to an Arab country I might be interviewed by the press and say: "I visited Israeli prisons and saw palaestinians being tortured. I don't want to get into details because it might be used as hate-material to attack Israel".

This, I think, would be a responsible stance. Although the practice ought to be stopped, random attacks on Israel as a whole would not be a sane reaction. It would be fringe interests manipulating the situation. Similarly, I think the official you mentioned could see that his statements would probably be misused as propaganda material and so was circumspect. He did say it was horrible, he just held back the more emotive material that would be more valuable to the media as propaganda.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Ok, lets hear it (1.00 / 1) (#108)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:54:01 PM EST

How could horrible tales of government sanctioned abuse on children be misused?

[ Parent ]
If it needs spelling out... (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:13:53 PM EST

The tales of abuse could be published in the tabloids and fuel intense hatred of Iraq in the west. Western governments could then attack Iraq with great force, killing many thousands of Iraquis during the war and indirectly after it, all with the acquiescence of our populations because these are, after all, "Evil child molesting Iraquis". Sure. Who would sympathise with them?

You may differ, but personally I would not trust the population to recognize the important difference between the ruler and the country. For example last time, Bush Sr. made it quite clear that he was against Saddam, not the Iraqui people. Nonetheless, the US proceeded to kill about 100'000 Iraqui troops, many of them retreating, and since then very large numbers of civilians as a result of the harsh sanctions. All this with minimal complaint from the US public, as if they imagine that evil Saddam personally feels a stab in his belly every time an Iraqui child dies of lack of medicine, or something, making it "a price worth paying", and Madeleine Albright put it.

So that is what the official was probably trying to avoid. I think he was very sensible. To bring it closer to home, imagine said official visited Iraq, or East Timor, or Kurdish Turkey, or some other place where people of vaguely islamic culture suffer through the effects of US foreign policy. He would be very wise not to report all this in graphic detail in the Arab press, lest some islamic lunatics use it to fuel anti-US hate and recruit people for terrorist attacks against the US.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

so, in short (2.50 / 2) (#112)
by scatbubba on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:25:01 PM EST

You are saying the iraqi gov't is evil, but nothing should be done because the people of iraq will suffer. I'm not sure i agree. How can things change with the iraqi gov't without people suffering?

[ Parent ]
Not by war (4.50 / 2) (#116)
by pavlos on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:54:04 PM EST

I would be delighted to see the Iraqui government replaced with a democratic one. I just don't see that war is the way to do that (the last one harmed many Iraqui people and didn't topple Saddam). Assasination would be better. It might not work either, but it wouldn't harm many people. Observe that in Cuba, where the US would like a regime change but there is great sympathy for the Cuban people, the US tried many times to assasinate Castro but not to replace him through war.

I also would like more reassurances that the US wants to replace Saddam with a democratic regime, not another evil dicator friendly to US interests.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

Castro (5.00 / 1) (#201)
by J'raxis on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:44:19 AM EST

Actually...

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

The last war (none / 0) (#238)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:37:42 AM EST

wasn't intended to topple Saddam. It was intended to get the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
While that's true (none / 0) (#259)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:07:48 AM EST

While that's true, there is a degree to which Bush, Sr.'s rhetoric about equating Saddam with a modern Hitler, which *did* do its job insofar as it helped rally the American public behind the Gulf War, creates a distuation where it is easy for anyone to assume that the aim was to take out Saddam. That certainly seemed to be the aim if you listened to the rhetoric.

[ Parent ]
Not only misused .. (4.75 / 4) (#125)
by Eloquence on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:57:51 PM EST

.. but specifically engineered and invented for the purpose of justifying a war. When Contemplating War, Beware of Babies in Incubators.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Too bad, they shouldn't have had to do that (none / 0) (#227)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:49:50 AM EST

I was there and saw the devastation, the looting aftermath, the random, arbitrary destruction. And this doesn't even count the oil well fires (seeing them on TV does not do them justice).

Seems people didn't care Hussein's people were killing and sometimes torturing thousands of civilians, but as soon as someone mentions babies...

[ Parent ]

So whitewashing Saddam's crimes is ok... (2.40 / 5) (#127)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:10:16 AM EST

because doing so works against US interests? I'm constantly amazed by the strength of the reflexive anti-Americanism that leads many in the radical left to embrace people like Saddam Hussein.

[ Parent ]
Have you read much about RItter? (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by wilson on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:03:21 AM EST

Scott Ritter is a Republican. He is in no way a "leftist". What he is, however, is a person who realized he was being used. He went into Iraq as an inspector using UNSCOM authority. His beef is that UNSCOM would forego inspecting the most likely NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) facilities in favor of scouting military installations for DIA and CIA.

His claim is that at least some of the Iraqi complaints about UNSCOM being a CIA front were completely legitimate.

[ Parent ]

Distraction from osama (3.90 / 11) (#107)
by guyjin on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 09:49:48 PM EST

"America's attack on Iraq is being driven by three factors:"

You're forgetting one: Bush has yet to apprehend the real criminal behind 9/11, Osama bin laden. Bush is hoping to distract from this failure by connecting hussein to terrorism, and then attacking the man he can get at.

If Bush had not totally failed to catch osama, Iraq would not even be in question.
-- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください

Catching Osama - WTF is the Point? (3.83 / 6) (#118)
by thelizman on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 10:58:15 PM EST

It's hard to catch someone who is buried under millions of tons of rubble (and by assumption, dead). You can assume Bush failed to 'get' Osama when he shows up on Al Jazeera with a copy of the New York Times from 9/11/2002 and a big cheezy "praise Allah" grin on his grille. Untill then, he's not being much of a threat, unlike Iraq.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Come on, you know the point (3.00 / 4) (#121)
by pgdn on Sun Sep 15, 2002 at 11:47:51 PM EST

And the point is so obvious that I don't know why you posted that comment - is it some sort of elaborate troll I don't understand? Catching bin Laden would be a tremendous domestic political win for Bush, raising his popularity levels and allowing him to push legislation through (or further evade the system of checks and balances) more easily.

[ Parent ]
Even better (4.00 / 2) (#146)
by Atomic Eco on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:00:03 AM EST

is having Osama unaccounted for. Which do you think is better for legislative leverage: Pulling Osama's body out of the rubble and displaying it publicly (ending the Osama threat), or keeping it under wraps that he's dead, and trumping the opposition to proposed legislation using the Al Quaeda card?

Bush's personal popularity is not the only issue here; even though the president changes, the laws remain.

Finland.. where polar bears roam the streets.
[ Parent ]
Touché (3.00 / 2) (#278)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:15:28 PM EST

Catching Bin Ladin is not "the" priority, it is merely "a" priority. If Bin Ladin is alive, he is off the radar screens. We have to act now to suppress real threats. Luckily, Bush is not as concerned about his public image as the last guy. He's worried about doing his job.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
osama not dead (none / 0) (#469)
by guyjin on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:33:09 PM EST

Just a follow up: al jazeera(sp?) found a tape of osama talking about the russian theatre gassing. he is quite alive.
-- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください
[ Parent ]
A regime change is an absolute must (3.96 / 28) (#128)
by joemorse on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:16:11 AM EST

Let's look at the facts here. We, the people of the United States, are faced with a fanatical leader who was not elected by his people, a nation that spends a significant portion of its GDP on arms, a nation that posesses and has used weapons of mass destruction on innocent civilians in the past, a nation whose regime repeatedly ignores or is openly hostile to the international community.

Yes, a regime change is something we must bring about...IN WASHINGTON D.C!.



Now let's you just drop them pants!
       -Don Job, from Deliverance
Wow, you're frickin' brilliant (2.00 / 2) (#129)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:20:25 AM EST

You totally had me going there - like that Planet of the Apes movie where at the end he's at the Lincoln statue.  But it's not the Lincoln statue..

IT'S A FRICKIN' APE!
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Oh, Come on. (3.28 / 7) (#189)
by taliver on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:35 AM EST

not elected by his people

I would direct you to the US Constitution, which fully explains how the electoral college works, and how elections are to be performed. You will find that the 2000 election actually met those qualifications. It must be neat to think that the US has a dictator, however.

spends a significant portion of its GDP on arms

3.2% (FY99 est) This isn't that much more than many other industrial countries. Also, realize that a great many other countries don't need to soend money since they know the US will help them out if invaded.

a nation that posesses and has used weapons of mass destruction on innocent civilians in the past

I'm guessing that this is referring to two industrial centers of Japan during WWII. Something that the majority of historians would agree was necessary.

a nation whose regime repeatedly ignores or is openly hostile to the international community

And, of course, this depends which side of the fence you are standing on. :)
I want a million helicopters and a DOLLAR!
[ Parent ]

No YOU come on! (3.66 / 3) (#207)
by jonr on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:37:34 AM EST

not elected by his people
The elections were total fiasco, we can't possibly know which way they really went. But let's just let it be gone.
3.2% (FY99 est) This isn't that much more than many other industrial countries. Also, realize that a great many other countries don't need to soend money since they know the US will help them out if invaded.
3.2% That is a LOT! Remember, USA is one of the richest countries in the world. We could probably supply clean water for everybody who needs it for a fraction of that amout.
No, great many of other contries don't care for being hostile to their neighbours. And you people wonder why USA is hated so much?
I'm guessing that this is referring to two industrial centers of Japan during WWII. Something that the majority of historians would agree was necessary.
You are guessing wrong. Remember USA used not one but two nuclear bombs against innocent civilians not military installments.
The USA army was rolling over the remains of the Japanese army, which was desperate using kamikaze pilots and other methods.
a nation whose regime repeatedly ignores or is openly hostile to the international community
And, of course, this depends which side of the fence you are standing on. :)
I want a million helicopters and a DOLLAR!

USA is the scool yard bully, in its foreign relations it behaves like one. Annoy me and I'll kick your teeth in.
Like the bully, USA doesn't know why people hate them so much. Just keep on harassing people around you. After all, you are the biggest and strongest.
Sometimes the children (nations) want to do something good, like clean up the yard, (Koyto agreement) or punish the really bad people (Warcrime court), but the bully just doesn't care.
Figure out why USA is so hated everywhere. (Not even people in the EU like it) And then do something about it but don't give me that psuedo patriotism. J.

[ Parent ]
Hmm. Interesting take on the validity of force. (5.00 / 1) (#208)
by taliver on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:59:16 AM EST

3.2% That is a LOT! I thought we were talking about fractions of GDP, not absolute amounts.

You are guessing wrong. Remember USA used not one but two nuclear bombs against innocent civilians not military installments.

This type of thing really irks me. The Empire of Japan had sworn to use everything they could to keep from unconditionally surrendering. Unconditional Surrender is what was expected and required by most people, especialy after the problems at the end of WWI, where conditional surrenders were allowed.

From the targeting report:

Hiroshima - This is an important army depot and port of embarkation in the middle of an urban industrial area. It is a good radar target and it is such a size that a large part of the city could be extensively damaged. There are adjacent hills which are likely to produce a focussing effect which would considerably increase the blast damage. Due to rivers it is not a good incendiary target. (Classified as an AA Target)

Nagasaki (sp?) is not mentioned in this context. However, it is clear that military-industrial targets were their goal. Much like Detroit or Norfolk could have been considered a legitimate bombing target as well.

USA is the scool yard bully, in its foreign relations it behaves like one. Annoy me and I'll kick your teeth in.

2 points. This first one isn't real nice, but are you under the misguided impression that if any other country could act like this they would choose not to? Secondly, for a country that's a "school yard bully", there has been an awful lot that we could do to shore up our position that we have not done. You think oil is the most important thing? Why don't we just colonize (and I don't mean in the 'you effectively have' sense, I mean in the British Colonial sense) the entire region? How come we send more food than any other country (less per GDP, but you said absolute amounts are what count). More money. More medicine. Sure, we have interests. I'll let you in on a little secret: every country has interests.
I want a million helicopters and a DOLLAR!
[ Parent ]

Sorry, but you are wrong... (4.00 / 1) (#267)
by mirleid on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:20:22 AM EST

However, it is clear that military-industrial targets were their goal.

The reasoning behind choosing Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the source of much discussion in the WWII historian community. As a couple of starting points, you can check this article (here you'll find a number of documents on the target-choosing decision process), or this interview with Gar Alperovitz.



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Well, I still don't think I'm wrong (5.00 / 1) (#273)
by taliver on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:49:30 AM EST

Amazingly, your second source is where I got the target report I originally posted. And the article you mention states alternative reasons for dropping the bomb. Every reason mentioned could be another reason for doing it. It doesn't mean that blowing up a military-industrial complex, while frightening the enemy into submission was not also a goal.

If you told me the reasons were:
1) We hate those damn japs, and they should suffer.
2) We'll show them commie bastards who's boss
3) We'll frighten the enemy into submission
and
4) We'll take out a military-industrial target.

in that order, I might believe you. However, it doesn't lesson the force of points 3 and 4, which are the stated "accepted" historical reasons for the dropping of the A-Bomb.
I want a million helicopters and a DOLLAR!
[ Parent ]

But.. (3.00 / 1) (#347)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:44:51 PM EST

Al-Quada:

1) We'll frighten the enemy into submission
and
2) We'll take out an ecomonic and military target.

[ Parent ]

However, (5.00 / 1) (#363)
by taliver on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:47:47 PM EST

1) No declared war.
2) The WTC were a purely civilian target. They were not building planes, tanks, ships, etc. If your argument is "But they supported them.", then we might as well call elementary schools legitimate targets since they educate children who might grow up to be soldiers.


I want a million helicopters and a DOLLAR!
[ Parent ]
Amazing (none / 0) (#458)
by PotatoError on Sat Sep 21, 2002 at 05:03:36 PM EST

"If your argument is "But they supported them.", then we might as well call elementary schools legitimate targets since they educate children who might grow up to be soldiers."

Isn't Bush himself declaring war on terrorists and those who *support* terror?

The WTC was a civilian target - like the Serb TV station bombed deliberately by the US in the kosovan war.

Do you think the people working in the Pentagon were not civilians?
How do you define civilian?


[ Parent ]

Military-industrial target (none / 0) (#414)
by mirleid on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:40:49 AM EST

That same source that you mention indicates that the phrasing of the orders explicitly names the cities themselves, and not specific military installations in those cities (granted that, if you attack something with a nuke, everything nearby is going to go, but the point stands in terms of indicating that there is no fulcral installation to be hit in the city, anywhere will do).

What I think that you are overlooking is that the doctrine that allowed civilian targets to be struck at by the allies had started to be implemented before, with the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo (amongst others). Most historians seem to believe that the rationale behind the designation of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and some other cities as targets for nuclear bombing had to do with morale issues (the aim was to break the morale of the Japanese, thus forcing them to surrender inconditionally): this source indicates that that goal was not achievable and its prosecution might have been, in fact, unnecessary.



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Yes he was elected (none / 0) (#218)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:33:55 AM EST

Just reelected recently, and by unanimous vote too. Who didn't know the outcome of that vote, huh?

Easy to be an exit poller in Baghdad -- "Did you vote for Hussein? No? BLAM! ... next ..." (I know it isn't a popular vote, but still, it's funny)

[ Parent ]

And as for GW (4.00 / 1) (#220)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:35:50 AM EST

We'll have a chance for a legal regime change in two years.

[ Parent ]
Spineless (3.71 / 7) (#130)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:39:39 AM EST

I agree that there's not much case for a war with Iraq right now, but your rhetoric often doesn't really add up.  

The UN has failed to deal with Iraq, allowing it to defy the world without punishment. It needs to "grow some backbone", and "will either be able to function as a peacekeeping body as we head into the 21st century, or it will be irrelevant, and that's what we are about to find out."

Has the UN failed to deal with Iraq effectively?  If you say yes, then obviously this argument is invalid - but that's begging the question.  

Does the fact that the UN is willing to do something (sanctions), however horrid, mean that it's impossible that they might be unwilling to do something necessary?  Does their willingness to do some other thing mean they couldn't possibly be "spineless" with regard to doing something else?  I assert that many spineless people have been willing to do some horrid things and not others - especially when they can get away with one and not the other.

It is a logical impossibility that the US is actually concerned over Iraqi chemical weapons, given that when Hussein most certainly did posess them and repreatedly used them the US continued to support him in his aggressive war against Iran.

What the hell?  Your logic makes no sense.  I'm OK with my dad owning a gun right now.  However, if new information came to light which made me think it more likely that he was going to use that gun to kill me, my attitude towards his gun ownership would change.  This isn't that hard to understand, and it's certainly not a logical impossibility.

Again, I'm not saying that the US should take military action in Iraq.  I actually agree with most of the arguments you were trying to make.  

But why not make your case with logic that makes sense, instead of dragging out whatever factoids you feel like, whether or not they help make the case at hand?

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

No (none / 0) (#344)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:40:25 PM EST

even after Saddam used chemical weapons in the Iran war, the US didn't have a problem.

[ Parent ]
You've missed the point (none / 0) (#353)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:58:37 PM EST

All I'm saying is that it's reasonable that Bush could be against Iraq having WMDs even though previous US adminstrations weren't - and that this certainly needn't be inconsistent given what Bush perceives as an important change in the situation (if he even remembers the "old" situation).  

I think that Bush is likely genuinely concerned about the possibility of Iraq possessing and using WMDs.  Note that I'm not saying the war is justified or whatever - only that it's unfair to assume he is completely lying about his motivations.  In any case, the fact that the US wasn't concerned about Iraq's possession of WMDs in the past is certainly not evidence that they couldn't be now.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

true [n/t] (none / 0) (#357)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:01:18 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Weapons of mass DISTRACTION (4.46 / 15) (#131)
by ehintz on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:46:58 AM EST

I thought this cartoon summed it up quite well...

Regards,
Ed Hintz
Or... (3.00 / 2) (#197)
by FredBloggs on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:17:31 AM EST

This one.

[ Parent ]
oh no! (4.00 / 1) (#200)
by martingale on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:36:13 AM EST

I now have an indelible picture of Bush holding a banana in my head. And I can't stop singing this song: "Hey general Saddam, tally me banana!"...

Damn you!

[ Parent ]

lol [n/t] (none / 0) (#343)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:38:48 PM EST

i lied :P

[ Parent ]
One question (3.16 / 6) (#135)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:11:19 AM EST

The whole case for attacking Iraq will crumble if Iraq allows unrestricted access to U.N. weapons inspectors. Iraq claims they have nothing to hide. Why, then, does Iraq seem to prefer being the target of military force rather that accepting the possible loss of face of accepting inspectors?



---
As long as there's hope...
would you like your beating now or later? (none / 0) (#136)
by infinitera on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:20:02 AM EST

That is essentialy the pragmatic question facing Iraq. Nobody in their right mind would trust the assurances of the US. Sanctions and the Great War against Evil keep Saddam in power. I guess Dubya's advisors didn't miss the latter part.

[ Parent ]
So you are saying... (2.50 / 2) (#138)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:37:16 AM EST

...that if Iraq has no WMD program under way, the Iraqi regime has to chose between going right now with a bang, or going silently a little later.

And if there is a WMD program under way, then the Iraqi regime is actually faced with exactly the same choice.

Good.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Bending over... (4.00 / 1) (#194)
by nhl on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:07:06 AM EST

Using an equally lose comparison: what you are saying is that everybody should bend over to the will of the US just because the US has the power to destroy you and your country.

The assumption is that independant nations are supposed to have the right to defend themselves against foreign threats. When country A starts to make more and more threats about initiating military action and clearly specifys that nothing less than toppling the current regime of country B will do, then it would be a bit silly for country B to allow the agents of country A's intelligence networks to scout and plan strikes against whatever limited defenses country A has in place.

The second thing which seems very odd to me is the US stance of "inspections without conditions" including the refusal to support the lifting of the heavy sanctions. No motives are given why the lifting of sanctions would be a bad thing, if Iraq would comply fully with a UN weapon inspectors. Iraq should be live up to UN resolutions, but it would also be ignorant for the government of Iraq to not try to raise a legitimate debate about whether the sanctions can be lifted (and Iraq given assurance of territorial independance) in return for their co-operation with UN.

[ Parent ]
I think you misread (4.00 / 4) (#198)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:18:36 AM EST

I expect a U.N. sanctioned military action against Iraq if Iraq refuses to comply with the U.N. resolutions that Iraq agreed upon when signing the cease-fire after the Gulf War. This action will end the current regime.

If, however, Iraq complies with those resolutions, then there will be no U.N. sanctioned military action (and, I hope, no military action at all). The current U.N. imposed sanctions against Iraq will then be lifted as stated in the U.N. resolution that established them. And infinitera stated that the end of the sanctions will bring the end of the current Iraqi regime.

Which means whatever happens, the current Iraqi regime is doomed. That IMHO is a good thing.

I don't know exactly where you read in my comment that everybody should bend over to the will of the U.S., or that the current sabre-rattling has my approval, or that the U.N. weapons inspections resolution is a U.S. stance. Are you sure you answered the right comment?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
actually, that was not my point (none / 0) (#234)
by infinitera on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:26:13 AM EST

My point was that the regime (acting in self-perpetuating/defensive way, as all those in power do) really has no incentive to cooperate with weapons inspectors at this juncture. If they cooperate, the US will attack, even as the UN pronounces a lack of WMDs and prepares to lift sanctions. UN resolutions aren't exactly known for being respected by the US, and I expect this case to be no different.

[ Parent ]
You think so? (none / 0) (#260)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:08:21 AM EST

Frankly, I don't see why the U.S. would attack Iraq if Iraq complies with the U.N. Security Council resolutions. Once Saddam complies, the Kuwait army could beat the shit out of Iraq. So why would the U.S. attack?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
back to my original post again ;) (none / 0) (#282)
by infinitera on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:23:10 PM EST

Because it's good for Bush/Republican poll numbers to wage a war, at the moment - and elections are right around the corner.

[ Parent ]
Ok, but: (none / 0) (#288)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:34:44 PM EST

  1. With the local weather and the time needed to assemble the required military force, January is the most probable date for an attack.
  2. Elections are in November, IIRC?
  3. Sabre rattling is just as good for Republicans as a real war
So why go to war? The elections will be behind them anyway...



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Oh thats interesting (none / 0) (#339)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:34:11 PM EST

Elections are in November huh?

So should I be expecting the attack on Iraq to begin in the last week of October?

Or should I be expecting the current "bomb iraq" frenzy to diapear come November?

[ Parent ]

My point is... (none / 0) (#358)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:01:50 PM EST

...that I don't know. I'm asking.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Iraq is fine with weapons inspectors. (1.00 / 1) (#165)
by mdevney on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:38:23 AM EST

Last I heard, Iraq was happy to let any UN weapons inspectors in -- just not the US ones. That is, any UN team who wanted to come in had to leave the Americans at the door.

Given the obvious hostility of the US, it seems a fair condition to me. There are plenty of other countries in the UN. And the UN is an international force, not an American one. Where, then, does the problem exist?

Also see http://www.zmag.org/ZMag/articles/april02everst.htm :

The U.S. media endlessly repeats the lie that Iraq "threw out" UN weapons inspectors in 1998. In fact, UN inspectors left Iraq in December 1998 when President Clinton told them to get out because he was about to order a new round of U.S. bombing. International support for the UN weapons inspection program has shrunk after it was widely exposed as a front for U.S. intelligence gathering, assassination attempts, and coup plotting.


[ Parent ]
You're completely wrong (none / 0) (#195)
by Demiurge on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:07:58 AM EST

Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz has stated that Iraq will never allow unrestricted inspections to occur.

It seems that Bush has finally hit on the right method to bring about war with Iraq. Push the Security Council to take action(paperwork) against Iraq. When they, of course, refuse to comply, use it as a justification for military aggression. Most international critics will drop their opposition.

[ Parent ]
Oh please (none / 0) (#215)
by PrinceSausage on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:25:02 AM EST

Like it or not, Iraq IS a sovereign nation. They are. And Mr Aziz IS supposed to stand up for the sovereign nation he represents. Or you expect everyone to just grease up and bend over as soon as the US comes sniffing?

[ Parent ]
They will never accept full-access inspections (none / 0) (#217)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:29:44 AM EST

They will always demand that some places be off-limits for "national security."

I trust that about as much as I trust Cheney invoking executive privilege over his business practices and relationships.

Just think about the stupidity of Iraq saying they'll allow inspections, but not for all locations. That's like saying to the cops "Sure you can search my house, but not the dresser drawer where I hid the murder weapon."

[ Parent ]

You misread Iraqi intentions (none / 0) (#257)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:05:29 AM EST

What they have done since 1998 is demanding to know in advance exactly what will be inspected and when. Kind of, "Sure you can search my house, but you have to warn me 72 hours in advance so that I can hide the murder weapon."

The funny thing is, the left fell for that kind of propaganda.

Or is that the sad part?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I think it's a combination (none / 0) (#261)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:09:43 AM EST

They still demand some places be off limits for "national security" reasons, plus the advanced warning you reminded me of.

So it turns out to be "Sure you can search my house, but you have to warn me 72 hours in advance so that I can hide the murder weapon in the dresser drawer, which you're not allowed to search."

[ Parent ]

You are probably right (NT) (none / 0) (#373)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:12:13 PM EST



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
The point is... (none / 0) (#342)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:37:03 PM EST

Iraq is fully entitled to defend itself. Say Iraq had enough conventional arms to kill as many people as its current chemical/ biological arms do then would there be a problem?

America just doesn't like the fact that Saddam is building next generation weaponary that would be a decent deterent against the US.

[ Parent ]

As a matter of fact... (none / 0) (#356)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:00:53 PM EST

...no, Iraq is not fully entitled to defend itself. Check the relevant U.N. resolutions.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
BBC: Iraq agrees to weapons inspections (none / 0) (#382)
by pavlos on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:55:26 PM EST

Sorry to spoil the interesting debate, but according to this BBC article Iraq has just said it would admit inspectors no-strings-attached. At the time I write this, the article is very sketchy.

Great! All we have left to do now is debate why Iraq hadn't so far or might not have agreed to inspections. Much more interesting tasks, and nobody runs the risk of being proved wrong :-)

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

If it's true, it's good news (NT) (none / 0) (#386)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:02:00 PM EST



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Just Bad Reasoning (4.00 / 10) (#141)
by zet on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:42:16 AM EST

Not taking sides in the discussion regarding US policy but the following statement is some of the worst reasoning I've ever seen: "It is a logical impossibility that the US is actually concerned over Iraqi chemical weapons, given that when Hussein most certainly did posess them and repreatedly used them the US continued to support him in his aggressive war against Iran." There is no logical issue here. US policy changed. The reality is just hat US policy has changed (perhaps - I don't know the details) A change of policy does not create a logical impossiblity. This statement is just stupid. WJI brings up some good disicussion issues, too bad he can't holp up his end.

I agree completely. (3.08 / 12) (#152)
by Peter Johnson on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:54:24 AM EST

Iraq is no threat to anyone. There's no reason for war against it. Saddam has been disarmed for nearly four years, and he shows no indication of obtaining nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. He is not a threat to his neighbors, and definitely not to the U.S. It would be wrong and immoral to inflict innumerable civilians casualties so that some US present can avenge an assassination attempt on his father.

The real enemy in this conflict is the United States of America. This "leader of the free world", who's government wants to wage an aggressive war on a beaten, hungry, country, is a true threat to world civilization. The U.S. has been murdering thousands of Iraqi children, every day, FOR THE PAST TWELVE YEARS, with their sadistic and cruel sanctions program. They blame those deaths on that big boogie-man Saddam, saying that he's been squandering his resources on military programs. This is NOT true! First, Iraq is a desert country. It could never hope to feed its own people with the products of its own soil, AND THE U.S. KNEW IT! Second, who is the US to say that Iraq cannot defend itself? When the US allows U.N. weapons inspectors into Los Alamos, then it might be reasonable for Iraq to subject itself to the same inspections. After all, the U.S. pretty much gave Iraq many of its advanced weapons to fight against Iran. Its perfectly reasonable for it to give up its weapons to the U.N., before Iraq gives its up.

It never ceases to amaze me how the mainstream press lies to support the US government's plans. It has been often repeated that Iraq is in violation of UN resolutions, and that they expelled the U.N. weapons inspectors. This is not true! According to fair.org, "Iraq did not "expel" the UNSCOM weapons inspectors; in fact, they were withdrawn...the head of the inspections team." They left voluntarily, Iraq had nothing to do with it, yet they are blamed for being in violation.

There are many other lies and distortions like the ones I've described. I urge you all to get the REAL STORY at www.zmag.org and www.fair.org. These two exemplary publications won't give you that disgusting propaganda that you will find elsewhere.

Also published on raisethefist.com and the IMC.

------------------------------------------------
I am glad I am involved in the anti-capitalist movement. We are winning.

Desert country? (1.00 / 3) (#154)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:22:09 AM EST

When did the left start falsifying maps?

Or did you accidentally delete the Euphrates-Tigris basin?



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As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
85% of Iraq is desert (5.00 / 2) (#155)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:47:18 AM EST

Despite the fact that the Euphrates-Tigris basin is in Iraq, the 13th-century Mongol invasion destroyed most of the canals between the two rivers. The current irrigation systems were mainly rebuilt during the Ottoman Empire (see http://ejournal.tripod.com/encarta.htm).

The supplies of potable water are inadequate; soil salination and erosion brought to desertification (see http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/iz.html).

On top of it, the majority of water treatment plants have been disabled: necessary chemicals and spare parts are not being allowed due to the sanctions regime (see http://www.progressive.org/0801issue/nagy0901.html).

And yes, I know it's easier to call people names instead of resorting to factual arguments, but please try to activate your brain before typing.

[ Parent ]

Irony (none / 0) (#159)
by anonimouse on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:26:05 AM EST

Using the CIA factbook, implying the US govt is aware of the effects of sanctions to support your position.
~
Sleepyhel:
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]
Plenty of lies here (1.00 / 3) (#166)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:59:29 AM EST

Lie #1: salinification. Salinification is a problem in the marshes at the confluent of the Tigris and the Euphratis. See here to learn more about the salt marshes. While this is bad for biodiversity, it does not reduce the arable land: marshes are not arable. More information at the UNEP Desert Project website.

Lie #2: supply of potable water. From the GEO-1 UNEP report:

Water availability in the West Asia region depends on the physiographical and hydrogeological setting. Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Lebanon have relatively dependable surface water sources in the form of rivers and springs. [...] The Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, the Orients and Latani rivers in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic, and the lower Jordan River in Jordan represent major water sources for domestic, industrial, and agricultural requirements within these countries.
It also says Iraq has water resources in excess of 1,000 cubic metres per capita per year (WRI/UNEP/UNDP/WB, 1996).

Lie #3: desertification. The UNEP Desert Project states that the desertification problem is in the marshland, and is a direct result of Saddam Hussein draining campaign targeted at destroying the Marsh Arab society. See here.

Lie #4: sanitation & water treatment plants. From the UNICEF report:

Progress made from 1997 - June 2001:
  • Rehabilitation of 35 Water and Sewage systems benefiting 5.5 million people.
Or, in other words: no more problem with sanitation and water treatment.

Last, but not least:

And yes, I know it's easier to call people names instead of resorting to factual arguments, but please try to activate your brain before typing.
Lying is bad enough, stupid lies are insulting. Got a brain of your own?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Look at the facts and stop slandering (5.00 / 2) (#169)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:14:46 AM EST

From the very site you are linking to (http://www.unicef.org/iraq/programmes/south-centre/wes-fact.html):

The situation from 1990 - 1999:
*  Decrease in quantity of water supply by more than 50 %
*  Six-fold increase in water contamination
*  Deterioration of raw water quality due to untreated sewage disposal and drought effects
*  More than 90% cut in government budget allocation to cover local expenses
*  More than 40% cut in number of personnel, loss of experience and expertise of 20 years
*  Decrease in auxiliary machinery and equipment (garbage collectors, tractors, loaders, etc) from estimated 6,500 units to 700
*  Two-thirds decrease (from 60 to less than 20) in operational workshops, with the remaining 20 in very poor condition.
*  Water losses through the deteriorating network have more than doubled (from 15% to more than 35%)
*  Frequent power cuts interrupting system operation by at least 10 hours/day.

And I renew my invitation to stop calling people names (i.e. liar or idiot). It's a bad habit - it weakens your arguments and doesn't bring the discussion forward by a bit.

85% of Iraq is desert, everybody agrees with that but you.

[ Parent ]

1999 is not 2001 (1.00 / 3) (#171)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:19:52 AM EST

Check again that UNICEF report.

And stop playing with that 85% figure, you're going to hurt yourself. Iraq is a country that is mostly desertic. It is not a desert country.

Idiot.



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As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
You just can't stop can't you? (5.00 / 1) (#176)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:42:45 AM EST

You already wrote about the 5.5 million people that got access to clean water in 2001.

85% of Iraq is desert: call it a 'mostly desertic' or a 'desert country' - it doesn't make any difference.

And chill.

[ Parent ]

It does make a difference (2.00 / 4) (#179)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:47:42 AM EST

7 million people over the 15% of Iraq that are not desert mean a very low population density. Compare with Mauritania to have an idea of what a desert country is.



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As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Withdrawn, smithdrawn (none / 0) (#156)
by anonimouse on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:48:27 AM EST

The difference between withdrawing them because they were prevented open access and expulsion makes little difference.

The Iraqis signed the treaty ending the Gulf War, if they don't like it - tough. And yes, the effct of sanctions is horrible, but Iraq could be quite a fertile land - diversion of money from arms to agriculture could have had a major effect even if they didn't want the inspectors in.

AS for raisethefist, I trust it for accuracy as much as I trust Rupert Murdoch.

The fact of the matter is we don't truly know and after Gulf War 1 the US isn't prepared to take the risk on incomplete information. Whilst the US totally outmanoevred and outgunned Iraq, it was totally unknown wherher the new way of doing things by the US Armed Forces would work - it could have gone horribly wrong
~
Sleepyhel:
Relationships and friendships are complex beasts. There's nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
[ Parent ]

the citizens of America (3.00 / 1) (#157)
by buglord on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:18:07 AM EST

You write: ...therefore it rests on the citizens of America to restrain their leaders or act as accomplices to aggression

So, I challenge you to prove the extent of civil power in American democracy. Stop it if you're all against it! How could it have come this far, anyway?

But if you fail and "act as accomplices to aggression", don't worry - you're just falling into pattern.

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel

pax romanus, pax americanus (4.00 / 7) (#162)
by toliman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:30:03 AM EST

The situation with Iraq is a deal made with tied hands and daggers held by both sides. Instead of diplomats, you have military leader's in their seats, easing into a forced conflict that has nobody feeling at ease. it resembles the 3000 year old roman civilzed edition of democracy in a significant way; that rome was the only true power, you live and agree to roman law or die.

yes, America was provoked into a sitation that it could not stop or interfere in, Afghanistan and Iraq is not the issue, neither is Terrorism. it's anyone who opposes the might of Rome, and it's citizens. and wether that be a terrorist regime, or a foreign leader who wants to fight the domain of Romerica's (sic) indomitable force, the fight is still going to take place.

the issue of the big three, atomic/bio/chem warfare is nothing as exclusive as having 100,000 troops in your country, telling your leaders and the people what they can do and where they can go, that is asking for trouble and retribution to find you. those weapons of mass destruction are drawcards, the byproducts and trading cards of modern war, not the tools of war. having an ability to launch bio/chemical warfare is a joker in the deck, not in the hand of the leaders of another country. and if i'm wrong, we die. nobody wins. we count the cost and move on. there won't be retribution, there will be memorials.

if not for the US constitution, american may devlove even further into the international bully even sooner than it wants to, and the UN in it's cowardice and wisdom, has stood against the demand to invade and arrest/halt iraq's military and political system. in the debacle over Iraq, i applaud their inaction, wether it is intentional or not. there are not as many safeguards to prevent politicians and military leaders having free reign over america or any other country, any system of power can be abused, such is the nature of the beast of wielding power over others, it corrupts absolutely. If the UN has this role at the moment, and can keep it's stance against foreign and local governments corrupting and imposing on others then it is worth all the money in the world to have it in place.

i don't mind hypocrisy anymore... i've been used to hypocrisy since i went to school to learn. it's willfull ignorance that i can't handle as much. as educated as people are, or claim to be, ignorance is still the prime domain of diplomats, leaders and decision makers, and it proves to be the reason for their downfall.
---------- Toliman ----------- Toliman.org. now defunct after the cripping of .au broadband.

info: it's pax romana/americana [o/t,n/t] (none / 0) (#196)
by martingale on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:08:11 AM EST



[ Parent ]
it is o/t. (none / 0) (#213)
by toliman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:21:42 AM EST

yeah i know it is o/t. the subject needed a bit of trolling to distract from the issues.

"pax romanus" is a defacto argument when dealing with US government and it's arrogance & military/political clout domestically and overseas. It comes as a giant broadaxe to any argument supporting US aid or US tariffs/embargoes on trade, because you have to be with the empire, or against it; that, US aid has a price. and the arrogance of US leaders echoes those sentiments 2500 years on.

seriously though, the issue is great discussion material, but it's best argued when people have some idea of the history of the matter, and have no problems being self-patronizing or self-deferential, because when you look at something like the middle-east in terms of political healing or repair, the damage is extensive and irreparable by conventional diplomatic means. E.g. Palestine and Israel, visited by former and current US presidents walk into a peace negotiation which is staged for their amusement, the negotiations have ended before the tables are set for brunch. any real compromises are strictly for the benefit of bystanders. and the leaders on both sides are content with this boody stalemate. there is no resolution, their family is invested with bloodshed and war.

i.e. you take a country / nation that has held it's own in culture, politics, religion, education, beliefs, and the countless scores of invaders that came preaching change and new religions, and they have ousted all of the plagues of social change and reform, for an almost longer time than christianity itself. they will not respond well to threats, they cannot justify any expansion of US military force, and the centuries of bad blood makes the situation flammable if situations become apparent with Iraq. THe middle east does not like outside forces dictating change, it will simply not listen and it will not pay heed to advice on the matter. it is arrogance and pride, and everyhing else that the middle east symbolises.

in short, nothing can be done to help iraq out in the short term, no immediate quick-fix-miracles and a long term solution will be fucked up so badly by the US and local players, it's a losing hand that is trying not to be played, to save the lives of people who don't want change and ultimately are cynical about the process working at all, having seen the kind of change in other non-european countries that have fought the US military machine, and its not a pretty war to be fought.

but you can go fight the fight. Win a war with one man fighting for his freedom and another man fighting for a nation. just dont ask yourself, which side matters more, or what is the point in it ? you'll probably never want the real answer to the question.
---------- Toliman ----------- Toliman.org. now defunct after the cripping of .au broadband.
[ Parent ]

Chemical warfare (none / 0) (#214)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:22:31 AM EST

not the tools of war. having an ability to launch bio/chemical warfare is a joker in the deck, not in the hand of the leaders of another country

Hussein's already used it, both to crush internal dissent (Kurds) and in war (Iran). Both times specifically and intentionally on civilians.

[ Parent ]

End the sanctions! (2.16 / 6) (#164)
by RofGilead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:35:02 AM EST

Many prominent figures in foreign policy have spoken out against the UN sanctions on Iraq, which have had devestating results on the people there.  The fact is, however, the UN will continue supporting these sanctions for as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.   Saddam has managed to maintain control over his country through several attempts of coup, and will most likely remain in power, if left alone, for the remainder of his life.

Now, I don't take the weapons of mass destruction thoughts seriously; any modern day government has been or will be working on weapons of mass destruction at some point.  Governments have to build "defenses" to compete with other governments.

Leaving that matter aside, isn't the quickest way to end the sanctions something that the "left" doesn't currently support?  If the United States attacked Iraq and replaced the regime, the sanctions would be lifted the next morning.  This, however paradoxically to the doves, seems to be the quickest way to save the most people.  Sometimes, perhaps, military action is a good thing?

I'm not saying this to convince you, I'm still mulling it over myself.  

-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon

So your logic is... (5.00 / 2) (#193)
by J'raxis on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:06:17 AM EST

Place sanctions on a country, then say the only way they can be removed is to fight an all out war against the country. That’s some pretty perverse logic.

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Well.. (5.00 / 1) (#333)
by RofGilead on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:02:24 PM EST

It's a perverse situation.  I, as a citizen, cannot influence that we have sanctions on Iraq.  I can however be a supporter of a war that would lead to the sanctions being lifted.

That's my dilemma.

-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon
[ Parent ]

Double Standards (4.15 / 13) (#170)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:15:34 AM EST

Few people seem to have mentioned other countries that have ignored UN resolutions.

Other countries... (2.50 / 6) (#172)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:22:59 AM EST

...but you manage to only find one. The way each time something happens in the Middle East some idiot comes up with the Israel, too bullshit never fails to amuse me.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Other middle eastern countries... (3.80 / 5) (#174)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:38:16 AM EST

- Invading their neighbors
- Defying UN resolutions
- Not allowing weapons inspectors
- Not ratifying anti WMD proliferation treaties
- Guilty of wanton killing of civilians

How many are there?

Just go ahead and call everyone that doesn't agree with you an idiot.


[ Parent ]

Let's see... (3.50 / 6) (#177)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:46:11 AM EST

Middle-East countries who invaded their neighbours:

  • Iraq
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Israel
Middle-East countries who do not fully comply with all U.N. resolutions, in particular Res. 242:
  • Iraq
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Lybia
  • Lebanon
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen
  • Kuwait
Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
All of them! (3.00 / 2) (#180)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:49:54 AM EST

I mean countries that fall into ALL those categories, not single ones.

Can you find any?

[ Parent ]

So you can't even compare two lists? (3.33 / 3) (#182)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:55:26 AM EST

  • Iraq
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Israel



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As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
5 != 2 (3.66 / 3) (#185)
by J'raxis on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:00:46 AM EST

He had five criteria. You found countries that fell under two criteria and then ANDed the two lists. Now how about doing that for all five criteria?

— The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

Oh, *his* criteria... (3.33 / 3) (#187)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:02:05 AM EST

The list is a lot shorter then. Only two culprits:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
Happy?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Three wrong answers. Game over. (1.66 / 3) (#191)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:47 AM EST

Hint: Check the facts.

[ Parent ]
Grow a brain, then come back (1.00 / 6) (#192)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:05:53 AM EST

Idiot.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Wrong answer (3.66 / 3) (#186)
by nonsisente on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:00:59 AM EST

Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon are signer of the anti-WMD proliferation treaties.

Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon have yearly UN inspections of nuclear facilities.

Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon are not places where wanton killing of civilians are taking place.

Which one is left?

[ Parent ]

Signed != Ratified (3.00 / 2) (#190)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:46 AM EST

And WMD != Nuclear. Check Syria situation here.

Idiot.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
ermm (3.00 / 2) (#216)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:27:21 AM EST

Call me what you will, but there really is no argument that "Israel, too" have breached many UN resolutions over the last 40-odd years and have never faced western military action.

[ Parent ]
many UN resolutions (3.00 / 2) (#221)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:37:01 AM EST

But. Are there any binding resolutions against Israel? Ones that require Israel to do something?

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
242 (4.33 / 3) (#231)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:15:32 AM EST

Yes, Res. 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from the territory it occupied in 1967.

Umm... sorry, that link above doesn't seem to work now. Here's a different one.

[ Parent ]

Nope, sorry. (3.66 / 3) (#237)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:35:54 AM EST

Pity it's pdf. That said, what it says is:
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii)Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovreignity, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

"should include the application" does not mean "must include the application". Besides which, Jordan doesn't want the West Bank back. Might be fun to give it to them anyway. Just to see what they'd do with it.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]

hmm... (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:54:23 AM EST

I'd say that was debatable, but then I'm neither a lawyer nor a politician.

Legally the US may be able to justify themselves, but morally they don't have a leg to stand on (in my opinion).

[ Parent ]

Interesting like a car wreck (3.00 / 2) (#289)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:34:55 PM EST

Besides which, Jordan doesn't want the West Bank back. Might be fun to give it to them anyway. Just to see what they'd do with it.

Jordan has more Palestinian blood on its hands than Israel, after all. Of course, Arafat did try to lead a coup against King Hussein at the time.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

Car wrecks are interesting (none / 0) (#298)
by wiredog on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:22:01 PM EST

as long as it's not my car. As far as a mid-east car wreck is concerned, I'm far enough downwind.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
Dear stoic (none / 0) (#375)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:24:39 PM EST

Care to explain your 1 rating?

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
No, he can't (none / 0) (#395)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:11:40 PM EST

Check his comments/ratings ratio. No comment, 73 ratings, all 1s and 5s. Stoic can't write, just rate, and he's not even good at it.

Oh well. That's not the only account used to abuse the rating system. Who cares.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
[o/t] Dear KilljoyAZ (none / 0) (#398)
by stoic on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:43:00 PM EST

Your comment is offtopic, and a flamebait.

[ Parent ]
Funny, it doesn't look like slashdot (none / 0) (#407)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:55:52 AM EST

I didn't realize the greater topic of Middle East history was offlimits. And exactly who am I flamebaiting?

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Have a look at stoic rating history (none / 0) (#445)
by Caton on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 04:34:40 AM EST

Then be proud to be on his "1" list.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Easily rectified (none / 0) (#468)
by KilljoyAZ on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 10:37:57 PM EST

I just gave 5's to the last 30 or so people he gave 1's to.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 2) (#252)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:00:36 AM EST

No binding resolution (that has already been pointed out), so it's a moot point. As usual.

I guess you like jokes. But did you notice how so-called "ethnic" jokes change, then disappear, when racism against a particular minority is reduced, then disappears? But some jokes never disappear.

An elderly Jewish man is sitting on a park bench reading an anti-semitic newspaper. His best friend walks by, sees the paper, and stops -- in shock.
"What are you doing reading that paper?" he says. "You should be reading the Jewish Week!"
The elderly man replies, "'The Jewish Week' has stories about intermarriage, anti-Semitism, problems in Israel -- all kinds troubles of the Jewish people. I like to read about good news. This paper says the Jews have all the money... the Jews control the banks... the Jews control the press... the Jews control everything. Better to read nothing but good news!"
This particular joke has been around for a while, in various forms. It was first published in a Yiddish newspaper in 1893. Last change in that joke was the addition of Israel in 1948. Some things never change.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Other Countries (4.00 / 3) (#228)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:01:31 AM EST

Oh, there's loads that haven't complied, not just Israel. The point is that Iraq is the only one that has been threatened with military action because of it.

A fairly notable one is the US itself, though technically it doesn't breach them often; as a permanent member it merely vetoes any that are critical of it or its clients.

Interestingly the US is the only state in history to be condemned for "International Terrorism" by the World Court. The US decided on that occasion that they were not within the World Court's juristriction, despite of course supporting it on previous occasions.

[ Parent ]

So why? (2.50 / 2) (#255)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:03:05 AM EST

Why is it always Israel? Is it (gasp!) anti-semitism?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
corollary to Godwin's law (none / 0) (#461)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:59:30 PM EST

By the (just invented) Felixrayman Corollary to Godwin's law, once a poster to a thread debating the Middle East has made an accusation of anti-Semitism, the thread is over, with the poster of the accusation having admitted defeat.

Thanks for playing!

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Took 8 days, though (none / 0) (#462)
by Caton on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:28:21 PM EST

Are you sure yours is a valid corollary?

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Validity (none / 0) (#466)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:06:23 PM EST

As valid as its parent law.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
BBC (3.00 / 2) (#240)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:37:48 AM EST

This report actually contains the first reference I've ever seen in the mainstream press to this fact.

Maybe something's actually changed somewhere...

[ Parent ]

who cares about the rhetoric... (2.50 / 2) (#203)
by spooky wookie on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:23:55 AM EST

When it comes to the "war in iraq debate" it always seem to drown in details (when compared with the impact of this conflict on the people of iraq). The fact is that, for each day that passes alot of people is suffering from the un sanctions. Because of this most people will probably agree that something has to be done. What ever this is won't matter as long as 1) This action will lead to a ban of the un sanctions ... 2) This action will leave iraq in a constructive state to "rebuild" itself ... I personally think that these two points can only be accomplished by a physical removal of saddam, since the last 12 years have left us all with a impression of a powermonger and a tyran, whose only concern is how to stay in power... So if the official version is that iraq is threat to western civilization etc, then fine. As long as the root of this problem is solved (saddam). To this end i wellcome the determination of the bush administration (even though i dont think he has the sligtest clue on why to go to war in iraq other than "well, my father did it so why not"). well, back to real life... -nikolas

Get out, go home, quit interfering... (3.16 / 6) (#205)
by GRiNGO on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:43:11 AM EST

Unless Iraq directly attacked america, I dont agree that America has any business there whatsoever. Typical really of Americas view that it owns the world... does anyone really think that America would be the slightest bit interested if oil wasnt involved.
And whats all this bitching about Nuclear Weapons that Iraq doesnt even have... America sells nuclear weapons to other countries when it suite them... and come to think of it can anyone name the one country ever to have used Nukes... America... what a suprise.
Even thinking about all this gets me annoyed... but then I think of the puzzled expression that slides across the face of the Average America when you ask them why they think they're country has been attacked...



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


Not sure (4.00 / 1) (#211)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:17:41 AM EST

America sells nuclear weapons to other countries when it suite them

Actually, I don't think we ever have done that. Well, maybe England, but they're our closest ally.

come to think of it can anyone name the one country ever to have used Nukes... America... what a suprise

Read the whole story on that. It was a tough decision to drop the bomb, but we did it to save American lives in what would have been a necessary invasion to end the war. Oh yeah, and check out Stalin's role in that -- he knew the Japanese were thinking of surrendering and could have told us (avoiding the use of the bomb), but he didn't. It was a better political feather in his cap to let us do it, then declare war on Japan after they'd basically lost.

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#334)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:02:56 PM EST

I agree that dropping the bomb on Hiroshima saved millions of allied solider's lives (and also millions of Japanese soldiers lives!) but it does raise some interesting questions.

Usually we are told that civilian lives take priority over military lives. But in the case of Hiroshima it was a civilian target.

Does this show that in some cases it is okay to target civilians?

If we are going to draw a line on targetting civilians how can we complain when some people in the world (terrorists), draw this line much lower?

[ Parent ]

Forget Hiroshima (none / 0) (#411)
by Quila on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:53:50 AM EST

It did have lots of industry directed towards the war effort.

If you want to talk about terrorism on the part of the WWII allies, check out the firebombing of Dresden.

[ Parent ]

Contradicting yourself. (none / 0) (#413)
by GRiNGO on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:04:41 AM EST

Actually, I don't think we ever have done that. Well, maybe England, but they're our closest ally.

So you're agreeing with me then?

Tough decision to drop the bomb? Geez, well thats ok then, as long as you really thought it through, ack sure its only a few hundred thousand lives. Must have been hard on you poor souls having to take a tough decision like that.

I'm not old enough to remember WWII, nor the Vietnam war... but we do not need to go so far into the past. More recent American injustices ( such as the Gulf War and your backing of Israel in the wholesale ousting, confinement and slaughter of the Palestinian people ) make me sick.



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


[ Parent ]
I said "not sure" (none / 0) (#415)
by Quila on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:29:41 AM EST

I'm not sure if we sold anything to England, or if they did it themselves. I know we don't go around selling to anyone who wants it, as seems to be your implication.

only a few hundred thousand lives

A lot less than that, around 75,000 IIRC. Anyway, the math's simple: the lives of thousands in an enemy military-industrial city or potentially many more of American soldiers' lives in an invasion. I don't know about you, but I think in war you generally choose to have the enemy die.

such as the Gulf War and your backing of Israel in the wholesale ousting, confinement and slaughter of the Palestinian people

What about the Gulf War? We should have just let Hussein keep Kuwait, then later roll on to conquer the rest of Arabia? Appeasement does not work with tyrants.

And I guess Israel should have just ignored those suicide bombers too and not tried to root out the terrorists (FYI, many Palestinian funeral processions were staged, with live people in the caskets).

[ Parent ]

75,000 my ass (none / 0) (#447)
by GRiNGO on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:03:37 PM EST

A lot less than that, around 75,000 IIRC. Anyway, ... you generally choose to have the enemy die.

A little research on the web yields many different figures for the combined death tolls of the two nuke attacks but I think everyone agrees that it is at least twice that which you are suggesting. You have to consider not only the immediate deaths, but the deaths in the weeks, months and years following the attacks from injuries sustained and the effects of radiation. As for choosing to have the enemy die, has it occured to you that perhaps no one had to die? Just because you can blow something up doesn't mean you have to

What about the Gulf War? We should have just let Hussein keep Kuwait, then later roll on to conquer the rest of Arabia?

Whats it to you? Who appointed you judge, juror and executioner? Do you honestly think America would have been the slightest bit bothered if oil wasn't involved?

And I guess Israel should have just ignored those suicide bombers too...

Have you ever asked yourself what drives these people to commit suicide bombings? Have you ever considered that maybe they see their situation with such desperation and despair that they are driven to this. "Suicide bombers are victims too, of that I'm sure." These words were spoken by an Israeli man who lost his daughter to such an attrocity. If he can understand their plight, surely so can you? But of course, being an American living in America... its highly unlikely that you are aware of the real conditions in Palestine, and the plight of its people...



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


[ Parent ]
75,000 at Hiroshima (none / 0) (#451)
by Quila on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 03:23:00 AM EST

More at Nagasaki, and I'm not even going to try to defend the dropping of the second bomb.

As for choosing to have the enemy die, has it occured to you that perhaps no one had to die?

A little reminder: we were at war with an enemy that vowed to fight until the last man. Unknown to us, they were on the verge of surrendering. Thank Stalin for not letting us know that.

Do you honestly think America would have been the slightest bit bothered if oil wasn't involved?

No. But I'm sure all those people in the neighboring countries he would have invaded would have minded quite a bit. A country (Kuwait) was invaded and asked the help of one of its friends (U.S.) to free it. Since that country provided us with oil, we had good incentive to help them.

If he can understand their plight, surely so can you?

Someone bombing a market where mainly women and children are present -- specifically targeting and planning for the death of innocents -- deserves absolutely no understanding or even an attempt at compassion. And these people raising children to die are monsters.

being an American living in America... its highly unlikely that you are aware of the real conditions in Palestine, and the plight of its people...

I'm an American living in Germany, and my wife's doctor is Palestinian. He condemns suicide murderers (let's call it what it is) too, as should anyone with any sense of morals.

This is not to say that everything Israel has done was right, but it cannot be an excuse for the suicide murderers. Nothing can be.

[ Parent ]

this day is dragging in... (none / 0) (#452)
by GRiNGO on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 10:51:40 AM EST

Someone bombing a market where mainly women and children are present -- specifically targeting and planning for the death of innocents -- deserves absolutely no understanding or even an attempt at compassion.

I couldnt disagree more. This isn't a one off act like some madman walking into a school and killing children. This happens time and time again. Surely you must agree that one could never hope to resovle this situation if one never tried to understand the root cause of these attacks. A suicide bombing is a desperate act, where the perpetrator sees no other way out, an absolute final act of desperation. To find a solution and put a stop to these acts, one must find out what is driving the bombers to do this. One must listen to the reasons and in order to find a solution these reasons must be understood.

Oh, I'm forgetting... you're American. You're probably more used to the "oh fuck it lets just blow everything up and hope that sorts it" approach...

And, for the record: I'm not condoning the bombings. I condemn them. But I understand why they happen.



--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


[ Parent ]
Even worse (none / 0) (#457)
by Quila on Fri Sep 20, 2002 at 03:22:59 AM EST

This isn't a one off act like some madman walking into a school and killing children.

Which means it's organized, systemic. That makes it even more barbarous.

Surely you must agree that one could never hope to resovle this situation if one never tried to understand the root cause of these attacks

Blame the victim, huh? As much as I like to understand things, I don't need to understand this. Performing these acts put these people on the level of sub-human, and those who support these acts deserve nothing less than eradication. No matter how desperate you are, you do NOT sink this low and still consider yourself human. The supportive families of the bombers should be put in jail or shot for conspiracy to commit mass murder, as should those who provide monetary support for these operations.

After Westerfield was convicted of killing the Van Damm little girl, I didn't think about "It's all our fault; what did we do wrong; what could we have done so this poor man didn't go and kill that little girl."

A suicide bombing is a desperate act, where the perpetrator sees no other way out, an absolute final act of desperation.

Now if they were suicide-bombing military barracks and convoys, or political institutions, I wouldn't have any of the problems I do now. No, those are too hard to hit, too heavily guarded, and I guess Palestinian Muslim warrior these days doesn't like to take the chance of actually encountering enemy opposition, unlike his predecessors. War is war, but murder is murder.

Speaking of that, what I've read of the Koran (yes, some Americans do care to know), it seems that these attacks would be condemned. A martyr dies on the battlefield fighting soldier to soldier, often against overwhelming odds. There are many, many examples of this. However, I saw no examples of a martyr being defined as a cold-blooded murderer of women and children.

[ Parent ]

I think we need an independant council (4.33 / 6) (#206)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:28:38 AM EST

to look into Bushes actions, both political, and fiscal. Seriously. I mean we spent how much finding out how Clinton got a blowjob, Bush is most likely involved in serious actions that effect all of us, not just some intern, and no one seems to give a shit... Where the fuck are people's heads these days, anyway.....

Yea (none / 0) (#329)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:59:04 PM EST

"Bush is most likely involved in serious actions that effect all of us"
yea probably to do with fraud.

[ Parent ]
Okay, I was wrong (2.50 / 8) (#209)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:09:54 AM EST

Saddam Hussein really isn't a bad guy, and he swears he will never gas innocent civilians with VX (Kurds, Iranians), sponsor terrorism (payments to Palestinian bombers' families), attack another country (Iran/Kuwait), or randomly bomb civilian targets in non-participating third countries (Israel) again.

And Hitler stopped after he took Austria and the Sudatenland. Yep, he did.

A policy of appeasement towards monsters can only lead to future disaster. Not that I can say with certainty that an attack is the right thing at this moment, and I would never trust Bush's motives, but trusting Hussein to be a good guy is the last thing we want to do.

and Godwin's Law strikes again... (n/t) (none / 0) (#243)
by carlossch on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:44:41 AM EST


-- He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.
[ Parent ]
I never believed in it. (n/t) (none / 0) (#245)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:49:30 AM EST

Europe's reaction to Hitler's initial expansion is historical evidence that a policy of appeasement does not work against a ruler with no conscience and a lust for power.

[ Parent ]
sorry, there was text (n/t this time) (none / 0) (#246)
by Quila on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:49:52 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I spit on Godwin and his stupid law (none / 0) (#328)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:57:30 PM EST

Who the hell is this Godwin bloke? and this law he made up sucks d1k.

I thought the issue was the threat Saddam is, not his morality. However if both tie together somehow then I would have to argue that Saddam is only a bad guy towards the US.

Ironic: the US bombs Iraq for over a decade, then turns round and says "We pissed him off, he might attack us back!...I know lets bomb him first!".

[ Parent ]

Touche. (2.00 / 1) (#340)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:34:17 PM EST

Dude, you're turning more and more into a troll each passing day. :)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#354)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:59:50 PM EST

there you go pointing out my inadequacys.

[ Parent ]
If you want to talk about inadequacy (none / 0) (#409)
by Quila on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:09:06 AM EST

Check your spelling and look up the definition of "ironic."

[ Parent ]
there's bad, and then there's bad. (none / 0) (#360)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:12:58 PM EST

I would have to argue that Saddam is only a bad guy towards the US.

We're talking about a man who decided to use poison gas against his own people, and who invaded a neighboring country with zero provocation. How can you see him as anything *but* a bad guy?

[ Parent ]

I reserve my opinion... (4.00 / 9) (#210)
by BushidoCoder on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:16:59 AM EST

... on the fact versus fiction nature of Bush's claim until Blair declassifies and releases the dossier that he's been talking about.

If you honestly think that the US intelligence community doesn't possess information beyond what CNN has, you're deluding yourself. Whether this information actually contributes to the American claim that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction at his disposal has yet to be seen, but the way the Senate Intelligence Committee's opposition to military action crumpled after they had a couple closed door meetings really leads me to believe we've got something of substance, though.

\bc

Of course we have something of substance... (2.25 / 8) (#249)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:54:34 AM EST

...it doesn't take Tony Blair's dossier to see where Iraq is headed. The "wait and see" crowd *will* get us (and themselves) killed in this instance. I think it is equally telling that Frontline reported that Paul Wolfowitz briefed Bush on Iraq on the morning of September 12. And what about the Arab League falling into line this weekend? Or the Saudi reversal on use of their bases? Even the UN's cowardly waffling and hemming acknowledges on some level Iraq's incontrovertable history of death and destruction.

I really don't understand why America needs UN support, or even European support. First of all, American think tanks have analyzed Iraq so thoroughly that no other nation could really supply additional useful information other than perhaps the Saudis or Iranians. Secondly, the war will pay for itself when the oil reserves are tranferred into American control (and why would we want to share the wealth with a bunch of freeloading Europeans?) Thirdly, the Iraqis want to get rid of Saddam. They will very happily assist us in this endeavor, once the critical balance of power is upset in their favor.

Bottom line, what's good for the US is good for Iraq. Everyone else can stroke their beards and pick their butts and read the Communist Manifesto to their children, while America (the only nation with eyes wide open) takes care of business. But, to the victors go the spoils, and Europe and the UN will feel the palpable odor of irrelevance surrounding them.
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[ Parent ]

Well it's like this... (3.20 / 5) (#272)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:40:32 AM EST

...the U.S. needs support from the U.N. in going after Iraq to avoid having all Arab countries siding with Iraq.

And the U.S. will respect the European concessions to Iraqi oil fields to avoid a major trade war. Frankly, those oil fields are not worth the cost of a trade war.

Bottom line is, the U.S. will respect the letter of the law. They always have done that. Basically, it's a country of lawyers. And that's their major flaw, IMHO.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#325)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:53:23 PM EST

From everything I've heard the US administration couldn't give a damn about "the letter of the law" unless it is one they have created.

As soon as a country breaks a rule made by the US, that country is immediately branded evil. But when the US breaks rules made by others (the UN for example), it's wholely the UN's fault.

[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#337)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:11:11 PM EST

As soon as another country breaks the spirit or the letter, it is branded evil. The U.S. breaks the spirit of the law whenever convenient, and does it by looking for loopholes in the letter of the law.

A nation of lawyers, indeed.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Yea (none / 0) (#352)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:55:58 PM EST

yea I think your answer is more correct.

It annoys me when leaders stand up on TV and use the loopholes to justify their blatent wrong actions.
Like that Bar Association meeting that annoyed me so much. Some women on there was arguing that concept "Enemy Combatant" was a legal and good thing. She never answered a question straight once but used legal loopholes like "the geneva convention only applies to prisoners of war not enemy combatants". Grrrr how can this method of avoidance and deception be allowed for these people? Sure doesn't work for Saddam.

[ Parent ]

Why we need UN support (5.00 / 1) (#291)
by BushidoCoder on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:43:52 PM EST

The US certainly does not UN support from a military or financial point of view. With the exception of Britain, who would help us anyway, no other member of the UN has the ability to flex their military might outside their home country, and even Britain is really reliant on the US to provide seabearing transportation for their infantry. If the UN decides to not support the US plan in this, we can and will successfully do it alone.

Of course, doing that would piss of the world, and making our own allies pissed at us is not good policy. Granted, no direct measures would be taken; Germany or any other allied nation isn't going to stop trading with the US over this, but the foreign public's demand for US products will decline, and that's bad in a recession. Furthermore, its not a very good idea to start a war on terror by alienating the nations from which the majority of terrorists come from (that's not a jab against Arab nations, its simply a fact that terrorism would likely decline if the US was more softhanded with the Arab world).

Lastly, although the US is the most powerful nation in the world, international cooperation is a good idea simply from an ideological viewpoint. It makes sense to be friendly. Most nations in the world will be our allies because, in today's world, you pretty much have to; But it'd be awfully nice if we were on friendly terms with them too.

All that said, if we don't get UN support and the President can lend some evidence to support his claims (which he'll do before any action), my vote is still for the US strike.

\bc

[ Parent ]

I'm sure he will (none / 0) (#323)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:51:00 PM EST

Bush is bound to come up with a "final speech" before the bombardment of Iraq.

I wonder though if you will be satisfied when it turns out to be a re-run of all his speeches about Iraq so far (ie pointless stuff like "Saddam is evil", "he is making weapons", "he did all this bad stuff 20 years ago", blah blah).

Would you still condone military action if Bush doesn't produce any evidence for the threat Iraq poses?

[ Parent ]

Absolutely not (none / 0) (#365)
by BushidoCoder on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:10:48 PM EST

I cannot condone action if he doesn't release something. I know that most of the intelligence is sensitive, and probably shouldn't be released (ie, he releases a photo of the inside of a plant, Saddam says "Wow, there's only 5 people who could have taken that photo" and imprisons or executes them all). At the same time, though, to the best of my knowledge, never before in the history of the US has the government entered a war in which the public was fully blind. At the bare minimum, he could fabricate another Gulf of Tonkin =)

It would also help for him to take his political enemies and show them the sensitive materials. Gore, both of the Clintons, and Liebermann should all still be cleared for sensitive material, and it would help alot for them to come out and say, "This is what we can show you, but we attest that what remains classified only further solidifies the President's claims." To some extent, Graham and Feinstein have already done that, but I would prefer it be someone who is not in a political position that can gain from siding with the President.

\bc

[ Parent ]

RE (the only nation with eyes wide open) (4.75 / 4) (#295)
by mk1gti on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:10:27 PM EST

I would be careful about 'the only nation with it's eyes wide open' comment, I run a business where I monitor the press from around the world, checking it's quality and accuracy and the U.S. falls below some 3rd world dictatorships. But hey, don't take my word for it, do some research yourself. Start with 'Operation Mockingbird' You have some learning to do. . . This is *not* a free country and it is *not* a democracy. It *is* a plutocracy, government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. In this country, if you're not the upper one tenth of one percent, you truly do not matter at all. Do yourself a favor, turn off Fox news or CNN and check out 'Newsworld International'. There you'll find news much like it was in this country back in the early to mid 1970's before Reagan came to power and threw us back into the 'dark ages'. Now it just resembles the histrionics of Pravda and Red China's national newspapers back in the days of the cold war. You might want to check out BBC and Manchester Guardian as well as many, many others. Also consult your local 'current affairs' section of the bookstore.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (1.00 / 1) (#308)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:14:10 PM EST

Why would you assume that I (and other Americans) rely on CNN, when I specifically cited Frontline in my post? In my opinion, CNN is nothing but a disinformation campaign aimed at Europeans and other foreign nations, and a damned effective one, too. People in America get as many sources of news as anyone in any other nation. Anyway, the credibility of any one news source over another is not the issue. It is the totality and breadth of all news sources taken together that matters. Finally, your comment keyed off my characterization of the USA as the only nation with its eyes wide open. My meaning was that America has been rudely awakened by a recent terrorist attack, not that Americans read the fucking Guardian newspaper.
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[ Parent ]

Why the UN matters (5.00 / 2) (#300)
by cestmoi on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:49:24 PM EST

I really don't understand why America needs UN support, or even European support.

We need UN support to legitimize the invasion. The Desert Storm cease-fire agreement, which Sadam has clearly violated, is a UN agreement, not a US agreement. Enforcing the agreement is the only legitimate pretext we have for attacking Iraq but it requires the UN to sanction the attack.

Your response will likely be "But why should we wait until he vaporizes a city?" The unfortunate fact is we don't know that he'll vaporize a city. Absent that act on Sadam's part, everything else is "but what if's..." We can "what if" until the cows come home and scare ourselves senseless but it's not a reasonable way to run a country.

A unilateral attack on our part will brand us the aggressors in this affair. Your perception about the spoils of war paying for the war is quite right. If we unilaterally attack Iraq, that perception will be remembered as the prime reason we attacked Iraq. It won't be because we made the world safer.

[ Parent ]

Maybe... (1.00 / 1) (#310)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:15:42 PM EST

...they should try to legitimize the UN before they try to legitimize an attack on Iraq by seeking UN approval. I'm sorry to tell you the cold hard facts: the UN needs America more than America needs the UN.
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[ Parent ]

I think.. (5.00 / 2) (#322)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:47:03 PM EST

that the US simply has a problem with democracy.

If the majority of nations disagree with a US decision the US brands them all as "wrong" and does what it wanted to do anyway. Not exactly a good example to the world.

[ Parent ]

damn! I never thought of it that way (none / 0) (#326)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:53:29 PM EST

good point!

[ Parent ]
umm (none / 0) (#350)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:51:58 PM EST

Are u being sarcastic?

[ Parent ]
Well, from a nation of lawyers.... (none / 0) (#367)
by BushidoCoder on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:24:21 PM EST

... the Constitution never mentions that other nations get a vote in US affairs =)

Seriously, though, the US is the big bully because we happen to be the biggest. However, any nation who has been the biggest in the past has been a bully. It simply goes with the turf, and is likely required to be the biggest in the first place. That doesn't legitimize it, of course, but it should be put into that perspective seeing as the people who ironically seem to shoot off their mouths at the US the most on this site are either British, French or German, and none of them have ever been the bullies around the block, no-sir-ee-bob.

Is it that wrong, anyway? The President is doing what he believes is right for the people to whom he has a sworn responsibility to protect and defend. Congress is doing the same. Sure, the rest of the world may disagree with the way we want to do things, but the decisions the American leadership are making are thoughtful decisions which have already weighed the alternatives. American political theory has always maintained that an elected leader can make decisions from his or her own conscience in direct opposition to the will of their constituents. That's why we aren't a democracy to begin with. That sort of latitude isn't needed here, though, as this is more akin to a congressman voting in favor of his own constituents and his own conscience, but in opposition to the will of the people of another state, and every fiber of the American political system supports that.

Also, please remember... if Saddam finishes a bomb and gives it to a terrorist, I can promise you its not going to explode in Montreal or Berlin.

\bc

[ Parent ]

heh. (5.00 / 1) (#402)
by martingale on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:22:48 PM EST

... the Constitution never mentions that other nations get a vote in US affairs =)
I agree completely. In fact, I don't see where the Iraqi constitution mentions that other nations get a vote in Iraqi affairs either ;-P

the people who ironically seem to shoot off their mouths at the US the most on this site are either British, French or German, and none of them have ever been the bullies around the block, no-sir-ee-bob.
Seriously though, the British French and Germans are on the other side of their empires, as will be the US in the not too distant future. We're just trying to help you come to terms with the realities of the world and not make the kind of mistakes your children will regret later.

Is it that wrong, anyway? The President is doing what he believes is right for the people to whom he has a sworn responsibility to protect and defend.
Well, is it wrong to fight Evil if you believe strongly in it? That's really one for the theists among us. Let me suggest that the current president is doing what he believes is right for some people, but not all people he has sworn responsibility to protect and defend. Why else is there so much opposition from within the US at the new policies and attacks on individuals' Freedom since his ascension to power? He must be doing something wrong.

Also, please remember... if Saddam finishes a bomb and gives it to a terrorist, I can promise you its not going to explode in Montreal or Berlin.
What does that have to do with anything? Unless Hussein makes a bomb explode in George's territory, you have no case. Stop justifying actions with hypotheticals. Facts, facts, facts, not if, if, if.

[ Parent ]
A few notes (none / 0) (#418)
by BushidoCoder on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:09:34 AM EST

I agree completely. In fact, I don't see where the Iraqi constitution mentions that other nations get a vote in Iraqi affairs either ;-P

A legitimate point, saving that Iraq lost a degree of their sovereignty to the United Nations when they invaded Kuwait. The United Nations does say the internation community gets a vote in certain Iraqi affairs. Whether you believe the United Nation's opinion to be legit in the first place is a different matter.

Seriously though, the British French and Germans are on the other side of their empires, as will be the US in the not too distant future. We're just trying to help you come to terms with the realities of the world and not make the kind of mistakes your children will regret later.

Bah, I'm sick and tired of hearing all these predictions about the downfall of the US Empire. The United States will doubtlessly lose its status as the only superpower, but there's no reason to believe that the US will ever be "second". We are a large nation, not broken apart by oceans, that is able to culturally adapt and integrate new persons easily and effectively. We have a vast wealth of material resources that, with proper usage plans, will last us some while. The only outlier to this is oil, and I think in the near future, the US will really begin to decrease its reliance on oil. In my humble opinion, our system of government, though flawed, is still the best single government in existance in terms of its stability and adaptability. We do not have any military threats as neighbors, and the closest thing you could call a future threat (China) is thousands of miles of ocean away. Lastly and most importantly, the distance between the US's left wing and right wing is substantially smaller than the difference between those two groups in other nations, particularly looking at Europe. This gives credence to the idea that the public if the US is basically ideologically similar to one another, so the likelyhood of civil war or desertion isn't all that high.

Well, is it wrong to fight Evil if you believe strongly in it? That's really one for the theists among us. Let me suggest that the current president is doing what he believes is right for some people, but not all people he has sworn responsibility to protect and defend. Why else is there so much opposition from within the US at the new policies and attacks on individuals' Freedom since his ascension to power? He must be doing something wrong.

Again, wrong is relative. The terrorists did what they thought was right. I think they're misguided. Because their religious or political views differ so drastically than mine, but more importantly, because the actions they take to enforce those views infringe on my right to live safely, my 350 million buddies and I will respond accordingly, and we carry a bigger stick. This of course, only sparks up more hatred of US policy, increasing terrorism, increasing responses. Vicious cycle, and one that is going to hurt us alot if we don't fix it right now. Fortunately for the US, the international community isn't big on the whole idea of protecting the rights of terrorists at the moment, so I think we have an early leg-up so long as we don't piss of more people.

I'm not saying might makes right; I'm simply pointing out the reality of it. The nation with more military power has historically always won. The US really put the shaft down on the Indians last century, and I really wish I could have said that the Indians legitimate claim to their land allowed them divine favor in battle, but we all know how that one ended. At least they're making us pay for it all back now; I get such a kick outta watching all the white guys lose their shirts in the casino, then watching the Indian dealer finish his shift, walk out to the employee parking lot and drive off in his vette.

In regards to the point about opposition within the US to newer policies. Sadly, the US is in a time in which it will need to reevaluate its civil liberties to a degree. Things will settle down as the government wins some new rights and loses some of its "newly acquired" powers in the courtroom. We are in a different US, now. The foundation of our civil liberties, at least insofar as our founding fathers wrote them, is the old doctrine "better let a 10 guilty men go free than put one innocent man in jail" (ha, that worked out well, didn't it). Of course, the founding fathers didn't know that the wrong guilty man can, properly equipped, kill thousands of people now. But our society changes with the time, and it is this uproar that you outsiders see as chaos that actually makes it work. That's not the US falling apart, that's the system working. We always do that! We like yelling! Why do you think we have so many lawyers? I for one am willing to give up a little of my civil liberties (particularly in the area of online privacy since thats a joke anyway) to ensure that no weapon of mass destruction goes off at Disneyworld. Like most Americans, I will weigh my opinion into the frey intelligently, and help lawmakers draw the line that needs to be drawn. If it goes too far, with great effort it can be brought back later. If it doesn't go far enough... well, we'll know soon enough I suppose.

Don't anyone give me that Franklin line about "liberty" and security. I hate that quote. Ben Franklin read so much frickin John Locke that he would have no problem with citizens thoughtfully giving more to the government in the social contract in exchange for more realistic security from foreign threats in return. He had no problem with the establishment of the police and army for the same reason. He's simply talking about idiots who say, "Ah screw it, I'm lazy, communism sounds fine I guess.... Actually, I'm not sure, you tell me."

My last point in my previous post, as you noted, had nothing to do with anything. Sorry =)

\bc

[ Parent ]

some (dis)agreements (5.00 / 1) (#439)
by martingale on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:15:30 AM EST

A legitimate point, saving that Iraq lost a degree of their sovereignty to the United Nations when they invaded Kuwait. The United Nations does say the internation community gets a vote in certain Iraqi affairs. Whether you believe the United Nation's opinion to be legit in the first place is a different matter.
Okay, I'm happy to let the UN arbitrate on this. We're in agreement.

Bah, I'm sick and tired of hearing all these predictions about the downfall of the US Empire.
Ah, well, I'm basing this mainly on the fact that the US has about 1/20th of the earth's population, which means 1/20th the earth's smart people, 1/20th the earth's ingenuity, talent, drive, belligerence, luck, etc. Still a lot more than a country like France, but not enough to permanently keep near the top. Of course, in the next ten years I think it's ok ;-)

I'm not saying might makes right; I'm simply pointing out the reality of it. The nation with more military power has historically always won.
One thing to note is that the game is getting more complicated all the time. Due to shifting alliances and economic ties, instantaneous communication and projection of power, public opinion and other complexities, this is no longer true, if it ever was (case in point: Greeks versus Persia, the 800 pound military gorilla of the time lost).

In regards to the point about opposition within the US to newer policies. Sadly, the US is in a time in which it will need to reevaluate its civil liberties to a degree. Things will settle down as the
The US isn't alone in this. European nations have pushed head over heels into this too. Personally, I don't like it. For all the talk about terrorism, I think it's neither a new idea, nor is it as dangerous as it's made out to be. In the last fifty years, for example, European countries have had terrorism on their own soil, and managed quite well without restricting civil liberties. But suddenly since last year terrorism is a million times more dangerous? No. It's proved to be a good excuse, though.

Don't anyone give me that Franklin line about "liberty" and security. I hate that quote.
All right, I won't. But you've got to admit that something smells fishy in the western world. :-0

My last point in my previous post, as you noted, had nothing to do with anything. Sorry =)
Heh. It's a debate, not a fight to the death.

[ Parent ]
US Empire (none / 0) (#449)
by BushidoCoder on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 12:57:20 PM EST

Ah, well, I'm basing this mainly on the fact that the US has about 1/20th of the earth's population, which means 1/20th the earth's smart people, 1/20th the earth's ingenuity, talent, drive, belligerence, luck, etc. Still a lot more than a country like France, but not enough to permanently keep near the top. Of course, in the next ten years I think it's ok ;-)

heheh Actually, its the next 10 that has me worried =)

If all things were equal, you'd be absolutely right. The problem is that society really knows how to waste a good mind. Western Civilization has invented a fantastic social body to help with this problem; The middle class. It affords nearly the same opportunities that the elite have with much lower entry requirements.

This is important to note, because the vast majority of progress that modern civilization has made has come from the middle class. The middle class makes the inventors and engineers who, together, make the products and inventions of their generation.

On occasion a super-genius steps on the scene. Statistics say that they'll be born in China or India. If born in India, they'll likely move to the US because it has better opportunities for them (more on that later). If China, either the government will not censure them (in which case, the whole world will benefit from their research and ideas) or the government will censure them (in which case, the genius-in-question will likely think up significantly less important things as a result of a shortage of peer review / peer contact).

So, in my humble opinion, it really boils down to those "copyrightable" closed ideas generated within the middle class, and the business plans implemented by the middle class. As individuals within lower quality of life countries educate themselves, they have a habit of moving to countries where the standard of life is higher (case in point: the drove of technology workers in the US coming in from India). You can't blame them; They just want a better life, and the Western "superpowers" can provide that to them with minimal discomfort experienced in the move.

It is in this simple point that I think will leave the US on the top. We are a nation that, culturally, is built on the idea that we are one cheap "pop" culture binding together innumerable individual cultures in a common way. For the most part, immigrants find it easier to move to the US than they do other nations (at the moment). I don't know why. Unfortunately, it will take some time for those nations to build their own middle class, because the bigger nations (US in particular) take advantage of the real industrial opportunities, and therefor skim the real money off the top back to the US. And again, you can't blame a Indian factory owner for selling it to Pepsi, because it is certainly in his or her best interests.

I spent 8 years in Germany as a child, though I left in '94 so this opinion may be outdated : I consistently wondered at the time why I never saw non-white Europeans. It shocked me. Perhaps it was reflective of where I lived (Frankfurt, then Maastricht). It completely dashed me, though, as I had moved to Europe from Southern California and DC which are "mixing bowls".

I'm not 100% sure where I'm going with this. Its something I've been thinking about for a long time, and never been able to clearly discern how to describe the feeling that I have. If America has a darkest hour and a point at which is succumbs to no longer being a superpower, its the day that Pat Buchanan's dream is realized : The effective closing of our border to immigrants. The US works because we have that mixing bowl culture, and because we steal floods of the best and brightest of other countries. Its wrong to an extent, that we cripple the nations who need those people the most by accepting them into our "happy family", but people do it because its in their own interests, and you can't blame them for that at all. I've known too many friends who came to the US saying "Don't worry Mom and Dad, I'm just using America for her colleges, and I'll be back in four years." Four years later : "Screw that! I'm not going back, Boston kicks ass! More Starcraft anyone?" That, I believe is America's power. We are a haven for anyone, and for as cheap as our culture may seem, it is infinitely attractive to younger generations for its instant gratification.

I leave at this, because I'm rambling, and a rambling debate never works. Just ask Dubya. If someone could please fill me in, though, on the real status of immigration within the EU nations, I'd be much obliged. Demographics never tell the story.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Yeah, turn iraq into another doggy slave (3.75 / 4) (#219)
by Juan Rojo on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:35:18 AM EST

Way to go US!
Many of you probably dont know or dont understand this, but democracy is not necesarily the end-of-all-freedoms, and specially the one of the kind US encourages.
Democracy is the perfect way for economic groups or developed/rich countries to take control of other countries, and more in the case of iraq.
This is quite simple, there are two facts that make democracy impossible. The first one is that a dictatorship, by constantly repressing ideologies, intelectuals and "subversive" political affiliations leaves a mark on people and "stupidizes it". People in Iraq have no idea about politics and will be easily manipulated by US/Europe/Arabs/Economic groups through media to "vote for their candidate", resulting the new goverment in a new loyal "servant to the empire."
So, when you read "implant democracy" right now, you read "implant an easy way to control a country".

Ugh, pressed enter early :) (3.50 / 2) (#222)
by Juan Rojo on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:39:21 AM EST

The second fact is that "uncensored" media is the easier way to manage and induce masses to vote for a certain candidate, and only economic groups can control media, not people... but we all know this! :)

[ Parent ]
Democracy and control (5.00 / 2) (#263)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:17:12 AM EST

a dictatorship, by constantly repressing ideologies, intelectuals and "subversive" political affiliations leaves a mark on people and "stupidizes it ... when you read "implant democracy" right now, you read "implant an easy way to control a country".

In the short term, maybe. In the long term ... well, Germany in 1945 had been controlled by a repressive dictatorship for a dozen years, and the US can't "control" it after half a century of democracy. Russia in 1987 had been under a repressive dictatorship for 70 years, and had been a midieval empire prior to that, and seems now to be reasonably democratic and not controllable by the US.

Why is Iraq any *less* suitable ground for democracy today than Germany in 1945 or Russia in 1991?

[ Parent ]

Don't you see it? (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:34:05 AM EST

It's called racism. "Ragheads cannot decide for themselves, you know. They're just children".

Oh well. What else did you expect?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
you cant really compare hitler to saddam (none / 0) (#421)
by Juan Rojo on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:18:06 AM EST

Hitler didnt repress ideologies, he simply repressed gitans, jews, etc.

[ Parent ]
and communistts/socialists. (5.00 / 1) (#426)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 11:28:02 AM EST

The *entire* left-wing political movement in Germany, which had been the strongest political force during the Weimar years, was forced underground; the party leaders were arrested and killed, or else they fled the country.

Willy Brandt, who was Bundeskanzler during the late 60s and early 70s and remained the head of the SPD until his death, had fled to Norway during the 30s; when Norway was invaded, he *switched places with a Norwegian soldier* so that he could escape into Sweden. This became a major issue during his first campaign for Kanzler, because he had fought against his country.

[ Parent ]

Good God... (3.16 / 12) (#223)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:41:18 AM EST

...the only thing worse than listening to the White House's propoganda is reading the equal-but-opposite propoganda posted by your typical Kuro5hin Euro-peon. Not *one* single claim in the story above is substantiated better than anything Bush has said. The only way this drivel makes any sense is if you presuppose that the UN has more credibility than the White House, which is, IMO, a total joke. Anyway, the White House (and its gee-golly occupant) are nothing but a red herring for you cafe communists to get all riled up about. This whole Iraq thing is being led by Paul Wolfowitz -- a man with access to information that would probably shut you up very, very quickly and permanently.
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Um... (3.50 / 4) (#233)
by kableh on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:16:06 AM EST

Did you read any of the links? UNICEF is a fairly reputable organization, and they state "in the heavily-populated southern and central parts of the country, children under five are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago."

We've been doing the same thing to Cuba for years, with our embargo against them.

I agree that opening his counter-point with the phrase "Reality" is just asking for trouble, but READ dammit.

[ Parent ]
Use your logical facilities... (3.00 / 4) (#242)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:42:38 AM EST

...did UNICEF conclude that the embargoes are to blame for the increased infant/toddler mortality rates? Is there a clear causal link that you can point to right now between the embargoes and the death of those children? How do you deal with the problem of a ruthless dictator, who has demonstrated total disregard for the well being of his own people, as an intervening cause in chain of causal links that resulted in the death of those children? I'm not trying to be facetious, but what seems like common sense to you seems like unsubstantiated nonsense to me. You have not substantiated anything, despite your reproaches and presumptions about my willingness to read.
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[ Parent ]

More total rubbish (5.00 / 1) (#317)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:28:38 PM EST

This same issue gets raised again and again.

"Infant mortality rates have doubled because of Saddam"

What, are you suggesting that Saddam is being twice as "evil" as before sanctions were imposed?

Your link is as casual as your opponent's.

Saddam doesn't have "total disregard" for his people - this is media lies. How the hell do the media know that Saddam has "total disregard" for his people? How the hell do you?

[ Parent ]

Logic... (5.00 / 1) (#338)
by kableh on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:31:31 PM EST

First of all, please don't take my presumption about your reading abilities as an attack, I just found some interesting info in parsing them. However, I fail to see how you determined that this "ruthless dictator has demonstrated total disregard for the well being of his people."

I submit this tidbit, from the CNN interview with the former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq:
CNN Moderator: Why should we lift the sanctions when Iraq has done little to comply with the ceasefire terms he agreed to on April 6, 1991?

Denis Halliday: The history of the Baath Party in the 1970s and 1980s shows huge investments in the well being of the Iraqi people. Billions of oil dollars were spent in health care and education. To my mind, it is Western propaganda to say now that Baghdad does not care about its children. The fact is, it's the U.S. that is in control of the Iraqi economy. And the fact is that politics are being played, both in Baghdad and in Washington, at the cost of the Iraqi people.

I'm American, yet I trust our currect administration a whole hell of a lot less than I trust UNICEF. Which is why I'm not at all suprised that all the stuff we hear about Saddam being a ruthless dictator might just be blown out of proportion. And as an American, I'm inclined to believe that Bush's oil interests have at least some part to play in this.

Also, as a friend pointed out to me the other day, this would be the first preemptive strike against a foriegn country we've ever made. America has always acted in response to an attack made on us or our Allies. That, I believe, is what America is all about, being there for the little guy. And I don't think attacking an impoverished nation is going to help anything.

[ Parent ]
i also would trust UNICEF more than (3.50 / 2) (#348)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:50:14 PM EST

the US gov't... UNICEF has a history of benevolent action. I donate to UNICEF (well my wife does, I am a cheap SOB..) and they are one of the few organizations I think really do directly help people in need. I have NEVER seen the US act in this type of beneovlent action. Sometime it looks like we are doing good, but it is ALWAYS to further our best interests. Sure, we give lots of money (to UNICEF even), but it is always with stipulation, or implied stipulation....

[ Parent ]
this paul wolfowitz guy? (3.33 / 3) (#293)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:54:53 PM EST

You know him personally? I should "just trust him"? Is that what you are saying? As the gentleman who wrote this article ( http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/10/ED4 0688.DTL) states, "After his speech, a faculty colleague and I spoke to Gonzalez. We brought the discussion back to presidential power. Gonzalez tried to reassure us, saying, "Condi Rice and others and I are looking out for how the president will play in history. We don't want him to look like some monster who destroyed our freedom. Trust us." "The Constitution is not based on trust, but on distrust," I answered. "

[ Parent ]
The point is... (3.00 / 2) (#312)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:18:30 PM EST

...Paul Wolfowitz is *always* going to know more about what is really going on than you do. I'm not asking you to trust him; I'm suggesting that you acknowledge his priority in the intelligence flow chart and judge his actions accordingly.
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[ Parent ]

perhaps he is more in the know than me, (5.00 / 1) (#320)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:32:06 PM EST

hell I am NEVER in the loop... But my point is, I don't trust him. This is why we have checks and balances. The current administration has been effectively attempting to bypass these checks and balances. I still think we need to seriously question the current administration with an INDEPENDENT COUNCIL. http://www.unansweredquestions.org/top_11.html

[ Parent ]
I trust him... (none / 0) (#436)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:42:51 PM EST

...what makes your investigators more trustworthy? How is the current administration different (in kind, not degree) than any other? Why does your unwillingness to trust individuals in the administration matter more than other people's willingness to do so? I think things are humming along just fine. The USA is working on a long-term plan right now. Tying us up in what would essentially be a kangaroo court is counter-productive. Eyes on the prize, buddy. It doesn't matter if it's black or white, as long as it's black or white.
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[ Parent ]

By the way... (3.57 / 7) (#224)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:42:38 AM EST

...anyone that would counterpose his opponent's argument with the heading "Reality:" is a blatant liar, in my book.
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Ockham's Razor (3.85 / 7) (#226)
by jeremy on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 09:48:39 AM EST

JHWB fails to get Saddam ousted.

His son runs for office, somehow wins, sees country get attacked by a splinter radical group unassociated with Iraq, declares war on an idea, is fairly victorious due to meme propagation and proxy fighting, shifts focus to avenge father's failure by justifiying it against the meme.

Sound about right?

If any other person was in office, including any other Republican, would we be making this much of a fuss over Iraq?

The traitor Bush (none / 0) (#378)
by bill_mcgonigle on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:29:10 PM EST

You suggest that Bush is putting the interests of family revenge above the security of the Nation and is going to commit troops to that end.  If true, that's what we call High Crimes and Treason, the punishment for which, IIRC, is hanging by the neck until dead.

So, no, it doesn't sound about right to me.


[ Parent ]

hanging by the neck until dead [o/t] (none / 0) (#403)
by martingale on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:28:29 PM EST

You suggest that because the punishment for High Crimes and Treason is hanging by the neck until dead, traitors simply do not exist? That doesn't sound about right to me.

[ Parent ]
no, of course not (none / 0) (#425)
by bill_mcgonigle on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:36:44 AM EST

I see my subtlety was lost - I'll spell it out.  

The accusation is that Bush is a traitor to the Nation.

There are two points to my comment:

point 1: The original poster is charging the President of the United States with the highest crime in the nation.  One ought to substantiate such accusations with a substantial body of evidence.  Nonchalantly conjecturing along those lines is terribly reckless behavior.  Just because the subject of the conjecture is a public figure does not excuse the poster from the expectation of gentlemenly behavior.

point 2: The punishment for treason is severe enough to dissuade most thinking men.

[ Parent ]

The war already begun (4.00 / 5) (#230)
by svSHiFT on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:07:00 AM EST

I mean not those flights against iraqi SAM's sites last week, but the informational war. Just have a look at those numerous flushes of anti-Iraq information in American and European mass media happened recently.

true (5.00 / 1) (#236)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:35:17 AM EST

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22098-2002Sep15.html ANd I think it WILL occur, wether or not the people of the USA want it. I don't, and I made sure to tell people... http://www.peace-action.org

[ Parent ]
Yes its very weird (none / 0) (#313)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:20:57 PM EST

Two weeks ago the media was the same as public opinion, that is they were against war.

This week the media has suddenly switched to being amazingly pro war. All the questions and doubts they had before have disapeared without trace.

Most disturbing of all, this change wasn't following a change in public opinion but rather it has obviously lead the change in public opinion.

Either peoples minds are being manipulated or the "who wants war" polls are.

[ Parent ]

Apples and oranges (none / 0) (#319)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:29:43 PM EST

Last week the U.S. position was stated clearly. And it is significantly different from what the leftish propaganda said it would be.

I haven't seen any article saying that the U.S. should go to war against Iraq. I have seen lots of articles that support the idea of a U.N. sanctioned, U.S. led military action against Iraq if Iraq keeps ignoring the U.N. resolutions they agreed upon when signing the Gulf War cease-fire treaty.

There is a big difference.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I see your point, but call it what you will (none / 0) (#321)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:42:12 PM EST

a war, a "UN sanctioned conflict". I do think it would be better if the UN sanctioned it, at least it would give it some legitimacy in the world at large, but I seriously doubt they will. And I feel strongly that this would have been a Bush agenda item regardless of 9\11. I was against the last gulf war (the one that was an "official" war) becuase I really didn't think we gave a shit about kuwait, but about the oil. Funny thing now is, Kuwait doesn't want us on their soil, even though we bailed them out. We really need to start thinking about the big picture, and the UN is one of the ways to acheive a positive big picture. There is NO WAY to remain isolationist in todays world. And when we start bombing the shit out of a country, innocents get hurt, as well as our soldiers. In the last gulf war, they kept telling me, "you have to support the war effort, think of our troops, put a ribbon up" well bullshit to that, I *DO* care about our troops, probably more than their current commander in cheif, I care enough not to send them into a futile combat situation so I can fill my pockets with oil money. We STILL HAVEN'T FOUND Bin Laden, no we are going to spend 200 billion to try and blow another snake out of his hole? Where is the stability in Afghanistan? Do we really expect any in Iraq?

[ Parent ]
That hint that Bin Laden was dead.. (4.00 / 1) (#349)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:50:33 PM EST

That guy did make a mistake and accidently hinted that he was dead - before correcting himself.

But if Bin Laden wanted the focus shifted from him, how better than to pretend you are dead?

[ Parent ]

Conclusion: wrong (3.00 / 6) (#239)
by mveloso on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:37:46 AM EST

<America's attack on Iraq is being driven by three factors: the "full spectrum dominance" ideology of the Bush regime, domestic American politics, and the desire to re-establish a client state in Iraq in order to control its oil supplies.>

1) full spectrum dominance is a great term! Unfortunately, the US already has full-spectrum dominance across most of the globe that matters.

2) domestic american politics. If you've been paying attention to the recent talk, the Iraq issue has been less than a slam dunk for the Bush administration; they're expending large amounts of political capital for something that, to be honest, is a vague and nebulous threat. Of course, it does distract everyone from what's happening or not happening domestically.

3) client state in Iraq: who cares about Iraq, really? The US has all the oil it needs from the other middle-eastern states, and Russia is supposed to come on-line as a supplier real soon now.

The US is attempting to perform a regime change because it sees Saddam Hussein as someone who is capable of playing outside the rules. Here's a leader who went off and invaded another country, killed and raped its population, looted the country, and did a scorched-earth retreat. He has no qualms about killing his family, in-laws, or locals, as long as he stays in power.

All this wouldn't be a big deal for the US, usually, except the US is especially paranoid these days due to recent events. What's to stop him or his operatives from sneaking a big container of cesium into the US and vaporising it, contaminating LA, NY, Seattle, London, Paris, Rome, etc?

You are wrong. (4.00 / 3) (#251)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:57:17 AM EST

"What's to stop him or his operatives from sneaking a big container of cesium into the US and vaporising it, contaminating LA, NY, Seattle, London, Paris, Rome, etc? " Oh, come on. This is the paranoid rhetoric the mainstream media and the Bush admin would have you beleive. Your argument is simply speculation. I could speculate a ton of crap, and make it sound good. "1) full spectrum dominance is a great term! Unfortunately, the US already has full-spectrum dominance across most of the globe that matters. " I think it is a lousy and obtuse term, trying to generalize on something difficult to generalize about. What interests me is your attitude that some parts of the globe don't matter. That is quite an ignorant belief, IMHO.....

[ Parent ]
Here's a thought! (3.00 / 4) (#311)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:16:42 PM EST

"Here's a leader who went off and invaded another country, killed and raped its population, looted the country, and did a scorched-earth retreat."

You are talking about Bush in Afghanistan right?

"The US is attempting to perform a regime change because it sees Saddam Hussein as someone who is capable of playing outside the rules."

Oh and the US is *really* sticking to the rules 24/7 aren't they! You give me a UN resolution Saddam has defied and I can give you one which the US has defied.

"What's to stop him or his operatives from sneaking a big container of cesium into the US and vaporising it, contaminating LA, NY, Seattle, London, Paris, Rome, etc?"

What would stop the US from sneaking spies into a country and use them to pinpoint targets and then bomb the shit out of them? Nothing! its been done!

Whats to stop Saddam discovering a new power source and flying off the moon to build an empire of robots who one day will return to kill us all??! omg nothing! we must bomb him now!

On a serious note, Saddam hasn't attacked us for over a decade while we had our guard down so why do you think he would want to attack us now? Saddam is a stable leader not an unstable terrorist like Bin Laden. How about the US consentrates on the terrorists planning the next attack on the US rather than Iraq which plans nothing of the sort.

I am very sure that the reasons Bush has for attacking Iraq are NOT the ones he is telling us of. Because if they were the real reasons, how come so many people don't see them?

[ Parent ]

Invading other countries (3.50 / 2) (#455)
by wji on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 12:25:35 PM EST

You generalize from the case of Iraq invading Kuwait / repressing Iraq's people that the US is acts to stop domestic repression and foreign invasion. But if you look at any number of other cases that generalization doesn't hold up. For one thing, Hussein's worst acts of repression were committed when he was an ally, and there was no attempt to stop him. And he also launched an agressive war on Iran which took far more lives, far more brutally, than the seizure of Kuwait. And that's just in Iraq. Go south to Saudi Arabia, or east and back a few years to the Shah's Iran, and you find extremely murderous dictatorships supported by the US. So it makes no sense to say Iraq became an enemy for committing aggression.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
This article is pathetic (1.84 / 13) (#247)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:51:11 AM EST

This has to be the biggest piece of blarney I've so far read on K5. If we don't remove Saddam, an American city will be vaporized within four years. Saddam will give a nuke to a terrorist group and they will slip it into Manhattan (60% probability), Washington DC (30% probability) or San Francisco (10% probability). Even if your argument about the majority of Saddam's illegal arms having been destroyed is true (and I'm certain it isn't), what has that got to do with new arms he has been building/acquiring since inspectors were thrown out over three years ago? Your bluster about the sanctions is the height of hypocrisy. When Saddam went ahead and broke the cease fire terms of the Gulf War by hiding arms from the inspectors and then ejecting them altogether, we had two modes of response open to us: violent and non-violent. We went ahead with the non-violent trade sanctions and still people like you accuse us of perpetrating one of the greatest crimes in history. It's obviously impossible to win with people like you. Thank goodness you're in a tiny minority.

where are your facts then? (3.00 / 3) (#253)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:00:38 AM EST

You present a hell of a lot of inflammatory rhetoric, but you are full of shit as far as I can tell, can you back up these statistics you invented? What is this "people like you" shit? People like you are the ones who will be the demise of democracy. Ignoramuses spewing false rhetoric about something they haven't even fully cognated. Get a grip, if your going to bash the article, try to do so with some FACTS instead of the name calling.

[ Parent ]
I'll (1.14 / 7) (#258)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:07:03 AM EST

I'll damn well call anyone whatever I feel like calling them. The author is a shithead and so are you. I'm not citing facts ok? I'm applying logic. Try it yourself some time. I don't need to run out and cover my ass with bogus sources because I have a mind and can think through the situation.

[ Parent ]
You are wrong though (5.00 / 3) (#302)
by PotatoError on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:58:17 PM EST

I don't care what you think of me. I don't know you and will probably never meet you in my life.

However from a "logical" point of view, attacking Iraq is a bad idea. Sure, there is a threat there and at first glaces the obvious solution is to wipe out the threat with bombs. But if you look at it closely you will realise that attacking Iraq is a bad idea for the following reasons:

- It sets a precedent. Every other country named by Bush in the "axis of evil" speach will be sure that the US will be after them next, they will know that the international community is unable to prevent the US from attacking who it wants. All they can see is that the US only attacks countries without nuclear weapons (the US never attacked the Soviet Union or China for example). Therefore these countries will try and defend themselves by developing nuclear weapons, deploying sleepers in American cities and building up their armies. North Korea will soon have missiles in range of the West coast of the US, they are sure to develop them with renewed haste if an attack on Iraq occurs. Instead of stabilizing the world, this will de-stabilise it and make it more dangerous.

- It sets another precedent. Many countries may decide to attack their neighbours using the same reason the US used to attack Iraq. They could argue that its a preemptive attack and the US wouldn't be able to do much about it, afterall the US itself has ignored the international community so why should other countries listen?

- This isn't war on terror. This is a war against Iraq, it would be wise to remember that this war is likely to create *more* terrorism as a result.

- Desert Storm was easy because it was flat ground and the Iraqi tanks were sitting ducks. This war will be far more difficult, we will have biological and chemical weapons used against troops this time. The final attack on Baghdad will be the hardest. For an example go and look at how the Russians fared in Grozny. The US can't carpet bomb the city because that will plainly kill thousands of civilians and will draw parallels with the WTC attacks. The US will have to send troops in, Baghdad is a built up city and you are going to have snipers, traps, all sorts.

Saddam has had a decade to prepare for this and he has known for four months that he is *definitely* going to be attacked. He isn't stupid, he will have thought of counter-measures.
In the gulf war Saddam didn't use any biological or chemical weapons on allied troops - why? Because he knew that as soon as he did, the allies would topple him. However, Saddam gave orders to his troops to attack with such weapons if the allies advanced on Baghdad. They didn't.

But this time it is certain that as soon as US troops move toward Baghdad, Saddam will throw every biological and chemical agent he has at them. He may also order spies hidden in US cities to release biological agents in revenge (he has sure had enough time to set this up and I wouldn't be suprised if he used this as a last minute deterent to prevent the US from attacking).
He is also likely to launch missile attacks against israel like he did in the gulf war (this time the missiles might carry biological warheads) as well as throwing everything he has at the US advance.

The threat is that many more thousands of US civilians could die as a result, a heavy assault on Israel may cause it's neighbours to attack her and the US. The region will end up more distabilized than before and US troops will have to remain in Iraq for at least 20 years in which time they will come under terrorist attacks (is it really a terrorist attack when attacking the military?).

[ Parent ]

excellent points (none / 0) (#314)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:21:45 PM EST

I especially like " This isn't war on terror. This is a war against Iraq, it would be wise to remember that this war is likely to create *more* terrorism as a result." Very succinct, and very accurate. I think you spelled "terrist" incorrectly though..... "I want to send the signal to our enemy that you have aroused a compassionate and decent and mighty nation, and we're going to hunt you down. " Bush Louisville, Kentucky, Sep. 5, 2002

[ Parent ]
Facts (none / 0) (#266)
by triddle on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:18:58 AM EST

It is interesting that you immediatly ask the person who posts a view against the one of the article for facts. If you are so woried about fact finding why did you not post a comment demanding facts from the person who wrote the original article? There was not a single footnote nor an offer of anywhere else to look. You are insiting a riot bassed on opinion, not fact. Start coughing up some concrete evidence that either of you is right and then maybe you could accopmlish something usefull.

[ Parent ]
Reality Check (none / 0) (#297)
by deop on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:19:34 PM EST

If we're truly worried about a nuclear strike, then invading Iraq is not the easy answer. Acquiring nuclear capability will be possible for any number of nations within the next 20 years - the sheer proliferation to date makes this assumption likely. Will we invade them all? After Iraq, then - Iran? North Korea? The Philipines? Egypt? Under your thinking, we would have to. Unless we engage in meaningful discourse with even our most hated enemies, we are doomed someday to fall one invasion short, and our children will not inherit the world that we did. The way to keep the high ground is to think from the higher perspective.

[ Parent ]
Sir, (3.00 / 2) (#341)
by tkatchev on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:37:02 PM EST

YOU = ARE the dirty TROOL!


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Where are the facts, period? (3.66 / 3) (#264)
by triddle on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:17:40 AM EST

It is interesting that you immediatly ask the person who posts a view against the one of the article for facts. If you are so woried about fact finding why did you not post a comment demanding facts from the person who wrote the original article? There was not a single footnote nor an offer of anywhere else to look. You are insiting a riot bassed on opinion, not fact. Start coughing up some concrete evidence that either of you is right and then maybe you could accopmlish something usefull.

Ha (none / 0) (#265)
by triddle on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:18:35 AM EST

And it is especialy interesting that I accidently put this here and not where I intended it =)

[ Parent ]
Freudian slip? (NT) (none / 0) (#268)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:25:20 AM EST



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
well it does say Op-ed, doesn't it (none / 0) (#287)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:34:00 PM EST

At least there are some references. I will agree it is biased, and a bias that I happen to agree with, but that "Jim Tour" fellow can suck my cock.... His FUD is just that, FUD.... Well perhaps with a little angst thrown in, but we can attribute that to the fact that he can't get laid, and is probably a fundie.... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/09/10/ED4 0688.DTL

[ Parent ]
well fuck you then (1.12 / 8) (#279)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:15:30 PM EST

If you prefer just to throw around your hate, I will throw it back to you, asshat....

OOPS! that was for Jim Tour (none / 0) (#280)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:16:27 PM EST

I meant to reply to him, sorry to everyone else... ;)

[ Parent ]
No offense but Ritter is full of ____ (4.00 / 7) (#281)
by Sheepdot on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:18:28 PM EST

I would like to point out that my opinion of the War on Terrorism and what will end up being another war on Iraq very closely matches most everyone else's on here. With that said though, I think a number of you are making horrible mistakes quoting Ritter.

Do you truly know who this Ritter guy is?

Let me give you some insight into why his opinion is shite:

1) He resigned from UNSCOM over two years ago, which means that any insight he may have as to weapon availability is nil. It doesn't take a dictator of an oil-producing nation 6 months, let alone 2 years to rearm with dirty nukes and chemical warfare. Especially if they know where to go and exist that close to Russia.

Plus Russian oil is only now starting to break out and be profitable (if you are an investor check it out, by the way, good ROI for the next 5 years). Iraqi oil has been found in Russia as first payment for Russian weaponry during the Cold War and as payment for the time after. (Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21679-2002Aug31.html )

2) Quote from article: Ritter believes the remaining 5 to 10 percent were destroyed by Iraq and their existence denied. In any case, he says, the chemical and biological agents in question would have been rendered useless by natural decay by now.

BZZT! The Scott Ritter of 1998 disagrees with the Scott Ritter of 2002:

WILLIAM SCOTT RITTER, JR.: Iraq still has prescribed weapons capability. There needs to be a careful distinction here. Iraq today is challenging the special commission to come up with a weapon and say where is the weapon in Iraq, and yet part of their efforts to conceal their capabilities, I believe, have been to disassemble weapons into various components and to hide these components throughout Iraq. I think the danger right now is that without effective inspections, without effective monitoring, Iraq can in a very short period of time measure the months, reconstitute chemical biological weapons, long-range ballistic missiles to deliver these weapons, and even certain aspects of their nuclear weaponization program. (Source: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec98/ritter_8-31.html )

3) RITTER:1998(To Congress) This most recent Security Council resolution on Iraq is only reflective of the continuing pattern of confrontation and concession. I cannot see how the recent resolution did anything more than delay the inevitable. Iraq has paid no real price for telling one lie after another and continuing its obstruction of the weapons inspection teams. If Iraq chooses in the future to allow the resumption of inspection activity, will it be rewarded with yet another round of "comprehensive reviews." The danger the objectivity of such a review. The track record of the Secretary General on Iraq is mixed at best. (Source: http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1998_h/ws915981.htm )

For a guy that doesn't think Iraq is trouble, he sure seemed concerned around 1998. What needs to be asked is WHAT CHANGED HIS MIND.

Don't get me wrong. I follow what most of your arguments tend to say, but RITTER and his opinions amount to crap.


well he is republican (1.00 / 1) (#284)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:28:10 PM EST

but just becasue of this and the fact that he has changed his mind is not reason enough to discount his opinion. He is more qualified to speak to this than most of us. I think many people bring his opinions up simply becasue he is republican, and the administration can't say "it's those damned liberals again"....

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#290)
by Sheepdot on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:42:12 PM EST

Far be it from this administration to use that kind of a tactic. In fact, this administration rather uses the line "we're not here to play the partisan politics of Washington". And then uses that whenever the "liberals" disagree with them.

Hillary Clinton actually thought there was a "vast right-wing conspiracy". It's almost funny that anyone would suggest it, but then again, there are Republicans that I'm sure think there is a left-wing conspiracy, in turn.

And yes, this IS enough to discount his opinion, because he REFUSES TO EXPLAIN WHY HIS OPINION HAS CHANGED. IMHO, if you can't explain why your opinion has changed in the mere span of 2 years on such a policy, then you can't expect people to take you seriously.

I'm sure he has his reasons, but it looks almost as if he's upset over losing his job and is playing the media wh0re game at this point.

[ Parent ]

valid points... (none / 0) (#292)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:51:26 PM EST

There are many other more noteworthy people we should be listening to, like Kofi Annon, and Nelson Mandela, oh ya, and the rest of the UN, with the exception on the UK (Blair wants to privatize large parts of the UK military, and sell it to the Carlyle group (which Bush senior is an owner of).... So when looking at it in perspective, the only reason to bring ritter into it, is because he is republican..... That and his history there... I didn't realize that he wasn't willing to present his reasons for change of mind, do you have any links to that info?

[ Parent ]
Ritter is on CSPAN tonight at 8PMEST (nt) (5.00 / 2) (#332)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:01:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Justified cynicism: consider the Oil story. (4.37 / 8) (#283)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:24:49 PM EST

This article is too biased to be constructive, but I understand the cynicism. I think it's clear that there is a good basis for cynical criticism of the Bush Administration's professed reasons for war. Consider some facts I've compiled: Well, you have to assume that Iraqi oil & gas resources are a hot topic within this Administration's reasons and plans for war. I mean, it's possible that they've somehow burried their conflicting interests and are making this decision with an open mind and without regard for friends and colleagues who would benefit greatly from US control of Iraq. *cough*

I think it's likely from the above facts that Iraqi oil is one of the key motivations for Bush Administration's plans for going to War. The fact that this topic isn't part of "the national debate" I think highlights how important a concern it is. If it were a more nominal concern, it would get normal coverage, but since it's obviously a major factor of considerations for the proposed War, and the public wouldn't support what could easily be construed as a greedy war, it's got to be concealed, downplayed, obfuscated, etc.

(Noam Chomsky has done substantial work in describing a theory of how this works in "Manufacturing Consent". It details how topics like this get handled in the Media, usually to the benefit of monied interests and at the expense of the general public.)

good points (nt) (none / 0) (#285)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:29:58 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Justified? Hah! (none / 0) (#296)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:17:42 PM EST

The only thing I see here is a list of unconnected statements. Then you pull a conclusion out of your hat. Nice trick. But you fail to show a connection, let alone prove it.

There's another thread about this. No connection shown.

I think you are not cynical enough. Hint: the European countries with the most interest (read: concessions) in Iraqi oil fields were the first to change their point of view and call for U.N. sanctioned action instead of no action.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Sorry, thought it was obvious. (none / 0) (#330)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:59:56 PM EST

-Oil is valuable.
-A lot of oil is very valuable.
-Iraq has a lot of oil.
-Bush, Cheney and others within the Bush Administration share the interests of American Oil&Gas companies, as is demonstrated by the financial support from that sector and by prior employment of many of them.
-These shared interests benefit from gaining control of Iraq's Oil & Gas supplies.
-So, that's one of the reasons they want War, but they aren't bringing it up (Phil Gramm, a key Republican, called Bush's UN speech "absolutely critical" in the public debate (at a university speech last week), yet there was no mention of Iraq's Oil supply as being a factor in War consideration).

Or consider it this way, What do people do for control of $9 Trillion dollars worth of Oil&Gas?  Foment War within a scared Nation?  You bet!  Their cost/benefit analysis is going to have that 9 Trillion amount as a benefit.. and if you're living in Texas (e.g. Bush, Cheney, Phil Gramm), your costs probably won't include a local catastrophe like the WTC attack.  My cost sheet certainly does, as I live in the NY area, and you know how much of that 9 Trillion is in my benefit column.

I dunno.. I just call 'em like I see 'em.

When a group of people advocates war, and that group has huge financial interests in winning that War, we must expose those interests to ensure a fair public debate.  That's all I'm doing.  Once we have a reasonble public debate, I'll support the decisions that are made from it.

[ Parent ]

The weak link in your reasoning is: (4.00 / 1) (#336)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:11:08 PM EST

These shared interests benefit from gaining control of Iraq's Oil & Gas supplies.
AFAIK no U.S. company has a concession on an Iraqi oil or gas field. Which means that when the U.N. sanctions are lifted, European companies will gain control of Iraq's oil & gas supplies.

You're still pulling a conclusion out of a hat.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
It is weak, but is it inconceivable? (none / 0) (#362)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:46:55 PM EST

I see your point, and it is the weakest part.  It's really where the oil topic starts to overlap with the other topics in the debate, so I'm still studying it.  But I disagree that it's a foolish or unsubstantial conclusion (or at this stage, hypothesis).

Do you mean that it's inconceivable that, say, a year after a successful war against Iraq, in which Bush removes the current regime and surely influences, if not totally creates, the new regime, we will not in some way alter the balance-of-power controlling the Iraqi Oil supply in our favor?

I mean, I'm sure people (say European Oil companies) won't sit by and let us do it without a fight.. most of the world is against this war after all, but our military will be in Iraq without significant UN representation, and we will for a short time have our way with the country.

That's really significant: the largest military in the world will preside over a significant regime change in a country with 8 trillion dollars of oil resources.  Previous bets are then off.  The winners write the history, right?

I see your comments in other threads about this, and you bring up some crafty tactics of achieving the same ends, but they don't preclude brutish, un-savvy, internationally stupid tactics.

[ Parent ]

No, it's not inconceivable. (2.50 / 2) (#368)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:30:29 PM EST

So what? Let's see: it will not be U.S. forces. It will be coalition forces. So it's not inconceivable that, one night when Chirac is drunk, he will order the French Foreign Legion to kill all U.S. troops in Iraq, and sink a couple of U.S. carriers just for fun (and to see if those Exocet II really work as advertised). It is not probable, but is it inconceivable? Brutish, un-savvy, internationally stupid tactics were invented in Europe, you know. Europe just forgot to patent them - not enough lawyers I guess.

Why would the U.S. try to get control of Iraqi oil, with the inevitable international opposition problems, when it did not try to get control of Kuwaiti oil? That would have been easier to do... No international opposition. So why now? And it is not even worth it. To start with, your 8 trillion dollars figure assumes that the price of oil will not come down when Iraqi production increases. With the inevitable investments in production, you can at least halve it. In addition, that's over what? 150 years? 200 years? So that's 20 to 25 billion dollars a year, and maybe half that in gas. Not worth it.

I agree that oil motives are a worthwhile hypothesis. But that's it: hypothesis, nothing less, nothing more. Not proved, not conclusive, not fact.

Let's check another hypothesis. Let's suppose that the U.S. believed Saddam will have his first nuke around Christmas and will then be able to produce one a week or so. Add to that another belief that he has close ties with international, anti-U.S. terrorism. What would the U.S. do in that case? Right, exactly what they are doing now. With the added benefit of being a very artistic lie: tell the truth, and even all the truth, and let other believe you are lying.

Want to discuss this one?



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Trying to discuss topics that get little coverage. (4.00 / 1) (#383)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:58:52 PM EST

Let's check another hypothesis. Let's suppose that the U.S. believed Saddam will have his irst nuke around Christmas and will then be able to produce one a week or so. Add to that another belief that he has close ties with international, anti-U.S. terrorism. What would the U.S. do in that case? Right, exactly what they are doing now. With the added benefit of being a very artistic lie: tell the truth, and even all the truth, and let other believe you are lying.

Want to discuss this one?

Not yet.. I've been focusing on the Oil topic because it doesn't get the discussion it deserves (esp. compared to WMD).  For all of your argument, you're one of the few people who will actually analyze it :)

I've seen the topic of Iraqi Oil pop up in financial journals and occasionally in general news, but it's not part of the official line, and so it gets covered as such, which is disingenuous.  Iraqi oil is a significant concern in the War decision.

So what? Let's see: it will not be U.S. forces. It will be coalition forces.

The UN may get involved, but probably not from the looks of it.  Rumsfeld stated so today.  If you mean Britain and Turkey, who he mentioned would be involved, well.. that's not a UN coalition.. that's some logistics support.

Why would the U.S. try to get control of Iraqi oil, with the inevitable international opposition problems, when it did not try to get control of Kuwaiti oil? That would have been easier to do... No international opposition. So why now?

Before Sep 11., US domestic opinion wouldn't have supported it.  We weren't scared, and so still insisted on ethical war.  This point was actually covered by Phil Gramm last week in a University speech.  I don't remember his full account, but he basically said that the difference in policy (i.e. why no regime change then and regime change now?) is not confusing.. it's simply based on changing circumstances, namely 9/11.  We're prepared to act unilaterally for the same reasons.

Now before you say "well shoot, sounds like a good reason to go to war to me!".. I agree that is a valid consideration.  However, you should then allow another angle: "Now that people are scared, they won't care what kind of war is waged, moral or greedy".

Either way, WMDs, terrorism; they're another topic.. baby steps.

And it is not even worth it. To start with, your 8 trillion dollars figure assumes that the price of oil will not come down when Iraqi production increases. With the inevitable investments in production, you can at least halve it. In addition, that's over what? 150
year? 200 years? So that's 20 to 25 billion dollars a year, and maybe half that in gas. Not worth it.

Fortunately, the absolute value of the Oil isn't as interesting as this:  it's the second largest oil supply in the world, and the largest oil supply not controlled by a "friendly" state.

A full economics workup, to assess its real or long-term value, is definitely beyond either of us (unless you happen to be an noted economist; I only minored in Industrial Management ;)

Just to support my evidence: In my oil estimate (the 8T figure), I used an approximate price based on NYMEX figures over the last few months ($25 is actually significantly lower than today's price).  The point of this estimate was just to put a rough approximation on the market value of Iraqi Oil assuming nothing about its production.  Production and marketing of the oil would reduce its value significantly. But that doesn't change it's relative value; that's a fact that impresses at least the US Dept. of Energy.

I agree that oil motives are a worthwhile hypothesis. But that's it: hypothesis, nothing less, nothing more. Not proved, not conclusive, not fact.

I guess we both have our biases.  While I acknowledged that determining the value of Iraqi Oil to US Oil interests is the weakest link (and so I'm studying it more), I expect it to remain elusive, and so I'm still biased to say the big picture is convincing:

Iraqi Oil is part of the Bush Administration's considerations for War, and they aren't showing that to the public because it would clearly be a conflict of interest since they're best buddies with the US Oil industry.

So it's not inconceivable that, one night when Chirac is drunk, he will order the French Foreign Legion to kill all U.S. troops in Iraq, and sink a couple of U.S. carriers just for fun (and to see if those Exocet II really work as advertised). It is not probable, but is it inconceivable? Brutish, un-savvy, internationally stupid tactics were invented in Europe, you know. Europe just forgot to patent them - not enough lawyers I guess.

Please warn if this is the tone you plan to set for argument: I'm not interested.

[ Parent ]

Very good points. Still... (none / 0) (#393)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:51:15 PM EST

... there are arguments I disagree with.

Not yet.. I've been focusing on the Oil topic because it doesn't get the discussion it deserves
Heh... the hypothesis that Bush is actually not that stupid and completely honest gets even less discussion :) Still, I agree, the oil issue is not discussed enough in the mainstream media.

The UN may get involved, but probably not from the looks of it. [...] If you mean Britain and Turkey, who he mentioned would be involved, well.. that's not a UN coalition.. that's some logistics support.
Comment #382 seems to mean the discussion is moot. But I disagree. France, at least, will be involved. No choice: TotalFinaElf needs its concessions protected. Saudi Arabia will provide logistic support. It will be a coalition, but it might be a small one.

Fortunately, the absolute value of the Oil isn't as interesting as this: it's the second largest oil supply in the world, and the largest oil supply not controlled by a "friendly" state.
Agreed. But control by a "friendly" state is enough. Why would the U.S. directly control it? Too expensive. Let the French and British do it.

I guess we both have our biases. While I acknowledged that determining the value of Iraqi Oil to US Oil interests is the weakest link (and so I'm studying it more), I expect it to remain elusive, and so I'm still biased to say the big picture is convincing:
Iraqi Oil is part of the Bush Administration's considerations for War, and they aren't showing that to the public because it would clearly be a conflict of interest since they're best buddies with the US Oil industry.
I partially agree. Yes, it must be one of the considerations. Which does not mean it's the reason. And I don't see a conflict of interest with the U.S. oil industry: AFAIK, it's the European oil industry that will profit.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Cool (none / 0) (#401)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 11:20:19 PM EST

About the post concerning Saddam's response, it will surely change the details, but it had to be an expected move.  I see you saw my post to that comment :)

Agreed. But control by a "friendly" state is enough. Why would the U.S. directly control it? Too expensive. Let the French and British do it.

By friendly, I mean an installed, or deeply corrupt (in our favor) regime.  And I don't mean to imply direct control... that would be way to obvious.  A "friendly" government is probably desired.  The desired effect would be a situation in which the US has the controls over Iraqi Oil that it needs, whatever that may be, and a public image of being only marginally involved (can't tarnish that "free market" ideal!).  I mean, can you imagine what a coup that would be for the Bush Administration?  I think an interested politician would be willing to spend a lot of political capital to make that happen.  I'd love to see the maneuvering on Capitol Hill for this one ;)

I partially agree. Yes, it must be one of the considerations. Which does not mean it's the reason. And I don't see a conflict of interest with the U.S. oil industry: AFAIK, it's the European oil industry that will profit.

I don't think anything has changed with respect to the value of Iraqi Oil, and so I agree, that's not the reason.  What has changed, in a massive way, is the general American attitude towards "security", and that is the rhetorical center for describing the cause for War against Iraq.  In a way, it's the short story. "Why?", but in a limited sense.

<opinion>
Oil is one of the foundational reasons for foreign involvment in the Middle East.  If it didn't have Oil, we'd probably know it best as a land of ancient peoples.  For instance, I've been reading both popular and academic histories of the the Modern development of the Middle East (i.e. after WWI and the fall of the Ottoman Empire), and Oil is basically on the first page of each one.  Oil this, Oil that, Who's got it, who's colonized for it, who's shaped by it.  So is Oil the new reason?  No, it's one of the oldest in the modern period.

The professed, or more immediate, causes for war over the years have become more and more egalitarian sounding.  Recently, but Before 9/11, cause was usually phrased as "policing" or "humanitarian intervention", as those were the true proximate causes.  During the Persian Gulf War, my social studies teacher told us that the basic reason for War against Iraq was Oil.. well, being in a Midwestern community and oh 16 years old, the idea was laughable.  Everybody knew why were were fighting Iraq: they were the bad people who invaded Kuwait, our friends.  I think the same is happening now, except the proximate cause has changed, with good reason, to Security.  I agree with Phil Gramm on that.

But, I'm sure he also knows the big picture, as does the Bush Administration.  The problem arises because of their biases in the big picture.  If the Bush Administration was fairly independent in it's decision making, they'd probably make a decent decision, and I wouldn't be up late worrying.

However, many of them have significant shared interests with American Oil Companies.  As we've said, it's not clear how these interests would be served by the War, but I think it should be assumed they will be, even if there are challenges to this (as you've pointed out).

To illustrate: I bet Halliburton's  opinions are getting more sway than residents of downtown New York.. and given what's now apparently at stake, that's not OK.

The only recourse seems to be public protest.
</opinion>

[ Parent ]

Kuwaiti oil (none / 0) (#460)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:43:04 PM EST

Why would the U.S. try to get control of Iraqi oil, with the inevitable international opposition problems, when it did not try to get control of Kuwaiti oil?

There are troops on the ground in Kuwait and have been for over 10 years. Ditto Saudi Arabia. A year from now there will be troops on the ground in Iraq, and I am willing to wager they will remain there until every drop of oil has been pumped out of the sand. We don't care who pumps it out of the ground, the troops are there to make sure it keeps flowing.

Let's suppose that the U.S. believed Saddam will have his first nuke around Christmas and will then be able to produce one a week or so. Add to that another belief that he has close ties with international, anti-U.S. terrorism. What would the U.S. do in that case?

We would share the intelligence information we had including the exact locations of the facilities involved with Israel. Problem solved.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Doesn't work (none / 0) (#463)
by Caton on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:30:11 PM EST

We would share the intelligence information we had including the exact locations of the facilities involved with Israel. Problem solved.
Do you remember the reason for which the U.S. asked Israel to not retaliate against Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War?

It still applies.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Worked before (none / 0) (#465)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 10:05:03 PM EST

Do you remember Israel bombing suspected Iraqi nunclear facilities in the past? Do you think for a second they wouldn't do it again if they thought there was a 1% chance that Iraq was anywhere near having nuclear capability?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Different context, different facilities (none / 0) (#467)
by Caton on Tue Sep 24, 2002 at 08:15:21 AM EST

Destroying Osirak was easy. Destroying a number of small underground facilities hidden in cities is different.

I do not think Israel could bomb those facilities into oblivion without massive losses of civilian lives: politically unacceptable. The two alternate plans would be an invasion of Iraq (very expensive) and destroying the Darband and Samarra dams (must be done in a deniable way and in May/June).

The U.S. has one additional option: trying to scare the Iraqi regime into submission while preparing for both plans. That's exactly what is being done. Who knows -- it might even work.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Uh? (4.00 / 1) (#381)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:50:29 PM EST

If you want to read irresponsible motivations on to politicians, you've got plenty of choices.  If I had to read irresponsible motivations on to Bush, I'd say "desire for a legacy" and "personal vendetta against Iraq" both edge out "desire for oil".

Bush does not mention the topic of Iraq's natural resources as a reason for War

Well in that case, then it's obvious that's what he's after.  "If he's so innocent, why won't he admit that he's not?"

If he's just an oil crazy warmonger, why not go after Saudi Arabia?  It's easier to tie them to September 11th, and they've got more oil.  I'm sure the choice has something to do with corruption an oil money, but it'll take me a while to piece it together.

I think Bush is largely motivated to invade Iraq by the reasons he publicly states (I know that's a crazy idea) - oil and other economic concerns are likely a relatively minor issue, well below "glory" I'm guessing.  

Also, I think he would be making a mistake in invading Iraq.

The world, quite often, is a lot like it looks.  Often, the things people say are reflections of what they think and believe.  History bears this out.  You may also want to reflect on your dealings with other humans you know, many of whom also will occasionally allow their stated opinions to correlate with their actual beliefs.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

327 Billion? Not likely (none / 0) (#412)
by ajduk on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:25:59 AM EST

I posted a MLP on worldwide oil reserves; the DOE is usually wrong by a country mile.  Iraq has about 60 billion barrels proven+probable.  

The figure was 47.1Gb in 1986; the next year Iraq revised this to 100Gb without annoucing any oil discoveries.  Despite the fact that they were pumping oil, the figure didn't change until 1996 when it suddenly went to 112.5Gb, which is the figure they keep reporting.  

Furthermore, the DOE assumes that the rest of the world follows the very strict US reserve reporting regulations (proven ONLY).  In fact, the figures above are for proven+probable, so this idea of another 200Gb appearing as reserve growth is wishful thinking.

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/9/5/8440/69484

Of course, 60 billion barrels - to which some undiscovered may be addded - is still a lot, and as a US client state it could offset OPEC for a few years.


[ Parent ]

An interesting theory (4.50 / 2) (#286)
by goldandsilver on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 12:31:09 PM EST

Today, in a newspaper here, there was an interesting  talk about why the US politics is opting for war.

What the author states is, that the new way of asymmetrical warfare (that has become one of the main tactics in modern terrorism and counter-terrorism) has got the U.S. thrown into a new way of foreign conflict policy. The European political culture tries to uphold the old "symmetrical rules of war" which are crucial to the national understanding and history of the continent.The role of nations, and "war" defined as "a conflict between nations" leads to certain assumptions how a war is (or should be) conducted.

America, on the other hand, has decided to throw out these rules and make up their own about the goals of a war and how these are to be achieved.
Some of these ideas lead to the conclusion the definition of "war between nations" becomes totally irrelevant in the kind of conflict found here. There is a difference between "USA (UN) vs. Afghanistan" and "USA vs. Al-Qaeda (NGO)" as there is in "USA (UN) vs. Iraq" and "USA vs. Saddam (NGO?)"

(A lot of the arguments are lost in my crappy translation)

In the "war on terror" scenario, this results in the following behavior: The Europeans try to diminish the chances of a terrorist-harbouring environment, by focussing on methods to stabilize a state or nation and therefore neutralizing the forces that lead to aggressive terroristic forms of politics. The US are trying to fight in a modus of "immediate action" and using (if necessary) military force to reduce the possible danger coming from a certain group or area/country.

Both methods have many arguments for and against them. That neither of them are predictable in short as well as long term should be clear.

It might prove interesting to think about a different kind of policy.

He's not an NGO (none / 0) (#404)
by SympathyInChaos on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:40:33 AM EST

He's a head of state and Commander in Chief. So he has certain right's under International warfare.

[ Parent ]
Comebacks. (4.22 / 22) (#294)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:02:11 PM EST

Reality: By 1997 the inspectors tasked with destroying Iraq's nuclear program had demolished more than 50,000 square metres of laboratory space and 1,900 pieces of equipment. They reported that "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."
This is a drop in the bucket. Simply do the math, and you'll see that 50,000 square meters is roughly equivalent to one facility. Iraq had dozens of large scale facilities engaged in developing biochem weapons. Moreover, in the 5 years since they booted weapons inspectors, Iraq has had ample ablity to rebuild, and has done so with assistance from the French, Russians, Koreans, and Chinese. Further, it is irresponsible that the 30 some odd facilities we know about represent the full extent of their program.
According to the former head of the UNSCOM inspection team, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel and registered Republican, by 1998 "we could account for 90 percent to 95 percent of Iraq's proscribed weaponry, versus the 100 percent required by the Security Council". Ritter believes the remaining 5 to 10 percent were destroyed by Iraq and their existence denied. In any case, he says, the chemical and biological agents in question would have been rendered useless by natural decay by now.
Again, Ritter (or any other UNSCOM inspector) has not been to Iraq in 5 years. Even when they were there, they were locked in a rapid fire shell game that effectively kept Iraq one step ahead of UNSCOM. Ritter is a pathological liar, by the way. In 1998, he indicated that Iraq had materials for three nuclear weapons. Are we supposed to believe that Saddam doesn't still have the capability after three years of unfettered progress?
The Bush regime has not presented evidence regarding Iraq's weapons capabilities, either to the UN or, according to a TIME article, to its own Congress.
Bush has presented plenty of evidence. The repeated stoppage and seizure of materials for refining nuclear materials and constructing componants, while in transit to Iraq is well documented. You can find this information at the New York times, Washington Post, or any other major media outlet.

So precisely what evidence do you need? Are you waiting for Iraq to "test detonate" a nuke on it's borders with Saudi Arabia in Kuwait?
Reality: United Nations sanctions on Iraq, now in their twelfth year, have been absolutely crushing to the country. Mortality rates in the country skyrocketed during the 1990s, accounting for a half a million more deaths than would be otherwise expected among children under 5. The Executive Director of UNICEF said that "Even if not all suffering in Iraq can be imputed to external factors, especially sanctions, the Iraqi people would not be undergoing such deprivations in the absence of the prolonged measures imposed by the Security Council and the effects of war."
The simple fact is that sanctions are the direct result of Iraqs failure to comply with the terms of the '91 cease fire. The blood of those children is on Husseins hands, and what is worse is that he doesn't care. He doesn't have to pay to put children in prisons when they are dead. A strike now removes the need for sanctions. Indeed, given history we are obligated to rebuild Iraq after we finalize our actions there.
Reality: It is a logical impossibility that the US is actually concerned over Iraqi chemical weapons, given that when Hussein most certainly did posess them and repreatedly used them the US continued to support him in his aggressive war against Iran.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. This is a wholly acceptable proposition to peoples in the middle east, why do you represent it as being an inconsistant policy? If not for Iraq's war and the defacto containment, Islamic fundamentalism would have long taken over the entire middle east. Regardless, what is your point here? We did not support his use of WMDs against Iraq. We did not provide them.
The United States government has repeatedly stated that its objective is "regime change" in Iraq. It refuses to allow lifting of UN sanctions in exchange for compliance on weapons of mass destruction, which makes the US, not Iraq, the country violating resolution 687 which calls for "review" of the sanctions "on a regular basis...taking into account Iraq's compliance with the resolution and general progress towards the control of armaments in the region". (paragraph 28) [ Resolution 687]
Compliance on the issue of WMDs is not the sole justification for sanctions. Iraq must also make reparations to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and must return all citizens held by them. There is still an American airman (or at least his remains) under Saddam's personal posession.
Reality: The Administration has made it extremely clear that it will be attacking Iraq regardless of the United Nations. Bush has declared that the UN must comply with his policies or it will be "irrelevant". The speech was a gesture to allow American liberals to act as if they had courageously opposed Bush and won important concessions, while in reality it represented no changes at all from the previous agenda.
And what is your point? The UN IS irrelevant if it does not act consistantly each time. The cowards in the Security council have been jelly-spined for a decade now, and that is why this situation now exists. The United States will have to act alone to protect our interests when the rest of the world does not live up to the UN Charter (aka the law) and act with resolve to eliminate Saddam from being able to use WMDs. Bush made reference to the League of Nations, which failed precisely because of matters such as this. Regardless, there now exists a growing coaltion, with Saudi Arabia announcing that it will allow airbases to be used under some conditions (a near 180), and with France now saying that the US has its support. The rest of the world is coming around because Bush showed leadership - a concept you may want to familiarize yourself with.
America's attack on Iraq is being driven by three factors: the "full spectrum dominance" ideology of the Bush regime, domestic American politics, and the desire to re-establish a client state in Iraq in order to control its oil supplies. It is unlikely that the UN will stop the American attack, therefore it rests on the citizens of America to restrain their leaders or act as accomplices to aggression.
Good luck. first off, Iraq is not even our biggest supplier of oil. If it weren't for our commitment to the weapons for food program, we would'nt use any of their oil (and if you shop right, avoid Chevrons and the like, we won't). Meanwhile, up to 64% of Americans support 'some kind' of military action (only 30% say that we need to build a coalition). After two home-run speeches, you can expect that number to rise. the only people questioning a war in Iraq around here are hippies and democrats (who see thier poll numbers slipping). The UN will not act to stop the US Military any more than they acted against Iraq. As you pointed out, we are their cash cow, and however reluctantly, they will support us rather than risk losing our support (after which the UN will crumble). Your analysis is flawed, your assessment is unsubstantiated and illogical. But hey, I voted +1 anyway.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
hmmm (2.50 / 4) (#299)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:37:07 PM EST

"The rest of the world is coming around because Bush showed leadership - a concept you may want to familiarize yourself with. " And how are you seeing this? What do you mean by "coming around"? The "leadership" thing I just don't buy. "The UN IS irrelevant if it does not act consistantly each time." How do you figure? "the only people questioning a war in Iraq around here are hippies and democrats (who see thier poll numbers slipping)." Now that one is complete bullshit. www.peace-action.org

[ Parent ]
So You Say (or rant) [n/t] (1.00 / 1) (#305)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:04:11 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
yes, so I say, and I rant quite a bit less than (1.66 / 3) (#316)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:25:23 PM EST

you did. I responded to 3 of your biased incorrect statements with differing opinions. I was rather brief in my response, and did not rant nearly as much as you did. What is your point anyway?

[ Parent ]
have you read this? (1.50 / 2) (#301)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 01:57:29 PM EST

http://www.unansweredquestions.org/top_11.html

[ Parent ]
Unrelated, Pointless, and Off Topic (Troll) [n/t] (2.50 / 2) (#303)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:03:35 PM EST


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I responded directly to your statements (3.00 / 2) (#309)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:14:19 PM EST

I think YOU are the troll here...

[ Parent ]
Wrong (2.50 / 2) (#359)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:06:07 PM EST

You did'nt respond to anything. What you linked to hardly mentioned anything sequiter to my statements or the topic at hand. Stop abusing the word "troll", and stop being lazy.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
In my other comment I responded (5.00 / 1) (#419)
by gr00vey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:09:34 AM EST

And that article directly relates to the discussion.

[ Parent ]
you should do the math (none / 0) (#442)
by kurthr on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 02:04:24 AM EST

I assume that you know what meters are and what feet are and the conversion ratio. Square that and you will have the conversion ration of square meters and square feet: it is approximately 10x.

So 50,000m sq, would be approximately 500,000ft sq. That is very large indeed. If we are to assume that a building is 100ft on a side, it would need to be 50 stories high. At an aspect ratio of 5:1 that's a little stocky for a skyscraper.

To put this in perspective you are claiming that something the size of 15-20 stories in the world trade center(~25-30,000ft sq office space per floor) was miniscule and accounted for a single laboratory.

I find this unconvincing, and to quote your post, "Your analysis is flawed, your assessment is unsubstantiated and illogical." QED

[ Parent ]

Reality??? (3.25 / 4) (#304)
by confrontationman on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:03:42 PM EST

Definition: The quality or state of being actual or true.

You will notice the definition above does not say: Crap posted on the Internet with links to materials that happen to support it.

The fact is "reality" is hard to come by. I don't think WJI, or GWB for that matter, really knows what is going on. I suspect, and hope, GWB is better informed, but I don't trust him to tell the truth, or do the right thing, with what he thinks he knows.

However, I think we can agree that Saddam is a bad, bad man, and that the world would be a better place without him. I think it is clear that the wellbeing of his people is not high on his list of priorities and that a new regime would be a good thing. Do I think the wellbeing of the people of Iraq is high on GWB's list, hell no, IT'S THE OIL! IT'S ALWAYS THE OIL! and of course the personal vendetta between the Bush family and Iraq.



true (4.00 / 1) (#315)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:23:18 PM EST

He is using the term reality incorrectly. QUite a few have pointed that out, but it *IS* op-ed, and I think it is being used for emphasis....

[ Parent ]
sanctions and the league of nations (4.44 / 9) (#318)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:29:42 PM EST

UN -- really US -- policy towards Iraq has been indescribably harsh and will be remembered, if there is ever an honest accounting, as one of the great atrocities of history

That's quite a statement. In the twentieth century alone, it fails to compare with atrocities like the Holocaust, Stalin's mass murder of Russians, the Turkish slaughter of the Armenians, the Khmer Rouge's killing of large chunks of the population (including almost everyone with an education). It might compare in scope with the slaughter in Rwanda-Burundi, but not in ferocity or duration. It doesn't even come close to the mass communal slaughter in India and Pakistan in the winter of 1947-1948.

I'd be hard pressed to name the deaths of Iraqis due to the sanctions regime as being even in the top ten on the list of atrocities of the twentieth century, let alone history. But then the twentieth century was an unusually atrocious time; maybe this century will be better.

Maybe. We can hope.

But I digress. The opposition by many on the left to the sanctions regime strikes me as being one of the most puzzling turns of political fortune in modern times (considering that economic sanctions were originally the brain child of the moderate left, and were put to good use on such targets as the apartheid regime of South Africa). I remain puzzled, even after hearing reports of starving people and other unpleasant conditions.

I assume as a starting point that any self-respecting left-winger is opposed to the use of military force to solve political problems except as an absolute last resort (and possibly not even then); I live in a community where support for the war against Afghanistan was lukewarm and reluctant, and which has been opposed to every war (including the gulf war) in modern times. But if war is not an acceptable means of resolving disputes, and sanctions are not either, then how is the United Nations ever supposed to enforce its decisions?

Negotiate is the most common answer. But negotiate with *what*? If you have nothing that is wanted by the government of the state which is ignoring the UN, and you have nothing that you can use to threaten them with, there is no negotiating position; the UN is powerless.

Note that this is not specifically about Iraq, it's a general concern: if you strip the UN of the moral authority to use force against recalcitrant states, and you strip if of the moral authority to impose economic sanctions, you leave it with no enforcement power whatsoever; it becomes a hollow shell, useless except for propoganda purposes.

Maybe i'm old fashioned, at the ancient age of twenty-eight, but I'm a firm believer in the original purpose of the United Nations: that large-scale war, like that seen twice in the first half of the twentieth century, can be prevented by the existence of an organization where states can discuss things that threaten to become the causes of war, and where international norms of behavior among states can be established and enforced.

But that entire proposition depends on the ability of that body, once the international community has made up its mind and used that body to express it's will, to enforce those decisions. Military force and economic sanctions are the only mechanisms I see that provide for such enforcement --- and nobody seems to be able to offer another.

Which leaves me, as I said, confused by those on the left who oppose both. I am forced to conclude that they believe the UN, and the international community at large, to be illegitimate; and that they believe that a world of inter-state anarchy is somehow safer, more peaceful, and better than a world where the participants in the inter-state system attempt to regulate interactions among themselves.

I don't understand how anyone who is at all familiar with the history of the european, and now world, state systems can reach that conclusion.

I am confused by your statments (none / 0) (#324)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:51:57 PM EST

I agree with your evaluation of the UN in general. I agree that santions are necessary. I don't see the conflict, I am always labled left wing, yet I agree with your statment about the first line you quoted being to harsh. So are you proposing that a unilateral military strike using "WMD's" against Iraq is a GOOD thing? or are you saying it is BAD, or are you saying it is UNAVOIDABLE? ANd then my next question is, what is our agenda against these other "axis of evil" countries? I just hope we get a less clueless about foreign policy president next time, I voted for Gore last time, and will do so again if he runs... Bush is a buffooon with chickenhawks under him. (except Colin Powell, he is a leader I can respect, even if I don't agree...)

[ Parent ]
military strikes ... (none / 0) (#331)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:00:15 PM EST

So are you proposing that a unilateral military strike using "WMD's" against Iraq is a GOOD thing?

This is the first time i've heard anyone suggest using weapons of mass destruction against Iraq, and I certainly don't think that is a good thing.

As for a military strike against Iraq, today? I'm ambivalent. I certainly don't support the US doing it unilaterally. If the UN security council authorizes it, I think the US should participate in the force that does it. However, I don't know if I think the security council should issue that authorization --- I don't know the details of what's going on on the ground in Iraq, and I don't trust the news I hear from either pro-war or anti-war people; I'm undecided through lack of reliable information.

My point in the post to which you were responding was more abstract; I think the opposition to the sanctions regime if carried out to its logical conclusion makes the UN powerless, and I don't understand why anyone believes this to be a feature.

[ Parent ]

i see your point, perhaps I overstate (none / 0) (#345)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:43:46 PM EST

"wmd's" too. I am not sure what the correct definition of WMD's is, but my connotation of it would be, any weapon that could cause mass destruction, so I would consider a bomb or missle, yes evene a precision missle to be a WMD- I realize I may be wrong in my definition.. Personally, I think an attack against Iraq at this point would be bad foreign policy, and will bite us in the ass eventually.

[ Parent ]
WMD (none / 0) (#355)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:00:28 PM EST

weapons of mass destruction usually means: nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons capable of taking out large sections of a population in one fell swoop, usually proscribed by international treaty. Bombs, etc, are an order of magnitude or two smaller in scale.

[ Parent ]
You are absolutely right (2.66 / 3) (#335)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:07:05 PM EST

A quick historic parallel: right now, the U.N. looks like the League of Nations during the Rhineland Crisis, with Germany condemned for violating the Locarno Treaty but constructing fortifications in the demilitarized zone. No action was taken against Germany, what with the left sternly opposed to any sanction, military action or even disapproval. Well, that was the prelude of World War II.

I was worried about the U.S. going unilaterally to war against Iraq. The U.N. are irrelevant, sure. Still, democratic countries need to respect the letter (if not the spirit) of international law. If they don't, they endanger an essential part of the social contract on which they are built: when a citizen breaks the law, s/he is punished. So the U.N. are irrelevant, but U.N. approval is important.

A League of Nations sponsored military action in 1936 would have effectively stopped Germany from further military actions. Opposing a U.N. sanctioned military action against Iraq and supporting a lift of the sanctions will lead to what?

There is another trend I find equally disturbing. Each time something happens in the Middle East, each time there's some talk about economic sanctions, military action or political disapproval of any Arab country, there's a leftish idiot going for the "Israel, too" argument. And now, countries like Syria are using the U.N. as a tribune for this kind of propaganda.

I have once asked one of those idiots if he would agree to nuking Iraq if Israel was nuked at the same time. His answer was that nuking Israel would kill innocent Palestinian civilians. Of course, what did I expect.

"Germany is going to kill Jews and hairdressers."
"Huh... Why hairdressers?"
One day, controlled fusion and room-temperature superconductors will be available. Then things might change.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
I don't remember that social contract (4.00 / 2) (#377)
by RyoCokey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:27:28 PM EST

Admittedly, the US believes in the rule of law. However, our social contract extends to our citizens and residents, not the world in general. I mean, we have a vague committment to democracy and freedom, but it's not enshrined anywhere, or spelt out as an obligation to action.

Earlier US policy ran to isolationism, and that same independant streak manifests itself in world politics today. There never has been an "international law" merely treaties, and recent acts by the EU, including the ICC have done more to convince us that "international law" is a codename for foreign governance.

As a whole, I think Americans retain a great deal of hestitation regarding anything that might be perceived as a global law framework.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
But you are respecting it (4.50 / 2) (#384)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:00:41 PM EST

IIRC, the U.S. constitution states that ratified international treaties are more binding that normal laws but less binding than the constitution. The U.S. is a member of the U.N. and ratified its charter. Hence, the U.S. has chosen to respect the U.N. charter whenever that charter does not contradict the U.S. constitution.

International law is the corpus of international treaties and alliances signed. As far as I know, the U.S. never reneged on any treaty or alliance. And that is the social contract I was talking about. However, it choses which treaties and alliances to enter.

I really don't see what's wrong with that?

PS: treaties signed with parties that disappear just disappear as well. So please, don't talk to me about the ABM treaty with the Soviet Union. Thank you.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
U.S. never reneged on any treaty (none / 0) (#459)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 08:29:41 PM EST

As far as I know, the U.S. never reneged on any treaty or alliance

I would like to see you make that assertion in person to a Native American.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Ignorance (none / 0) (#464)
by Caton on Mon Sep 23, 2002 at 09:33:40 PM EST

I don't know enough about that particular period to have an opinion. It's a very good point. So I should rephrase to say that, as far as I know, the U.S. has not reneged on any treaty or alliance in the 20th and 21st centuries.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
UN resolutions (4.50 / 2) (#433)
by salsaman on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:27:57 PM EST

There is another trend I find equally disturbing. Each time something happens in the Middle East, each time there's some talk about economic sanctions, military action or political disapproval of any Arab country, there's a leftish idiot going for the "Israel, too" argument. And now, countries like Syria are using the U.N. as a tribune for this kind of propaganda.

Then please explain to me, if you feel so strongly that it is the duty of the UN to take strong action against Iraq for breaking UN resolutions, why the same should not hold for Israel and other countries which have been breaking UN resolutions in the past, and continue to do so today. You argue that Iraq should be brought to task for breaking UN resolutions, and yet it seems that if somebody argues the same thing with respect to Israel, then they are automatically labelled a 'leftish idiot'.

[ Parent ]

Binding vs. non-binding (2.66 / 3) (#444)
by Caton on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 04:18:49 AM EST

Reading UNSC Resolution 242 (.pdf) would be good for you. If you can't be bothered, then check comment #237 by wiredog for an explanation. If you still don't understand the difference, then I guess this discussion is pointless.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Some thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#431)
by epepke on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:32:52 PM EST

I assume as a starting point that any self-respecting left-winger is opposed to the use of military force to solve political problems except as an absolute last resort (and possibly not even then); I live in a community where support for the war against Afghanistan was lukewarm and reluctant, and which has been opposed to every war (including the gulf war) in modern times. But if war is not an acceptable means of resolving disputes, and sanctions are not either, then how is the United Nations ever supposed to enforce its decisions?

I believe that you may be making a false assumption here. This may have little to do with the left/right distinction, which has little meaning any more anyway. Rather, it may be a distinction between those who are actually interested in living in an improved world and those who simply want something to complain about. The philosophy of the latter is well explained in The Boomer Bible, which I highly recommend.

That is to say, I think that the gadflies may not be motivated by any actual desire to push the politics in a certain direction, nor even by idealistic principles, but rather by the desire to define themselves and their communities in terms of opposing The Other. The U.S., makes a handy Other, provided one defined it nebulously enough. (Most of the time of the economic sanctions were under Clinton who, for some bizarre reason was practically teflon to the left, so you don't mention Clinton. Just say "The U.S.") The philosophy described in The Boomer Bible, specifically the trinity of Harry: desire, certainty, and blame, lends itself marvelously well to this kind of self-definition.

Ironically, this is probably a good sign. Only wealthy cultures can afford this kind of recreational activity. So, the fact that there are so many indicates that we're doing reasonably well.

Maybe i'm old fashioned, at the ancient age of twenty-eight, but I'm a firm believer in the original purpose of the United Nations:

Twenty-eight is practically geriatric here. I'm forty-one. I've been learning about what happens when people get older. It's not that they become more right-wing. It's that their memories become longer. The moon landing, which I watched live on television, is probably more real to me than to younger people. You probably remember the first time sanctions were accused of killing babies in Iraq, before the Gulf War. You may even remember the news broadcast I saw, the staged tours of an empty building conducted by Iraqis wearing work coats conveniently emblazoned with "BABY MILK FACTORY," in English, on the backs. You remember that sanctions were the brainchild of the moderate left wing; most of the gadflies here don't, and it's a funny thing: all the people on the moderate left-wing seem to be dead or something, because I haven't heard a single one of them admit that they were wrong.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
memory (none / 0) (#434)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 05:35:14 PM EST

I believe that you may be making a false assumption here


About the left being opposed to military intervention? Granted, I have met some self-described leftists who would prefer a military invasion to continued sanctions, and I think there's a principled argument that can be made along those lines. However, the general feeling in the area where I live, which is one of the most consistently left-wing areas of the country, is that invading Iraq is wrong, and there's even a strong minority opinion that invading Afghanistan was wrong.

The modern American left, at least, evolved out of the anti-war movement of the 60s, and continues to hold the anti-war position as sacred.

but rather by the desire to define themselves and their communities in terms of opposing The Other;


This is a good point. Of course, if you are a citizen of the US, doing that requires abandoning all responsibility for the actions of a government which is supposed to be your agent.

You remember that sanctions were the brainchild of the moderate left wing; most of the gadflies here don't


True, and that's a shame. Part of it is, I think, the sad state of the American schools; most US history classes don't get to the last 20-30 years (my high school history class stopped with WWII), at least in part because that way the controversies which still excite the passions of the parents of the students are ignored. But it also means that people exist in a historical vacuum, which makes it much more difficult to (a) learn from the past, or (b) understand the present.

all the people on the moderate left-wing seem to be dead or something, because I haven't heard a single one of them admit that they were wrong


I'm on the moderate left wing. I supported a sanctions regime after the first gulf war. I was wrong in thinking that it would be an effective means of implementing policy (eg., it hasn't succeeded in dislodging Hussein); i'm not sure that means that sanctions would never be a useful tool.

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#435)
by epepke on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 07:09:15 PM EST

I believe that you may be making a false assumption here
About the left being opposed to military intervention?

I thought I explained it, but I'll try again. You seem to be commenting using logical arguments about how the leftist position doesn't work out.

I'm suggesting that maybe they just like to bitch.

I'm further suggesting that the real divide is not between the left and the right but between people who just like to bitch and people who like to plan and reason. It's just that the left offers better opportunities for bitching, but there are still plenty of bitchers on the right.

So, you look at the illogic of the positions, and it puzzles you. I look at it and think, well, what do you expect from a bitchfest?

This is a good point. Of course, if you are a citizen of the US, doing that requires abandoning all responsibility for the actions of a government which is supposed to be your agent.

The problem, as I see it, is that bitching has replaced actual political and social consciousness to the point where people will voluntarily give up any credibility and social power they may have so the better to bitch. Responsibility is considered lame by a substantial number of people.

Part of it is, I think, the sad state of the American schools; most US history classes don't get to the last 20-30 years (my high school history class stopped with WWII), at least in part because that way the controversies which still excite the passions of the parents of the students are ignored.

I was pleased when I was in Mexico and I bought a school book there that the book went right up to the present day. Of course, there hadn't been universal free public schooling in Mexico for a couple of years when I bought it.

But I think it's too pat and canned to talk about the state of American schools. If anything, much of this nonsense appears to correlate positively with formal education.

I'm on the moderate left wing. I supported a sanctions regime after the first gulf war. I was wrong in thinking that it would be an effective means of implementing policy (eg., it hasn't succeeded in dislodging Hussein); i'm not sure that means that sanctions would never be a useful tool.

Good! I agree completely, and I was wrong, too. Nice idea. Shame about the reality. But you're the first I've ever seen admit it. Nearly everyone that I've encountered prefers to bitch. They'd rather jump up and down, act like their shit don't stink, and accuse everyone who isn't them of being a Randroid.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Reading K5 (3.56 / 16) (#327)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 02:54:39 PM EST

Makes me more right wing every day. I'm not sure exactly what the intent of most of the articles written here is supposed to be. Many of them purport to want to influence the "average american citizen"...

In that they are wildly succesfully. The "average american citizen" reading K5 would likley get royaly po'd at most of the authors/posters here. Would tend to polarize toward the right and would definately be bolstered in the opinion that we should tell the rest of the world to take a flying leap.

This is partly due to tone and partly due to content. The tone tends towards both an arrogant "hollier then thou" moral superiority and an air of infallibilty. Authors and posters tend to take the stance that thier assumptions, supporting evidence and conclusions are all incontrovertable fact, carved in stone... no matter how much any of those might actualy be in dispute.

It would be thoroughly refreshing just once to see some-one here write about what they "believe" to be true rather then what they "know" to be true.

Furthermore, no matter how much any piece attempts to profess objectivity, the authors clear and blatent bias is always readly apparent.

As far as content, most content here seems nothing more the pure conjecture, opinion and wild conspiricy theory. When there are actual references to fact, it appears that any source, posted anywhere on the web that can be linked to is taken as gospel.... disregarding the possibilty of error or bias in such sources.

Even when more "reliable" sources are used, the "facts" sited are often taken out of context and without presenting any of the counter-points presented in those sources itself which would lead to a more balanced view.

Furthermore, there is the almost omni-present bashing of America and/or Israel. Authors and posters seem consistantly happy to ignore any of the heinous actions that the rest of the world might engage in, but will spare no effort to blame the U.S. and Israel for all the ills in existance no matter how much of a contrivance or how contrary to the truth such culpability might be.

The U.S. and Israel could jointly launch a mission which saved the world by averting a deadly asteroid. On K5 there would be a single sentence of half-hearted congratualtion followed by 3 pages lambasting both countries for not being more inclusive of Palestinians and not getting signed permission in triplicate by the the Prime Minister of Albania before launching the mission.

Finally it seems infallible that no matter how critical authors here are of U.S. plans and how much fault is found.... whenever they are asked to present a practical and viable alternative plan (i.e. one that actualy works) the end result is a resounding silence... followed by the inevitable regurgitation of "you bad, evil Americans, how dare you do X, we superior non-americans know better".

Well as far as this one "average" American goes, reading K5 is having a definite effect... it's pushing me more and more toward voting conservative in the next election and causing me to have even less regard for what the rest of the world has to say. Considering what I know about my freinds, family and coworkers, I don't believe that would be a unique reaction.

I really hope you folks are going to enjoy reaping what you have sowed.

P.S. Just so I don't end up hoisted on my own petard. The above is merely my own, biased, personal opinion based upon my observations of reading here on K5... I don't claim it to be objectively true and it is quite possible that I am wrong... it does however happen to be what I believe.

Well, if you are becoming right wing (3.00 / 1) (#346)
by gr00vey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:44:32 PM EST

perhaps the alzheimers is kicking in? ;)

[ Parent ]
nice complete lack of rebuttal [nt] (1.00 / 3) (#351)
by sayke on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 03:55:37 PM EST


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]
I believe... (none / 0) (#361)
by mikelist on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:15:19 PM EST

I'm going to have a beer, and a laugh.

[ Parent ]
Amen (5.00 / 1) (#364)
by Jim Tour on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 04:49:42 PM EST

When I first found K5 about four months ago I thought I had really stumbled into something valuable. The tech articles seemed pretty well done and a few of the opinion pieces at that time were fairly responsible. Over the last two months there has been such a flood of utterly tendentious knee-jerk Chomskyan tripe (like this article and most comments), I don't know how much further I can go with K5. I enjoy reading what those who differ with me have to say, but not when it's nearly robotic in its predictability and so estranged from the real world. Who are these people? Are they mostly Euros? Is this representative of Euro opinion? If so, the West is in grave danger. No people who have come to despise the underpinnings of their own culture can have much of a future.

[ Parent ]
European opinion? (3.33 / 3) (#370)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 05:54:47 PM EST

That does not exist. There is no European consensus or opinion on anything but economics. Well... partly on economics.

That said, I share your feelings. Too many idealists, not enough pragmatists. Oh well. That's life.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Can't argue pragmatically (5.00 / 1) (#406)
by kholmes on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 12:56:08 AM EST

We're just people who post comments to a web forum. We're not political or historical scholars. Thus, we can't argue pragmatically.

So, instead, we try to figure out what is the right thing to do.

So I guess the question is if the end justifies the means. Then again, that is a question only an idealist would pose.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

No, "you" can't argue pragmatically (5.00 / 1) (#441)
by RyoCokey on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:58:31 AM EST

That doesn't hinder the rest of us.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
If you have issue with the articles posted (1.00 / 1) (#420)
by gr00vey on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:15:03 AM EST

Perhaps you should submit one yourself, and stop whining like a spoiled little right wing child.

[ Parent ]
You're not telling us anything.. (none / 0) (#371)
by dinedhel on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:04:46 PM EST

Assuming you actually have some sort of coherent argument vs. the poster, why not express that instead of frustration with the fact that someone 'dare' post something opposed to your views. Lots of people are expressing concerns with Bush's deceit - if you're not seeing any of that, you don't want to. Sure, the US can do whatever the hell it wants - enjoy. But both US and non-US people can at least have their say. Try to have some respect for other opinions, it will make you look like less of an asshole.

[ Parent ]
I recommend this site (none / 0) (#374)
by RyoCokey on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:17:17 PM EST

To all my conservative/libertarian friends. In Texas, it's easy to forget what actual "liberals" (Not just soccer mom democrats) have in place of actual thought processes. Personally, I think the LP and Republican party ought to link this website.



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
heeh now even thinking is anti-american (3.00 / 2) (#376)
by Trimson on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:26:41 PM EST

Do you get enraged when you manage you read and hear things that differ from your official TV channels? Does engagement of some different gray cells hurt so? Or is "pre-emptive" striking a weaker opponent in order to rob him a sign of true wild western attitude? LOL how low can it go?

[ Parent ]
What the talk of Iraq is about... (5.00 / 2) (#388)
by kholmes on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:10:29 PM EST

I know what you are saying. I'm American too, yet I don't see this article as peculiarly American-bashing. Its criticizing the Bush administration. That sounds pretty pro-American to me.

Lets just say that Bush is wide open to critism. At least I and probably a majority of Americans aren't sure what exactly is prompting this seemingly sudden need for aggression. Some of us think that this has needed to be done for a long time and that only recently has the political climate been right for it. As for me, I don't know what to think. Bush doesn't seem to see the need to justify anything. Until he does, we need to continue being critical of him and what he does.

As far as bias goes, you can't have an opinion without bias. Hardly can you even get the facts without bias. So we have to deal with bias. The point is that we need to form our own opinions given objective reason and the facts.

And then is your hyperbole about internet sources being like "gospel". Please, trim down the rhetoric a little. Whats the alternative? Pull facts out of our collective asses? Refer to encyclopedias that are always out of date?

I do agree with you about the tone. I call it the "Us Against Them Complex". When writers seem to be fighting an imaginary battle with anyone who might disagree with them. I tend to vote down such stories. Somehow, I voted this story up. I might be voting -1 lack of humility on future stories from now on.

The point is, if you can't appeal to a reader through reason then don't try to appeal to him through rhetoric or in the worse cases, aggression.

In truth, if you went into a little more detail, your comment might make for an interesting meta-article. Self-critism is always good, I believe.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

I understand.... (3.20 / 5) (#399)
by findelmundo on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 10:07:49 PM EST

I completely understand where this guy's coming from. This is the game: Apparantly, Britain never slaughtered any Turks at all. They simply asked nicely, and they left. Nor did it have any hand in the vague creation then abandonment of, Israel. Never split up Syria between itself, the Arab world, and France...for that matter never occupied ANY foreign countries and certainly never killed the inhabitants thereof...no they went peacfully from country to country and invited others in for a cuppa and offered to wash foreign feet everywhere they went...while big bad USA romped and stomped its way all over the globe terrorizing the planet, squeezing the life out of every living thing so it could RULE the UNIVERSE.

The US killed indians, Britain never harmed a one...Aboriginals thrive in great numbers today because of the sensitivty and compassion of the men and women of England.

The pompus, boastful US has never dealt with heady English concepts such as racism, the bombing of churches, a civil war, a failed economy, recession, depression, assasination, environmentalism, religious freedom, freedom of speech and press...these are all foreign concepts developed elsewhere....anywhere but here....the US was the last to adopt any of these ideas...it needs to catch up with the rest of the peace-loving world.

It would be such a better planet without the US. I'm an American and I need to feel ashamed. I come from a country which has contributed nothing but evil, hate, ignorance. I have no right to protect myself or ask others to help protect me/themselves.

We should not try to enforce any rules made by the group, they're just for show, after all...like the (British)Mandate that allowed for a Jewish nation in Palestine...it wasn't supposed to mean anything. It was nothing anyone should try to enforce. We shouldn't actually be attempting to protect this "Nation". When things get rough, its ok for Britain to walk away. But the US should be ashamed of Vietnam. etc, etc, etc.

I'm not one of these "damn boys, you owe us for WWII" people. And the sarcasm above isn't the way I feel, because I know better...but it is funny watching some try to make others feel "ignorant". Much of the time I find it is well thought out and references are attempted. I like to read others thoughts and ideas. There does seem to be quite a bit of American bashing going on lately, and I guess that's to be expected. But as history shows, (and let us not forget or be selective about our history) what goes around comes around. You would never find me complaining about UK politics if a nuke went off in London...but thats probably because I'm an American and I expect the UK and the rest of Europe to be free of nuclear and chemical terror. I could be wrong, of course.

[ Parent ]

it's a shame (5.00 / 2) (#410)
by ryochiji on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 03:12:04 AM EST

>Well as far as this one "average" American goes, reading K5 is having a definite effect... it's pushing me more and more toward voting conservative .[...] I don't believe that would be a unique reaction.

For the love of this country, I hope you're wrong, but I have the horrible feeling you're not. Not about K5's effect on the "average" American (not very many of those on K5, I don't think) but just in general.

Well, maybe it's time to move to a different country again. It's a shame... If it weren't for the capitalists, Republicans and ignorant masses, I rather like it here in the US.

---
IlohaMail: Webmail that works.
[ Parent ]

Try Canada, I'll buy you the bus fare. [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#440)
by RyoCokey on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 01:54:44 AM EST



"...the average American finds it hard to accept all the hand-wringing over America's behavior we're hearing in Europe's two dozen languages given that
[ Parent ]
A question for you, Mr. wji (2.50 / 2) (#379)
by Scratch o matic on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 06:35:48 PM EST

I just watched the UN Secretary General announce that Saddam has agreed to allow the return of weapons inspectors, without conditions. Do you consider this good news? Do you think it would have happened if Bush and co had not been banging the war drum so loudly thiese past few months?

If the Bush Administration accepts ~and~ no war (none / 0) (#389)
by freality on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 07:23:21 PM EST

Judging from Bush's UN speech, new inspections may not be accepted (Sadam is a liar after-all) or may be short-lived.. due to some evasion of the Iraqi government.

I'd bet on the second scenario.  The benefits to the Bush Administration:

  • Get lauded for reasonability by the UN and anti-war movement in the US.  Give final proof of fairness to wavering support in mainstream US.
  • Get access to Iraq after 4 years.
  • Wait for inevitable inspection violations.  Can only be good for Bush PR.
  • Invade with tacit UN and domestic support, though still unilaterally or with marginal coallition support.
  • Still have time before the next election to set up new regime or influence oil production in favor of American Oil interests.
Anybody else betting?

[ Parent ]
Sounds about right (none / 0) (#394)
by Caton on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:03:15 PM EST

I still have a problem with the oil thing, though. It just does not seem worth it.



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Heaven forbid... (none / 0) (#417)
by Scratch o matic on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 08:12:41 AM EST

The benefits to the Bush Administration...

Heaven forbid the President make the most of a bad situation. This pattern is becoming a little boring: if the President is faced with challenges and dangers, and if he can improve his public standing by performing well in the face of those challenges and dangers, well heck, he MUST have manufactured the situation for his own benefit, right? I heard this over and over during the Clinton administration as well, and it was BS then too.

If a President is crafty enough to put together these tricky scenarios and make them come out in his favor, then he certainly is crafty enough to understand that the biggest boon to his public standing would be four years of peace and prosperity. How people can look at war, misery, and strife, and twist them around to perceive some sort of political 'benefit', is beyond reason.

Still have time before the next election to set up new regime or influence oil production in favor of American Oil interests.

Oil production is, and will be for quite some time, an important part of politics in the region. But the notion that American oil companies will somehow reap huge rewards from a war with Iraq strike me as somewhat ridiculous. Did we take the oil fields of Kuwait when we were done there? If Bush and his father are interested in money above all else, without regard to propriety or world opinion, then why didn't Bush Sr just continue into Baghdad and take it back in 1991? Why didn't he take the oil fields of Kuwait in the guise of a security arrangement? Even if we did get rid of Saddam now, how would that benefit American oil companies? By improving supply flow? Don't they just price their products according to supply anyway? Aren't they accused of gouging during war or tension when gas prices rise due to potential REDUCTION in supply? I invite educated information in this area.

new inspections may not be accepted (Sadam is a liar after- all) or may be short-lived.. due to some evasion of the Iraqi government.

Having said all the rest, I do agree with you that the second is more likely. But I would tend to blame it on Saddam rather than Bush. We shall see.

[ Parent ]
The boring pattern is our agression against Iraq (5.00 / 1) (#429)
by freality on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 01:20:14 PM EST

Look, Iraq is by all accounts a troubled place, with a bad government and bad thoughts about America.  So are a lot of other countries by that measure.  For instance, Saudi Arabia is generally considered to be a troubled place, with a bad government and bad thoughts about America.

What's different with Iraq is that it has the largest Oil reserves in the world not controlled by the US.

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Keep your eye on the ball."  Well, during a build-up to War against Iraq, the PR function of the US Presidential Administration has been to phrase the debate about the reasons and consideration for War in such a way as to mute Oil, and focus on some proximate cause.

Now, the proximate cause must be compelling, authentic, etc. etc. because it's got double-duty.. not only does it have to be a valid reason for going to War, it's got to be so blindingly important that most people won't look beyond it.  If most people did look beyond it, they'd see a set of issues which draw uncertainty into the debate, and that's just not how you get the American people ready for War.

My cynicism of the Bush Administration's professed motives and tactics derives from this understanding.  I couldn't help but laughing during Bush's speech to the UN.. I mean, for him to stand up in front of the World and demonstrate how locked down the American debate about this topic is.. well, it was laughable.. He simply didn't mention Oil as a reason to go to War with Iraq.  That's like early European settlers of America not mentioning the Americas as a reason for waging war on the Native Americans.  The obvious reason for not mentioning Oil as the primary reason for War is that kind of war is called "greedy" and doesn't get backed.

I mean, imagine how it looks: every time a Texas Oilman gets into office, we wage a land-war against Iraq... at least there should be some basis for Saturday Night Live-level cynicism in that.  That's justified, right?

Consider: If there weren't Oil in Iraq, would we be attacking it?  I mean, from the rhetoric, there's 3 countries in the Axis of Evil.. if we attacked North Korea, we might not even piss of the Islamic World and escalate the likely terrorist backlash.  Well, if you figure it out, tell Rumsfeld, because when he was being questioned yesterday at his daily press conference about "Why Iraq instead of the others in the Axis of Evil?" he became very flustered by the question and almost left before the end; needless to say, he didn't provide a good answer (and not just in my opinion.. it was the only question that the reporters seemed flustered about themselves.. they just couldn't get a straight answer).  Now, he'll probably be in top form for this question from now on, but you can guess why I think he didn't have a good answer.

Now, you ask some important question, and fortunately, there's just been some lively debate about them in another thread for this story "Justified Cynicism: Consider the Oil Story".  There you will find out why we didn't "take back Baghdad in '91" which ought to also answer why we couldn't (and wouldn't want) to take Kuwait's Oil fields and "how will it benefit the American Oil Companies" (though there is little factual debate about this one).

Economics questions are sadly beyond me.  In that thread it seemed best to summarize the economic value of Iraqi Oil by it's relative value based on size, i.e. #2 in the world.  Trying to distill real value or market value over time is complex, and almost surely not as interesting as the basic relative value of the Oil.

[ Parent ]

If Bush accepts this, he may be a smarter man... (none / 0) (#397)
by Eater on Mon Sep 16, 2002 at 08:28:34 PM EST

...than most of us thought. Although the timing of this action is a bit suspicious, Iraq peacefully allowing weapons inspectors back in is certainly way better than a war, and better than nothing at all. Perhaps the whole angry-evil-US-will-go-and-invade-you thing was just saber rattling all along...

Eater.

[ Parent ]
I'd like to think so (none / 0) (#454)
by wji on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 12:17:16 PM EST

My suspicion is Bush will take some kind of military action anyway, which will force the widthdrawl of inspectors, and they won't be allowed back in. But this knocks down a big warmonger argument and makes it easier for US allies to oppose the strike. Plus it's obviously a good thing in itself to have weapons inspections.

As for the suggestion that the threat of force caused the inspections to resume, I think the promise of lifting the sanctions once Iraq is disarmed to the R687 standards -- which is what's supposed to happen anyway -- would have worked just as well. And the sanctions have killed more people than all "Weapons of Mass Destruction" combined, including the atom bombs.*

* I dunno, maybe not if you count after-affects from herbicide spraying in Vietnam.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Great article! (none / 0) (#423)
by Juan Rojo on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 09:20:30 AM EST

no matter what you think, i think it's great. Look at all the controversy it put into k5!

I have translated this article to Spanish (5.00 / 1) (#450)
by Buenaventura Durruti on Wed Sep 18, 2002 at 03:35:48 PM EST

As among others in the past, I've found that article very interesting and have spent some of my time doing a translation to spanish with the objetive in mind of reach more brains. Its located at my scoop based weblog awaiting to be moderated by the users.


Cool, thanks! (none / 0) (#453)
by wji on Thu Sep 19, 2002 at 12:11:38 PM EST

Everyone feel free to distribute the article in any medium.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Attacking Iraq: Myth and Reality | 469 comments (435 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
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