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War, the Economy, and Domestic Politics

By Stickerboy in Op-Ed
Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 12:14:34 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

In many posts on Kuro5hin, those against a war with Iraq have often made or cited claims that President Bush is confronting Iraq primarily for domestic political benefit, whether it be through boosting the economy with military spending or the normal boost in popularity of a wartime president.

This brief article is meant to dispel those claims as both unsubstantiated and logically unsound.


War and the Economy

Many people have taken for granted an assumption that war is good for the economy. They point to the example of World War II, which did indeed pull the US out of the Great Depression and accomplish what Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal aimed but ultimately failed to do. Critics of the Bush administration have taken this example and claimed that a new war with Iraq is more of an effort to create jobs in the defense industry and spur an extremely sluggish US economy than it is to destroy weapons of mass destruction.

Bob Davis and Greg Jaffe, writing in the February 4, 2003 edition of the Wall Street Journal, examined the economic circumstances and evidence connected to major US conflicts to support the assertion that war is good for the economy, and came to the conclusion that in the present day, war will do much more to hurt the US economy than to help it.

During World War II, the sudden influx of defense spending by the United States amounted to a staggering 41.4% boost in purchasing power as measured by the GDP. A rapid increase in employment, wage inflation due to the diminishing supply of available workers, and increased savings all contributed to a huge post-war economic boom in the US.

Those circumstances, however, no longer apply to the current situation. The $10 billion already spent rearming after the war with the Taliban and building up to a future conflict with Iraq amounts to a drop in a bucket, a mere 0.1% increase in the already-$10 trillion a year US economy. The estimated $80 billion more that a war with Iraq, and the consequent rebuilding of the country, would cost would again be a 0.8% increase. War spending would not significantly affect the US unemployment level as it once did; nor would it suddenly cause a decrease in the high US consumer debt or the low US consumer savings rate.

As a recent and comparable example of what to expect, Davis and Jaffe cite the Gulf War, in which increased defense spending amounted to a 0.3% boost of the economy, but, in arguably better and less volatile economic conditions than today, the economy still slipped into a recession, costing President George H. W. Bush his re-election bid.

Furthermore, the authors argue, with defense spending steadily decreasing as a percentage of the economy as a whole (3.4% today, 8% during the height of the Vietnam War, and over 25% during World War II), the bad effects that war creates become more pronounced. Increased costs to business through spiking oil and energy costs, reduced consumer confidence during wartime, reluctance of businesses to make new investments due to the uncertainties of wartime, a further drop in the stock market as investors flee to more secure money havens are all economic effects that were observed during the Gulf War and will take place again in a future war with Iraq.

War and Domestic Politics

It has been shown that a wartime President is a more popular President, whether it be Abraham Lincoln winning reelection during the Civil War or George H. W. Bush's 90%+ approval rating during the Gulf War. However, if the critics of the administration are right, and domestic politics are the driving factor behind the Iraq war push now, this is both the wrong time to confront Iraq and the wrong use of political resources.

Presidential reelection campaigns typically kick off approximately a year before the elections take place. Significantly longer, and the public gets overexposed and primed for a fresh candidate. Significantly shorter, and other candidates can take the initiative away from the sitting president. Logic and recent history tells us that if President Bush were indeed trying to use a war with Iraq to maximize his reelection chances, the entire timeframe of confrontation, diplomacy, inspections, and possible military action should have been delayed a year. A public push for confronting Iraq in the summer of 2003, diplomacy to produce weapons inspections at the end of 2003, a pivotal State of the Union address in January 2004, a declared end of inspections in failure in March 2004, and a decisive victory and an ouster of Saddam Hussein by the summer months of 2004 would have resulted in boosted approval ratings from then to Election Day in November.

Instead, Bush, by pushing the Iraq issue now, risks politically what happened to his father in 1991-1992: an entire year after victory for his approval ratings to decline to prewar normalcy, followed by a further drop due to a stagnant economy, some of the blame which falls on the war that was just fought. Bush's approval ratings took several months after the fall of the Taliban from power to decline to normal levels; Bush's approval ratings will have come down to normal levels after a potential war with Iraq concludes almost a full year before the 2004 presidential elections, negating any political advantage he would receive directly from the conflict.

Indeed, the tens of billions of dollars and political capital needed for an upcoming war on Iraq could have, politically speaking, been better spent as economic incentives to create jobs and wealth on the homefront without the nasty economic side effects of war. At the least, a delay of a year would have allowed for any rebound, due either to circumstances or proposed programs, to take a stronger hold before beginning the war jitters again. To paraphrase James Carville, it is the economy that matters in an election, and a war with Iraq is not the medicine to cure an ailing one.

In short, there are many good arguments to make both against and for war with Iraq. Claiming a "Wag the Dog" scenario, however, merely injects stupidity into a good debate.

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War, the Economy, and Domestic Politics | 159 comments (154 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
you mean... (3.83 / 6) (#2)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 05:52:38 AM EST

that a war will not make the military industry turn faster and make some money? Or perhaps that putting US-interest companies on Iraqi oil will not give the desired income? How about the reconstruction of everything they break down there? Sure a US-friendly puppet regiment will be more than thankful to assign these jobs to american construction companies...
Oh, perhaps you mean that the actual public money will go down the drain... Well, guess what? They don't give a fsck!
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
puppet governments? (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by karb on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:01:47 AM EST

that a war will not make the military industry turn faster and make some money

That's the funny thing about war. However, there are other far easier ways of boosting the defense industry than running a war, which, incidentally, provides money disproportionately to contractors who provide support, resupply and manufacturing services. A lot of those people are likely to be union workers who would be (gasp) democrats!

Or perhaps that putting US-interest companies on Iraqi oil will not give the desired income?

I agree, although that will likely be up to the new government in Iraq, and the French and Russians are already courting the Iraqi opposition on oil matters. There's a lot of money to be had by getting oil out of Iraq. It takes a despot who doesn't care about his people to ignore that.

Sure a US-friendly puppet regiment will be more than thankful to assign these jobs to american construction companies...

How many 'puppet' regimes has the US installed in countries it has invaded? Japan? Germany? Afghanistan? Kuwait? Panama? Even Grenada? These governments no doubt felt indebted to the US, but the idea that the US somehow installed a leader subject to their command is problematic, unless you've a theory of how the US controls foreign democratic elections or royal bloodlines.

Oh, perhaps you mean that the actual public money will go down the drain... Well, guess what? They don't give a fsck!

Actually, why republicans are usually so popular is because they are good at not spending money ...
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

Who knows (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by RoOoBo on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:03:35 PM EST

Actually, why republicans are usually so popular is because they are good at not spending money ...

But I think the current ones really like to spend at full rate.



[ Parent ]
Current? (4.00 / 2) (#77)
by cdyer on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 08:49:40 AM EST

I assume that when you refer to the "current" republicans, you mean as far back as 1980. Republicans are good at convincing people that they are the fiscally responsible party, accusing the Democrats of "tax and spend", while they themselves consistently engage in a practice of "don't tax, but spend any way." Notice which party is in power every time the debt increases.

Cheers,
Cliff



[ Parent ]
Military industry (none / 0) (#141)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:12:53 PM EST

is a small part of the American economy today. Or haven't you noticed that the USA doesn't do so much manufacturing anymore? It's not like GM is going to get rich building Hummers to invade Iraq.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
Sorry to flog a dead horse (2.28 / 7) (#4)
by Rogerborg on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:58:41 AM EST

But I never, ever underestimate the American love affair with cheap gasoline.

What about oil price?  If Bush II gets a five day victory and control of the region, he's well placed to trigger a flow of Iraqi oil to drive down the price whenever it's convenient for his reelection chances.

It further occurs that he could then turn if off after his reelection to drive prices up and make a cool few billion for his family and friends.

Cynical?  Sure, but Iraq is a threat to "America and America's interests", remember?  It's Bush II that keeps bringing that up, and I'm going to take his word on this one, although I'm inclined to swap the order of significance that he'd like us to infer.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Ugh, all wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:12:03 AM EST

Everyone with any credibility who's doing any predicting about petroleum prices are predicting they'll go if up war comes.

The whole "War for Oil" idea might fit into the Marxist anti-capitalist perspective, but even a cursory examination of the issues involved shows it's completely untrue.  Any coherent opposition to an Iraq war has to realize what's driving the call for war, and that's ideology, not oil.

If oil is playing a role in plans for war at all, it's the fear that Hussein, armed with nuclear weapons, would be able to seize control of Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian oil fields, giving him control over nearly a quarter of the world's oil supply.

[ Parent ]
Well, sure (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by Rogerborg on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:00:52 AM EST

But Gulf War 1 didn't leave the UKUSA in control of Iraq's oil, it just put Kuwait's oil back under US influence.  This one looks different.  We're going in to seize control and install a puppet regime, which puts Bush II's hand on the Iraqi oil hose for the next few years at least.  Sure, that'll drive up oil prices while the war is on, but that gives Bush II a year and change to settle things down and decide exactly when he wants the cheap oil glut to begin.

Say what you like about Bush II, but I think he's smart enough not to repeat his daddy's mistake.  Once the UKUSA boot stamps down on Iraq this time, I doubt it will leave until every last drop of black gold is sucked out.

I take your point that merely preventing Iraq from controlling the region is a good goal all by itself, but how tempting it must look to Bush II to go just that little bit further and put the UKUSA in charge instead.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

No, it put Kuwaiti oil back under Kuwaiti influenc (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:17:26 PM EST

The US could have seized control of Kuwaiti oilfields on the pretense of safeguarding them.  It didn't.  The US could have extracted concessions on oil in exchange for expelling Iraqi forces.  It didn't.

The Gulf War wasn't about keeping Kuwait under American control(it wasn't then, and it's not now), it was about keeping Kuwait out of Iraqi control.

[ Parent ]
Who are the "Kuwaiti"? (5.00 / 2) (#123)
by seer on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 04:06:21 PM EST

Do you know that if you were born in Kuwait, you are not a Kuwaiti citizen?  You can be born, live all your life, work, and die within the borders of Kuwait and not be a citizen.  

When you say "Kuwaiti", what you really mean is a "Anglo-Arab Monarchy" that was set up after WWI, carved out of Iraq.  The only reason they still exist is because of U.S. interference

I don't know about you, but I call that a "American Client State" if not a puppet regime.

[ Parent ]

Iraqi propaganda... (none / 0) (#136)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:51:52 AM EST

...is really not a good source of information about the history of the region. The creation of the modern kingdom of Kuwait was no more of an arbitrary division than Iraq. Actually, Kuwait has a longer contiguous history as an autonomous region than does Iraq. In the mid 18th century the Sabah dynasty was established as a de facto autonomous region within the Ottoman Empire, roughly occupying the same boundaries as current day Kuwait.

On the other hand, the region now occupied by the nation of Iraq had little real precedent, prior to its modern creation by the British, as coherent unified state. The Shi'a south and the Kurdish north were historically recognized as separate and independent regions, even during those times when they were nominally ruled by a power located within central Iraq. And those who ruled from central Iraq after the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate have included the Turkic Seljuks, the Persian Sassinids, various pre-Ottoman Turkic Sultanates from Anatolia, the Ottomans, and the Turkic Mamlukes.

When the British created the states of Iraq and Transjordan, they lent their support to the claims of Hashemite clan from Hajiz, home of Mecca and Medina, who enjoyed wide support as the rightful rulers of all Arabs, as the clan had been the protectors and rulers of the two holy cities and could trace their lineage back to Mohhamed's tribe. It should be noted that Iraqi claims to Kuwait did not really arise until after the Faisal II was killed in a military coup in '58.

The only reason they still exist is because of U.S. interference

This is definitely true. Absent US intervention in '91 Kuwait would not currently exist.

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


[ Parent ]
Also... (none / 0) (#137)
by cr8dle2grave on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:57:50 AM EST

Do you know that if you were born in Kuwait, you are not a Kuwaiti citizen?  You can be born, live all your life, work, and die within the borders of Kuwait and not be a citizen.

This is true of Germany as well. Although, to be fair to Germany, only ~10% of Kuwati residents have full rights of citizenship. The Germans are far more liberal in doling out citizenship.

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


[ Parent ]
Since you repeatedly point this out... (none / 0) (#146)
by linca on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 05:25:37 AM EST

This is no longer true. Schroeder changed the nationality laws a few years ago, and people born in Germany only have to ask to get citizenship.

The problem is that Germany refuses double citizenship, and the Turkish population (who are the main point of all this) is reluctant to give up its Turkish passport, and thus tends not to become German.

[ Parent ]

I stand corrected (none / 0) (#148)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 11:39:16 AM EST

I was not aware that this had changed. Thanks for the info.

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


[ Parent ]
A couple things... (none / 0) (#67)
by PhillipW on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:34:35 AM EST

Everyone with any credibility who's doing any predicting about petroleum prices are predicting they'll go if up war comes.

During the war, yes. How about after the war?

Any coherent opposition to an Iraq war has to realize what's driving the call for war, and that's ideology, not oil.

It isn't about ideology at all, otherwise Saudi Arabia would be next on the list.

I personally don't think this is about oil at all. It's about a misguided notion that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the world a much safer place for America. I personally do not believe this to be the case. The last thing we need is to agitate fundamentalists and destabilize the region that they live in at the same time.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
low gas prices? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by godix on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:31:08 AM EST

Gas prices raised during the first Gulf war because of uncertainty of future supply. What reason do you have to think that gas prices would lower in Gulf War: Part Duex?


It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction.
- Rusty[ Parent ]
They'll go up, of course (none / 0) (#13)
by Rogerborg on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:03:04 AM EST

Now, is this an election year?

Given a year and change to settle things down and install a puppet regime, Bush II could flood the market at just the right time to produce very cheap gasoline indeed.

If you think Americans aren't dumb enough to fall for a short term stunt like that, well, then I admire your optimism.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

That didn't work for Gore (none / 0) (#46)
by godix on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:08:54 PM EST

I recall Clinton releasing some oil reserves shortly before the election in a rather blatent attempt to help spur Gores election chances. Considering who's in office I'd say that tactic doesn't work well. Considering that it was a tactic used against Bush, I'd guess that Bush knows it's a tactic that doesn't work well.


It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction.
- Rusty[ Parent ]
Warning: Bogon flux! (5.00 / 3) (#17)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:16:09 AM EST

A Crude View of the Crisis in Iraq
in terms of production capacity, Iraq represents just 3 percent of the world's total. Its oil exports are on the same level as Nigeria's. Even if Iraq doubled its capacity, that could take more than a decade.

...it requires several leaps of logic -- as well as inattention to developments in the rest of the world's markets, particularly in Russia, the Caspian region and West Africa -- to conclude that the current Iraq crisis is all about oil.

...To get back to 3.5 million barrels could take three years or more, at an estimated cost of at least $7 billion. This would put Iraq back into the leagues of Norway, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Venezuela. Another 2 million barrels per day would require a major push, and it would still leave Iraq several rungs below the capacity of the Big Three producers -- Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia. Making that leap to 5.5 million barrels a day would come sometime after 2010 -- at a cost of upwards of $20 billion.



Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

hrm? (none / 0) (#25)
by pb on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:55:38 PM EST

Either 3% or 5% sounds like a substantial amount; the U.S. only produces 8%.  And when you consider the fact that our reserves will run out long before Iraq's reserves do, it sounds even more attractive.

Also, what's with the "at the cost of" statistics--don't people still sell oil?  I'm sure that the profits far outweigh the costs, especially in the long term, with dwindling oil reserves!

Now, I'm not convinced that this is all about oil, but I can see how people might draw that conclusion, especially considering the Bush family oilman legacy.  However, if I were convinced, that article would do nothing to change my opinion.

No matter how you slice it, Iraq produces a lot of oil, and in the coming years, that oil will become more and more valuable; having Iraq's oil added to our own would greatly ease the coming OPEC dependence.  Also, I know that Bush is seriously thinking about these things, since he actually talked about researching alternative energy sources!  When was the last time you heard a Republican talk like that?  Now, he might not have gone totally Green here (as the link explains), but the motive was clear--"to reduce our foreign dependence on oil".
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

This article's biggest problem (4.30 / 10) (#6)
by StrontiumDog on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:51:30 AM EST

The fact that a particular line of reasoning is unsound, is no guarantee that politicians will not act based on that line of reasoning. This article has made a reasonable case that war will not boost the economy, or raise Bush's approval ratings. It has, however, completely failed to demonstrate that boosting the economy, or raising approval ratings, is not in fact the primary motive of the Bush administration's desire to invade Iraq.

Claiming a "Wag the Dog" scenario, however, merely injects stupidity into a good debate.

Whether or not the scenario is in fact the truth, does not make it stupid. It's more convincing in any case than the motivation coupled with the 'evidence' and line of reasoning the Bush administration itself has put forward to date.

Ah, nothing like a good "UFO" defense. (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:27:01 PM EST

I mean, just because there's no evidence for UFOs and a good explanation for most UFO sitings doesn't mean they aren't real!

LoL. Why give up a good conspiracy theory just because it doesn't make sense?


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
This isn't the UFO defence. (5.00 / 3) (#51)
by gauntlet on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:39:45 PM EST

This is a different defence, which I think should be given it's own name.

Rather than saying, "just because it doesn't make sense doesn't mean it's not true," this defense says, "just because it doesn't make sense doesn't mean that someone else doesn't believe it."

To consider a different example, what if the question were not why Bush wants to invade Iraq. What if the question were something like "Why do people wear tin-foil hats?"

Much like Hanlon's Razor, it talks about peoples' motivation for doing things, and indicates that stupidity is an important consideration.

Hanlon's Razor states that if you have two possible ways of understanding another person's motives, one of which requires the person to be malevolent, the other of which requires them to be stupid, stupid is the more likely motivation.

This says that if you have a guess at a motive for someone's actions, and that motive requires stupidity, that doesn't invalidate it as a potential explanation.

So to answer the question, they wear tin foil hats because they think otherwise the aliens can read their minds. Yes, they would have to be stupid to think that, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Hey, maybe it SHOULD be called the UFO defense.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Analogy doesn't work. (4.50 / 2) (#52)
by Kwil on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:46:48 PM EST

I don't believe in UFO's either, but I wouldn't want to suggest that there's no evidence of something weird once in a while.

But beyond that, we do have evidence that politicians can make mistakes. We have evidence that a large number of people believe that a war will boost the economy whether or not it is true, and the theory that a politician might believe that a war would boost the economy is as plausible to me as the theory that a politician might believe that Hussein will be less of a threat to the US if he is attacked than if he is not.

I really don't see why you call this a conspiracy theory, unless you're simply choosing that label in hopes of discounting the theory without actually considering it.

Why is it not possible that GWB might be attempting this to boost the economy in addition to some of his stated goals?  Simply stating "because it wouldn't" is not answering the question of motive, but rather answering a question of effects - a question which wasn't asked.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Faith-based economy (none / 0) (#113)
by curien on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 09:32:27 AM EST

We have evidence that a large number of people believe that a war will boost the economy whether or not it is true...

An interesting factoid is that the strength of our economy is largely based on investor confidence which, pretty much, is whether or not people believe the economy is doing well. If people believe the stock market should go up, they'll buy stocks; this results in the stock market going up! In some ways, this "self-fulfilling prophecy effect" is a more important indicating factor than any hard economic or political data.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt
[ Parent ]

Politicians being stupid (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by carbon on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:20:34 PM EST

Hmm... hard to disagree with that line of reasoning.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
The idea that this war is about oil (3.84 / 25) (#8)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:20:12 AM EST

is a notion driven by the conflation of capitalism and violence in the distorted worldviews of the radical left who dominate anti-war activism.  In a broader sense, it's the idea that the 'West'(represented by America) sustains its prosperity through the exploitation of the 'Third World'(represented by Iraq).  They're trying to contort the facts to fit their ideological preconceptions, but you can't put a square peg in a round hole.

The reason driving the war are many.  A desire to exert American control over the Midde East, attempts to foster free market capitalism in the region, a show of strength to quell anti-American radicalism, to protect American interests and allies in the region from possible attack from Saddam.  

LOL (5.00 / 6) (#10)
by sien on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:54:23 AM EST

a show of strength to quell anti-American radicalism

I will beat you until you love me !

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's exactly how it works! (3.00 / 4) (#26)
by Viliam Bur on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 01:23:57 PM EST

If someone is stronger than you, it is much safer to behave friendly to him, even if he hurts you often. So pretty often people love those who hurt them, ask any psychologist. (If it goes for a long time in childhood, that's how masochism starts.)

If USA will come, kill few people by bombing, and then stop the war (as it already happened in Irak), it will be safer to hate USA.

If USA will come, overthrow government, and establish a new one, USA-friendly, it may be safer to love USA -- or you would oppose your own government, which is not a safe thing. (Someone from Afghanistan maybe could tell us if it works there.)

People usually want their behaviour to reflect their opinions and vice versa. If you fear someone, first you hate him. But when you realise that you cannot beat him, you must behave friendly. This causes disharmony in your mind, which can be solved only in one way - you change your opinions. Sorry, but that is how peoples' minds work.

[ Parent ]

I shouldn't have to explain this to you... (3.12 / 8) (#35)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:11:41 PM EST

Perception of America as a paper tiger unwilling or unable to sustain casualties helped spur Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the US.  Similiar ideas that the US is weaker than it seems are central to the goals of other Islamic fundamentalists.  Destroying Saddam would prove a show of American strength in the Muslim world.  While they might not hate us any less, they'll be less likely to attack us because of it.

[ Parent ]
You really need another one? (4.33 / 3) (#43)
by Cloaked User on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:15:51 PM EST

You've already reduced (even more of) Afghanistan to rubble after the Spetember 11th attacks. Do you really think that you need to flatten another country to show that you're strong, and won't take any shit from anybody?

I agree that it won't make people hate you less, and that it might well make them fear you more. But having seen a country that's essentially just sat there quietly not bothering you for over a decade invaded, that fear might spur them to take measures to make sure that they're not next.
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

Quietly? (3.00 / 6) (#48)
by godix on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:29:15 PM EST

"But having seen a country that's essentially just sat there quietly not bothering you for over a decade invaded"

Iraq has been shooting at our planes ever since the first gulf war was over. Recently they've even managed to down a drone. How exactly is shooting at someone who's enforcing UN resolutions qualify as 'sat there quietly'?

Iraq tried to assinate the former President. Can you name me ANY country that wouldn't go to war over an assination of their leader? How does plotting murder qualify as 'sat there quietly'?

Iraq has spent several years blatently violating UN resolutions until Bush stepped up the war talk (notice when the inspectors were allowed to return). How is violating the terms of an agreement to end a war qualify as 'sat there quietly'?

I'm occasionally suprised Iraq still exists. Sometimes they act as if their entire goal in life is to push America into attacking them. While I don't totally support a second war (although I do lean that way), I gotta wonder, what's with trying to make Iraq look like angels?


It's from Indymedia. It sure as hell is fiction.
- Rusty[ Parent ]

UN resolutions? (4.80 / 5) (#69)
by ecarter on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:33:54 AM EST

Please provide a citation for the UN resolution authorizing no-fly zones in Iraq.

[ Parent ]
Gee, having some trouble? (none / 0) (#78)
by ecarter on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 09:00:00 AM EST

That can't be because there is no such UN resolution, can it?

[ Parent ]
UN resolutions, UN resolutions, UN resolutions... (5.00 / 2) (#75)
by Rogerborg on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:29:34 AM EST

How many UN resolutions is Israel in breach of at the last count?  Six?  More?

Morality does not begin and end with UN resolutions, especially given that the UN is largely (completely?) an unelected body.

If the UN passed a resolution saying that Iraqi warplanes could fly over continental USA, would you object to attempts to shoot them down?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

'Conflation' (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by sinexoverx on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:03:18 AM EST

I have been seeing this term more and more lately. Finally I looked up the defintion so I would understand the term. It isn't that the term has no meaning in the context, but that it is becoming part of the context. Other similar terms are: 'explative delete' from the Watergate era, 'The Big Lie' from the Reagan era, also from the Reagan era 'plausible deniability', and on and on, (not aways from Repubicans but those are clear in my mind). The terms are not so much coined as emphasized. A red flag goes off in my head when I see a group think term like this, repeated temporally by a particular point of view. The red flag tells me that someone has an agenda, and that they are organized (perhaps chaotically) to present it.

My favorite is when Bush Sr. talked about 'inculcation' during the 'W' campaign. Nobody probably remembers the speech, but I do. And have heard the term often enough lately to remark on it. (Don't think of me as a democrat or leftist because you would be wrong). The parent comment is not necessarily wrong. I am just commentng on group think terms.

CONFLATION - (from dictionary.com) To combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole.

[ Parent ]
The Big Lie (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:08:06 AM EST

That term was coined by Hitler, IIRC. "Plausible deniability" came out in the 60's.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
reguardless of origin (none / 0) (#18)
by sinexoverx on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:25:57 AM EST

... though informative, those red flags go up when I hear unusual terms clustered in time. Thanks for the info. You should look into inculcation by Bush Sr. The usage (with respect to education) creeped me out.

[ Parent ]
"return to normalcy" (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by tps12 on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 10:02:48 AM EST

Another Republican. And in that case, "normalcy" itself was newly minted for the phrase.

[ Parent ]
Ahem (4.75 / 12) (#23)
by Rogerborg on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:26:21 PM EST

"to protect American interests and allies in the region"

But it's not about American interest in oil, or oil rich allies, right?

When Bush II talks about "protecting America and American interests", I hear "protecting America and the way of life to which we have become accustomed".

Frankly I wish he'd just come out and say it's about securing enough oil for our kids to keep living the high life.  I'd prefer some honest imperialism to all this sudden-attack-of-morality bullshit.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

I'm curious (4.00 / 4) (#24)
by zaphos on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:53:04 PM EST

Frankly I wish he'd just come out and say it's about securing enough oil for our kids to keep living the high life.
How would this war accomplish that? I ask, because everyone said the same thing when Bush v1.0 was in office, but if that was was all about the oil... well... where's the oil?

--
So few people seem to realize that what seems fascinating and meaningful to them is utterly meaningless and dull for the listener. -rusty
[ Parent ]

Saudi Arabia (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by RoOoBo on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:49:49 PM EST

Don't you remember the main excuse for Mr. Laden to attack US? I will remind you: US troops in Saudi Arabia. Why do you think there are permanent bases and troops in all those countries? Because US soldiers like desert? Or because they are there to secure the oil and the puppet regimes that provide that cheap oil to us?

Just take a look at the OPEP in the last years. And compare it with the 70s. It seems now the only purpose of OPEP is to provide cheap enough oil (but not so much that the oil companies and governments can profit). They just increase or decrease the production so that the price is 'reasonable'. Reasonable for what? Reasonable for who?



[ Parent ]
Well, according to the DOE (2.60 / 5) (#42)
by zaphos on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:03:25 PM EST

We produced and imported a total of 5,522,360K barrels of oil in 2001, and 289,998K of that was from Iraq. That's roughly the same as oil production from the state of California. That also means we get a full 95% (that's right, 95%) of our oil from places other than Iraq. So, pardon my French, but why on earth would we give a fuck about Iraqi oil if we get 95% of our oil elsewhere?

To put it in perpective, we get 3,121,022K barrels of oil from North American sources. We import about twice as much oil from Venezuela as we do from Iraq, but no one is calling for the invasion of Venezuela. Maybe because Venezuela is not threatening to attack the US with weapons of mass destruction?

Now I'm all for questioning our leaders. And I'm all for trying to examine the "real" motivations for their actions. But I just don't think this "war about the oil" one holds up for a few reasons:

  1. There's no "there" there. Like I just said, we're talking about a place that only supplies us with a paltry 5% of our oil. Why not invade Mexico? They are a lot closer to us, we can use our own airbases, and they supply us with 508,715K barrels.
  2. Bush is a shitty liar and shitty speaker. It's distinctly possible that he is borderline retarded. He is too inept to lie about his motivations.
  3. Bush is serious about fighting terrorism. We can surely debate his methods, but I think we have to take his words at face value when he says that he's going after a threat to the US. After all, he's just not talented enough to make something up.
Again, I think he's really trying to fight terrorism here. Some say this war would be counterproductive in that regard, and to me that's a valid criticism. There are many other criticisms like loss of civilian life that are also valid. But saying that we're just going at it for the oil, in my mind, is not a valid criticism. No one's been able to make it make sense to me yet, but I'm always happy to listen.

--
So few people seem to realize that what seems fascinating and meaningful to them is utterly meaningless and dull for the listener. -rusty
[ Parent ]

Oil not as important as control. (3.80 / 5) (#55)
by Kwil on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:10:51 PM EST

To look at your reasons:
  1.  5% of the oil is, I'll agree, piddling. Having a more or less puppet government in the region, one that owes it's existance to your military and so will freely allow you to house troops and use as a staging area should the Saudi's get uppity? That's priceless. It's not so much the direct oil, as the ability to control the entire region that produces the oil.
  2.  I disagree with you on this one.  Bush is a very effective speaker when handled well. He's obviously a great liar because he managed to get into the President's Office, and that's not something you can do these days by taking the strict high-road. Interestingly, it seems the times when he has the most difficulties speaking are those times when he's talking about compassionate acts, or when speaking about accepting blame. Unfortunately, I don't have the reference, but there was a column done on this topic. Make of it what you will.
  3.  If you assume Bush is inept, then surely you must admit that he could be manipulated/handled. So why do you assume that what he says is necessarily what is going on? Do you really assume Mr. Cheney is letting GWB run the whole show? Me, I think GWB is the show, and it's a few people behind him that are actually running the thing. We just get to watch the dummy on-stage.
Finally, might I suggest that the reason you don't invade Mexico because you control it already? Take a look at some of the government export restrictions with regard to Mexico. In particular look at the restrictions on selling oil drilling/producing equipment to mexican companies. The U.S. bought out Mexico years ago with the promise of cheap foreign aid -- aid that became very expensive once it was in place. Aid that the interest payments alone keep Mexico on the hairy edge of poverty. Interest payments that ensure Mexico basically has no choice about renewing land leases that allow American oil companies to get the oil at pennies on the dollar.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Questions (3.33 / 3) (#70)
by zaphos on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:43:41 AM EST

Having a more or less puppet government in the region, one that owes it's existance to your military and so will freely allow you to house troops and use as a staging area should the Saudi's get uppity? That's priceless. It's not so much the direct oil, as the ability to control the entire region that produces the oil.
Saudis getting uppity? Which Saudis? You mean the royal family? The same royal family the US military is propping up right now, much to the chagrin of the likes of Osama Bin Laden and company? I guess I'm not sure I follow the scenario you've suggested.
Bush is a very effective speaker
I have to tell you my favorite Bush quote evar. I was flipping through the radio stations using the "scan" function in my car. You know the one that stops at each station for 3 seconds? Well, the scan stopped on a GWBII speech and all I caught of it was: "Well, that's not right! [dramating pause...] And it's wrong!" Thanks Bush for pointing out that something, whatever it was, was not only not right... but furthermore... it was wrong.

Incidentally, I think that his inability to speak or lie may have been what put him in the Oval office. As you say, Bush has not taken the "strict high-road". But I felt he was honest about that. He never tried to hide his DUI, his alcoholism, his partying ways through college. He sees the world in black and white, he has his 'princibulls[sic]', and he sticks to 'em. At least that's the impression that I get.

When he speaks off the cuff it's even more telling ("We want Osama, dead or alive"). Maybe it's because we're used to the Clinton years of polished, articulate speaking with that Clinton flair. The contrast makes Bush sound all the more idiotic.

I'm not sure how else to describe how I feel when I listen to Bush. I guess I feel that I'm not being lied to, but that I'm listening to the biggest moron since that cop who, upon my telling him that I was a 'pedestrian' told me to "pedistrate somewhere else".

If you assume Bush is inept, then surely you must admit that he could be manipulated/handled.
Here I tend to disagree. Not because I think Bush is so smart, but because the world is so black and white to him. If he's being manipulated behind-the-scenes, then by whom? And to what end?

I'm sorry if all this seemed directed toward you, but I really have a hard time with some of the arguments I've seen that are against Bush and/or against the war. I find myself in the unfamiliar position of defending his policies just because I don't like the arguments against them. :) Like saying we're going to war for the oil. No one has ever demonstrated to me how we'll get any oil by attacking the source of 5% of it. So that explanation appears unlikely.

On the other hand, Saddam openly funds terrorist acts against Israel and openly supplies weapons to terrorist groups. If he is allowed to obtain 'nucaler[sic]' weapons, is it such a stretch to think that he might supply terrorist groups with a nuclear weapon or other WMD? My guess is that is Bush's doomsday scenario that he's trying to thwart. I would love to read a detailed, well-thought-out argument that he has other motivations. So far, I have not read one that passes muster.

Also, your comments about Mexico are interesting. I know nothing about Mexico or the situation you speak about, though some of it sounds like it would violate NAFTA. If you happen to have any links, I'd be interested in reading about it.

--
So few people seem to realize that what seems fascinating and meaningful to them is utterly meaningless and dull for the listener. -rusty
[ Parent ]

And where will the oil come from in 40 years? (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by felixrayman on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:45:36 PM EST

why on earth would we give a fuck about Iraqi oil if we get 95% of our oil elsewhere?

Because the vast majority of our oil will have to come from the Middle East in the future. It alone has long term supplies of the magnitude that can supply projected US needs.

no one is calling for the invasion of Venezuela

I seem to remember Bush and his cohorts prematurely cackling with glee when a democratically elected leader was almost overthrown in a military coup in Venezuela a few months ago.

I think we have to take his words at face value when he says that he's going after a threat to the US

I think nothing could be more dangerous or more unpatriotic than to take a politician's words at face value.

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 ]
It's gone (none / 0) (#41)
by sllort on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:43:11 PM EST

You burned it off-roading on asphalt in your SUV.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
American allies and hegemony... (2.85 / 7) (#36)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:14:50 PM EST

not oil.  While the Middle East is important in part due to the oil reserves there, that's the farthest the war for oil hypothesis goes.  And in any case, it's then not a war about making Bush's Exxon and Mobil buddies richer, it's about preventing Saddam Hussein from ushering in a global economic catastrophe that would make the Great Depression look like a minor dip.  Oil is, literally, the lifeblood of a modern society. To claim that it doesn't matter if a crazed tyrant like Hussein controls a quarter of the global supply is simply inane.

[ Parent ]
Language translation (3.50 / 4) (#73)
by twistedfirestarter on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 04:04:00 AM EST

From USian to English

Globa economic catastrophe = Usian economic catastrophe
Global terrorism = anti-US terrorism
Global security threat = threat to US's oil
Friendly to US interests = democratic, freedom-loving

"Oil is, literally, the lifeblood of a modern society. "

Your society, urge, but not %90 of societies people actually live in.

"a crazed tyrant like Hussein". -5 for spreading inane propraganda.

[ Parent ]

World Economy (none / 0) (#87)
by Merk00 on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:10:06 PM EST

Actually, the entire world economy does run oil. Even assuming it's just the US economy, without a stable dependnet source of oil, the US economy will collapse (see 1973 for example). Given that the US economy is the largest in the world, this will have negative consequences for the entire world (see general global downturn now given downturn in US economy). This will be very bad for a lot of people. This will hurt developing countries the most because they tend to be just making it by on the amount of income they have already. Don't think that oil isn't important for the world. It is and it's important to remember that the US isn't only looking out for it's own interests when dealing with oil.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

Better come up with better reasons (5.00 / 5) (#60)
by pyramid termite on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:55:38 PM EST

In a broader sense, it's the idea that the 'West'(represented by America) sustains its prosperity through the exploitation of the 'Third World'(represented by Iraq).

There's plenty of historical evidence of the First World exploiting the Third World - nowadays, the exploitation tends to be more subtle than colonization outright.

The reason driving the war are many. A desire to exert American control over the Midde East

Hold on there - how does that differ from the leftest theory that the war is about oil? What else in the Middle East is so important to us that we feel a need to have control over it? Oh, and while we're discussing this, why do we have the right to control the Middle East, anyway? I thought one of Bush's stated goals was to give the Iraqi people their own self-determination rights - controlling them would negate those rights, wouldn't it?

attempts to foster free market capitalism in the region

It seems to me that OPEC is a little more capitalistic in its actions than say, the diamond industry or Microsoft ... They bow to the market a lot more than people might think.

a show of strength to quell anti-American radicalism

I have the unconfortable feeling that an attack on Iraq will fan anti-American radicalism, which may be fairly impotent at first, but in future years will grow. It seems that the pro-war arguments are tactical and operational - but strategically, it's much harder to justify it. There's a real danger of aggravating an already nascent clash of civilizations here.

to protect American interests and allies in the region from possible attack from Saddam.

That would sound better, except that many of these allies don't want us to do it - Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan are all reluctant. The only power in the region who's all for this is Israel - but then, if they had to take on Iraq, I'm sure they'd manage.

On the other hand, I don't think oil is the whole reason either. I think Bush has decided that our country needs to reinforce the idea of a Pax Americana for the 21st century and is using Iraq as a test case. In the next 5 to 10 years, it may well be possible to maintain this - by 2050, it won't be. There are already powers strong enough to prevent us from pushing them around without a major, dangerous war - China, Pakistan and India come to mind. In the future there will be powers that will be able to actively contest a country that wants to expand its share of influence - at that time, the question of how severe a second Cold War will be may be dependant on how many people we've pissed off. By that time, the idea that we can control the Middle East will be long gone.

I certainly understand that the idea of Saddam having the Bomb is bad news. But mark my words - we may be able to ensure that Iraq doesn't get it, we may be able to ensure that the next country doesn't get it, but soon enough, there will be countries who do get it and we won't be able to stop them.

What would happen if the current nuclear powers of the world, in return for a stringent inspection and enforcement routine, offered to disarm themselves of their WMDs, and offered to place themselves under the same stringent routine? There's no guarantee this would work - but as long as we and other countries have these weapons, other countries will feel compelled to have them also. I don't see Bush or his allies coming up with any vision of how to really ensure world peace; what's worse is those countries opposed, such as France, aren't coming up with much either.

The time is coming soon when someone's going to have to start thinking outside of the box and so far, it's not being done.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Query (2.00 / 1) (#74)
by Godel on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:16:51 AM EST

There's plenty of historical evidence of the First World exploiting the Third World - nowadays, the exploitation tends to be more subtle than colonization outright.

Is colonizing a country through massive numbers and seizing control of the government immoral?

[ Parent ]

Bush is just a puppet (2.42 / 14) (#16)
by gokul on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:13:32 AM EST

I think the strings are really being drawn by Cheney and Rumsfeld. Bush Jr. doesnt really have much clue about whats going on.

First of all, Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton which is (surprise, surprise) an energy firm. Any control over the Iraq oil supply is a direct boost to Halliburton.

As for Rumsfeld, he just seems to be a born right-wing hawk. He will just jump into as many wars as possible before his time runs out.

Haliburton Profits from Saddam (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by cronian on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 01:41:31 PM EST

According to <a="http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/6/24/80648.shtml">this article</a> Halliburton has profited extensively under Saddam. In fact Saddam was one of Halliburton's best customers. Yet Cheney still wants to get rid of Saddam.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
Why eat scraps when you could have the steak? nt (none / 0) (#82)
by jester69 on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:02:55 PM EST


Its a lemming thing, Jeep owners would understand.
[ Parent ]
How? (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by Anatta on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 01:50:45 PM EST

Any control over the Iraq oil supply is a direct boost to Halliburton.

Can you actually make a persuasive argument that this is the case, or are you using conspiracy theories to convince yourself that you are right, while ignoring all contrary evidence?

How, exactly, will Haliburton -- or any American oil company -- benefit from Iraqi oil, and why would going to war to get the oil be more beneficial than simply ending sanctions? Considering Iraq is currently on par with medium sized oil producing countries like Nigeria, and considering that it is going to take an awful lot of time and money to rebuild Iraq's oil facilities, how will Haliburton gain from this? Finally, how will Haliburton gain from the lowering of oil prices due to an increase in the supply of cheap oil from Iraq?

Normally, critics of capitalism argue that companies tend to focus on the short term and ignore the long term to everyone's detriment, yet you seem to be making an argument that Haliburton et al are looking to the ultra-long term and starting wars in order to somehow gain resources that they apparently didn't particularly want 10 years ago, all so that the average price of the commodity they sell will be lower, somehow boosting their profits.

I dunno, that logic just doesn't make sense to me. A little explanation from you would go a long way in helping me understand.


My Music
[ Parent ]

Here is how. (3.80 / 5) (#30)
by Hillgiant on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:15:35 PM EST

Hussien will (in the event of war) use the same form of scorched earth tactics he did in the last conflict. He will burn the oilfields rather than let them fall into the invading troops hands.

These oil wells will have to be rebuilt. Haliburton is one of the "big three" in downhole well completion. Haliburton (and other well completion companies) will profit from all the reconstruction.

It has happened before. How do you think Cheney got to be CEO of Haliburton in the first place? While he was running around the mid-east as part of Bush the Elder's administration, he spent a lot of time meeting and talking with the companies that were helpin Kwait rebuild thier oil infrastructure.

Haliburton will not profit (as much) if the sanctions are ended. Redrilling known resurvoirs is easy work. No expensive 4D analysis, no risky wild-catting. Just go to where the old well was, pull off the old well-head, clean out the bore, put on a new well-head and hook it up to the pipeline.

On the other hand, it is very hard to say that anyone would advocate war for such light and transient reasons as profit.

On the gripping hand, Bush the Lesser's administration has not (imho) presented a compelling case for going to war. So, I am unsuprised when people suggest that there MUST be some alterior motive.

-----
"It is impossible to say what I mean." -johnny
[ Parent ]

Interesting, but I still don't think so (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by Anatta on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:06:23 PM EST

I compliment you; you've given me the richest, most interesting oil conspiracy I've yet read, and you didn't break up against any of the typical logical reefs others navigate into. That said, I still think your theory is untenable.

Halliburton currently has a market capitalization of $8.5B, and as of Dec 31, $5.5B in assets. It generates $13B in revenue per year. You're forcing me to believe that a man who was the former CEO of this company has so much love for this not-giant company that he would be willing to risk the lives of thousands of his countrymen. You suggest that he is willing to spend many billions of dollars this year alone (above $100B it appears), and probably in the $10B range for many years after that) on the Iraq war, all so that his friends, and his ex-company, gain a few billion dollars in revenue, not profit?

The current yearly budget of the United States Government is about $2.1T. That's T, not B. The entire economy generates about $10T of output per year. All of Halliburton's revenues are a flyspeck compared to the money Cheney and the Administration get to work with day in day out in the budget right now. According to this informative article from the Washington Post, it might cost $20B over 10 years in order to get Iraq up to really producing a lot of oil. Assuming this figure does not include Saddam sabotaging Iraqi oil fields, and that such damage doubled, or even tripled the amount of money required to get Iraq up to being a serious oil producing company, we'd still only be talking $60B over 10 years, or $6B per year.

Assuming Halliburton got every cent of this money, Halliburton would only be getting $6B more per year than they currently are, and it would require a whole lot of pomp and circumstance on Cheney's side, as well as thousands of deaths and misery all around, all so that a drop in the bucket goes to Halliburton.

Call me crazy, but I would think it would be infinitely easier to clandestinely pass $6B, or even $60B out of the $2.1T US budget to Halliburton. And nobody has to die.

You're forcing us to believe that:

  1. Cheney cares more about $6B per year, or even $60B, in revenues from Iraq, than he does about his country, his citizens, ideals of truth and liberty and all that other stuff, and the security of the entire world.
  2. Saddam absolutely will torch his oilfields and ruin the equipment. If he does not, Cheney's plan is a complete waste.
  3. Halliburton and other companies Cheney cares about will get the money needed for repairs to the oil fields -- an amount far less than what the war itself cost the US.
  4. This scheme is the easiest way to get the money to Cheney's friends, easier than just slipping it under the table to Halliburton through the current US budget.
I admire your tenacity in proposing the argument, but it doesn't fit with the facts.


My Music
[ Parent ]

And I suppose that (3.71 / 7) (#38)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:21:22 PM EST

the fact Cheney completely divested from Halliburton when he first declared his candidacy just doesn't matter, does it?

Let's see: Cheney has been (a) accused of having contacts with the energy industry, (b) accused of insider trading when he divested himself of all energy stocks in order to avoid conflicts of interest and now, (c) is still being accused of being in the pocket of the same industry, despite receiving no financial incentive or benefit to be so.

The guy can't win. Meanwhile, Clinton participated in real estate and banking fraud, but that's just partisan sniping, right?


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
you're not getting at the real reasons (4.55 / 18) (#19)
by speek on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:31:37 AM EST

Anti-war-ists generally feel the war will make more enemies and worsen our overall security as a result. They typically believe the war is probably about oil/power/re-election, but those are not the reasons they don't want war, those are just extraneous beliefs about the situation. The real problem is the belief that war will worsen some the problems that the administration says the war will solve (ie terrorism, Middle-East problems). And other problems (Saddam, WMD) are not seen as real problems. If Saddam has nuclear weapons, war will either bring out their use, or, worse, they could be "lost" and fall into the wrong hands. If Saddam has nuclear weapons, he'd be about as likely as N. Korea to use them pre-emptively, which is to say, hardly likely.

You should try applying your reasoning techniques to the stated reasons for the war, and see how well they hold up. Or have you already made up your mind?

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

Nope (4.33 / 6) (#22)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:20:23 PM EST

I haven't made up my mind on Iraq yet.  I know that war is 95% certain at this point, unless Saddam Hussein has a change of mind and strategy between now and February 14th, and I've heard both sides of the debates, including some arguments which aren't voiced on K5 very often.  

I was just irked that so many people seem to believe that this really was about President Bush trying to boost his chances of reelection, instead of Iraq and US foreign policy in the Middle East and the world in general.

I've even seen posts supporting war because of the economic boost they thought war would bring.

This article was written with those two issues in mind, and those two alone.  Maybe it'll help increase the quality of arguments about the effects/motives for war (or so I hope).

[ Parent ]

oh (none / 0) (#31)
by speek on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:41:40 PM EST

Well, I guess I don't like your article then (well, the choice of topic anyway - it's well enough written). I'm tired of the irrelevant arguments, the strawmen, the distraction from the real issues, the constant drib and drab of peripheral discussion about the issue of war on Iraq. I understand wanting to clear away the debris, but I don't understand focusing on it after clearing it away.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Question: (none / 0) (#94)
by Noam Chompsky on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:28:52 PM EST

if Bush relents and Saddam remains in power, what do you calculate are the chances the Democrats will NOT make an issue of his (Bush's) ineffectual bluff and bluster? (Yes, precisely, well put: zero.) I have one follow-up question: who elected Bush because he was a man of words instead of action? (Indeed you are correct, sir, nobody.) OK, one more question: given Iraq's military capability today, perhaps an order of magnitude less formidable than the last time it was run over in the Desert, do you think the American people will forgive their leader's painless military successes? (By painless I am not, of course, referring to the prodigal human toll paid in your country's foreign imbroglios; I am referring to one or two friendly fire accidents.)

--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

You're being too generous (5.00 / 5) (#33)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:56:17 PM EST

A fair number of people do oppose going to war with Iraq primarily on the basis that it will not accomplish the stated objective of improving American security interests. I, myself, have remained a fence sitter on this issue precisely because I'm not at all convinced that risk/reward calculus is in our favor. But there are at least two other significant rationales that you don't account for:
  1. The principled pacifists
  2. Those who oppose the war with Iraq primarily because they fear America might prove to be successful

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


[ Parent ]
yes (5.00 / 2) (#58)
by speek on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:43:26 PM EST

I had originally written my comment as a discussion of the differences between Americans against the war and non-Americans against the war, but I changed it. Your #2 reason is certainly there - America is going to war, it is going to gain a lot of power over certain parties (ie Europe) as a result. The gain of wealth and power can go along with a decrease in security, though, I should point out.

I ignore the principled pascifists, just like I ignore trhurler when he's not talking about computers.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

"principled pacifist" oxymoron [n/t] (1.00 / 1) (#80)
by RyoCokey on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 10:47:16 AM EST



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
And bombing them helps them how? (none / 0) (#88)
by flarg on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:12:44 PM EST

means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.

And so in order to help these people, we need to drop bombs on their houses, bridges and destroy their infrastructure? Don't worry, after 12 years of restricting your food and medicine, I'm sure you're decimated. But don't worry, we'll build it all back up in a few years. Just sit tight.

This helps them how?

[ Parent ]

That's obvious (none / 0) (#98)
by RyoCokey on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:38:42 PM EST

Suffer now, or suffer for decades. Seems like a pretty obvious choice to me. Plus, how many Iraqi's will die as Saddam expands unchecked? He draws his soldiers willing or not, from these same people.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
Suffer now and for decades (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by linca on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:55:08 PM EST

The US, or any country for that matter, doesn't have a nice enough record on setting up democracies in countries that have never been democracies that one can assume that the lot of Iraqis will get better after an invasion by US forces. Just look at how Afghanistan is reverting into the feudalistic anarchy of the warlords it knew in the beginning of the 90's.

[ Parent ]
This is hard... (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by jmzero on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 05:56:17 PM EST

Many people on both sides of this issue suggest the other side is playing whack-a-mole with their arguments.  For example, lots of people accuse Bush of saying the "war is about this" - then saying "it's about that" instead when pressured about "this".  The same accusations fly the other way.

The idea that Bush is waging war as a political ploy has certainly been raised seriously as an objection.  As such, I think it's a worthwhile topic to discuss even if it's not the best argument against war.  It would be nice if we could permanently whack several of the more molish arguments from this debate.  Would save a lot of time - though I don't see it happening.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Sorry about your wife... (n/t) (none / 0) (#92)
by cestmoi on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:26:50 PM EST



[ Parent ]
It's not about oil.... (3.00 / 1) (#89)
by MKalus on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:42:01 PM EST

... I thought that for quite some time too but last week it hit me, this is nothing else but a pissing contest.

Quite frankly they should both get a pair of boxing gloves and then they can duke it out face to face and we'll have it over with.

Of course that wouldn't be fun, after all they would have to follow UP with their rhetoric and face the consequences.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Elections (4.25 / 8) (#29)
by wji on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 02:11:17 PM EST

Erm, did you notice how the Republicans made large gains in the mid-term elections? And did you notice how the public is generally with or to the left of the democrats on social issues, and thinks they'll do a better job on the economy? Don't you think that shifting the debate to "security" would make sense to the Republicans, given these facts?

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Which public? (4.00 / 6) (#39)
by Demiurge on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:23:16 PM EST

Surely not the American public, unless perhaps you're confining it to San Francisco.  On the whole, on social issues, the public is with or to the right of the Democratic party as a whole.

[ Parent ]
Which public? (4.00 / 3) (#53)
by Kwil on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:49:06 PM EST

Surely not the American public, unless perhaps you're confining it to rural areas. On the whole, on social issues, the public is with or to the left of the Democratic party as a whole.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
LoL. (none / 0) (#57)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:39:17 PM EST


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
He's got a point. (none / 0) (#86)
by aphrael on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:30:55 PM EST

There were numerous analyses after the 2000 election which showed, in essence, a split between a socially liberal east- and west- coast area, and a socially conservative inland zone.

Certainly almost everyone I know is to the left of the Democratic party on social issues.

[ Parent ]

You're both wrong (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by pyramid termite on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:02:24 PM EST

The American public is divided and more than a little confused, not to mention fed up. But so far, there's no agreement on who they're fed up with.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Aw man.. (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by Kwil on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:15:07 PM EST

..that's the last time I try and make a point in a subtle fashion.*

Always seems there's somebody willing to spell it out point-blank. :)

*Oh alright, it probably isn't, but hey.

 

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Everyone <nt> (none / 0) (#85)
by aphrael on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:29:33 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Stop deluding yourself (none / 0) (#56)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:38:18 PM EST

The American public is hardly to the left of the democratic party. Quite the reverse. Look at the polls on abortion some time.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
Ah the great divider... (none / 0) (#97)
by hex11a on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 04:22:14 PM EST

Abortion? Come on! I mean, beyond the fact that I think politics is far too complicated to polarize into a one dimensional left-right model, abortion shouldn't be an issue that divides left and right. Pro-life and Pro-choice people come from both ends of the political spectrum, perhaps from different ideological values, but still the point remains. Although there may be a trend towards the christian right being pro-life there are also a number of right wing pro-choice activists, and there are plenty of left wingers who are pro-life. Abortion is not the issue on which to gauge the political spectrum.

hex

[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#129)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 08:59:44 PM EST

But the rabid pro-choicers are all democratic. Right up there with many other "civil rights" issues which the democratic party uses to whip up party fervor, despite the fact that relatively few Americans agree with them.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
A bit US-centric (none / 0) (#138)
by hex11a on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:15:57 PM EST

Perhaps that's the case in the US, but in Britain and most of Europe it's very different. Even the terms "democratic" wouldn't be understood unless read from a US point of view (France is a democratic repulic and also a repulblican democracy). Either way, I'm sure that there are better ways to decide which way someone is inclined than the abortion issue.

[ Parent ]
No, many issues come down that way. (none / 0) (#140)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:09:14 PM EST

Civil rights, for example. Right or wrong, most Americans believe in "reasonable restrictions" - they don't believe the state should be endorsing same sex marriages, for example, but a small, vocal and dedicated, faction within the Democratic drives that issue and similar ones forward.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
What amazes me (none / 0) (#81)
by Bill Melater on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:11:37 AM EST

Is how the democrats have come to be seen as "better on the economy" than the republicans. Whatever happened to "tax and spend" liberals?

[ Parent ]
Liberals were upstaged (5.00 / 2) (#91)
by cestmoi on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:24:10 PM EST

The "tax and spend" liberals were upstaged by the "don't tax and spend anyway" Republicans.

Reagan introduced us to the Trillion dollar debt. It now stands at $6.4 Trillion and Bush wants to add another $.6 Trillion to the pile. In 1984, Reagan blamed the Democrat-controlled Congress for the soaring deficit. It was a lie - he ignored the fact that he seldom vetoed any spending bill. Bush can't play that card now that the Republicans control the White House and Congress.

I agree with you; it is very weird to have the Democrats be more conservative on the debt issue than the Republicans. I'm willing to bet it'll be a plank in the 04 election.

[ Parent ]

theory of government debt (none / 0) (#125)
by ethereal on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 04:44:47 PM EST

I read a really interesting analysis of conservative taxing and spending ideology, which made the point that the usual trend is to increase deficits while cutting some social programs, so that in the end it's impossible to bring those programs back due to concerns about the debt. Thus the long-range goal of getting the government out of the social programs is realized through seeming fiscal mismanagement. I'm not sure if I believe that or not, but it did seem to fit the Reagan era fairly well.

Fiscally conservative Democrats are an interesting paradox, but I bet that their motivation is the coming Social Security collapse. There's a lot more political advantage for them in opposing runaway debt on that basis, and the crisis is a lot nearer now than it was in the past when they were more pro-spending.

And to complete the juxtaposition, there are also Democrats angry at the President for not spending enough on defense and anti-terrorism measures at the moment.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

yes it's good for the economy (3.25 / 5) (#44)
by daishan on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 05:34:57 PM EST

this war isn't about the oil it is about oil companies. Securing a large reserve of Iraqi oil for american based multinational oil companies is good for the american economy.

The Wall Street Journal article only looks at the expense of conducting the war, not the payoff of winning.

Does Condi Rice really have a tanker named after her?

Yes, Condi Rice has a tanker... [n/t] (none / 0) (#65)
by opendna on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:42:31 PM EST



[ Parent ]
This is stupid. (4.70 / 10) (#47)
by Noam Chompsky on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:24:08 PM EST

Stop funding the military-industrial complex, without spending the saved dollars elsewhere, and see what happens. It is certainly true your dollars are better spent elsewhere, but you don't spend them elsewhere. Re: Iraq. The mantra, "It is not about oil," is just as mulishly stupid as "It is just about oil." For one thing, no one said it was about the price of oil. For another, although Iraqi chemical weapons of very little destruction are not as dangerous as friendly (for now) Pakistan's, our future procurator in Iraq can do something Generalissimo Mushahatsitsname cannot: ensure control of a free flowing oil supply (on which the USA is economically dependent) safe from the winds of political change and pressure (read: OPEC, Russia, etc.), first, and funnel the investment of oil proceeds into American instead of foreign enterprise, second. There have been reports in the WSJ that Cheney held discussions last October with Exxon and other firms about the rehabilitation of Iraq's oil industry. Earth to the shell-shocked puppets of the world's most militarist and propagandizing nation, "Duh!" It stretches credulity to suppose an administration of former oil executives are in Iraq instead of (e.g.) Zimbabwe because it has NOTHING to do with oil.

Presumably, we rescued Kuwait's theocracy in order to protect the Free World's supply of carrots. Right? Bueller?

--
Faster, liberalists,

Another interpretation (4.40 / 5) (#54)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:03:15 PM EST

You've taken these arguments to show that Bush isn't manipulative and self-serving

However, it's entirely possible that he *is* manipulative and self-serving, he's just really really bad at it.

It's also possible he's going to find someone else to go to war with in a year, but I'd rather not think about that :P

-1 straw man alert!!! (4.66 / 6) (#63)
by arthurpsmith on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 09:19:23 PM EST

well, you punched a lot of holes in that argument. Too bad I've never seen anybody opposed to the war make it.

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


Are you blind? (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by RyoCokey on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 10:45:27 AM EST

Nearly ever anti-war poster has made this comment. Do you need links or something?



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
Yes, links please (none / 0) (#90)
by arthurpsmith on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:19:57 PM EST

to anybody opposed to war saying: "war with Iraq is more of an effort to [...] spur an extremely sluggish US economy", or "President Bush [is] trying to use a war with Iraq to maximize his reelection chances". The general statements in the opening of this article I have certainly heard, but those two particular straw men, around which the whole argument turns, I have not seen elsewhere.

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
As you wish (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by RyoCokey on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 06:34:36 PM EST

There was an entire story in the queue (A repost from Indymedia) on the US going to war to keep the Middle East from changing to Euros.

Here is a comment accusing Bush of Personel Gain. Here is one saying he's doing it for midterm elections. Another one saying it's to profit US companies. The final one I found before I got tired of Kuro5hin not having a decent search feature is there.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
But none of those matches the straw men here (none / 0) (#106)
by arthurpsmith on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:47:00 PM EST

The closest match is "for midterm elections" - the midterm elections are quite different from the 2004 presidential elections, and Bush seems to have done rather well on the recent midterms. "wag the dog" in the generic sense is quite different from specifically saying he's doing this to win the 2004 election. There's a lot of domestic political hay this president wants to make (he has a lot of tax goodies still to hand out to his rich buddies, for one) that requires a high popularity, whether or not that popularity carries into the next presidential election.

I.e. there are lots of ulterior motives that have been attributed to the Bush administration - but none of them are exactly the ones that the article here demolishes... for very good reasons.

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.


[ Parent ]
So where's Osama? (5.00 / 12) (#64)
by epcraig on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 10:39:34 PM EST

How does this war with Iraq help dismantle Al Qa'ida? (By the way, why hasn't this government yet released the evidence it claimed showed it was Al Qa'ida on 9/11, not that I'm a bit skeptical about this claim, given Al Qa'ida's propensity to provide plenty of self incrimination on Al Jazeera, but they actually did promise us at least some of their own trove of evidence)?

Why aren't we doing a damned thing about the nation which provided 15 of 19 accused air pirates?

Why can't we hunt down Al Qa'ida in either Afghanistan (which we claimas a conquest) or Pakistan (our purported ally)?

Why are we doing nothing effective about North Korea?


There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

Because Weapons of Mass Destruction work (none / 0) (#76)
by Afty on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 05:46:21 AM EST

North Korea already has a nuclear program, as such any attack or agression (even perceived) could set off a chain of events that destabilised the region - South Korea and China are particularly jumpy.

Iraq on the other hand does not have significant Weapons of Mass Destruction - if it did, do you think countries would be invading it with plenty of warning?

The sad truch of the matter is that MAD or its variants do actually work, and seem to be a better method of keeping the peace than democracy.

Oh, and a final point is that the US economy is very precarious right now, with national debt incredibly high - the US government simply could not afford to have a war on two fronts along with all its' other commitments, the economy (and to an extent the dollar) would meltdown.

[ Parent ]

Logically sound, but... (3.50 / 8) (#66)
by Lord Snott on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 11:56:38 PM EST

...you're forgetting you've got a moron in charge of the war.

Decades ago, nobody wanted the Olympic Games. You couldn't give it away. But whichever country did (charitably) take it usually had a small economic spurt along with it.

Now, countries pay a FORTUNE to get the games. My country (Australia) spent millions in promotion, more millions in infrastructure, and millions in incentives (not bribes ;-) to get the games, because there was a perceived economic benefit.

Years later, the Homebush site is still mostly vacant, and we (the taxpayers) are still paying off the debt. There was a PERCEIVED benefit.

The Bush Administration haven't really proven themselves great thinkers, what makes you think they're reasoning is sensible now?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

0, explain something to me (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by turmeric on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:08:09 AM EST

1935. everyone shit poor.

1942. everyone magically has money

where , exactly, did that money come from? did we import it? i dont think so.

basically as far as i can tell, the 'wartime boom' in the economy was nothing more than a change in the spirit, the morale, of the average person.

and if the economy is based on that, (hell, the value of paper money is based on that), then all we need is a spiritual leader to lift us out of the recession.



As I understand it... (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by lucius on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:47:29 AM EST

American wartime industry was driven (prior to the US actually joining the war) by huge capital flow from Britain for the manufacture of ships, armaments etc. There was some quote by Churchill in the House of Commons that went roughly "The Germans have become our tireless enemy and the Americans our relentless creditors".

[ Parent ]
Yeah, (none / 0) (#72)
by twistedfirestarter on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 03:54:48 AM EST

Before the world wars, the UK was the greatest empire in history, albeit in decline. Afterwards it was nothing special.

[ Parent ]
great huh (3.00 / 2) (#83)
by turmeric on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:08:34 PM EST

enslaving half the earth, great? forcing a nation to import drugs? great?

[ Parent ]
Bah (none / 0) (#93)
by christonabike on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:27:14 PM EST

I know you're trolling, but I'll reply anyway.

The very first definition of great, according to dictionary.com is "Very large in size."

[ Parent ]
wars not make one great (none / 0) (#95)
by turmeric on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 03:49:11 PM EST

the dictionary has many meanings and 'great empire' is traditionally meant to mean 'good empire' not 'big empire'. at least where i come from.

[ Parent ]
where do you come from turms? (none / 0) (#105)
by twistedfirestarter on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:13:58 PM EST

Do you think that all the references to Rome as a great empire is because people think the romans were good? Of course not. The Romans were sick freaks.

[ Parent ]
Sir, (none / 0) (#112)
by tkatchev on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 05:57:19 AM EST

"Great" as in "really big", not as in "really wonderful".

The word "great" has two meanings.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

thanks (3.00 / 2) (#84)
by turmeric on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:09:28 PM EST

so basically we took the white mans murderous empire stolen money, and used it to stop another white man from doing the same thing.

[ Parent ]
Supply vs. Demand (5.00 / 2) (#102)
by Eric Green on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 07:18:49 PM EST

By Presidential edict, all private industry was dedicated to the war effort in early 1942. Production of automobiles ceased in order to produce Jeeps and trucks and tanks. Production of most consumer goods ceased -- clock factories began making grenade timers, gun factories switched to making military rifles rather than shotguns and hunting rifles, etc. Construction materials were dedicated to building barracks for the troops and POW's and Japanese internees and to building things like the Pentagon and the Manhattan Project, not to building consumer housing. Only the barest of staples were produced for consumer purposes during the war -- basically staple foods and clothing and soap and light bulbs and gasoline -- and they were strictly rationed due to short supply.

In the meantime, the government was basically printing money to pay the private companies who had found their factories "nationalized" overnight. There were no goods to buy, but money getting printed. The natural result is that people had lots of money -- but nothing to spend it on. Living standards for most Americans actually went *DOWN* during WWII as vs. during the Great Depression.

How did the U.S. government respond to the cash surplus? Basically, they launched the war bond program to soak up the excess cash, exhorting all Americans to do their patriotic duty and send that money that the U.S. government had just printed back to Washington in exchange for war bonds. The other thing they did was impose strict price controls so that the natural thing that happens in scarcity situations -- high prices -- would not happen.

Why did the American people accept this privation? Well, a number of the American people did not -- but the U.S. government imposed strict "voluntary" censorship on the media. It wasn't as bad as during WWI, where people who made anti-war protestations were jailed (the most famous being socialist Eugene Debs, jailed for treason for making a speech opposing the draft and the war), but the end result was that opposition to the war was fragmented and could not get their views out. In addition, there were some very real reasons why the U.S. population would be ready to go to war despite the privations: Japan attacked U.S. soil, and Germany declared war on the United States. The U.S. has traditionally had an attitude where you attack us, you get destroyed -- completely, utterly, and totally. Period. Control of the press insured that this attitude got stroked at every possible time.

In short: The money was printed by the government, and people had lots of it because there was nothing to spend it on. Lots of money, few goods, goods strictly price-controlled, means normal market forces (inflation -- goods become high priced) could not happen. Thus people were virtually floating in money. Thus the need for the War Bonds program, to remove that money from the money supply and exchange it for certificates redeemable after the war. This large stash of money is probably responsible for the post-war affluence, which, however, I'll note was nowhere near as big a boom as reputed -- it was a big boom of affluence only in contrast to what was happening to Europe at that time, where even sugar and flour were being rationed due to the destruction of their infrastructure and the utter impoverishment of their populations.

-E
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...
[ Parent ]

waitaminute (none / 0) (#124)
by ethereal on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 04:37:12 PM EST

So what happened after the war, when people redeemed the bonds for that freshly-printed cash, and price controls no longer existed? Why didn't the economy collapse back to pre-WWII levels? Was it because of the large amount of industrial plant that had been created, and the continued arms spending? Granted, there was somewhat of a recession from '47 to '51, but in general the pre-WWII levels never returned, correct?

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

If we're talking economics, (3.50 / 2) (#96)
by nice bum on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 04:10:42 PM EST

I'll throw this link in for discussion - The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq

Cool. (none / 0) (#121)
by dikaiopolis on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 01:49:22 PM EST


gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]
Already debunked, you miss that story? [n/t] (none / 0) (#128)
by RyoCokey on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 08:15:36 PM EST



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
about jobs... (4.00 / 1) (#103)
by StrifeZ on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:01:20 PM EST

unemployment, as long as its kept under 8% about, doesnt effect the economy. Never has, never will. The economic slow down of the last 2 years is from vastly decreased corporate spending, overinflated stocks and coporate scandals. Presidents have only so much they can do with the economy. The American economy is still the strongest in the world by far, keeping much of it afloat even in its recessed state. But we're out of the recession, theres been something like 3 consecutive quarters of economic growth, and corporate spending is picking up. People worry about jobs faaaaaaar too much. Bush should give incentive towards corporate spending first. Jobs will follow when companies have more money to hire more human resources.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
About a war for oil... (3.00 / 2) (#104)
by StrifeZ on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:08:02 PM EST

About iraq and a war for oil... so we're going to spend at least $60 billion, more likely $100 billion on a war... then spend $200 billion on reconstruction.... put 250,000 american soldiers at risky, likley losing 250 of them in friendly fire and enemy fire... drop tens of thousands of bombs that cost $200,000 - $1 million a piece (which means we'll have to pay money to restock on them after the war, which makes it even more expensive)... ... all for Oil, which Saddam wants to sell anyway? Saddam wants to sell the oil. We, i think it would be stupid to not to say, also want the oil. If he was a good little dictator, we'd have a deal. Unfortunatly, hes a monster, simple as that. This war is far too expensive to just be about cheap oil, especially when between Mexico, Canada and domestic US, thats a good 70% of the oil. Its not a war for oil at all. Thats just an excuse by peaceniks. If they actually took the time and did the math, they'd see it. Bush may not be a very intellectually curious man, but he is not stupid, and neither is his administration. Stop pretending the US government is being run by a bunch of retards. It isnt.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
And also.... (none / 0) (#111)
by HollyHopDrive on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 05:54:56 AM EST

If America is that concerned with oil, why has she been supporting Israel for nearly 55 years? That hasn't developed a good relationship with the other countries in the Middle East, which are the major oil providers.

I'm not saying we should attack Iraq or that Bush/Blair's motives are pure as virgin snow. I'm just saying the 'it's a war for oil' argument doesn't wash.

I make too much sense to be on the Internet.
[ Parent ]

Did the costs, but forgot the bennys... (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by bobzibub on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 11:31:45 AM EST

Yes the Iraq war could cost as much as $2 trillion if worst comes to worst:
http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA0WP7HD9D.html

..and yet...

Price of oil is about $30 per barrel.  We could use $25 to be more realistic...
http://www.wtrg.com/daily/crudeoilprice.html

Iraq has "112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia) along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources", though I've heard that they may have 1 trillion barrels...

Also Iraq has "amongst the lowest in the world" unlike Canada's tar sands, etc.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iraq.html

So $25 * 330 billion = $8.2 trillion worth of oil.

Not to mention Natual Gas (over a trillion cubic feet) and also importantly, water.  The aquifers in the Middle East are being depleted.  Iraq has plenty of water which could be used to supply friends in need.

So on oil alone, $8.2 / $2.0 = 205% return! : )

Oil is justification only hippies admit to.  Sadamm is not a hippi either.  He claimed when he invaded Kuwait (also for oil) that Kuwait was their former province and was rightfully theirs.   Lucky we saw through that argument!  

Cheers,
-b

[ Parent ]

On oil reserves.. (none / 0) (#147)
by ajduk on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 11:35:50 AM EST

Iraq has "112 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the second largest in the world (behind Saudi Arabia) along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources", though I've heard that they may have 1 trillion barrels...

Iraq has not changed it's estimate of oil reserves for a long time, despite producing about 1 billion barrels a year. It was in 1987 that the claimed Iraqi proved reserve went from 47.1Gb to 100.00Gb, where it stayed for around a decade (the same number being reported every year). Then it suddenly went up to 112.5Gb. In neither of these cases was any oil actually found.

This was a political increase - OPEC production quotas are partially based on the reported reserve figure, and Venezuela had just doubled it's reported reserves based on the new production of heavy oil. Around the same time, Saudi Arabia suddenly announced another 90 Billion barrels (1.5 North seas!) to 260 Billion barrels. Despite producing around 40 billion barrels of oil since then, they still claim 260 Billion barrels.

Out of interest, the UAE went from 31 to 92Gb, Iran from 48 to 93Gb, and Kuwait from 64 to 90 around the same time. 300 Billion barrels was apparently added to the world reserve whilst the exploration business was laying people off left, right and center, and no major middle eastern discoveries were made.

Amazingly, none of the commontators on the subject seem to want to mention this. Perhaps Saddam's regieme is absolutely trustworthy and follows New York stock exchange rules when reporting oil reserves, but personally I doubt it. The figure of 330 Billion barrels EUR for Iraq would come from these rules being followed - as would the pie-in-the-sky 1 Trillion for Saudi Arabia. Realistically, Iraq can extract about 90Gb between now and 2050 assuming an invasion soon, and the use of the best available technology; the figure for Saudi Arabia is about 190Gb.

What they also don't mention is the fact that the difference between worldwide oil damand and potential supply has shrunk to the point where Iraq could soon (if not now) control prices on it's own. That is not a very attractive option..

[ Parent ]

Your view is too narrow (none / 0) (#122)
by Betcour on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 01:50:33 PM EST

so we're going to spend at least $60 billion, more likely $100 billion on a war...

...and all of this money will go to US companies (mostly the US weapon industry). Part of it will come back straight away in taxes. The rest will flow back into the US economy.

then spend $200 billion on reconstruction

And who will be paid to reconstruct ? Russian companies ? Of course not. The contracts will go to US companies as well. Then back to the US economy.

When the governement spends $ 1, somebody earns $ 1. The money is not disappearing, it is just changing hands...

[ Parent ]
The Motley Fool would disagree with you... (4.50 / 2) (#107)
by RofGilead on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 03:20:57 AM EST

On your first point, you said that war is not inherently good for the US economy. The Motley Fool would say differently. In this story (Login required), they predict that the United States will be going to war with Iraq in the not too distant future. Furthermore, they argue that wartime is a good time to invest. To back up this statement they listed the US wars of this century, and showed how for each war there was a slight initial dip in the stock market, followed by large gains. The only war that they didn't correlate to change in the economy was the Vietnam war, which they refused to make correlations with because it was of too long a period of time. I believe their figures still showed the stock market rising with that war as well.

I'm not going to say that this is why the hawks want to go to war, but I would argue that there has been a correlation. And, it makes sense, as alot of major corporations get alot of major business from the government. The business that these companies get trickles down through the networks of associated business, and the stock market does well.

The reason that I think we are going to war with Iraq is about trying to "stabilize" the middle east. We want Iraq neutralized, and a friendly government put in place, allowing the US to have a better foothold in the region. We've been trying to control the middle east for the last century, pitting Iran and Iraq against each, so on and so forth. Why have we cared at all about the middle east? Hasn't the only reason we've ever cared about the middle east been the petroleum that is produced there? Isn't the only way that our country can be hurt from the middle east being that of oil price fluctuations?

-= RofGilead =-

---
Remember, you're unique, just like everyone else. -BlueOregon

markets don't like risk. (none / 0) (#114)
by bobzibub on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 10:37:11 AM EST

Markets drop because they don't know whether the war will go "well" or not.  Better to pull money out and sit on the sidelines while a war begins.

War is risky.  In this case: the Straight of Hormuz being blocked for a long period, an OPEC boycott, chemical/biological/nuclear warfware with high numbers of casualties on both sides, fundamentalist regimes sprouting up, and the enragement of Arabs everywhere during a decade occupation of post war Iraq.

That is a risk to the economy.

Once the war progresses and not all the bad things happen, (I dearly hope) the world economy may not be so bad off.  So stocks rebound now that the risk is removed.

This does not imply that war is good for the economy at all.  The opposite is true.  Threats of war et al, has depressed the value of stocks due to politics, not business reasons, and corporate investment will be curtailed during that time.  Remember the jobless recovery?  That is a big reason.  Companies are less willing to invest (aka hire) in this climate of elevated risk.  The stock market is not the only financial market.  It is small in comparison to the bond market and the foreign exchange market.

Governments spend a lot of resources attempting to moderate the economies of the world via central banks.  The threat of Gulf war II as increased risk so much that central banks are mostly redundant right now.  Interest rates are as low as they get, in order to compensate for the "risk premium" people and companies demand to invest right now.

Military spending, in general is bad for the economy if it does not reduce risk of another country attacking.  Aside from that it depends on "multipliers".  This is traditionally known as "guns or butter" in economics, but I'll update it:

Your money could be used to build a car or a tank.  If a tank, it probably was taxed and it probably was not your choice to spend that money that way.  Consumers loose and so the economy is worse off because your money is not being spent in a way that optimizes their well being.  This is said to be a "distortion" of the economy.

If a car, the same money is being spent (let us say) and similar industrial processes are being used to build either product.  But with a car you get..a shiny new car.  This is what you wanted in the first place so you are better off.  Also, you may not be able to afford a car and a tank.

The US military is so large now that they might as well start spending money building bases on the moon.  Money in that imaginary project would indeed generate lots of jobs, etc., but that same money could have gone to more productive uses in the private sector marketplace, building products normal people actually want to use, making them richer.

War is bad for the economy.  Excessive military spending is bad for the economy too.

Cheers,
-b


[ Parent ]

Ok, ok ok... READ. (5.00 / 2) (#108)
by dikaiopolis on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 03:33:30 AM EST

I'm totally tired of everyone tossing in their 2 cents on the Iraq issue, so I'm not even going to say anything about it. I will say that there were two votes to oppose the war in the house, one of them being from my congressman and hero, Jim McDermott. Read what he has to say, and good luck refuting it.

http://www.house.gov/mcdermott/iraq.html

in particular:

Floor statement on H.J. Res. 114.

In conclusion, no one cares whether Bush is stupid or not, and loard knows your vote doesn't count for anything. The only thing that's important in this case is understanding the issue. So go read about it. There's nothing to be said here which hasn't been said by more authoritative sources elsewhere (and by authoritative I don't mean the washington post, that rag can burn for all I care; when was the last time you read a house resolution?) So do the research. And for christ sakes, I don't even want to read articles like this unless you have sources. And some wall street journal article is not a source.


gnoske seauton

Easily Done (none / 0) (#127)
by RyoCokey on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 08:13:08 PM EST

And for christ sakes, I don't even want to read articles like this unless you have sources. And some wall street journal article is not a source.

I'm going to make a generous leap of faith and assume you're not a conspiracy nut, evidence to the contrary. It is harder to find a more authorative source than the WSJ, a forum where Prime Ministers, CIA directors, and most recently Colin Powell see fit to write articles.

In all fairness to Mr. McDermott, his statement was more rational at the time it was made.

For "regime change," we stand alone. For inspection and disarmament, we have allies, we have a coalition, we have the U.N.

In case you missed the recent pledge of support, first from 8 European Countries as well as Turkey, Australia and the UK, the US certainly has it's coalition.

The stakes are high if we make a hasty decision today.

Apparently not, considering the amount of time that's passed.

If we pass this resolution, we are setting precedents that we will regret: that America can start "preventive wars" and that Congress can turn over authority to start a war to the President.

The President traditionally asks Congress for a declaration of war. In more recent days, this has generally been declined in favor or resolutions authorizing force. This resolution certainly doesn't set a precident in that area.

The final part about oil, empire and his (non-combat) war experience is a simple and rather bald emotional appeal. Well, I suppose if Georgia can elect Strom Thurmond, I shouldn't complain too much about Washington's representative choices.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
sigh (none / 0) (#153)
by dikaiopolis on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 12:54:58 PM EST

I don't know how to express what stupid slop that WSJ deffinative article is. If you don't see it I guess I can't help you, not here anyway. Besides which, I'm not sure, but is that the letter I read on indymedia was misinterpreted pretty grossly?

But yeah, about authoritative sources... For congress, congress is the most authoritative source, not the WSJ. Sorry, logic just shows that.


gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]

Another war? (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by swr on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 03:34:02 AM EST

Instead, Bush, by pushing the Iraq issue now, risks politically what happened to his father in 1991-1992: an entire year after victory for his approval ratings to decline to prewar normalcy

Unless Bush plans another war^W military campaign shortly after Iraq.

Remember, the War on Terror is not over until something mumble *cough* something.



Hah! Too much benevolence... (5.00 / 10) (#110)
by pla on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 03:46:53 AM EST

You make a *huge* mistake, though an understandable one from the optimistic point of view...

Your argument has, as a critical underlying assumption, that people attribute Bush's motives to some sort of nationalistic altruism, an actual desire to do "good". Improve the economy, stabilize the dollar, win reelection so he can *keep* doing good, things of that nature.

Not even close.

Why do I still belive this involves oil, despite all the hard numbers showing that the US stands to *suffer*, oil-wise, at least on the short-term? Because a whole lot of Bush's friends and relatives will make obscene amounts of money, and to hell with the US economy and public opinion. Cheney himself, the most likely puppetmaster behind our mad and moronic president, stands to personally make a killing (sadly, that applies quite literally in this situation) through his ties to Haliburton.

But even ignoring the oil issue (damned hard, but I'll move along now), I don't so much care who stands to profit, as the utter contempt Bush has shown he holds the masses in. Even if he *does* have a good reason to go to war, we, the FUNDERS and FIGHTERS of this war, apparently have no right to know about it. We hear specious assurances from Bush's Brittish lap-dog (no offense to you Brits, I realize most of you consider Blair to have sold you out even worse than Bush has done to the US); "proof" that as one K5 poster pointed out, could just as well demonstrate that Saddam has hidden Jimmy Hoffa; and logical fallacies that people would have seen through 4000 years ago as reasons why Saddam "must" have WMDs ("we didn't find any, so that proves he hid them"... WTF?).

We have the US government lying and backtracking and finding new excuses around every corner, yet *still* both the world and the US people do not wholly support this war. Convincing the UN to demand a disclosure from Iraq about weapons tech, on the condition of sharing equally, then censoring the hell out of it.

Oh, and let's not forget "he tried to kill my daddy!"... Yeah, using the most powerful military force on Earth to settle personal vendettas makes *ME* feel better, how about the rest of you (including the majority of Americans) who didn't vote for him?

And yet...

We should all do our patriotic duty, shut up, and go topple this tyrant.

Sorry, but when I hear a good *REASON* to do so, I'll stop pissing and moaning about the million and one valid reasons why we should suspect Bush's motives. Until then, I personally consider paranoid conspiracy theorists a hell of a lot more trustworthy than the lying bastards leading the charge.

I've rambled a bit, so forgive me if I failed to make a coherent point. But to summarize, failing to make a coherent point forms the very *basis* of my objection to a war with Iraq - Namely, Bush has not come up with a single, relevant, factually true reason why the US should go to war with Iraq. He's thoroughly covered the board with his bets on assorted excuses, but still manged to hit double-zero.


Good point. Why /are/ we going to war then? (none / 0) (#120)
by dikaiopolis on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 01:47:04 PM EST

pla made an error in that post however, he/she said "the lying bastards leading the charge", but I know he/she meant "the lying bastards leading the charge from several tens of thousands of miles away in cushy offices"

But yeah, do you honestly think it's to protect the USA from Hussein's WMD's? (Lets say for argument's sake that Israel isn't part of the USA) What /is/ the point of the war? I'm willing to bet that I could tear any argument /for/ the war up a lot more easily than you tore up, well, sort of tore up, well anyway that's not the point. Because all the arguments for the war are opaque, probably malicious, lies! (as could be 99% of your post afaiac since you didn't cite anything) Whereas at least the oil argument is argued from things people can actually see, (cf. Well Saddam is a really bad guy, it says so in these classified documents you can't look at (right)) and I think despite your post, it still makes a great deal of sense.
gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]

9 retards and counting (1.50 / 2) (#126)
by RyoCokey on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 07:40:23 PM EST

Why do I still belive this involves oil, despite all the hard numbers showing that the US stands to *suffer*, oil-wise, at least on the short-term?

So instead of applying logic and reason, you chose to make an illogical choice in the face of mounting evidence. For this inane and childish behavior, nine members of the community of Kuro5hin have given you the highest rating possible (At the time of the post.) I swear, it seems that a disturbing number of Kuro5hin members take joy in propping up their own mass fantasy.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
It's Krauthammer's argument, in real life. (3.50 / 2) (#131)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 09:04:57 PM EST

"Republicans think Democrats are kind-hearted but stupid. Democrats think Republicans are evil."

Leftists would rather believe that Bush is an irrational war-monger than accept the idea that he thinks he is doing the right thing.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
Consider the cost... (5.00 / 3) (#132)
by pla on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 10:08:29 PM EST

I do understand your point. I have no evidence, one way or the other. Just as bad of an argument ad ignorantial as Rumsfeld claiming that not finding weapons "proves" Saddam has hidden them.

However...

Consider this purely from a cost/benefit point of view.


Four possible scenarios exist, and for lack of information and the benefit of argument, I will call all four equally likely.

1) Saddam has nothing, we don't go to war. Obviously an "optimal" scenario, as the fewest people die, and Iraq slowly continues its recovery from over a decade of economic sanctions after Gulf War I. World opinion at worst remains neutral toward the US, and at best becomes slightly positive for our adherence to the UN's (non)findings.

2) Saddam has nothing (or never uses it), we go to war. I've seen estimates of approximately half a million deaths in Baghdad and 50,000 Americans, but the exact numbers don't matter. In this case, a given number of people die for what appears like a completely fatuous cause. World opinion toward the US becomes DRASTICALLY negative, possibly to the point of the UN / EU suggesting sanctions against the US for acting unilaterally in a war of aggression.

3) Saddam has WMDs, we go to war. If we go to war and Saddam has anything, he WILL use it. The death tally will include all the deaths from scenario #2, plus perhaps up to a half million Israelis and/or Americans (assuming one well placed nuke and a number of chemical/biological attacks). US world opinion becomes moderately positive (not "very" positive because a lot of countries, particularly smaller and non-nuclear-capable ones, don't believe in US hegemony in the first place).

4) Saddam has WMDs, we don't go to war (proactively). Saddam poisons/sickens/nukes Jerusalem at some point in the future, we end up going to war a few months later than we currently plan to. This has the same death toll as scenario #3, and world opinion makes the US out as the heroic knights-in-shining-armor come to save the day once again. Even France might lose the attitude for a few months.


Now, let's look at this from the perspective of war or no war (at least, no proactive war).

If we go to war against Iraq, at *least* the death toll of scenario #2 occurs. World opinion of the US ends up either slightly positive or drastically negative, depending on whether or not Saddam has WMDs.

If we do not go to war against Iraq, possibly *no one* dies, and at worst the death toll equals that of going to war. World opinion of the US can either end up neutral or mildly positive, to very positive.


Overall, in every measurable way, going to war against Iraq without some proof of the variety of accusations the US has made against Saddam results in the WORSE outcome of our two basic choices.


Although I consider Bush a megalomaniac, I don't *honestly* consider him stupid (or at least his advisors should manage to keep him up to speed). I would feel very surprised if he hadn't seen breakdowns very similar to what I just gave. So, in light of that, he *must* have alternative motivations in going to war with Iraq. Regardless of if you consider this a "good" war, the reasons we have heard do not add up to making a war the optimal course of action - quite the opposite. So, why do we *really* seem so eager to go to war?

Maybe it doesn't involve oil, or personal vendetta, or glory/popularity/warmongering. But it *DOES*, unquestionably, involve something that all the mere schmucks who will actually *suffer* as a result of war (whether fighting, funding, or dying), have no knowledge of.

For all I know, the "really really out there" theories about trying to recover a crashed UFO from Iraq could have it right. I highly doubt it, but the specifics don't matter. Bush has lied to us all, and under NO circumstances should we let him have his war until he comes clean and lets the world make an "honest" decision about the threat Iraq poses.


[ Parent ]
#1 is not possible (1.00 / 1) (#133)
by RyoCokey on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:16:00 AM EST

The inspectors detailed stores of chemical and biological weapons that haven't been accounted for now that they've returned. We know at the very least he possesses such weapons.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
heh like guar gum? (none / 0) (#134)
by sayke on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:26:25 AM EST

i'd like to see a list of exactly what hasn't been accounted for, and where iraq got it. i know that one of the things the inspectors hadn't accounted for was many tons of of guar gum, a pretty-damn-harmless substance which can be found in every high-school biology/ag-sci lab.

but nonetheless, powell cited its absence as if it represented some kind of dire threat. he's going to have to do a hell of a lot better then that!

same with the "high-strength aluminum tubes", which have since been debunked soundly. when i see innoculous items like this being held up as clear and present dangers, calling bullshit is the only reasonable way to respond.

and, of course, the obvious germany-poland-US-iraq analogies come to mind...


sayke, v2.3.1 /* i am the middle finger of the invisible hand */
[ Parent ]

Here's a list (none / 0) (#139)
by RyoCokey on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:53:21 PM EST

Link is here.

100 Tons of unshelled Chemical Weapons

550 Artillery shells full of mustard gas

6000 Chemical Bombs

Thousands of Liters of Anthrax

Here is an additional source if you don't care for the CIA one. Note that even if Iraq has not produced a single WMD since the 1998 inspections ceased, he still retains a considerable horde of them, which the current inspectors have been unable to find since the resumption of inspections.



Pacifism in this poor world in which we live -- this lost world -- means that we desert the people who need our greatest help.
-- Francis Schaeffer,
[ Parent ]
Your argument is cogent, but misses a link (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by afeldspar on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 11:03:59 AM EST

Your syllogism appears to be the following:

  1. The actual consequences of the imminent war with Iraq would not benefit the US economically or George W. Bush politically.
  2. George W. Bush is a rational actor who perceives the consequences of his actions realistically.
  3. Ergo, George W. Bush is not pushing for this war in the hopes that it will revive the economy and strengthen his political standing.

You support premise 1 quite well indeed, but your conclusion depends also on premise 2, which is quite frankly the premise on which I would need a lot more convincing. Bush has consistently taken actions that are consistent with current far-right-wing wish lists and incompatible with the Constitution; this is akin to chopping down a two-hundred-year-old fruit tree to insure that trespassers can't snitch off a few of this year's apples. That does not strike me as someone who must be conducting this war for proportionate and sane reasons, rather than out of wishful thinking.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.

[Troll] [Ad Hominem] [Meta-discussion]: GRRRR! (none / 0) (#119)
by dikaiopolis on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 01:35:03 PM EST

Lord Snott and ZorbaTHut made this point already, why not go elaborate on their posts instead of making your own, or did you read them yet?
gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]
How joyful (none / 0) (#135)
by afeldspar on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:51:56 AM EST

Yes, you've got me. You see, I work a job that requires a lot of commuting. For every three hours I spend actually working and getting paid, I spend a fourth just in travel. This doesn't leave me with a lot of free time, which is why my participation in k5 has become sporadic.

So yes, you've caught me dead to rights. I believed I had a response to the original article that might in some small way be a contribution to the discussion, and I did not read through every response that had been posted before mine to make sure that it did not duplicate what someone else had already said.

I guess the lesson here is that kuro5hin.org only belongs to two kinds of people: the people who have lots of free time and can afford to check every single response to an article to see whether their point has been made, and trolls, who don't give a damn how much they repeat themselves and aren't of course worried about anyone else.

There was a time when someone making a cogent point in their own words was welcome here, even if their point reiterated what someone else had already said. But, I guess those days are gone. Bye, K5.


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.
[ Parent ]

[meta] I'm really sorry, man... (none / 0) (#145)
by dikaiopolis on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:06:41 PM EST

I appologise for my tone, I'm sorry I offended you -- I suppose it was obvious that it would be offensive, but that's not really what I intended (I'm an asshole by nature though, and sometimes it shows). I'm really very sorry, I want the criticism to be constructive at heart.

I think that if you hear me out though, you'll agree with my point, which is that I too, don't have that much time to read, and so I think that it's important to have what I do read being the kernel of what's to be said. Consider though, that perhaps the behavior of posting without reading all the posts for lack of time is a part of a self-propogating cycle, which makes the time it takes to read all the posts greater and greater, and forces more and more people to do the same thing, until the only discussion that happens is at the very top of the page.

I'm glad you posted though, I think you did state that point better than it had been stated before, and I suppose that people who don't have time to read all the comments still have things to say; I guess the art is in knowing whether what you're about to say has been said before even without knowing the comments, I guess, hence the sig:


gnoske seauton
[ Parent ]

bush/cheney benefit, the entire country pays.... (4.00 / 3) (#117)
by divinus on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 12:08:56 PM EST

I think the primarily overlooked concept in this article is that the executive and legislative leaders of the United States benefit personally from a war with Iraq, whereas they do not have to personally front the bill. (pun intended)

What is the personal cost to Bush, Cheney, et al., to initiate a war? Slight increase in taxes? What is the personal gain to their energy/oil companies and their companies involved in the military industrial complex? A lot more wealth than their gov't jobs pay in two more years.

See, its called using a 4 year term as an investment process, and its nothing new.



Proof? (none / 0) (#130)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 09:02:59 PM EST

Cheney & Bush (I think) divested of their energy company stocks before the election. So, how do they benefit?


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
Personally, sure. (5.00 / 1) (#143)
by divinus on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 05:14:55 PM EST

But their families and friends don't, and they're not required to stay out of the fields afterwards. Cheney stepped down from CEO of halliburton. You think if he throws the board wealth they won't take him back? Bush Sr. works for the Carlisle Group, and his family has extensive oil company ties. You think Jr. won't benefit from his family's wealth?

[ Parent ]
Playing the terror card. (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by illustro1a4 on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 12:42:05 PM EST

It seems that the US Govt loves to play the terror card any place it can. I recently came across this ad (for theantidrug.com) where they make a direct link between terrorism and marijuana.

Clearly it is their policy of prohibition that allows some of the revenues from the profit of this contraband to be funneled into illegal endeavors and not the plant itself. They know this but still try to link the two to further their "moral" war against a harmless plant.

Welcome to Amerika.

illustro
--
Get the facts about marijuana and the true cost of prohibition.

It's the War, Banana! (none / 0) (#152)
by k24anson on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 12:03:52 PM EST

After reading all the comments towards Stickerboy and his article, I can't believe no one thinks George et al. is doing it for a Republican ideological reason: that is, to prevent a nuclear terroristic expression from happening in the short or long term future. No Democratic Party member in office today would even let the thought enter the mind, much less publicly proclaim that there is actually such a real threat in the future. Democrats today don't have such lofty ideals such as protecting the basic infrastructure of the United States. George W. is doing war chants for oil, or political gain, or whatever . . . I'm not a graduate of any War College, but let me clue you guys in on something I see. Those are forts we're building over there. Like in the West in the early days of America. Fort Israel, Fort Qatar, Fort Afghanistan, etc., and George and those guys are going to make as sure as they can a nuclear, biological, or chemical terroristic expression doesn't happen even once. A year from now, or fifty years from now. Democrats don't think like this . . . ! And that, my fellow Americans, is the real deal. No matter what verbiage slanting the motives of this administration is from others, just watch the events unfold smoking this weed in your pipe. Whether it tastes good or not, be glad that God put George as President. Or else go find and talk to those who share a conspiracy theory or two, and enjoy.
KLH
NYC

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.
[ Parent ]

What to expect in the next few months (4.50 / 2) (#142)
by Spork on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:59:12 PM EST

In an interview with some minor Pentagon official, a very interesting point was brought up, which I think goes a long way to expaining the domestic economic consequences of the war.

The official was asked about the enormous cost of the invasion, estimated at about $200 Billion (if all goes according to plan). The response was that Iraq is different in this way from Afganistan, because though the Afghani people are "greatful" for their "liberation," they do not have the means to compensate the United States for this service.

Obviously, the implication was that the Iraqui people can pay for their own liberation. We know that post-Saddam Iraq will not be able to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars and pay back the US taxpayers who funded the invasion. It is clear how we expect to be paid back. So, as soon as a puppet puppet government is installed in Bagdad, look for the conversation to turn to compensating the USA for what will be called "liberation costs." The form of this compensation will be: for X-many years, US oil tankers will be able to fill up at the Port of Basra for free. Of course, Blair's loyalty will be rewarded by extending this deal to British Petroleum, so expect to see some BP tankers in the gulf, too.

In the next phase, the devestating bombardment of Iraq will begin to be repaired. These will be called "reconstruction costs" which will also be paid with oil. Of course, the puppet government will decree that Iraqui reconstruction contracts can only go to giant US and British contractors.

All of this will "make sense" to the world, at least as much as the war itself "makes sense." What every person on earth expects is that the USA will just fly in guns blazing and then, despotically, run off with oceans of oil. Well, the scenario I described comes to exactly this effect. Basically, the overwhelming majority of future Iraqui-produced oil will be sold by US oil companies. However, "liberation costs" and "reconstruction costs" rhetoric will make the whole robbery look like justice had been served--at least enough so that world protest won't gather sufficient momentum.

First, the domestic political consequences will be this: Bush will go on TV and say that not only have the greatful Iraqui people been liberated, but they are so greatful they are paying us back for our trouble. When they're done, US costs of the war will be recouped. So, Bush will say, we lost nothing, and done great justice at the same time. I imagine this will sell well to the US public.

Another consequence will be the silencing of the fairly strong anti-war movement in the US, along with increased boldness to try to solve other "leadership problems" in the world with military means.

However, the economic reality of the upcoming war will be quite different. Consider that the $200B to fund the invasion was paid to the Pentagon by taxpayers. Will the "liberation compensation" be returned to the taxpayers? Well, that will seem hard to do, because all the payments will be made in oil and not cash. Obviously, taxpayers will not be given barrels of oil. The US oil companies will collect that oil. They will refine it--and they will sell it. Bush will declare that the books have been balanced, when in fact, what will have occured is a gigantic transfer payment: Two hundred billion Dollars will have been transfered from US taxpayers to US oil companies. Pause for a second to think about this. When you do, you'll realize that this is Bush and Cheney's wet dream. They're both oil men; oil companies made them what they are, and oil companies are expecting returns. This observation gets made everywhere, but it's worth thinking concretely how Bush will pull off his oil company compensation plan. Of course, it won't just be oil companies that profit. Every US mega-company which has been generous to the Republicans will get some contract or other in the "liberated" Iraq. They will need schools, sanitation, a telephone network, computers, kitchen appliances, cars, etc. The people who build and sell these things will be big winners, and they are the very people whose money props up the Republican party. To create good feelings, Iraq will be allowed to sell some of their own oil (though most of it will go to the US), but this will be under the proviso that revenue must be spent in payments to US contractors for "reconstruction costs." Obviously, the greater the devestation during the bombing, the larger the reconstruction contracts will be. Expect bombs to blow up anything that's moderately valuable, because war planners know that the contract for replacing it will go to a US firm.

In summary, the consequence of the war on Iraq will be that taxpayers will pay a huge bill, but US mega corporations, especially oil companies, will be on the gravy train. I say again: Bush and Cheney's wet dream is about to come true.

Of course, there are many other reasons why the administration wants this war. Some of them may be personal, others having to do with considerations of Israel. However, I'm pretty sure that this massive transfer payment from the people to the corporations carried the most weight. One might even say that it's a clever plan, because it looks like they'll get away with it. However, don't be fooled. Thousands of people will die; more will be crippled. A puppet regime will be installed by an invading power. Iraqui people will live in poverty. Ordinary Americans will be asked to pay for the war, and to die if there is a terrorist retaliation. We have nothing to gain and a lot to lose, but we will love it anyway. This is what you should expect from the next few months.

Free money. (4.50 / 2) (#144)
by Noam Chompsky on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 07:28:25 PM EST

In summary, the consequence of the war on Iraq will be that taxpayers will pay a huge bill, but US mega corporations, especially oil companies, will be on the gravy train. I say again: Bush and Cheney's wet dream is about to come true.

Just how huge will it be, really?

If you drop a $100 bomb on my $100 house, then each of us is $100 poorer. If I refund your bomb, then I am short $200 and you are even. If you rebuild my house, then I am short $300 dollars and you are $100 richer. Yes, I have a new house, in return for which you have employment in a booming business bombing it.

War is expensive--a terrible economic policy. But the Gulf Wars are not wars, because only one side's house gets bombed.

--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

Not true for the first Gulf War (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by skim123 on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:45:18 PM EST

War is expensive--a terrible economic policy. But the Gulf Wars are not wars, because only one side's house gets bombed

I don't know how many Kuwaiti houses got bombed (if any), but Saddam definitely marched his troops into Kuwait. So there was a "war" of sorts. I grant you that in Desert Storm II, Bush's Revenge, that your statement holds merit.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Arms spending collapsed after 1945 (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by Eric Green on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 07:09:11 PM EST

Remember, we were flying B-29 bombers in Korea, 5 years after WWII ended, and at the start of the Korean conflict we were flying WWII-era propeller-based fighter planes off of WWII-era aircraft carriers. It wasn't until the start of the Korean Conflict that military spending picked up again.

You are correct that one thing that a lot of people feared was a resumption of the Great Depression. However, the Great Depression can be explained in terms of lack of liquidity as much as it can be explained by lack of production. That is, the means to produce consumer goods existed, but not the money to purchgse them. The exact opposite occurred after WWII -- the means to buy consumer goods existed, but not the means to produce them. The first thing that happened was that companies pulled their tooling out of storage. This killed some companies, such as Packard, whose tooling for 1942 models had been tossed out into the rain and was useless, thus resulting in them having to resurrect worn out 1930's tooling and produce cars with that. But for companies that had been giving the opportunity to preserve their tooling, they found a market eager to buy. And whenever there's a market eager to buy, someone's going to produce to fill that market.

The next thing that happened was that the government basically gave away the industrial infrastructure that had been built for the war. This wasn't a big deal for the most part. Most of the war-time tooling was useless for producing consumer goods, though the steel refining capacity was certainly usefull. However, the factory buildings themselves were not useless. A good factory building is worth a few million dollars in today's dollars.

The problem of unemployment was solved via the GI Bill. People who had been farmers before the war ended up going to college and becoming engineers and scientists. Also, the U.S. was the only nation that had its industrial infrastructure largely intact in the wake of WWII. Combined with printing and shipping large numbers of dollars overseas for U.S. aid programs such as the Marshall Plan, this gave U.S. industries many more markets than they'd had prior to WWII, thus soaking up remaining unemployment and jump-starting the economy.

All in all, the U.S. economic recovery after WWII was jump-started by the liquidity caused by printing money. This allowed U.S. industrial capacity to rev up to full steam rather than sit idle because nobody had cash to buy stuff. This example of prosperity caused by printing money later led to serious consequences when future presidents (LBJ and Richard Nixon in particular) tried to do the same in hopes of jump-starting the economy. The problem is that the liquidity after WWII was needed to soak up all that industrial capacity. But once industrial capacity is running full steam, more money in the money supply means inflation, not more production of goods and services.
--
You are feeling sleepy... you are feeling verrry sleepy...

The Iraqi War (5.00 / 1) (#151)
by k24anson on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 11:54:07 AM EST

After reading all the comments towards Stickerboy and his article, I can't believe no one thinks George et al. is doing it for a Republican ideological reason: that is, to prevent a nuclear terroristic expression from happening in the short or long term future. No Democratic Party member in office today would even let the thought enter the mind, much less publicly proclaim that there is actually such a real threat in the future. Democrats today don't have such lofty ideals such as protecting the basic infrastructure of the United States. George W. is doing war chants for oil, or political gain, or whatever . . . I'm not a graduate of any War College, but let me clue you guys in on something I see. Those are forts we're building over there. Like in the West in the early days of America. Fort Israel, Fort Qatar, Fort Afghanistan, etc., and George and those guys are going to make as sure as they can a nuclear, biological, or chemical terroristic expression doesn't happen even once. A year from now, or fifty years from now. Democrats don't think like this . . . ! And that, my fellow Americans, is the real deal. No matter what verbiage slanting the motives of this administration is from others, just watch the events unfold smoking this weed in your pipe. Whether it tastes good or not, be glad that God put George as President. Or else go find and talk to those who share a conspiracy theory or two, and enjoy.
KLH
NYC

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.

God didn't put George Jr. as President (3.00 / 2) (#155)
by melior on Tue Feb 18, 2003 at 11:21:56 PM EST

Five members of SCOTUS did.

- That's OK, I wasn't really using all of my Constitutional rights anyway...
[ Parent ]

Motives for War (none / 0) (#154)
by OldCoder on Tue Feb 18, 2003 at 02:25:35 AM EST

Politicians were frightened by the blame game that started after September 11th. It got toned down to a criticism of the FBI and CIA for not cooperating, because both Democrats and Republicans were vulnerable.

If a second big attack happens, who gets blamed? George Bush, that's who! And if there is a third? George again. Now, what would the attitude of the Democrats be? (Hint -- the Republicans impeached Clinton for personal stuff). Well, the Democrats would just love to impeach Bush. That's why the Democrats took a pro-war stance on Iraq before the elections. Now that the Dems are in a position to skewer Bush if there's an attack, they need to move into position to roust him if the war goes badly, so they're shifting into the left lane, and also gathering support from the anti-war side.

The Bushies have done about as much as can be done to the Taliban and al-Queda, so they look around for possible sources of WMD to al-Queda (or to any other Terrorist group). And what do they find? Tons of nerve gas and germ warfare agents that Iraq has already admitted to having, and that still haven't turned up in 11 years. Well, George knows what to do...

It's about the election. And about not being impeached.

Go ahead, read this signature

never read such a cynical assessment (none / 0) (#156)
by mami on Wed Feb 19, 2003 at 07:20:59 AM EST

and I would hope you are wrong.

[ Parent ]
I this also about elections and impeachment? (none / 0) (#157)
by mami on Wed Feb 19, 2003 at 07:33:02 AM EST

or just leftist propaganda ?

[ Parent ]
Cynical ? (none / 0) (#158)
by OldCoder on Wed Feb 26, 2003 at 08:30:56 AM EST

Being accused of being the most cynical person on kuro5hin is quite surprising and must be some sort of honor, I guess. Anyway, I feel special today, thanks to you.

In reality, I was trying to counter some of the wilder ideas of the radical fringe about why this campaign against Iraq is being waged, and it seemed to me that the more cynical I made it appear, and the more self-serving I made George Bush appear, the more palatable the ideas would be. I'm just trying to get a fair hearing.

I was also kind of amazed that nobody else saw (or pointed out) that by campaigning against Iraq, the Bush administration is covering its butt against the criticism that was sure to storm up if another terrorist attack against the US is successful. If that's not obvious, then nothing is obvious. Apparently, nothing is obvious.

In truth, I'm just pointing out the normal political survival thinking that I think must be going on. It's hard to be elected without being a politician, and by this I mean thinking about staying in office effects every single decision a politician makes. It may be that the politician decides that the time has arrived for courage, and let the polls be damned, or that a flip-flop is needed to stay on top, but either way, the political calculations have to be made.

And my point about losing office if another few attacks are made, is simply to point out that in a democracy, even the most selfish politician has to look out for the constituents now and again.

Am I idealistic enough for you now?

Go ahead, read this signature

[ Parent ]
Re: Am I idealistic enough for you now? (none / 0) (#159)
by mami on Thu Feb 27, 2003 at 09:25:19 AM EST

No, just mixed up.

... And my point about losing office if another few attacks are made ...

is not really a good point. The guys, who are fast to blame anybody for anything in hindsight (paid political spin doctors involved in "brave wars of words of hate" and shy of taking any responsibility), are the most unimportant figures in real life anyway. They might have the biggest mouth, but in case of war, big mouths lose big time in the end. They always do, mostly after a couple of hundred thousands have died, because they were hooked to the story tellers.

There will come a day, where the stupidity of partisan Republican and Democrat warfare of words will end.

The day comes, when the war might end up achieving the opposite from what it was intended to achieve. President Bush laid out the goals he wants the war to achieve. Very well meant and good goals. I don't blame him at all for trying and believing in them and calling others to do their duty to fulfill his vision. I just hope he has thought enough about the probability of achieving them with success on the long run.

With regards to your line of thoughts about a further attack on the US, I think the opposite might be more likely.

President Bush will lose office, if no further attacks are made on the US, because it would show that he exaggerated the danger the Iraq poses to the US and will make the war look like more unnecessary than it does already to "a couple of people". Another attack on the US would prove the President more right, not less right.

If the war gets dirty, and chances are it will, people will ask how the US ended up creating such a mess. The next question will be: What for?

And the answer is not clear: You could say, in case there were no further attacks on the US, that the mess was unjustified, in case there are more attacks on the US, you could say, what's the whole war good for, if it can't even prevent other terrorist attacks. So, you are damned in either case and you point does seem to lose its importance.

The President laid out his vision in yesterday night's speech in front of the AEI. I heard the speech in full this morning again. It's a nice speech. It makes you feel good.

It just is very unlikely to be more than well-meant fairy tale to convince the soldiers that they are doing the "right thing".

If the road map to democratization and liberation of the whole region the President is willing to lay out (and as of now has not worked out in any detail) and committed to travel on, leads to more chaos and instability without gaining freedom and security in other regions of the world than the US homeland, his war efforts will even look worse.

If the US homeland will not be attacked again remains relatively safe, but all other regions in the world fall in economic chaos, political instability and suffer more terrorist activities among their civilian populations, it's hard to see in the President's vision more than a day dream of someone, who has lost his connection with reality.

I agree that sometimes a politician has to listen to his constituents. Right, he should do that, and not listen to radio talkshow hosts, who spam the airs with their professionally crafted rhetoric of irrelevant outdated ideological arguments. I agree with you completely on that one.



[ Parent ]

War, the Economy, and Domestic Politics | 159 comments (154 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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