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From 9/11 to Iraq: The Casualties of War Drums

By riddermark in Op-Ed
Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 03:48:37 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I have been resisting the urge to comment on world events as of late because of the utter futility of comment. I can whine and bitch and moan about what is wrong but this will do little good. I admire those out there organizing peace marches and protests (as well as those fervently supporting the president through so-called "counter protests"). There is no futility in such actions. But now I feel I must submit my opinion, if only as a release.


John Brady Kiesling, a former US diplomat in Athens, submitted his resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell:
The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo? [NY Times, 2/27]
I remember the morning of 9/11, as most people do. I was up all night studying for a test and flipped on CNN before heading to class. They were speculating about what "small aircraft" might have hit one of the twin towers. I called up my cousin in New York. He was at work and had no idea what just happened. He flipped on CNN and we both speculated on the cause as we watched a gaping hole stare back. When the second plane hit, we were both speachless. It was clear this was a coordinated terrorist act.

I also remember talking to people at work about how the attack basically saved Bush's presidency. That may sound like a very cynical think to say, but I feel it is very true. Shortly after his approval ratings soared to record levels as the population went into a perfectly natural self defense mode. It is very human to react defensively and seek support from the governing structure. I am reminded of a quote from Hermann Goering, Hitler's second in command.

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. [Nuremberg Diary (Farrar, Straus & Co 1947), Gustave Gilbert]
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, the administration has exploited this sociological truism. This is not to compare Bush to Hitler; far from it. However, we should honestly look at what has transpired under the guise of an open ended "war on terror." The US Patriot act was passed without much of a fight, shredding civil liberties in the process. Benjamin Franklin once famously said: "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." How he must be spinning in his grave right now. People labeled "enemy combatants" are jailed indefinately, without access to the judicial system. The executive branch has become judge, jury, and executioner in such matters. People designated as such may be assassinated by the CIA, whether or not the person is a US citizen, irrespective of the foreign country they reside in, and regardless of possible innocent casualties. Nevermind that this violates international law.

And now we are adamant about ousting Saddam. That is an interesting story by itself. During the eighties we saw Iraq as a bulwark against the religious fundamentalism of Iran and supplied him with much of the weapons we now (rightfully) fret about. The CIA was instrumental in bringing the Baath party to power. Of course this was back when the Soviet Union was a "threat" and various proxy wars and insurrections were taking place all across the globe in the name of "democracy" over communism. As a result, we supported terrible dictators and Islamic fundamentalists all in the name of fighting communism. Nevermind that these regimes where often far worse than their communist counter-parts. We lived by the credo "my friend is the enemy of my enemy" and the Soviet Union was the enemy.

The administration is putting forth the proposition that it is defending the UN from irrelevance by putting teeth behind the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War. That is an interesting story in and of itself. The UN put economic sanctions on Iraq with the understanding they would be lifted after UN weapons inspectors verified the destruction of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. However, from the beginning, the United States insisted economic sanctions would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The inspections dragged on. With the US condition for the reversal of imposed sanctions, Hussein had no incentive to cooperate. Also, the inspection team was infiltrated by the CIA, and actively doing the CIA's bidding; thus, further reducing the willingness of Iraq to cooperate.

In 1995 Hussein Kamel, the former head of Iraq's weapons programs, defected from Iraq. After he was assured by Saddam that he would not be harmed if he returned home, he was promptly executed. Recently it has been revealed that he told weapons inspectors that Iraq had completely destroyed all such weapons while saving documents for their construction at a later time. This is an interesting little footnote to the story that is presently unfolding.

The administration is openly threatening to attack Iraq, even without the backing of the UN security council, in the name of defending the relevance of the UN. What makes this so funny, if this weren't so serious, is the gross contradiction in this statement. The opening sentence to the United Nations charter reads "we the people of the united nations [are] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind..." The very purpose of the UN is to prevent war. If we launch an attack against Iraq without exhausting diplomatic methods first, we will render the UN irrelevent. We have disregarded international law in the past, but never so openly and brazenly as we do now.

This is all done while shielding the public to the effects of war. As long as the war is portrayed as precision strikes without details of human suffering and innocent life being taken away, what little support there is for war remains protected. As we distance ourselves from the consequences of our actions, our empathy for other fellow beings falls by the wayside. As long as war is portrayed as a video game, reality is obscured.

The effects of the economic sanctions have been devastating. Basic medical equipment is banned from entering the country on the suspicion that it will be used for some other purpose. Our depleted uranium shells litter the country, causing cancer among the living and birth defects among the unborn. And now we are contemplating using a plan called "Shock and Awe" that has been compared by its originator to the effect of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Surgical strikes my ass. This will be a bloody afair. Many innocents will die as 800 cruise missiles rain down on Baghdad over the span of 48 hours. General Tommy Franks has expressed his disagreement with such a plan. Let's hope his wishes trump those of Donald Rumsfeld. But even this will not prevent a one-sided slaughter.

Recently Bush gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, where he outlined the benefits of Iraqi democracy. A democratic and free Iraq would be a wonderful thing. It would undermine the corrupt regimes that surround it. This is precisely why Saudi Arabia is fretting about US plans. The oil of Saudi Arabia has long been a way for the leaders to guarantee their survival against a critical public. With Iraq free and democratic, this will no longer hold true. During the Bush #41 presidency, this was proposed by Paul Wolfowitz, who now works under Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense. But imagining a free Iraq is quite different from actually implementing it. Would we be willing to stick around for ten years to see this take place? I seriously doubt it.

I'm not sure what the real aims of the administration are. Obviously they are not to protect the UN. Pretty much everyone in the administration other than Colin Powell dislikes consulting the UN. I don't believe they are strictly after the oil of Iraq, though I'm sure they see this as an added benefit. I think Bush sees Iraq as an unsolved problem left by his father that must be solved. Combine that with the aims of past presidents (including Clinton) to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein, with the present political climate after 9/11 that makes that feasible, and you have what we all see unfolding. The United Nations and our support among other countries are both sacrificed in the process.

I don't want to demonize president Bush. I just find the path our country is currently heading down troubling at best. Turkey has recently denied the US the ability to use Turkey as a launch pad for a northern assault, despite the usual bribe of economic aid and loan guarantees in the billions. Every permanent member of the security council other than the US and Britain has expressed opposition to war. Russia and France may very well use their veto powers towards this aim. And the poor countries who probably wish they didn't have seats on the council at this particular juncture are under tremendous pressure from the US to tow the US line. (Yemen had an aid package yanked after they voted against the Gulf War in '91.) In polls taken in Europe, people were asked what country poses the single greatest threat to peace. The United States ranks number one, above Iraq. This is very unfortunate, especially considering the enormous amount of support we had gathered just after 9/11. Oh how we have squandered the sympathy of others in our present drive towards war.

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From 9/11 to Iraq: The Casualties of War Drums | 113 comments (87 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
-1, no previous comments, no previous ratings. (2.06 / 15) (#7)
by gordonjcp on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 06:23:54 AM EST

At least participate a little bit before posting longwinded ranty bollocks like this.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


Why? (4.50 / 4) (#8)
by pb on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 06:38:15 AM EST

Does participation somehow make people's long-winded, ranty bollocks more palatable to you?
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Would you... (3.00 / 5) (#9)
by gordonjcp on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 06:46:00 AM EST

... move to a new place, where there was a strong sense of community, then start firing off half-assed letters to the local paper?

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
So what? (5.00 / 5) (#12)
by jup on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 08:36:23 AM EST

If the letters weren't good enough, the paper wouldn't publish them anyway. Same here.

I don't give a damn if a poster is known to me or not, as long as that person has something to say. If I want to discuss my opinion with people who I know well, I head to the nearest pub with my friends. This, however, is Kuro5hin, and it's value is that everybody has the right to express his opinion in the way they see fit.

Not everybody likes to comment on every little thing flying around, there are actually people who are better at writing long stories and maybe even don't have time to spend hours around here to read and rate hundreds of comments per day. Should this be reason to disscriminate against them?

Or maybe, as a relative newcomer, I am missing something here. Is here some kind of elite that has more rights to publish stories than normal mere mortals? Does this have something to do with mysterious K5 Kabal?
--
Two beers or not two beers. That's the question.
[ Parent ]

There is no K5 Cabal. (none / 0) (#24)
by jt on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 06:34:51 PM EST

C'mon, you should know that by now, what is wrong with you?

[ Parent ]
heh. (4.80 / 5) (#14)
by pb on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 08:47:35 AM EST

No, if I wrote any letters to the local paper, I hope they'd be better than that.  But that's what should be the issue here--the quality of the letters, not the fact that I just moved there.

But that's neither here nor there, as kuro5hin doesn't have a strong sense of community.  If it did, then maybe you'd show some support for your new member here...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Absolutely, yes (2.75 / 4) (#11)
by Rogerborg on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 07:56:16 AM EST

Read it. "I think this, I think that, I think whatever." But who the hell is he, and why should we care what he in particular has to think? A culture or politics or science piece is different, but for an OpEd, I want to know who's giving the opinion.

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

hmm... (5.00 / 4) (#13)
by pb on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 08:45:44 AM EST

Perhaps you could evaluate his opinions yourself, and make a decision as to the merit of his claims?

I could create a new account, post the same article, and add something at the bottom about my 'qualifications', perhaps linking to other information about me.  And it could be completely false, as it was for Robert X. Cringely.

But would that change the quality of my article?
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Very incisive (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by Rogerborg on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:39:01 AM EST

For any section than OpEd.  Tell you what, I'll admit that you've won a moral victory.

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

History (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by theantix on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 04:41:14 PM EST

Have you considered that perhaps some people want to write articles that can't be associated with their regular accounts?  For example, my "normal" account can be traced to my real identity quite easily.  What if I write a rant that I don't want traced to my name, email address, etc?  Rusty has disabled the anonymous coward functionality of scoop, so starting a new account is often the only recourse for people in a situation like I was just describing.  Oh and FYI this is not hypothetical: you've written the same thing for my articles in the past, and I've got quite a comment and story history here.

---
"rusty was just a troll account I used for a while after I got tired with Slashdot. Since then I've given it to some homeless guy in Maine.[ Parent ]
and, article is a duplicate of current FP (4.00 / 2) (#34)
by infinitera on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:50:58 AM EST

The other article quoting Kiesling posted faster than this rant; it's redundant now.

[ Parent ]
It was submitted before the other. Ah well. (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by riddermark on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 12:34:37 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Nonsense... (none / 0) (#96)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:36:43 PM EST

The merit of the article stands separate from it's author. It's an opinion piece so there's no issue of credibility and so no need to be concerned about the author's history or lack thereof.

[ Parent ]
NYTimes article access (4.80 / 5) (#23)
by jt on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 06:29:11 PM EST

login: k5users
pass: kuro5hin

Silly (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:34:09 AM EST

If the New York Times is willing to provide all this valuable online information for free, why not share your email address and name with them?

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
Because I never remember my username/password (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by arcade on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:02:01 AM EST

And I hop from machine to machine quite a lot. I don't want to choose something I use elsewhere, and I quite simply cannot remember what my last nytimes-registration was.

Thus, I just guess combinations, usually it works within a few tries. :-)



--
arcade
[ Parent ]
Okay -- not silly (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:31:35 AM EST

I won't say what it is, except to hint that a notepad, a pen, and good nights sleep all might do wonders...

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
+1FP - quotes UN charter (4.71 / 7) (#25)
by arthurpsmith on Sun Mar 02, 2003 at 08:59:22 PM EST

When discussing security council deliberations, it's a very good idea to keep in mind the ultimate purpose of the UN:
The opening sentence to the United Nations charter reads "we the people of the united nations [are] determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind..." The very purpose of the UN is to prevent war

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


Remember the UN was a product of WWII. (3.50 / 6) (#30)
by Demiurge on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:44:50 AM EST

And remember why World War II happened. Because Europe was unwilling to stop Hitler early. They forsook the option of waging war, so Hitler brought the war to them on his terms.

[ Parent ]
you might want to (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by vivelame on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:01:03 AM EST

remember your WW2 history better. UK and France *declared* war on Germany in 1939, just after the invasion of Poland by Germany.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
They should have done it in 1938... (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Sabbac on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:10:52 PM EST

When Hitler invaded Austria and Sudetenland.

Or earlier in '39 when Hitler invaded Böhmen and Mähren.

Quick WW2 Timeline

[ Parent ]

Not that straightforward (none / 0) (#72)
by xria on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:06:27 AM EST

Unless you dont believe in democracy (even if somewhat coerced) then calling for an war on Germany after the annexation of Austria can hardly be reasonable. After that, well I guess you can look at the current reluctance to a war to see why such a series of actions was taken. When the actions of a country arent an immediate threat to you, politicians have a very difficult time persuading people that a war is necessary. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and I dont doubt in 50 years time people will either be saying 'Its obvious we should have gone to war then to stop Saddam', or 'Its obvious going to war with Saddam only caused things to get worse' or whatever.

[ Parent ]
You're right. (5.00 / 5) (#47)
by sllort on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 12:11:51 PM EST

Appeasment is not the answer. If the world gives America Iraq, what next will be claimed in the name of lebensraum?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Much of the world is afraid of risk (2.42 / 7) (#52)
by StrifeZ on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:47:02 PM EST

Why, North Korea of course. The world lived in a self delusional "comfort" zone since the end of the cold war: one that really didnt exist, it was merely ignorance and denial in the face of the gathering storm of terrorism and weapons proliferation. From this very nice, chummy period, we got September 11th. To many americans, it seems that the Europeans have their heads in the clouds and want to return to this period of denial. This underscores the biggest difference between Americans and Europeans. Americans learn from their mistakes. Europeans have been comitting the same ones since the middle ages.

The reason so many Americans support Bush and his wars is because most americans realize we cannot truly return to an era of true peace unless we deal with these threats now, while they are weaker, rather than procrastinate and do it when they are stronger.

Since so much of the rest of the world is paralyzed in fear, it is up to the US, once again to take the iniative and shatter a status quo that the world will regret one day if it goes un-answered. If we leave Saddam alone, he will not disarm. If we leave Saddam in power, he will not disarm forever. There was just an outbreak of Ebola in Congo. What is to stop an Iraqi agent from slipping out through Syria, going to Africa and getting a live sample of the virus. He could do it in future outbreaks, and it is suspected hes done it in past outbreaks. He is known to have a weapon known as "Blue Nile". What Blue Nile exactly is is anyones guess, but a few years ago, there was an outbreak of Ebola on the banks of... you guessed it, the Blue Nile.

So now we are going to war, and in the face of an almost laughable threat from Iraq, NATO has fractured proving to be a fairly worthless alliance, and the UN has demonstrated how useless it is by making little France act like a superpower.

Theres been a lot of talk about so called "Pax Americana" growing since the end of the Cold War. In truth, I believe that the war to truly form "Pax Americana" started in Afghanistan and will end in Iran. Along the way we will vist Iraq, North Korea, the Phillipeans, Libya, Colombia, Yemen ,maybe even Somolia in different capacities in an attempt to fight for what Americans believe in and protect our nation and our interests.

If the rest of the world is too afraid of consequence and too afraid of risk, perhaps we are better off without them. There is a motto for the British SAS (basically an American unit): Those who dare, win. The United States, since World War I (and more so since World War II) has been "daring" and now we are the super power. Not by default, but by working at it and by example. Our status was forged from inginuity, intelligence, blood, and sweat. The world would be wise to follow our lead. We are right more often than not.

We're going to do it anyway, and there is nothing on earth that can do anything about.

Might as well root for the real winning team.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
I see. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by sllort on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:41:07 PM EST

Too much sugar in the Fruit Loops today?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
How did you know I ate Fruit Loops today? (none / 0) (#63)
by khilghard on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:39:43 PM EST


"God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the Decembers of our lives." -James Barrie

[ Parent ]

We'll stop him! (none / 0) (#109)
by roystgnr on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 12:35:50 PM EST

What is to stop an Iraqi agent from slipping out through Syria, going to Africa and getting a live sample of the virus.

Why, after Saddam is out of power, there won't be any Iraqis mad at us, so none of them would even think of trying to hurt the United States this way, right?

But sarcasm aside, do you think that the post-Gulf War II Iraq will be less resentful toward the US, or that we'll be keeping them under such tight scrutiny that a terrorist agent would be prevented from "slipping out through Syria"?

[ Parent ]

You're right (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by broken77 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:50:17 PM EST

Except, Saddam is not Hitler, Iraq is not pre-WWII Germany, and, well, the entire situation is like comparing mushrooms and satellites. Let's get over the Saddam-Hitler comparisons already, they don't stack up.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Great point... (none / 0) (#49)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:24:04 PM EST

...peace following a long war is almost as popular as war following a long peace.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

You Need to Know More (4.27 / 22) (#36)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 08:26:37 AM EST

I started reading k5 more regularly in the hope of finding a pretty good argument against the war, just in case the administration and the media haven't got their head on straight. I haven't really found what I was looking for.

This article, for example, has a lot of weaknesses. Some of these are not obvious.

The Bush administration is clearly not showing all its cards on the Iraq issue. Legally, they don't need to, because Bush is a constitutionally elected president, and the Congress has given Bush all the war powers he needs. Any persuasion needed for individual countries can be done in private, without sharing intelligence with al-Queda or Iraq. George W Bush is under no obligation to explain himself publicly.

This puts the antiwar movement in a very difficult position. It has to find out the "real" reasons for war, if they are different from the public reasons, and whatever the reason, show that these reasons are invalid. Normally, when one is considering war, the thinking goes, the overriding benefits of peace are so overwhelming that anyone proposing a war needs to make a very good argument indeed to justify such a violent, dangerous, unpredictable and outrageous course of action. Peace, of course, is assumed. The antiwar movement has been operating as if the assumption of peace were still in effect. The political reality is different. Not only is George W Bush provided with all the political and military power he needs, he has high ratings in US polls. European polls, of course, are a different matter.

"Sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest"
This Kiesling quote is especially weak. It assumes everything it ought to be trying to prove. Kiesling seems to think that the campaign against Iraq is being waged for domestic electoral benefit. The timing is wrong for this, the war is too early, and the results of a major war are too uncertain, for this to be believed without further evidence. The rally around the President phenomenon isn't likely to last until election day, and war without end for the whole rest of the term obviously just isn't going to cut it with the American people. It's obvious to me, is it obvious to you? The bit about bureaucratic self interest is puzzling. George W Bush is already President, does Kiesling think he is looking for a promotion?

Now, of course, there is one electoral connection we can think of. If there are a couple of more terrorist attacks against the US, George W Bush could become terribly unpopular, and be de-elected. The antiwar movement squarely refuses to address these possibilities.

Kiesling, and others, have argued that the "real purpose", or objective effect, of the war is to increase the military budget and reduce American liberties. Now how does anybody in or out of the administration benefit from that? Am I to believe that they all invested in Boeing and now are trying to raise the stock price? Do they get a thrill from wiretapping? It's not at all clear what kind of argument is being made here. Wouldn't a popularity-seeking president prefer to lower the annual deficit or introduce a better health care plan?

By the way, I was very skeptical of the US Patriot Act, but must acknowledge the Republic still stands, and the wrongs being done may eventually be undone. I am not learned enough about the next step, the "Enhanced" security bill, but I am even more skeptical.

We Supplied Saddam with Weapons
If you want to find the politicians who did this, and punish them, fine, go do that. Othewise, what's the relevance? One could argue that the US was trying very hard to be friends with Saddam Hussein but he just would not be friends. One could argue that the US, occupied with Iran, was conned by Iraq. One could use this history to argue lots of things, but not that Saddam Hussein should be allowed to keep his WMDs. Why does the antiwar movement think it is making points with this one?

Defending the UN From Irrelevance
For those of you who haven't figured it out, this administration argument is directed to those who believe very strongly in the UN, including the UN delegates whose careers are lifted as the importance of the UN is lifted.

"United States insisted sanctions would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed"
This is a problem. A smart or peace-loving Iraqi leader would have gotten rid of the WMDs under UN auspices and then turned around and said "Okay -- what are the sanctions for?". Believing, correctly, that Saddam Hussein only responds to threats, the UN and the UK put the pressure on him. But there wouldn't have been any support in the UN for sanctions if the only issue left were the name of the Iraqi leader. This might be a criticism of the US and the UK, but so what? It doesn't argue that Saddam Hussein should be allowed to keep his weapons or that a non-forceful method exists to disarm him. It's an irrelevant criticism.

Invading Without UN Authority Makes the UN Irrelevant
(I am putting my responses in the sequence of the article)
This is an argument for waiting for UN authorization, which would be very beneficial, and I support that. This is not an argument why the Security Council should refrain from war. It is an argument in favor of the US waiting a little while, but if France is going to veto, then why wait? This argument puts as much pressure on France and Russia as it does on the US. "Diplomatic methods" have been exhausted for a long, long, time. Resolution 687 was passed in 1991. According to riddermark, I suppose, diplomatic methods won't be exhausted until the next ice age.

Economic sanctions .. one sided slaughter
Sanctions are nasty and war is worse. Very true. What the heck are you suggesting? Just leave Iraq to it's own devices, and wait until Saddam has both nukes and poison gas on intermediate range missles? If you think this is peace, convince me. Sounds like a big nasty war to me. Show me where I'm wrong. Is this anything but a misleading appeal to emotion?

"I'm not sure what the real aims of the administration are"
This is the biggest weakness of the antiwar movement. Until you can come up with an alternative credible reason for the administrations position, your arguments fall flat. I suggest you start by showing how you can disarm Saddam Hussein without war. If you can, I'm all for it. If you can't think of a reason for George W Bush to support the war, how about a reason for the rest of us who support the war? Do you think we're going to profit? Hate Muslims, what?



--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
*you* need to know more. (3.64 / 17) (#41)
by vivelame on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:51:00 AM EST

Indeed, Bush is the elected president of the US of A, and he doesn't have to justify anything he does in front of his Country, it seems.
Does that mean that the rest of the world does have to follow blindly? I don't remember having an option to vote for the US prez election, maybe because i'm not american and i don't live here. So, if Bush want the support from the rest of the world, he'd better say what it is really about, because a lot of ppl aren't buying the heavy bullshitting going on.
Then, there is the:
"United States insisted sanctions would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed" This is a problem. A smart or peace-loving Iraqi leader would have gotten rid of the WMDs under UN auspices and then turned around and said "Okay -- what are the sanctions for?". Believing, correctly, that Saddam Hussein only responds to threats, the UN and the UK put the pressure on him. But there wouldn't have been any support in the UN for sanctions if the only issue left were the name of the Iraqi leader. This might be a criticism of the US and the UK, but so what? It doesn't argue that Saddam Hussein should be allowed to keep his weapons or that a non-forceful method exists to disarm him. It's an irrelevant criticism.
Well... the fact is, when you ask someone to put his weapon on the ground, he's far less likely to do so (unless he's *really stupid*) when you keep telling him that whether he does it or not, you'll shoot him dead. Astonishingly, this doesn't work very well.. May we call that another example of America's "Texas Diplamocy(tm)"?
Next, le'ts take on the
Invading Without UN Authority Makes the UN Irrelevant (I am putting my responses in the sequence of the article) This is an argument for waiting for UN authorization, which would be very beneficial, and I support that. This is not an argument why the Security Council should refrain from war. It is an argument in favor of the US waiting a little while, but if France is going to veto, then why wait? This argument puts as much pressure on France and Russia as it does on the US. "Diplomatic methods" have been exhausted for a long, long, time. Resolution 687 was passed in 1991. According to riddermark, I suppose, diplomatic methods won't be exhausted until the next ice age
part. "If France is going to veto, why bother with the UN?". Thanks for that great insight.. do you mean that when the US of A use 10 times their veto during the last 12 years, the UN is relevant, but if France dares to think about using it once in the same timeframe, the UN is irrelevant and should be disregarded? Let's put it in a simpler form: "The UN is relevant as long as it's the US of A's pet. God forbid that they ever disagree, that would mean they're irrelevant!"....
As of
Just leave Iraq to it's own devices, and wait until Saddam has both nukes and poison gas on intermediate range missles?
, yet another FUD attempt... Where are the nukes? where is the nuclear research program? where is the poison gas? If you have son insights on where those can be found, maybe you could give a call to the UN inspectors, i'm sure they'd be really happy to know.. Oh, i forgot, the CIA already tiped them off, and they found 2 food testing trucks... Wow, i felt threathened, i hope they destryed the trucks!


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Response to riddermark and vivelame (4.60 / 5) (#50)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 04:28:13 PM EST

Let me see if I can bring us together somewhat, in responding to the points of riddermark and vivelame.

Irrelevancy
Firstly, on the issue of the "Irrelevancy" of the UN. I personally never thought this was a good argument for the administration to make. I just sort of figured there was a reason for it, that perhaps the administration knew that this issue was very important to some of the other countries, even if it wasn't as important to the Bushies. Riddermark pointing out the obvious contradiction in the US going it alone is, to me, just shifting the blame back on to the US. But the issue isn't really the relevance of the UN, and the administration pushes the blame back the other way. If you're worried about terrorism and WMDs, blame for tarnishing the prestige of the UN is not important.

Some of the assumptions and underlying beliefs are different between us, so let me go over that. Saddam Hussein (SH) is a very dangerous man. He uses every weapon he can get his hands on, gas, rockets, whatever. Tools that to other nations are bargaining chips to be used for defense or whatever (like North Korea, asking for a whole basket of things) are, for Saddam Hussein, weapons to be used. Let me repeat that, weapons to be used, on people. Much has been made of the fact that SH is "Evil". Lots of people are evil. The campaign against SH is not to punish him for his sins, while leaving other evil dictators unpunished. A small list relevant to our case will help me explain:

  1. Invading Iran and using poison gas on unprotected, barely armed Iranian "Army".
  2. War against the Kurds and using poison gas.
  3. Invading Kuwait.
  4. Launching missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia.
  5. Refusing to destroy chemical and biological weapons.
  6. An assortment of domestic felonies, including the bloody purge of the Ba'ath party.
  7. Encouraging Palestinian terrorism.
The purpose of this list is just to help clarify what we think SH will do with WMDs. It answers the question, if he has them, will he use them. Or are they just to impress?

On who? The top choices are Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia coming in third. The Iraqi position on Israel is quite clear, in one TV broadcast in October 2000, he offered, to join the then-new second intifada with Iraqi troops, saying "Give us a small adjacent piece of land" and we will fight... The whole quote is on this translation site. Given that he also pays families of suicide bombers, his working relations with the Palestinian terrorist groups are close. The only thing that has been holding SH back from further warfare against somebody has been the presence of the US and UK military and the sanctions. I really don't see how anyone can doubt this.

Would Saddam Hussein Attack the US?
This C-SPAN site has a video of President Clinton describing the compelling evidence of the attempt to assassinate George H. W. Bush (Senior) on his trip to Kuwait. How much closer do you want him to get before we do something about it?

Does SH have WMDs ?
Well, in 1991 Security Council Resolution 687 says he did. If you want to study the information that the UN Security Council used to come to this decision, and try to refute it, go ahead. But be aware that even France and Russia aren't claiming that SH doesn't have WMDs. And we know SH was working on nuclear weapons, when he could. This information at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is more thorough. Be aware that the BAS has been an anti governmental organization in the US for many, many decades.

People ask, what is the issue, is it Human Rights, is it Democracy in the Middle East, is it the al-Queda connection, is it the Weapons? Well, I think the diplomacy tells the tale. The issue being negotiated in the Security Council is weapons. Recently, the Security Council passed Resolution 1141 which just re-inforced resolution 687, which talks about nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and the sanctions. No mention of Rights, democracy, or al-Queda.

I think the ideas that SH does not have, or could not have various WMDs has been put to rest. If you disagree with the me and with the Security Council, be prepared to present your evidence.

At this point, you may not agree with all of the above case, but it's a good spot to take a look at it. In particular, the obvious conclusion is that Saddam Hussein must be disarmed. Even the French agree. Once you accept that Iraq should be disarmed, the question is how and when.

Diplomacy and Inspections
There were inspections from 1991 until 1996. There was diplomacy from 1991 through today. Inspections now are a little better, but only because the US Army is perched on the border of Iraq. If you think there is some other reason for the sudden cooperation of SH, then I challenge you to show me what it is. This is the crux of the difference between us. If the antiwar folks cannot come up with a believable plan for disarming Iraq without war, then they don't have a case! In other words, this is what you have to argue to win the argument.

But Isn't Iraq Weak
For the time being, and only because of the sanctions and the military forces of the UN and the UK.

Up until this point, I have pretty much avoided the point-by-point argument style because I think we had missed the bigger issues between us. But it's hard to resist:

Domestic Popularity is the Reason for the War
I can't prove this is wrong, except to argue that it seems like dumb strategy for Bush. The timing is wrong. Too much can go wrong. It can screw up the economy. Years of "Managing" Iraq afterward. All too hairy. I honestly think it takes courage to go out on a limb like George W Bush is doing and promote a war against Iraq like this. War certainly did not help his father -- beat that argument!

Saddam was Forced to Keep the WMDs by the Attempts on his Life
The WMDs Saddam had then and has now (chemical and biological) are useless against an advanced army like the US and the UK, they are only useful against civilians and simple armies like that of Iran in the 1980's. Any smart person would have given up the WMDs and eliminated the reason for the threats. He could have negotiated with the UN for his life and also had the sanctions lifted. This is not Texas Diplomacy, "Put down the gun so I can shoot you". This is "Put down that vial of poison or I will shoot you".

We are asking Saddam to Prove a Negative
Read resolution 687, items 7 through 10. SH knew in 1991 that he had to destroy the weapons under UN supervision.

France has Just as Much Right to Veto as the US
I never intended to argue differently. I was trying to argue that the Irrelevancy discussion wasn't very helpful to the antiwar movement, even though it is pretty easy to attack the administration on this issue. I am sorry if I wasn't clear.

If You Know Where the Stuff is, Tell the Inspectors
We know SH has biological and chemical weapons, we know he has been working very hard to get nukes. Apparently, we do not know exactly where they are. In a post 9/11 world, where SH has been shown how to use his WMDs, we are afraid to just walk away. The insinuations of the antiwar movement has been, that if we can't say where they are, they don't exist. That is not logic.

Hopefully, I've generated more light than heat.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
unsubstantiated reasons for war (none / 0) (#59)
by riddermark on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 06:58:24 PM EST

The UN
First, I'm glad we can lay the UN irrelevancy question to rest. We basically agree on this point and it's not worth arguing further.

Saddam Hussein: A Dangerous Man
We also agree on another point, if only in different degrees: Saddam Hussein is indeed a dangerous man, deserving the world's wary eye. However, I seriously doubt he is bent on aquiring WMDs for the purpose of using them. Weapons of this type are used more as a trump card than anything else. When he did use them (against Iran and the Kurds), he did so with our tacit approval. The simple fact that he has used them in the past does not mean he will use them presently. You could turn your argument towards the US. After all, we are still the only country to ever detonate an atomic bomb on civilians. However, it is interesting to note that both instances occured during times of war. Why didn't Iraq use chemical weapons against the US during the Guld War? He launched missiles against Israel and Saudie Arabia for desperate strategic reasons. It was a desperate measure to draw the middle east into the war (especially Israel). I don't dispute the fact that he's a bad guy. However, I fail to see how he is any different from other such rules.

Saddam Determined to Kill Others For Spite?
You also mention the attempted assassination of President Bush. There are serious problems with the assertion that Saddam is to blame for the attempt. This is the speculation of intelligence officials, not hard evidence. As for him supporting Palestinian terrorism by giving money to the surviving family member of suicide bombers: this is very mild compare to Saudi Arabia's incessant promotion of the Wahabi Muslim sect worldwide. This isn't an attempt on my part to trivialize what Saddam is doing. However this must be presented in strategic terms (of which Saddam has serious problems) as a way to garner Arab support. The Palestinians are seen in the Muslim world in a similar (if much worse) light to the old appartheid of South Africa.

Disarmanet
Getting back to WMDs. He may or may not have such weapons. If he does, they are in such small quantities as to be easily stored for later cultivation. Finding them is going to be impossible. However, I did mention in the article that Hussein Kamel told weapons inspectors in 95 that Saddam destroyed all WMDs while saving the documentation for them to be aquired/produced at a later date. Whether this is the case or not doesn't really make a difference. Either way, such weapons will not be found.

Endless Diplomacy
Diplomacy has been weakened for the reasons I have stated previously. Whether or not Saddam actually destroyed the WMDs we know he had is beside the point. The CIA was using the weapons inspector as a convenient way to track down Saddam's whereabouts. After Saddam was proven to be resistent to the pressure of local rebellion (easily quelched while we did nothing) as well as harsh economic sanctions (which actually had the opposite desired effect), it was no secret the US wanted to see him removed from power (ie, assassination). Therefore, you have the inevitable clash between Iraqi government officials and weapons inspectors.

Saddam's Cooperation
You said "I challenge you to show me" why Saddam should cooperate now, given his history of noncooperation. The point is, we've never offered Saddam the possibility to cooperate. He's under enormous pressure right now to cooperate, but what will cooperating get him if the stated aim is his removal, as it has always been? We should change our position in this respect and actually offer to lift sanctions as a reward. That was the original agreement after all

[ Parent ]

What the challenge was (none / 0) (#64)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 11:47:21 PM EST

To give me another explanation for Saddam Husseins current level of cooperation other than the army sitting on his borders. If threats against his life were stopping him from cooperating, he would not be destroying those missiles now.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
he is cooperating because of the threat of war n/t (none / 0) (#65)
by riddermark on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:44:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
n/t ? (2.00 / 1) (#75)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:53:27 AM EST

Um, is this New Technology, Not True, or Nice Try? I'm truly unfamiliar with this abbreviation.

Nice Talk?
Name Tag?
Ninja Turtle?
Nasal Tissue?
Northwest Territories?


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

nothing there (n/t) (none / 0) (#78)
by mami on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:03:02 AM EST



[ Parent ]
one point: (none / 0) (#66)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:15:29 AM EST

you can say "he is cooperating because of wat threats" and that's true, but only half true: the "only" is because it's the only way which has been used by the UN/USA.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
there is nothing you can offer SH (none / 0) (#80)
by mami on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:34:26 AM EST

Whatever you would offer SH to cause him changing the path on which he walking, on the long run he would return to where he came from.

There is no sane reason for any country to develop biological weapons. It's the most perverse weapon system and the most obscene usage of scienctific knowledge you can engage in.

Scientists, who don't risk their lives and refuse to be involved in the development of those weapons, are either coerced to it and accept the coercion to save the lives of their families or they are supportive of the usage of such weapons under the SH regime.

The cop-out statement that they develop the science for those weapons for a living and don't think that by developing them they support their usage, is not working. Scientists must take stand.  

The most dangerous traitors towards humanity are lawyers and scientists who aid dictators to engage in human rights abuses. If they would be as brave to fight against such abuses as the little guys in the Armed Forces are volunteeringly have agreed to do, I would do my kudos to those "intellectual traitors", but I don't see them doing so.

It took me a long time, but I think the US Armed Forces are betrayed by almost anybody I can think of. Their lives are used, misused or not considered to be worthwhile to think about and eventually they might be abused. And I think both sides, the pro-war gang-ho pushers for all the wrong reasons, and the anti-war gang-ho pushers for all the wrong reasons, are knee-high sunken into a pile of shit, they won't be able to wash off for a long time to come.

[ Parent ]

from the ancient times to today (none / 0) (#112)
by vivelame on Fri Mar 07, 2003 at 09:42:56 AM EST

the military has been meat you throw at your enemies.
And this is not going to change soon..
I'd so much love a law that *required* all warmongers, independent of age, wealthiness, whatever, to be a part of the first wave... Hell, i might even like that law enough to engage in the army.. :-P


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Reason for Cooperation (none / 0) (#102)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:01:20 PM EST

You appear to believe that Saddam Hussein would have cooperated with the Security Council except that he was prevented from doing so by threats against his life by members of the Security Council. You also appear to believe that Saddam kept the WMDs as a deterrent or defense against attack. Have I stated your position on this correctly?

I believe otherwise, that SH had plenty of opportunity before and after the (first) Gulf War to disarm, and refused to do so. It is clear to the rest of us that the reasons for the threats and the sanctions was the dangerousness of SH. If you think the campaign against SH was for other reasons, please explain them.

In other words, what is there about SH that would lead the US or UN to desire sanctions and the death of SH besides his possession of WMDs and the willingness to use them?

Are the differences between you and me caused by differing information or different personalities? Do you know something about SH that I don't?

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

WMDs vs assassination (none / 0) (#104)
by riddermark on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:52:03 PM EST

I don't pretend to speak for vivelame. That said, I think I should offer some clarification. I don't think Saddam has held on to his WMDs to protect himself from the immediate threat of assassination. That is a separate issue. His lack of cooperation while the CIA was using the weapons inspectors stemmed from an immediate threat. It got to the point where the CIA was directing the inspectors as to where they should look. Naturally, those around Saddam who are supposed to protect him would not let weapons inspectors have free reign find out his whereabouts in such a situation. WMDs would not protect Saddam from assassination. We're not making that argument.

[ Parent ]
France (1.33 / 3) (#55)
by acronos on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:29:23 PM EST

Thanks for that great insight.. do you mean that when the US of A use 10 times their veto during the last 12 years, the UN is relevant, but if France dares to think about using it once in the same timeframe, the UN is irrelevant and should be disregarded?

France has never had the power to go it alone. None of the 10 veto's you are refering to could France have proceeded without UN support. The US is going to attack Iraq with or without UN support. Bush has stated this from the beginning. Our veto's are about our military. Their veto's are about our military. That is the difference.

[ Parent ]

i disagree. (none / 0) (#67)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:22:28 AM EST

Most of the 10 vetoes issued by the USA during the last 12 years were about Israel/Palestine. Some were, for example, bount sending UN peacekeeers and observers it the occupied territories. Those proposals weren't even especially french, even if i think france backed some of them.
The UN *could* have sent peacekeepers, without even a single US one, if the US of A hadn't vetoed the issue. So the USA vetoed other countries military too. Hell, that's even what the veto is for..


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
counter-points (4.37 / 8) (#44)
by riddermark on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 10:15:11 AM EST

The mere fact that the anti-war movement is unsure of the true motives behind the drive to war underscores their stance. If you take the administration's shifting reasons for war at face value, they can be dismissed. The burdon of proof lies with the administration. Their central argument is that Iraq poses a threat to the security of the United States as that country is known to have possessed WMDs and very much has the capacity to reconstitute such weapons at a later date (after sanctions are removed). Iraq has never attacked the US in the past and would be foolish to do so. Saddam is bent on protecting himself, like any head of state. As their central argument falls apart, they must resort to other means such as scaring the public about possible Al-qaeda links.

But specific to Keisling ("sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest"), I believe he was referring to the sociological truism of seeking protection from the governing structure when threatened. To maintain the high level of support Bush garnered after 9/11, the administration must constantly induce fear. This is wearing off, but nevertheless the effort remains. I'm sure the president knows he cannot keep this up into the election, but for the moment such fear mongering only plays into his hands as he tackles Iraq (and I'm sure he thinks he's doing the right thing here, just as Johnson and Nixon during Vietnam).

Mentioning the fact that we supplied Saddam with much of the WMD we now complain about is not an argument against war. It just goes to illustrate how "alliances" change and perceived threats alter with what the current focus is. In the past it was the Soviet Union. We didn't find a lot of the dictators to be a threat to our national security then, so why are they now? How did Iraq suddenly bounce out of that benign category? Obviously they don't like us quite like they used to because we went to war with them and have brutalized the population with sanctions. But I would refer back to the survival argument. Saddam wouldn't be stupid enough to attack us, even using a proxy like Al-qaeda.

On defending the UN from irrelevance: quite frankly I don't buy the administration's argument. It contradicts itself and flies in the face of what many people in the administration believe fervently: that the UN is unnecessary as anything other than a roundtable and encroaches on US sovereignty.

"United States insisted sanctions would not be lifted until Saddam Hussein was removed": this shows the contradiction of the US attitude. On the one hand we are frustrated Saddam is not cooperating and yet we are undermining the process by which he could feasibly cooperate. Again, this is not an argument against war. It only serves to undercut the administration's complaints about Iraqi noncompliance.

"Invading Without UN Authority Makes the UN Irrelevant": This one is kind of basic. You write: "This argument puts as much pressure on France and Russia as it does on the US." Not really. Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you are saying. Basically, that is the same thing Bush is saying: either give us permission or we will do it anyway. Either option leaves the UN powerless. The UN only has the authority it has with the willingness of member countries. If a major country decides to do whatever it wants, it renders the UN impotent. The same can be said of coercion. If member states give authority to the United States to attack merely to protect the relevance of the UN, the effect is the same: impotence. Any act of war must receive the permission of the Security Council unless the country is acting in self defense. I would hardly call a US attack an act of self defense. This is laughable on it's face, yet some insist this is so.

"I'm not sure what the real aims of the administration are": You say this is the anti-war movement's biggest weakness. I would say this is the movement's biggest argument though in the context of the story I did not make this argument. The burdon of proof should always lie on those seeking war. The stated reasons for war don't make a lot of sense, as I have stated previously.

Ultimately, however, it boils down to an ethical choice. Personally, I think weapons inspectors should be allowed to finish the job they started and sanctions lifted. Everyone claims to prefer this to war. But in order for this to happen, we should stop giving Saddam reasons not to cooperate and realize that we can never clear out 100% of such weapons. We find ourselves in the current situation of insisting Iraq prove a negative. Prove to us you have actually destroyed all the weapons you claim you have destroyed? This seems unreasonable. Mentioning the cost of continued sanctions in human lives and suffering is not simply an emotional ploy. Ethics are inexorably bound up in such decisions. Iraq has been almost completely disarmed. Expecting anything more than that is wishful thinking; unless you're willing to go to war to guarantee this. That is a much too heavy price to pay for such assurances.

[ Parent ]

Well... (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by jmzero on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:04:25 PM EST

Personally, I think weapons inspectors should be allowed to finish the job they started and sanctions lifted. Everyone claims to prefer this to war.

I would prefer inspection, if inspection was in any way a viable option here.  Inspection is not a viable option unless the host country cooperates.  

Do you believe that Iraq's goal is:

  1.  To disarm
  2.  To appear to disarm
But in order for this to happen, we should stop giving Saddam reasons not to cooperate and realize that we can never clear out 100% of such weapons

Saddam had plenty of reasons to disarm at the end of the last war, and mostly only his pride as reason not to.  If he would have made real effort, and been willing to lose a little face, this could have been over a long time ago.  He didn't because he didn't want to.  He didn't, for exactly the same reason he invaded Kuwait.  

Is he in a cruddy situation now, with little in the way of usable options?  Yes.  But it's his own dang fault - he has forced this conflict.

Prove to us you have actually destroyed all the weapons you claim you have destroyed? seems unreasonable

This is absolutely not unreasonable.  If Iraq had cooperated through the disarmament process, there would be piles of evidence.  That's what the inspectors would have been doing, watching disarmament.  Instead, they've been chasing lies and so (surprise, surprise), there's far too many unanswered questions.  

Just to be clear - I don't think war is necessary yet.  However, I think the threat of war is making the situation better every day.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

threat of war and lifting sanctions (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by riddermark on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:54:20 PM EST

I wondered early on if the administration was simply putting on a show of force, as a bluff, to get Iraq to cooperate with weapons inspectors. If Saddam somehow manages to convince Bush he has fully disarmed this would be wonderful. All the huffing and puffing would have been worth it. However, this is very naive. The stated goals of the administration include the overthrow of the government, not simply the disarmanent of a country. This has been the hinderance from the very beginning. If the US is hellbent on removing the guy, why should he cooperate? He knows that simply destroying all his weapons will not save him.

But let's say, for arguments sake that the administration changes their policy of regime change to the actual purpose of UN resolution 687: the disarmanent of Iraq. What is to stop Iraq from re-aquiring the necessary materials and re-building such weapons? Countries seek such weapons so they cannot simply be overrun by stronger countries. Such weapons are the trump card that keeps the country safe. This is why North Korea is put in another category. It is not because the country doesn't pose a threat, but rather because they cannot be overrun. If Iraq had a few nukes, we would be treating the country the same way we treat other nuclear powers: with great delicacy.

[ Parent ]

Show of Force (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:09:38 AM EST

It may work out that Saddam will disarm peacefully, placing a terrible dilemma in front of George Bush. Knowing how dangerous and warlike Saddam is, he still cannot be trusted with all that Oil money on the worlds arms markets, so he and his sons will be just a dangerous over the long haul. It should be interesting to see if this happens, and if the Bush administration is prepared to deal with this maneouver.

North Korea is not getting the attention that Iraq is, partially because Iraq came up first, but also because it is obvious that North Korea is bargaining for aid and electrical power and treaties, and has no wish to actually kill anybody with it's WMDs. North Korea could launch a city-killing attack on Seoul, but with artillery, and maybe chemical or biological weapons, but this is not a hard-to-track-down terrorist attack, and the nuclear response from the US acts as a deterrent. There is no deterrent for suicide bombers. The North Korean nuclear arsenal and missile fleet could be knocked out in one night by forces based in South Korea, if that were advisable.

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

Thoughts (none / 0) (#111)
by jmzero on Thu Mar 06, 2003 at 10:38:27 AM EST

the US is hellbent on removing the guy, why should he cooperate?

The better question is "why is he beginning to cooperate".  US is "bad cop".  Everyone else is "good cop".

Hey, I can hope...

As to North Korea:  nuclear weapons are important in terms of prestige, but aren't some whole new level of threat that makes a country invincible.  A large nuclear program backed by missiles is, of course, but North Korea is a few steps from there.  In the meantime, their invincibility is about having lots of guns pointed at South Korea.  In the event of a US invasion, the threat of mass casualties wouldn't be from nukes, it'd be from artillery.

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

Dale Carnegie would not approve (none / 0) (#91)
by Josh A on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:12:18 PM EST

Saddam had plenty of reasons to disarm at the end of the last war, and mostly only his pride as reason not to.  If he would have made real effort, and been willing to lose a little face, this could have been over a long time ago.

Only his pride? National defense and remaining in power comes to mind. If the options are "lose power without a fight" and "lose power with a fight", which would you choose?

Obviously Bush doesn't know how to Win Friends and Influence People very well ;) Always give the other side a way to agree with you and still save face. Finding a way to do that would be politically impressive.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Please explain something to me: (4.80 / 5) (#56)
by amarodeeps on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 05:39:24 PM EST

Why is this the biggest weakness of the anti-war movement?

I'm not sure what the real aims of the administration are

It would seem that your assumption is that: war is the option in lieu of a reason we should not go to war. If Bush has not supplied a good enough explanation for war, if his administration's goals for this war are not apparently well thought out, you think that we should go to war as a matter of course? This makes less sense than anything to me.

You say:

George W Bush is under no obligation to explain himself publicly.

I almost feel mixed about this statement. I am by nature a dove, but I understand the motivations in a military situation for not disclosing your secrets. However, I've found the administration's possible and professed motivations problematic at best, and I feel that, if the information they've provided the UN with is not very good, and if there is a good chance a unilateral pre-emptive act of aggression against Iraq is going to cause more terrorist attacks on this country, as well as damage our international relationships, I want to know what the hell is going on that makes Bush want to attack Iraq so badly. Is there any possible secret that the administration could divulge that would endanger the U.S.'s ability to pound the living crap out of the entire nation of Iraq? What's the need to keep secrets as far as what we know about Iraq? Are we all of a sudden going to be in more danger if we find out yes, they do indeed have biological weapons? According to the administration we are in grave danger already, so what's the big deal?

Bush has a significant population of the world, including part of his own country, pissed off and skeptical about his administration's indelicate form of foreign policy. He completely dismissed the protesters of Feb 15 and 16th's concerns, and doesn't seem to care that a majority of Americans would prefer to have UN sanction before attacking Iraq. This troubles me and I want an explanation. War is not the default. It never should be. That is enough reason for an anti-war movement, and it should be enough reason for a professed Christian such as Mr. Bush to give America and the world a very good, very thorough reason for starting this war.

Normally, when one is considering war, the thinking goes, the overriding benefits of peace are so overwhelming that anyone proposing a war needs to make a very good argument indeed to justify such a violent, dangerous, unpredictable and outrageous course of action.

Well, what's your argument against this? You put it pretty well actually, and I don't see you contradicting this anywhere in your post.



[ Parent ]
Bush not explaining himself (5.00 / 1) (#69)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:56:17 AM EST

I was observing, that since George W Bush has all the legal authority he needs, under the US Constitution, there is no practical reason for him to explain himself publicly, and he is not. In a debate on any war, peace would be the default, but in political practice, in this case, it is not.

Some of the various explanations being given out by the administraton, are attempts to enlarge the base of support for war, and include arguments designed to appeal to humanitarians (end the cruel dictatorship), UN lovers (don't let the UN be irrelevant) and so on. Unfortunately, this base building is not being done very well, probably because it isn't realy required. Also because the administration is not very adept at this.

In terms of persuading other countries, the administration can share whatever intelligence it wants to privately, to other governments without telling al-Queda and Iraq what secrets it has, if any. We can suppose these secrets include things that can only be known by one Iraqi spy, or be heard over one decrypted radio channel, so that revealing the knowledge reveals the source.

There is also a case for war, based on fear of WMDs and Saddams behavior, that does not require any secret information at all. Saddams support for terrorists other than al-Queda is quite public, documented, and well known. Fill in your own scenario, and add the 9/11 factor.

As far as the question, why is not knowing the "True reason" for the war the biggest weakness of the antiwar movement. This is partly because the antiwar movement keeps on putting up arguments ("It's all about Oil") that don't hold up, and don't agree with one another. But mainly it's that the antiwar movement has seen fit to argue that it's not really about the WMDs, so they need to argue it's about something else. This is presumably, because if the war were about WMDs, then that would be scary, and people worried about more terrorist attacks would decide to be pro-war, not anti-war. I had to read that twice myself.

I point out that Security Council resolutions 687 and 1441 are only about WMDs, (and sanctions) and not about al-Queda, Human Rights, the prestige of the UN, or Saddams mustache. I also point out that resolution 1441, which worries about Saddams WMDs, passed the Council unanimously, including the votes from France and Syria, so if they're worried about WMDs, perhaps we should to.

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

Thank you for saying so eloquently (none / 0) (#60)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:01:22 PM EST

what I've been thinking about for weeks... better than I ever could.


--
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him go off the high dive.


[ Parent ]
ever heard of the carlyle group? (4.80 / 5) (#77)
by lemming prophet on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:02:56 AM EST

Kiesling, and others, have argued that the "real purpose", or objective effect, of the war is to increase the military budget and reduce American liberties. Now how does anybody in or out of the administration benefit from that? Am I to believe that they all invested in Boeing and now are trying to raise the stock price?

bush senior is chairman for the carlyle group, an investment firm concentrating on oil and weapons. bush junior and other members of the current us govt. are known to be stockholders too.

how more direct can "financial benefit from the war" be?

and to your other proposal:

If you want to find the politicians who did this, and punish them, fine, go do that.

hmm I don't believe Rumsfeld will be punished. Would be nice though, but he's a member of the govt, so it's really really unlikely. Same goes for Wolfowitz.

--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Bush's hidden reasons make an anti-war argument (5.00 / 6) (#87)
by splitpeasoup on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 11:59:14 AM EST

"The Bush administration is clearly not showing all its cards on the Iraq issue... George W Bush is under no obligation to explain himself publicly."

Actually, I find it a strong anti-war argument that the pro-war side is reduced to saying "Well, Bush has good reasons for invading Iraq, we just don't know all of them yet". This indicates that the reasons that have been put forth so far, such as Iraq's unsubstantiated ties to Al-Queda, are unconvincing even to pro-war people, and do not justify the proposed war.

To take on the other thing you said, Bush absolutely is under obligation to explain himself. Being constitutionally elected does not give one the right to start invading other countries left and right. If you are going to be killing hundreds of thousands of people you better be able to submit a good reason for it.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
[ Parent ]

Funny thing (2.00 / 2) (#89)
by kableh on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:29:38 PM EST

Informal polls I've taken of all the folks I know who aren't braindead bible thumpers don't like Bush one bit. And even a few of the uber-Christians I know are starting to doubt his motives.

The rest of your post seems to amount to "shit happens".

[ Parent ]
I could argue... (4.50 / 2) (#98)
by broken77 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:41:44 PM EST

I could argue every point you've made here. And believe me, I know plenty about this. But I'll table that pointless endeavor for now. You say "I started reading k5 more regularly in the hope of finding a pretty good argument against the war". But, it is not our job to do this. Someone who wants war needs to give the reasons for war, that is the burden of proof. And those reasons have not been convincing yet (and I doubt they will get any more convincing as time goes on).

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Not Our Job (4.00 / 2) (#103)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:43:56 PM EST

True enough. But I've been unable to find intelligent discussion of the root issues on other web sites. The antiwar sites I've found are almost totally devoted to how to protest the war and have very little on why. I found it too easy to refute most of the antiwar arguments I saw there, and in any case I haven't found good forums there.

I think part of the reason for differences in our opinions is the level of fear and trust one feels toward Saddam Hussein versus the level of these emotions toward George Bush. It should be possible to transcend emotion somewhat, but fear is an emotion that can keep us alive, as well.

I think the key factual question is "Do we need to disarm Saddam Hussein?", or "Can we leave Saddam Hussein to his own devices?". And the second question, if we do need to disarm him, is "When?", meaning "Why now?" and "Why not now?".

I find the French-Russian proposals to disarm SH with inspections and diplomacy to be a joke. If I am wrong on this point then I need to know.

The US President has outlined, in his own clumsy way, his reasons for war. Much of the reasoning rests on well known facts: Saddams dangerousness, the terror potential, the example of 9/11, Saddams known connections to terrorist groups other than al-Queda, the ability of a large quantity of oil money to acquire WMDs, his history regarding obeying UN resolutions. In addition, the US President has also alluded to additional secret evidence he claims to possess. Given this situation, I think it is not sufficient for the anti-war movement to lean back and say "I don't believe you", but to make a detailed, reasoned, and correct counter-argument. It is also reasonable for a US citizen, having listened to the US President, to want to hear other opinions. It is also reasonable for that citizen to go along with the President if these alternate opinions are weak or absent.

In practical political terms, the US President, by virtue of his position as President, has established the "Default" action, and it is up to the antiwar movement to argue otherwise.

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

Intelligent discussion? (none / 0) (#108)
by epepke on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 11:54:27 AM EST

Rotsa Ruck. But anyway...

I find the French-Russian proposals to disarm SH with inspections and diplomacy to be a joke. If I am wrong on this point then I need to know.

The most egregious aspects of the French-Russian attitudes (they shouldn't be granted the assumption of sense that the term "proposal" connotes) is that nobody to my knowledge has been able successfully to argue (or for that matter has even tried to argue) that inspectors would currently be in Iraq now were it not for the U.S. military buildup in the region. Yet, at the same time, people who favor inspections generally seem to ignore that factor.

I don't know that inspections, per se, are a joke. It may possibly be that continued inspections, in perpetuity, would be enough to keep Saddam Hussein off his guard enough effectively to contain any Iraqi threat. But France, Russia, and Germany are so far completely unwilling to acknowledge that a costly military buildup has been necessary to get inspectors back in in the first place. Not to mention actually paying the costs of this buildup.

We, meaning the various societies of the world, make this kind of decision all the time. For example, we spend an enormous amount of money, equivalent to living wages for several people, to keep one murderer in prison rather than executing him and/or her. However, at least we're sort of kind of aware that there is this cost, and we acknowledge it. We make a decision, often for various humanitarian reasons, that this cost is worth paying. A large military buildup to contain Saddam Hussein and force inspections might be something the international community could decide was worthwhile, rather than the damage of war. But this would have to be brought to the fore, acknowledged, and debated. Instead, however, France, Russia, and to some extent Germany are pretending like the presence of inspectors is some kind of deus ex machina.

France, if they had learned anything at all or grown a neuron or two since their days of dealing with the Weimar Republic, and if they were actually serious about inspections, would be agitating for and express willingness to pay for a multilateral force to replace the U.S. force with the goal of keeping enough pressure on Saddam Hussein to keep inspections happening. Or, if they don't really care about whether Iraq is disarmed, then they should be pressing for a new U.N. resolution that rescinds the seventeen U.N. resolutions that Iraq is failing to comply with and grants a permanent peace rather than a ceasefire to Iraq. Rather, however, they're behaving as children. They may object to being treated as children, but they are choosing to behave that way.

People, however, don't want to face these difficult issues. People opposed to the war are opposed because they don't like war. Fair enough--I don't like war, either, and I would like to see no land war against Iraq, too. Wars are icky. They kill people. I'll admit it. It's a purely emotional revultion to war. But most people, including nearly all of the anti-war people and the nations opposed to war, including France and Russia and Germany, are unwilling to admit this. They simply build layers of pseudo-rational pretense around it, all with the most selfish interest in mind--whatever happens, they don't want their ox to be the one that is gored.

Personally, nothing would please me more than to see Saddam Hussein actually stick to the terms of the ceasefire, for all the U.S. troops to come home, for everyone to be friendly and nice. Shame about the reality, though. And most players aren't really agitating for a resolution--they're just looking for a way that they can come out smelling like roses, and nertz to everyone else.

This is why you won't see much intelligent discussion anywhere. Intelligence requires facing one's own chickenshittedness. Economic sanctions were once the brainchild of the moderate left. It requires less courage to tapdance around this than to acknowledge it. The world is arguably terribly fucked up now, but it takes less courage to say "Neener neener boo-boo" than to face the fact that it is at least partially a legacy of the 1990's, when most socially conscious people thought that the right thing was being done.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
the article's intent (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by riddermark on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 07:17:31 PM EST

The comments thus far have focused on the war vs. anti-war camps. While it is quite obvious from the article I am opposed to war, this was not where I was going with the piece. I would have written such an article differently. Does anyone have any comments on the effects of us thumbing our nose at the world and doing whatever we please? Will this eventually come back to bite us in the ass?

Eventually we'll have to pay... (none / 0) (#62)
by khilghard on Mon Mar 03, 2003 at 09:21:59 PM EST

Every action has a consequence. The action of the United States going off and doing whatever it pleases will not stand us well when we are in need of other countries aid. Consequence always follows action. We'll pay for our actions eventually.

-----

"God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the Decembers of our lives." -James Barrie

[ Parent ]

Consequences (none / 0) (#74)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:34:38 AM EST

The blowback has already started, see the whole antiwar movement and the situation with Turkey. I maintain that if the al-Queda attacks had happened in the second GWB term, it would all be handled much more smoothly without insulting the Europeans and the obvious confusion on the part of the Bushies. When governors get elected president it takes two or three years to get used to running the DC scene and adopting to the international situation. This administration hasn't done that yet.

I've observed this to be true of Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush Junior. This is a well known phenomenon that Bush Junior tried to counter by hiring so many experienced people in the Cabinet. It helped but wasn't quite enough.

The level of anti-Americanism will die down, unless Bush really screws up something else.

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

From the trench... (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by sunbeam60 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:35:15 AM EST

While this comment is in no way going to provide an overview of current - and future - world oppinion of the US, I can comment on my own stance towards the US.

I'm a reasonably well educated guy who would neither fall on the left or right side of the polictical scale if such a thing was drawn. I've spent a couple of years in the Army (in Denmark) and have felt ashamed about how Europe handled the conflict in post-Jugoslavia and how the US had to come with the hardware and hardwill to fix it.

I have in almost all cases been a complete supporter of the US; I believe pressing the USSR helped disband a totalitarian regime and its countless puppet-states; I am convinced that the traditional free world wouldn't have enjoyed their liberty had it not been for the actions of the States and I believe firmly that the US has (read: has) made the world a safer place.

In every way that has now changed. I have grown distrustful of the American administration's policy and its obvious lack of respect for world oppinion. Although I realize the US can at present behave in any way they see fit (at least in a security perspective) I have never, ever been a bigger supporter of Europe ripping itself loose from the ties it has had with the US over the last 60 years.

I think the US is the one making the United Nations irrelevant and I think they are taking the world down a dangerous course and to be frank, I have a hard time convincing myself of Bush's intelligence. What he does, and how he does it, has left me with no respect for his ways. In almost every conceivable way I find Bush a gun-toting cowboy; If that is true, I do not know. The lack of information about the US administration's long-term plan for the situation in Iraq has, however, left me with a bigger feeling of insecurity than I have ever had before.

I sincerely hope Bush does not get reelected and I have never found myself even being interested in US domestic politics before.

Bear in mind that these are all personal oppinions; not an attempt to state fact.

The effect of the American current actions are going to be far-felt, I believe. The split driven in between European countries will drive those against the US towards greater cooperation and those for the US towards the puppet-stage. I hope, and for the first time ever I actually consider moving there, that France and Germany will stay true to their beliefs about world security. A united Europe (united in some way, not necesarily a federal Europe) will, although smaller than the present EU, hopefully form a counter-weight against the US until Russia gets its bearings back and can speak with confidence on the world stage.

I do not think a uni-lateral world is safer than a multi-lateral one and I hope someone will be able to oppose the US in the future - should their present course saty fixed.

Personally I have absolutely nothing against Americans as a people. Please understand this has got nothing to do with the traditional anti-american bashing you see far too often. I just don't think the current policy of the US is prudent and I hope Americans will elect somebody else to stand at the helm as soon as possible.

Just a view from the trench.

[ Parent ]

Depleted Uranium (3.33 / 3) (#68)
by Caelum on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 03:43:53 AM EST

Our depleted uranium shells litter the country, causing cancer among the living and birth defects among the unborn.
That's a very strong statement. But uranium is everywhere, we constantly eat/breath/drink it, and depleted uranium is far less radioactive. This report (courtesy of the DOD) gives a good overview of the findings so far on the chemical and radiological toxicity of depleted uranium and DU oxides, and shows little evidence of possible problems of that magnitude.

consider the source (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by lemming prophet on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 07:50:17 AM EST

perhaps you should read some independent scientists reports about yugoslavia and the cancer du is already causing there...
it's not a surprise that the dod says it's harmless, since if they openly stated that they'll poison the country for a long long time, this will only help the peace-activists...
:(

--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Good weapon, good armor. (3.00 / 2) (#86)
by StrifeZ on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 11:36:46 AM EST

Depleted Uranium is a revolutionary weapon and has made the US armor brigades much deadlier.

Additionally, I read some where (and this is the first I've heard of it), that the US uses depleted uranium on the modular armor on the M1A2 tank to make it stronger.

People get so nuts whenever they hear the words "nuclear, plutonium, uranium and radiation" without evaluating the facts or technology.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
At least know who you're arguing with (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by broken77 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:39:13 PM EST

This isn't some knee-jerk reaction to the words "depleted" and "uranium". I became aware of DU when I watched the video "Hidden Wars of Desert Storm". There has been a lot of investigation into the matter, and maybe it's not as simple as you think. At least know what you're arguing when you argue the point.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

DU far from safe (4.75 / 4) (#92)
by riptalon on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 01:59:24 PM EST

uranium is everywhere, we constantly eat/breath/drink it, and depleted uranium is far less radioactive.

Uranium may be everywhere but it is mostly bound up in rocks like granite. The amounts that actually get inside your body during your life time are miniscule. When DU weapon hits a target, a large amount of it ends up as uranium oxide smoke and dust which gets everywhere. The US dropped 340 tons of DU ordanance during the gulf war. But the most important point is that DU is not less radioactive than natural uranium, it is more radioactive. It would be less radioactive if they only used natural uranium to make it, but this is not the case.

Uranium extracted from spent reactor fuel has also been used and so DU is often contaminated with plutonium, neptunium and other nasty reactor biproducts. And it is not just gulf war veterans and Iraqi civilians who are ill, workers at least one of the three main gaseous diffussion plants in the US that make DU are also sick, probably from exposure to the plutonium which they did not know they were handling. See my previous comment on this subject for more info and links.



[ Parent ]
A report on birth defects (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by blaek kahr on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 05:20:48 AM EST

Many sources exist, here is one of them.

Warning pictures may disturb.

Extreme Birth Deformities

[ Parent ]

what is all that oil-circus about ? (1.00 / 1) (#71)
by svSHiFT on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 05:26:46 AM EST

I fully agree with the article author that the oil itself is not the aim of the coming war -- unlike the massmedia wants to represent it. It is clearly obvious that Bush Jr. is really focused on overthrowing Hussein's rejime -- but can any1 tell me WHY?

I can find lots of reasons for not-doing it, such as:

  • Saddam really controls the situation in his country. There is really Zero corruption, reasonably fair social guaranteeing system for the citizens
  • Before the gulf war Iraq was one of the most prospering countries in the region. I mean not those virtual Total-mass-product-per-citizen values, but real statiscics on the level of life in the country -- people really participated in sharing the countie's profit -- we could not even dream of this in communistic times in USSR
  • There are NO islamic extremists in the country. (every last of them remaining were executed :-) ). Saddam was never noticed in supporting any of such organizations abroad. (though several iraqie citizens were noticed in chechnya fighing for extremists -- i consider that an excetion, confirming the rule)

however, i can apply all the above statements to almost every pro-US country in the region around iraq, only inversed -- and those are known facts too. So, if the US wants to establish democracy in the region -- why they wont start from other countries.

Besides -- it is known that the democracy (in the american meaning of the word) IS NOT POSSIBLE IN THE REGION!!! Once established, it will mutate to something like it is in the central-asia states (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan). The best example of true eastern democracy -- is Yemen -- the first country in arabia which established the democracy. The only reason of the prospering of that country, is that that democracy was established there WITHOUT any participation of american missioneers -- they did everything what they liked! Similar processes are now going on in anouhter anti-US coutry of the region -- Iran!

So, if america wishes to establish "democracy" in Iraq -- maybe it sould leave it alone, and wait for the processes that took place in history already -- like in Chili, Spain, Yemen, etc?

Why get rid of Saddam (none / 0) (#73)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:27:33 AM EST

He's a dangerous guy, read the OldCoder comments starting at this article which includes this list of things Saddam has done.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
things that Saddam has done? (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by svSHiFT on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 10:54:41 AM EST

Well -- at least he had not done anything original. If someone else is doing this:
  • invading without UN permission,
  • using prohibited mass-destruction weapons,
  • national discrimination
why he cant? Maybe we should start "disarming" and "democratizing" those, who started it first after WW-II ? Guess which country do i mean?

[ Parent ]
Where are your lists (none / 0) (#95)
by broken77 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:34:50 PM EST

Where are your lists for all of the other "dangerous guys", including dangerous regimes, throughout the world, that we're planning on attacking? Oh, only Iraq. Very odd.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

The Other Lists (none / 0) (#101)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 07:44:45 PM EST

I have not been informed of exactly who, or when we are "planning on attacking" next. Should such information become available, I will attempt to gather a list, if possible. Should the administration plan on attacking, say, Iceland, I surmise the list will be short indeed.

One war at a time seems like plenty, don't you think? I did have a real point, to which you did not respond, that Saddams behavior gives an indication of what he will do if he is permitted to: Use the oil money to by WMDs and then use those weapons on people within his reach. If you can provide a good argument that Saddam will not acquire or will not use those weapons on real human beings I will be glad to hear that argument.

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

See SOTU (5.00 / 2) (#82)
by spakka on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:38:27 AM EST

It is clearly obvious that Bush Jr. is really focused on overthrowing Hussein's rejime -- but can any1 tell me WHY?

Jesus told him to.



[ Parent ]
Scare quotes and other fallacies (4.25 / 4) (#79)
by RiotNrrd on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 08:04:52 AM EST

this was back when the Soviet Union was a "threat" and various proxy wars and insurrections were taking place all across the globe in the name of "democracy" over communism
The USSR was a threat. Its leadership spent all their time fighting proxy wars with the USA - once they realised that a direct assault would be suicide on a planetary scale. I am very glad that the USA were willing to put in the effort to contain the Communist totalitarian states.

As for the claim that the USA insisted on removal of Saddam Hussein as a condition for lifting of the UN sanctions, this is the first I have heard of it, and that clause certainly does not appear anywhere I have googled. The USA are of course entitled to impose their own santions via economic protectionism, with any end clause they choose.

Depleted uranium is not significantly radioactive - hence "depleted". There is naturally occurring radiation far higher than that caused by expended DU ordnance. It is somewhat toxic, as are all heavy metals, but not in any vastly dangerous way - certainly not enough to cause the trend of deformed babies claimed by some. In any case, the drawbacks of DU lying around battlefields were considered to be serious enough - at least in PR terms - that the new round has a tungsten-based penetrator in place of the DU.

There is no reason the USA should be forced to give aid to those who disagree with it. I am glad that they are willing to place conditions on their support - I am only saddened that it does not happen more often. Too many tyrants remain in power thanks to aid packages, and since the aid monies end up in Swiss bank accounts anyway, removing them would have no significant impact on the day-to-day lives of the populace.

I have spoken elsewhere about my regard (or lack thereof) for the French position on the liberation effort. The Russians are at least nakedly self-interested, not hypocritical, and can therefore be dealt with honestly, if reservedly.

You write:

I think Bush sees Iraq as an unsolved problem left by his father that must be solved
I think it would look better like this:
I think Bush sees Iraq as an unsolved problem that must be solved
in which assessment I, of course, agree with him. The Iraq problem needs to be solved sooner rather than later, and hopefully before any smoking guns. Remember, guns only smoke after they have been fired.


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

A sensible stance. (none / 0) (#88)
by Matadon on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:23:23 PM EST

Iraq does present many unsolved problems that should be solved, but the actions of the current administration indicate that the U.S. is completely against solving them through diplomatic means.  There is no need for the U.S. to begin fighting a war against the Iraqi government and people, yet Bush demands blood.

Note that I am not a pacifist, but I don't believe that fighting is the answer unless all other obvious avenues have been, at the very least, considered.  Mankind spends altogeher too much time at the firing range and not enough at the barganing table.

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

Been Tried (none / 0) (#107)
by OldCoder on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 09:46:56 AM EST

11 years of Security Council resolutions, diplomacy, inspections, attempted inspections have produced nothing. Only the threat of force produces action in Iraq, and not much action at that.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
[ Parent ]
Swiss Bank Accounts (none / 0) (#94)
by TheWake on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:24:07 PM EST

Too many tyrants remain in power thanks to aid packages, and since the aid monies end up in Swiss bank accounts anyway, removing them would have no significant impact on the day-to-day lives of the populace.

Ever play "Junta" by West end Games?

[ Parent ]
No, but I must check it out (none / 0) (#106)
by RiotNrrd on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 05:21:49 AM EST

The problem will be getting 7 people in my appartment...


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

From 9/11 to Iraq: The Casualties of War Drums (1.50 / 8) (#83)
by Nighthawk1961 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 09:48:12 AM EST

I live in Canada. I have **always** distrusted the American Government and now I know why. A few months ago a Canadian Diplomat (I forgot her name, sorry) was forced to resign for calling Bush a "moron". That's too bad because your President George W. Bush II *IS A FUCKING MORON* (as well as all the other Capitol Hill assholes!). I am not angry about all this, since that would be fultile. But if you American people actually think that Bush has *your* best interests at heart, then you *are* as stupid as you look! To quote the article "I don't want to demonize president Bush"...well I DO!!! God save the world because he is the only hope left!

Don't question our choices. (1.50 / 4) (#85)
by StrifeZ on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 11:33:58 AM EST

Please stop second guessing our election choices. The vote was in his favor in 2000. The Midterm elections were essentially a referendum of his job, were in his favor as well. The American people like Bush. I like Bush. We do not appreciate foreginers, especially Canadains of all things, to second guess our electoral choices.

Of course Bush is looking out for what he believes is the country's best interests: the historic weight of the highest office in the world (other presidents call the American President "President") humbles every single person to take the seat and has forced them towards a more middle of the road route. While I, like most americans dont agree with Bush 100% of the time (his latest tax cut plan is far too big), we are generally happy with what he has done with our government and the course he is taking this country down. We are stronger today than we were before he became president.

Theres something a lot of foreigners miss, because they arent American. I know, everyone says that September 11th changed everything. Well it did, and more than just military strategy. It changed American attitudes towards other nations. For 15 years, the world sat happy in a delusional world of "peace", while in the shadows, a monster grew, until, after repeated missed warnings, it lashed out fully on September 11th 2001. Many Americans realize that we can really never return to an era of TRUE (not illusionary) peace until groups like Al Queda are eradicated and beligerent nations like Iraq are reformatted as democracies, free of lust for weapons of mass destruction. Containment is now seen in America as procrastination, because you will have to deal with the contained country sooner or later, and its better to do it when that nation is weaker.

If other nations don't agree with this point of view, perhaps we're better off without them. God knows, the US is the brains and the muscle behind both NATO and the UN. If countries like France are content with illusionary peace, instead of going all out for true peace, then we really do have nothing in common with them.

Don't second guess our choices and dont second guess our government. A lot of outsiders say "we love the american people but not the administration". You cant have it both ways. It is a government OF the people, not ABOVE the people. To say you don't like the administration is an affront to the American people.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
*blink* (4.75 / 4) (#90)
by escher on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 12:41:08 PM EST

Please stop second guessing our election choices. The vote was in his favor in 2000.

Oh? Thanks to Florida, I don't think we'll ever truely know the answer but the vote was split pretty much 50-50. That means that half of us did most definately did not want Bush to be president.

We do not appreciate foreginers, especially Canadains of all things, to second guess our electoral choices.

What, so people in other countries are not allowed their own opinions? What about that whole "freedom of speech" thing that we Americans are supposed to hold so dearly?

While I, like most americans dont agree with Bush 100% of the time (his latest tax cut plan is far too big), we are generally happy with what he has done with our government and the course he is taking this country down.

Every single person I know is extremely unhappy with Bush and the direction he is currently taking this country. Suddenly we're on the brink of war, the economy is in the toilet, and the national deficit has skyrocketed. (We actually had a surplus a few years ago. Remember that?)

We are stronger today than we were before he became president.

We're certainly bombarded with more propaganda and misinformation, but stronger? How? I see "flailing", and "panic", and "the destruction of our civil liberties", but "stronger" seems to be absent.

For 15 years, the world sat happy in a delusional world of "peace", while in the shadows, a monster grew, until, after repeated missed warnings, it lashed out fully on September 11th 2001.

And that monster was of our own making. We have this nastly little problem of supplying weapons and training to people that we wind up fighting later. It's a stupid cycle and people die because of it.

Many Americans realize that we can really never return to an era of TRUE (not illusionary) peace until groups like Al Queda are eradicated and beligerent nations like Iraq are reformatted as democracies, free of lust for weapons of mass destruction.

And who lusts the most for weapons of mass destruction (and has the largest collection of such weapons)? The United States! Who has the most technically advanced weapons of mass destruction? The United States! Who most actively researches better ways to destroy en-masse? The United States!

And what's with this "turn all countries into democracies"? We're not a democracy! The US has never been a democracy. We're a republic. They teach this stuff in High School.

If other nations don't agree with this point of view, perhaps we're better off without them. God knows, the US is the brains and the muscle behind both NATO and the UN. If countries like France are content with illusionary peace, instead of going all out for true peace, then we really do have nothing in common with them.

The arrogence of this statement stuns me. The rest of the world is comprised of human beings, just like the US. We're no better or worse (although we have a higher level of material goods). Americans like you make me embarrassed to be an American.

I love my country but I am terrified of my government.


I'm not really a crazy person, but I play one in real life.
[ Parent ]
yeah... (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by bloodnok on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 04:21:21 PM EST

Don't second guess our choices and dont second guess our government. A lot of outsiders say "we love the american people but not the administration". You cant have it both ways. It is a government OF the people, not ABOVE the people. To say you don't like the administration is an affront to the American people.

Since when has it been a government of the people? Most western democracies have long been plutocracies. Once an administration is formed, those who want influence merely buy it from those in power. I dont like the American administration. Of the Americans I've met, I like most. If that is an affront to you or anyone else, then I make no apology. Offence is in the eye of the beholder.
--- When you give up freedom for security you get neither.
[ Parent ]

Where did all that come from? (4.50 / 2) (#100)
by Gooba42 on Tue Mar 04, 2003 at 06:54:52 PM EST

For all the crap we have to worry about now I was much happier and at least perceived far less day-to-day threat to freedom and life before Bush.

As for being stronger now than we were before, why have I even heard about defaulting on the national debt?

As for choosing Bush, why is there any question as to Florida? It was at best close, at worst rigged.

All Bush has demonstrated is a set of suicidal policies seemingly designed to destroy our economy, instill fear and hate in the rest of the world, and to bring the citizenry under a combined yoke of corporation and government.

The rest of the world has every right to look at us and judge us as an example of a good set of ideas gone wrong. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Bush's intentions may be arguable one way or another but it's undeniable where he's got us headed.

[ Parent ]

Who exactly are you speaking for anyway? (none / 0) (#113)
by morkeleb on Mon Mar 10, 2003 at 01:19:28 AM EST

Because you sure as hell aren't speaking for me or anyone I know.

Please stop second guessing our election choices. The vote was in his favor in 2000.

The Supreme Court was in his favor. I voted with the majority of my fellow Americans for the other guy. Our fearless leader was appointed - not elected.

Don't second guess our choices and dont second guess our government. A lot of outsiders say "we love the american people but not the administration". You cant have it both ways. It is a government OF the people, not ABOVE the people. To say you don't like the administration is an affront to the American people.

No - he can second-guess all he wants. Question, bitch, complain, vent his outrage. He can do anything he damn well wants. There are plenty of Americans who agree with him. Who the fuck do you think you are anyway - telling someone to not criticize the Administration? And what really pisses me off is that you are trying to speak as if there is some kind of united voice behind you - telling the rest of the world to go fuck itself if they don't agree with the US. Bush doesn't speak for me. He shouldn't even be our President.


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
"our friends in the region" (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by arbofnot on Wed Mar 05, 2003 at 07:35:46 PM EST

The Bush administration supposedly wants to fight this war in part for "our friends in the region". Saudi Arabia does not want the war. Qatar and Bahrain may be on the US side, but they are minor players. Now Turkey will not allow US forces to use their country for a northern front. These Arab or Muslim countries are nominally "with us", and give a half-hearted thumbs-up at best, but offer no material assistance. Israel cannot support the war publicly for reasons that should be obvious -- it is not supposed to be an Israeli-Arab war. Who, precisely, are these "friends in the region" then?

If I were in Bush's shoes, I would have to ask: OK you folks who said Turkey was with us, are you really sure American troops are going to be welcomed as liberators on the streets of Baghdad? Are you really sure those WMDs are there? Are you really sure why this war needs to be fought?



From 9/11 to Iraq: The Casualties of War Drums | 113 comments (87 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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