I have been thinking about this post for over a week now and I think(I hope) I have finally gotten it down.
First some facts.
1: Iraq invaded Kuwait.
2: The UN made several resolutions condeming the invasion and authorizing the use of military force to expell Iraq from Kuwait.
3: The US, with approval of the UN, remove Iraq from Kuwait. This was done with the support of many Arab nations as well as the international support of the UN.
4: Saddam Hussien surrenderd(sp?) to agreeded conditions from the UN. These conditions included destroying all WMD and all research into these weapons. They also included international inspectors who were to have unlimited access inside the country to find the weapons themselves and the research/manufacturing locations.
5: From the start Saddam has hindered the work of the inspectors. In 1998 the inspectors left.
6: Saddam has used chemical weapons in the past, against both his own people and Iran.
7: Saddam is know to have been working on biological weapons and nukes.
8: Saddam has expressed a desire to destroy the US and has expressed support for the terrorist that attacked our country.
I feel that President Bush is doing exactly the right thing. The UN wants to been seen as the group that will protect smaller countries from the more aggressive ones, but when push comes to shove they do not seem to have the guts to put up. Bush has bascially told the UN that Iraq's defiance of the UN resolutions makes the UN seem like a powerless forum of talking heads. His speech will give cover to most of the European nations, except maybe Germany if Schroeder(sp) get relected. Bush has said that we will go in with out the approval of the UN if we have to, but he would rather go in with it. All he is asking for is the UN to live up to what it has already agreed to. What is the problem with that?
Does the truth that Saddam is willing to use WND against us or Isreal not mean anything? Just because he does not have them now does not mean we do not have an obligation to go in. He may not have a simple way of attacking us, but he does have a large supply of people who are willing to by martyrs.
Who out there does not think that if Saddam had an easy way of getting a nuke into Washington, he would not take it? What type of proof will be acceptible to the naysayers? A devastated city? A world wide outbreak of smallpox?
Let me try and put this clearly. Saddam has the tools or is working on getting them. He has expressed his desire to use them. That should be enough.
[This message has been edited by msquared (edited September 16, 2002).]
[This message has been edited by msquared (edited September 16, 2002).]
I agree with you but you left one very important thing out (in my opinion.) Even if Iraq hadn't dont all these things, the President declared in September of 2001 that those countries who harbor terrorists will be thought of as terrorists themselves (I am not quoting this verbatim) The fact that Iraq harbors and encourages terrorism is enough for me.
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It justifies his removal.
It doesn't justify a first strike war.
Isaac Asimov's Foundation gives the best answer to war that I can think of. "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
Everyone knows Sadaam is a threat. The question is, and always has been, what do we do about him?
The biggest problem has been the lack of direct threat to Sadaam for when he misbehaves. Does he care about the economic embargo? Hell no. Does he care if we kill some of his citizens? Hell no. He cares about power. What the US and UN have failed to do is recognize that IRaq and the Iraqi people mean little to him. What matters is his ability to project force, over whomever he can. He can project force over his people, and has shown his willingness to do so, and can project force over the rest of the world, through terror and direct assault, and has shown his willingness to do so.
Destroying his military won't alleviate his ability to project force, as his primary means of doing so is through the fear and use of WMD, primarily biological and chemical.
THere are two issues. One is the issue of Iraq as a threat. Its not. Iraq's leader is a threat, and the Iraqi people are not truly an enemy of the United States. War, however, is not directed at a regime. War is directed at a nation. Sadaam is the threat, and any military operation we embark upon needs to recognize this distinction.
The second issue is our standing with the Muslim and European nations. Flying in the face of the UN makes us more vulnerable as a nation, as most of the world looks to the UN as a means of accomplishing the ends of peace and global law. If one of the permanent security council members flaunts UN directives, the UN loses some of its cohesive ability. Yes, the UN is weak, yes, there are problems with it. This sort of situation, however, is where it has actual meaning to most of the nations of the world.
You all know I think Unilateralism is bad. I think this for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the isolation it puts a nation into. I believe ignoring the UN will lead to severe problems for the US, and finding a way to remove Sadaam while not destroying our credibility as a world leader is imperative.
However, I think that that way Bush is putting it is that no one can trust the UN if they do not have the guts to back up what they say. If Saddam gets his way, the UN is a sham and should go the way of the Leauge of Nations. Bush is saying that the UN already agrees with us. They did so in 1991 and the resolutions are still in place. If the member nations expect the UN's policeman to help them when it is their turn, they have to help us when it is our turn. We were attacked. Saddam supports the attackers and would do the same if he could. He needs to go. NOW.
[This message has been edited by msquared (edited September 16, 2002).]
By Dafna Linzer Associated Press Writer Monday, September 16, 2002; 6:55 PM
UNITED NATIONS –– Iraq unconditionally accepted the return of U.N. weapons inspectors late Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.
"I can confirm to you that I have received a letter from the Iraqi authorities conveying its decision to allow the return of inspectors without conditions to continue their work."
"There is good news," Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said moments earlier.
Sabri and Arab League chief Amr Moussa met late with Annan and transmitted a letter from the Iraqi government on the inspectors' return.
Under Security Council resolutions, sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait cannot be lifted until U.N. inspectors certify that its weapons of mass destruction have been destroyed. Inspectors left the country four years ago ahead of U.S. and British airstrikes to punish Iraq for not cooperating with inspections.
Since then, Iraq has refused to allow inspectors to return, and the stalemate had split the United States, Britain, Russian, France and China – the five powerful members of the U.N. Security Council.
The turnabout in Iraq, after four years of stalemate, came days after President Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly debate and said that Iraq must comply with Security Council resolutions or face the consequences.
Annan credited Bush late Monday.
"I believe the president's speech galvanized the international community," Annan said.
There was no immediate response from the White House. Top Bush aides huddled after Annan's announcement, preparing a response.
Annan said the Arab league had played a key role in bringing about the Iraqi response.
Annan thanked the league's chief, Amr Moussa of Egypt, "for his strenouous efforts in helping to convince Iraq to allow the return of the inspectors."
The article is available online from the Washington Post. Any thoughts? Personally, I'm reserving judgement until I see a lot more details and inspectors on the ground. Iraq has played this sort of shell game so many times before...
Agreed. Iraq has done this many times before. Which is why, I think, having UN support is so key. Bush made loud noises, Iraq gives in. If they REALLY give in, then it was a good move. Given Sadaam's past, I don't think that he really gave in. If Iraq dodges now, then perhaps we'll have full support for any actions we take.
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Part of the problem for anyone who wants a war is that Saddam isn't actually suicidal. He may be thoroughly unpleasant, but he seems to value staying alive (and in power) more than he would value harming the US. Witness the lack of non-conventional attacks in the Gulf war. Quite probably, had the coalition attempted to take Baghdad, then they would have been used since Saddam would have had nothing else to lose, but the evidence suggests that he is unlikely to use them if it would make the consequences for himself much worse (and of course his previous use of such weapons vs the Kurds and Iran came when he was our ally and not likely to be held accountable for it).
Net result: I have no idea what WMD he has access to, and I really doubt that anyone outside of a few people in Iraq do either. He is very unlikely to use them unless about to be ousted. He is almost certain to try and push the limits of what he can get away with in terms of hiding things whilst still doing enough to avoid an attack aimed at getting rid of him. I'm not building up to any kind of conclusion here, just throwing thoughts around, so don't be holding your breath.
BTW what is the primary motivation for a war with Iraq? Is it to ensure that he isn't a threat (which, given the forces waiting for a reason to pounce, he is very unlikely to be - at least directly), or is it just to get rid of him? I would take some convincing that Iraq is a serious threat to anyone (with WMD or not), mostly because he seems rather reluctant to martyr himself for the 'cause' (what cause would that be anyway?). Saddam not being in power would certainly be a good thing, but I'm not sure that a war with however many people dead, combined with whatever regime then takes control of Iraq, is sufficently better than the alternative to make war justifiable.
quote:I would take some convincing that Iraq is a serious threat to anyone (with WMD or not), mostly because he seems rather reluctant to martyr himself for the 'cause' (what cause would that be anyway?).
I read an article recently that explained that it is the weaker country with WMD versus the stronger country with WMD situation that we saw in India/Pakistan of a few months ago (and the author stated also was the US philosophy during the cold war in Europe). When a weaker country has WMD it can state that any conventional attack will be responded to with WMD. India/Pakistan situation a few months ago was escalating. Both threatening. India, the stronger, backed down. Pakistan did not. Pakistan is more ready and willing (nothing to lose, eh) to use WMD than India who has more conventional means at its disposal. (And the US did not have to numerically meet USSR's number of tanks, etc, in Europe, the author claimed. They could just say that an attack would be responded to.)
Bottom line was that if Saddam got WMD working, he could then hold it over the US's head. He could do what he wanted (relatively speaking) and then say that any conventional military action will be met with a WMD response.
Given Saddam's track record, it was not an unlikely senario. So some argue that he has to be taken out now, before he had such a tool to use.
Hi Guys It has been a long time. Linda and I have been very busy, flying around fifty thousand miles this year already. Hanger Prosthetics is in process of setting up an entire "Pediatric Division" counting on Linda's expertise to train younger prosthetists in fitting small children.
She and I have an "ear-pad-boom mike" intercom system in our bird, so we can chat comfortably over the engine/propeller noise, so we discuss stuff a lot.
This thread right here has turned into an excellent pro-con exam of the issues regarding Iraq/Saddam and I could not resist two cents worth.
Separating Saddam from the Iraqi people might ONLY be accomplished by going right up to the "Line of Departure", (for total attack), and then accepting prisoners of war/refugees with open arms...and ANNOUNCING IT A LOT TO IRAQIS PRIOR TO H-HOUR.
During Desert Storm, one of the biggest hurdles our guys faced, I've heard, was dealing with the virtual herds of prisoners of war. (has anyone here heard about what happened to those bunches of pows? Surely Saddam was miffed with them. Did they go home? Did they WANT to go home and face the fact that they virtually deserted in the face of our attack?)
During WWII a very similar thing was done with the Vichy French in North Africa. They popped a few caps to keep their families in France semi-safe from reprisal, but essentially the landings went in unopposed.
Those Frenchmen faced several points of reality and I think the same points are useful here to accomplish our goals: 1. This landing IS going happen with overwhelming force. 2. If we fight hard we WILL be annihilated. 3. Hitler is a jerk anyway.
I believe that the war, once begun,is won.
More important, every soldier in the ranks in Iraq knows that...even as I write. Their Republican Guard will be carefully targeted and they KNOW they will either surrender or die.
The only viable weapons Saddam has are "boo" weapons. Once combat has begun, their effectiveness evaporates in terms of the outcome of that combat. We will lose some fine young men to those weapons, though not near as many as we would to committed enemy soldiers with conventional weapons.
Our armed forces have been provided with excellent anti-chemical gear, and the biological threat is simply a huge question mark. What we do know is that Saddam's troops will not be protected...and they probably know they will not or cannot be protected once those horrors are released.
If he releases those things...it absolutely guarantees Saddam's own personal death. No pardons, no chance for personal survival. NONE. With biological weapons development, sooner or later an accident will happen. The idiot will infect the world ACCIDENTLY just about as surely as on purpose.
I think we must stop him before he trips over a "super-bug" of some sort and lets it get loose.
In legal terms there are two types of fear. "bare fear" I believe is the kind one may not act upon in self defense. (any attourneys here help me out)
acting upon "real and present fear" if demonstrated, is generally pardonable under the basic right of self defense.
Then there is the gray area. I take the position that I would rather be judged by a jury...in a courtroom...than be killed by whackos in a dark alley on a whim.
"Everyone knows Sadaam is a threat. The question is, and always has been, what do we do about him?"
I have a good friend here where I work who's from Iraq. He was in Baghdad during the Gulf War and he says that when the bombings started and they lost electricity, water, phones, ets., the entire nation was ecstatic because they thought that Saddam would finally be removed from power. People were actually starving to death as a result of the bombings and the collective thought was, "Yes, keep it up as long as Saddam is dead at the end." The Iraqis are a terribly oppressed people and they would worship the invading soldiers if they believed that this time we would finish the job and kill Saddam Hussein.
It seems tragic to me that so many oppressed people would die in the defense of someone they hate so much, and who so obviously doesn't deserve to be defended. My suggestion is to assassinate Saddam Hussein and let an Iraqi rebellion party take the credit for it.
Alternatively, but on the same lines, we could train Iraqi civilians (that's what Special Forces do) to do the dirty work so it would be harder to lay the blame on us if something went wrong.
I honestly don't understand why people are so opposed to assassinating heads of state when it's usually the heads of state who are the cause of most of the problems and their people who fight the battles and suffer the most. I think Macchiavelli would agree. I'll ask him next time he comes to visit.
Someone (probably lots of people) DOES want to assassinate my head of state. The can of worms is already open. That's why all the heads of state have such tight security. Might as well make the can of worms useful.
[This message has been edited by BanderLog (edited September 27, 2002).]
Besides, it's also bad policy to start a full scale war against a country that's not openly an aggressor. I'm just saying that assassinations (which are undoubtedly being used by the US anyway) are a lot more efficient.
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The American paid for Israeli forces already use assasination, with truly little outcry in the US against it. And I'm not sure it's so bad, either, but I don't like the lack of discussion about it.
I also don't think their occupation is oriented much at the goal of "responsible Palestinian" nation-building.
It seems likely to me that the weapons inspectors will be let into Iraq, and see enough to allow the appeasement oriented Europeans to oppose further action. And there won't be found a "smoking gun", an actual weapon. But they won't be allowed to see everything, so Bush will want a war. I'd guess some 2-3 weeks before the Nov. elections.
I do hope Bush asks Congress to declare war.
Assuming the US goes in, conquers Iraq, and does reasonable nation-building. I slightly support it -- Saddam is too scary. (More so than China? Yep) But I ask myself, how many US / Iraqi deaths would be "too many"?
From what I've seen, I get the impression that Bush is a little too trigger happy. He seems to want to wait for some sort of agreement with congress, but he's an idiot for turning his nose up at Europe, Russia, and China.
Everybody, save some Arabs, agree that Saddam is a bad news. No one doubts that he has WMD or could have them whenever he wants. It's just not the right time to do this. This pre-emptive crap is cover up for the fact that this administration has no more ideas for getting rid of terrorism. He needs hardcore proof to start an operation; wait as long as it takes to inspect Iraq, and don't do anything without the UN's approval, otherwise why should anyone else need approval? And why aren't we looking into other countries in the "axis of evil"? Our worst enemy right now is the one we can't see and don't know what it plans, not the one we can see and are capable of retaliating against.
I am personally certain that Saddam has WMD. I don't believe it matters what past administrations have done, it's not Bush's fault Iraq has these weapons, and past mistakes are no reason for the US to leave Iraq alone. The reason not to do this right now is that we have to make the rest of the world happy first. Getting rid of Iraq would be a great accomplishment--but not at the cost of pissing off our friends.
Jon makes a good point about pissing off our "friends" -- but does the US really have any? And is the US the people or the current/ past/ future gov't of the US?
If America asserts its power in any way, the envious, weak Euro has-been powers will not be happy -- and if America doesn't, some among the US critics will happily & inconsistently blame the US for not doing more.
But there is a clear slippery slope towards American Imperialism. We don't want Saddam to have nukes or Anthrax bombs; but what about Iran? Or Saudi Arabia? And it's too late for India & Pakistan, isn't it?
The US will not be a good "world policeman"; even though the world could use a good one.
quote:Isaac Asimov's Foundation gives the best answer to war that I can think of. "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
World War II anyone?
quote:61% of Americans are in favor of starting war with Iraq.
48% of Americans will favor it even if Europe, Russia, and China don't back us up.
"After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad." --President Bush (Source is from ABCNews.com)
That sounds like something only someone as dumb as Bush could say. Is he really thinking when he says that a personal vendetta is involved? This is no way to run a war...
How do you run a war? Was Bush's statement about the attempted assassination factual (from his point of view let us assume)? If so, would have been better for him to say "a former president"? Is it the informal language that bothers you or the fact that he responded to an attempted assassination of a foreign president?
Baldar, that was three weeks ago...so many things have developed since then.
But I'll try to remember the situation at the time as best I can.
My concern was that this statement indicates that Bush has his personal life involved in his decisions regarding Saddam. The fact that he said it out loud speaks to his ineptitude.
If this is a personal issue, I would like my president to recuse himself from leading this battle; I don't trust a man to run a war when he has vengence on the mind.
However, I do trust that his advisors will do a sufficient job, and if he really does have personal issues, they will be set aside. I don't really believe he's attacking Iraq for his father (at least, I'll hold him innocent till I see real proof), but to make a statement which suggests just that shows how stupid Bush really is. I hope his speech writers reprimanded him for that one.
I would take it personally if someone tried to off my president or former president, that includes Bill Clinton. How dare a some up tight Mohammed wannabe try to come after our democracy or former leaders of our democracy.
That being said, I attribute the quote to one of Bush's slip of tongues. While the information is accurate, I wonder if he regretted using those words in public about a man he loves.
I would guess that, if it's a slip, it's so in character that it doesn't matter. Those who already don't like him will use it against him, while those who like him will claim it shows how he is human and normal and "just one of us" (good ol' boys?).
I don't think it's a clever thing to say, and I doubt any advisor told him to say that -- but if not, it IS from his heart. And that matters; the fact that he does have heart.
If he said it and sent the troops in that day, I'd be a LOT more worried.
Iraq lets in the inspectors. They have had 4 years to both develop and hide weapons. They turn over prototypes and abandoned developmental systems willingly. They coopperate fully with the UN inspectors. Has Blix announces that Iraq no longer has WMD systems and is not seeking such weapons. The Sanctions are lifted.
How long before we see a Nuke demonstrated in Iraq?
While everyone seems to be focused on the justifications for diplomacy at this point, no one has wondered what the results of successful UN diplomacy is likely to be. The only reason UN diplomacy is even an option right now is because Irqa ha s been unwilling to submit. If they change tactics and do submit, do they not gain a free hand again to do whatever they want?
I think the only sane thing to do is to kick the biggest Islamic government in the teeth, topple it, and replace it with a model government even if it means a USA occupation of 20 years.
I know both Ev and Baldar have considered the implications of hegemony for Iraq if it does have viable WMD systems. Once they get it, we can kiss both stabillity in the region, what allies we have, and Isreal goodbye.
That's why I wanted inspectors sent in for one last round. But last I heard, Iraq agreed to let in the inspectors (though now everyone's arguing the timetable for it), and in Friday's Newsday I saw the US security council decided to take the diplomatic route for both Iraq and N Korea.
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Red, one problem: it is not an Islamic government. The Islamists can simply point to the fact that a secular, socialist dictatorship fell to the infidel. Not the best example. Again, that's not reason enough NOt to act, but the endgame strikes me as far more complicated than you imply. Mike
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I looked it up because I was curious about Tom's point and I found out you CAN bypass a veto from a permanent security council member if you have nine affirmative votes from the rest.
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To muster up the oomph to overide the US veto to attack the US? *grin* ...First ...it would be entirely un-UNlike in that they for the first time in history took descisive action on something. Secondly ...then they'd be fighting NATO.
Many of the members would literally be forced to attack themselves. Then there would be the issue of getting parts for all their US built weapons.
For a simulation of the ensuing war check out Taiwan's Parliment sessions sometime.
(Where did you find the info on the security council veto issue? I'm not doubting you but I would like to read up more on it)
Actually I believe a single veto cannot be overridden if it is from a permanent member of the security council.
No manipulation regarding the Korean action. Russia was angry and withdrew from the council for a short time (China was not a member), during which period a number of actions were passed (including the UN war in Korea). Russia has since, never again found itself abesent from the meetings.