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Author Topic: Bottom of the 9th Inning in Iraq: US 0 Iran 4
David Ricardo
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(Note, the following questions are directed towarsd supporters of the war in Iraq (or former supporters of the war in Iraq))

1) Who here supported sending our brave men and women into harm's way in Iraq for the purpose of turning Iraq into a democracy?

2) Who here supported sending our brave men and women into harm's way in Iraq for the purpose of establishing an Islamic theocracy sympathetic to Iran there?


Please answer both of these questions is a definite "Yes" or "No." If you want, go ahead and comment on the reasoning behind your answers too.

In return, you can ask me any two "Yes/No" questions regarding my opposition to the war in Iraq, and I will answer them honestly as well.

Sidenote: BTW, these are not really my questions -- in fact, these are the questions prompted by pro-war Bush partisan, senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and National Review Online contributor Andy Kaufman.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_08_21_corner-archive.asp#073754

quote:
the American people were never asked whether they would commit their forces to overseas hostilities for the purpose of turning Iraq into a democracy...I doubt they would have agreed to wage war for the purpose of establishing democracy.

[...]

I am as certain as I am that I am breathing that the American people would not put their brave young men and women in harm’s way for the purpose of establishing an Islamic government. Anyplace.

[...]

And if the United States, in contradiction of its own bedrock principle against government establishment religion, has decided to go into the theocracy business, how in the world is it that Islam is the religion we picked?



[ August 21, 2005, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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Paladine
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David-

See my older thread entitled "American Obligations in the World Today" for my thoughts on the matter, and feel free to bump it.

1. Not exactly. (I supported it for many reasons, one of them being the establishment of a self-determined Iraqi government)

2. Maybe. (Self-determination means just that. They get to decide for themselves. The only thing I'd force upon the future Iraqi government is a respect for basic human rights.)

If the government of Iraq is to be self-determined and representative, we must respect the right of these people to incorporate their religious beliefs into said government on the condition that minority rights are respected.

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RickyB
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Fine, we'll just wait until you can't take it anymore and admit that whatever it is that is happening over there, it ain't what you bargained for, nor what you find acceptable.
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KnightEnder
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1. Yes. But democracy was not the main reason. Removing Iraq's (Saddam's) ability to hurt us was the main reason. Iraq becoming a democracy is simply an extension of that goal. If they become a democracy they are less of a threat to us.

2. No. But unless we are going to continue to occupy their country and govern them, we have to realize they may decide upon a form of government other than a democracy.

KE

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RickyB
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Somehow (and correct me if I'm missing someone here) we managed to "enforce" (or impart, or instill) democracy in each and every country we liberated and occupied following WW2. This includes a country that had a totally religious devotion to its monarch and the monarchical system, and one country whose people were viewed as way too obedient and authoritarian to ever truly become democratic, and whose sole experience with the system was a disaster.

Why is it that this time we're having to settle for less witrh a single country that we invaded at our total leisure?

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KnightEnder
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No MacArthur? (Or anyone even close.)

KE

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Paladine
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quote:
Fine, we'll just wait until you can't take it anymore and admit that whatever it is that is happening over there, it ain't what you bargained for, nor what you find acceptable.
Well, "we" will be waiting quite awhile then. Once I've decided that something's worth waging war over, I don't readily throw my hands up in the air and say that it's "not what I bargained for". It's a war, and I think a good faith effort to do it the best we can is being made.

Does that mean that mistakes haven't been made? Certainly not. They absolutely have. Does that mean that things aren't hard, and that they won't be hard in the future? No way. War's hard, and neither this administration nor I have denied that fact. Why is it so incomprehensible to you that I can believe in a cause in spite of difficulties encountered along the way?


quote:
Somehow (and correct me if I'm missing someone here) we managed to "enforce" (or impart, or instill) democracy in each and every country we liberated and occupied following WW2. This includes a country that had a totally religious devotion to its monarch and the monarchical system, and one country whose people were viewed as way too obedient and authoritarian to ever truly become democratic, and whose sole experience with the system was a disaster.
You're wrong, kind of. Japan still has an Emperor. He's much like the Queen of England, with only ceremonial power. The presence of that figurehead aided Japan's transition to what we would label democratic government. If we'd killed the emperor, Japan would have been another Iraq. Hirohito continued as Emperor until 1989.

Germany and Japan also had distinct cultures. They were nation-states, not just the products of an artifical partition imposed by foreigners. Consequently, it was much more easy to forge a cohesive governmental structure. You didn't have the sort of internal tension that causes problems in Iraq. You also didn't have neighbors sending in masses of terrorists to derail the reconstruction process.

In short, the situations aren't at all analagous, so to compare them is rather silly. No?

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RickyB
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MacArthur accounts for Japan, but we managed to ensure that all of Europe that wasn't in the hands of the Russians became and stayed democratic.
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Paladine
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See above.
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TS Elliot
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Somehow (and correct me if I'm missing someone here) we managed to "enforce" (or impart, or instill) democracy in each (..) we invaded at our otal leisure?


If you think Japan is a democracy, hmmm one could debate that. It's not lacking freedom of speech or such things but it's very monolithic and the LDP never did anything remotely anti-emperor.
And what about Viet Nam?


quote:
Originally posted by Paladine:
2. The only thing I'd force upon the future Iraqi government is a respect for basic human rights.)

Oh, you mean such as are on display in Guantanamo and Abu Graib? Also, if these "basic human rights" or lack thereof are known, then what heinous acts are hidden? Are we sure that there were no illegal executions?
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TS Elliot
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
MacArthur accounts for Japan, but we managed to ensure that all of Europe that wasn't in the hands of the Russians became and stayed democratic.

So, you're factually wrong about at least two cases: Spain and Portugal, they weren't democratic until 1975 and 1974 resp.
And you only half right as to causation. Even though Stalin wasn't that interested in Western Europe (See: Trotzky) I'll give you that one, as protecting us from external threats to democracy. But as to internal threats, we (the non-Germans) managed to stay democratic all on our own, thank you. Not saying that the Marshall plan and military presence was bad.

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Omega M.
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1. No. I supported "sending our brave men and women into harm's way in Iraq for the purpose of" removing Saddam Hussein for failing to verifiably get rid of his weapons of mass destruction.

2. Well, I hope they don't ally with Iran. But if they do, we can consider them innocent until proven guilty. A lot of European countries probably have closer ties to Iran than we in the U.S. do, and we don't consider them enemies. (Though sometimes I say I'd like us to pull out of Iraq and into Syria and Iran, I'm being hyperbolic---I don't see how we can justify attacking a nation that hasn't supported any actual major terrorist attacks against us. Iraq is different because in that case we were ending the first Gulf War, which the rest of the world chose to ignore.)

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RickyB
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We didn't occupy Spain and portugal! Please read before replying, damn!
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Wilson
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1) Yes, I supported our military entering into Iraq for a number of reasons. One of which was to achieve regime change with the hopes that a more representative and democratic government would be in place.

2) No. The goal of entering Iraq was not to establish a Islamic theocracy sympathetic to Iran. However, the possibility of that outcome (and many others) was a known possiblity.


David. My questions to you. Yes or No.


1) Do you believe that the majority of intelligence communities throughout the world indicated that Iraq possessed WMD?

2) If the President elected not to confront Iraq and WMD were later used against our homeland would you have wished our military had acted against Iraq?

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David Ricardo
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Wilson asked:

quote:
1) Do you believe that the majority of intelligence communities throughout the world indicated that Iraq possessed WMD?
No. The majority of intelligence communities throughout the world thought there was a good chance that Iraq possessed WMD, but few if any intelligence communities had hard evidence and proof that Iraq definitely had WMD. In other words, their best guess was that Iraq possessed WMD, but they had flimsy evidence to that respect.

Wilson asked:

quote:
2) If the President elected not to confront Iraq and WMD were later used against our homeland would you have wished our military had acted against Iraq?
Yes. If in an alternate universe Iraq had WMDs and had been foolish enough to use them against the United States homeland, then I would have regretted not invading Iraq. Of course, in this actual reality, it is pretty obvious that Iraq had neither the WMD capability nor the intention to carry out large-scale WMD attacks against the United States.
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RickyB
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Good distinction, David. Add to that the fact that we had inspectors on the ground who were saying unequivocably that they were making progress, and you have a total refutation of the necessity to invade.
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Paladine
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quote:
No. The majority of intelligence communities throughout the world thought there was a good chance that Iraq possessed WMD, but few if any intelligence communities had hard evidence and proof that Iraq definitely had WMD. In other words, their best guess was that Iraq possessed WMD, but they had flimsy evidence to that respect.
quote:
Good distinction, David. Add to that the fact that we had inspectors on the ground who were saying unequivocably that they were making progress, and you have a total refutation of the necessity to invade.
We knew that Saddam possessed X WMD. According to even the most liberal of estimates, 90-95% of said WMD were accounted for and destroyed. 5-10% were not. Inspectors were denied access to a multitude of "Presidential Palaces", some of which were the size of the city of London. Inspectors were frequently granted only partial access, and arial satellites showed trucks arriving and leaving at locations where WMD were suspected to be prior to inspections.

The inspectors weren't there to run around like headless chickens searching every square inch of Saddam's sandpit. He was supposed to account for all of his WMD and destroy them, and he didn't do that. Instead he basically said "I lost them".

That excuse doesn't work in elementary school, and it certainly doesn't work if you're the leader of a rogue state talking about dangerous, ghastly weapons which you've used in the past against your own people. As it turns out, maybe he really did actually lose them, but believing that man entailed taking a risk we were unable to take.

quote:
Of course, in this actual reality, it is pretty obvious that Iraq had neither the WMD capability nor the intention to carry out large-scale WMD attacks against the United States.
(emphasis mine)

The second part of that statement is just demonstrably false. For someone who searches the world for articles about the Iraq War, this statement reveals a woeful amount of ignorance with respect to the Kay Report. The intention certainly was there.

Edited for HTML

[ August 22, 2005, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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RickyB
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Look, possessed doesn't mean "ever possessed". It means "operatively possessed at the time. Of course it doesn't mean "did he ever have it" or even "did he at any point have both the WMD and delivery capability".

Of course he did. But not as of 2002 he didn't. That's just a dishonest rhetorical trick - to take a perfectly clear shorthand term and supposedly prove it false because in shorthand form it doesn't spell out the caveats of the definiton. That's bullshyt.

When Wilson asks "Do you believe that the majority of intelligence communities throughout the world indicated that Iraq possessed WMD?" I take it to mean "possessed at the specific time frame immediately preceding the war, AND outside the eventual reach of the inspectors whom we had on the ground".

Otherwise it's meaningless. You cannot have a big showdown with someone, force them to accept terms, and then decide that those terms aren't enough and go berserk on them anyway. You can't force a guy to kiss your feet or else you'll kick his face in, then kick him anyway despite the fact that your toes are reporting that they feel his lips. Not if you want to be regarded as anything but a bully. (of cours,e forcing a guy to kiss your feet already makes you a bully, but I believe my point is clear...)

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Wilson
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Look, possessed doesn't mean "ever possessed". It means "operatively possessed at the time. Of course it doesn't mean "did he ever have it" or even "did he at any point have both the WMD and delivery capability".

Of course he did. But not as of 2002 he didn't. That's just a dishonest rhetorical trick - to take a perfectly clear shorthand term and supposedly prove it false because in shorthand form it doesn't spell out the caveats of the definiton. That's bullshyt.

When Wilson asks "Do you believe that the majority of intelligence communities throughout the world indicated that Iraq possessed WMD ?" I take it to mean "possessed at the specific time frame immediately preceding the war , AND outside the eventual reach of the inspectors whom we had on the ground".

Otherwise it's meaningless. You cannot have a big showdown with someone, force them to accept terms, and then decide that those terms aren't enough and go berserk on them anyway. You can't force a guy to kiss your feet or else you'll kick his face in, then kick him anyway despite the fact that your toes are reporting that they feel his lips. Not if you want to be regarded as anything but a bully. (of cours,e forcing a guy to kiss your feet already makes you a bully, but I believe my point is clear...)

Ricky:
I was referring to the almost universal belief that Iraq possessed WMD at the time the President, majority members of congress (republicans and democrats) and the general public favored U.S. miltary action to achieve regime change in Iraq. Of course this is true. If not, why would all these nations support inspections, sanctions and serious actions against Iraq if their intelligence agencies revealed no WMD?

I am pleased to see that David agrees with me that a majority of intelligence agencies around the world believed, as the President did, that Iraq possessed WMD and that military preemptive action is desirable in certain situations. We can debate the level of certainty that must be met prior to action being taken, but at least we have a starting point.

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RickyB
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"If not, why would all these nations support inspections"

You make my point. In 2002, Bush threatened military action if Saddam didn't let the inspectors back in. That was most justified. BUT HE DID LET THEM BACK IN. And the inspectors themselves, including American ones, were saying that Saddam was by and large complying. That they were getting the job done.

At that point, WMD ceased to be a casus belli, until such time that the inspections be proven ineffective. They were not, and Bush saying that Saddam wasn't complying, when the inspectors were saying he was, doesn't cut it.

Yes, intelligence agencies around the world believed that there were WMD to be found in Iraq, in some form or other. However, since we threatened war if a certain mechanism to ascertain this wasn't introduced, and since this mechanism was introduced, was controlled by us and was reporting that things were going well, we lost our casus belli. Bush, having already decided to go to war regardless of any real WMD threat, should have found another clever demand that Saddam would have balked at.

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Wilson
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I will let the resolution speak for itself...and let you debate which one of these items Iraq violated resulting in serious consequences.


UNSCR 1441 - November 8, 2002

-- Found that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its disarmament obligations.

-- Gave Iraq a final opportunity to comply.

-- Demanded that Iraq submit a currently accurate, full and complete declaration of its weapons of mass destruction and related programs within 30 days.

-- Demanded that Iraq cooperate immediately, unconditionally and actively with the UN inspections.

-- Decided that false statements or omissions in Iraq's declarations and failure by Iraq at any time to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of this resolution would constitute further material breach.

-- Recalls that the Security Council has repeatedly warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations.

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The Drake
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Saddam made an art form of complying partially and hinting that he still had wmd while declaring that he did not have them. His own generals thought that other units in the army had chemical rounds. There are a number of theories as to why he handled things this way - most suggest that it was to retain the deterrent effect, others think it was to show defiance. He never documented the destruction of those materials, and that remains true today as far as I know.

You can't really search a whole country with inspectors. You have to believe that the people in charge of that country are making a good faith effort to disarm. This has its parallels with the IRA, and that's just about verifying the disposal of small arms.

It demands the verifiable destruction of such weapons, which never happened for whatever reasons.

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RickyB
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Yes, and we had inspectors on the ground telling us "pay no attention to the face-saving bluster. We're getting the job done".

As for "It demands the verifiable destruction of such weapons, which never happened for whatever reasons." - that's because we stopped the work in mid process! Much of the stuff was already under UN seal when we invaded - then we let looters get it!

If you can't search a country with inspectors, why ask for them? If you won't listen to the inspectors themselves, why employ them? Bush had already dedcided to go to war for geo-political reasons. He made the error of not really trying to win the PR war, and it's costing us ever since.

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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
If you can't search a country with inspectors, why ask for them?

To perform the verification work and assess the level of cooperation received.

quote:
If you won't listen to the inspectors themselves, why employ them?
A gatherer of information is not always the best person to be a decision maker.

quote:
Bush had already dedcided to go to war for geo-political reasons. He made the error of not really trying to win the PR war, and it's costing us ever since.
Quite likely. It is entirely possible that we predicted every action that Saddam took, including his I'm sort-of-cooperating ambiguity. I don't know about not really trying to win the PR war, but demonstrably they didn't win it regardless of how hard they tried.
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Godot
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Bush decided from day one to "get Saddam" (read "The Price Of Loyalty" by Paul O'Neill).

All that followed was just throwing stuff against the wall till something sticks.

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Paladine
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quote:
Look, possessed doesn't mean "ever possessed". It means "operatively possessed at the time. Of course it doesn't mean "did he ever have it" or even "did he at any point have both the WMD and delivery capability".

Of course he did. But not as of 2002 he didn't. That's just a dishonest rhetorical trick - to take a perfectly clear shorthand term and supposedly prove it false because in shorthand form it doesn't spell out the caveats of the definiton. That's bullshyt.

It's not a "dishonest rhetorical trick". Show me where I'm going wrong.

1. We know that Saddam at one time had WMD.
2. Saddam was supposed to give account for and destroy every bit of the stuff.
3. A significant amount (5-10%) of his stockpile was unaccounted for.
4. Accordingly, we must logically conclude that he still has the stuff and not that he "lost" it. The vast majority of the international intelligence community was in agreement on the above at the time of the invasion. Sending a few guys around to "search" a country the size of Texas (except for a few big parts) when they're mostly announcing their visits ahead of time, occasionally being denied access, and generally announcing their visits ahead of time doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either.

Let's say Saddam were to have 250 air-conditioner sized units of chemical/biological weapons. You really think these guys could find them in a country the size of Iraq? I'm a bit dubious.

1-3 are all matters of plain fact, and 4 seems to me to be a matter of plain logic.


Edited to Add: Yeah Godot, it was all a Bush conspiracy. Nevermind that Clinton was the one who first made the WMD case against Iraq or that Clinton was the first one to make regime change in Iraq a policy goal of the United States government. Bush just cooked the case up. [Roll Eyes]

[ August 22, 2005, 07:49 PM: Message edited by: Paladine ]

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TS Elliot
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
MacArthur accounts for Japan, but we managed to ensure that all of Europe that wasn't in the hands of the Russians became and stayed democratic.

So, you're factually wrong about at least two cases: Spain and Portugal, they weren't democratic until 1975 and 1974 resp.
quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
We didn't occupy Spain and portugal! Please read before replying, damn!

Then don't say ALL of Europe, hot damn! ...

And furhtermore, I propose that we don't get all harsh and agressive and stuff.

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Wilson
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I was hoping this discussion would not deteriorate into a political partisan mud slinging, but unfortunately the conspiracy hounds who claim the war is the result of one mans secret plot to remove Saddam could not resist that temptation. How convenient that the following individuals are somehow spared with that theory.


"I will be voting to give the President the Authority to USE FORCE to DISARMHussein because I believe that a DEADLY Arsenal of WMD?s in his hands is a Grave Threat to our Security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA)

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and willlikely have nuclear weapons within the next five years." Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV)

"He has systematically violated every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity." Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA)

"Saddam has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members.? Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY)

?It is clear that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY)

?Saddam would resort to chemical and biological weapons against our troops in a desperate -attempt to save his regime if he believes he and his regime are ultimately threatened.? Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

"Saddam Hussein used chemical and biological weapons. He disregarded UN resolutions. His forces fire on American jets. And he has the potential to develop and deploy nuclear weapons." Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL)

?To dismantle Saddam Hussein?s WMDs, the U.N. must interview relevant persons securely. That could be the only way to obtain truthful information about Saddam?s weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Joseph Biden

"We are in possession of compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL)

"We need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA)

"With respect to Saddam Hussein and the threat he presents, we must ask ourselves a simple question: Why? Why is Saddam Hussein pursuing weapons that most nations have agreed to limit or give up? Why is Saddam Hussein guilty of breaking his own cease-fire agreement with the international community? Why is Saddam Hussein attempting to develop nuclear weapons when most nations don't even try, and responsible nations that have them attempt to limit their potential for disaster? Why did Saddam Hussein threaten and provoke? Why does he develop missiles that exceed allowable limits? Why did Saddam Hussein lie and deceive the inspection teams previously? Why did Saddam Hussein not account for all of the weapons of mass destruction which UNSCOM identified? Why is he seeking to develop unmanned airborne vehicles for delivery of biological agents?" Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA)

?Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal."

?Iraq has continued to seek nuclear weapons and develop its arsenal in defiance of the collective will of the international community, as expressed through the United Nations Security Council. It is violating the terms of the 1991 cease-fire that ended the Gulf war and as many as 16 Security Council resolutions, including 11 resolutions concerning Iraq?s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction." ? Congressional Record Sen. John Edwards

"In the next century, the community of nations may see more and more the very kind of threat Iraq poses now a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed."- President Clinton

"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity, even in the face of a clear message from the United Nations Security Council and clear evidence of a weapons of mass destruction program"-President Clinton


Now if you conspiracy theorist want to describe the motivations of these individuals to participate in such an endeavor I would be most impressed.

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The Drake
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Funny, Wilson, it seems that you're fighting partisanship with massive partisanship. Not too effective, maybe...
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Wilson
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
Funny, Wilson, it seems that you're fighting partisanship with massive partisanship. Not too effective, maybe...

Drake, I have offered the conspiracy theorist the opportunity to explain these comments, because they come from opponents of the man they blame for the war in Iraq. I could easily have added comments made by political allies of the President, however, those comments do not necessarily challenge the assertion of a conspiracy.

You may not find the fact that political opponents of the President agreeing with his threat assessment of Iraq, prior to the war, is relevant in disputing a conspiracy, but I do.

I respect many arguments for opposing the war, but the conspiracy theorist will never be credible unless they address why these individuals would participate or facilitate such a thing.

Would you like to explain these statements or just question why they were brought up?

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RickyB
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Yeah, TS, but I originally specified the countries that we occupied.

Wilson - dates will be useful. If memory serves, that vote was just before Saddam capitulated on the inspectors issue.

Also, just because some Democrat was also an ass doesn't change the fact. "If left unchecked" - Saddam wasn't "unchecked" since 1991.

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Wilson
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Yeah, TS, but I originally specified the countries that we occupied.

Wilson - dates will be useful. If memory serves, that vote was just before Saddam capitulated on the inspectors issue.

Also, just because some Democrat was also an ass doesn't change the fact. "If left unchecked" - Saddam wasn't "unchecked" since 1991.

RickyB - Rather than date each comment, lets just assume they were all made in a time frame that occurred significantly prior to the war. If that were the case where is the correction, retraction or revision to these statements before men and woman were placed in harms way? I asked that because I searched for those quotes as well, with no success. I think the virtual silence by these individuals to this date indicates they either knowingly participated in the "conspiracy" or unknowingly believed flawed intelligence reports as the president did.

I agree with you that finding political rivals of the president that agreed the faulty threat assessment does not correct the error of those assessments. However, it does refute the assertion that a conspiracy perpetrated by the administration occurred.

My personal belief is that the president and his political opponents who favored the invasion of Iraq utilized the best information available to them at that time. History will determine how much of that information was erroneous and what effect regime change in Iraq will have in the future.

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RickyB
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Wilson, I grant you that there was widespread concern about Iraq's WMD programs. However, since thae war started a myriad of documents and testimony has made it clear for all who would see that the president and his inner circle had decided to go to war long before March 2003, and were simply building a case for what they had already decided to do. Having chosen the WMD issue, by their own admission, because it was the issue most people could agree on, they refused to show any flexibility once conditions on the ground changed.

Drastically underestimating the need for widespread support for the war, and refusing to consider the possibility that their predictions be proven wrong. Even Card, who is so vehement in his support for this war, has a great line in the last Bean book - "that which you figure could never happen, but would destroy you if it did anyway, is what you must prepare for". Having decided to go to war, they issued an ultimatum, figuring if it was refused they'd have a legit reason to attack - which they would! But they totally neglected to plan for the eventuality that Saddam would cave, So they behaved as though he didn't. Too many people and countries didn't buy it, and thus we were left to field 90% of the forces, rather than have a truer alliance.

Had Saddam been foolish and refused to let the inspectors back in I would have backed the invasion (though not the idiotic way the war has been handled since). But for the admin. to simply ignore the fact that its ultimatum had been met and invade anyway, brushing aside the objections of the very inspectors it threatened war to introduce - that was the height of arrogance, of bullying. It's naked aggression.

By the way, this failure to plan for "what you don't believe could happen but would screw you if it did" was displayed even more clearly in the post-war phase. No planning was done for the scenario in which the Iraqis DON'T greet us as liberators and everything turns up roses after the fall of Saddam.

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Wilson
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Ricky, I agree with you that the President and his administration were considering the possibility of military action in Iraq prior to 2003. After all they were warned by the previous administration prior to entering office that Iraq posed a serious threat. The goal of regime change in Iraq was the goal of the United States since 1998 when H.R. 4655, the Iraq Liberation Act, was signed into law by President Clinton. Again, I think President Clinton signed this law based on the belief that Iraq posed a serious threat.

I disagree with your assertion that Iraq had complied with the ultimatum given him through UN Resolution 1441 in November 2002. The only changes on the ground that occurred since the resolution was permitting inspectors back into the country without access to requested locations. Not allowing full unfettered access to all areas is laughable.

I share your regret about the "post war phase" as I am sure the professional military personnel who planned and implemented the war feel similarly. After action reports on this war will be similar to most conflicts in that accomplishments and failures will be documented.

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The Drake
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Ricky, do you really think that there would be any scenario where the inspectors would not advocate for continued inspections? A point at which Hans Blix would say - ok, go get 'em America?

The factual information supplied by the inspectors was taken into account, it is their opinions that were suspect.

As for SH not being a threat, he certainly was a threat in the Middle East to American interests, American allies and American citizens living in the area. He funded terrorism, though not 9/11 - it was still terrorism including the PLF and Abu Nidal. He engineered a plot to kill a US head of state.

As for failure to plan, I doubt very much that Pentagon planners failed to anticipate that it was possible that they would remain under fire in a guerilla action. I think that they might have assigned it a low priority. But remember that they were prepared for lots of other unlikely scenarios - including the loss of thousands of troops in the initial days of the invasion.

Also, what would they have done differently? It would have taken another year to train up significant infantry divisions, uparmor vehicles, etc. I think they probably weighed the likelihood of poor outcomes against the costs involved in delaying.

As far as SH caving, when did that happen? He stayed pretty belligerent in my book. Running every deadline to the limit. Even refusing to destroy those missiles that the inspectors declared illegal - which was as late as February 2003.


Remember this gem?

Rice: Bush won't back down on Iraq

quote:
Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Lafitte cited the discovery and destruction last week of 10 artillery shells filled with mustard gas -- cataloged by previous inspection teams but not destroyed before they left Iraq in 1998 -- and a report that declared that Iraq's Al Samoud 2 missiles were not in compliance with U.N. rules and must be destroyed.

The Iraqis responded that they would not destroy the missiles after the report found that they exceeded the allowable range of 93 miles (150 kilometers) by about 18 miles (30 kilometers).

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz scoffed at the idea, saying the missiles were not capable of reaching "any country around Iraq."

That's not bad intelligence or US bullying, that's from the inspection teams. Notice that they had to be "discovered" - Iraq didn't offer them up voluntarily.
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RickyB
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Sure. I totally believe there could be a scenario where they said "um, we're not really getting anywhere here". They didn't.

SH was not a threat. He was a nuissance. Not every nuissance is worth taking out with a sledgehammer - as we are still learning.

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Pete at Home
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Iraq's becoming a democracy was, IMO a chief goal of the invasion, since the overall purpose obviously was to destabilize tyrrany generally in the Middle East.

And yes, Iran is winning at this point in the game. But I'd set the score at US 3, Iran 5. As usual David ignores the US accomplishments: the actual fall of Saddam, and the spectacular symbol of the election, and the response in Lebanon. Fortunately there's no time limit set on this game, unless we impose it ourselves, or accept someone else's imposition. There's no inning limit, and there is no referee, because this is not a game.

[ August 23, 2005, 02:31 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
Sure. I totally believe there could be a scenario where they said "um, we're not really getting anywhere here". They didn't.

SH was not a threat. He was a nuissance. Not every nuissance is worth taking out with a sledgehammer - as we are still learning.

The last time this happen, they packed up and left, and we let Saddam sit with his sanctions for three years. Are you sure the inspection team would say "Go get em boys"?
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by The Drake:
Funny, Wilson, it seems that you're fighting partisanship with massive partisanship. Not too effective, maybe...

I thought that his list of quotes from Democrats who supported the war was quite effective, and anti-partisan rather than partisan. To me it says, look, we started out in this altogether, and if we erred, we did so together.
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The Drake
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There have been a couple of reactions to my partisanship statement, so I'll take just a minute to address it.

None of those quotes refute the argument that there was a pre-determination of invasion on the part of the administration. It merely shows that some agreed with the threat evaluation, and authorized force.

It also doesn't mean that they agreed with the timing of the invasion, as has been pointed out.

I probably reacted most to the characterization of people who believed there was a pre-determination as conspiracy theorists. That's the sort of rhetoric that normally comes from strong partisans. Personally, I can't imagine a responsible administration that wouldn't be trying to figure out how to curb or eliminate Saddam's power. It's not much of a conspiracy when it is stated US policy to remove the guy.

The question still remains on how best to go about that. For some people, going to war would have been fine with them IF the UNSC had explicitly sanctioned it. For others, it would only have been ok if we had positive proof of lots of WMD. For others, there's no reason for us to even show our faces in the Middle East, and we should have lifted the sanctions and embargo and gone home.

And I'm a supporter of the war, but it doesn't mean that I don't think there are valid questions about the motivations, timing, and execution of the invasion.

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