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Four UN aid workers killed in attacks on Afghanistan

October 9, 2001 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Four UN aid workers killed in attacks on Afghanistan
I am surprised this hasn't posted yet. Has ennui settled in already?
posted by mapalm (86 comments total)

 
I thought those "smart bombs" would have become a little smarter since the Gulf War. Guess not.
posted by laz-e-boy at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2001


This is sad, but part of the price we have to pay to defend freedom.

Although it's hard for some to see right now, in the end, many more lives will be improved by the action the US is taking then will be damaged.
posted by nobody_knose at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2001


War is Hell.
posted by nofundy at 8:31 AM on October 9, 2001


nobody_knose:

That's what Madeline Albright said when asked about 540,000 Iraqi dead children uptil now.

The price is only right if its not one of us who's dying.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:31 AM on October 9, 2001


It is sad. It will be sadder still when our boys and girls start getting killed in this.

I was at JFK Airport waiting on a flight years ago, during the Gulf War. The TV was on a local station, reporting about a boy from Newark who'd been killed when his humvee hit a mine. This was a typical TV thing - stick a camera in the grieving mother's face :"YOUR SON IS DEAD. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!!!" Her reaction was so predictable - you had to loath the TV people who were intruding into her life. I mean, what the heck was she going to say?

There was a French man there waiting on the same plane. He said something I found very insightful:

"The causalities of this war have been very, very low, lower than anyone could have dreamed. But for that poor woman, her little boy is dead, and the casualties are one hundred percent."
posted by argon405 at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2001


Sorry, nobody, I don't buy it.

First, "we" aren't paying any price. The poor in Afghanistan are.

Second, I do not accept that this is about "defending freedom." If that were so, why does the US continue to support dictatorial and/or repressive regimes throughout the world, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt to Israel to Pakistan to Indonesia to Sudan?

And third, whose lives exactly will be improved? The Afghanis, who will now be living in that much more rubble, left to the devices of the questionable Northern Alliance once the US decides to pack it in? No, this is about making lives better for Americans, meaning, creating a world safe for its citizens to continue their myopic living, oblivious to the plight of the majority of the world, and clueless as to the connections between global poverty and America's high standard of living.
posted by mapalm at 8:36 AM on October 9, 2001


Yeah, I'm disgusted that those "smart bombs" failed to recognize that those poor UN guys weren't the enemy.

Bah. When are some folks going to realize that people die in war? Yes, even the "good guys" who happen to be too dedicated or just too stupid to get the hell out of dodge when given the chance.

For those of you worried about non-combatant casualties, compare these approaches to the current struggle:
U.S.: minimize (not totally eliminate) civilian casualties
Al-Queda/Bin Laden: Maximize civilian casualties

Now, which is the morally better approach?
posted by CRS at 8:36 AM on October 9, 2001


Now, which is the morally better approach?
America lost the moral high ground decades ago, when it started overthrowing democratically elected governments (Chile, Guatemala), bombing indiscriminately (Vietnam, Iraq), and getting into bed with brutal dictators (Somoza of Nicaragua, Suharto of Indonesia, Pinochet of Chile).

The world is not ignorant. They have memories. When bombs from American planes come raining down once again, they have no illusions that it has anything to do with "freedom."
posted by mapalm at 8:43 AM on October 9, 2001


Smart bombs will hit whatever they are programmed to hit quite accurately. If smart bombs are programmed to hit the wrong target, they're gonna hit them just as hard as correct targets. Your case about the accuracy of smart bombs is better argued about the potential for human error involved in the process.
posted by Hankins at 8:46 AM on October 9, 2001


Has ennui settled in already?

How many deaths in Afghanistan yesterday that were not bombing related?
posted by bjgeiger at 8:47 AM on October 9, 2001


And third, whose lives exactly will be improved? The Afghanis, who will now be living in that much more rubble, left to the devices of the questionable Northern Alliance once the US decides to pack it in? No, this is about making lives better for Americans, meaning, creating a world safe for its citizens to continue their myopic living, oblivious to the plight of the majority of the world, and clueless as to the connections between global poverty and America's high standard of living.

Your right. Its better we leave the Afghan people alone and allow the Taliban government to kill them based on their holy rules. And allow mass-murders like Bin Landen and the Al Quieda to get away with murder.

A few innocents are killed right now. And it's sad. That's the price of war. Nobody wants war or death. But everyone is working towards a better long-term situation.

I'm sure that innocent Jews were killed during the liberation of the Nazi camps. It was an era WAY before smart-bombs, right? But not doing anything and allowing murderers to run free only result in one thing. More murderers...

Kill a few to save the many. That's the basic idea behind chemotherapy and cancer treatment also, you know. And until there is a better way then there is really no other choice.
posted by RoyalJack at 8:54 AM on October 9, 2001


I like the idea that it's ok to kill people if you don't mean it. Like, if I go into a crowded street and randomly shoot a gun, people wont mind so much that I kill them, cause I didn't MEAN to kill them.
Maybe we should consider options other than war?
posted by Doug at 8:55 AM on October 9, 2001


the us is attacking a country without trying to negotiate.
the no-negotiation stance is a 'hardline' one.
hardliners are more akin to fanatics than anyone.
it is indeed a sad day for humankind when the richest nation attacks the poorest.

i think of it as equivalent to a bout between mike tyson and a mexican street urchin, aged 9. with all the fatcats and denigrators of the human spirit cheering tyson.

smart bombs miss 20% of the time, not due to human error. would you pay $2mill a go for this kind of success ratio?

the taleban are pretty bad at being human. that does not mean that by bombing them you can be better than them.
posted by asok at 8:56 AM on October 9, 2001


RoyalJack:
I have seen your endless posts, and I will not engage with you.
posted by mapalm at 8:57 AM on October 9, 2001


adnanbwp : please, enough with the stuff about dead Iraqi children -- people in Iraq are dying because their leader has decided to spend his oil money on guns instead of butter and medicine.
posted by nobody_knose at 9:05 AM on October 9, 2001


Just because you don't agree with U.S. policy doesn't mean that everything the U.S. does is inherently evil. Afghanistan's ruling regime has supported terrorists. The fact that bin Laden is among their military leaders is proof enough of that.

Right now, you can look at the civilian casualty figures for the current conflict to compare the two sides:

U.S. induced non-combatant casualties: around 50
Taliban-supported terrorist induced: around 5000
posted by CRS at 9:10 AM on October 9, 2001


Doug: all i can say is "huh?!?" your analogy is absurd and puzzling.
posted by nobody_knose at 9:12 AM on October 9, 2001


I like the idea that it's ok to kill people if you don't mean it. Like, if I go into a crowded street and randomly shoot a gun, people wont mind so much that I kill them, cause I didn't MEAN to kill them.

That analogy is very off. The US and allied forces are not going "into a crowded street and randomly shooting a gun". The US and allied forced are in Afghanistan with the purpose of hunting down a known murderer and terrorist who has been given multiple chances to surrender and whose response is to simply murder more innocents and threaten more.

As CRS pointed out, the goal of Bin Laden and the Al Queda is to kill and terrorize non-Muslims and eliminate them from the face of the earth. The goal of the US and alllied forces is to stop the terrorism that spawns from them and end the murders they have directly--and admittedly--have caused.

A better analogy would be a cop who is running into a crowded street to stop someone who is hurting others, but accindentally hurts innocents around him. The goal is to not hurt innocents. The goal is to stop someone who is blatantly hurting others. And while an innocent civilian being hurt is never good, that's sometimes the hard choice you have to make.

Much like the passengers on the plane that crashed in Pittsburgh who knew they were going to die, but them decided to attack the hijaakers to stop the insanity.

Maybe we should consider options other than war?

Like what options? Wearing t-shirts with harsh statements against Bin Laden on them. How about bake-sale to stop hate and terror?
posted by RoyalJack at 9:17 AM on October 9, 2001


mapalm you are right on the money about the "defending freedom", that line of agitprop makes my skin craw.. Thanks for putting it so succinctly. At least we haven't yet heard made up stories of incubators being unplugged like we had during the Gulf War.
posted by archeopterix at 9:18 AM on October 9, 2001


mapalm, i can't argue with your concern for the world's poor, I share it. However, the 20th century's socialist experiments have confirmed that the thing to do where one man has two cows and one man has no cows is not to leave both men with no cows, but to ignore the inequality and just produce more cows, i.e. one man now has 6 cows and one man has 2 cows. Now the inequality has even increased, but the guy with 2 cows is a lot better off than he was. The world is not poor because the US is rich.

Our four Afghan mine clearers-requiescat in pacem my friends-I am truly sorry.

We dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945-less than thirty years later we were running trade deficits with them.
It's too soon to retreat into cynicism.
posted by quercus at 9:20 AM on October 9, 2001


RoyalJack: I have seen your endless posts, and I will not engage with you.

mapalm: Thanks for not enaging me by posting a note engaging me telling me you are not engaging me. You're simply proving that the only thing you can do is rant and yell and not provide any real alternatives to anything that is happening. Please continue stare at your bellybutton and call the people who are defending your life war mongers. What have you done--other than rant--to help anything in the middle of this situation? You know there's a need for volunteers and aid, and judging by your posts the only thing you seem capable of doing is yell and rant.
posted by RoyalJack at 9:21 AM on October 9, 2001


First, "we" aren't paying any price. The poor in Afghanistan are.

"We" aren't? What would you call the attacks on 9/11? I say we paid the price. And we should retaliate. Nobody, you're 100% right: the Iraqi children are casualties of Saddam Hussain, just as the suffering of the Afghani people are caused by the Taliban.

As far as the main point of this post, think of how many innocent people the Taliban were killing before US got involved. Was that ok? This is a just cause. This truly is battle of wrong and right, good and evil (the Taliban are the wrong and evil, in case you were wondering). If the Taliban doesn't deserved to be punished (and removed from power), who does?
posted by Rastafari at 9:25 AM on October 9, 2001


As far as the main point of this post, think of how many innocent people the Taliban were killing before US got involved. Was that ok? This is a just cause. This truly is battle of wrong and right, good and evil (the Taliban are the wrong and evil, in case you were wondering). If the Taliban doesn't deserved to be punished (and removed from power), who does?

Rastafari: Totally agree with you, but I think I found a solution to going to war with Bin Laden.

I think I'll bake some cookies that say "Osama Bin Laden Sucks!" and hope that Osama sees them. And then he'll know that we hate him, and we should stop.

I think that was the plan prior to D-Day with Hitler. But I think those were "I Hate Hitler" brownies.
posted by RoyalJack at 9:32 AM on October 9, 2001


Royal, LOL!
posted by Rastafari at 9:40 AM on October 9, 2001


Don't forget the 'Saddam Hussein Is A Stinky Poo-Poo Head' carrot cake.
posted by darukaru at 10:11 AM on October 9, 2001


How easy it is for us to hypocritically rationalize our own murder of civilians.

Bin Laden and/or any "terrorist" says: "It is unfortunate that those civilians in New York must die, but this is jihad. It will ultimately bring justice, peace, and a chicken in every pot for our brothers in Palestine. We seek a better world."

Bush and/or any "reactionary" says: "It sucks that those poor people in Afghanistan and elsewhere must die, but war is hell. It will ultimately bring security, justice, plenty of gas for our SUVs, and a 27 percent return via the stock market. We seek a better world."

Bin Laden: "They fired the first shots in Palestine and elsewhere. We are the injured party. God is great."

Bush: "They tore down our towers and we were just sitting here, counting our oil profits, minding our own business (absolutely blameless I tell you!). God Ble$$ America."

Viva le difference. Right.

And Bush and Bin Laden R us (gasp!) If we think that we, sitting so comfortably behind our keyboards at this moment, are really any different than these so-called "terrorists" or our own "hired killers", then we don't really understand or look deeply into ourselves. People all over the world are calling for more and more blood.

During the height of the slaughter of Vietnamese and Americans in the Vietnam war, someone asked a certain diminutive gentleman named Suzuki Roshi "What is war?"

At that particular time, with Buddhists monks setting themselves on fire in Vietnam in protest, the students held their breath, anticipating a ringing denunciation of "imperialism" or "communism" or "capitalism" or maybe even "terrorism".

Suzuki Roshi pointed to the large woven mat that his students sat upon. "When the mat wrinkles, you smooth the fold toward your neighbor....who pushes it back toward you."

War...murder...is within each of us. The Air Force captain pushing a button over Kabul is no different than the hijacker rolling out of a hard left banked turn over Manhattan is no different than the politician signing the order to deny food, medicine and clean drinking water to children in a "sanctioned" country.

But let us work towards the peace that is also within each of us, what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." Taking life, whether with hijacked jetliner, or with "smart bomb", or just with "sanction", is merely murder.

More murder will not bring justice, or security, or peace to the world.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2001


Eew. The words "carrot cake" and "stinky poo-poo" should never be in the same sentence.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:13 AM on October 9, 2001


Whenever we receive photos and stories of civilian casualties in afghanistan, we should first consider the likelihood that the taliban would murder their own people and blame it on the US.

I, for one, fully believe that if there are no US-caused civilian casualties, some will be invented.
posted by yesster at 10:16 AM on October 9, 2001


nobody_knose: "people in Iraq are dying because their leader has decided to spend his oil money on guns instead of butter and medicine"
And, assuming for a moment this is true, why would the leader of Iraq feel the need to spend money on national defense to such a degree? Maybe because his country is continually reminded through foreign policy and actual frequent bombing that the US may turn its attention to them once again and start attacking in earnest? Obviously, any leader who lets his people starve is wrong, but let's not pretend that Saddam Hussein is hoarding weapons on a whim, or that previous US policy has had no part to play in the current state of Iraq.
posted by jess at 10:17 AM on October 9, 2001


I think I'll bake some cookies that say "Osama Bin Laden Sucks!" and hope that Osama sees them. And then he'll know that we hate him, and we should stop.

One imagines a cooler head somewhere in Afghanistan sidling up to Bin Laden and saying: "Couldn't we do something short of blowing up thousands of people? How about just baking some cookies that say "We Hate America"?"

Bin Laden: "Sure, but mix some anthrax in the batter."

Now America IS having a bake sale. Let us all know how ours makes more sense than theirs.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:18 AM on October 9, 2001


Oh, cmon. Some things you do right, and some things you cock up. Why the hell can't we just accept that there will be a few screwups in this campaign? We're placing incredibly high demands on the Military.



If the death of all those children is really Saddam's fault, why aren't we doing anything about it like we are with the Taleban, and why are the rest of the civilised west still blaming it on us? Oh, and btw, our 'Allies', the Northern Alliance, are equally evil as the Taleban are.
posted by Jongo at 10:20 AM on October 9, 2001


I think I'll bake some cookies that say "Osama Bin Laden Sucks!" and hope that Osama sees them. And then he'll know that we hate him, and we should stop.

Hey, way to barely modify and then steal material from the Onion! Nobody ever reads that.

From 9/26 issue, "Making America Safer" infographic:

"Americans to wear t-shirts bearing likeness of Osama bin Laden with phrase, "Fuck you, asshole," so if bin Laden sees one, he'll know he's an asshole and can get fucked"
posted by Skot at 10:24 AM on October 9, 2001


"This morning ... American aircraft made three strikes, but due to the use of anti-aircraft guns, these aircraft fled,'' Taliban spokesman Mullah Abdul Hai Muttmain told the Afghan Islamic Press.

This just cracks me up, (hee, hee)!
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:30 AM on October 9, 2001


[...why would the leader of Iraq feel the need to spend money on national defense to such a degree? ]

Perhaps because he's a dictator not supported by his people? Perhaps those weapons aren't for defense, or did you think Iraq attacking Kuwait was defensive in nature?

[War...murder...is within each of us. The Air Force captain pushing a button over Kabul is no different than the hijacker rolling out of a hard left banked turn over Manhattan.. ]

I just don't buy the relativism here. Is our military action going to be perfect? No. Is our society perfect? No. Is it better than theirs? Depends on the measure I suppose. If we measure it by feeding people, yes. Life expectancy? Yes. Quality of life? Yes. Freedom to practice your religion? Yes. Freedom to speak your mind? Yes.

I accept the necessity of collateral damage. If we accidentally kill 100 civilians and by doing so save millions, have we not done a service to the world? Which is a better result, Our winning or theirs?

If you truly want to live in their world I think we have daily flights to the area now...
posted by revbrian at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2001


"the us is attacking a country without trying to negotiate."

Not true. The US (and the UN) has been trying to get Bin Laden through diplomatic channels for years. It didn't work. And the we were rewarded for this diplomacy by having the WTC and 6000 civilians killed.

We tried negotiation, and Bin Laden and the Taliban pushed it to the next level. So be it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2001


mapalm: Thanks for not enaging me by posting a note engaging me telling me you are not engaging me. You're simply proving that the only thing you can do is rant and yell and not provide any real alternatives to anything that is happening.

I would not characterize my comments as ranting and yelling.

I pity you, Royaljack. I really do. You seem an angry and sad fellow.
posted by mapalm at 10:42 AM on October 9, 2001


Yes, many of us are angry and grieving.
posted by darukaru at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2001


I pity you, Royaljack. I really do. You seem an angry and sad fellow.

But, mapalm, do you also pity the seemingly angry and sad people on MeFi who agree with you?
posted by gazingus at 10:53 AM on October 9, 2001


And, assuming for a moment this is true, why would the leader of Iraq feel the need to spend money on national defense to such a degree? Maybe because his country is continually reminded through foreign policy and actual frequent bombing that the US may turn its attention to them once again and start attacking in earnest?

Thousands of Iraqi dead are clearly the result of the man and regime you are defending:

Despite reports of widespread health problems, the government has still not spent the full $200 million for medical supplies allocated under phase five of the oil-for-food program (which ended in May). Only 40% of the money was used to purchase medicines for primary care, while 60% was used to buy medical equipment.

• While the average Iraqi needs basic medicines and medical care, the government of Iraq spent $6 million on a gamma knife, an instrument used for complicated neurosurgery that requires extremely advanced training to use. Another several million was spent on a MRI machine, used for high-resolution imaging. Such exotic treatment is reserved for regime bodyguards and other members of the elite. This total of $10 million could instead have benefited thousands of Iraqi children if it had been spent on vaccines, antibiotics, and the chemotherapeutics necessary to treat the large numbers of children that are allegedly dying due to lack of medicine.

• In July 1999, Forbes Magazine estimated Saddam Hussein's personal wealth at $6 billion, acquired primarily from oil and smuggling.

• Medicines received through the oil-for-food program are sold by the regime to private hospitals at exorbitant prices.

• Members of the government and top military and security officials are provided with extra monthly food rations, Mercedes automobiles, and monthly stipends in the thousands of dollars. By comparison, the average monthly government salary is 6,500 dinars, or about $3.50.

In addition to the revenues generated under the oil-for-food program, the government of Iraq earns money from other sources which it controls. Rather than spend these funds to help the people of Iraq, Saddam Hussein chooses to build monuments to himself. In addition, he deprives those in need of water and other scarce resources in order to favor elites and other supporters of the regime.

• Saddam celebrated his birthday this year by building a resort complex for regime loyalists. Since the Gulf War, Saddam has spent over $2 billion on presidential palaces. Some of these palaces boast gold-plated faucets and man-made lakes and waterfalls, which use pumping equipment that could have been used to address civilian water and sanitation needs.

• In April 1999, Iraqi officials inaugurated Saddamiat al Tharthar. Located 85 miles west of Baghdad, this sprawling lakeside vacation resort contains stadiums, an amusement park, hospitals, parks, and 625 homes to be used by government officials. This project cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There is no clearer example of the government's lack of concern for the needs of its people than Saddamiat al Tharthar.

• In July, Baghdad increased taxes on vehicle ownership and marriage dowries, after earlier increases in taxes, fees, and fuel and electricity prices. This is in part what pays for Saddam's palaces. Saddam also uses food rations, medical care, and other state resources to buy the loyalty of his inner circle and security forces.

• Iraq is facing its worst drought in 50 years. As a result, the government is restricting the planting of rice and told farmers not to plant summer crops without permission from the Ministry of Irrigation. The water levels of the reservoirs supplying Saddam Hussein's region of Tikrit, however, were at normal seasonal levels, while the flow of water to the southern cities was dramatically lower than during the previous two years. Saddam is diverting water to serve his political objectives, at the expense of the general population.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:02 AM on October 9, 2001


How easy it is for us to hypocritically rationalize our own murder of civilians.

In the real world, there is a difference between manslaughter and homicide.

The driver of the ambulance who does not see the car entering the intersection and broadsides it killing the driver is treated differently from the person who happens to not be paying attention at the wrong time and turns left in front of the motorcyclist, who is treated differently from the person who deliberately drives his car into the preschool playground.

If you wish to equate the three, I suppose it's your right. Just don't be suprised when people write you off as a crank.
posted by jaek at 11:10 AM on October 9, 2001


ljromanoff-thanks for laying the record out.
I appreciate a diversity of opinion, but sometimes assertions do have to be consigned to the graveyard of malevolent idiocy.
Seriously, the truth is so out there for those who make even the most halfhearted inquiry that the assertion "sanctions have killed 500,000 Iraqi infants" must be removed from the realm of dignified discourse.
It's like denying the Holocaust-plenty of people still do so, but that's a diversity of opinion not worth honoring.
posted by quercus at 11:36 AM on October 9, 2001


It's time for an Arab Moment of Truth.
posted by revbrian at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2001


Rev: What a terrible article. I could not disagree more, the semi-salient points are entirely removed from context as to be pathetic and barren, dry and removed from all reality. There is not a shed of humanity in that article, instead we get an incredibly blind and frothing build-up that leads us to...

The primary point of the article, which is to slam "the left" for supposedly supporting Islamic extremism by trying to add precisely the depth the author is lacking.
posted by cell divide at 11:56 AM on October 9, 2001


Decide for youself. A half hearted inquiry reveals:

1. "The primary document, "Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities," is dated January 22, 1991. It spells out how sanctions will prevent Iraq from supplying clean water to its citizens."

2. "When such institutions do not exist, sanctions can be counter-productive as they have been in Iraq, perpetuating the state of crisis upon which dictatorships depend and fostering a legacy of bitterness towards the west."

Obviously Saddam has no concern for his people. I hope that we can show some.
posted by euphorb at 12:13 PM on October 9, 2001


Rumsfeld refused to believe the Taliban accusation that civilians had died. Does this mean that UN workers are not considered civilians?
posted by mmarcos at 12:25 PM on October 9, 2001


Does this mean that UN workers are not considered civilians?

Not by me they aren't.
posted by thirteen at 12:30 PM on October 9, 2001


War...murder...is within each of us. The Air Force captain pushing a button over Kabul is no different than the hijacker rolling out of a hard left banked turn over Manhattan..

As I have a family member currently pushing a button over Kabul, the above statement causes steam to come out of my ears.

I have no doubt that the US gov't is one of the most evil on the earth, but I do my part to try and change that by voting for people that have half a brain every chance I get.

But F&^K It!. Maybe next time I'll cast a vote for the most right wing wild man I can find, perhaps Ted Nugent willl do? Hopefully he/she will put a 50 foot iron gate around the country's border, get the US out of all foreign affairs. Then no one will have any reason to blow up NYC, or burn American flags. Goodie!
posted by auzten at 12:39 PM on October 9, 2001


It'd be nice if there were more people on MeFi who acknowledged the existence of grey.
posted by websavvy at 12:55 PM on October 9, 2001


I have no doubt that the US gov't is one of the most evil on the earth,

If you really believe that you must know very little about what governments other than the U.S. govt. do on a regular basis.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:02 PM on October 9, 2001


It'd be nice if there were more people on MeFi who acknowledged the existence of grey

Bravo, It's too easy to be black and white on the internet, for some bizarre reason.
posted by Jongo at 1:20 PM on October 9, 2001


autzen: What’s the difference to a person sitting in the WTC watching a 757 fly toward their floor and underneath a bomb with the stars and stripes painted on it? If you were to ask which version of freedom they’d prefer to have been killed for, I’d suspect they’d prefer to be alive.

lj: That Hussein guy sure sounds evil. I wish the US would’ve deposed him (or supported a popular revolution) like they did in Serbia and are doing in Afghanistan. Ever wonder why Hussein is still in power? Is the US really that scared of him? Or is still serving his purpose as a US ally?
posted by raaka at 2:21 PM on October 9, 2001


Raaka are you also Capt.Crackpipe?
posted by thirteen at 2:31 PM on October 9, 2001


raaka, the United States' allies did not allow it to perform such action in Desert Storm.
posted by mrbula at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2001


Why they attacked a radio tower.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:46 PM on October 9, 2001


That Hussein guy sure sounds evil. I wish the US would’ve deposed him (or supported a popular revolution) like they did in Serbia and are doing in Afghanistan. Ever wonder why Hussein is still in power? Is the US really that scared of him? Or is still serving his purpose as a US ally?

It's amazing how some people are blinded by facts while searching for some hidden agenda. Hussein remained in power after the war because neither the UN or the neighboring Arab states were willing to allow the United States to remove him.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:46 PM on October 9, 2001


It's amazing how some people are blinded by facts while searching for some hidden agenda.

I really don't mean to insult you here, ljromanoff, but haven't you noticed that that's the entire focal point of this thread and its originator? Perhaps they need glasses, you know, the coke-bottle kind?

Clarification: I've been reading it simply for the amusement value. That people have died is cause for mourning. That there are those who wish to twist those deaths for the purpose of self and national flagellation amazes and amuses me.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:03 PM on October 9, 2001


While the people that died in this attack weren't exactly the bad guys, can we really consider them civilians? They were UN workers, after all, engaged in a very specific war-motivated mission--to clear mines. Those mines are to be cleared, one could theorize, so that it would be easier for US and UN and Northern Alliance fighters to inflitrate the Taliban. If this is true, aren't the UN people victims of friendly fire, rather than hapless civilians? And if so, isn't the fact that they died during a war-time mission a little different than how many are trying to portraying their deaths? It seems that the picture being painted by some is that these were hapless diplomats that just happened to be in harm's way. But that isn't the case. They were sent on a very specific, very dangerous mission which they knew had the possibility of going wrong. Not necessarily because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, but because they were unpopular allies of an unpopular attacking force.
posted by dogmatic at 3:44 PM on October 9, 2001


Those mines are to be cleared, one could theorize, so that it would be easier for US and UN and Northern Alliance fighters to inflitrate the Taliban

Silly me, I thought the reason the UN tried to clear land mines was so children walking through the countryside didn't get their legs blown off.

Not to mention that the UN has been involved in demining Afghanistan for years and the people doing the work are locals. They weren't "sent" there.

Maybe my sarcas-o-meter is broken; if so I apologize.
posted by jaek at 3:57 PM on October 9, 2001


Ever wonder why Hussein is still in power? Is the US really that scared of him? Or is still serving his purpose as a US ally?

He's still serving his purpose, certainly not as an ally, but as an evil genie in a country-sized lamp, bringing the most perverse kind of "stability" to Iraq. If you're going to take on the mantle of Good Guy, it helps to have unmistakeable Bad Guys around for the purpose of contrast.
posted by holgate at 4:26 PM on October 9, 2001


Are you people kidding me? Do you seriously believe the US’ agenda was dictated by international opinion during the few months of the Gulf War? The US was never going to rid Iraq of Hussein. Probably didn’t even consider it, he’s too important to “the stability of the Gulf” — Western dominated stability.

Conventional reasoning is that if Hussein was deposed there’d be a power vaccum in Iraq which Iran would try to fill. Since the US has historically been against Middle Eastern nationalism they’ve had to ally with Hussein’s junta and put the nation under siege.

I’m wondering if these allies who didn’t want the US to depose Hussein also didn’t want the US to fund Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war or give Hussein the ability to slaughter his own people. He was an ally and recieved massive US aid during the 80s, I have no reason to believe he isn’t serving his purpose now.
posted by raaka at 5:01 PM on October 9, 2001


I have no reason to believe he isn’t serving his purpose now.

Well, gee, sorry I don't agree. Could it be because you're a troll? The facts have been posted. Care to counter?
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:12 PM on October 9, 2001


You’re right, the fact that the US never wanted to get rid of Hussein has been posted. The fact that the US is consistently (not always) unilateral and interventionist in foreign affairs has been stated. Care to counter?

Your contributions to this thread have consisted of nothing but insults. Who’s the troll?
posted by raaka at 5:31 PM on October 9, 2001


Conventional reasoning is that if Hussein was deposed there’d be a power vaccum in Iraq which Iran would try to fill.

Of we could have filled much easier than the Iranians had we chose to. After all, our army already would have been there.

He was an ally and recieved massive US aid during the 80s, I have no reason to believe he isn’t serving his purpose now.

No, he was the enemy of our enemy and received limited military support. You fantasy of Hussein as a U.S. puppet is simply that, pure fantasy.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:42 PM on October 9, 2001


There are people in the Defense Dept right now advocating we take this war to Iraq and get rid of Hussein.
I am glad to see they will receive the Left's support.
posted by quercus at 6:02 PM on October 9, 2001


I'm with the above posters on Hussein. Of course he was there by the US' choice. They could have had him deposed but felt that the alternatives were worse.

Instead we keep Iraq in check with sanction upon sanction... this does not stop Saddam living a life of luxury by the way, but means that the population cannot "rise up" as George Bush put it and create a leadership of their own.

LJRomanoff: You don't think Saddam had US support in the early days? Check the history books. He was always a thug but the US allowed him to rise to power. It's not much of a secret.
posted by skylar at 6:08 PM on October 9, 2001


Please cite me a history book which asserts the US "allowed" Saddam to come to power.
I have this image of the US as a burly bouncer at Club Iraq controlling ingress and Saddam just a hopeful mustachioed face in the crowd.
yes, come right in, Mr. Hussein, enjoy your sadistic carnival.
Wow, cite me that book already. I had no idea we had THAT much power.
posted by quercus at 6:21 PM on October 9, 2001


Could it be because you're a troll? The facts have been posted. Care to counter?

Could it be because you're a troll? The facts have been posted. Care to counter?

You're goofy. The facts are simple and RELEVANT. Saddam is the ass in control Iraq's resources. You can't argue. Too bad. The US had so much to do with his destruction. Yeah, right. Whatever. Call us all to task because you don't agree. You won't show the truth. You haven't the proof I asked you to deliver. Boo Hoo to you.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:42 PM on October 9, 2001


There are people in the Defense Dept right now advocating we take this war to Iraq and get rid of Hussein.

This would be interesting reversal if it happened. I don’t doubt Iraq will be bombed or sanctions tightened, but I’d like to know how they’re going to fill void if Hussein is removed. I’m not holding my breath.

As for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”: I can’t remember the last time I gave my enemy a gun and a pile of cash. Common sense says that the gun will eventually pointed at you. Common sense is seriously lacking, I guess.

Saddam is the ass in control Iraq's resources.

Yep, totally. I think you’re mistaking me for someone who believes sanctions kill 5,000 kids/month. While sanctions certainly make life harder, I’ll leave the blame for their deaths to the man in control of the resources. Someone posted a TNR article a few weeks ago about northern Iraq, where Saddam has no control. Life there is comparably grand.

US had so much to do with his destruction. Yeah, right. Whatever.

I’m confused about your use of sarcasm there. Do you not think the Gulf War ruined whatever development had been made between 88-90 and the sanctions afterward gave Hussein an excuse to squeeze his people even further?

All I said is that the US didn’t depose Hussein as they have done in similiar conflicts. That is a fact and it is irrefutable. The question is, what makes Hussein different than other dictators the US has opposed? Why did he get US support when he was known to be a murderous tyrant; why did that support continue when he turned his guns on his own people?

I’m not sure what you’re asking me to counter, but your insults continue. Really, calm down.
posted by raaka at 7:33 PM on October 9, 2001


All I said is that the US didn’t depose Hussein as they have done in similiar conflicts. That is a fact and it is irrefutable.

Liar. What you said was:

the fact that the US never wanted to get rid of Hussein has been posted.

No proof whatsoever. The only insult I threw out in this thread was that you are a troll. You keep alluding to knowledge that says otherwise but haven't posted it. As for Hussien's crimes, well duh. The US has aided and enforced UN sanctions against Iraq. We didn't support Hussien when he invaded a non-agressor nation. But I guess your shallow mind is made up, isn't it. Heh.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:10 PM on October 9, 2001


Well to be honest Wulfgar, remember that April Glaspie thing where a possible diplomatic miscommunique may have led Saddam to believe we would not react if he invaded Kuwait- swallow a grain of salt and review a transcript of the meeting?

"U.S. Ambassador Glaspie - We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)"

I don't know what the final verdict was-the papers wont be declassified any time soon.
posted by quercus at 9:14 PM on October 9, 2001


Yes, quercus, I started hearing that story from human sources I usually regard with suspicion many years ago, and in recent years I've seen it scattered around the internet. Does anyone have a reliable account of whether our ambassador communicated something that Iraq could reasonably have taken that way? I'd like to know, or at least to see an argument trying to debunk it.
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:51 AM on October 10, 2001


ljromanoff: Yes, Saddam, could care less about the welfare of his people, and yes he is an evil dictator (even was one when the US was supporting him).
But before the sanctions, child mortality in Iraq was very low, and endemic disease was nonexistent. For the other side of the story (and a response to your points), try the CASI site, and for the intended consequences of the attacks on Iraq, try this Progressive article, mentioning these declassified DIA documents: 1, 2.
BTW, if Saddam is throwing parties, sanctions haven't hurt him much, have they?
posted by talos at 2:29 AM on October 10, 2001


ljromanoff:

Do you ever step out of the box?

It's amazing how much you support American government intervention in Iraq, yet eschew it here.
posted by crasspastor at 2:38 AM on October 10, 2001


I'll clarify that come to think of it:

It's amazing how much you support US military effort, US taxpayers dollars being spent in Iraq, as that expenditure risks millions of innocent lives. Yet, eschew public funding of peaceful programs which benefit American underprivileged, as such programs do not work.

In other words occasional foreign deaths is good American policy, but has not worked to rid the world of Hussein. Yet the occasional underprivileged citizen being impacted by just one ludicrously progressive program is a waste of taxpayers money?

(It's interesting to see the malformed emotional capacity of pure capitalists in times of crisis!)
posted by crasspastor at 2:59 AM on October 10, 2001


1) Wulfgar, you’re right, I could’ve qualified that statement. The US didn't want to depose him after he became an ally, then maybe they did years after the Gulf War. When he was fighting a proxy war for the US and gassing his own people that was all well and good.

There are rumors of a 1996 CIA coup attempt that Saddam crushed. CNN says it’s allegedly connected to the CIA, the CSMonitor states it as fact. None of this changes the fact that he’s still in power and the US could’ve supported a popular revolution, but didn’t.

As you can tell, I think the US is using Hussein and has little interest in getting rid of him. Maybe his usefulness is coming to close, especially if he’s found to be supporting bin Laden’s terrorists. If someone could sit me down and tell me otherwise, I’d listen. Mostly all I get is details of tyranny — thanks, I know — and static. Your replies are an example of the latter.

2) Zurishaddi: Frontline good enough for you? They appear to be quoting her directly. “But our fundamental feeling is that we have no direct vested interest in Arab-Arab disputes, including the dispute that you're having with the Kuwaitis over the_ the mutual border that you share.”

You also might want to consider an article from the CSMonitor, where Glaspie says the transcript is a fabrication, but that “‘a great deal’ of it is accurate.”

3) “you're a troll,” “You're goofy,” “You can't argue,” “I guess your shallow mind is made up.” “The only insult I threw out in this thread was that you are a troll.”

I love you.
posted by raaka at 5:44 AM on October 10, 2001


I should interject that “the US is using Hussein” doesn’t neccessarily mean he is a US puppet, as someone said above. Puppet means he does things the US wants him to For the last ten years he’s done pretty much the opposite.
posted by raaka at 6:02 AM on October 10, 2001


It's amazing how much you support US military effort, US taxpayers dollars being spent in Iraq,

I haven't stated any support or condemnation of the US military effort. Try to base your arguments on something other than your own assumptions.

Yet, eschew public funding of peaceful programs which benefit American underprivileged, as such programs do not work.

It is typical of you to try to drag your pet issues into a non-related subject. In any event, those so-called "peaceful programs" you refer to do more harm than good, and are additionally unconstitutional. You know this.

In other words occasional foreign deaths is good American policy, but has not worked to rid the world of Hussein.

I'm sure the U.S. could rid the world of Hussein should it chose to do so. That decision was made by others. I suspect you are well aware of this also.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:33 AM on October 10, 2001


Crasspastor-i checked out that CASI website-
This is their explanation of the charge that Saddam isn't distributing the food:

" In the areas of Iraq under governmental control, the government is not given cash in return for oil sales under the "oil for food" scheme, but only receives delivery of goods. As a result it is constrained in its ability to, for example, hire a lorry to make a delivery if it does not have one available at the time."

THEY CAN'T HIRE A FUCKING LORRY!!!!!!

Goddamn dude-get real. Thanks for confirming that this is a case of sheer self delusion of the most despicable kind.
posted by quercus at 8:03 AM on October 10, 2001


Excuse me Crasspastor-it was actually Talos who referenced that CASI website.
Talos, drinks are now being served on the patio of reality. Please join us.
posted by quercus at 8:12 AM on October 10, 2001


quercus: "It is constrained in its ability", means no available cash. It is not one lorry they need but many. It furthermore cannot import trucks or replacement parts, and I bet U-haul does't have offices in Baghdad. This fact is also mentioned in the UN secretary general's report on Iraq:
Due to frequent breakdown of port equipment, the bulk of the discharge of goods is currently being carried out by shipboard equipment. This has led to severe delays in the rate of discharge. Recently, the last remaining functioning container forklift was disabled, and consequently cargo is accumulating in the already congested port. In addition, the lack of available trucks to remove such cargo from the port has further exacerbated the already congested port. Such delays in discharge adversely affect both receivers and suppliers of goods.
So they do not have that many trucks.
But of course that was one point out of many. See here for further reasons why the "oil for food program" isn't enough
Reality sure has a nice patio.
posted by talos at 8:52 AM on October 10, 2001


So they do not have that many trucks.

If I had a personal fortune in the neighborhood of $10 billion, I imagine I could round up a few trucks. The Hussein regime certainly found a way to get expensive medical equipment into their country. I'm sure there's a Chinese truck factory or two that would happily have shipped some 18-wheelers to Bagdhad if Hussein had made any effort to inquire.

Your excuses on behalf of a dictator are beneath contempt.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2001


Talos-do you read the stuff you send me to?:

From the conclusions section of the UN Report

"In particular, I should like to urge the Government of Iraq to ensure the distribution of the full food ration under the distribution plan as soon as possible".

(That's diplomatic speak for Saddam isn't distributing the food)

"I also wish to express my concern regarding the large volume of incomplete or non-compliant applications submitted to the Secretariat, now totalling over $850 million, which could not be processed until receipt of the information requested either from the suppliers or the Government of Iraq."

(Guess they're too busy developing their chemical weapons)

Plus, I don't see any support anywhere for the number:500,000 as in "500,000 dead infants."

if an Iraqi person is suffering from the sanctions-the fault lies with the Iraqi government.
You are going to tell me Saddam can't afford to buy trucks? His palace complex at Thathar covers one square mile-that's a Square Mile of Palace-all built since the war ended.
Even more amazing since obviously NO TRUCKS were used in construction.
besides the whole distribution thing-the sanctions are over if Saddam allows weapons inspections.

The patio is still open for drinks
posted by quercus at 9:27 AM on October 10, 2001


Its unfortunate that several people posting feel the need to spend time thinking up insults when they could be reading the link Talos posted and I posted earlier to commentary on a DIA document which explicitly states the effects of sanctions. Sorry about the caps.

1. IRAO DEPENDS ON IMPORTING-SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT-AND SOME CHEMICALS TO PURIFY ITS WATER SUPPLY, MOST OF WHICH IS HEAVILY MINERALIZED AND FREQUENTLY BRACKISH TO SALINE.
2. WITH NO DOMESTIC SOURCES OF BOTH WATER TREATMENT REPLACEMENT PARTS AND SOME ESSENTIAL CHEMICALS, IRAO WILL CONTINUE ATTEMPTS TO CIRCUMVENT UNITED NATIONS SANCTIONS TO IMPORT THESE VITAL COMMODITIES.
3. FAILING TO SECURE SUPPLIES WILL RESULT IN A SHORTAGE OF PURE DRINKING WATER FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. THIS COULD LEAD TO INCREASED INCIDENCES, IF NOT EPIDEMICS, OF DISEASE AND TO CERTAIN PURE-WATER-DEPENDENT INDUSTRIES BECOMING INCAPACITATED, INCLUDING PETRO CHEMICALS, FERTILIZERS, PETROLEUM REFINING, ELECTRONICS, PHARMACEUTICALS, FOOD PROCESSING, TEXTILES, CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION,AND THERMAL POWERPLANTS."

It couldn't be much clearer than that. The US purposely destroyed the ability of Iraq to provide potable water to its people which resulted in a a large number of deaths but probably not the 5,000 a month number that you are all obsessed with.
posted by euphorb at 1:00 PM on October 10, 2001


Euphorb,

Again, the issues you raise could be solved by the Hussein regime should it choose to do so. The failure of Iraq to utilize or acquire the resources it needs is a direct result of the callous nature of the Iraqi government's resource allocation.

You can be sure that Hussein and his inner circle will not go without drinking water or anything else.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:52 PM on October 10, 2001


ok euphorb-I'll admit some freaks work at the DIA-i happen to like euphorbiaceae as a family, so I'll leave it at that.
See you in another thread, amigo
posted by quercus at 6:46 PM on October 10, 2001


quercus:
Your excuses on behalf of a dictator are beneath contempt.
I was actively helping (with my limited means) the Iraqi opposition delegation in Greece when the US was still helping him invade Iran. So I have no excuses for the man, and I'll leave it at that, in order to avoid further personal innuendo.
I have no doubt in my mind that the distribution of income from oil for food is mostly going to Saddam. When Iraq was rich, most of the goods were going to Saddam and his apparatus. Saddam is not going to discomfort himself for the benefit of his people... That said there are too many people denouncing these sanctions (not exactly raging radicals BTW). So instead of a detailed reply I present you:

Hans von Sponeck, ex-senior UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq.
UN Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Amnesty International.
Former Unscom executive chairman, Richard Butler.
Scott Ritter, formerly in charge of Unscom concealment programme.
Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary-General of The United Nations, and former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
The government of Kuwait (for chrissakes)
Are these all Saddam Hussein fans?
posted by talos at 2:50 AM on October 11, 2001


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