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May 23, 2002
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While W is off building the case for a war against Saddam, senior military officials have serious doubts about the wisdom of a US invasion of Iraq. But they're keeping quiet because "they fear they would come out on the wrong side of Bush's eventual decision." Can you blame 'em?
posted by dack (41 comments total)

 
I know that the US has changed since 9/11 but has anybody seriously contemplated a full-scale war? because that is what this could be.

Pre-September it was suggested that the US (and virtually all Western democracies) were not prepared to accept large numbers of body-bags as they had in the past - was this true, and if so has this now changed?
posted by niceness at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2002


Yes, I can blame them, because they are wrong. Alternatively, they are dealing in appropriate disinformation.

Taking out Saddam is absolutely necessary. And if the woosy Europeans are too amoral or short-sided to care, so be it (although, it would be cool to assess a tax on oil exported from Iraq post-Saddam to pay for the campaign).
posted by ParisParamus at 8:52 AM on May 23, 2002


Well if you look at history since just 1400 a major international war is long overdue. Looks like India and Pakistan are going to step up to the plate though. Well, if life gives you nuclear lemons, make radioactive lemonade, to wit: Since both countries have nuclear weapons and have made repeated threats to use them, perhaps, for the right price, one of those Indian missiles could be made to "overshoot the target" and sail right over Pakistan into Iraq. I hope this creative approach to problem-solving is on tap at the Pentagon.
posted by quercus at 8:55 AM on May 23, 2002


"Yes, I can blame them, because they are wrong" -

Oh man that is good...ok ..I'll bite..

They are wrong? on which counts?
posted by das_2099 at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2002


Yes, I can blame them, because they are wrong.

Wrong to say it would be extremely costly in terms of lives and resources? Would you volunteer to go fight Saddam at the risk of your own life? That's what you're asking others to do for you, you know.

Taking out Saddam is absolutely necessary.

To whom? Oil companies? The Israelis? It would probably be a good thing, but is it worth the cost? Our military resources are limited, so tell me where you'll cut back to fight this war.

I think the military leaders are wrong, too. Wrong because they constantly preach to their subordinates about integrity and leadership, but when it comes to gut check time, they put their own career over what they believe to be right. That's not integrity or leadership, that's just the same old game of kiss-ass.
posted by norm29 at 9:12 AM on May 23, 2002


The Definition of a Terrorist: "The terrorists are defined by their hatreds. They hate democracy, and tolerance and free expression, and women, and Jews, and Christians and all Muslims who disagree with them."

Maybe the 20,000 street protestors weren't taking issue with the war at all. Maybe they just wanted to protest Bush's ridiculous, reductivist rhetoric. I wonder if he'd ever go back and change the definition as a special favor to Ariel Sharon? "Um, hey, Dubs, like your definition, but can we go ahead and tack on 'cuddly puppies' to that? Got an Arab bomber here just killed a dog. Yeah, sad stuff."

Or better yet, why doesn't he just go ahead and say "The terrorists hate 'us'?" That way, if he's ever asked who "us" is, he can just give a conspiratorial little grin and say furtively, "You know. Us."

And "hatreds"?? "HATREDS"??? Who let this man pass kindergarten???
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:14 AM on May 23, 2002


"overshoot the target"

Not a problem, Israel has a plan, very hush hush (so I've heard), to take out the Kahuta (pakistan) nuclear reactor, with Indian support. I'm sure it could be extended, "Whats the right price?"
posted by bittennails at 9:15 AM on May 23, 2002


That's what you're asking others to do for you, you know.

Actually, you're arguing for a military regime; and for universal conscription. Without being in the military, I still have a right to assert foreign policy.

Moreover, any number of military casualties needs to be balanced with the civilian American casualties which will, inevitably result from Saddam, or his chosen successfor having weapons of mass destruction. To say nothing of the civilian Iraqi casualties. And other casualties.

Although the scale will be larger, it's unlikely an invasion of Iraq will be harder than Afghanistan: Iraq's military is super centralized because Saddam is a super dictator. It won't be a cake walk. It will implicate weapons of mass destruction, but ITS TIME. Damn the Woosy Europeans.

The military is for wars. Saddam Hussein is a madman. The longer we wait to take him out, the harder it will be.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2002


Actually Paris, if you are supporting an invasion of Iraq, then you should not blame them, since they are keeping their mouths shut.
Just wanted to make that clear.

Rather than invade why don't we just drop our embargo? Does anyone seriously believe that this embargo is going to lead to the downfall of the Iraqi regime? Apparently every administration since Bush 1 does. It seems obvious to me that people who are starving and living in poverty neither have the means nor the resources to depose their government. But hey, maybe I'm wrong, maybe the experts in D.C. can tell me how things like grain, medical supplies and DVD players get transmorgified into weapons of mass destruction once they reach Iraq. Maybe they can tell me how the U.S. embargo on Iraq is not terrorism (in essence we are attacking civilians to try and effect political change).
posted by insomnyuk at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2002


I know that the US has changed since 9/11 but has anybody seriously contemplated a full-scale war? because that is what this could be.

Umm, Islamists have declared a full-scale war on the west. Thats not going to go away. Diplomacy will lead nowhere in middle east disputes. Capitulation is seen by arabs as weakness and only encourages further agression. america is so taken with its modernity that it fails to see that whole regions of the wordla re still playin' it like it was was 1875. There's only one way to deal with an ignorant foe and thats to communicate with them on a level not above their comprehension.

Nevertheless, here's Plan B: Everybody wish real hard for Saddam and every other hate-filled muslim to suddenly realize the errors of their ways.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:34 AM on May 23, 2002


Maybe they can tell me how the U.S. embargo on Iraq is not terrorism (in essence we are attacking civilians to try and effect political change).

Apologists like yourself not withstanding, the reality is that the embargo was carefully designed to avoid hurting civilians. It is Saddam who has cynically amplified the sufferring of his own people to play the victim.

Its a brilliant strategy in a region where news is rumor and opinion is fueled by hate.

Bittennails: Your rumor is not even on debka... My own take is that if anyone is going to nuke the middle eastern bad guys it will be Israel as they have nothing to lose in terms of world opinion. The US will bitch and moan like ther est of the world, but with a wink and a nudge.

Picture a world with Islam wiped out. Any (non-islamic) tears?
posted by BentPenguin at 9:42 AM on May 23, 2002


Picture a world with Islam wiped out. Any (non-islamic) tears?

Or: "Picture a world without Jews..." I believe we've reached a Godwin threshold here, which is good, because it shows that you, BentPenguin, are just as bad as militant Islamists.
posted by riviera at 9:47 AM on May 23, 2002


obvious to me that people who are starving and living in poverty neither have the means nor the resources to depose their government

That's the point. Comfort only breeds complacency. When was the last time the middle class took to the streets in this country?

A comfortable class only stands to lose if government should fall. Poor and hungry people usually believe it can't get any worse.
posted by rocketman at 9:59 AM on May 23, 2002


Actually, BentPenguin, it sounds like you are the one who only understand the language of force. Compared to you, Saddam is a pretty nuanced guy. Isn't it funny how the same arguments "they only understand violence" keep resurfacing when the chips are down? Violence may be the only universal human language.

For my part, I think the invasion of Iraq would be a huge mistake, unless it becomes absolutely necessary. For the time being I think containing Saddam is a better way to prevent deaths than engaging him militarily. There is no good solution to the problem, which is why I am open to pretty much any idea, including invasion, but I can't help but feel it would be (as opposed to Afghanistan) an error.
posted by cell divide at 10:01 AM on May 23, 2002


Ironic that Dubya is wanting to clean up Daddy's messes with Clinton's "unprepared" military. Those who advocate war against Iraq should go down to the enlistment office and sign up today. I'm certain there will be plenty of room on the front line for you. But then, you may be just like the politicians advocating war and are "chicken hawks" or "too important to fight" wussy boys.
posted by nofundy at 10:20 AM on May 23, 2002


A comfortable class only stands to lose if government should fall.

If by comfortable class you mean 'ruling elite' then yes, you are correct. If by comfortable class you mean average middle class, and by government you mean 'free and peaceful', then yes, everyone stands to lose.

I'm saying if you don't own anything, and you are starving, you have nothing really to fight for. Even if someone did have something to fight for, what resources would he or she use to organize, inform and lead a group of rebels, who are also too busy trying to avoid starvation. What's the difference in getting run over by a tank or staying in your hovel and starving to death? You can't fight for freedom, or protect yourself, unless you have the means to do so. Rocks and pointy sticks will not work, someone has to pay for it, and better Iraqi middle class citizens than American middle class citizens.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2002


Although U.S. forces easily defeated Iraq’s military in Operation Desert Storm more than 10 years ago, an operation that specifically targeted Saddam would require sending as many as 250,000 U.S. troops directly into Baghdad, the sources said, allowing Saddam’s elite Republican Guards to mount a much more effective defense.
The biggest concern, however, is that Saddam would resort to using chemical weapons out of desperation, the sources and independent analysts told NBC News.
“He knows he won’t get out of this alive, so any kind of restraint he had in Desert Storm in 1991 is probably gone,” said Andrew Krepinevich, a specialist on Iraq who is executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments."


Funny how the Commander in Chief who was so concerned about "trying to get out of harm's way" on 9/11 is so willing to put 250,000 American troops under attack by chemical weapons.
posted by homunculus at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2002


I am still waiting for that list of "wrong" reservations, and reasons. ; )
posted by das_2099 at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2002


Debka ain't the only source of rumors, bentpenguin, but with your fanatisicm I doubt you would care.
posted by bittennails at 10:56 AM on May 23, 2002


What has Saddam done to deserve any of this? Someone explain to me the logic of invading a country and killing/imprisoning its leader because it might be an aggressor in the future.
posted by swift at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2002


From the article:
“I am serious about making it clear to countries around the world that we need to work together to rid the world of the threat,” Bush said as he embarked on his trip to Europe this week. “And the threat is a non-transparent dictatorship having weapons of mass destruction.”

Glass houses, Dubya...
posted by Dirjy at 11:16 AM on May 23, 2002


Don't look for logic, swift, there isn't any.
posted by bittennails at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2002


And what exactly is a non-transparent dictatorship?
posted by swift at 11:32 AM on May 23, 2002


"Maybe they can tell me how the U.S. embargo on Iraq is not terrorism"...If you are unfamiliar with the Gulf War and all that followed I suggest that a little research will tell you the answer is that as a condition of ending hostilities Iraq made certain agreements with the UN regarding inspections/destruction of certain weapons, and the embargo is not 'U.S.' as with Cuba, but comes from the United Nations. In spite of the fact that many Nations have dishonored their agreement, it has not been rescinded. There was no peace treaty, only a cessession of hostilities, and Iraq has not lived up to its part of the bargain, thus it could be argued that a state of war with Iraq does in fact exist this very moment. "What has Saddam done to deserve any of this?" Same answer. I don't agree with this and disagreed with the whole idea of the Gulf War, but that is how we got to this point with Sadaam.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2002


And what exactly is a non-transparent dictatorship?

Good point. Bush is perhaps the most ham-fisted diplomat in the history of the modern American presidency. Apparently what he's trying to say is that an invasion of Iraq is justified because Sadaam is a dictator trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and dictatorships with nuclear weapons are intolerably dangerous. Political realities aside, this is piss-poor rhetoric. After all, where does it leave our "friend and ally" Pakistan, a dictatorship with declared nuclear weapons? Or, for that matter, China, a country with perhaps the least transparent autocratic government in the world? And why is lack of transparency such a big deal when it comes to nuclear weapons? No country is "transparent" in matters of national security, and certainly not in the arenas of military policy and nuclear weapons development.

And "non-transparent"!? The word is opaque. Opaque. It's the antonym of transparent.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:04 PM on May 23, 2002


...the answer is that as a condition of ending hostilities Iraq made certain agreements with the UN regarding inspections/destruction of certain weapons, and the embargo is not 'U.S.' as with Cuba, but comes from the United Nations.

Mack, while this is certainly true, and while Iraq should live up to it's international obligations, I think it makes sense to take a broader view. The fact that Iraq agreed to the inspections regime does not necessarily make the inspections regime a good idea. Compare: while Germany certainly deserved the treaty of Versailles, the treaty of Versailles was not, in the final analysis, good policy.

I'm not saying that the embargo is necessarily bad policy; just that Iraq's initial agreement isn't a particularly strong argument for keeping the embargo in place.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2002


I have an idea: why don't we just let Amoco, ExxonMoble, and Chevron raise an army and invade Iraq? They have the will and cash on hands to do the job right. Let's short-circuit this whole discussion and just let those who have the will to do the deed. And it would fit in the republican's view of less government and the "Free Market" coming to bear to remedy a situation. Hell, "of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs)." [1] If Bush and his masters really want oil that bad [and if you think this is about human rights, the end of suffering, or the like, you obviously live in a different America then I do] then let Corp X bear the weight of responsibility. I love this country, but we only act on issues of human suffering when it is right in our face and when the problem is so bad, that we can't hide from it in the suburbs.
posted by plemeljr at 12:35 PM on May 23, 2002


And it would fit in the republican's view of less government and the "Free Market" coming to bear to remedy a situation.

If you care to step outside of your paranoid socialist box for a moment, first, realize this: Bush is not truly for real free markets, nor are most Republicans, at least in Washington D.C. Also, it would no longer be a 'free' market if the market was using force, and it was not operating on voluntary exchange.

In a real free market, where government was limited (or maybe didn't exist at a large level), companies not be trying to use governments to do certain things. Since it is the job of a corporation to make a profit, if the government creates a system which can be manipulated to help reach that profit, you can be damn sure that some corporations will abuse it.

Of course, the way you talk, your solution would be to get in control of the government with whatever political party you are a member of, and try to stop these 'evil corporations' with more government control and power. Like every other party, you would succumb to the greed of money, politics, and power, and the corporations would end up controlling you, too.

I agree that some corporations are screwing people over (and may in fact be evil), but they can only do this because governments give them the tool to do so. I say the solution to this problem is small, decentralized government, not larger centralized authority.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2002


If you care to step outside of your paranoid socialist box for a moment

Its not a box, a box has corners that the man has instituted as a regimen of daily life. I, on the other hand, live in a sphere - where all sides are equal and those capitalist pigs that try to reign me in can't get to me. Sticks and stones, my fellow MeFi'ite

Also, it would no longer be a 'free' market if the market was using force, and it was not operating on voluntary exchange.

How is military force any different than political force? Or by leveraging the market? Or even by sheer force of marketing? I just propose a new type of momentum.

Of course, the way you talk, your solution would be to get in control of the government with whatever political party you are a member of, and try to stop these 'evil corporations' with more government control and power. Like every other party, you would succumb to the greed of money, politics, and power, and the corporations would end up controlling you, too.

I think that government has overstepped their boundaries on many issues. I don't know how you extrapolated a whole world view from the flippant remarks that I made. Of course I don't think corporations should invade Iraq...I was drawing parallels between the current government and business. It is no secret that we invaded Iraq for the pure reason of protecting a global strategic resource: oil. So please, I know corporations are a great tool...it is part of what made America, America. But corporations are made of people who can and will be evil. It then transfers to the corporation. Since it is the job of a corporation to make a profit... and it is the role of the government to allow this until the good of the people are abridged. That is why meatpackers have several layers of oversight to protect us from e.coli. That is why the airlines have layers of inspections, certifications and the like. We live in a regulated society...most of them are good, but with every regulation there is increasingly loop-holes that let people/business/corporations squeeze through.

To get back on the subject, invading Iraq will benefit a very small group of people, while many [soldiers, civilians, Americans, etc] will be left holding the check and come face to face with disaster.
posted by plemeljr at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2002


"...it shows that you, BentPenguin, are just as bad as militant Islamists."

Hey, it's not the first time he's advocated genocide: he wants to kill all the Pakkies, too.

Loverly little cadre of hate-mongers we're developing on MeFi these days, eh?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:22 PM on May 23, 2002


I wonder if BentPenguin and ParisParamus have a Sharon/Netanyahu type arrangement where one continues to out-hatemonger the other, thereby making one of the views seem moderate in comparison.
posted by buddha9090 at 1:35 PM on May 23, 2002


14000 members = varied opinions.
posted by davidgentle at 2:11 PM on May 23, 2002


personally I think Iraq would crumble incredibly quickly should we attack. We were right there in 1991 and our weapon technology has only improved since then. The problem is the resultant consequences-does the benefit of taking out Saddam outweigh the chaos sure to come to Iraq and the general ill-will it would engender in the Arab world? That's why we didn't finish him off in 1991 and the question still stands.
posted by quercus at 2:42 PM on May 23, 2002


That's why we should just nuke the hell out of them and anyone who has a problem with it.
posted by swift at 3:12 PM on May 23, 2002


Quercus: How much evidence is there for said theory? I think we've give that policy enough time, and it hasn't worked. Iraq, and the other countries at issue are, in essence, totally dependent on the West for sustenance. Take out Iraq with enough resolve, and the other nations will cower, not seek revenge (especially if we then seek to engage them on civilized terms). Analogy: Israel. A highly selective, restrained military campaign has already moved the PA and Arafat towards disintegration.

I repeat: our biggest enemy is ourselves: our self-doubt.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2002


Buddha9090: Saddam aims nerve gas at 5,000 Buddhists. The Buddhists pray. Guess who dies?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:19 PM on May 23, 2002


The US's biggest enemy is within, ParisParamus. Or, perhaps, the US's biggest enemy is within ParisParamus.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on May 23, 2002


I'm guessing you'll be waiting outside the recruiting office when the doors open tomorrow, PP? Or is that bellicose resolve only vicarious?
posted by riviera at 5:24 PM on May 23, 2002


Way to go Paris.

Buddha9090: Saddam aims nerve gas at 5,000 Buddhists. The Buddhists pray. Guess who dies?

Talk about living for the moment, because we're ALL going to die. Except you, only your doubt will kill you.
posted by insomnyuk at 5:27 PM on May 23, 2002


So please, I know corporations are a great tool...it is part of what made America, America.

In both a positive and a negative sense.
posted by rushmc at 6:04 PM on May 23, 2002


Got a problem? Nuke it! Simple! Oh, don't you worry about all those innocent civilians, nosirree, they're too poor to care anyway...
posted by robcorr at 8:12 AM on May 24, 2002


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