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June 16, 2002 9:14 AM   Subscribe

Why, why, why? Bush vs. Saddam. Prequel to Desert Storm II.
posted by password (60 comments total)

 
Why, why, why?

Because Hussein is a leader that remains the largest state-sponsor of terrorist activity. He continues to evade UN inspectors as he pursues chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons which he would have no compunction deploying against the US or our allies (or, as proven in the past, the Iraqui people). He continues to torture and enslave his people, putting his own survival over the survival of Iraqui citizens.

All perfectly good reasons why, why, why.
posted by evanizer at 9:53 AM on June 16, 2002


Why, why, why?

To finish the job daddy didn't / couldn't finish?

GB Jnr. wouldn't like to leave a job unfinished would he now?

[Osama 'oo? Never 'erd of 'im guv'nor.]
posted by i_cola at 10:01 AM on June 16, 2002


The password is... title tag. Sorry.

But looking at the first article.

The Post said the presidential order directs the CIA to use all available tools, including:

-- Increased support to Iraqi opposition groups and forces inside and outside Iraq including money, weapons, equipment, training and intelligence information.


The one thing everyone on all sides can agree on is that this is as good as flushing that money down the toilet, unless the Kurds are involved, which won't happen.

-- Expanded efforts to collect intelligence within Iraqi government, military, security service and overall population where pockets of intense anti-Saddam sentiment have been detected.

Maybe they should have thought about doing that before each of the nine failed coup attempts in the past ten years.

-- Possible use of CIA and U.S. Special Forces teams, similar to those that have been successfully deployed in Afghanistan ( news - web sites) since the Sept. 11 airliner attacks. Such forces would be authorized to kill the Iraqi president if they were acting in self-defense.

In self-defense? Um ok. Just use the term assassination. We can handle it. Maybe the only good idea here.

I think the fact that Saddam is still in power, Iraq is a mess, and thousands have died needlessly is evidence that our policies over the past decade have been unsuccessful at best. But I'm sure Desert W. Storm will change all of that.

The only success anyone can point to is that no other oildoms have been invaded and Saddam hasn't used or distributed any nuclear or chemical or biological weapons, recently. The weapons provided by the west (U.S., France etc.) to Saddam to fight the Iran v. Iraq war.
posted by euphorb at 10:07 AM on June 16, 2002


<proposal>

By the way, all posts to this thread should begin with why, why, why, then proceed to answer that admittedly repetitive and vague chain of queries. It will give the discussion style.

</proposal>
posted by evanizer at 10:07 AM on June 16, 2002


Why? Because oilmen and defense contractors will make a lot more money if Iraq is destabilized. And this is an administration of oilmen and defense contractors.

Why? Bush's quote: “I made up my mind that Hussein needs to go,” Bush responded. “That’s about all I’m willing to share with you.” Pressed, Bush said, “The policy of my government is that he goes.” And we all know being President is like being the Queen of Hearts..."Off with their heads!"

Why? Because he can. Because we've all become so accustomed to being the bullies that it doesn't strike us as odd that we would attack a country which has done nothing provocative to us. Note keywords "to us". And, besides, what better Father's day present for BigBush than for LittleBush to go after the enemy that caused Daddy to lose the Presidency?
posted by dejah420 at 10:17 AM on June 16, 2002


If we are going to unilaterally move against Hussein, a successful covert operation could spare 200,000+ American troops from being doused by Hussein's chemical weapons, which would undoubtedly happen if we invaded.

My concerns about moving unilaterally are summed up well in this article from today's Washington Post:

"But hardly anyone in either party is debating the long-term diplomatic consequences of a move against Iraq that is opposed by many of our staunchest friends. Fewer still have raised the most fundamental point: A global strategy based on the new Bush doctrine means the end of the system of international institutions, laws and norms that the United States has worked for more than half a century to build.

"What is at stake is nothing less than a fundamental shift in America's place in the world. Rather than continuing to serve as first among equals in the postwar international system, the United States would act as a law unto itself, creating new rules of international engagement without agreement by other nations. In my judgment, this new stance would ill serve the long-term interests of our country."


But then I invariably ask myself, what kind of system of international institutions, laws and norms can the international community expect to have while tolerating regimes like Hussein's? It also seems like hypocrisy to defend the regime of a war criminal like Hussein while simultaneously trying Milosevic for war crimes in the much lauded International Criminal Court.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on June 16, 2002


Hee! Desert W. Storm! Can we make that official? Can there be a bill?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:19 AM on June 16, 2002


Why, why, why?

Because, because, because
posted by matteo at 10:20 AM on June 16, 2002


than for LittleBush to go after the enemy that caused Daddy to lose the Presidency?

Most people actually think just the opposite: that Operation Desert Storm gave Bush sr. a all-time high approval rate, and it was the very bad economy at home that actually cost him the presidency and gave it to that Southern governor who just kept talking about creating new jobs
posted by matteo at 10:25 AM on June 16, 2002


Of course, there is still the question of whether Hussein really is a threat to the U.S. I have yet to see any evidence that this is the case. Again this is put well in the article I linked above:

"Hussein may well endanger the survival of his neighbors, but he poses no such risk to the United States. And he knows full well that complicity in a Sept. 11-style attack on the United States would justify, and swiftly evoke, a regime-ending response. During the Gulf War, we invoked this threat to deter him from using weapons of mass destruction against our troops, and there is no reason to believe that this strategy would be less effective today. Dictators have much more to lose than do stateless terrorists; that's why deterrence directed against them has a good chance of working."
posted by homunculus at 10:40 AM on June 16, 2002


Because Hussein is a leader that remains the largest state-sponsor of terrorist activity.

Um, no. Saddam is a monster, but almost entirely a domesticated one. The whole point is that they haven't been able to pin a single instance of international terrorism on him. Even his supposed 9/11 complicity, tenuous from the get-go, evaporated like so much meringue and bad Czech spycraft.

When I first read about this a few hours ago, I honestly thought it was a joke. I sometimes wonder who's running this country, and who put them there.
posted by artifex at 11:53 AM on June 16, 2002


If you can't see the validity in seeking to get rid of a national leader as vile and dangerous as Hussein, there is no hope for you, on any other political issue. And thankfully, you only have one vote.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:15 PM on June 16, 2002


I sometimes wonder who's running this country, and who put them there.

*just kidding *

Five Supreme Court Justices did

*just kidding*
posted by matteo at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2002


Desert W. Storm! Can we make that official?

Seconded.
posted by hob at 12:29 PM on June 16, 2002


Whenever Paris posts anything, all I see is that chicken scratch the little bird from Peanuts emits.
posted by artifex at 12:39 PM on June 16, 2002


betcha hes feeling like Fredo about now. "Saddam is a monster" demonizing goes so far. The big kids don't want him around anymore. i personally believe everyone should have a choice. Saddamm should be given his own variety show or surrender to the U.N. It's about limiting choices.
posted by clavdivs at 12:49 PM on June 16, 2002


Whenever Paris posts anything, all I see is that chicken scratch the little bird from Peanuts emits.

As opposed to your statements of astounding originality:

When I first read about this a few hours ago, I honestly thought it was a joke. I sometimes wonder who's running this country, and who put them there.
posted by BlueTrain at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2002


Oh, ouch. Not really.
posted by artifex at 1:19 PM on June 16, 2002


largest state-sponsor of terrorist activity

Evanizer, what terrorist activity has he sponsored? And while it's pretty repugnant, I don't think you can call paying money to families of dead palestinians (with extra cash bonuses for suicide bombers) sponsoring terrorism. That happens after the fact, and those bombings were going on long before Saddam got involved. So are there are things he's sponsored that I don't know about?
posted by chaz at 1:37 PM on June 16, 2002


Ditto, Evanizer -- you're a smart, informed dude, but where did you come up with that "fact"? It's completely bogus. Saddam's whole MO is that he doesn't sponsor terrorism because he'd basically just like to be left alone to tyrannize his people and build his Islamo-phallic sepulchers.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:56 PM on June 16, 2002


donkeyschlong:

Saddam is not an islamist, he runs a secular government.
posted by delmoi at 2:37 PM on June 16, 2002


while it's pretty repugnant, I don't think you can call paying money to families of dead palestinians (with extra cash bonuses for suicide bombers) sponsoring terrorism.

so, how come life insurance policies have a no-payout-on-suicide clause? because there was once a problem with people who were desperate for their families to be taken care of being willing to kill themselves for the insurance. i think that in a situation as desperate as palestine's, this is as good as paying someone to commit an act of terror. if saddam, and for that matter the rest of the arab world, were really concerned with the suffering of the palestinian people they'd be sending airlifts and teachers. what they're really interested in is making sure that somebody keeps blowing up israelis.

of course, the same thing is true of the us and israel: if we wanted to make the problem go away, we'd be building schools and hospitals and taco bells, which is what we do when we want some people to thrive. but we and the islamists would both rather be winning than right.

Saddam ... doesn't sponsor terrorism because he'd basically just like to be left alone

yeah, i'd like to be left alone in my rich neighbor's house, too. that'd be sweet. i guess this would explain why iraq's been such a peace loving, insular country under his leadership; i mean, yeah, he invaded iran in 1980, and was involved in this big war until 1989, and then he invaded kuwait in 1990, but really, there were three whole years there when iraq wasn't trying to invade anyone. and of course, he hasn't invaded anyone at all in the eleven years since the gulf war, that shows how much he wants to be left alone, right?
posted by hob at 2:39 PM on June 16, 2002


while it's pretty repugnant, I don't think you can call paying money to families of dead palestinians (with extra cash bonuses for suicide bombers) sponsoring terrorism.

so, how come life insurance policies have a no-payout-on-suicide clause? because there was once a problem with people who were desperate for their families to be taken care of being willing to kill themselves for the insurance. i think that in a situation as desperate as palestine's, this is as good as paying someone to commit an act of terror. if saddam, and for that matter the rest of the arab world, were really concerned with the suffering of the palestinian people they'd be sending airlifts and teachers. what they're really interested in is making sure that somebody keeps blowing up israelis.

of course, the same thing is true of the us and israel: if we wanted to make the problem go away, we'd be building schools and hospitals and taco bells, which is what we do when we want some people to thrive. but we and the islamists would both rather be winning than right.

Saddam ... doesn't sponsor terrorism because he'd basically just like to be left alone

yeah, i'd like to be left alone in my rich neighbor's house, too. that'd be sweet. i guess this would explain why iraq's been such a peace loving, insular country under his leadership; i mean, yeah, he invaded iran in 1980, and was involved in this big war until 1989, and then he invaded kuwait in 1990, but really, there were three whole years there when iraq wasn't trying to invade anyone. and of course, he hasn't invaded anyone at all in the eleven years since the gulf war, that shows how much he wants to be left alone, right?
posted by hob at 2:39 PM on June 16, 2002


um, oops. i think. what did i do?
posted by hob at 2:41 PM on June 16, 2002


Point taken, hob. You're right that it is a form of sponsoring terrorism, but I'd have to say it's not much compared to providing arms, planning, and other capabilities, it's not much.
posted by chaz at 2:54 PM on June 16, 2002


donkeyschlong:

Saddam is not an islamist, he runs a secular government.


Where did I say otherwise?
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:02 PM on June 16, 2002


yeah, i'd like to be left alone in my rich neighbor's house, too. that'd be sweet. i guess this would explain why iraq's been such a peace loving, insular country under his leadership; i mean, yeah, he invaded iran in 1980, and was involved in this big war until 1989, and then he invaded kuwait in 1990, but really, there were three whole years there when iraq wasn't trying to invade anyone. and of course, he hasn't invaded anyone at all in the eleven years since the gulf war, that shows how much he wants to be left alone, right?

If you consider warmongering to be terrorism, then look no further than our own government.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:04 PM on June 16, 2002


I guess I should have been more specific: Saddam generally wants to be left alone by the US. To that end, he doesn't have much interest in waging a campaign of international terrorism. His cock-and-bullshit behavior with respect to other mideast countries is crap, but it's not terrorism by any measure.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:07 PM on June 16, 2002


His cock-and-bullshit behavior with respect to other mideast countries is crap, but it's not terrorism by any measure.

hmm. OK, so when he's had his own army to play with, he's been invading other countries, which is warmongering, not terrorism. but, you know, it's funny... before he had his own army to play with, he was a revolutionary. and hey, what do you know, he tried to assassinate the prime minster of iraq in 1959... and then was one of the players in the military coup which overthrew the government in 1968. he was the prime hatchet man for the new government of iraq and presided over a series of bloody purges. then he became president in 1979... which is where we came in.

so, it seems to me that the man is mostly interested in imposing his will as far and wide as he possibly can. when he didn't have an army, he used terrorism; then when he had an army, he waged war; now that his army's not effective any more, what do you suppose he's been doing...?

admittedly, this doesn't tie saddam to any acts of terror outside iraq, and it doesn't "prove" that iraq is a "state sponsor of terrorism," but i do think that saying that "oh, he couldn't possibly be because he just wants to be left alone" is disingenuous to say the least.

and to say that "he just wants to be left alone by the US..." well, of course he does: we're bigger than he is. we kicked his ass. of course he wants us to leave him alone. that doesn't mean he's not going to fuck with us; if he really "just wanted to be left alone" he'd have done away with his nuclear, chemical and biological stockpiles instead of hiding them, let the arms inspectors do their jobs and give him a clean bill of health and go home, and contented himself with terrorizing kurds. but he's pathologically incapable of showing his hand, even when it's in his best interest, which is why we've been using the arms inspection thing to tie him up for eleven years now.
posted by hob at 3:45 PM on June 16, 2002


We'd all love to see Sadaam out. But at the same time, we all know that, historically, starting a war except under the pretext of the most extreme provocation upon one's own soil is really, really bad karma. This knowledge should operate on a subconscious level with all of us, and I can't believe the President isn't picking it up.
posted by Faze at 3:52 PM on June 16, 2002


See, hob, I agree with you mostly, but the fact is, according to our definition of valid provocation (as noted by Faze), Saddam Inc. is not ripe for full-scale invasion. He simply isn't committing acts of terrorism against us, and some of his past misdeeds were executed (pun!) with our blessing.

He's an odd duck, I'll give him that. An old-school megalomaniacal Bond-villain weirdo. That Atlantic article linked here a while back was fascinating.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:57 PM on June 16, 2002


...we would attack a country which has done nothing provocative to us.

I have yet to see any evidence that this is the case.

Saddam is a monster, but almost entirely a domesticated one.

Saddam generally wants to be left alone by the US.

Have any of you naysayers ever considered the fact that the President may have valid reasons for targetting Hussein, or is it absolutely inconceivable that the United States government knows something that the handful of you -- who, likely, have little or no exposure to the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies, etc. -- do not?
posted by Danelope at 4:01 PM on June 16, 2002


Also, for Christ's sake, Bush is not a "junior".

His father's name is George Herbert Walker Bush.
His name is George Walker Bush.

Not the same name. Hence, no "Jr."
posted by Danelope at 4:07 PM on June 16, 2002


Well, there's oil. And then there's oil. And, um, then there's oil. What are the other valid reasons? Oh yeah, approval ratings. Defense contracts.

Thanks for the US Gov't 101, cantaloupe.
posted by artifex at 4:09 PM on June 16, 2002


Have any of you naysayers ever considered the fact that the President may have valid reasons for targetting Hussein, or is it absolutely inconceivable that the United States government knows something that the handful of you -- who, likely, have little or no exposure to the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies, etc. -- do not?

Given recent reports of non-joined-up thinking in the corridors of 'intelligence agencies, etc.', you're asking the naysayers to make a pretty big leap of faith. And given recent spin jobs, in which the promotion of fear is considered the antidote to criticism, the plaintive 'trust us, while we scare the shit out of you' is wearing rather thin.
posted by riviera at 4:10 PM on June 16, 2002


I'm trying to think of reasons countries have gone to war in the past, I can't think of an occurance where full-scale war was waged for reasons not immediately obvious to the general public. I'm sure that Danelope is correct when he says the intelligence services and DoD know more about Iraq than I do, but I wonder if that information would be have the resonance to commit the American people to a full-scale war.
posted by chaz at 4:18 PM on June 16, 2002


Have any of you naysayers ever considered the fact that the President may have valid reasons for targetting Hussein, or is it absolutely inconceivable that the United States government knows something that the handful of you -- who, likely, have little or no exposure to the Department of Defense, intelligence agencies, etc. -- do not?

Yeah, everyone. How dare you question the activities of your government? What do you think this is, a democratic society or something?
posted by Optamystic at 5:51 PM on June 16, 2002


It's us against them, that's why. It's kill or be killed. Or are we to just sit here and wait for another devastating attack the way the Jimmy Carter wing of the Democratic party suggests we do? Are we to just sit here and try to figure out what it is we did wrong to cause these people to attack us? Are we to have a national discussion to determine our guilt and form of apology? I'm thankful we have a guy like Bush in charge. His determination to take the battle to the enemy is right on the money. Let the chattering classes squawk all they want. They've become totally irrelevant.
posted by mikegre at 7:02 PM on June 16, 2002


Oh, I get it: mikegre's a random slogan generator. Cool. Can we download it anywhere?
posted by riviera at 7:16 PM on June 16, 2002


Can we download it anywhere?

Be careful, it's still in beta. Waaaaay too buggy. And let's not even discuss the virus rumors, m'kay?
posted by Optamystic at 7:25 PM on June 16, 2002


of course, the same thing is true of the us and israel: if we wanted to make the problem go away, we'd be building schools and hospitals and taco bells...

The Stuft Burrito: Brings Peace to the Middle East™.
The Taco Bell® Accord.
Israel & Palestine: alone, we're delicious. Together, we're yum!
posted by D at 8:44 PM on June 16, 2002


Big freakin' war where tons of American soldiers are killed?

Bad.

Covert little CIA op that replaces the head of old "Mother of All Battles" Saddam with a big old blood splotch?

I'm okay with that.

But these guys need to stop talking to the damn media either way.
posted by owillis at 8:45 PM on June 16, 2002


artifex: Thanks for the US Gov't 101, cantaloupe.

You've done little in this thread but mindlessly repeat the same crap over and over and mount painfully ineffective personal attacks. Thank you for making absolutely no worthwhile contribution to the conversation.

Optamystic: How dare you question the activities of your government?

I wholly support questioning the activities of the government, Optamystic. At the same time, however, I tire of the continued belief by certain people that the government never acts in the best interest of its citizens, and must always be guilty of something.

For instance, when news of the arrest of alleged terrorist Abdullah Al Muhajir broke, a good number of people immediately accused the government of doing this told bolster approval ratings and so on. Had the government not revealed such information, and it came to light through unofficial means, there's a good chance the same crowd would have protested that the government had concealed vital information from the public as some claim they did pre-September. There is no winning stance for President Bush et al to take in these issues that will avert the reactionary anti-government response.

Personally, I don't buy the attitude that the government is constantly 'out to get me', and I believe (and have had beliefs confirmed by friends in the military) that they successfully protect us from far greater threats than most citizens will ever know. As a result, I'm willing to wager that this situation involves more variables than can simply be dismissed with 'oil interests!' or 'cleaning up for daddy!'
posted by Danelope at 9:04 PM on June 16, 2002


starting a war except under the pretext of the most extreme provocation upon one's own soil is really, really bad karma.

agreed. and i'm not really even trying to suggest that we ought to invade iraq, i'm just trying to make the point that iraq and its leader are dangerous and unpleasant and definitely aren't either good guys or poor misunderstood bystanders.

now, if i had to make a guess as to the administration's motives and methods, i'd postulate that we probably either have the unambiguous goods on saddam's involvement with some terrorist group, and we're being overly cagey about it, or we're pretty damned sure that once the deed is done we'll be turning up said goods along with enough evidence of internal atrocities and the aforementioned weapons of mass destruction to make for a very sound ex post facto justification.

since the CIA was given the nod rather than the army, i'm guessing the latter. but, you know, at this point it's all just fun guesses.
posted by hob at 9:56 PM on June 16, 2002


Danelope: and I believe (and have had beliefs confirmed by friends in the military) that they successfully protect us from far greater threats than most citizens will ever know.

If I had access to the priveledged information that you do I might feel the same way. But all I have is what is offered to the public, which is often quite lacking and even suspicious, and that is what I base my opinions on. I don't assume the government is out to get me, there is no reason they would be, but I also don't take much on faith, especially with an administration as unforthcoming as this one. If I knew what they know maybe I would feel differently, but with what I do know I'm actually more concerned about the poor security at the ex-Soviet bioweapons facilities than I am about Iraq.
posted by homunculus at 10:05 PM on June 16, 2002


where is the evidence that the iraqi govt is involved in sponsoring terrorism? or should i put blind faith in my govt and let them wage war?

hands up who thinks terrorism will decline if mr hussain is no more.
posted by quarsan at 10:30 PM on June 16, 2002


See, this is why so much of the rest of the world (not just fundamentalist Islamic states, the typical Australian I talk to feels a similar way) has a problem with the US. What if Japan put into place a plan to assasinate the leader of, say Congo? What if Brazil began covert operations to topple the government of Canada? It would seem pretty damn weird, wouldn't it? But somehow, the US gets away with fucking with other countries, rigging elections, killing leaders, in the name of "stability" or whatever. Yes, Iraq is a nasty place, yes, Saddam is a nasty piece of work, and the US doesn't like him or his policies. But that shouldn't give the US any right to interfere there anymore than Iraq has the right to interfere with the US.

Why are there US military bases everywhere? Why doesn't, say, Poland have millitary bases and airfields all over the world in foreign countries they have no right to be in? There is something strange in this picture, and it seems that there's one set of rules for some, and another set of rules for others.
posted by Jimbob at 11:04 PM on June 16, 2002


danelope: and I believe (and have had beliefs confirmed by friends in the military) that they successfully protect us from far greater threats than most citizens will ever know.

so why is it a secret then? why can't they tell the public about their success? and finally, do you believe everything your khaki clad friends tell you?
posted by quarsan at 11:38 PM on June 16, 2002


(and have had beliefs confirmed by friends in the military)

"Because I say so!"

Thanks for the Playground 101, jackasslope.
posted by artifex at 11:49 PM on June 16, 2002


Jimbob : and on top of all that they talk openly about it as if they rule every country and have a right to do what they want there. no country should have the right to forcably change anything in another country.
posted by sikander at 11:58 PM on June 16, 2002


artifex: Thanks for the Playground 101, jackasslope.

that's what i'm here for, the high intellectual tone.

quarsan: hands up who thinks terrorism will decline if mr hussain is no more.

errrr... ok, good point. but if we act now, there may still be kurds for my children's children to condescend to...

Jimbob: But that shouldn't give the US any right to interfere there anymore than Iraq has the right to interfere with the US.

according to my handy-dandy CIA world factbook, iraq shares a border with six countries: iran, jordan, syria, kuwait, saudi arabia, and turkey. given mr. hussein's penchant for invasion (having invaded, as previously mentioned, two of those six), his having control of an army has got to be a little unnerving to all six of them -- and to the nations who have mutual defense treaties with them. the us has mutual defense treaties with 3 of the six (kuwait, saudi arabia, and turkey), and would certainly be compelled to act on the invasion of one more, jordan, simply to prevent the inevitable follow-up israel-iraq war.

given that a 'mutual defense' treaty with the us essentially means 'the us will defend you' (can you really see turkey rushing to our aid in case we were invaded?), doesn't it behoove us to take a more-than-passing interest in the man and his little games?

the same goes for the rest of the world and the US bases all over: we've got those self-same mutual defense treaties with half the nations of the world. in practical terms, this means that we're guaranteeing the defense of half the world. i would say that having bases all over the damned place is perfectly reasonable.

am i particularly happy to be the world's guarantor of peace? no, i'd as soon let you all hang and get back to watching 'x files' re-runs. but given that that's what we are, then there you go. if you don't like it, tell your government to get by on its own military strength.

posted by hob at 12:47 AM on June 17, 2002


Frontline's Gunning for Saddam, especially the Expert Analyses -- which break down into we must deal with him now and we must deal with him after we finish with osama. (Oddly enough for PBS, they didn't run a we must let him be for our own moral cribbage game segment.)

Really, leaving things be is not an option in Iraq. We already police his air force and prevent him from exercising sovereignty in the Kurdish zone, with its tenuous civil society. Does anyone here vote for walking away and letting him move back into the north, with his history? So we can't just walk away. We're almost wholly morally committed to staying there until he's out of power. The only question is how to get there. Settlement seems out of the question. He has defied the terms of every agreement we have made with him, from the non-proliferation inspections to smuggling oil. There's absolutely nothing to indicate that, removed from the threat of retaliation, his "peaceable" ways would continue. So we can't settle, and we can't walk away. That leaves us stuck with the dirty responsibility of enforcing the Gulf War peace and security council resolutions, which carries its own continuing risks -- among them the responsibility of maintaining some sort of sanctions process, which Saddam can manipulate into hurting his enemies, or his people, even as he continues to sink billions into a weapons program and palaces that would make Hearst blush. The continuing fragmentation of Iraq, similar in many ways to that of the Koreas, is itself a risk. Naturally, we would like to see Saddam go, regardless of Bush's personal feelings on the matter.

We could stand on the principle of non-intervention, true, but that leaves us in the position of standing by while tyrants rule. It doesn't help our image in the Arab world, who so need democracy and open society. Iraq is even miraculously an Arab country where the most prominent opposition is not Islamist. For whatever historical or cultural reasons, Iraq's generally secular character has remained in both Saddam's Ba'athism (ideologically tuned to a pan-Arab sensibility, with some Islamic cultural elements and borrowings from socialism) and the INC, Kurdish, and southern Iraqi minorities. That's a population we would dearly love to have indebted to us, for the example it would set in the rest of the region, and that won't happen as long as we allow Saddam to rule.

When you weigh the three choices: the bad of the Now, which is an ugly hack of a solution and involves continued suffering, and changes nothing; the bad of the Goodbye, which would involve even greater suffering, and would change for the worse; and the bad of the Regime Change pool of solutions, which might involve some short-term pain but are the only ones which see a change for the better -- I'm perfectly willing to pick the latter. This is not a choice between War (which is universally bad) and Peace (which is universally good). It is a choice between several bad outcomes and status quos, all of which have Bad Things attached to them.
posted by dhartung at 12:54 AM on June 17, 2002


Why are there US military bases everywhere? Why doesn't, say, Poland have military bases and airfields all over the world in foreign countries they have no right to be in?

What makes you think other countries don't have military bases abroad? France, for example, has military bases in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivorie), Libreville (Gabon), Mayotte (Indian Ocean) and Hao Atoll (French Polynesia), among others. The British have bases on Cyprus, Ascension Island (South Atlantic), Gibraltar, and Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean). Poland doesn't have overseas bases because it hasn't really been a world power, and over the past century has been the victim of first the Nazis and then the Soviets. The US has so many bases because until recently we were involved in a 40-year cold war with the Soviets, who also had many overseas bases.

Aren't these things obvious?

What makes you think the US has 'no right' to have bases in other countries? We are there at the pleasure of the foreign host, except in rare cases like Cuba. When a legitimate government demands the US close a base, it does, as it closed the Subic Bay base in the Philippines in 1992.

There is something strange in this picture, and it seems that there's one set of rules for some, and another set of rules for others.

Indeed there is a double standard. When will I hear the MeFi lefties yelling about non-US foreign military bases, about the insidious influence of the French in Africa, or the British in the Mediterranean? When, oh when?
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:11 AM on June 17, 2002


evanizer - 'Because Hussein is a leader that remains the largest state-sponsor of terrorist activity'
a troll? or do you think this point of view is worthy of discussion? i think we both know who the largest state sponsor of terrorist activity is.
dhartung - Turkey is more of a threat to northern iraqui kurds than, er iraq IMHO. Other than that, on what basis do you qualify 'So we can't just walk away. We're almost wholly morally committed to staying there until he's out of power', do you really think that the plight of the kurds is a primary consideration for the us industrial/military complex?

here is some information about iraq, which some may find interesting. it seems that not everyone thinks that sanctions and bombing are the answer to iraq's problems.
on the subject of human rights, iraq though not perfect, has not got as bad a record as many other countries (e.g. saudi arabia).
Please can someone explain what threat, exactly, is posed by Saddam Hussein, and how disposing of him would help?
posted by asok at 1:26 AM on June 17, 2002


What if Brazil began covert operations to topple the government of Canada? It would seem pretty damn weird, wouldn't it?

Damn straight it'd be weird: our government appears to be capably toppling itself these days, no Brazilian intervention required!

If the US Government were serious about offing Saddam, they wouldn't be publicising it. The bastard would just be dead by long-range sniper one day. Ergo, one must conclude that the announcement is just another cheezy publicity stunt.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2002


Ok, the terrorism against the United States is meant to bring down or at least destabilize the government, right? And that's wrong.

So, uh, how is the US doing it to someone else any different? I mean, the Noriega thing, we at least had an excuse with the drug cartelling thing, but Saddam? How is this public directive anything but State-making? Didn't we leave this with the Reagan years and all the Ollie North problems in Central America?

I think Bush has been watching too much '24'.

For the record, I have family in the armed forces and I get the feeling they're getting nervous about getting put into a new combat situation. I could see Iraq turning into Somalia.
posted by rich at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2002


dhartung: I often nod vigourouly at the points you make, and that is one of the most coherent and cogent posts on the whole Iraq thing I've ever read.
However... the link you provide to Pilger shows how he just contradicts himself in the same paragraph!
Compare:- "The US needs to protect Saudi oil and the declining Saudi economy from the competition of cheaper Iraqi oil. If Iraq were allowed to resume oil exports, experts predict that it would soon be producing three million barrels a day. Oil prices would soon fall sharply...."
with:- "That fact is that the embargo is incredibly lucrative for the US. It keeps oil prices down..."
or is it just me?
Besides, there's an old saying (Irish, maybe?) about achieving one's goals and destinations: "I wouldn't start from here if I were you."
If you "need" to change a foriegn regime (assuming you have that right..), best not install somebody whom you empower to turn round and bite you on the ass (remember who armed the mujaheddin in Afghanistan? or Saddam in Iraq? or Noriega in Panama? How many can you name?)

Slithy: when o when will you make those posts yourself?

fff: Remember the Grand Ole Duke of York - ".. he had 10,000 men,
he marched them up to the top of the hill, and he marched them down again." Soon lost credibility with his troops, tho' p'raps not with the musket-makers, the banner-sellers and the dress uniform tailors...
posted by dash_slot- at 10:06 AM on June 17, 2002


The thing we all know is that when Saddam is finally out of power, Iraq is the most likely Arab country to lead the region out of corruption, hatred, and ignorance. Iraq can lead the way for the entire region as a secular democracy with vast wealth and the potential to do great things. Every country in the region, (not least of all Israel) will be greatly benefitted by an Iraq ruled by a competent democracy, and the ideas that come out of Baghdad are likely to re-shape the entire region.

The question is, how do you bring about this change without imperling Iraq's future in the process? Intelligent means must prevail over brute force, in my opinion.
posted by cell divide at 10:23 AM on June 17, 2002


The thing we all know is that when Saddam is finally out of power, Iraq is the most likely Arab country to lead the region out of corruption, hatred, and ignorance.

[tangent]Iran also has great potential. Once the "Third Generation" are in power, Iran could become a model modern Islamic state. I really wish we were doing more on the diplomatic front to help this come about, the "Axis of Evil" rhetoric only hurts the reformers and plays into the .[/tangent]
posted by homunculus at 12:02 PM on June 17, 2002


"Saddam Inc. is not ripe for full-scale invasion. He simply isn't committing acts of terrorism against us"

DS: You're right, but the whole point is not to wait until he gets ready. Are you saying that, considering his past record, he wouldn't terrorize us with his bio armament if he were ready? Why else build those weapons? He wouldn't even have to worry about backwind.
posted by semmi at 4:23 PM on June 17, 2002


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