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The "Axis of Evil" v. the "Forces of Evil."
August 8, 2002 8:39 AM   Subscribe

The "Axis of Evil" v. the "Forces of Evil." Saddam Hussein warns the US that any attack on Iraq is "doomed to failure." While the Bush Administration claims that there are no firm plans to invade Iraq, the rhetoric on both sides is intensifying. Are the Hawks on both sides gunning for a showdown? Can a diplomatic solution be reached? If the Bush Administration's goal is to oust Saddam, have we foreclosed any hope of a meaningful "dialogue"? Reportedly, even some generals are wary of invading Iraq. I think containment of Saddam is a much better option than war. Does anyone disagree? What are the alternatives?
posted by Bag Man (121 comments total)

 
just say no to endless war. particularly as defined by dubya.
posted by aiq at 8:43 AM on August 8, 2002


Wag the dog.
posted by AlexSteffen at 8:56 AM on August 8, 2002


perhaps we should leave the decision of who gets to be sovereign of iraq to the actual people themselves.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:01 AM on August 8, 2002


Saddam Hussein warns the US

Now thats just funny
posted by cmdnc0 at 9:03 AM on August 8, 2002


I think containment of Saddam is a much better option than war. Does anyone disagree?

I disagree. I don't necessarily think a full scale invasion is the answer, but I certainly don't think containment will cut it, if for no other reason than that the Iraqi people are currently living in the foulest of police states, encouraged and expected to inform on each other (spare me the snide Operation TIPS references; there's no real comparison to what the Iraqis live through on a daily basis).

It is true that we (the U.S.) supported and armed Saddam when it served our strategic purpose? Absolutely, and I think that makes it largely a U.S. responsibility to help Iraq toward some kind of democratic resolution. I'm no huge fan of the UN, and it's unfortunate that the Bush gang have shown such contempt for international consensus, but I think international institutions will have to be developed and strengthened to deal with problems like Iraq in the future.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:05 AM on August 8, 2002


I find it interesting, although not surprising, that because of what Bush is doing, Sadaam has been able turn himself into the oppressed.

"There is no other choice for those who use threat and aggression but the be repelled... I say it in such clear terms so that no weaking should imagine that when we ignore responding to ill talk, then this means that we are frightened by the impudent threats..and so that no greedy tyrant should be misled into an action the consequences of which are beyond their calculation." (exerpt from speach by Sadaam)

Bush, for whatever reason, seems to think that grandstanding will work.. but sadly, when you start with a war of words, it becomes easy for someone as wrong as Sadaam to point out your failings and capitalize on them.

The time to topple Sadaam in a visible fashion was ten years ago.. not now. Ten years ago, you had just cause through the invasion of Kuwait - today you just has some guy thumbing his nose at you. Bay of Pigs, anyone?

I mean, with Libya's 'Line of Death,' at least there was the whole infringing on international waters thing, as well.

The smartest thing to have done would have been to stay quite on the whole Axis of Evil propaganda, send in some special forces to the weapon sites and blow them up.
posted by rich at 9:06 AM on August 8, 2002


rich: Indeed. Speaking of Libya, how things have changed...
posted by i_cola at 9:17 AM on August 8, 2002


I assume that most don't care, but are the (mainstream) US public aware of just how unpopular and unrealistic. this 'war' is seen outside the US.

I can see how Bush has everything to gain but most others struggle to see a genuine necessity to put Saddam ahead of other obvious pressing concerns.

Here in the UK there are daily newspaper articles advising caution from an unprecedented cross-section of society - military, political, religious. The usual rent-a-lefty crowd can afford to stay quiet when right-wing politicians, army generals and newspaper editorials are questioning Bush's 'possible' actions.

Incidentally - how did we get to this point? There seems to be no consistent 'line' from Bush, (on Iraq or the Middle East in general) one day he's racking up the rhetoric, the next he's dispatching Coin Powell. It all adds to the general feeling that his 'line' relates directly to whichever advisor he spoke with last, sees Rumsfeld - "Regime change", sees Powell - "Well lets take stock".
posted by niceness at 9:20 AM on August 8, 2002


I think an attempt at diplomacy would be worth a try but i'm pretty convinced this is a veiled imperialist action intended to secure oil for the U.S. and its allies. I think through diplomacy the sanctions can be lifted, and the people of Iraq relieved of their suffering, in exchange for full weapons inspections/destruction. i think the problem with sending in special forces to the weapons sites is they don't know where they are or if they even exist. Unfortunately, Saddam isn't going anywhere. And if the U.S. succeeds in killing him, we got some real problems on our hands. The Kurds the Shiites and the Sunni's will all want independence and the lines drawn will be quite controversial considering the extremely rich resources that country is sitting on. I think diplomacy could work if it weren't for all these missiles our leaders are anxious to fire. The only inevitability is that scores of Iraqi civilians will have to suffer for our precious oil interests. The weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq for a reason. Through good diplomacy and leadership, they can get back in there. This is about oil and a vendetta, not weapons of mass destruction. maybe i'm wrong, but i don't see how anything else makes sense. hey I got an idea! Let's watch history unfold and be completely helpless! bleh.
posted by aLienated at 9:22 AM on August 8, 2002


This is about oil and a vendetta, not weapons of mass destruction. maybe i'm wrong, but i don't see how anything else makes sense.

I think this makes sense: it's about oil, a vendetta, and weapons of mass destruction. Just because the Bush gang are a bunch of militarist, corporatist America-firsters doesn't mean that Saddam shouldn't be removed.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:27 AM on August 8, 2002


There are a lot of compelling reasons to invade Iraq, the Economist had a good editorial detailing the main reason, which is to stop Saddam from attaining nuclear weapons.

However this view in the Financial Times offers another perspective which offers good counter-points to the Economist's premise, arguing that such a war would be, most of all, a tactical mistake.
posted by cell divide at 9:33 AM on August 8, 2002


It's going to be very hard to attempt a 'regime' change without the broad based support from other nations and bulked up Reaganized military machine we had in 1990. The Saudis don't want to allow their land to be used as a base of operations for an invasion either. Any attack will require subsequent occupation of Iraq for an undetermined amount of time. The costs alone are prohibitive, not to mention the moral objections.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:34 AM on August 8, 2002


In a nationally televised speech, Hussein said a U.S. attack on Iraq would be "doomed to failure."

Well, not that he's not awful beyond description, but . . . what was he supposed to say?

"I say to all of Iraq: if the US comes for us, we, my friends, are fucked but good. Screwed, blued and tattooed. We shall crumple like wet cardboard! Oh merciful heavens! Please don't let the American dogs come and feast on our marrow! [open weeping]"
posted by Skot at 9:39 AM on August 8, 2002


This is about oil and a vendetta, not weapons of mass destruction. maybe i'm wrong, but i don't see how anything else makes sense.

This may be true but it's not necessary to see Bush as an oil imperialist to be against this action - it just doesn't make sense. Before Sept 11 we were content to keep him muzzled, as far as I've seen, Bush and his defenders have still not produced a shred of evidence linking to him to current priority number 1 - Al Quaeda (still no Bin Laden), there has been absolutely no debate regarding what happens when Saddam has gone, virtually every ally has either distanced themselves or urged caution, where's the justification? - it's a fucking shambles.

Aren't the pro-war types a little concerned that the most in-depth discussions you will read on this proposed 'sortie' are likely to be on metafilter?
posted by niceness at 9:46 AM on August 8, 2002


Basically, certain people have been itching to get Saddam for a long time. Sept. 11th by virtue of where the terrorists came from (not Iraq, but the same general neighborhood), has provided the political will to allow it to happen. Now you've got people onboard who want to invade Iraq for any number of reasons.

Remember that in the Gulf War there was actually debate and discussion, with many prominent congressmen voting against the war even though Saddam had invaded another country. Now the debate has completely changed. Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11th, but when someone really wants a war, and circumstances mean enough people are onboard, it will happen.
posted by cell divide at 9:51 AM on August 8, 2002


I assume that most don't care, but are the (mainstream) US public aware of just how unpopular and unrealistic. this 'war' is seen outside the US.

Yes. Considering the level of hysteria the european press got themselves worked up into over Afghanistan the more noise Europe makes the better it sounds to us.

The weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq for a reason. Through good diplomacy and leadership, they can get back in there.

I'll just quote David Warren : (Iraq's) "foreign minister, Naji Sabri, now says "hurry on in", while his vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, reminds that inspections must not be "intrusive". Since the point of weapons inspections is to be intrusive, this is a silly game."

...there has been absolutely no debate regarding what happens when Saddam has gone

"The Allies had no strategy for postwar Germany before Hitler was defeated... It might indeed be difficult to recreate Nordic-style democratic conditions in Iraq but even an orthodox military administration in Baghdad would be less sadistic at home or menacing abroad than one presided over by a professional psychopath and his warped offspring. If Iraq is, as has been observed, essentially an artificial national unit that would otherwise naturally split itself into three parts, at some point it should and will do so. The argument for permitting a despot to remain in charge because he can hold together that which rationally should fall apart is no more attractive for Iraq than it was for Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. " - Times Online

The Saudis don't want to allow their land to be used as a base of operations for an invasion either

Since blogger permalinks are down right now (again) I'll summarize... I don't think the lack of staging in Saudi Arabia is going to be a factor.

p.s. Sorry for the novel.
posted by revbrian at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2002


When Saddam invaded Kuwait twelve years ago this month, he had been allowed to think that the U. S. would accede to his grab. He had, after all, become our ally in the Iran-Iraq proxy war. Mr. Rumsfeld himself played an active role in making that happen.

In February of 1991 Baghdad was ripe for the taking. We could and should have finished off our erstwhile friend then. For reasons well known to friends and relatives of our Chief Executive, this did not occur.

Instead we have had continuing "cold war" with Saddam. This state of war has become institutionalized. The Kurds--notwithstanding their being gassed continuously in the "yellow press"--have benefited enormously from the ability to operate a de facto "Kurdistan" under the "no fly zone." Turkey--again apparently aspiring to be the Sick Man of Europe--is unhappy about this. The Kurds refuse to disturb the status quo by supporting the ouster of Saddam.

Rhetorical Q: In the event of a Turco-American invasion of Iraq, who is most likely to catch hell first?
posted by rdone at 9:52 AM on August 8, 2002


I think through diplomacy the sanctions can be lifted, and the people of Iraq relieved of their suffering, in exchange for full weapons inspections/destruction.

why do you think that, alienated?
posted by moz at 9:54 AM on August 8, 2002


(sorry. continued from above.) hussein seems like one dodgy bastard. why should he be straight with us now? people in the US don't seem inclined to believe him no matter what he says, and that lack of trust leads to the continued sanctions. it's enough to make you think military action might be better for iraq in the long run, since trust would be restored when hussein is gone; that sounds like sick logic, doesn't it?
posted by moz at 9:58 AM on August 8, 2002


Just because the Bush gang are a bunch of militarist, corporatist America-firsters doesn't mean that Saddam shouldn't be removed.

Without having or presenting a clear grasp of what an intended regime change will result in, I can't accept the adminstration's goals. I have a hard time believing the people of the region will be better off having us bomb Iraq. They also have a hard time believing it. The WMD argument is at this point regurgitated nonsense. You're even reciting it. I keep hearing it, but there is no evidence to back it up. The weapons inspectors themselves insist it's bogus. What the U.S. says and what the U.S. does are two very different things. No confidence from this American. The only country that is a major threat to world security right now is the United States.
posted by aLienated at 9:58 AM on August 8, 2002


The only country that is a major threat to world security right now is the United States.

Speaking of regurgitated nonsense...
posted by Ty Webb at 10:02 AM on August 8, 2002


why do you think that, alienated?

Because I believe that people who have experienced war and poverty value peace more than those who sit pretty and lob bombs and talk about regime change in countries they know little about. Hawks have never lived in war. And democracy can't be "implemented." It's a contradiction in terms. Hussein is a bastard and a horrifying dictator, but dictarships fall. I think there are times to intevene militarily, but when the people of the region don't want war, diplomacy should come first. As of yet, there has been NO ZERO NO effort by our administration to treat the situation with humanity.
posted by aLienated at 10:10 AM on August 8, 2002


Wouldn't it be deviously clever if the Bush administration "leaked" a lot of plans and made a lot of noise about an inevitable large scale invasion, thus prompting Saddam to realocate assets away from long term speculative projects (like nuclear/biological weapons) and toward short term conventional military reinforcement? If the goal is/was to stop the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction we're probably already making some headway. Political rhetoric aside, Saddam knows he's gonna need armor, artillery, and soldiers ASAP and resources are a little limited in his neck of the woods so a choice will have to be made. Even if we never invade it is better for us to keep Iraq in a defensive posture.
posted by plaino at 10:14 AM on August 8, 2002


people in the US don't seem inclined to believe him no matter what he says, and that lack of trust leads to the continued sanctions. it's enough to make you think military action might be better for iraq in the long run, since trust would be restored when hussein is gone;

How would trust be restored after Hussein has gone? There is no credible opposition, the country is divided on religious and racial lines, etc, etc. as Jordanian King said - don't open the Pandora's box.

The only country that is a major threat to world security right now is the United States.
Speaking of regurgitated nonsense...


Nonsense to you but a good deal of the world would think the same way. The biggest current threat to my personal wellbeing here in London would be a war - if it was proven to me that it was necessary then I would accept that threat but as it is I consider Saddam no more dangerous to me now than he was pre Sept 11th or pre-Gulf war when Rumsfeld was talking to him. He didn't suddenly become evil again.
posted by niceness at 10:15 AM on August 8, 2002


The WMD argument is at this point regurgitated nonsense. You're even reciting it. I keep hearing it, but there is no evidence to back it up.

So what did Saddam use on the Kurds then? (Not for the faint of heart)

Also see : Overview of Weapons of Mass Destruction Capabilities in the Middle East and South Asia

Hussein is a bastard and a horrifying dictator, but dictarships fall.

So you would have allowed WWII to just run its course then with no US involvement?
posted by revbrian at 10:15 AM on August 8, 2002


i take back that "hawks have never lived in war" statement, before someone bites my goddam head off.
posted by aLienated at 10:15 AM on August 8, 2002


alienated:The WMD argument is at this point regurgitated nonsense. You're even reciting it. I keep hearing it, but there is no evidence to back it up.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:20 AM on August 8, 2002


Fresh Air had an excellent interview with a journalist who covers military issues for the Washington Post. Apparently some of the higher ups are beginning to question the motives of the commander in chief.
posted by euphorb at 10:21 AM on August 8, 2002


Before Sept 11 we were content to keep him muzzled

but after Sept 11, it's obvious that these jokers aren't fucking around and that they'll use WMDs against us as soon as they can get their hands on them... So instead of "containing" Saddam until DC is vaporized, we topple Saddam, crush his WMD programs, conquer his oil fields, turn on the spigots, undermine the Saudi fields, watch their "economy" shatter, and assist the restructuring of their government without Islamist wackos running all the schools...

Bush and his defenders have still not produced a shred of evidence linking to him to current priority number 1 - Al Quaeda


We don't need to link them in that attack. There will not be a war in Iraq in retaliation for Sept 11. The dead are dead and the towers are gone. We will fight in Iraq to keep future attacks using weapons developed by Iraq from happening... Especially weapons that they don't have now but will have soon if we wait. Simple as that. No rational person believes that after the inspectors were thrown out that Iraq quit developing WMDs, and we know he supports suicide attacks in Israel with money. Why wait until he supports them with nukes?

Aren't the pro-war types a little concerned that the most in-depth discussions you will read on this proposed 'sortie' are likely to be on metafilter?

Are you kidding?

Without having or presenting a clear grasp of what an intended regime change will result in, I can't accept the adminstration's goals.

A less hostile government is what a regime chance is intended to result in. What do you want, seating charts for the Democratic Iraqi congress of 2004?

but when the people of the region don't want war, diplomacy should come first.

Who've you been polling, the Saudi Royal family?
posted by techgnollogic at 10:23 AM on August 8, 2002


So you would have allowed WWII to just run its course then with no US involvement?

I'm not sure how much more remote of a comparison you could make. No, I'd say US intervention in WWII was crucial and necessary.
posted by aLienated at 10:24 AM on August 8, 2002


after Sept 11, it's obvious that these jokers aren't fucking around and that they'll use WMDs against us as soon as they can get their hands on them.

who are "these jokers" exactly? You're understanding of foreign policy is just so, nuanced!

No rational person believes that after the inspectors were thrown out that Iraq quit developing WMDs, and we know he supports suicide attacks in Israel with money.

Yeah dude i totally saw that on Fox News.

Who've you been polling, the Saudi Royal family?

Every country in the middle east, asia, and most of europe. Does that suffice?
posted by aLienated at 10:28 AM on August 8, 2002


Nonsense to you but a good deal of the world would think the same way. The biggest current threat to my personal wellbeing here in London would be a war

I understand that, and I would support diplomatic efforts at regime change. I definitely have my problems with U.S. foreign policy, which I consider extremely short-sighted and primarily concerned with securing and maintaining markets for U.S. business, but I completely reject statements such as:The only country that is a major threat to world security right now is the United States as sky-high hyperbolic baloney. And no civilized person should be able to content themselves with such feckless thumb twiddlery as Hussein is a bastard and a horrifying dictator, but dictarships fall" while the Iraqis suffer.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:36 AM on August 8, 2002


Well said aLienated. It's hardly surprising that the rest of the world is against invasion of Iraq, considering the precedent set in Afghanistan, and stretching an already tenuous campaign to a regime that is - although unpleasant - barely connected it's original stated aims rather highlights Bush's agenda. I don't think that this is a war that needs to be fought, certainly not at the moment when there are other more important problems that are in danger of being sidelined. Not an intelligent time to pick a fight with Saddam.
posted by zygoticmynci at 10:36 AM on August 8, 2002


"Dictatorships fall" - uh.. Cuba?

plaino - how you can be assured that Sadaam will re-inferce conventional weapons for a defensive posture? He's already said that he will pull back his military into the cities, making it impossible (ok, very difficult) to tell military targets from civilian ones. In that situation, you don't need a massive conventional force.

Also, in the spirit of the cold war, offensive capability was the hallmark of a good defense. I would suspect Sadaam is probably one of the best candidates for being able to purchase nuclear capability (if not already available from dictator friends, like those in Belarus), and he has already proven chemical and biological capability.

And personally, Bush is so all over the place, and thinks himself such a man's man of America, I doubt highly he's using the Iraq talk as some kind of reverse psycological bluff.
posted by rich at 10:37 AM on August 8, 2002


Ty, did you actually read the articles you linked as "evidence"? Yes. He has used weapons of mass destruction in the past, many of which we supplied him with. But then there was this whole war, see? Where the U.S. bombed the crap out of his facilities see? And I'm not saying we ignore his weapons. Maybe he still has WMD's, maybe he doesn't. But the U.S. is maximizing the chances of him using them by going to war. I think a diplomatic road that included thorough inspections should be exhausted before bombing the fuck out of his people and putting innocent civilians and american soldiers at risk of his supposed WMD's. Here is an actual relevant testimonial by the former chief weapons inspector, not some outdated unresearched link about his 1970's weapons capabilities.
posted by aLienated at 10:40 AM on August 8, 2002


Yeah dude i totally saw that on Fox News.

Alernatively you could have read a newspaper. "Iraq's Saddam Hussein increased his financial pledge to Palestinian families of suicide bombers from $10,000 to $25,000." (Associated Press, April 3, 2002)
posted by revbrian at 10:42 AM on August 8, 2002


"Dictatorships fall" - uh.. Cuba?

LET'S BOMB CUBA!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by aLienated at 10:46 AM on August 8, 2002


Alernatively you could have read a newspaper. "Iraq's Saddam Hussein increased his financial pledge to Palestinian families of suicide bombers from $10,000 to $25,000." (Associated Press, April 3, 2002)

that's wonderful, I happened to see it on Fox News. what's the difference? It's irrelevant to me that Saddam gives money to families of suicide bombers. The US gives nukes and tanks and missiles to Israel, which it in turn uses to perpetuate the cycle of violence. what's your point? He's somehow more evil or implicated than the U.S.?
posted by aLienated at 10:49 AM on August 8, 2002


And no civilized person should be able to content themselves with such feckless thumb twiddlery as Hussein is a bastard and a horrifying dictator, but dictarships fall" while the Iraqis suffer.

I'm sure they'd be really happy to hear you defending them and simultaneously defending a policy that has and will condemn them in the name of economic interests.
posted by aLienated at 10:53 AM on August 8, 2002


I assume that most don't care, but are the (mainstream) US public aware of just how unpopular and unrealistic. this 'war' is seen outside the US.

It is pretty unpopular here too. I am against. I can only speak for me though. I was a Combat Controller in the USAF in the not too distant past. Pulled a lot of time in the Balkans.

I see what is developing now, and it makes me cringe. I think of all my buddies still in the services, and I wish this whole situation was not happening.

From my civilian perspective that I now enjoy, I have trouble seeing the justification for an invasion/attack/action
against Iraq. Seems that we are becoming the instigator and the initial aggressor. But, I only see the news now, no more intel briefings.

I hope it doesn't come to an invasion.
Seems too senseless.
posted by a3matrix at 10:54 AM on August 8, 2002


aLienated.. I was pointing out that your rhetoric and sweeping generalizations were incorrect when you said 'dictatorships fall.'

Converstaion would be much more productive if you didn't take challenges to what you have said out of context (as you also do with the Fox News comment above) and instead admit that you were wrong and try to be a bit more level-headed when presenting your arguments instead of relying on quick sound-byte face-slaps.
posted by rich at 10:55 AM on August 8, 2002


Call me a pessimist (and I come from the diplomatic school, to boot), but I believe the invasion of Iraq to be a foregone conclusion.

With that in mind, the question becomes: what the hell do we do once we've deposed him? I don't think the Bush Cronies (and you don't HONESTLY think Dubya has an idea of his own on the matter, do you?) have a clue in hell as to what comes "after Saddam." This is the dangerous long-term implication.

Even more beautiful (in a twisted way) is Saddam's decision to keep his troops out of the open and to try and draw us into urban centers in order to fight. How much messier could this possibly become?

Moreover, does anyone else here accept as a foregone conclusion that the hawks have gained sufficient momentum to bring this to a head?
posted by tgrundke at 10:59 AM on August 8, 2002


Ty, did you actually read the articles you linked as "evidence"?

Yes, you should try it. Unless Frontline is too right wing for you.

I agree that diplomatic channels should be exhausted before military action is considered, but that recognizes, at the very least, that Hussein is actively pursuing WMD. Whether or not he has them at his disposal right now is all that's at issue.

I'm sure they'd be really happy to hear you defending them and simultaneously defending a policy that has and will condemn them in the name of economic interests.

Which policy am I defending?
posted by Ty Webb at 11:05 AM on August 8, 2002


Rich - I think you may have missed my point w/regard to the dictatorships fall comment (and my response wasn't really to you as much as just general humor or err. stupidity. I did appreciate your comments) - My point was that I would rather wait for him to die or fall out of power than make his people suffer. As for my Fox News comment, I was being sarcastic because I think when used in the context of Iraq it may as well be neo-conservative pro-israeli propaganda i.e. Fox News. The arab world supports the Palestinians, the U.S. supports Israel. There's nothing surprising or controversial to me about Hussein supporting the Palestinian resistance.
I certainly won't "admit I was wrong" about that though I do apoligize for my "quick sound-byte face-slaps" and I'll try to be more level-headed and respectful. Though i think we could all use a dose of the same.
posted by aLienated at 11:18 AM on August 8, 2002


So what do the other Arab countries do if/when the US invades Iraq and puts Saddam's head on a pike outside Baghdad? Are they going to just protest but remain seated? I guess I could see the leaders of most of these nations doing so, but the average citizens? I think the Al-Qaeda recruitment office might have to stop into their local Office Depot to pick up a few gross of Bic ballpoints before the angry locals come pouring in to see them. It'd be a short leap in logic to view an attack on Iraq as an unprovoked one. This is my main worry, the wretchedness of war aside. I guess if Bush wants a real war on terror, this is a quick and easy way to get one.
posted by picea at 11:20 AM on August 8, 2002


I agree that diplomatic channels should be exhausted before military action is considered, but that recognizes, at the very least, that Hussein is actively pursuing WMD. Whether or not he has them at his disposal right now is all that's at issue.

agreed.

Which policy am I defending?
i was referring to a military campaign re: " ....corporatist America-firsters doesn't mean that Saddam shouldn't be removed." but in retrospect i'm just being a paranoid asshole and agree with a lot of what you've said. Except I find the WMD's to be a pretext to intervention (and OIL being the primary reason) while you find them to be a good reason for intevention.
posted by aLienated at 11:35 AM on August 8, 2002


news from a parallel universe..
posted by johnnyboy at 11:40 AM on August 8, 2002


With that in mind, the question becomes: what the hell do we do once we've deposed him?

The Times comment "And then what? is no defence against action in Iraq" linked to by revbrian above is worth reading as polemic if you can get to the Times. It argues that it doesn't matter and many fine wars have been fought without any idea as to what happens next. It dodges the issue however .. an action involving measureless American and Allied dead is very likely to simply bolster the current regime in Iran - hardly the result the hawks seek.

Moreover, does anyone else here accept as a foregone conclusion that the hawks have gained sufficient momentum to bring this to a head?

Yes, or rather, President Bush has talked himself into one hell of a corner. It would be a crushing humiliation to backtrack now and this is the number one reason we are likely to go to war.
posted by grahamwell at 11:53 AM on August 8, 2002


My point was that I would rather wait for him to die or fall out of power than make his people suffer.

Which do you think is likely to cause more suffering for the people of Iraq: another ten years of Saddam's rule, followed by twenty more of Uday's, or a 60-day war followed by the lifting of sanctions and establishment of a government that is at least somewhat rational?
posted by jaek at 12:12 PM on August 8, 2002


Also from the Times: Could Iraq War go Nuclear?
posted by cell divide at 12:40 PM on August 8, 2002


I'm not sure how much more remote of a comparison you could make. No, I'd say US intervention in WWII was crucial and necessary.

Yes aLienated, and the whole of Europe sitting on their hands while the Nazis built their war machine was also a "crucial and necessary" part of the outcome. Saddam has in the past had no qualms about utilizing forces under his control to cause destruction and he has never stopped intimating that he would do so again. That apologists wish to say that he is only doing so in reaction to the threat of US invasion is asinine - he began making such statements immediately when coalition forces were dispersed after the Gulf War.

Diplomacy with a man who considers ANYONE who is not of his particular brand of religion to be fodder that should be converted or killed? Diplomacy with a man who considers nerve and mustard gas to be acceptable tools in controlling civilian populations? Diplomacy with man whose fast talking is just another way to delay invasion while he develops a nuclear trump card which one can, by his past actions, assume that he would have no problem using on his own people, let alone others?

Diplomacy in the case of Hussien is merely a way to repeat the folly of Chamberlain and preserve an illusion of security while the enemy becomes stronger. To believe anything else is to discount the entirety of Hussien's history and spoken intentions. One could call it ignorance and stupidity but I think it leans more towards blind arrogance. The arrogance that your moral superiority will win out in the end, that the other side will see reason if you just talk to them long enough. Ask the approximately 40 million who died in WW II how well reason and diplomacy work with those who are bent on the domination and/or destruction of those who do not believe as they do.
posted by RevGreg at 12:43 PM on August 8, 2002


revbrian: So you would have allowed WWII to just run its course then with no US involvement?

You're comparing Nazi Germany 1941 to Iraq 2002? I'm no history expert, but by 1941 when the US declared war, Hitler had invaded or attacked the USSR, Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Britain, and probably others I've left out.

This is similar to the Hussein and Iraq of 2002 how?

And on preview, RevGreg, how can you too attempt this comparison? Where is the Iraqi war machine similar to the one the Nazi's had in 1938 when Chamberlain appeased Hitler?
posted by pitchblende at 12:49 PM on August 8, 2002


"All those in favor of invading Iraq please step forward!"

"Will you swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America....?"

"Good luck gentlemen and Godspeed. May you be successful in your endeavor."

Just don't ask me to pay for it or my children to fight in your chickenhawk inspired wars in your stead. Chickenhawks first I say. Should be a sufficient force what with all the macho talk and windy bluster to topple a little dictator like Saddam, wouldn't you hawks say? No need to involve our young men and women of the armed forces at all.
posted by nofundy at 1:03 PM on August 8, 2002


WWII analogies, I don't think, work here. Now, you could throw up that analogy when he invaded Kuwait.. but that game is over.

The new context is that he isn't threatening his neighbors, and has made no overt effort to invade or attack anyone else.

Unless we want to presume ourselves the police of a Minority Report-type ilk and attack before being attacked, reversing over 250 years of warfare engagement rules (I'm ignoring the Noriega incident because I can argue it has some significant differences). "Oh, we just know he's going to invade somewhere, so we're going to make sure WWII doesn't happen again."

I mean, none of his neighbors are worried about him right now, which is also a completely different situation from 12 years ago.

aLienated - points taken.
posted by rich at 1:14 PM on August 8, 2002


Good grief. Most of the people who have posted to this thread are already so far out of touch with reality it's not even worth talking to them. If you think, for a second, that Saddam isn't actively trying to build nuclear weapons, and that he wouldn't sell them to a terrorist group in a heartbeat, you need some professional help. Then again, you probably believe that the Jews are controlling the media, and the Palestinians are the victims, and that Clinton had no part in our current situation.
posted by epoh at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2002


Also, rich, the idea that the U.S. is supposed to sit back and WAIT for Saddam to drop a nuclear bomb on us, or sell it to another group that would is just ridiculous. For some reason, the idea that the United States is interested in preserving itself and as many of it's citizens as possible is an unpopular idea. I challenge you to find another country in the world that doesn't act in it's own best interest. The only reason the Europeans have their panties in a bunch is because they are slowly coming to the realization that the U.S. is the ONLY world superpower, and WILL do what is necessary to keep things that way. Does that mean that the United States is selfish? Hell yes. So is all of Europe. I'm sorry that some innocent Iraqi people are going to die, but if I have to choose between the death of Iraqi people in order to crush a totalitarian regime, or the death of American citizens, I'm going to choose the Iraqis any day.
posted by epoh at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2002


So you would have allowed WWII to just run its course then with no US involvement?

This isn't really a fair comparison by any stretch. Is Hussein a bastard? Yes. Is he as bad as Hitler? Not even remotely. We choose which conflicts to get involved with. The barbarity of the involved parties usually has little to do with those choices (propoganda notwithstanding) - remember what was going on in Rawanda a few years ago? By your logic we would have been there from day one protecting those folks from those horrific massacres. It would be great to think that moral justification should be the decisive factor in warfare, but historically that's just not the case (again, propoganda notwithstanding ;-(
posted by Tempus67 at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2002


I just wanna know who's going to be the new "Scud Stud"

no, really, I do.... : >
posted by amberglow at 1:37 PM on August 8, 2002


epoh - there are many ways to deal with the threat of Saddam having/getting/selling nuclear weapons, other than Bush's bravado, chest-thumping invasion talk where thousands of American conventional army casualties and probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties will occur. (not to mention the huge weight of international opinion being thrown against us.. remember, the USSR was a superpower, too..)

Being a superpower does not mean blindly engaging every potential or real threat on the open dueling battlefield a la Alexander Hamilton.

If you read what I have said above, before Bush opened his silly mouth, he could have secretly sent in forces to search and destroy weapons dumps and factories, as well as potentially set up an assassination or other such 'accident'. But ever since he named names with his 'Axis of Evil' speech, Iraq has once again been on the international radar, so any action now taken, Hussein can easily create some anti-American propaganda criminalizing us. Before, we had plausible deniability.
posted by rich at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2002


rich, I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to bet on some vague plan to prevent Saddam to develop/sell nuclear weapons. You mention thousands of American casualties and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties, where do you get these numbers from? I'm sure there will be American and Iraqi casualties, but I think you are over estimating quite a bit.

"Being a superpower does not mean blindly engaging every potential or real threat on the open dueling battlefield a la Alexander Hamilton."

I never said that. The very fact that you have resort to this sort of debate tactic reveals volumes about you. You cannot honestly debate the issue, so, instead, so throw up a skewed twisted version of what I've said in the hopes that I'll try to argue that silly statement. Get real.

"...before Bush opened his silly mouth, he could have secretly sent in forces to search and destroy weapons dumps and factories, as well as potentially set up an assassination or other such 'accident'"

Why on earth would he want to stage an assassination? His son would quickly fill his shoes, and I for one do NOT want to have to deal with Saddam's psychotic sons. In my opinion, the whole point of openly attacking and taking out Saddam and his people is to create instability in the region. Once we've got Iraq under our thumb, we no longer need the Saudis, and hopefully create a nice little chain effect in the area. Most of the "governments" in that region are hanging on by a thread.

"Hussein can easily create some anti-American propaganda criminalizing us. Before, we had plausible deniability."

You say that like he hasn't been doing that for the past decade. And "plausible deniability"??? What on earth are you talking about rich?
posted by epoh at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2002


I'm basing my ideas of casualties on the realities of armed warfare on the ground.

As for my debate tactics, I was just translating what I hear you saying with this: (I'm wondering what volumes I have revealed about myself, though)

"The only reason the Europeans have their panties in a bunch is because they are slowly coming to the realization that the U.S. is the ONLY world superpower, and WILL do what is necessary to keep things that way. "

So, in other words, you are saying to stay king of the hill, the US should blindly go out and take out everyone in their way. And the only course of action I see you endorsing is invading and nation-building.

As for destabiliing the Middle East - I'm curious to see why you think this would be a good idea.. do we really want millions of people thrown into even worse conditions they are in now? What do you think some of the driving forces behind such conflicts as WWI, WWII, and the Bolshevik Revolution were?

As for plausible deniability.. his propaganda wasn't front-page news for the past decade. But now, if some factory blows up, he'll cart in a few thousand people, probably shoot them, and then say the Americans bombed a civilian target. Three years ago, no one would have (serious) reason to believe him that it was an American covert op, and the US would have been able to spin it.
posted by rich at 2:19 PM on August 8, 2002


This isn't really a fair comparison by any stretch. Is Hussein a bastard? Yes. Is he as bad as Hitler? Not even remotely.

Exactly where I wanted this to go, thank you for helping it along. My point? You seem to have no problem ignoring that opinions were heavily divided on Hitler BEFORE World War II and it took 40 million dead to brand him the despot you see him as now. Contrary to what so many who wish to stick their heads in the sand want to say, the situation is very comparable - especially when you include the fact that Hussein views his defeat in the Gulf War and the loss of Kuwait much in the same manner as Hitler viewed Germany's defeat in WW I and the Treaty of Versailles. Hussein has made it more than obvious that he has no problem acting in exactly the same manner that Hitler did, what astounds me is that people such as yourself would respond with more talk - having learned nothing from the past. A live example of history truly repeating itself. As has been said, ""diplomacy; the art of saying 'nice doggie' until you can find a rock." That you doubt that when Hussein feels he has a big enough rock he's going to throw it is fascinating. He doesn't even need the threat of US invasion to justify it, he can just cry "intifada" and have at it on the grounds of it being a "holy war."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

"Will Hitler fight when it becomes definitely certain that he is losing that race?" - written about the European arms race in the 1930's, from Time magazine article, Man of the Year 1938, Adolf Hitler.
posted by RevGreg at 2:28 PM on August 8, 2002


Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2002


"So, in other words, you are saying to stay king of the hill, the US should blindly go out and take out everyone in their way. And the only course of action I see you endorsing is invading and nation-building."

Once again, that is NOT what I said. Perhaps you are having problems understanding me, so I will explain further. What I was trying to tell you is that the Europeans are upset because have been living in the past, and are only coming to terms with the fact that they are not that important to us any more. The started to understand this a few years ago, but have figured they could control us with their opinions and pleads, unfortunately the United States is no longer interested in what they think. The United States is interested in protecting itself, and doing what is necessary to prevent future attacks. It is obvious that Saddam is building/trying to buy WMD. Why else would he have kicked out the UN weapons inspectors four years ago? We have substatial evidence that top Iraqi officials have been involved in with terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and the Hamas.

"As for destabiliing the Middle East - I'm curious to see why you think this would be a good idea.."

I could go into it, but someone else said it better. There is no point in restating everything he's said over here.

"But now, if some factory blows up, he'll cart in a few thousand people, probably shoot them, and then say the Americans bombed a civilian target"

I'm not sure you have a full grasp on how a war would play out in Iraq. Bush is not Clinton. He's not going to randomly drop some bombs on the country while preparing his statement to the grand jury about what the meaning of 'is' is. I am pretty sure that if Bush decides to go into Iraq it will be done in such a mannor as to remove Saddam and his cronnies from power as quickly as possible. The idea that we would bomb some place, and leave Saddam alone long enough for him to truck in thousands of people and kill them, then get a hold of the national press is laughable. That's not to say that Saddam isn't capable of that sort of thing, but the idea that he might do that isn't a good reason to not go to war with Iraq.
posted by epoh at 2:44 PM on August 8, 2002


RevGreg: Simply put, Hussein does not sit at the controls of an industrial machine capable of producing a rock large enough to threaten us, nor is he capable of enhancing that industrial machine to the stage where he could. The situation could hardly be said to be comparable to WWII or I for that matter.

I don't doubt Hussein would toss that rock at us if he could (despite your assumptions to the contrary) but I do doubt that he will ever be in a position to do so. Furthermore, I am more worried that invading, destabilizing the region, and then leaving will leave us in a position of greater danger then the one we face now. Now we have one angry but mostly powerless tyrant, after we face the possibility of the entire region pissed, plus most of our European allies angry.

What astounds me is that 'people such as yourself' would be so quick to take up arms.
posted by Tempus67 at 2:53 PM on August 8, 2002


The United States is interested in protecting itself, and doing what is necessary to prevent future attacks.

How will attacking Saddam prevent future attacks? The people attacking the US are Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Saddam has shown no interest in attacking America, and has no capabilities to attack us using WMD or conventional weapons, and there is no evidence that he has been involved in terrorism in America.

It is obvious that Saddam is building/trying to buy WMD.

Saddam already has WMD (chemical and biological). This is the most compelling reason to attack, because of the huge threat of nuclear weapons. However, is it not possible to prevent someone from getting nuclear weapons without invading their country?

Why else would he have kicked out the UN weapons inspectors four years ago?

Maybe you can find some answers in the NY Times:
"U.S. Spied on Iraq Under U.N. Cover, Officials Now Say," a front-page New York Times headline announced on Jan. 7, 1999. The article was unequivocal: "United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors ferreting out secret Iraqi weapons programs.... By being part of the team, the Americans gained a first-hand knowledge of the investigation and a protected presence inside Baghdad."


We have substatial evidence that top Iraqi officials have been involved in with terrorist groups like Al-Qaida and the Hamas.

Hamas may have killed Americans, but they are just one of many groups around the world that have done so. They have not attacked Americans or American targets directly and are fighting a regional war that is only loosely connected to our interests. Al-Qaeda, on the other hand is a completely different story. If there is substantial evidence that Iraq is involved with Al Qaeda, this would be a different story. If this evidence is substantial, I would like to see it. I am sure that if it did exist, it would be on the front page of every newspaper, as it is the one reason that could convince a majority of Americans that such an attack is in their best interests.
posted by cell divide at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2002


We don't need the Europeans? Umm.. maybe in the way of warfare, but to maintain our super-power status due to the economics... they're critical.

but epoh, if you are getting all your information from someone who believes that by destabilizing the region, "And then it will be possible to start to deal with them in a rational fashion, and to craft a peace deal with them." - well, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by rich at 3:15 PM on August 8, 2002


Simply put, Hussein does not sit at the controls of an industrial machine capable of producing a rock large enough to threaten us, nor is he capable of enhancing that industrial machine to the stage where he could.

And, once again, Germany was hopelessly outnumbered and had far less industrial capability than the rest of Europe...and the Europeans felt the same way then that you do know (revisit my quote above from 1938.) Do you feel that death toll of 500,000 to 1,000,000 in Israel from just one nuclear attack is an acceptable risk given that for far less casualties the risk could be eliminated? Remember that this death toll is simply for a single blast and is absolutely realistic. It does not take into account the resulting instability and war that would take place. You need to remember that we're not talking about possibilities, we're talking about the man's stated goals here: acquisition of nuclear capability and the destruction of Israel.

I don't doubt Hussein would toss that rock at us if he could (despite your assumptions to the contrary) but I do doubt that he will ever be in a position to do so.

The only way he won't be in position to do so is if there is action taken to eliminate his ability to do so. Last year at this time you would have doubted two other rocks. The problem is that it doesn't matter where he throws the rock he is building, just like WW II we'll end up getting caught in the ripples. So what if he can only manage to lob a nuke into Israel - I don't see that as being an acceptable risk because the resulting carnage would be unbelievable, not to mention the resulting conflict afterwards. I'm sorry, I don't want to see someone start a war where their first statement is that limited nuclear warfare is acceptable, do you? And what makes you so sure that a small craft launched from freighter could not land on our shores and bring the devastation here? What makes you so sure it's not already happening? Here is man who is willing to use his country towards such ends and you think that "talking" will achieve anything other than giving him more time to perform his stated mission? Please!

Now we have one angry but mostly powerless tyrant, after we face the possibility of the entire region pissed, plus most of our European allies angry.

One tyrant? Maybe you ought to check your atlas and examine the status of that region of the world again. The entire region pissed? The only countries that will be "pissed" are those that are of the same ilk who are not threatened by his actions - and our action would be a "subtle" reminder of why they should behave as civilized nations. I can live with that. European allies angry? They should be angry about their impotence and ignorance when it comes to foreign affairs of this sort. When dealing with people open to reason, reason is an option. When dealing with a fanatic, fanaticism is the only option. If you're not willing to play by the rules of the opposition, you'll soon be defeated. Read your history, it just doesn't work any other way.

What astounds me is that 'people such as yourself' would be so quick to take up arms.

Quick? What is quick about this? Hussein was given a chance to put his country back together and align himself peacefully with the world after the Gulf War ten years ago. His response? Ethnic cleansing and attacking civilians in his own country with chemical weapons. We are far too late to save tens of thousands impacted by his policies already, how does this seem rushed to you? Did you read the accounts of the atrocities committed when they invaded Kuwait? Have you seen the pictures of those gassed in his own country? We are ten years late on this my friend...and yet caution and advanced planning are being employed. There is NOTHING rushed about this. The only person rushing is Hussein...and that is what scares me.
posted by RevGreg at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2002


the funny thing will be in 5 years, after all this whining put an end to removing sadaam, when the same people will say 'why didn't we REMOVE him 5 years ago?!' after the crazy bastard launches some manner of attack on someone. biological weapons? nukes? who knows? are you there? am i there? there being iraq, of course. i don't have the slightest clue what happens on a day to day basis. things stay pretty calm in my room. but i have the corporate news sources yelling in one ear and the indie anti-everything sources yelling in the other and they're always saying different things and there's this war going on and people sexing and smoking drugs and i don't know what to think of this madness!
posted by aenemated at 4:26 PM on August 8, 2002


RevGreg, as Jim has done before me, I'll leave it at 'let's agree to disagree.' It's not worth my effort to try and convince you otherwise, and I promise you, it's not worth yours trying to convince me.
posted by Tempus67 at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2002


The only reason to attack Hussein is, IMO, to force him to attack America. This will give Bush a good excuse to wholly invade the mid-East.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:01 PM on August 8, 2002


I think the U.S. is tired of maintaining a no-fly zone over Iraq and would rather finish Saddam off, instead of leaving the Persian Gulf and letting Saddam have his way.
posted by disgruntled at 5:23 PM on August 8, 2002


All I can say is that I am thankful that the people like rich and cell divide are not in charge. I find it odd that people like them are so distrustful of their own government, yet believe foreign leaders to implicitly.
posted by epoh at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2002


epoh, I am not for leaving Iraq alone and ignoring their existence. However, I don't think trying to flex American military might will end very well in this case. If there was to be an invasion by America, it would not be the happy-go-lucky Persian Gulf war we're so fond of remembering with Iraqi soldiers waving white flags all over.

(yes, there were Scuds, and bio attacks.. but not on a massive scale enough to warrant the Gulf war a major conflict. Mind you, I have a number of friends who were over there, and many were almost killed by Scuds and other attacks)

Any conflict today would involve urban fighting, of the likes we haven't had since WWII (maybe Vietnam, but I see it being much more concentrated around civilian sites, since the lack of a jungle arena). Let's not forget what happened in Somalia, as well.. taking control of a well-armed city when the populace is not behind you is near impossible, and very dangerous.. and inevitably will lead to massive casualities.

While people like Denbeste may opinion that destabilizing the area would lead to the ability for us to set up puppet regimes, I would offer that would have a highly unlikely level of success, given the high anti-American sentiment among the general population, and the presence of stronger religious and non-religious based anti-American factions that would be able to amass larger popular support.

I do not trust foriegn leaders to do what is best for the United States, yet I have an entire right to belive that Bush is not well equiped enough to look after the US's foriegn policy. If the US was still an isolationaist country, then perhaps his kind of leadership would be warranted, but right now, in the current economic and political enviroment, he is entirely too ignorant of foreign cultures, and the inter-relationships between the United States and other countries on many different levels to be making decisions.

The major mid-Eastern powers can quite control their fanatical sectors, if they chose to do so, but with American policy blithely unaware of how to approach and deal with them, they have no reaosn to, other than economic - in in economic terms, they hold the purse string in oil in many respects (although, they are now more dependant upon Western exported goods)..

I know of no war where the aggressing side ultimately succeeded in its aims, and I see no reason why the US should start such a war. Outside of diplomacy, there are many other ways other than conventional warfare in which to try to bring about change in the region. Out and out war is a simplistic attempt to solving a vastly more complicated problem, and the only reason it has selling power is because of its overt simplicity and the dulled idea that the United States can conquer anything. Since WWII, the US has had a string of failures at such campaigns, and has no clear victories, except in cases of specific, swift, tactical solutions that had quick gains, short goals, and realistic plans and ends.
posted by rich at 8:47 PM on August 8, 2002


I know of no war where the aggressing side ultimately succeeded in its aims

Actually, sometimes it works, e.g. the third Punic war: To quote Professor Hooker: "The Roman Senate declared war, and Rome attacked the city itself. After a seige, the Romans stormed the town and the army went from house to house slaughtering the inhabitants in what is perhaps the greatest systematic execution of non-combatants before World War II. Carthaginians who weren't killed were sold into slavery. The harbor and the city was demolished, and all the surrounding countryside was sown with salt in order to render it uninhabitable."

Needless to say, Carthage never threatened Rome again.
Iraq delenda est.
posted by quercus at 9:26 PM on August 8, 2002


Actually, sometimes it works, e.g. the third Punic war

That's because for an aggressor to be truly successful, they almost always need to commit wholesale genocide.

Is the US willing to do that?
posted by Neale at 11:27 PM on August 8, 2002


I don't know what kind of fuckwit is spouting on that website but he clearly uses the beano as his source for current affairs, whilst the dandy provides the concise history compendium - neale.

"when a people is conquered but not destroyed, it eventually rises up and overthrows its conquerors. This may take decades, but it almost always happens. Sometimes it happens peacefully (for instance, watch Scotland and Ireland over the next few decades)"
posted by johnnyboy at 2:54 AM on August 9, 2002


RevGreg sounds about ready to head to the recruiters office.
posted by a3matrix at 5:40 AM on August 9, 2002


As usual, the 'Get Your War On' bloke has it down to a 't'.
posted by riviera at 5:48 AM on August 9, 2002


I'm not sure you could call the Ireland uprising peaceful...
posted by goneill at 6:15 AM on August 9, 2002


"Any conflict today would involve urban fighting, of the likes we haven't had since WWII (maybe Vietnam, but I see it being much more concentrated around civilian sites, since the lack of a jungle arena). Let's not forget what happened in Somalia, as well.. taking control of a well-armed city when the populace is not behind you is near impossible, and very dangerous.. and inevitably will lead to massive causalities."

In regards to urban fighting, that may very well be the case, but we have seen no evidence that his troops are moving into the cities, in fact just the opposite appears to be happening. Saddam is sending troops out daily towards the no fly zones and borders. And if he does recall all the troops to the city? We'll fight them there. I'm sure there will be far more civilian casualties than we would like, but that is hardly a good reason not to go to war. There are civilian casualties in every war, and I would prefer those be on the other side.

And let's talk about Somalia, shall we? I believe we have Mr. Clinton to thank for that ungodly mess. Bush first sent over a small group of troops to provide humanitarian aid to the people and squelch some uprising. It worked, things were going just fine. It wasn't until Clinton's group got the bright idea to go after one of the tribal leaders (it may have been an assistant or something, I forget who exactly, I can look it up if you would like.) Even that would have gone okay if Clinton had given our troops what they asked for, armored tanks and more artillery. He did not. And then, after the Somalians had managed to kill over a dozen of our men, Clinton turned tail and ran. He could have easily sent in a few more troops and some more equipment and completely obliterated the uprising. Instead, he let them think that they had defeated us, which directly led to Osama thinking he could crush the United States.

Iraq would be NOTHING like Somalia. To even suggest such a think is silly. Also, in regards to your statement about the populace not being behind him, you might want to consult the rest of the country before saying things like that. Bush's approval rating is at over 70% right now. And recent polls have suggested that around 60% of the population supports war with Iraq, and over 50% will continue to support it even if it is a lengthy war. So I hardly think that support will be an issue. Besides the fact that there is a good chance there will be at least one more terrorist attack on our soil before all is said and done. Such an attack would only rally more American's around Bush.
posted by epoh at 6:23 AM on August 9, 2002


Also, I am clearly unable to produce a paragraph with proper grammer at this hour of the morning.
posted by epoh at 6:24 AM on August 9, 2002


Or spelling, ho ho.

Sometimes it happens peacefully (for instance, watch Scotland and Ireland over the next few decades)"

What Goneill said, plus conquered land? Personally I want England to become independent of Scotland and Wales, whose Members of Parliament are able to decide the affairs of Britain while English MPs can't meddle in the affairs of Scotland and Wales.
posted by Summer at 6:55 AM on August 9, 2002


epoh - I never mentioned anything about Bush, his approval within America, or the like. I think you may be confusing the point I was making that controlling the mid-east region (after destabilizing it) would be impossible.

As for your recent polls - if you could direct me to them.. since I haven't seen those numbers. (still, 70% is not landslide support when talking approval ratings)

Internationally, though, Britian is the only country that backs the US.. even Canada and Germany oppose Bush's talks of invasion (Reuters - "US and UN Dismiss Saddam's Firey Speech", Thursday Aug 8).

Clinton pulled out of Somalia because he didn't want another Vietnam for the US. I didn't particularly agree with pulling out just after the military cowboys in the US got a bunch of our boys killed - I would have preferred first levelling all of Asid's known locations first (I know guys in the 110 Mountain Division wanted to, as well).

But I get the impression that you think this would be a cake-walk of an invasion - that we wouldn't have body bags flying back to us, the likes of which we haven't seen since Vietnam. Do you think there were/are no other options, covert or otherwise, to launching a massive invasion of another soveriegn nation when international consensus is against it?

(I know this is going to be an over the top analogy, but...) Hitler claimed he was just creating 'buffer' territory, to protect Germany when he started, or 'protecting' his neighboring countries with his armies.

No good comes out of this coure of action.
posted by rich at 7:00 AM on August 9, 2002


I hereby nominate epoh and revgreg to go over and kick Saddam's ass.

Let us hypothesize for a moment.

We successfully invade Iraq, and depose Saddam Hussein.

Who would like to speculate on the commitment we then face in occupying the country? How long will we be sending troops there? We haven't gotten out of Korea yet. What about the Balkans? I heard that we were going to up and leave. Has it happened yet? If it has it has been one well kept secret.

If Iraq ever gets close to building a Nuke you can bet that Israel will take care of the problem ASAP. They have flown sorties in the past to do similar missions.
posted by a3matrix at 7:00 AM on August 9, 2002


"It's not worth my effort to try and convince you otherwise, and I promise you, it's not worth yours trying to convince me"

my fav weak person defence. you got trounced Temp. smoked by the good rev who is right, matched your weak points and countered.

"Clinton pulled out of Somalia because he didn't want another Vietnam for the US. "

epoch said it...Bush started it but CLINTON decided to capture Adid.


"I would have preferred first levelling all of Asid's known locations first"
think about that- how idotic that is.

(I know guys in the 110 Mountain Division wanted to, as well). you mean 10th mountain? so what. My ex-brother in law trained some of those Rangers and that training got them boys out alive.
"But I get the impression that you think this would be a cake-walk of an invasion - that we wouldn't have body bags flying back to us, the likes of which we haven't seen since Vietnam."

what is your point. read Sun-Tzu. a badmistake is using an army when one shouldnt but worse is not using it, you cant think of the deaths of your men when in this mode.

..ah Carthage...
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 AM on August 9, 2002


clavdivs.. fast typing by me.. yes, the 10th.. maybe my new brother in law is your ex brother in law.. that'd be pretty funny. (my purpose in bringing it up was to point out that I'm not spouting off without having talked to people involved somewhat directly in the issue)

But my main point was (and has always been) the question you ignored - "Do you think there were/are no other options, covert or otherwise, to launching a massive invasion (of Iraq)?"
posted by rich at 9:21 AM on August 9, 2002


I hardly got smoked. I decided not to engage in a war of words. We disagree. If you agree with him, good for you. I don't. Hussein is not in a position to drop nukes on anyone, aquire them from from anyone, or threaten anyone in the region or outside of it in a significant way. Even his being able to aquire them is a stretch. It isn't worth my time trying to convince you or others here why I think that. As I said, we'll agree to disagree. Or at least I will. If you want to criticize me for taking that stance, that's your prerogative.
posted by Tempus67 at 9:22 AM on August 9, 2002


RevGreg sounds about ready to head to the recruiters office.

Too old, flat feet, deaf in one ear, wear corrective lenses. They don't want me. It's too bad too, I am extremely familiar with the AK-47/74 and Stoner-based rifles (M-15/AR-15) and have been practicing 1/2 mile plus shooting lately and have gotten quite proficient.

Hussein is not in a position to drop nukes on anyone, aquire them from from anyone, or threaten anyone in the region or outside of it in a significant way.

Your sources for this information are? All I will say is your complacency is admirable.

Even his being able to aquire them is a stretch. It isn't worth my time trying to convince you or others here why I think that.

And I think, given time, there is no way we can prevent him from acquiring them. Unlike you, I feel it IS worth my time to try to convince others of my stance. While I feel that military intervention in Iraq is regrettable, I feel that even the most modest, outside, minimal chance that Hussein would obtain nuclear capability is completely unacceptable. My reasons? His own past actions against his own people are enough to illustrate why I think that.
posted by RevGreg at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2002


"Do you think there were/are no other options, covert or otherwise, to launching a massive invasion (of Iraq)?"
good question and i relize you meant 10th Mountain...though 10 th Mountain was more of the rescue party. Had a friend in 10th M but me ex B-I-L trained the Rangers...not the lite Infantry.

yes, a lot of options and i said it on MeFi last year, a combo of effects would bring Saddam down. Hell, give me 50$ Million and i guarentee and freshly shaved mustache. The problem is culpiablity (sic sp)

i would imagine a covert and overt plan could work. But if the haus of saud wont let us use thier parking lot...then this becomes more...hairy.
i did ignore your good question. but i do not agree with your vietnam scenerio (but i did not godwin it-that scenerio is possable) but tempus is wrong and saying to agree to disagree is semantic negation. The nukes are the boogy man. it is his chem/bio shopping mart that needs a condemned sticker.

"I am more worried that invading, destabilizing the region, and then leaving will leave us in a position of greater danger then the one we face now. Now we have one angry but mostly powerless tyrant, after we face the possibility of the entire region pissed, plus most of our European allies angry."

um, ever study the history of indochine? The region (middle east) is destablized already through conflicting religious views coulped with political power. a fast depletion of revenue (Oil), a waning armed force (out of date) and hatred for anything not like itself. (generally)
posted by clavdivs at 9:56 AM on August 9, 2002


Welp, sorry. I don't think I am wrong, nothing said here has convinced me otherwise, and spending hours arguing with other folks as stubborn about their point of view as I am doesn't seem like a productive use of time. I only mentioned the nukes because someone else brought them up. You want to talk about the chemical weapons, fine. How do you suppose Hussein is going to deliver them anywhere outside of his border. Air force? We have that angle completely covered. Project his forces into another country through conventional arms and then use them? We've destroyed his industrial base, he doesn't have sufficient conventional military forces to to do so. Sneak them out in the back of a truck? He can't get sufficient quantities out of the country to significantly harm someone this way, and he would still need a delivery mechanism. Or is your point that we should stop him from using them on his countrymen...if so, while it's awful what he's doing, it's not our role to stop him, anymore than we considered it our role to stop the slaughter in Rawanda.

As for your point about indochine, in fact I have studied it. I don't quite see your point. You are under the impression that our invading Iraq will improve the situation in the middle east? History seems to indicate it won't, as has been pointed out earlier in this thread. If you disagree with that as well, fine. More power to you. I don't think projection of military force, against the wishes of basically all of our allies, into a region with a backdrop of barely (or not at all) controlled hostility towards us will improve the situation. If the pot's boiling over, pull it off the stove, don't pour oil on the fire.

It does depress me terribly that so many of you would so casually send our troops into a situation which from my perspective has little upside. Let the tyrant rant. We have already effectively isolated him through diplomacy and limited use of air power, and nothing has changed in that equation aside from our side racheting up the rhetoric.

Anyway I'm done with this thread. Sorry if some of you have taken my position here as combative. I haven't intended it as such.
posted by Tempus67 at 10:28 AM on August 9, 2002


epoh: All I can say is that I am thankful that the people like rich and cell divide are not in charge.

Dick Armey: "If we try to act against Saddam Hussein, as obnoxious as he is, without proper provocation, we will not have the support of other nation states who might do so," Armey told reporters in Des Moines during a campaign swing for a House candidate.

"I don't believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation," Armey said. "It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation."
-----

Wow, I never thought I would be comparing myself to Dick Armey.... but there you go.
posted by cell divide at 10:33 AM on August 9, 2002


More from Dick Armey:

"My own view would be to let him bluster, let him rant and rave all he wants," Armey said, indicating a crack in Republican support for President Bush's push to topple Saddam. "As long as he behaves himself within his own borders, we should not be addressing any attack or resources against him."

Who ever would have thought that Dick Armey would be the voice of reason? I hope he stands his ground if it comes to congressional approval.
posted by a3matrix at 10:52 AM on August 9, 2002


Rich, dick armey is right, we wouldn't have the support of other nations, what's your point? you think we need france to invade iraq? or any other european nation? get real.

i'd love to respond to some of the other comments, but works kinda busy at the moment.. i'll try to get back on later.
posted by epoh at 10:56 AM on August 9, 2002


just one last thing, it is obvious to me that the sticking point here for several people seems to be that it's only okay for us to attack someone in revenge. i whole heartedly disagree w/that. but i'm obviously not going to convince everyone... *sigh* anyway, back to work.
posted by epoh at 10:58 AM on August 9, 2002


You want to talk about the chemical weapons, fine. How do you suppose Hussein is going to deliver them anywhere outside of his border. Air force?

Probably in much the same manner as 5-6,000 people were exposed to Sarin nerve gas in Toyko in 1995. Yeah, the infrastructure needed to smuggle 12 ounces of Sarin or Tabun into the US is enormous, especially when one considers that purchasing ethylene and chlorine within the country and synthesizing mustard gas in situ is much easier. And since mustard gas is one of the easiest chemical weapons to create, has no known antidote, is very simple to utilize and there no known treatments to lessen the effects after exposure - I suppose that would be the way to go. I guess it should also be stated that Hussein's people have the most experience of any military in the world with all three of these since they used them in various combinations within the borders of their own country.

Just like the drug war, you need to either eliminate the source or mitigate the end effects - trying to stop the supply chain is a fool's game.

Wow, I never thought I would be comparing myself to Dick Armey

I wouldn't believe that anybody would, for a second, believe anything coming out of an outgoing politician's mouth this close to an election. He's trying to win swing votes for his succesor, he's not formulating policy.
posted by RevGreg at 11:21 AM on August 9, 2002


He's trying to win swing votes for his succesor, he's not formulating policy.

So you think it helps a Republican in Texas to be against invading Iraq? It would seem to me that voters there would be considered a stronghold for the attack Iraq movement.
posted by cell divide at 11:25 AM on August 9, 2002


And since mustard gas is one of the easiest chemical weapons to create, has no known antidote, is very simple to utilize and there no known treatments to lessen the effects after exposure - I suppose that would be the way to go.

To me this would suggest that pissing off most of the world is not the most sensible thing to do at this time. Saddam has never been near the States mainland as an aggressor but Al Quaeda and friends have and you can bet they're desperate for Bush to attack Iraq - they couldn't wish for a more perfect recruitment strategy.
posted by niceness at 12:34 PM on August 9, 2002


So you think it helps a Republican in Texas to be against invading Iraq?

Did you even read what I wrote? It's a fantastic ploy to influence swing voters. Those who are for the invasion or just plain staunch Republicans are likely going to vote Republican no matter what - there is no need to try to influence them. The voters that would be influenced by this move are those that are undecided about what actions should be taken, and the impression that there is moderation within the Republican Party could help gain those votes. The fact that the person making the statement is NOT running is perfect because what he says does not have to reflect the reality of policies in action or even, to a great extent, his own views - and not exposing the reality of policy is EXACTLY the correct behavior during such activities so either way it's a nice tactic.
posted by RevGreg at 1:10 PM on August 9, 2002


Saddam has never been near the States mainland as an aggressor but Al Quaeda and friends have and you can bet they're desperate for Bush to attack Iraq - they couldn't wish for a more perfect recruitment strategy.

Unless you missed it, their "recruitment strategy" has already been executed. The 9/11 attacks were their recruitment strategy because they showed themselves to be capable of striking a blow at the heart of the non-Islamic world which made them a symbol of strength to Islamic fanatic groups around the globe. What I really don't understand is why you feel they would be "desperate" for us to attack their largest supplier of logistics, weaponry and monetary support? The loss of Iraq as a supporter and staging area would be devastating to their infrastructure.

What you really need to remember is that these groups are not looking for us to sign treaties with them. They are not looking to find some sort of organized, debated settlement. Their goal is Islamic domination of all persons on the planet by any means necessary at ANY expense, be it monetary or human costs. Exactly what sort of diplomacy do you expect use with people who will except no debate and no disagreement with any ideaology but their own? And anyway, how do you enter into diplomacy with a group which has no face? Just asking...
posted by RevGreg at 1:22 PM on August 9, 2002


Rev, that is a good point and there is no doubt truth to it. I had originally thought that Armey's comments, especially when combined with the comments of other Republicans, were more concerned with making sure Congress has a place at the table for discussing the war. Most in Congress support the war option, but they wouldn't want Bush to do the same as his father and fail to get congressional approval first. However you do make a good point.

However your rantings and ravings about the faceless Islamic super-enemy are alarmist and ridiculous. Virtually all Islamic terrorists in the world are involved in land disputes and power struggles, not in taking over the world. The few that are interested in taking down America will be pursued far more successfully through avenues that do not involve invading Iraq, which provides nowhere near the kind of support you are ascribing it. Iraq is an entirely different kind of threat, a throwback to the pre 9/11 world of wars between nations. Your rhetoric is not convincing me because you are conflating two separate entities into a single Islam v. the West battle between freedom and tyranny that isn't representative of reality.
posted by cell divide at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2002


The few that are interested in taking down America will be pursued far more successfully through avenues that do not involve invading Iraq, which provides nowhere near the kind of support you are ascribing it.

Your assurance on this issue comes from exactly where? I'm only ascribing to Iraq the support that they claim to be giving to terrorist groups and nothing more. Why you consider that "alarmist and extremist" is kind of mystifying.

Your rhetoric is not convincing me because you are conflating two separate entities into a single Islam v. the West battle between freedom and tyranny that isn't representative of reality.

Exactly where does lumping all groups who claim the same goal, use similar tactics and share information, resources and members diverge from realism? Where does wanting to supress a group of people whose avowed goal is to impose Islamic rule and law upon the entire world or die trying and take many people with you as you can not equate a battle between freedom and tyranny? Poo-poo how weak they are all you want, if you are not willing to use exactly their level of disregard for collateral damage and "unjustified" attacks from the beginning as they are, the eventual conflict will be brutal beyond anything you can imagine. That is not paranoia it's the way every single conflict ever dealt with by trying to forgo the inevitable has gone.

Some of us attempt to learn from history instead of repeating it.
posted by RevGreg at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2002


Yes, yes, excellent points. The only way to stop the menace of terrorism is to adopt the methods and mindsets of the terrorists. What would they do in such a situation, we must ask ourselves, and then be prepared to "step it up a notch." Only once we abandon the rule of law, the laws of war, and the pesky "morality" that actually sets us apart from our enemies will we be able to perpetrate the greatest of brutality and thus bring and end to violence and world peace. Only cruel and inhuman "terrorist-style" strikes will bring such a peace.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I for one AM NOT going to live under the American States of Islam and be one nation under "Allah". Our nation's foundation is so shakey that only massive, terrorist-like attacks on civilian targets will save us from the Islamic menace.
posted by cell divide at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2002



we scots would fully support any us led

invasion of england .
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:11 PM on August 9, 2002


"If the pot's boiling over, pull it off the stove, don't pour oil on the fire."
well, you get an A for persistance.

if ones afraid of a boiling point, perhaps one should not have put a lid on the first place.

I thought the indochine analogy would be evident...when you support one force to fight another, make sure you pick the right joe...Ho was quoating Washington fer criminys sake and look at what that man did. Saddam, the same. He was our Joe who went roughe. Now the French wanted Indochine but could not hold it...well you know this. I withdraw my semantic negation statement as you have explained your view more clearly.
Tempus, i have a weird faith saddam will be gone before it comes to war. I cant see his people supporting him under terror and repression coupled with invasion. someone will...do the right thing.

(RevGreg for arch mage)
posted by clavdivs at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2002


i tried england once. to many hedgerows.
posted by clavdivs at 6:30 PM on August 9, 2002


if you are not willing to use exactly their level of disregard for collateral damage and "unjustified" attacks from the beginning as they are, the eventual conflict will be brutal beyond anything you can imagine.

I like the 'you' there, which is very much not a 'we': in short, spoken like a gun nut with no chance of ever being called up to fight.
posted by riviera at 2:26 AM on August 10, 2002


I like the 'you' there, which is very much not a 'we': in short, spoken like a gun nut with no chance of ever being called up to fight.

Seeing as how my comments were directed to individuals who object to the situation, I think "we" would have been inappropriate. Your comment, on the other hand, is indicative of someone who has nothing pertinent to say and nothing to add to the discussion - when that is the case not posting is generally the accepted method of getting that point across.

Gun nut? No, responsible gun owner and handler. My three primary concerns when I am using my guns? Safety, safety and safety. Yeah, I'm a pretty wacky guy.
posted by RevGreg at 10:02 AM on August 10, 2002


I for one can't believe i've lived to see the day when someone approves of a political or military move because Steven Den Beste says so.
posted by zzero at 12:43 PM on August 10, 2002


RevGreg - "if you are not willing to use exactly their level of disregard for collateral damage and "unjustified" attacks from the beginning as they are, the eventual conflict will be brutal beyond anything you can imagine."

I don't see how this works. First off, the Israelis have been trying the same thing with the Palestinians and it hasn't worked. As for 'all those peole' over there who want to impose Islamic law on 'all of us' over here - that's just the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

Maybe 'all those people' over there think that 'all of us' over here are trying to impose our way of life on all of them.. now, does it make them justified in attacking us pre-emtively? I don't think so.

What I really don't understand is why you feel they would be "desperate" for us to attack their largest supplier of logistics, weaponry and monetary support? The loss of Iraq as a supporter and staging area would be devastating to their infrastructure.

I've seen no support for the assertion that Iraq is the largest supplier for terrorist support, and is a major staging area. Iraq doesn't make Soviet machine guns, rocket launchers or mortars. Also, Iraq doesn't have much in the way of natural occuring 'hiding' places, other than the mountains in the North, under the no-fly zone. The terrorist organizations we're talking about are generally independantly wealthy (no direct government support), through old mafia-ways: legitimate businesses funnelling cash back to them.

More likely areas for support, weapons, staging, are more lawless lands that have little control over their more 'wild' areas that are better for hiding and training (Turkmenistan, jungles of south east Asia, etc).

clavdivs - I highly doubt the people of Iraq would be able to dispose of him, or be willing to. The 'resistance' is made up of much the same kind of structure that fought the Soviets in Afganistan, lost to the Taliban, and are now fighting amonst eachother (and shooting at US troops) - clans and local strongmen.
posted by rich at 6:33 AM on August 12, 2002


I don't see how this works. First off, the Israelis have been trying the same thing with the Palestinians and it hasn't worked.

If the Israelis showed the same disregard for human life that the Palestinians have shown, there would be no Palestinians in Israeli controlled territory. They allow Palestinians to hold public offices - do you think the same would hold true in reverse?!

As for 'all those peole' over there who want to impose Islamic law on 'all of us' over here - that's just the most ridiculous thing I've heard.

Me too. I wish they'd get a new agenda.

Maybe 'all those people' over there think that 'all of us' over here are trying to impose our way of life on all of them.. now, does it make them justified in attacking us pre-emtively? I don't think so.

What you think doesn't matter. THEY think that Allah has given them life specifically so they can impose the will of Islam upon the whole of the human race. Frankly, our way of life, which says that one can believe as one wishes as long as you allow others to do the same, is a hell of a lot more reasonable - and if anything is going to be imposed upon the world, I'll take that!

I've seen no support for the assertion that Iraq is the largest supplier for terrorist support

Somehow you mistake Iraqi support as needing to occur within the borders of Iraq. Iraq has THE best trained military in the area and uses it's members to train others - inside and outside of the country. Sure, they don't make Soviet weaponry, then again, nobody makes Soviet weaponry anymore - but they have huge stockpiles of such arms...as do some of the other countries you mentioned. The difference? Iraq is MUCH more modern and sophisticated than the other places you mention, which makes them much more capable of effectively training these people. You also seem to be under some illusion that these are large numbers of people, which is also not true. I would doubt that they have much more than 1,000 persons in active training for terrorist activities. Large numbers mean more chances of security leaks and large numbers are not required for terrorist moves. Sophistication *is* required and that is why Iraq is the center of such activities.
posted by RevGreg at 6:50 PM on August 12, 2002


Israelis do show a disregard for Palestinian life.. or has every Palestinian killed been a terrorist?

Of course they are considered collateral damage.. but it hasn't exactly stopped the terrorism.. if anything, such action fuels more bombings and volunteers.

Do you actually know any of 'THEM'? Let's talk about religious agendas - hey - the Catholic Church has publicly stated that other religions have made inroads into the Catholic faith and put out a cal that all true belivers should actively convert others from other faiths.

As for sophistication - there is a hell of a lot more sophistication, militarily, in the old Soviet block that have lost their main paychecks. And let's not forget those fringe elements disenchated by the IRA's peace moves - we already know they've been training South American 'rebel' fighters.

I just get the impression that you have extreme prejudice against anyone from the Middle East, which colors your arguments, as well as your acceptance of what anyone else may have to say on the subject (i.e. "It doesn't matter what you think"). Now, I know everyone from western Pennsylvania isn't so ready to pass sweeping generalizations like you seem to be doing.
posted by rich at 12:42 PM on August 13, 2002


Israelis do show a disregard for Palestinian life.. or has every Palestinian killed been a terrorist?

Should we compare combatant/civilian kill ratios between the Palestinians and Israelis? Sorry, Israeli soldiers are walking around in uniforms making them easy targets and the Palestinians are blowing up nightclubs. Palestinian "soldiers" are dressed like civilians and hiding amongst civilians and you expect the Israelis to somehow eliminate collateral damage when the Palestinians are doing everything they can to increase it?

there is a hell of a lot more sophistication, militarily, in the old Soviet block that have lost their main paychecks

And an Arabic individual hanging out most of these areas would stick out like a pork chop at a Bar Mitzvah. Why would would they be so stupid as to go somewhere where they are a) painfully obvious and b) the people training them do not share in their agenda. Secrecy is also paramount here and they would have to suspect that the same countries you speak would then turn around and sell them out to the other side.

I just get the impression that you have extreme prejudice against anyone from the Middle East, which colors your arguments,

If my friend Kirschid Alam were on the net, I'd have him tell you how I feel about devout Muslims - it would contrast greatly with your assumption. As would the memories of two of my ex-girlfriends who were both Jewish, one of whom was born and raised in Israel until she was 13.

as well as your acceptance of what anyone else may have to say on the subject (i.e. "It doesn't matter what you think").

You completely misunderstood me but it still stands, it doesn't matter what you think. It doesn't matter what I think either. My opinion is based on what THEY think. It is based upon the tenets and beliefs of radical Islam and THEIR statements as to what THEY plan to do. You would do yourself a favor to study Wahhabism and those who follow it...because what THEY think DOES matter in this discussion. It matters a lot.

I know everyone from western Pennsylvania isn't so ready to pass sweeping generalizations like you seem to be doing.

I wonder how people from eastern Pennsylvania, where I live, feel about all of this? Sorry, my stance is not based on "sweeping generalizations" it is based on large amounts of information on these people and their beliefs. Your mistake is that YOU are making a sweeping generalization that I mean that EVERY person in these countries feels and believes these things. They do not. But, the people running these countries do. The people who control their armies do. The people who support acts of terrorism do. And, if those who do not agree with their government are content to allow it to stay in power, unfortunately they are going to suffer to some degree along with those who are targeted. It is unfortunate but it is also unavoidable. But I also feel that in the long run it is in THEIR best interests also for us to make the attempt to eliminate these oppressive regimes.
posted by RevGreg at 6:13 PM on August 13, 2002


Your statements of 'THEM' never stated that you were referring to the leaders.. it did sound to me like you were talking about 'all those Islam people over there'. I don't take that as me making a sweeping generalization, but reading that you point and say 'those Islamic people.' How else am I supposed to interpret it?

As for training, etc.. and Arabs sticking out in old Soviet republics.. half of those new countries have populations where an Arabic individual wouldn't stick out. But I wasn't expecting them to travel to the experts, but rather that the people selling/training/whatever would be travelling to the buyers.

I think we're in a disconnect over individuals versus countries being the support structure for terrorists, as well.

There are two issues here.. one is about terrorism and terrorists specifically, and the other is how to deal with regimes we consider dangerous, authoritarian, and somehow a threat, either in a conventional sense, through some kind of 'black ops' of their own making, or by forging ties with terrorist and guerilla groups.

Is the support for attacking Iraq you have in order to dismantle their weapons of mass destruction, or as a prelude to trying to take over the Middle East region?

I don't picture all the countries in the Middle East as having the same agenda, or even being comfortable buddy-buddy neighbors with eachother. The only unifying theme they have is the threat Israel poses, as well as the annoyance at U.S. interferrence in what they consider to be their affairs, especially since the U.S. just tries to impose their way of thinking on everyone in the region.

Through the 90's, there had been the beginning of a shift in many of the countries in the area toward moderates, but much of that progress has been reversed as hardliners have more to point to garner support and maintain control. Why add more fuel to that fire? There *are* other options, and perhaps there are options that may even give the US more control in the region in a shorter amount of time, and at a less costly price, than war.
posted by rich at 9:33 AM on August 14, 2002


Is the support for attacking Iraq you have in order to dismantle their weapons of mass destruction, or as a prelude to trying to take over the Middle East region?

Dismantling/preventing WMD's is the initial goal. The secondary goal would be to allow for a more moderate government to be installed in place of the current regime. Where exactly do you get this concept of "taking over" the Middle East from? Who wants it? If they were content to not screw with others and cause trouble, we'd have forgotten about them long ago.

Through the 90's, there had been the beginning of a shift in many of the countries in the area toward moderates, but much of that progress has been reversed as hardliners have more to point to garner support and maintain control.

That's a joke, right? Exactly where did anything change in the 90's? Just because several countries spent that time licking their wounds from previous problems and our government was content to completely ignore the region during that time doesn't mean that moderation has crept in. In fact, all through the lare 90's the violence and problems have scaled up, where we are now is the product of the perception of non-intervention that was created by this era - they are confident that, like during the Clinton years, the US will eventually just "forget" about the situation and go back to ignoring them. I'm glad we have an administration in place that is attempting to not end up doing that.

There *are* other options, and perhaps there are options that may even give the US more control in the region in a shorter amount of time, and at a less costly price, than war.

Those options being? Citations please, all joking aside, I'd love to see them.
posted by RevGreg at 3:48 PM on August 14, 2002


If dismantling/destroying/preventing weapons of mass distruction is the goal, then why not press with weapons inspectors? Why not continue to use spy satelites to find production facilities and movements of imports/exports? Why not, instead of invading, simply say they we will destroy any suspected weapons site and/or imports/exports that can be used for such purposes? Previous weapons inspectors and intelligence officers seem to think these methods are a vastly better option than invading the country.

And as for the second goal, I have to wonder if you seriously believe that it would be possible to form a single government in Iraq. Who is going to lead this new order? Is any country in the region going to accept it? Hell - forget about other countries - will any of the people who live in Iraq accept it?

(for the changes during the 90's.. hard line countries like Iran and Syria had noticeable strides made by moderates into the higher reaches of the government, including supporters of secular movements, to the point that western countries, including the US, considering re-opening official ties. also, I don't see how you can say our country completely ignored the region during the 90's, as well, since the US was very active in working with Barak up until his assassination, as well as staying close with Egypt and Jordan.)
posted by rich at 6:33 AM on August 15, 2002


then why not press with weapons inspectors?

Well, they're willing to allow non-American inspection by any group who promises to not be "intrusive." Unacceptable. Intrusion is the WHOLE POINT of weapons inspection!

instead of invading, simply say they we will destroy any suspected weapons site and/or imports/exports that can be used for such purposes?

What, exactly, do you consider to be different between these two options? Both are agression but one is MUCH more accurate and effective. I'd rather we did the job thoroughly instead of pretending to do the job. Why blow it up and just leave the same people in power to start all over again? How do you know you got them all? How do you know that specific materials are destroyed or rendered unusable? Invasion wins by a landslide if you really want it done right. I want it done right.

Who is going to lead this new order? Is any country in the region going to accept it? Hell - forget about other countries - will any of the people who live in Iraq accept it?

The exact same question was unaswered on V-E and V-J days during WWII. You can't answer that question until you know what you have to work with, and you don't know what you have to work with until you're in position to actually do it. Most of our failures in this area in the past few decades have come from answering this question BEFORE we had control of the area and then following a plan based on erroneous assumptions and information. This is a question you tackle AFTER the pacification is done - not before. The worst that can happen is failure - then you may end up with a weaker, less well equiped, WMD free version of what you have now. I find that acceptable.

hard line countries like Iran and Syria had noticeable strides made by moderates into the higher reaches of the government

Iran is a domino waiting to fall - it is held in place only by Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The fall of Iraq is the doom of the current regime there. Talk to me about Syria when they treat the Palestinians there any better than the Israelis do. Egypt and Jordan? If they had absolutely ANY influence in the area that would make me happy but they are merely attempting to tread the fine line that keeps the US assistance rolling in and yet doesn't make them look bad in the eyes of the other Arabic nations in the area. Jordan has the extra plus in that it's leaders have a penchant for marrying hot, caucasian models - but if you've been reading between the lines for the past five years, they are not quite as moderate as you're trying to make them out to be.
posted by RevGreg at 3:13 PM on August 15, 2002


As an aside, I think it's interesting that another thread is being pursued on MeFi which concerns US military intervention and the long term effects. It is the current thread on North Korea. Interesting that here is a situation where we did half the job, leaving half of an area controlled by despots while liberating the other half. The half we liberated has modern economy competing on the world stage. The half that we left to the glory of the communist ideal has seen 2-3 million people starve to death since 1995, to which their leader has been quoted as saying that he believes some 25 percent of the population is "expendable" and most of the population lives in near iron age conditions.

Let's do it right in the Middle East.
posted by RevGreg at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2002


Please note that these starvation deaths took place during a period when the US sent 1.9 million metric tons of food to North Korea valued at approximately $620 million. Their military spending remains extremely high though...
posted by RevGreg at 3:29 PM on August 15, 2002


The difference between targetting weapons sites through intelligence and surgical strikes and invading should be rather obvious. In addition, the destruction of sites by surgical strike is not vehimently opposed by the rest of the world.

As for Iraq keeping Iran propped up - umm.. if you have support for this, marvellous.. let me know.

Egypt and Jordan walking a fine line is the same place I'd like to see the rest of the region head to.. then maybe they'll start to stray over the line and actually cooperate with us. But right now, most of the countries in the region don't even give a crap enough to bother.

WWI and WWII are vastly different than this situation, and we've been over that ground before. In both wars, there was international support to implement a new government in Germany. Germany was also divided up among the Allies, and occupation of Germany hasn't really even ended today by foreign militaries.

Pressing ahead without looking at the potential outcomes is short-sighted. Would you smack a beehive with your hand to knock it down, and think about how you'll deal with it later? If we go in, we will have to try to build some kind of government, or just pull out and let lawlessness turn the place into Afganistan.. or Somalia. So, long-term occupying force, with no Allied help. With unfriendly nations on every border, and an unfriendly indigenous population.

The worst that can happen is failure? And what level of failure? Vietnam-level failure, with the entire Middle East region unifying behind a single cause, attacking Israel, destroying the secular regime in Turkey, re-igniting the Baltic region and forcing Europe to go on alert for war? Or just.. 'hey, the U.S. lost another battle.. Oh well.'

Korea is a hold-over from cold-war politics, and again a different situation that does not parallel the current Iraq issue at all in any discussion on justification for 'finishing off' Saddam.
posted by rich at 7:19 AM on August 16, 2002


Would you smack a beehive with your hand to knock it down, and think about how you'll deal with it later?

And if you're a beehive that's been knocked down, what do you do?
posted by RevGreg at 10:20 AM on August 20, 2002


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