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Regime change required for a rogue nation?
August 10, 2002 2:31 PM   Subscribe

Regime change required for a rogue nation? In a soundbite disseminated by the White House and duly picked up by the media, Bush the younger asserted that "the world's worst leaders" will not be permitted to "harbor and develop the world's worst weapons." With the U.S. hinting at a new, unilateral war effort abroad and suspending constitutional rights at home, Adrian Hamilton writes in the Independent (U.K.), "The government which is spending by far the most on weapons of mass destruction, and is now planning to raise its budget by an increase greater than the total defence spending of Europe, is, of course, based in Washington."
posted by xian (27 comments total)

 
Actually, I was thinking this today. Bush was bleating on about how Saddam Hussein is an undemocratic leader who is hated by half of his population.. and I realized that.. hey, that sounds just like Bush too!

That said, I like Bush, but talk about hypocritical.
posted by wackybrit at 3:17 PM on August 10, 2002


You're either with us or not. If not, move before ...well, you know.
if you are number one, you spend like number one. Those socialistic eurotrahers will depend on us when war strikes them...small military so they can give handouts to the needy, aka, socialist nations.

They woulds pend even less on military if they had to pay the 2 million or so they have accrued with their parking tickets in Manhattan and which we "forgive" them while decent folks getstuck for tickets...Let them use bikes the way the eurotrash does in Europe!
posted by Postroad at 3:42 PM on August 10, 2002


So then, the King has no clothes? I'm not only against the war on Iraq, I'm for total isolationism. No interference of any kind anywhere. No US troops in any foriegn country for any reason. No 'help', no loans, no exploitation. Sure, the rest of the *free* world will have to start spending a large share of their GNP on defense, and poor countries will get poorer, but by God we'll get our self respect back!
posted by Mack Twain at 3:42 PM on August 10, 2002


I think the criticism from the Independent did a good job of pointing out the view from those outside the US on Mr. Bush's war against Saddam. Bush has yet to sway the court of public opinion that a preemptive strike against Saddam is necessary.

I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with Dick Armey.
posted by birdherder at 4:22 PM on August 10, 2002


You know, I don't think Saddam is a terribly nice guy, or a terribly benevolent leader. However, I do think that openly inviting his opponents to help plot the overthrow his government is completely over the top.

If we thought he was that bad, then the surrender terms back in the reign of George Bush the Elder should have included Saddam's ousture. For that matter, maybe the UN Inspection Teams should have had a tank with them, and the authority to say "If you won't let us in you have 5 minutes to evacuate it."
posted by ilsa at 4:32 PM on August 10, 2002


ilsa - we did think he was that bad. Saddam is still in power because the Saudis didn't want a Western army installing a replacement government (they would have been just tickled to see elections in the area). Since our official policy was (and continues to be) sucking up to the Saudis, the point wasn't forced.

The UN inspection thing is particularly sensitive - the people who were on the ground reported all sorts of deception, coverups and endless stalling. Politics kept them from getting the authority to do something about it.
posted by adamsc at 5:20 PM on August 10, 2002


Postroad's right. These whiners are the first ones to demand that the US take action when their tails are on the line.
Unfortunately, this same sentiment could just as well have come from Berkeley as London. Ho Hum.
posted by hama7 at 5:29 PM on August 10, 2002


Postroad/hama7 - haven't you heard? We're not whiners, we're post-historical (long-ish intelligent analysis of the reason for the gulf in American and European attitudes to Iraq etc that's well worth the read).

You got me on the parking ticket thing though.
posted by wassock at 5:44 PM on August 10, 2002


A pretty good piece of satire/commentary, but i would disagree on some of the comments.

The about 50/50 split is in no way statistically a majority for the last election, and certainly not an "absolute majority"

bush was elected from " a single part of the country ", yeah, they're called the flyover states.

"It has shown itself ready to use weapons of aerial bombardment that make no discrimination between combatants and civilians" - using any weapons will result in civilian (and likely friendly) casualties, to say the aerial is the reason for civilian casualties is to imply that ground forces would be much cleaner, and if you want an example of that just see the "state terrorism" of the Israelis.

The problem this writer is missing is that 50 percent of AMERICANS hate bush, but the other HALF are behind him and no one's holding a gun to their heads to choose that way. If an ABSOLUTE majority of americans felt strongly against Bush he wouldn't be our president (sadly, he is). However, the structure of our government is such that every few years we get to topple it and hope that it comes out better....and we don't even have to shoot each other (too much) to do it.
posted by NGnerd at 7:08 PM on August 10, 2002


postroad: WTF?
Finally someone speaks of the horrible parking-ticket oppression that I as an American face every day.

Those socialistic eurotrahers will depend on us when war strikes them...small military so they can give handouts to the needy, aka, socialist nations.

Yeah, maybe Europe should try their hand at empire building. That would be original.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 7:12 PM on August 10, 2002


wassock: thanks for reposting that article with the "bear in the woods" analogy it really is an excellent article and comes up with most US and Europe policy discussions (about daily). He ends the article by saying

"Americans are powerful enough that they need not fear Europeans... Rather than viewing the United States as a Gulliver tied down by Lilliputian threads, American leaders should realise that they are hardly constrained at all. If the United States could move past the anxiety engendered by this inaccurate sense of constraint, it could begin to show more understanding for the sensibilities of others, a little generosity of spirit."
posted by stbalbach at 7:41 PM on August 10, 2002


Oops, it was in yesterday's paper and I hadn't spotted the syndication smallprint. Like you say, a good article though.
posted by wassock at 3:51 AM on August 11, 2002


Let's examine another issue: America and its allies went into Kuwait to kick Saddam out. Our allies went along with us under the provision that we would not go into Iraq to rid the world of Saddam. To get a concensus, we agreed. After, a lot of Americans believed Bush the Father was derelict in not getting Saddam. But he was not supposed to under the understanding we had with other nations.

Now we are after Saddam. Perhaps this is right. Perhaps wrong.But my point is that Europe will not join us in this effort. Europe it seems draws a line. But that line does not mean we must draw the same one. And, if we do not,then why worry about not having the rest of the world with us? Was the enite worlod with us in WWII?

As for Bush and halfthe population etc. He may have slipped into th eWhite House but his numbers are high on fighting terrorism (low on other issues), and so to say half the nation is against him (based on the presidential voting and not on polling about Iraq) is misleading.

As for going in after Saddam. Very simple: he knows we have a lot of power. He need only say that he is clean and they can come in and inspect anything and everyythingifthey think otherwise. Bingo.No war.
posted by Postroad at 4:23 AM on August 11, 2002


Postroad, where did you find this about the allies going along with the gulf war so long as Saddam was left in place? I must have missed that one.

And there's one major difference in the WWII analogy. In WWII all of Europe bar the Axis powers were glad to see the US intervention. I can't find any of Iraqs neighbours calling for the same thing, and there has to be reason for that.

It seems to be quite the opposite with Iraqs neighbours actively calling for the US to step back from war. There may be other reasons in play here, such as was mentioned earlier with the Saudis and elections, but why are thew Jordanians against it? Why are the Iranians against it?

We're told time and again that there is compelling evidence for both Saddams involvement in 9/11 and his stockpiling and intended use of weapons of mass destruction. So, make everything real simple. Give us the evidence. Bush and Blair, show us what you've got and I'm behind you, as I'm sure would be most other countries.

It really wouldn't surprise me if Saddam is stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, but that's not enough of a reason to invade. After all, he had chemical weapons in the gulf war and there is no eveidence he used them, so why is he going to start now?

Maybe I'm just stoopid but I really can't see any justification for all this talk of war.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:15 AM on August 11, 2002


Was the enite worlod with us in WWII?

This sort of breathtaking ignorance makes my blood boil. WWII broke out, in 1939, not 1941 as most Americans believe. Within months the whole of Europe was occupied apart from Great Britain. So desperate was the US to stay out of the war that the goverment not only refused to supply arms to the Brits, they wouldn't even lend the money to buy/build them.

Had they done so, perhaps many millions of lives would have been saved and the later intervention of US troops in the war, for which all of Europe is eternally grateful, would not have been necessary.

1991's Gulf War was entirely justified as Saddam had invaded a sovereign state that was an ally. Bush Sr was famously reluctant to go to war until he was persuaded that it was a moral necessity to do so by Thatcher. The circumstances made the building of a coalition and UN backing relatively easy.

Without some sort of attack by Saddam on another country now it is extremely hard to justify an invasion. No country in the world (except possibly Britain) would support such action. The issue of weapons inspections could be resolved by simply removing US personnel from the inspection teams. It was only because the teams were stuffed with CIA and MI6 that Saddam threw them out in the first place.
posted by ksLimbs at 5:31 AM on August 11, 2002


ksLimbs is correct. Without provocation there is no war. The American Civil War is a good example we all assume the Confederates attacked the North and started the war. In fact Confederates wanted to be left alone, Lincoln knew the only way he could bring them back into the Union was armed conflict somthing most northerners didnt have a taste for. So he did things to provoke the hot-headed southerners to attack and thats how the war started with the North on the "defense". Bush Jr is also provokeing hot-headed Iraq. Its a war of words in the hopes Saddam will do somthing stupid and give us a reason. Leaking attack plans, bringing opposition leaders to Washington, the CIA is surely sending lots of signals covertly Iraq may eventually feel it has no choice but to do somthing rash to protect its interests by makeing threats back in return. If Saddam keeps a cool head and does nothing he may have a chance and wait for Bush to loose the election in 2004.
posted by stbalbach at 6:17 AM on August 11, 2002


I believe that most of Europe is against regime change in Iraq, not because it is immoral or a strategic miscue, but because it is not in their own best interest.

They, rightly so, see Saddam as a lynch-pin. Take out the baath party and replace it with a successful democracy and all the regimes in the area (Saudi's Arabia and Iran in particular) will crumble as well.

This is not wanted by the majority of Europe because they have invested a large amount of time and money in building relationships with the despots in the area.

A largely democratic middle-east would only increase the believed sphere of influence that the EU sees itself losing more and more of to the US.

So do not mistake the cries of Europe as righteous, they are as self-serving as those of the US, and long -term, far more dangerous to world peace.
posted by Mick at 6:21 AM on August 11, 2002


This sort of breathtaking ignorance makes my blood boil. WWII broke out, in 1939, not 1941 as most Americans believe. Within months the whole of Europe was occupied apart from Great Britain. So desperate was the US to stay out of the war that the government not only refused to supply arms to the Brits, they wouldn't even lend the money to buy/build them.


I believe there was a government drive (which means FDR, and his war tempting ways) to get private citizens to donate their personal weapons to the British effort. Being as the population was adamant about remaining neutral, lending or supplying would not make much sense for the congress to allow. The gun bit is lit up every once in a while by people in gun arguments.
posted by thirteen at 6:37 AM on August 11, 2002


"They, rightly so, see Saddam as a lynch-pin. Take out the baath party and replace it with a successful democracy and all the regimes in the area (Saudi's Arabia and Iran in particular) will crumble as well" - No idea how you work that out.

And as for Europe doing deals with despots while the US promotes democracy, let's have a look at exactly who was sponsoring Saddam during the Iran/Iraq war.

And could it be that there is no more conspiatorial reasoning to some in Europes anti-war stance than they jsut can't see how it is justified.
posted by ciderwoman at 6:55 AM on August 11, 2002


Bush the younger asserted that "the world's worst leaders" will not be permitted to "harbor and develop the world's worst weapons."

Nah. Too easy.
posted by holycola at 8:00 AM on August 11, 2002


I still think we should leave the decision as to who gets to run Iraq to the people that actually live there.

and besides, the preemptive strike philosophy is completely illogical to me. if we know Saddam has "the world's worst weapons," then why are we provoking him? it seems to me like bush is courting more attacks on the US just to justify some of his administration's absurd anti-terrorism measures. and besides, haven't we ruined enough countries with appointed leaders? cough cough!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:09 AM on August 11, 2002


Take out Saddam.
Dictate peace to Sharon.
Kick out Arafat.
Kick out the House of Saud.
Encourage the moderates in Iran (axis of evil...? pah!)

Deal with all countries on the basis of democratic govenment=friendship... dictatorship/absolute monarchy=no friend of ours.
Then maybe America's occasional failure to live up to its wonderful ideals won't produce such vitriol.
posted by pots at 8:44 AM on August 11, 2002


This is not wanted by the majority of Europe because they have invested a large amount of time and money in building relationships with the despots in the area.

A largely democratic middle-east would only increase the believed sphere of influence that the EU sees itself losing more and more of to the US.

This is just drivel. Lets have some examples, please, of 'despots in the area' supported by EU countries. Would that be Mubarak of Egypt, the second largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel?

Or would that be Saudi Arabia, to whom the US is so beholden that they will do anything to keep the House of Saud in power lest the population might democratically elect an unfriendly government.
posted by ksLimbs at 10:37 AM on August 11, 2002


Take out the baath party and replace it with a successful democracy and all the regimes in the area (Saudi's Arabia and Iran in particular) will crumble as well.

Or, alternatively: take out the Ba'ath party and replace it with a Karzai-esque puppet regime, and see the area become a powderkeg. And as Nick Cohen points out (in a piece which also roasts the motivation of the anti-war coalition), the US seems more intent on the latter than the former. Which accounts, to a great extent, for the reluctance of European governments to share the joy.

So do not mistake the cries of Europe as righteous, they are as self-serving as those of the US, and long -term, far more dangerous to world peace.

Yeah, right. "War is peace", after all. And on preview I see the word 'drivel', and concur wholeheartedly.
posted by riviera at 11:57 AM on August 11, 2002


Re: 1991's Gulf War was entirely justified as Saddam had invaded a sovereign state that was an ally.

Was Kuwait an ally of the U.S.?

("Is it uncool to comment in the thread of my own post?" asked the newbie.)
posted by xian at 12:39 PM on August 11, 2002


("Is it uncool to comment in the thread of my own post?" asked the newbie.)

I say no, but ocassionally Very Anal Persons (or VAPs for short! (it's an acronym, duh)) will accuse you of monopolizing the conversation.
posted by mcsweetie at 1:21 PM on August 11, 2002


xian: Just keep your responses to a minimum; stay cool about thread drift -- especially if it's good stuff regardless; and don't feel the need to sway or debunk every single poster -- you'll be fine.

Kuwait had no mutual defense agreement (MDA) with the US prior to the war, but beginning in 1987 had cooperated closely with the US, reflagging its ships under ours and buying considerable military equipment. During this period it was most worried about Iran. Whether April Glaspie's reiteration of this point to Hussein in the notorious meeting consisted of a sly sucker-punch or a sincere if tortured attempt to mollify a quasi-ally remains a matter of debate, and perspective. Other than that, the Gulf states -- Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Oman, have always been particularly close to the West, who has guaranteed their independence versus the surrounding powers.

As for Europe, the FOTA emanating from Brussels is stinking up the place. It makes it hard to take criticisms of the US supporting despots seriously; not only is Europe's list different, a matter which in itself should be concerning, but they rush to the moral defense of the morally indefensible, e.g. the very regimes which are most involved in terrorism. In particular, the "stability" of regimes such as Hussein's is itself the problem, and not a quality which should be deemed universally valuable.
posted by dhartung at 5:56 PM on August 11, 2002


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