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August 17, 2002 3:10 PM   Subscribe

while we're on the topic of iraq anyone suprised about these revelations/allegations? username: metafilter46 password: metafilter
posted by specialk420 (41 comments total)

 
Hey specialk, this is indeed very interesting, but since people are getting tired of straight NYT links, you might have wanted to beef up the post with some additional research, or posted the link as part of this discussion. Still, fascinating article.
posted by muckster at 3:19 PM on August 17, 2002


<-- not tired of them as long as username/password are provided so I don't have to register or remember. ;)

Not at all surprised. I often wonder what that part of the world would be like if we had kept our nose out. Maybe better, maybe worse.
posted by Foosnark at 4:34 PM on August 17, 2002


Surprised? No. Disgusted? Yes.

As long as we're looking at the history of the U.S. in the region, here's the New York Times report on America's role in the overthrow of Iran's government that brought the Shah to power in 1953.
posted by homunculus at 6:34 PM on August 17, 2002


The New York Times???

Simply as leftist and socialistic as a 'news' paper can be!!!

*didn't waste my time with the article, because I have a pretty good idea what it said already*
posted by hama7 at 7:36 PM on August 17, 2002


*didn't waste my time with the article, because I have a pretty good idea what it said already*

How open-minded of you.
posted by ook at 8:08 PM on August 17, 2002


*didn't waste my time with the article, because I have a pretty good idea what it said already*

Dismissiveness?
posted by homunculus at 8:10 PM on August 17, 2002


A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance

Huh.. I thought this was common knowledge, like the way the US told Saddam that it had no opinion on "Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait" right before Saddam invaded..
posted by slipperywhenwet at 8:26 PM on August 17, 2002


Dismissiveness?

Absolutely not. Experience.
posted by hama7 at 8:43 PM on August 17, 2002


Simply as leftist and socialistic as a 'news' paper can be!!!

One person's socialism is another's mainstream-ism. To each his (or her) own.
posted by blucevalo at 11:54 PM on August 17, 2002


hama7, you're stepping on my territory. It's one thing to knowingly point out liberal bias when found in the Times, another thing to just throw out silly words like "socialist" or "leftist nonsense" (and with a bonus KGB comment). Speaking from the left, speaking as someone who knows the left, who knows many, many leftists in the United States, the Times is very, very distant from as far left as someone can get. And it's pretty clear you're using a definition of socialism with a granularity similar to the thickness Limbaugh used to be. Do you really want to be thought a dittohead clod? Then keep it up.
posted by dhartung at 11:55 PM on August 17, 2002


labeling a news source as leftist or socialist is a great excuse for blocking out information you don't want to deal with.
posted by xian at 12:09 AM on August 18, 2002


Yeah, the NYT is completely socialist. God, what is it with these right-wing poseurs?
posted by mediareport at 1:54 AM on August 18, 2002


I can see I'm going to have fun here, I've always found the NYT somewhat conservative in its reporting. :)
posted by Grod at 2:57 AM on August 18, 2002


'Dittohead Clod' has a very euphonious ring to it, Dan. I'm hearing some kinda deep swampy Robert Johnson blues, all scratchy and distant...the Dittohead Clod Blues.

On topic, sort of, a Japanese newspaper is claiming that it has film footage that proves that the US Army used germ warfare against China and North Korea in the Korean war....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:15 AM on August 18, 2002


dhartung: "Dittohead clod"? The New York Times is not as far left as say, the ACLU, Chomsky, NPR, or the Nation of Islam, but it's just a lot of left-spin hot wind and whining, as I said.

Believe me, I have no intention of stepping on your "territory", whatever that is, but my main point of peeve is that people mistakenly perceive the New York Times to be actual news, which it is, if you are an indoctrinated communist. If you are not, it's a load of crap, at best.

xian: Actually *realizing* that you are reading leftist propaganda is a very important first step. Then you can get help.

mediareport: nice "right wing poseurs" label. To quote xian; Labeling someone a right wing poseur is a great excuse for blocking out info you don't want to deal with. It's also typical liberal modus operandi. If you can't see the absurdly leftist slant of the weeping accusatory New York Times, then I actually feel like playing the violin near your table in that French cafe.
posted by hama7 at 3:32 AM on August 18, 2002


stavros: Speaking of Chomsky, your rhetoric reminds me of the deep, swampy mind of a M.I.T linguist.
posted by hama7 at 3:40 AM on August 18, 2002


tick... tick... tick, yep, you've provided us with the whole set of clichés. That makes you a fully paid-up troll, hama7. Please leave by the door marked 'fuckwits only'.
posted by riviera at 4:17 AM on August 18, 2002


I take any comparison of my massively uninformed and semicoherent political rantings to the sometimes wacky neo-agitprop of Unka Noam as a compliment of the highest order! Thanks, hama7!

(FWIW I wasn't calling you a clod, particularly, I just liked the sound of dhartung's phrase. I'm funny that way...like music to me, words, sometimes.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 AM on August 18, 2002


riviera: Please leave by the door marked 'fuckwits only'.

And you can use the on marked "hypocrites only".

Stavros: I still love ya, baby. Semicoherent political ramblings and all.
posted by hama7 at 4:47 AM on August 18, 2002


Seems to me that at that time we operated (and still do, as it were) on the theory that the enemy of my enemy is my 'friend'.

Iran was the enemy. Iraq was against Iran - therefore we helped Iraq with battlefield intellegence.

In retrospect, 20 years later, it probably was not the smartest thing to do. But isn't it odd how hindsight is always 20-20?

J.
posted by JB71 at 5:36 AM on August 18, 2002


JB, among a thousand choices, what is a national leader to do? Some decisions are good, some are bad, but if you have wars to fight, you'd better be sure to pick your enemies, which change over time.
posted by hama7 at 5:40 AM on August 18, 2002


if you have wars to fight, you'd better be sure to pick your enemies, which change over time.

says hama7, swiping at imaginary enemies appearing to the left. Far better to construct them out of your imagination, I suppose, than to face ones that actually exist.
posted by riviera at 5:45 AM on August 18, 2002


Dhartung, riviera - stop feeding the trolls.

JB71 - is whether an action was wise politically to be the only consideration? What about morality? Consistency? Hypocrisy?
posted by Summer at 5:50 AM on August 18, 2002


Nice try riviera, but what have you actually said? That you ~don't like~ me?

I especially appreciate your definition of "troll", which seems to be a really hot topic today and actually stands for: someone I disagree with.

If you have something to say, then say it please. The "imaginary enemies" that I seemingly "construct" are real, aren't they? Have you ever heard of North Korea? Iraq? The nation of Islam? The Taliban?

The ones "that actually exist" are on the American and foreign left, the same ones that you so anemically defend.

My *very* real enemies may be your imaginary ones, but that leaves me wary and you weary, doesn't it?
posted by hama7 at 6:00 AM on August 18, 2002


Summer: You too? Disagreement=troll. Wow. All of my high-school teacher were TROLLS!

By the way, what did you actually say?

JB71 - is whether an action was wise politically to be the only consideration? What about morality? Consistency? Hypocrisy?

How cryptic. But thank gawd you're not a disagreeable troll!
posted by hama7 at 6:07 AM on August 18, 2002


Any time you want to start discussing my rebuttal to your "socialistic as a 'news' paper can be" comment, hama7 -- instead of discussing yourself -- I'm ready.
posted by mediareport at 6:12 AM on August 18, 2002


mediareport: You linked to a nice, pretty, sea-green article which began with something about Cambodia (or more politically correctly: Kampuchea). If that was a rebuttal, then let the guns blaze, because the New York Times is still a ridiculous, leftist, abominable rag.

The crossword is pretty good, though.
posted by hama7 at 6:28 AM on August 18, 2002


Again, hama7: I'd like to discuss your claim about the NYT's alleged support for socialism in the context of actual stories the paper has written about elections in other countries where a socialist option was on the ballot. It's my claim that in case after case (detailed in the article you refuse to read), the NYT chose to support the *non-socialist* option. If I'm right, your claim is wrong.

Are you at all interested in discussing your own claims here at MeFi? If not, then it seems to me you are clearly acting like a troll. And a fairly transparent and not very interesting one at that.

Sheesh. The trolls I used to see on Usenet at least had some staying power.
posted by mediareport at 6:37 AM on August 18, 2002


If I'm right, your claim is wrong.

Dear mediareport,

I don't care about elections in other countries, or cases in which, in those other countries, socialism was a "ballot" choice. (ballot choices and 'democracy' do not co-exist in socialist countries, or haven't you heard?)

My main bitch with the goddam New York Times is that it most definitely is, for the umpteenth time, a leftist repository of cold-war leftist propaganda. I know that you steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that fact, and I applaud your stubbornness.

And I sadly acknowledge your pathetic crutch: constantly, blankly, and reflexively slapping the "troll" label on opinions that you disagree with. Luckily, you are certainly not alone, as most "dissenters" on metafilter use that same pathetic label for "opinions of the wrong kind".
posted by hama7 at 7:00 AM on August 18, 2002


Hama7 lets it troll, baby troll.

All night long...
posted by websavvy at 7:18 AM on August 18, 2002


Summer:

"JB71 - is whether an action was wise politically to be the only consideration? What about morality? Consistency? Hypocrisy?"

Hmmm. Consistency - we 'put' the Shah into power, it would seem, so when his regime fell, we worked to make the new regime fall. Iraq wanted to fight Iran for land, so we supported Iraq because we were mad at Iran. Seems consistent to me...

Moral? Was it moral to help the Iraqis, when the Iranians had held hundreds of Americans hostage? Was it moral for the Iranians to take the hostages in the first place? Maybe, maybe not. The old saying 'two wrongs don't make a right' comes to mind here. But this was during the height of the cold war, and Iran was getting some help and support from the USSR - and Afghanistan was a going concern then too. Hard to say whether it was moral to help Iraq or not. From their point of view, it was the right thing to do. As I said, hindsight's 20-20.

Hypocritical? I think everything any nation does is going to be viewed as hypocritical by someone. Nations normally aren't interested in the 'good' of other nations beyond economic and trade aspects - witness our continuing to trade with countries that practice what (at least to me) are repellent practices like FGM and slavery (which includes subjugation of the population of that country, not just individual slavery per se), and the selective application of things like the Kyoto treaty - which would exempt China and India (but they're already having serious problems with air pollution and greenhouse gasses). Is it consistent to exempt them, yet insist on the US (which has made great strides in controlling air pollution in the last 50 years) complying with the treaty? Is it hypocritical? Or justifiable?

In the world of international politics, I've observed over the last 20-30 years that it's nearly impossible to get a consensus of what should be done or what could be done, and it's almost impossible to predict what the consequences are of the things that ARE done. We supported Saddam in the early 80's, and it seemed reasonable at the time - it came back to bite us. The USSR tried to take Afghanistan, and it seemed reasonable at the time - and it came back to bite them.

Sometimes, what you have to try to do is extrapolate the consequences from all the courses open to you - and go for what seems the least objectionable long-term. We might have not helped Iraq, but then we'd have been seen as weak in the ME, and the USSR may have made sucessful overtures and gotten Iraq on it's side, as well as Iran. Then, after staging in Iraq, they could have moved on Saudi Arabia, which would have caused serious problems with the oil supply for their enemy, the US. All speculation, of course...

Morality, consistency, and hypocrisy. The standards and practices behind them are never universal, much as we might wish for them to be. What appears immoral, inconsistent, and hypocritical from one vantage point may not from another.

J.
posted by JB71 at 7:20 AM on August 18, 2002


Sorry JB71, I should have been more explicit. What I really meant by morality, consistency and hypocrisy was that the actions of the US govt are at odds with its rhetoric. How can the US shout about Iraq's biological weapons and possible WMDs when biological weapons were formerly encouraged (if you believe the linked article) by the US? That's not arguable hypocrisy that's plain hypocrisy. And I didn't really mean consistency in a political sense. I know countries have to change sides and play to an endgame - although that endgame should always be questioned. I mean consistency of ideals, of what the US stands for.

Why is morality to be abandoned totally? Can't we condemn America's support of biological weapons because it would kill civilians? Because it's wrong? Why can't we call out hypocrisy? Is anything permissable if it benefits America? It seems to me sometimes that the same people who think America is the light of the world also think anything goes as long as it gets results (I'm not accusing you JB71). Not that America is the only western country to support mad third world dictators.
posted by Summer at 7:37 AM on August 18, 2002


it most definitely is, for the umpteenth time, a leftist repository of cold-war leftist propaganda.

That's right -- you don't have to actually support your statements... just keep repeating them often and loudly enough and maybe they'll come true.
posted by ook at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2002


websavvy: "Hama7 lets it troll, baby troll. All night long..."

I rest my freakin' case.
posted by hama7 at 7:48 AM on August 18, 2002


good one ook, very thoughtful.
posted by hama7 at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2002


Why is morality to be abandoned totally?

Is it moral for a nation to protect its citizens, no matter how much its citizens detest protection? Because that is what the United States does.

Is it also moral to remove enemies of the United States, who wish to kill US civilians by the millions? That might be a tough decision for some equivocators and apologists, but to me it's not exactly rocket science.

Is it moral for a country to act in its best interests at all times? Maybe to Noam Chomsky this question might be seen as an evil capitalist trap, but to people who have a whit of common sense, it's elementary.

Don't want soviet missiles taking out American cities? Put pressure on Cuba. That strategy has worked for decades, but I wonder why recent 'logic' sees that decisiveness as some abomination?

It seeps in slowly, and completely, through venues like the New York Soviet Times, until everybody disregards their own instincts and common sense. Or rather: forgets.
posted by hama7 at 8:04 AM on August 18, 2002


Is it moral for a nation to protect its citizens, no matter how much its citizens detest protection? Because that is what the United States does.

It does? Oh, really...

Is it also moral to remove enemies of the United States, who wish to kill US civilians by the millions?

They have?

Don't want soviet missiles taking out American cities? Put pressure on Cuba. That strategy has worked for decades, but I wonder why recent 'logic' sees that decisiveness as some abomination?

I don't know about recent logic but it's been my understanding these last forty years that the Soviets took their IRBMs out of Cuba and we took ours out of Turkey at the same time, according to the quid pro quo deal cut by Kennedy and Krushchev. That strategy has worked for decades--that both sides honored the agreement, you mean?

Your relationship with common sense is questionable at best.
posted by y2karl at 9:01 AM on August 18, 2002


To return to the post itself...

This is pretty old news. The CS Monitor reported as much in 1998.
Part of the reason some nations might be reluctant to press for a criminal investigation of Saddam is that a wide-ranging probe could uncover embarrassing details of close cooperation of certain countries - including the US, Russia, and France - at the same time Iraq was using chemical weapons, developing long-range missiles with chemical warheads, and researching and producing biological weapons.

For example, during the Reagan administration the US provided extensive satellite-generated military intelligence reflecting Iranian troop movements during a critical phase of the Iran-Iraq war in 1987 and 1988. Iraq reportedly used that information to help direct its chemical weapons attacks, actions Washington chose to largely ignore at the time. Washington's big concern in the late 1980s was that Iran might defeat Iraq and the entire oil-rich Gulf would suddenly face a looming Islamic threat from Tehran.
Well duh! Of course they knew Iraq was using chemical weapons. The Reagan administration allowed Saddam to purchase the the material for biological, chemical and, nuclear weapons. Here's a long rant by a Chairman of the House banking committee on the issue.
posted by euphorb at 11:32 AM on August 18, 2002


Summer:

"Sorry JB71, I should have been more explicit. What I really meant by morality, consistency and hypocrisy was that the actions of the US govt are at odds with its rhetoric. How can the US shout about Iraq's biological weapons and possible WMDs when biological weapons were formerly encouraged (if you believe the linked article) by the US? That's not arguable hypocrisy that's plain hypocrisy. And I didn't really mean consistency in a political sense. I know countries have to change sides and play to an endgame - although that endgame should always be questioned. I mean consistency of ideals, of what the US stands for."

Actions versus rhetoric - judge someone by what they do, not by what they say. Especially politicians - you BELIEVE what they say on a regular basis?

With a change in leadership, (both in ours and other countries) often our strategic objectives change, and a change in local situations or politics can cause a significant change in how we react. For example, because we supported Saddam once upon a time, does that mean we're forever locked into supporting him in all his actions? If so, then we should have helped him in Gulf War 1, correct? That would have been 'consistent' - and by his lights the moral choice.

If not, then because we supported him once and we don't now (or then) we're hypocrites. And that, from his point of view, would be perfectly understandable. We're hypocrites because we supported him once, and didn't continue that support when HE took an aggressive turn away from Iran and occupied Kuwait.

The idea of there being an end-game assumes that there is a winner or loser in the political games that go on. The games are endless and unceasing - and the ideals we started out with at the beginning of our 'turn' so to speak - what the Founding Fathers believed - have swung back and forth across the years. Swung from Interventionalist to Isolationist and back, ofen very quickly.

Usually, it depends on how hard we get kicked in the gonads whether we're involved in world politics in an agressive manner. We were willing to let the Taliban create their own little heaven/hell on earth, till Al Quaeda got us with a groin shot, and then the attitudes changed very quickly. The only 'end-game' is positioning one's self for the next game with as much advantage as possible. And all countries do that.

"Why is morality to be abandoned totally? Can't we condemn America's support of biological weapons because it would kill civilians? Because it's wrong? Why can't we call out hypocrisy? Is anything permissable if it benefits America? It seems to me sometimes that the same people who think America is the light of the world also think anything goes as long as it gets results (I'm not accusing you JB71). Not that America is the only western country to support mad third world dictators."

Okay, I'm kind of puzzled here. How do we support bioweapons? As far as I know, we've been destroying our stockpiles of nerve gas and we have little or nothing in the way of biological agents in our arsenals.

As far as the 'anything goes as long as it benefits America' goes - ummm... I think that ties in with morality. A morality that we've exhibited - without anyone imposing it on us.

We could have conquered Cuba years ago. We could have annexed Canada. During Gulf War 1, we STOPPED the ground war when it was apparent that Saddam had no capacity to stop us (when he was well and truely beaten) and then backed away in accordance with requests from the Coalition. In hindsight (ain't it great?) I think we should have kept going and finished the job. It probably would have taken less than a week. But we abided by the terms of our coalition agreement, instead of taking a long-shot and doing what would have been (arguably) the moral thing and shooting our own dog (Saddam).

As it was, if we were 'immoral', at that point we certainly could have taken over Saudi. We had all those soldiers and machinery over there - all it would have taken was an "About Face!" and we could have taken control of Saudi Arabia AND Iraq. Then consolidate and take out Iran.

Once we have the world by the oilies, (to coin a phrase) we'd control their hearts and minds. Don't do what we want? No tankers to YOU, buddy! We could control the WORLD! ("Bwah-ha-ha-ha!")

Except it'd be too damn much trouble. We acted as members of a coalition, not as conquerers. For all the hype about how the US is terrible and self-centered, I think it's also one of the most self-restrained countries on Earth. No one can stop us - so why haven't we started conquering the world militarily? It's what a lot of other countries would do, if they had the resources we have. We could do it - would it be 'permissable'? Of course not. It wouldn't be the morally correct thing to do, either.

(Honestly, I think the real reason is that subjugated countries make lousy customers. You can't FORCE someone to buy a Big Mac or a PC - all you can do is make it available and see if they want it. We're a nation of manufacturers and shopkeepers, not warriors. We'd rather trade than fight. It doesn't mean we won't fight when pushed (as Afghanistan showed) but we'd rather have peace and trade.)

Culture clashes are inevitable, but you're always going to have them. The US will never be able to please everyone all the time. We've supported power-mad dictators in the past - does that mean we must ALWAYS support them, or risk being hypocrites? That, I think, would be completely immoral. Situations change - and what was apparently right 20 years ago (think disco...) is looked on with horror today.

J.
posted by JB71 at 11:52 AM on August 18, 2002


J - I don't think it's much of an argument to say that just because America could have done a lot worse it's OK to do harm. As I said before, America isn't alone in aiding and arming brutal dictators, many western countries have blood on their hands in that respect. Many other countries also share America's hypocrisy in claiming higher moral standards than the countries they're dealing with.

Because the action isn't overt (invasion) doesn't mean it isn't causing enormous harm. Supporting a country in developing chemical weapons translates into death and misery somewhere for someone. Or at least the possibility.

Okay, I'm kind of puzzled here. How do we support bioweapons?

I'm referring to the article. I mean chemical weapons.

Actions versus rhetoric - judge someone by what they do, not by what they say. Especially politicians - you BELIEVE what they say on a regular basis?

I don't believe a single word of Bush or Blair's rhetoric. Of course not. But it's not just them is it? Isn't the US supposed to be an example to the world? The home of peace, freedom, human rights etc etc. Isn't it right that Bush should be judged according to those ideals? Or shall we all just give up now?

With a change in leadership, (both in ours and other countries) often our strategic objectives change, and a change in local situations or politics can cause a significant change in how we react. For example, because we supported Saddam once upon a time, does that mean we're forever locked into supporting him in all his actions? If so, then we should have helped him in Gulf War 1, correct? That would have been 'consistent' - and by his lights the moral choice.

He should never have been supported in the first place. That he was should be more of a scandal. That is if America's (and other western countries) ideals mean anything at all.

The only 'end-game' is positioning one's self for the next game with as much advantage as possible. And all countries do that.

Yes, they do. That's the problem.
posted by Summer at 12:25 PM on August 18, 2002


Summer:

"He should never have been supported in the first place. That he was should be more of a scandal. That is if America's (and other western countries) ideals mean anything at all."

Good comment. It'd be nice if we had a crystal ball that could show us how all our geopolitical decisions are going to play out. But there isn't one. For reasons that likely seemed good at the time, we backed Saddam in his war on Iran. We made a mistake. But who else could we have backed in the region who was true to our ideals? Israel? Oh, wouldn't THAT have turned out well!

Ideals are tricky things. There were a number of folk in the US who supported Hitler in the '30s, and were upset at our government for not doing more to support someone who was bringing stability to the German government. Even Lindberg thought we should have done more - until Hitler started grabbing countries.

A lot of the time ideals just don't lend themselves to binary thinking. Should we have supported Saddam? The Soviets had just taken Afghanistan, Iran was talking with them. The number 1 ideal is protect the US, ostensibly. We do that by forming alliances with folks who aren't very savory. If adhering to an ideal means we expose ourselves, then should the ideal be held over the practical side of things? Is an ideal to be so dearly held that if a fatal threat exists that abrogation of the ideal would end or minimize - should the ideal be upheld even if it means sure destruction?

In politics, in life, in geopolitics - black and white issues are usually a spectrum of grays...

J.
posted by JB71 at 7:36 PM on August 18, 2002


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