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Is Libya next?
September 24, 2002 2:43 AM   Subscribe

Is Libya next? This story in Israel's Ha'aretz has a very very interesting lead: "The U.S. agrees with Israeli assessments that Libya has renewed its efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb, and that those efforts have been stepped up since 1999, when the UN sanctions on the country were removed." Not only that, Ariel Sharon says that he believes the Iraqis might be helping build said nuclear bomb, and that Libya might attain nuclear capability before Iraq does. And not only that, the always-exciting "unnamed experts" suggest that Pakistan and North Korea might have a hand in this as well. Libya is still on the State Department list of nations that support terror, so why hasn't this story been getting any play stateside? Is it really overstating the case to suggest that Bush's new doctrine of preemptive strikes without hard evidence, if applied across the board, could very well lead to world war?
posted by textureslut (76 comments total)

 
Maybe Libya's sudden metamorphosis into a champion of Africa (Khadafi's grand plan for a United States of Africa and their almost hijacking of the African Union launch here in South Africa), is intended to divert attention from any kind of terrorist activities they were/are involved in. "Hey look we're good guys again, ignore that nuclear reactor over there..." so to speak.

Also aren't they the current chair of the UN Human Rights Commitee?
posted by PenDevil at 2:52 AM on September 24, 2002


the level of bugbear hysteria among the us-israeli leadership is reaching some sort of ultrasonic pitch.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:22 AM on September 24, 2002


While I'm sure that the hyperbole from governments is reachig hysterical pitch (as it always will), I really hope that Libya isn't trying to produce Nuclear weapons. Even the article mentions that Libya has reduced it's terror sponsorship (note that's reduced not eliminated) and I'd hate to see a terrorist group with easy access to one.
posted by PenDevil at 4:10 AM on September 24, 2002


sidetrack

One of my students punched another student the other day. He said, "I punched him because I thought he was going to punch me." Of course, I told him that this was now ethically and morally correct.

/sidetrack
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:13 AM on September 24, 2002


sidetrack

Slogan: Kid-tested, government-approved.

/sidetrack
posted by allaboutgeorge at 4:20 AM on September 24, 2002


the level of bugbear hysteria among the us-israeli leadership is reaching some sort of ultrasonic pitch.

Too true: when there's a war dividend, everyone wants a piece for his or her own bugbear.
posted by riviera at 4:44 AM on September 24, 2002


My sentiments exactly JM....

Thank you
posted by SweetIceT at 4:48 AM on September 24, 2002


What has happened to IDS? Just watched BBC2's coverage at the Commons. Following the Lib Dem conference and today's debate, it looks like IDS is letting Charles Kennedy ask some fairly pointed questions. Do the Tories have a stance or are they biding their time?

Also, anyone direct me to a list of the US's flouting of UN law? And whilst I'm here, just how much clout does Kofi Anan hold? I'm not entirely clear on how much sway he has.
posted by Kiell at 4:56 AM on September 24, 2002


Just asking, would it be okay to attack once we have knowledge (ie concrete proof not just a statment that "they are building weapons" uttered by some politician somewhere) that Libya/Iraq is definitely assembling nuclear or other weapons of mass distraction?

There is a distinction between I thought he was going to punch me and I knew he was going to punch me.
posted by PenDevil at 4:58 AM on September 24, 2002


sidetrack

My punching student had concrete proof that the other student had a fist. The other student said, "how did he know I was going to use my fist?" I said, "he possesses psychic powers which you don't. Now shut up, because I'm beginning to suspect you plan to hit me, next." I raised my fist and he stopped complaining.

Ever since I accepted the New Morality, I have had Psychic PowersTM, too.

/sidetrack /silly
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:12 AM on September 24, 2002


There is a distinction between 'I thought he was going to punch me' and 'I knew he was going to punch me.'

Maybe a more accurate statement would be 'I realized that he was in the process of making a fist.' But fists aren't always used for striking. They're also used to dissuade people who have already made fists and are waving them in your face.

Don't get me wrong... the idea of Libya having a nuke does not make me happy. At the same time, the mere fact that a nation has a nuclear program doesn't mean that said government is going to give nukes away to terrorists. I mean, every single government in the world knows that if the US suspected them of having anything to do with a WMD attack on America, said government (and quite possibly their entire nation) would be erased from existence in short order. Only a suicidal government would do such a thing. By their very nature, governments tend to be run by survivors, not by suicidal people. I suspect there's a bit of racism at play here -- Americans seem to think that, based on Al-Qadea and Hamas, all Muslims are fanatical, crazy sons of bitches who would happily blow themselves up just to take some infidels with them. India and Pakistan hate each other quite a bit, and they seem to have avoided nuclear war so far. *crosses fingers*

I realize that the case could be made that the risk of allowing a nation like Libya to attain WMD is not worth it. However, think about the alternative -- going to war with every non-ally we suspect of developing WMD.

Basically it comes down to either perpetual war, as we essentially play Whack-A-Mole for the rest of America's existence, or a return to the doctrine of mutually assured destruction.

Wow, I just really depressed myself.

But to answer your question, PenDevil, I would have to say that it is only okay to strike first when we have solid evidence that if we do not strike, we will be in immediate danger. If I see you making a fist, I won't hit you first, but you can bet I'll keep my eye on you, and if I see you getting ready to take a swing at me ... well, I'll have to knee you in the crotch.
posted by textureslut at 5:33 AM on September 24, 2002


I had been taught--not sure if it is correct--that when you perceive a threat it makes sense to get in the punch first; to wait is to lose. Sure, you make an educated guess about getting a punch but a gut feeling is usually right. Now, whente;r this little parable applies to nations is quite a different story. And perhaps does not at all apply.
posted by Postroad at 5:38 AM on September 24, 2002


Postroad: That does make sense ... if it's just you and the other person. Look at it this way -- you're in a bar where nobody trusts you, and everybody's giving you weird looks and you get the distinct feeling that one of them might try to punch you. If you go around punching every guy who looks like he might try something, it won't be long until the rest of the bar gangs up on you, no matter how big and bad you are.

Not the smoothest analogy, I know, but that's the best I can do on 90 minutes of sleep. Coffee. Must have more coffee.
posted by textureslut at 5:46 AM on September 24, 2002


textureslut: I agree with you on the whole punching thing, however in real life it doesn't always work out. We knew Al Qaeda was planning an attack, we knew it was going to involve airplanes, and still the attacks on 9/11 occured. If they the US had attacked Al Qaeda/Taliban in Afghanistan before 9/11 they most probably would've been crapped on by the rest of the world. It all comes down to timing and what events happen in what order I suppose.

But just another quick question, what motive does Libya have for building nuclear weapons. They are not in dispute with any neighboring countries (unlike India/Pakistan or the deterrent of Israel's nukes on Arab countries) nor are they in an active arms race with anyone (unlike the Cold War nuclear build up). If merely having nuclear weaponry is going to increase the pressure and monitoring (possibly new sanctions>) already on Libya by the rest of the world then why build them in the first place? What is Libya's motivation/justification for them?
posted by PenDevil at 5:48 AM on September 24, 2002


As much as I dislike this administration, I'll admit that they have some extraordinarily hard decisions to make, and I'm not certain that I could do any better. I'm sure that if Bush and company had launched a massive attack on Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, I would be here bitching about Bush's cynical imperialistic power grab. In many ways, they're damned if they do something and damned if they do nothing. This is why I am glad that I can sit at home and play Tekken instead of running the country.

As for Libya having motive for building nuclear weapons ... well, I would posit that almost every government in the world wants to place itself in a position where it has more international clout than it currently does. International clout generally translates to more goods and more resources and better trade. Nuclear weapons are a pretty easy shortcut to getting there.
posted by textureslut at 6:03 AM on September 24, 2002


Surely Libya (with it's past terrorist sponsoring antics) would get much more international clout by stopping totally sponsoring terrorist groups and working with the US and EU on increasing trade, investment and some form of representative government?

I think again we need to differentiate here as to what is best for Libya the country and what is best for Khadafi's huge ego. Do you know how many titles that dude has awarded himself? I'm sure he'd love to add "Controller-of-the-red-button-of-destruction" to it.
posted by PenDevil at 6:14 AM on September 24, 2002


Even though Khadafi is a dictator, he's still got to pay at least a little attention to his populace. Throwing his support wholeheartedly behind the Great Satan right now would probably be an invitation for a revolt.

True, Musharraf in Pakistan has pulled it off so far. I don't know how long that's going to continue, though. I have the feeling that the next big development in the war on terror is going to be the assassination and/or overthrow of Musharraf or Karazi. Just a hunch.
posted by textureslut at 6:21 AM on September 24, 2002


There is a bear in the woods. It is hungry. You have a gun. Do you kill it or wait for it to kill your daughter collecting blueberrys.
posted by stbalbach at 6:23 AM on September 24, 2002


Oh, come on, stbalbach, that's not even remotely fair. You're essentially suggesting that our enemies are no better than animals, and should be treated as such. That's a pretty scary viewpoint, I think.
posted by textureslut at 6:36 AM on September 24, 2002


While I don't expect Khadafi to back the US, if he decided that "Hey I think next year we'll actually have elections" he might find the US and EU give him a lot more attention. Of course this will never happen.
posted by PenDevil at 6:37 AM on September 24, 2002


If the US had invaded Afghanistan last summer, how would that have stopped Al-Quaeda? They had had their people in Hamburg and the USA for two years, and the operation had been planned for three years.

The only way to have stopped them would have been through better intelligence and better airport security. A six week bombing campaign in Afhganistan would not have stopped the hijackers. It would mot likely simply have bgouht their plans forward, and increased the sympathy with which they were regarded. If the US had killed 3,000 innocent Afghan civilians before the Afghan-based terrorists had killed 3,000 innocent New York civilians, don't most Americans see this would alter the moral balance of the war?
posted by alloneword at 6:47 AM on September 24, 2002


Do the Tories have a stance or are they biding their time?

Yes, they do. I think it can best be summarised as KILL KILL KILL.
posted by Summer at 6:48 AM on September 24, 2002


Yes indeed stbalbach. You've painted quite some picture.

A big nasty animal whose primary instinct is to kill (those crazy towelheads). The helpless daughter (US interests). and blueberrys (natural resources).

Yeah. Eradictae those nasty animals who won't contribute to the great blueberry pie.
posted by The Great Satan at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2002


Throwing his support wholeheartedly behind the Great Satan right now would probably be an invitation for a revolt.

Speak of the devil...
posted by textureslut at 7:03 AM on September 24, 2002


Do you kill it or wait for it to kill your daughter collecting blueberrys.

I keep my daughter from picking blueberries in woods with bears....
posted by jalexei at 7:22 AM on September 24, 2002


But then the bears will have already won. Ranger Rick and his policy of appeasement and proportional response have been shown to not work when dealing with bears.

I for one welcome our new American overlords.
posted by cardboard at 7:28 AM on September 24, 2002


I wish Dana Carvey could come here as "The Church Lady" and say "Howww Conveeenient". Hmmm lets see, US agrees with Israeli assessments. HA big news. Libya is making N-bombs, hmmm obviously Iraq has to help them right, and lets not be short sighted and forget the bigger picture. Who should be next, ummm oh yeah, add Pakistan to the list and that axis of evil Korea too. There.

The whole purpose of the war on Iraq is a regime change. A regime change which is more allied with the US and its interests in the Middle East, specifically a regime change that is nicer to Israel. I have a couple of questions.

What if the people of Iraq elect a democratic government which does not ally itself with the US ?

And why shouldnt countries be investing in nuclear programs ? So many other countries already have it. We all know who have used a nuclear program for what purpose.

What if a demcoratic Iraqi government uses its democrartic right to make weapons of mass destruction ? Would we be then willing to respect that right ?
posted by adnanbwp at 7:36 AM on September 24, 2002


*sigh* SO what do we DO about it?

I mean, really, it's another one of the damned-do/damned-don't situations. Either we, and the single remaining superpower and (basically) the heart of Western Civilization must get involved due to noblesse oblige and protect North Africa and the Med from a nuclear Libya OR we must respect the national sovereignty of nations (which we purport, as a society that best represents the glorification of individual freedom and, through that, the sovereignty of nations), maintain a hands-off approach and let Libya do what it will. Right?

No, you say: we must take the middle ground, suss out Libya motivations and and machinations, laissez-faire until those machinations are found and then take direct action on behalf of the world. YET - that is what we seem to be doing, and that is the path that generates the least effective solutions at the most cost along with the most criticism. Criticism, I might add, that is taking place right here, all day, every day (and which, to belabor, is one of the strongest indications that local rights and freedoms are very much intact).

Forgive my frustration - I don't know what to do, either. But I think we've all been to the damned-do/damned-don't point. It's not fun, and it often prompts bad decisions. I would rather see us do either of the two more extreme positions (total engagement, or total detachment) than continue to see our country - and by proxy, ourselves - unendingly criticized, the death of a thousand cuts of foreign public opinion.

What if the people of Iraq elect a democratic government which does not ally itself with the US ?

Any democracy, I would think, would be a jewel in the middle east, and the US would rush to help it. But a democratic government in Iraq is unlikely. Probably, we would be forced to install another tyrant, hopefully of lesser malevolence, whom we felt we could influence.

And why shouldn't countries be investing in nuclear programs ? So many other countries already have it. We all know who have used a nuclear program for what purpose.

Nuclear weaponry is the giant bugaboo of the 20th century, that's why. And the New Terrorist Ethos feeds that fear. Personally, I think it's because the nuke powers don't have any friggin idea what they'd do if, say, Libya started lobbing nukes at Chad or something.

And not so many have nukes: the US and Russia are the big boys, ICBMs and world-busters; then you have China, France, England, Germany, Israel, Pakistan and India. I think that's it.

What if a democratic Iraqi government uses its Democratic right to make weapons of mass destruction ? Would we be then willing to respect that right ?

I'm not sure that any country associated with the UN is considered to have the "right" to manufacture WMD. If a democratic Iraqi government pressed the issue, I would think that the US would attempt to influence it otherwise by virtue of an protectionary agreement: anyone threatens a democratic Iraq, the US would come to their aid and defend them, hence the country doesn't need WMD since, technically, the US WMD could be used at their behest.
posted by UncleFes at 7:50 AM on September 24, 2002


Is it really overstating the case to suggest that Bush's new doctrine of preemptive strikes without hard evidence, if applied across the board, could very well lead to world war

I don't think so, and I'm surprised no one seems to consider what might happen if we go to war.

Suppose as a result of our actions we manage to start a wider Arab-Israeli war? Suppose Musharraf gets overthrown, and his nukes get handed off to terrorists? Or Islamic radicals get the job done this time in Kashmir and start a war between Pakistan and India?

In such a situation, what if China decides the time is ripe to take back Taiwan? Or maybe North Korea decides now is the time to invade South Korea? That pretty much sounds to me like a world war.

Yeah sure, it probably won't happen, but what if it does? I haven't seen anyone in the Bush administration who seems to have given much thought to what might happen if things start to get out of control.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2002


As much as I dislike this administration, I'll admit that they have some extraordinarily hard decisions to make, and I'm not certain that I could do any better.

The solution is rather obvious, if you step away from the admin's war-mongering financial motives for a moment.
The US creates/sponsors its own terrorists that spread terror throughout the muslim world, first with minor demonstrations of terror, increasing in scope and bloodshed. After a a year of this Strategic Mayhem®, the US makes it clear that we intend to give them a suitcase nuke or two.
of course such an approach would make the arms industry lose its stiffy right away
posted by BentPenguin at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2002


According to my thinking the more countries that have nuclear bombs, the more chance that a normal conventional dispute could escalate to nuclear. Look at the India/Pakistan dispute. They were threatening to go nuclear over a border spat.

So many countries already have it - Well actually it's a pretty small set. Only nine countries in the world are known to have succeeded in attaining nuclear capability (although the current standing is eight as South Africa, and I can proudly say this as South African, has voluntarily dismantled theirs). Up to thirty countries have been know to try and aquire them. This link has more info

We all know who have used a nuclear program for what purpose. - Well we know why most countries have Nuclear weapons. America has them as they invented them, Russia due to the Cold War, China in attempt to show their Communism was better to Russia, France and Britain also as deterrents to Russia during the Cold War, India and Pakistan thanks to their little border spat and Israel as deterrents to invasion. So as I asked before, what motivation does Libya have? It has no warring neighbours and no arms race nor is it under any threat of invasion if it didn't have nukes.
posted by PenDevil at 7:56 AM on September 24, 2002


Alright, first of all, I mentioned Nuclear Programs, and not Nuclear Weapon Manufacturing Programs. Pakistan had a nuclear program to produce electricity which is still successfully working in Karachi.

UncleFes, sure you jest !!! The US is part of the UN. It has held the right to manufacture WMD. It is a democracy, elected/selected issue aside. And really, the idea that the US will be there for the Iraqi ppl or any other nation in trouble is ludicrous. How will the US pay for that war. If that was the case the US would have intervened in Ruwanda during that ethnic cleansing episode.

Every war has a price. The war in Afghanistan against Russia, was paid for by the CIA and ISI drug program. What and Who is going to pay for the coming war in Iraq. And I am of the opinion, that the US will not and can not intervene in every situation that can arise because of the financial element. Therefore I do not agree with the premise that a democratic country should not make Weapons because the US will come and save the day. The US needs to save its economy first and firstmost.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:10 AM on September 24, 2002


I haven't seen anyone in the Bush administration who seems to have given much thought to what might happen if things start to get out of control.

They may not say much about it, and Bush personally may not be interested, but you can bet that Cheney, Rumsfeld and an assload of power-suits down at CIA and the Pentagon have gone over exactly the scenarios you describe in detail.

The US creates/sponsors its own terrorists that spread terror throughout the muslim world, first with minor demonstrations of terror, increasing in scope and bloodshed. After a a year of this Strategic Mayhem®, the US makes it clear that we intend to give them a suitcase nuke or two.

I like the way you think, BP. But alas, we are an easy target (free open society) while they are not (closed, homogenous, non-free society). The ability to place agents capable of doing what you describe would be difficult if not impossible. With freedom comes vulnerability.
posted by UncleFes at 8:17 AM on September 24, 2002


Sorry, adnanbwp, you posted while I was typing :)

The US is part of the UN. It has held the right to manufacture WMD.

Not exactly. We manufacture WMD despite the UN because we can and because we are able to be covert about it. To be honest, I'm not sure that the UN has any say on the subject other than as a moral authority.

And really, the idea that the US will be there for the Iraqi ppl or any other nation in trouble is ludicrous

Why? We're there for Israel. We're there for Britain, should it ever come to that. We were there for the Afghans in the 80s. We're there for the Japanese. No, I think that IF Iraq were to become a democratic country, the US would be as involved and supportive as is humanly possible.

If that was the case the US would have intervened in Ruwanda during that ethnic cleansing episode.

Totally different scenario (and an embarassment to the US, if you ask me - a racist walkaway, and one I am ashamed of) - internal racially-based civil war. As horrible as it was and as disingenuous as the US response, we're talking about two different animals here.

And I am of the opinion, that the US will not and can not intervene in every situation that can arise because of the financial element.

You are underestimating the capacity of the American economic engine, I think. Even the trough of a 2 year recession, the dollar is relatively strong, inflation has been negligible, production growing (albeit slowly). And the military infranstructure is already in place. We can afford ten juntas in Iraq, if we so desired.

Therefore I do not agree with the premise that a democratic country should not make Weapons because the US will come and save the day. The US needs to save its economy first and firstmost.

The government and the economy are far more separate that you think. In fact, more times than not, they are adversaries. The US economy is not well, but it will recover eventually.... it is already doing so, according to many indicators.
posted by UncleFes at 8:41 AM on September 24, 2002


But (I forgot to add) why would a country expend the resources to develop effective WMD when (a) they could even conceivably take advantage of the largesse of larger Powers, and (b) the use of such weapons would end up causing the burgeoning democracy to end up back in the same public opinion cesspool they had so recently and to such effort crawled up from? To assault their neighbors?

A democracy, I think, would readily find itself "hampered" by the same rules that hamper the larger democracies: public opinion, economic realism, and questions of freedom and law. Iraq can proceed with obtaining WMD (if they are) in large part because they are unfettered by these constraints; an Iraqi democracy would be conversely bound.
posted by UncleFes at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2002


*looks back over three lengthy posts in a row, shuts up*
posted by UncleFes at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2002


alas, we are an easy target (free open society) while they are not (closed, homogenous, non-free society). The ability to place agents capable of doing what you describe would be difficult if not impossible. With freedom comes vulnerability.

Its really just Mutually Assured Destruction, but played on islamic, rather than russian terms. Put differently, its taking the the Ass out of Asymetrical Warfare. Its behavior modification, plain and simple and it turns the tables on the west's enemies because its the one response they calculate won't happen, and it happens to be their achilles heel.

As for logistics, well just as with them, not every mission would succeed, but even failed missions are effective when you're waging PsyOps...

And our free society is a strategic asset, not a liability. The scale of the US's population and resources means that they will run out of both before the US will. Thats a powerful incentive to stand down, once the chain of events is made
clear.

Back to my original point tho: The last thing the Bushies want is a quick and concise end to the problem.
posted by BentPenguin at 8:55 AM on September 24, 2002


You're essentially suggesting that our enemies are no better than animals

To say Saddam is a bear is a compliment. To say he is our enemy is to infer respect.

Saddam has created an atmosphere where tourture, execution and mass killings are institutionalized tools of the state. If you dont believe than you have not studied history nor read the UK report today. I hate to invoke Godwin but Iraq is worse than pre-war Germany and these types of regimes follow predictable patterns. Do we wait for the bear to strike before killing it? Or do we go out and take care of the bear before it strikes us. History offers too many lessons on the price of doing nothing while the bear is loose in the woods.
posted by stbalbach at 8:57 AM on September 24, 2002


Uncle Fes, what about the fact that countries need to respond to the threats around them? Iraq's (fairly close) neighbor has nukes, why should they not have them? (talking here on a purely theoretical, post-saddam era). India showed that a democracy can develop nuclear weapons in response to a threat and have no huge problems with public opinion, economic realism, and questions of freedom and law. Israel has shown it can do the same thing, and escape sanctions due to its relationship with the United States. Why should any other country be any different?

No country can depend on the "largesse" of others when their neighbors have superior weaponry and force. "public opinion" plays no part in strategic thinking, just ask the most hated nation on earth!
posted by cell divide at 8:57 AM on September 24, 2002


If that was the case the US would have intervened in Ruwanda during that ethnic cleansing episode.

Its easy to say that the US's nonresponse to Rwanda was racist. The truth was, no one in the world lifted a finger, and in doing so the real nature of international relations is illuminated.

The Rwandan civil war/genocide started and finished, hundreds of thousands were slaughtered and maimed, but predictably, it had no impact on the interests of any other nations, save for perhaps the Congo, and even that point is arguable. Compare to the mess created by Milosovec--a direct threat to the stability fo Europe, the Middle East and even the (former) soviet bloc nations. All of which the west has invested in considerably.

Nations act only in their interests, and react only to threats against same.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2002


BP: excellent points. And I agree with you: And our free society is a strategic asset, not a liability. The scale of the US's population and resources means that they will run out of both before the US will. That's a powerful incentive to stand down, once the chain of events is made clear. I would add, however, that having a free society is also a tactical disadvantage, and that terrorism is an inherently tactical, rather than strategic, activity.

No country can depend on the "largesse" of others when their neighbors have superior weaponry and force.

I would say that's EXACTLY when you have to depend on the largess of others. Think Britain, 1943 (Godwin having already been invoked). We like to help our friends. A democratic Iraq? We would make them our friends, probably without regard to whether they wanted to be our friend or not. Any port is a storm.

"public opinion" plays no part in strategic thinking, just ask the most hated nation on earth!

And yet, we are the most public opinion sensitive nation on Earth as well! If we didn't care what our allies thought, it wouldn't be a point of debate - we'd simply act, unilaterally, and let the chips fall where the may. But we do not. We spend lots of time/energy/money/personnel trying (often vainly) to sway world opinion to our favor. It is our sensitivity to public opinion that prevents us from taking what would be direct action on our own behalf.

Nations act only in their interests, and react only to threats against same.

Agreed. My comment re: racism was taken from the "world's policeman" PoV of the US, one which I espouse. Summer's point is valid. We should be a moral force; noblesse oblige should be the American Standard. But there are necessary evils to surmount first, before we may once again create for ourselves the luxury of moral leadership.
posted by UncleFes at 9:16 AM on September 24, 2002


stbalbach: Um, I thought we were talking about Libya when you originally made the bear analogy, not Iraq. Admittedly, the thread has sort of changed focus since then.

My point still stands, though. No matter how evil or reprehensible our enemies may be, I think it's very important that we realize they are still human beings. If we start thinking of them as animals that deserve to be put down, we've descended to their level.

To say [Saddam] is our enemy is to infer respect.

I'm confused. Are you saying that we can't disrespect an enemy? Are you saying that we shouldn't use the word "enemy" in relation to Saddam?
posted by textureslut at 9:16 AM on September 24, 2002


BentPenguin, thankyou for reinforcing my point that the whole idea of nations having the US to fall back on is imperfect, impossible, unnatural.

Pakistan built nuclear weapons under a democratic government because it faced a threat by a democratic India. If attacked by India, Pakistan would be annihilated before the US begins to think about a response to protect Pakistan. Just giving an example.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:23 AM on September 24, 2002


ALWAYS respect your enemies. Only fools disrespect them, and rarely do they get a second opportunity to do so.

*sits crosslegged, hovering about a foot above cushion in Boddhisattva-like fashion, and turns greenish eye-glow to "medium"*
posted by UncleFes at 9:23 AM on September 24, 2002


To say Saddam is a bear is a compliment. To say he is our enemy is to infer respect.


No, it's to imply respect. I would infer respect by deducing it from other things.


More on Loose Bear
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 AM on September 24, 2002


There is a bear in the woods. It is hungry. You have a gun. Do you kill it or wait for it to kill your daughter collecting blueberrys.

I kill the bear.

Or...

I kill the first bear I come across and declare that THAT bear is the "evil" bear who wanted to kill everyone and take all the blueberries.

And then I find any other animal who looks like a bear (wolverine, vole, badger, elk) and I detain them indefinitely in a cave. I watch them closely for signs of "evil."

I put a big rock in front of the cave.

After about eight weeks, I forget where the cave was and I don't go back.

Then I remember the blueberry bushes and I return to cut them all down because: A) they attract bears and B) they could catch fire, so better to cut them down now and "salvage" them before they catch fire.

Then I catch some salmon and make them wear tiny little smocks because: A) God did not mean for salmon to roam the lakes and rivers of America willy-nilly in their nakedness which is an abomination unto the Lord. Amen. And B) B)... um... B)... there is no B! Why are you axing me so many questions?! Are you a bear?!
posted by spudnuts at 9:51 AM on September 24, 2002


Also...

I seem to have lost my daughter.
posted by spudnuts at 9:54 AM on September 24, 2002


Maybe misplaced is a better word.
posted by spudnuts at 9:55 AM on September 24, 2002


The current administration doesn't want Libya to have nuclear weapons because that would mean that they might possibly be able to cause casualties to us during the Muslim Pacification Campaign. It can't have that, because it would damage morale.

And the US will need all of the morale if can muster to finish this campaign, so that we can control vital resources for the future, and probably much more hard-fought, Asian Pacification Campaign.

These campaigns are both necessary for the US to impose it's form of governance and way of life to the rest of the world. It the nation's manifest destiny.
posted by moonbiter at 10:10 AM on September 24, 2002


There is a bear in the woods...

Vote Reagan '84!
posted by Dirjy at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2002


You mean Ronny had a chance to kill that bear back in 1984 and he just let that bear (and its 10,000 or so nuclear weapons) just walk away?

Hey.

Wait a minute?

Didn't I see Bush Sr., Cheney, and Rumsfeld feeding that bear chemical and biological berries as recently as 1990?

Or was that a different bear?
posted by spudnuts at 12:04 PM on September 24, 2002


"Then I catch some salmon and make them wear tiny little smocks"...

heheeheheheheeheh
Espresso shooting out of one's nose can really perk one up.
posted by bshort at 12:14 PM on September 24, 2002


ALWAYS respect your enemies. Only fools disrespect them, and rarely do they get a second opportunity to do so.

hmmm. perhaps underestimate the enemy?

Sun-Tzu has classic doctrines based on using disrespect to anger the enemy into action.

the events in the middle east, namely the back-n-forth between the major powers, Arab countries and Israeli is rife with disrespect.

but there are many cases of respect to counter this. Israeli sent messages of support to Jordan concerning people trying to kill him.

i agree Fes, about respect. but the second chance part i disagree with. my reasoning is the events in the middle east between 1954 and 1967.
posted by clavdivs at 1:02 PM on September 24, 2002


This thread shows the uncertainty that W. is creating in order to hold on to power. More than a year after 9/11 the world seems like a scarier place, but not because of what the terrorists might do, because of what the US might do. Are we going to attack Iraq? Then Libya? We don't seem to like the Germans much, so we'll get to them. W. has publicly threatened what, 60 nations? 1/3 of the world? All W. wants to talk about is war. It's a smoke-screen he can use to hide his inability to do anything right: the economy is crapping out, corporate crime is being largely ignored, civil liberties are being outmoded faster than 3 guys driving down a Florida highway, Osama "dead or alive" bin Laden is still unaccounted for, but we're going to invade Iraq. Just because we can.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:07 PM on September 24, 2002


Stop changing the subject.

There's a bear around here somewhere.
posted by spudnuts at 1:20 PM on September 24, 2002


W. has publicly threatened what, 60 nations? 1/3 of the world? All W. wants to talk about is war. It's a smoke-screen he can use to hide his inability to do anything right: the economy is crapping out, corporate crime is being largely ignored, civil liberties are being outmoded faster than 3 guys driving down a Florida highway, Osama "dead or alive" bin Laden is still unaccounted for, but we're going to invade Iraq. Just because we can.

Henny Penny Hyperbole. W's term is limited by the constitution - he can't hold on to power if the Electoral College votes him out. W has threatened no one (in fact, he's been very careful NOT to make threats) and even if he had, even the purported Axis only contains three nations (four in you count Cuba, which no one really does). The idea that we might attack Germany - our oldest modern allies, founding members of NATO, and home country of millions of Americans - is ludicrous on its face. The economy is picking up, corporate criminals are being punished and forced to change their ways, civil liberties are intact (the fact we're discussing this is evidence of that, and the history books are full of far greater curtails to civil liberties during times of war than are occurring now, check Lincoln's Civil War powers for examples). bin Laden may very well be dead, no evidence either way, but I don't think they've given up the search just yet, and though we may (may - nothing is engraved in stone yet) invade Iraq, there is significantly more justification - debatable though it may be - than "...because we can." We can invade anyone.
posted by UncleFes at 1:29 PM on September 24, 2002


Which is to say, all is not yet completely lost :)
posted by UncleFes at 1:30 PM on September 24, 2002


"The economy is picking up..."

Which planet are you from?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:39 PM on September 24, 2002


this one; you gotta read further than the headline, dude:

the Fed said aggregate demand appeared to be growing at a moderate pace and acknowledged that "considerable uncertainty" persisted over the timing of a pickup in production and employment, in part because of the "emergence of heightened geopolitical risks."

which are temporary. And no rate cut. And the market always takes a dump in Sept-Oct. The stock market is a finicky beast, forget today's numbers. Watch what the Big Suits do.

Hey, it ain't 1998, but it ain't 1932 either.
posted by UncleFes at 1:52 PM on September 24, 2002


Some of the fundamental changes to Americans' legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act following the terror attacks:
* FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigation.
* FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records requests.
* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.
* RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.
* FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.
* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.
* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

-AP newswire

and concerning corporate crime, how many people on this list are being prosecuted for anything? A few, I know, but the problem is deeper than the enforcement of standing laws. In the same way campaign finance reform changed nothing, corporate reform is just as toothless.

The Economy? Dude, the economy is in bad shape. The "recovery" is so slight that most economists are watching for a double-dip recession caused mainly by uncertainty created by W's foreign policies.
posted by elwoodwiles at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2002


W has threatened no one (in fact, he's been very careful NOT to make threats) and even if he had, even the purported Axis only contains three nations (four in you count Cuba, which no one really does).

Looking Beyond the Axis of Evil, though, we need to save some bombs for Syria, Cuba (yes, some people do count it), and -- hey! -- Libya.
posted by Dean King at 2:18 PM on September 24, 2002


Bears like the taste of blueberries more than the taste of human flesh.
posted by euphorb at 2:19 PM on September 24, 2002


mmmmm......human flesh.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:03 PM on September 24, 2002


Are you saying that we shouldn't use the word "enemy" in relation to Saddam?

Saddam is a criminal to be dealt with according to International law. He violated the Geneva Convention on the use of Chemical Weapons, the first to do so since it was enacted and they'll probably get him on Genocide charges against the Kurds. Yeah I guess he's an enemy, he's an enemy of everyone but himself, criminal is more fitting.
posted by stbalbach at 5:40 PM on September 24, 2002


is this the man we want leading us into any war ?
posted by specialk420 at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2002


The bottom line is that we can trust democracies; and we can't trust fascist regimes such as Iraq and Libya. So stop suggesting that we're equal to them.

PS: on some level, it would be satisfying to know that Libya could target France and Italy with nukes. I bet those countries and the rest of the EU would lose their head-in-the-sand postures real fast.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:27 PM on September 24, 2002


Saddam is a criminal

That didn't bother Reagan or Bush Sr.

to be dealt with according to International law.

International law which this administration insists applies to everyone except US citizens.

He violated the Geneva Convention

Guantanamo.

on the use of Chemical Weapons

Bush Sr., Cheney, Rumsfeld supplied him with biological and chemical weapons even AFTER he gassed the Kurds.

the first to do so since it was enacted and they'll probably get him on Genocide charges against the Kurds.

See above.

Yeah I guess he's an enemy, he's an enemy of everyone but himself, criminal is more fitting.

Criminals.

Like the Taliban.

The same Taliban which this administration gave $43 million in March of 2001?

Bear!
posted by spudnuts at 7:12 PM on September 24, 2002


Asshole.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:29 PM on September 24, 2002


Excellent counterargument.
posted by moonbiter at 8:13 PM on September 24, 2002


observant repartee
posted by clavdivs at 8:24 PM on September 24, 2002


Witty rejoinder.
posted by euphorb at 9:45 PM on September 24, 2002


I'm not allowed to post threads anymore.

I hope you fuckers are happy.
posted by spudnuts at 11:18 PM on September 24, 2002


That and there's a big blueberry eating bear on the loose on the Internet means I am having one shit of a night.
posted by spudnuts at 11:20 PM on September 24, 2002


I mean... what did I do?!

I'm just a guy.

I put my tiny little salmon smock on one leg at a time, just like everyone else.

And this fucking blog doesn't even have cupholders on the armrest. The fuck is that about?

You don't get me, and as a result... you don't GET me.

Get me?

Bear!
posted by spudnuts at 11:23 PM on September 24, 2002


I bet those countries and the rest of the EU would lose their head-in-the-sand postures real fast.

Sure. Maybe a few ethics lesson from the Bush/Cheney/Halliburton/Unocal crowd
will do the trick

And, Paris, since your head is definitely not in the sand like those slimy Europeans', and I seem to remember that you can read French, enjoy the "Unocal consultant" reference on this Le Monde profile of President Karzai
posted by matteo at 5:23 AM on September 25, 2002


Metteo: so what? In the first place, are you suggesting that political leaders, or a nation, collectively, has to be without sin to have the right to argue that a war is necessary? Second, although I'm not a big fan of the combustion engine, what's wrong with being a consultant for an oil company?

What's with you people? Even assuming what is being claimed here is true, and not qualified with facts not being disclosed, do you really think that the United Station, or the Bush Administration is so corrupt that it doesn't have the right to oust Saddam Hussein, or MQ? Are you that deluded, or is this just a forum to make clever retorts? I was hoping Metafilter was more than that.

The United States has the right to attack Libya and Iraq. And Korea too. And doing so will improve those places, and the world, overall. And that we won't liberate China because we probably can't doesn't make liberating the other places less of a positive. Doing so won't turn Dick Cheney into a saint, but so what?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:11 AM on September 25, 2002


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