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Shock and Awe
January 27, 2003 2:45 PM   Subscribe

"Shock and Awe" is the concept behind the Pentagon's planned, "Hiroshima like" attack on Baghdad. "Carpet bombing" was the concept's name in the old days, and was responsible for 125,000 civilian deaths in Dresden. Precision carpet bombing - condonable strategy?
posted by RichLyon (100 comments total)

 
Yes, lets instead send them in with nothing but fisticuffs.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:50 PM on January 27, 2003


Sweet Jesus, I read the post as meaning that a nuclear attack on Baghdad is planned. Don't scare me like that -- it's only too credible.
posted by elgoose at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2003


IF we were facing aggression on par with what we experienced 9-11, I think this would be appropriate.
I made the comment when the trade center fell that we should rain down hell-fire on those responsible and send a clear message that God is not on their side.

But the Iraqi people aren't those guys. I realize that to about 1/2 the population in this country, they will suffice.
posted by 2sheets at 2:59 PM on January 27, 2003


[retching sounds]
posted by quonsar at 3:08 PM on January 27, 2003


Here's another article on Ullman's Shock and Awe. It links to this piece about the possible use of nuclear bunker-busters against Iraq.
posted by homunculus at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2003


This is misinterpretation at best, troll at worst. Why? Because the proposed plan is not carpet bombing. Carpet bombing is dropping bombs on everything without discrimination over a relatiely large area. What this is talking about is bombing numerous specific sites within a short time frame. Regardless of how I or anyone feels about the plan, there is a distinct diffrence between 'shock and awe' bombing and carpet bombing.
posted by CoolHandPuke at 3:10 PM on January 27, 2003


Incendiary bombs were dropped on Dresden and Tokyo. So you couldn't really say precision guided bombs are the same. The article doesn't mention the US wanting to create a firestorm in Baghdad. Not to mention, I think most refugees would be fleeing away from Baghdad, not fleeing too it.
posted by Akuinnen at 3:14 PM on January 27, 2003


elgoose: BOO!

Hope that didn't scare you.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2003


Carpet bombing?! 400, or 800 precision targeted cruise missles is NOT carpet bombing--thanks for the distortion for pepetuating anti-war ignorance which will, thankfully, be ignored in Washington.

I really, REALLY hope that a few of those cruise missles are set to hit at 1 or 2am, when no one is around, but hit, nonetheless in the offices of French and German companies, or perhaps their embassies.

The proposed strategy is the best one: scare the hell out of Bagdad and demoralize as many Iraqi soldiers are possible so they just won't fight, or they turn on their evil leader.

Now, you could argue that this will cruely inflict post-traumatic shock on a large population--except that Saddam Hussein has ready done that.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:17 PM on January 27, 2003


I think CoolHandPuke is right, there's at least a token effort here to avoid civilians (not that I think it'll do much good). So the plan isn't Dresden, but who knows if the end result would be much better. It's not like our missles are that precise (despite the frequent use of that word in reference to them).

Question:
Not everybody in the Bush Administration thinks Shock and Awe will work. One senior official called it a bunch of bull, but confirmed it is the concept on which the war plan is based.

Any guesses who it was? How does CBS get away with throwing a comment like that in offhand without offering a source?
posted by malphigian at 3:18 PM on January 27, 2003


nice that they this at the end: "We assure you this report contains no information that the Defense Department thinks could help the Iraqi militar"
posted by tomplus2 at 3:21 PM on January 27, 2003


Let's put aside for a moment the rather willful (IMHO) stretching of the truth in the name of anti-war (at any cost) sentiment.

Of course this is not carpet bombing, and it certainly isn't firestorm creation.... but for the moment let's forget that too.

If it was - I still wouldn't be all that upset. War is... destructive. Thats the purpose.

While it is admirable to try and minimize side casualties the real issue is achieving your objective with the minimum amount of casualties on your own side... and if killing a bunch extra of "them" to save a few of "us" is the way then that's fine with me.
posted by soulhuntre at 3:22 PM on January 27, 2003


See now, THIS is what I'm talking about!!!
posted by jonson at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2003


Carpet bombing?! 400, or 800 precision targeted cruise missles is NOT carpet bombing--thanks for the distortion for pepetuating anti-war ignorance which will, thankfully, be ignored in Washington.

I really, really, really hate to agree with ParisParamus even once on anything, but he's correct in every particular here. There are plenty of good reasons to oppose a war. This isn't one.

I really, REALLY hope that a few of those cruise missles are set to hit at 1 or 2am, when no one is around, but hit, nonetheless in the offices of French and German companies, or perhaps their embassies.

And here we see him touting ignorance of another kind that Washington will, thankfully, also ignore.

The proposed strategy is the best one: scare the hell out of Bagdad and demoralize as many Iraqi soldiers are possible so they just won't fight, or they turn on their evil leader.

Except when you start targeting things like water supplies (as mentioned in the article) you run a good chance of killing millions from lack of water. Oops! Good thing they're only Iraqis and liberal Europeans, right?

Now, you could argue that this will cruely inflict post-traumatic shock on a large population--except that Saddam Hussein has ready done that.

There are a lot of boards on the Internet where 13 year olds from trailer parks in Michigan (and I know a couple of them, strangely) spend their time talking about how great it will be when we turn the Middle East into glass.

I would expect this insulting lack of intelligence perhaps there on a bad day, but not here. Conditions are bad in Iraq, yes, but what you are saying here fits all the criteria required for being labeled 'stupid and completely wrong.'
posted by Ryvar at 3:32 PM on January 27, 2003


a token effort here to avoid civilians

The U.S. has probably spent more money than anyone else in developing accurate missiles that will hit and only will hit their intended target and reduce civilian casualties from the bombings. I would hardly say that's a token effort.
posted by gyc at 3:34 PM on January 27, 2003


One word: AIRPOWER!
posted by davidmsc at 3:37 PM on January 27, 2003


It really comes down to this: if you are in favor of getting rid of Saddam, then how does not matter that much, and if is quick and avoids chemical and biological strike at American forces, then you are for it.

If, though, you oppose the war, anything that kills or hits anyone is wicked and terrible and horrid.

Choose a side and you will have your arguement to go along with it.
posted by Postroad at 3:39 PM on January 27, 2003


I'm for the death of Saddam, doubly so his sons, and the established Iraqi regime.

I'm against the death of absolutely every other Iraqi and American.

The fact that we will someday be able to do just this scares the living hell out of me.
posted by Ryvar at 3:45 PM on January 27, 2003


Kill the Iraqis indiscriminately. Just don't have an abortion, whatever you do.
posted by four panels at 3:52 PM on January 27, 2003


ryvar: I really, really, really hate to agree with ParisParamus even once on anything

Not to derail or anything (not that there is a rail for this thread anyway) or single you in particular out but...

I see these comments of this sort every now and again on MeFi and it bothers me that some folks write off their ideological enemies (for lack of a better phrase) so much that they "really, really, really hate" it when they agree a statement they make. You'd think dogs were talking. Do people really need to be reminded that just because someone holds an opinion you think is repugnant doesn't make them a drooling sub-human unworthy of consideration?
posted by turbodog at 3:59 PM on January 27, 2003


I can't believe this is being touted as a novel strategy. This is the same old wishful thinking (sanitary! low-risk! quick!), re-branded to market the new conflict.

I'm also bemused at the successful marketing of smart weapons. We're always, always lied to about the percentage of 'smart' munitions that will be / are being used. And then, after the bang-bang is over and the risk of political uproar has passed, the truth comes out.

It's equally horrifying to note how little attention has been paid (in popular discourse) to the deadly effects of the economic sanctions on Iraq; the hand-wringing over the potential 'collateral damage' due to military strikes indicates how successful the West has been in downplaying the effects of its economic warfare.
posted by stonerose at 4:01 PM on January 27, 2003


Cruise missiles can blow up entire blocks. We're not talking about ninja stars. The levels of destruction could be comparable to carpet bombing.

I can't find the link, but it's been shown that an increase in precision bombing means an increase in willingness to use bombs on targets in civilian neighborhoods. The body count stays pretty much the same.
posted by inksyndicate at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2003


Whatever. It's not that they're bombing the crap out of those Iraqis on National Sanctity of Life Day, right? Where's the problem then? Any other day of the Year, they're fair game!
posted by matteo at 4:04 PM on January 27, 2003


Kill the Iraqis indiscriminately. Just don't have an abortion, whatever you do.

500,000 + 500,000 already = 1 million dead Iraqi kids. USA!! USA!! USA!!
posted by badstone at 4:05 PM on January 27, 2003


Oh, but we didn't kill them with bombs, so it's all good.
posted by badstone at 4:06 PM on January 27, 2003


gyc:, you cut off the first part of my sentence that said "at least a token effort", I was trying to be inclusive to the entire span of all views -- that is, even the most ardent dove has to agree there is at least some effort being made. I was trying to avoid that argument, but no luck, I guess. So: I think they try pretty hard not to kill civilians, but its not , understandably, their number one concern, a lot of iraqi civilians are going to die in any case. That's war nowadays, regardless of strategy I'd say.
posted by malphigian at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2003


The irony here is that the US would actually be giving Iraq weapons of mass destruction - albeit precise and exploded weapons of mass destruction.

Seriously, if you were a civilian in Baghdad would you feel confident in the precision of US missiles? This whole semantic debate about "carpet bombing" vs. "shock and awe" vs. "dropping a nuke" makes me ill. Innocent people would be dying while you stroke your keyboard on another MetaFilter topic.
posted by quadog at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2003


Here's an interesting article on what drives U.S. target selection during air campaigns, with special reference to the Yugoslav conflict.
posted by stonerose at 4:21 PM on January 27, 2003


Do people really need to be reminded that just because someone holds an opinion you think is repugnant doesn't make them a drooling sub-human unworthy of consideration?

I'd think the answer obvious, though this really belongs in MetaTalk - after enough loss-of-sight-inducingly stupid statements one begins to think of this or that individual as generally not producing/regurgitating 'ideas' worth the time it takes to read. Ergo associating oneself with them in any way becomes a bit of a shameful breach of the established lines people setup for themselves.

Put another way: ever creatures of tribalism we tend to sort people out into 'Stupider than me' 'On the same level as me (read: slightly smarter because I overestimate myself)' and 'Smarter than me (I can barely/cannot comprehend them).' Nobody wants to spot any significant similarities between their own ideas and those of someone they stick in the first category for fairly obvious reasons.

We're always, always lied to about the percentage of 'smart' munitions that will be / are being used. And then, after the bang-bang is over and the risk of political uproar has passed, the truth comes out.

Agreed.

Cruise missiles can blow up entire blocks.

Depending on the warhead they can level cities, airport runways, bunkers, cityblocks, or just a building with - yes - some minor damage in the surrounding area. Saying 'all cruise missles do X amount of damage points' is a bit of a gross oversimplification leading to dangerous miscalculations about potential loss of civilian life.
posted by Ryvar at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2003


quaddog innocent people are always dying while I write metafilter posts - admittedly that comes from them reading my posts and rolling their eyes so hard it shatters their skulls. In seriousness your words were hypocritical as, and indeed slightly before, you typed them. That's the great thing about online anti-war discussions and moreso activism - now YOU can pretend to make a difference from the comfort of your own Pringles-covered chair while the innocent drown in their own blood screaming.
posted by Ryvar at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2003


Maybe this news report is complete bullshit. Maybe it's completely wrong about the Pentagon's plans. But if there's any validity to the story at all keep in mind that Baghdad won't just be shelled with 3-400 cruise missiles; Baghdad will be shelled with 3-400 cruise missiles a day.

You also take the city down. By that I mean you get rid of their power, water. In 2,3,4,5 days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted

So basically you inflict maximum terror. Then, when they're good and terrorized, you go in and mop up. Never mind the non-combatant deaths, or the civil destruction or the disease that'll follow--it's all "collateral damage"-- hell, Saddam's been terrorizing his people for 20 fucking years; they're used to this by now as ParisParamus points out. If terrorize them a little it's all in a good cause. And if we're lucky we can even get back our own on those fucking krauts and frogs who dare to lecture us and call it "friendly fire."

Hey, I understand the pragmatic arguments for this: might makes right, our dick's bigger than yours, and it's not terror because our objectives justify our means. But I watched on TV as New Yorkers were terrorized and no one's yet explained to me the moral difference between the execution of terror in NY and the execution of terror in Baghdad.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:38 PM on January 27, 2003


The expression "precision weapons" is interesting to me. Precision does not necessarily entail accuracy, and neither vice versa. Do most people know this? It was a while before I did...

"I bombed Baghdad"--an accurate statement if you took out a refinery in the middle of town, but not very precise.

"I bombed Apartment 2B, 4747 Saddam Hussein Terrace, Baghdad"--a precise statement but inaccurate if you accidentally took out a 7-11 in Toledo.

Most people seem to use both words to mean the same thing. The dictionary does allow for this.

</offtopic>
posted by tss at 4:39 PM on January 27, 2003


Actually, the best modern example of a "shock and awe" attack that I can think of were the September 11th attacks, and all those seemed to accomplish was, well, more retaliatory killing.

So, yeah, thank goodness we're finally going to make the world safe or something.
posted by Skwirl at 4:45 PM on January 27, 2003


Well, octobersurprise, one might argue that the execution of terror in NYC didn't have a hope in hell of bringing about a positive outcome in terms of political change (indeed, it was easy to predict the response), while the use of terror against Iraq - since it will be conducted by a superpower - does have a chance of doing that (i.e., if it were to result in regime change, democracy in Iraq, etc.)

One MIGHT argue that, but I wouldn't, because the use of force against Iraq at this time and in this way is only going to create a huge fucking mess. Like the sanctions. The guiding principle of American foreign policy is apparently "if it feels good, do it, even if you shouldn't" (credit to Sloan for the lyrics :-)
posted by stonerose at 4:49 PM on January 27, 2003


As I recall, the London Blitz was supposed to be so horrific as to demoralize the British populace. The RAF Bomber Command's carpet-bombing of German cities was supposed to do the same thing to the Germans, too. People are hacking off civilians' arms and legs with machetes in West Africa, and that hasn't done anything to slow down the fighting there, either.
I think people are a lot more psychologically resilient than armed forces give them credit for, when it comes to being willing to kill their fellow man, anyway.
posted by cardboard at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2003



The U.S. has probably spent more money than anyone else in developing accurate missiles that will hit and only will hit their intended target and reduce civilian casualties from the bombings. I would hardly say that's a token effort.


Why is it that it is considered okay military personnel? I've always wondered why killing civilians is considered a war crime, but killing soldiers is not a problem. Perhaps I'm being naive (and I'm sure to find out if I am), but the only rationalization I can see, is that often, those soldiers are on their way currently to kill you, so you fight to protect yourself.

Taking the current situation, the Iraqi army is not on its way over the hill to attack the United States or our interests. Yet it is appropriate to kill them (as long as we carefully avoid civilians) in order to achieve our political goal of regime change?
posted by 4easypayments at 5:02 PM on January 27, 2003


oh geez... okay, first sentance: "...considered okay to kill military personnel.
posted by 4easypayments at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2003


cardboard: yup. That's the 'rally-round-the-flag effect' (think of Belgrade residents wearing targets on their chests). And it doesn't necessarily stop where and when the bombing stops... it can create and cement enduring loyalties between peoples (e.g., potential Muslim extremists) far afield. And this is part of 'our' policy to enhance 'our' security. Nice.
posted by stonerose at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2003


It's considered ok to kill millitary personnel because they signed up for the job to get shot at and/or bombed.

The Iraqi army may not be "on its way over the hill to attack the United States or our interests", but the Iraqi government, according to US government sources, has, or is trying to create, weapons of mass destruction that are a threat not only to the US, but to the rest of the world.

Should a county such as Iraq get its hands on working WMDs, then the world has a HUGE problem. It is possible, as Al Quaeda so brutally pointed out, to attack the western world to devastating effect through non-conventional means, so preventing a government hostile to the west from obtaining weapons that would increase the effectiveness of such terror attacks over a hundred times is of key importance.

That's why it's ok to blow up Iraqi soldiers.
posted by dazed_one at 5:22 PM on January 27, 2003


The Iraqi soldiers signed up, did they, dazed_one? Are you sure? And shouldn't your moral judgment take into account the likelihood that the policy of blowing up Iraqi soldiers will effect positive change in terms of our security?
posted by stonerose at 5:33 PM on January 27, 2003


"The Iraqi soldiers signed up, did they, dazed_one? Are you sure?"

Conscripted or not, in war, a soldier is still a soldier.

"And shouldn't your moral judgment take into account the likelihood that the policy of blowing up Iraqi soldiers will effect positive change in terms of our security?"

I'd really like for Saddam to go away peacefully, or for him to hand over all tools for the development of WMDs and all WMDs he has to the inspectors, really I would, because it would be swell for no-one to have to die and for everything to be hunky-dory. Truth of the matter is, though, that Saddam is a tyrant, and one that is willing to use such aforesaid weaponry on people. He is also a tyrant who clings to power for all he is worth (please look at his so called "elections"). Thus it can rather safely be said that he will not act peacefully and co-operate with the inspectors, and he most definitly will not leave peacefully, thus it seems that direct military force is the only, if unfortunate and oft times harsh, way to get rid of his threat. And that means Iraqi soldiers, conscripts or not, will die.

In my "moral judgement" I think it better that conscript soldiers die rather than civilians. What do you think, stonerose?
posted by dazed_one at 6:05 PM on January 27, 2003


Stonerose, people who favor an attack believe it "will effect positive change in terms of our security." I certainly believe that.
posted by pjgulliver at 6:17 PM on January 27, 2003


In my "moral judgement" I think it better that conscript soldiers die rather than civilians. What do you think, stonerose?

I think, first, that you're shifting the terms of the discourse. I merely pointed out that you were wrong to say that the soldiers 'signed up.' Now, you're saying, in effect, 'never mind that: a soldier is a soldier.' Well, which is it?

I think, secondly, that you're presenting a false choice. Because volunteers, conscripts, and civilians alike are going to die.

I also think that you miss my point about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of this policy. I know Saddam's an asshole. And I know about the value of military force, used legitimately and wisely: I was in favor of the operations in Somalia, Iraq (1), Haiti, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. What I am saying is that Saddam has not been convincingly linked to a clear and present threat against the physical security of the West; that he has been successfully contained since 1991; that a sharper, smarter regime of targeted sanctions would continue to contain him while removing the impression that the West is against the Iraqi people; that the inspections should continue; and that to attack Iraq under these circumstances will provoke those who would harm us, rather than enhancing our security.
posted by stonerose at 6:17 PM on January 27, 2003


Isn't this just one plan out of hundreds?

Last I heard, Saddam has the option to bail; all he has to do is take the next flight to Saudi Arabia, shack up with Idi Amin, and the whole thing is called off.

Wouldn't that save a lot of trouble?
posted by hama7 at 6:40 PM on January 27, 2003


Stonerose, how long should the inspections go on? Last time around the UNMOVIC team was there for years and didn't consider the job finished. Res 1441, as agreed to after serious negotiations, required Iraq to declare and account for all their arms and cooperate with the inspectors within a set deadline. Now the deadline is here, the Iraqis have not done what was necessary and the US will proceed regardless of the European weasels.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:52 PM on January 27, 2003


Stonerose, you put together the most cogent anti-war statement in a long time on this board.

I agree with you on many of the above points. However, I believe that the potential threat to the US/West posed by the weapons, not only by Saddam himself but by the power vague that will inverably emerge given Saddam's eventual demise if events were to run their natural course, coupled with the overwhelming opportunity posed for the possibility of regional transformation, makes a course of this type, with the possibility of war, the correct posture for our nation.
posted by pjgulliver at 6:53 PM on January 27, 2003


(sorry, I see your Canadian, make that "my nation" in the last line.)

By the way, what is the sentiment in Canada? I know opinion polls so a broad consensus against conflict, but are there any "hawks"? Is it a common topic of conversation?
posted by pjgulliver at 6:58 PM on January 27, 2003


The Germans called it Blitzkrieg "The Lightning War". It works. Overrun and destroy command and controll. Germany eliminated Poland in about a month one of the biggest armies in Europe because they exploited the lightning fast advantages of mechanized armour. In this case they are talking 3 to 5 days, the concept is the same the speed is just even faster. I hope they do it that way it will save a lot of lives and my money is on history that it will work.
posted by stbalbach at 7:20 PM on January 27, 2003


Billsaysthis, I share your frustration with Iraq. But we have to be mature, and realize that the history of global politics largely consists of long periods of latent, unresolved friction between states; e.g., the Cold War. We've contained Saddam for over a decade. We can continue to do so. There's no need for this crisis, especially now, when intercultural tensions are so high (and when we should be concentrating on more present threats). You ask how long the inspections should go on: this implies that you think continued inspections are costly in some way. Well, they are, in terms of money, tension, uncertainty, and (perhaps but not inevitably) credibility. But: at what point does this cost outweigh the cost in terms of lives lost in war, and increased tensions between cultures? I think we're nowhere near that point. I guess you disagree. I would urge you to rethink. Let's concentrate on what's really important in global affairs, rather than what we're told to look at.

pjgulliver: thanks! But I have to take issue with you on the power vaccuum (if I read you right) point. All evidence indicates that the West has no idea what will happen now when/if Saddam is deposed as a result of war. This is one of the reasons why Turkey (with its large Kurdish minority) is so freaked out. So I'm not sure we have a more stable, predictable 'future' to offer the region.

As for the sentiment in Canada - among those who are informed (i.e., not Joe-6-Pack-Let's-Nuke-Em) opinion is broadly against war. The hawks tend to fall into a certain right-wing crowd which routinely advocates knee-jerk adherence to American policy.

It's definitely a topic of conversation. For example, our national cable news network was talking about nothing else this morning (except the weather), while CNN was running stories about Superbowl ads and the latest tech gadgets.
posted by stonerose at 7:33 PM on January 27, 2003


I have said it before and I will say it again. Why does this government have more rights than I do? If I have a neighbor living threatening to rape or kill me, my family and destroy my home, I have no right to make a preemptive strike against him. Until this person makes an actual attempt at my life, I at no time have the right to attack him. If I am being stalked, nothing can be done UNTIL the stalker makes some physical attack against me. Why oh why then, does my government feel it has the right to carry out a "preemptive strike". Where is the logic? Where is the common sense. While I may be in real danger by my neighbor or stalker, it makes common sense that I can only use self defense, not preemptive defense to defend my actions. If I am ultimately attacked, I have the right to defend my property, my family and myself. I realize that not bombing the crap outta Saddam puts us at risk in the future. If we are considered the epitome of civilization, then we have no right to attack, unless we are "currently" defending ourselves, not for purely preventative measures. Can you not see the chaos that would result if we were all only held to the same standard that we are conducting on the world stage in this situation? It would be the Hatfields and McCoys. all over again. We are not acting a civilized nation here but rather good ol fashioned hillbillies
posted by SweetIceT at 8:17 PM on January 27, 2003


Why does this government have more rights than I do?

Sorry. I think your analogy is off. The guy's already killed lots of other neighbors, and paid off others to kill off still more neighbors such as $25,000 bounties paid to suicide bombers in Israel. Nor do I believe it stops there. But mostly, your analogy doesn't wash because of the scale of things: there's too much VX and anthrax in Iraq; and given that "collecting" such substances has no purpose other than to kill, and no defensive purpose.... Moreover, your analogy doesn't wash because Iraq has already acted against Kuwait; it already promised to disarm in 1991. So, nice words, sans attachment to reality.

Please, let the war begin, asap.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:29 PM on January 27, 2003


SweetIceT,

This discussion is apropos. It concludes that "in both theory and practice the preemptive use of force appears to have a home in current international law; but its boundaries are not wholly determinate." Basically, even though domestic and international law are different, the question hinges on necessity: is it necessary to attack now to defend ourselves from Saddam? Nah.
posted by stonerose at 8:35 PM on January 27, 2003


Here's some psychology: If Iraqis think that they'll be quickly and brutally savaged, even if they aren't, they might revolt even sooner. Genghis Khan used to pretend he had a huge army coming to sack a city, then send a spy to say that if the city gave up and surrendered they would be spared. Alexander the Great did the same. It saved lives on both sides, as far as invading hordes can save lives.

In any case, what's described is not carpet bombing. Plain and simple. Carpet bombing is the deliberate use of bombs on a civilian population. It used to be destructive enough to be effective. With nuclear now, only a nuclear bomb has that type of power, and of course that won't be used. So the "mass civilian casualty" type of attack really doesn't serve much purpose these days.

Even if it was effective, the loss of soft power by the side using such weapons would be tremendous; admittedly, nations like Iraq and N. Korea have no soft power to begin with. But the US and Britain can't, literally from a global economic standpoint, afford to kill too many civilians. Or even too many Iraqi soldiers. And they won't, if a war ever happens, which to me seems doubtful.
posted by Kevs at 9:04 PM on January 27, 2003


We did the same "shock and awe" line before going into Afghanistan, and while I don't put much past Bush n' Company - the Dresden hyperbole is a tad over the top.

By the way, soldiers are fair game. That includes our own, which would upset me - but much like the way the WTC is thing people think about most on 9/11, while the Pentagon attack is almost always tacked on as an afterthought. One of the soldiers at the Pentagon said (more or less) "we're military, we expect this".

The Bushies floating preemptive nuke strikes scares me more.

But I tend to believe 90% of this is disinfo attempting to get Hussein ousted in some way.

My real problem is not with using military force of some sort to destroy Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (and anyone is fooling themselves if you don't believe he has them, UN inspections or not). What I don't condone is America deposing a leader then occupying a country for an indeterminate amount of time.
posted by owillis at 9:05 PM on January 27, 2003


Random Thoughts From A Dove:

- It's not about weapons of mass destruction. It's not about protecting the United States from attack. It's not about sanctions. It's not about terrorism. It's not about maintaining world peace (obviously). If you think this conflict is about anything other than oil, you're badly mistaken

- Iraq is in no way, shape or form a real threat to the US right now - they are a perceived threat. If they had nuclear capabilities, they wouldn't dare use them for fear that their entire country would disappear under the return fire of dozens of nuclear missiles. If they have biological weapons, a pre-emptive strike just gives them justification to use them. As it stands at this very moment (pre-US Attack), Iraq is angling to become the Soviet Union of the 21st Century. And we all know how that worked out in the end.

- Saddam isn't the only evil dictator on this planet, not by a long shot. Look at Saudi Arabia - is that a democracy? Are people oppressed in that country? Turkey has killed more Kurds than Iraq but no one says anything. So why the double-standard? They are US allies. Because the US doesn't care about dictators and governments that kill innocent people as long as they that are under their control or considered "allies". Look to recent US history and
their attitude towards other dictators (Somoza, Noriega, Pinochet, Marcos, Suharto and the like) for more examples.

Saddam's crime as a dictator though, is threefold:
1) he isn't an ally of the US (not right now anyway, he was a-okay when the US was backing him against Iran)
2) he is sitting on huge reserves of easily-accessible oil
3) "he tried to kill my daddy!"

- as mentioned in the originally linked article, Hiroshima is the only time in world history where weapons of mass destruction were employed. Guess which Evil Empire took that unprecedented step?

- Saddam DOES NOT equal Osama Bin Laden yet the US Administration has managed to equate them in a nifty bit of sleight of hand. The sub-text of this sleight of hand is that a conflict that began as a "war on terror" has become a "war for oil"

- the single biggest argument for peace is this: when the US takes this step, they CANNOT take it back. If Iraq releases anthrax into the US water supply after a US attack, Bush can't say "truce". If Iraq blows up the White House in six months, Cheney can't say "er, sorry about blowing up those innocent civilians." Suddenly, a small regional conflict the US can't lose has the potential to become World War III. (I'm serious, not being hyperbolic.)

"Yeah, but what if they do those things before the US attacks them?" Well, as Fred Flintstone used to say "yeah, but, but dat don't do" Okay, that's a cheap dismissal. So what's my real answer? It's sort of the same as the argument above that even if you feel threatened, you can't act until you actually are threatened. Yes, not even if the person threatens you does attack your friends, your neighbours, etc. You have to let authorities deal with this (in this analogy, the authorities being the UN and its security council.)

- this is such a radical idea (I heard it on a Canadian talk show on the weekend - go figure!) that it bears serious consideration. So it won't get any - especially from anybody in power. But...

Why not send in food, medicine, doctors, engineers, etc. to Iraq? It would cost WAY less than dropping 300-400 smart bombs PER day and I bet the people of Iraq would see the US as heroes and saviours, Saddam as a despot who they would choose to remove of their own volition rather than having their lives, homes and families destroyed by an overly aggressive foreign bully.

In the end, what all of this rambling is trying to say is this:
The US shouldn't do a pre-emptive strike. If they want access to the oil, if they want to prevent deaths (civilian and soldier, enemy and ally), if they want to be true to the principles that the US supposedly stands for, if they want to TRULY maintain world peace, they need to work WITH the people of Iraq to remove Saddam, not against them.


Jason
posted by Jaybo at 9:45 PM on January 27, 2003


"What I am saying is that Saddam has not been convincingly linked to a clear and present threat against the physical security of the West." wrote stonerose.

Perhaps the evidence has not been made clear for you, but apparrently there was enough evidence to convince the president, who, you may argue, is an idiot sometimes, but is an idiot with one of the most sophisticated information networks available.

He has not impressed the inspectors either (evident here) and from that same article it seems that Germany is leaning towards armed conflic as well. That leaves only Russia and France opposing conflict, each with multi billion dollar oil deals with Saddam (I'd provide a link, but I got this evidence from The Economist magazine a while ago), and China, who never really counts. They're probably selling guns to Iraq anyways.

Iraq has contiually evaded and danced around the inspectors, and sanctions have quite frankly done dick all. War, so far has been the only way to make Iraq co-operate with the world. Think of the 1st time round in the gulf. The world wanted Iraq out of Kuwait. He did not leave when asked, but he did leave when forced. Now we want Saddam to stop making WMDs and being an ass, but he doesn't seem to be complying with polite requests and inspections, so it seems, unfortunatly, that war is the only effective next step.
posted by dazed_one at 9:58 PM on January 27, 2003


Innocent people would be dying while you stroke your keyboard on another MetaFilter topic.
quadog:There are no innocents and everybody is dying
posted by semmi at 10:25 PM on January 27, 2003


Jaybo, that spot-on assessment is the trump card the Bush Admin, as well as the Oil, Military and Financial Tycoons hope never gets out to the point of mind virus level. Prescient read of the situation Jason.

However, I will say.

Were it not for this RUMOR OF WAR (tm) that the fuckers like to keep real human progress off balance with, we, the so-called seekers of progress, would have nothing to leverage our disdain for the Bush Administration and its attendant stifled stories of the comprehensively corrupt, illegal and immoral enablement of rich fucks who control the goddamn spout that gives our informative sustenance. Good thing (for them) many of us don't require the democratically rejuvenating effects of a free press of by and for the people.

Were it not for this "rush to war", we, those on the left, would be doing the same old shit. Greenpeace, Sierra CLub, World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty blahblahblah. So, as we have it set up today, all of us "on the left" are simultaneously concerned about the war and yet, not adequately concerned of the other seemingly infinitesimal, incremental draconian changes that this defacto fascist administration has undertaken, that up to now, we'd dedicated ourselves to fighting against. In other words, our eye has been taken off the ranch we were good enough to help protect. As luck would have it, we've been set up to join our meager forces and dedicate it to perhaps the one thing that might not very well matter once these Bushies are done with us -- rights for the workingclass and underclass. Rumor and threat of war is valuable in keeping the whole world at bay, distracted, while a systematic looting and neutering of all that is democracy, is allowed to look as though it is for our safety.

Well done.

Keep heart Americans. This War will be Well done and classy. We'll swoon with Shocked Awe as to how well our Lords were able to seamlessly pull it off.

Our enemies that we will bomb, maim and terrorize, it's worth note, though we here in America may not sense it now, are exactly us. We are in a sense bombing, maiming and terrorizing ourselves and our children whom we may not be around to comfort, if we embrace this BULLSHIT that "if you're not with us you're against us".

I know it may sound like I've fallen out of my Ford 150 and all;

But to believe in this war is to believe (whether you want to believe it or not) in your own eventual slavery.

Look how they control the meaning of "800 Missles" in two days. We applaud that. How the fuck come? Why are we amazed but not sickened by the reason in which these fucking missles will fly?

They are missles pointed at you.

Bush and the legacy he inhabits cares nothing for you. He only wants you to work or die.
posted by crasspastor at 10:59 PM on January 27, 2003


Stirring.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:11 PM on January 27, 2003


Are you trying out for a part in the school play, crasspastor? Cause we have plenty of applicants for the role of sanctimonious loon already.
posted by sir walsingham at 11:17 PM on January 27, 2003


Who might those applicants be?
posted by crasspastor at 11:19 PM on January 27, 2003


see below.
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:28 PM on January 27, 2003


I want more talking dogs.
posted by y2karl at 11:40 PM on January 27, 2003


A few well placed doses of X and/or LSD might do wonders for Mr. Hussain.

That loony enough for you?
posted by geekhorde at 11:46 PM on January 27, 2003


Instead of a new missile defense system we should implement the defensive unit of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will use their suffocating Cover 2 scheme to intercept nuclear missiles out of the air and return them back to Iraq to detonate them.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:06 AM on January 28, 2003


There's nothing precise about a carpet. No missile or bomb outside Hollywood is smart enough to only kill the bad guys.

When I first read this post I saw Hiroshima-lite attack - it seems to me that's the desired effect here.
posted by misteraitch at 1:02 AM on January 28, 2003


Carpet (or area) bombing is, strictly, the practice of making air attacks on a city that treats the city as a single military objective, rather than clearly distinguishing military objectives and attacking them individually.

It is an important question because area bombing was classified as an indiscriminate attack and prohibited back in 1977. Needless to say, the US does not consider itself subject to the protocol that established this, although it does accept the principle under customary international law.

A massive stand-off weapon attack of Baghdad is distinct from area bombing to the extent that those stand-off weapons are as precise in their effects as their supporters suggest. Since that fact is subject to considerable doubt, I make no apology for launching the thread with this question.

I imagine we will want to collectively assess the merits of the case that stand-off weapons are sufficiently precise in their effect to legitimise this tactic and defend against the propect of the US committing an illegal act.

Some interesting background reading on area bombing and target classification methods here.
posted by RichLyon at 1:42 AM on January 28, 2003




I really, REALLY hope that a few of those cruise missles are set to hit at 1 or 2am, when no one is around, but hit, nonetheless in the offices of French and German companies

Let's hope these subsidiaries of Dick Cheney's Halliburton are empty when the missiles strike.
posted by nofundy at 5:29 AM on January 28, 2003


Here's what Stormin Norman has to say about the subject:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A52450-2003Jan27?language=printer

Desert Caution
Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 28, 2003; Page C01

TAMPA--Norman Schwarzkopf wants to give peace a chance.

The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says he hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the proper course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war plan, and even more by the potential human and financial costs of occupying Iraq.

And don't get him started on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.


What say you, all the chicken hawks here?
posted by nofundy at 5:44 AM on January 28, 2003


Shock and Awe replaces earlier, less intimidating Shucks and Awww plan.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:57 AM on January 28, 2003


War is often ridiculous and invariably expensive. And yet, we do have an obligation to stop Hussein from supplying our enemies, including Al-Qaeda, with whatever nastiness he's got brewing in the backyard. So? The only alternative solution to me seems cordon sanitaire. We isolate him from the world, absolutely and totally. Cobalt track at his border, total economic embargo, total communicative blackout. This is, of course, my opinion, uninformed, prejudiced by my poltiical, theological and cutlural precepts, and as such nearly worthless.

But this discussion, and the thousand threads like it that have preceded this one, continually and utterly fail to address the underlying conflict at the root of this: what is America's responsibility and obligation to its citizens and the world? The responsibility of the American government to its citizens is easily discovered - protection from enemies foreign and domestic. That point is the ultimate justification for the levying of taxes. Our obligations abroad are less easily definable (one point is clear, - they take a back seat to the obligations to American citizens) but in general fall into two schools of thought: minding our own business (which is, as they say, Business) and serving as World Policeman. If the former, then this isn't our fight, it's primarily Israel's (the primary recipient of Hussein's martial largesse, I would guess); we should broker peace as best we can (it's bad for business, long-term) but otherwise they have the duty (and right, in light of national soveriegnty) to figure it out for themselves. If it's the former, then we should get the rest of the world to SAY IT in definitive terms, and then we should exercise our policing forthrightly, definitively and without regard to the vagaries of world public opinion. In ALL cases, however, we should look toward the historical role of the USA: the promotion of individual liberty, secular participatory democracy, and the rule of law. Those are the principles on which this country was founded, and those are the principles upon which we should act on the world's stage.

Should we go to war with Iraq? I don't know. There are just wars. There are also unjust ones, and the latter typically outnumber the former. The primary obligation of the government is the protection of its citizenry from tyranny and oppression, and I don't think that is yet accomplished. What we should do, however, is without delay return our core American operating values to those from which the country was founded. Once that is accomplished, and used as a guideline for action on the world's stage, I think we will all feel a little more proud of the works of America.
posted by UncleFes at 7:22 AM on January 28, 2003


America starting a war in the mid-East is, at this time, about the stupidest thing that can be done. It will accomplish nothing but increased hatred of America, which inevitably leads to increased attacks on American soil

When one considers the religious beliefs of the guys running the show, it's difficult to not conclude that they're aiming for an armageddon.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:33 AM on January 28, 2003


This is why Hussein appears to be courting war with the United States,

um, the last time I checked it wasn't saddam who has been on the news almost nightly calling for "regime change."
posted by mcsweetie at 10:38 AM on January 28, 2003


... It will accomplish nothing but increased hatred of America, which inevitably leads to increased attacks on American soil

I want people with depraved beliefs, such as Islamofascist dictators to hate the United States. Because only deranged and/or delluded people would hate United States and the West. And the clearer this hate is, the easier it is to deal with, probably by killing the most violent of people (and hoping the rest can figure out that there leaders were selling them down shit creek: there's probably no other solution--although it would be nice if there was.



Great op-ed piece in today's NYPost:
AXIS OF WEASELS
is a wonderful turn of phrase.



In other words, fuck the French, who, as a nation, become more despicable by the day. I have no interest in living early, or mid-20th Century Europe over again.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2003


the last time I checked it wasn't saddam who has been on the news almost nightly calling for "regime change."

No. He calls for changes in regimes near him with bullets, scuds and gas, and in those far from him by providing cash, weapons, training and succor to terrorist organizations.

None of which is inherently a justification for war, or a justification for peace. Just beacuse he doesn't come out on CNN and say these things doesn't mean he isn't active in carrying them out. It's the carrying out, after all, that really counts when NatGeo goes to redrawing maps.
posted by UncleFes at 10:58 AM on January 28, 2003


No. He calls for changes in regimes near him with bullets, scuds and gas, and in those far from him by providing cash, weapons, training and succor to terrorist organizations.

who are we talking about again? I think you may have fallen for the same pundit trap that caught paris and hama. there's obviously the possibility that saddam is planning something rotten and there's also the possibility that he isn't. no one can possibly say for sure, but the bush administration has been calling for war since before inspectors were deployed and routinely lie to the american public about what they do and don't know.

I truly doubt that the hawks are kept up at night about the plight of islamic people, and the real enemies are right before our eyes but for some reason we don't go after them instead. before I risk my life as a drafted soldier or as a potential victim of an aggravated terrorist attack, I have to ask: vested interest?
posted by mcsweetie at 11:25 AM on January 28, 2003


no one can possibly say for sure, but the bush administration has been calling for war since before inspectors were deployed and routinely lie to the american public about what they do and don't know.

How ignorant. Since the Inspectors' report itself concludes that Iraq has not demonstrated that it has disarmed, President Bush's view on the the futility of the inspections is immaterial.

The inspectors are there merely as, well, inspectors: to be the eyes and ears of the UN so that Iraq can demonstrate that Iraq has disarmed/complied with UN mandates. The Inspectors are not there to disarm Iraq, or even to lead Iraq by the hand to anything. Iraq has not provided such proof. Therefor it gets to be dismantled by, hopefully a coalition of nations, but in any case, the United States.

Look in the mirror and admit to yourself that your view indicates that you don't trust the United States any more than Iraq, and now, you don't even trust the UN any more than Iraq (at least on the issue of dictator, trust the US a lot more than the UN; an organization whose human rights committee is now currently being led by Libya).
posted by ParisParamus at 11:48 AM on January 28, 2003


(it's one thing to distrust President bush on such issues as the environment, tax policy, etc., but when it comes to concluding how to best avoid Iraq giving Al Qaeda VX gas, or uranium or anthrax, I think you, I and George Bush and Dick Cheney (wherever he is these days...????) pretty much have a commonality of interest). Which is why such severe suspicions of the Adminstration is so depressing and reprehensible.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:21 PM on January 28, 2003


How ignorant.

hardly. it isn't even* a point of contention.

Since the Inspectors' report itself concludes that Iraq has not demonstrated that it has disarmed, President Bush's view on the the futility of the inspections is immaterial.

so we're only going to attack them if they're armed?

this is what I don't understand about the whole mess. the UN hasn't found any WMD yet (save some empty warheads, or in other words disarmed warheads), and yet the pro-war crowd is clamoring for saddam to disarm. disarm what exactly? perhaps they mean to hit saddam with a bomb that will remove his arms?

Look in the mirror and admit to yourself that your view indicates that you don't trust the United States any more than Iraq, and now, you don't even trust the UN any more than Iraq

fair enough! I don't trust bush or his cabinent.

but when it comes to concluding how to best avoid Iraq giving Al Qaeda VX gas, or uranium or anthrax, I think you, I and George Bush and Dick Cheney (wherever he is these days...????) pretty much have a commonality of interest).

I guess this is where we divide. I don't believe that the president's goal in Iraq is to make the world safer for democra... er, constitutional republics.

Which is why such severe suspicions of the Adminstration is so depressing and reprehensible.

I'd say the same about those that would let spin overcome their lives with fear and bloodlust. but then, we all know conservatism thrives in climates of paranoia.

* forgive the google cache link. the original site appears to be down. I guess it's pretty popular?
posted by mcsweetie at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2003


What's most depressing about all this is that the people who are going to be most affected by this war are going to be ordinary folk like you and me.

People who are living their lives as normal people, going to work, raising kids, trying to do their best for themselves, with the normal sorts of dreams and aspirations and fears.

Unfortunately, they happen to live in Iraq, and are going to be killed as if they don't count for anything at all.

In this great hating mindset of Get Your War On, we all forget that they are human, too, and they're not so different from us.

Recall the horror and shock and sick-to-your-stomach feelings as you watch the WTC towers collapse and thousands of innocent citizen's lives taken from them.

You should feel the same feelings when bombs are dropping in Baghdad.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2003


In this great hating mindset of Get Your War On, we all forget that they are human, too, and they're not so different from us.

Actually, no one, or very few people are forgetting this, and that you think so, is an example of the Left's arrogance (the arrogance of thinking that the "non-Left" isn't as humane and carring as the Left, when history strongly suggests it is at least as humane).

What you forget, or trivialize, or ignore, because it doesn't it into your view of the "non-Left" as hated, is the thousands who have been murdered by Hussein, and the thousands more who will be murdered if he is allowed to stay in power, to say nothing of the many more tortured, "just" imprisoned, psychologically damaged, and denied the opportunity to live a life of opportunity.

You also ignore or trivilialize the indefinitely-long economic deprivations which would be visited upon Iraqis were we, for example to "economic embargo" Iraq--even assuming such an embargo would work, which it could not--or, do you think it's "only fair" that Saddam be allow to develop WMDs, because, perhaps, we have'm, and Israel has'm too? No thanks to that kind of Soviet-American moral equivalence...

Recall the horror and shock and sick-to-your-stomach feelings as you watch the WTC towers collapse and thousands of innocent citizen's lives taken from them.

Actually, the WTC is small beans compared to the trauma inflicted by Saddam. What, 3,000 people died. That's probably the monthly or quarterly quota for Sadda, in much smaller country.

And should we wait until he has nuclear weapons, which he has obviously tried to obtain/build, so that we have to risk nuclear blackmail a la North Korea?


Any war will kill people, even a just war. So basically, you vote for condemning the Iraqi people to a maniac's dictatorial hell in perpetuity (given that the succession process in Iraq makes Syria's look like paradise).

Taking out Saddam Hussein will be putting out a small fire, before it engulfs an entire forrest.

So basically, one of things taking out Saddam Hussein will be a humanitarian act. Can you deal with that? Or must you fall back on the cheap devices of calling everyone in favor of a war a hawk? How utterly vapid.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:03 PM on January 28, 2003


That lame "if you're against a war, you're in favor of Saddam Hussein" is a tired trick of The Right.

Where were these right-wingers, their hearts rending for the people of Iraq when Bush I left the Kurds to be slaughtered, or when Dick Cheney was making deals to do business with Saddam's regime as CEO of Halliburton?

Look, there are many arguments for taking out Saddam - but the "We, Americans, are such great humanitarians" is the lamest one of them all. It's like the recasting of the (warranted) attack on Afghanistan as "liberation from the Taliban" when Al Qaeda is and always has been the true goal. The death of the Taliban is a side effect. If we cared so much about the Afghan people, we would have been there way before 9.11 - let's not try and make ourselves into selfless saints when we aren't.

Iraq's weapons of mass destruction should be destroyed, but spinning this into "we want to liberate the Iraqi people" is lame, lame, lame.
posted by owillis at 2:10 PM on January 28, 2003


disarm what exactly? perhaps they mean to hit saddam with a bomb that will remove his arms?

Actually, it's an issue of burden of proof, given that the UN inspectors (as well as defectors) determined that Iraq had thousands of pounds of biological and chemical weapons, and infrastructure for nuclear ones. It's not as if "time zero" was last year. Time zero was some time in the 1980's, or perhaps the 1990's.

So either they still have these weapons and are hiding them, or gave all or some of them to groups outside the country, or other governments (Syria?).

The point is, there's already strong evidence of their "guilt"; and they haven't shown that theve' changed matters.

No one is claiming that when the US invades Iraq, it will be primarily for humanitarian reasons: that's a strawman argument. But it's certainly one factor which has to be put on the scale in making the decision to go.

The reason why you can trust the administration on this one is that were their actions not based on something very solid (probably something soon to be revealed), they' wouldn't risk it. At the very least, they would put off the War until after the 2004 elections. Too many American dead and/or a President inappropriately focused on a War, and putting Al Qaeda on the profile back-burner, would be election suicide (as it would for Tony Blair).
posted by ParisParamus at 2:24 PM on January 28, 2003


So either they still have these weapons and are hiding them, or gave all or some of them to groups outside the country, or other governments (Syria?).

So either they have them, which is illegal and unacceptable, or they don't know where they are, which is arguably worse.



Basically, there's no intermediate state between having WMDs, and having used them; we will only know they're about be be used...ONCE they've been used. If view of this reality, intentions and good faith, and past acts count for a hell of a lot. Thus the IMPERATIVE to take out Saddam NOW--if not in 1998; he's just too dangerous a risk. And that should go for any country with a comparable ability+past performance+ present articulated desire to kill.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:26 PM on January 28, 2003


I guess you'll be taking out your own highest officials, then, Paris. Ability + PP + PADK, after all.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2003


I guess you'll be taking out your own highest officials, then, Paris.

Tautologically, we're on our own side, so no, this is not strictly necessary.
posted by kindall at 5:56 PM on January 28, 2003


What, 3,000 people died. That's probably the monthly or quarterly quota for Sadda, in much smaller country.

um, could I see a source for that 3,000 dead/month figure?

The reason why you can trust the administration on this one is that were their actions not based on something very solid (probably something soon to be revealed), they' wouldn't risk it.

it'll take more than that to convince me.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:29 PM on January 28, 2003


um, could I see a source for that 3,000 dead/month figure?. No because he's a dictator, and they don't keep statistics. However, once the liberation begins, people may start talking.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:25 PM on January 28, 2003


Ah. Well, kindall, I guess us Canucks will have to cross the border and kick ass. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:59 PM on January 28, 2003


No because he's a dictator, and they don't keep statistics. However, once the liberation begins, people may start talking.

or in other words, you made the figure up. why for?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:43 PM on January 28, 2003


I hear Saddam Hussein kicks puppies as well. And Jacques Chirac looked at us funny.
posted by owillis at 9:11 PM on January 28, 2003


What I think it really boils down to is that the risk is TOO GREAT to NOT do something. Look, if he has some amount of biological weapons, or enough enriched uranium to make some seriously dangerous dirty bombs, and if he does in fact have ties, or is developing ties with Al Qaeda et. al, then it is too dangerous to let this situation be. Millions of lives are at stake.

I don't know. I'm not in military intelligence. And I'm willing to bet that most of the people on this thread aren't either. But if we do in fact have hard evidence both that a) he has WMDs, and b) that he has ties to people outside his country who could deliver them here, then action is called for.

Is this a just war? I don't know. If he does in fact have WMD, then yes, I would say so. If not, then it gets much hazier for me.

But if he does have WMDs, and thus represents a threat to the lives of millions around the globe, then I would hope that my government, with or without the help of other governments, would do something about it.

Do I suspect the Bush Administration of dark or otherwise compromised motives, like political advantage or a hold on the global oil production? Perhaps. Does that mean that we shouldn't remove a clear and present danger? I don't think so. I think it might be a case of the wrong person doing the right job for perhap a mixture of right and wrong reasons. At least, that's the way I see the situation lately.

You cannot stop a lying murderer by holding peace rallies. I would love to live in a world where you could. But you can't. Some madmen can only be stopped with bullets.
posted by geekhorde at 2:49 AM on January 29, 2003


I think it might be a case of the wrong person doing the right job for perhap a mixture of right and wrong reasons.

Well put.

No one will ever know the true mix of motivations of President Bush and his cabinet. But that's true of any politician; any man, actually. All you can go with is weighing one man's/group of man's claimed motivations and objective actions over another's, and hope for the best. Which is why it's so unfathomable that certain people (not all, but certain) are so adamant, so sure that taking Saddam out is the wrong thing.


Although it is not, even if it was primarily about oil, which runs the world, it would be worth considering taking out Saddam. No oil, and civilization would disappear in about 1 week. The anti-war protesters wouldn't have been able to get to their protests. Everything, even everything humanitarian, would come to a stop.

But in any case, add to oil the WMD issue, add in Iraq's history of internal and external death, torture, rape, war, violation of UN resolutions, suicide bomber bounties and likely links to Al Qaeda (at the very least in the form of refuge, and possibly training), and now the obvious fact that Iraq will never voluntarily disarm. Add in, or "on" the icing" that eliminating Iraq will likely foment radical change in the surrounding countries, and probably reduce to a trickle "Arafatistan," and it's close to being a slam-dunk. It's still very daring, very grand on one level, but very obvious and necessary on another.

Let's just hope that it's fast and quick.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:41 AM on January 29, 2003


He's got the fever for the oil.... Yeah, sure. In any case, it's better than fever for weapons of mass destruction. What a moral attrocity that Saddam Hussein is still in power.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:52 PM on January 29, 2003


ParisParamus - Yeah, I know. Then there's that North Korea place..........

"Everybody says I seek war, but I must be conscious of my responsibilities. The menace to our country is such that it cannot be ignored. There is ample proof of the aims of our enemy, and I thank God Almighty for giving me the strength and the knowledge to do what must be done." - some famous guy said this one, I just can't seem to rcall his name...

"When there is a regime change in Iraq, you could add three million to five million barrels [per day] of production to world supply," he said. "The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy." - Larry Lindsey

"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."
George W. Bush--Beaverton, Ore., Sep. 25, 2000

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." —George W. Bush, July 27, 2001

"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you."-Benjamin Franklin
posted by troutfishing at 3:00 PM on January 29, 2003


And in any case,

Don't you think that "Sturm und Drang" had a nicer ring to it than "Shock and Awe"?
posted by troutfishing at 3:03 PM on January 29, 2003


troutfishing: your logic flounders.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:00 PM on January 29, 2003


Paris, I'm still waiting to hear why you made that figure up. but I can tell it isn't coming so I'll make my point anyhow.

if you would be willing to burp up a figure just to get some face in a debate which, in addition to war iraq, doesn't benefit you in any way, what lengths do you suppose our administration would go to in order to sell a war that could benefit them greatly both financially and politically?

and now for your required reading:

Addicted to War by Joel Andreas (why we want war)

Blinded By The Right by David Brock (how we'll be tricked into wanting it)
posted by mcsweetie at 9:02 AM on January 30, 2003


ParisParamus: here's your

LIBERAL BOILERPLATE REPLY

I don't really see how a war in Iraq will amount to anything substantially different from the original European (and later American) exercises of military, political and economic power to grab Mideast oil fields in the earlier part of the 20th Century......

Except there's this monstrous Saddam guy who got these alleged weapons of mass destruction from the US (chemical weapons and biological agents) back when he was "our guy" fighting the Iranians. We didn't mind his use of chemical weapons then.....

Now he's a monster...Just like that Kim Jong Il, with hundreds of thousands or millions of North Koreans starving? No oil in North Korea, though, and that North Korean army...they're mean! They'll chew off a leg at least, lay waste to Seoul....GET Saddam! GET Saddam!

You sound cranky - I'm worried your blood sugar is low - why don't you have a snack? - rabbit, frozen snails, whatever!
posted by troutfishing at 6:49 AM on January 31, 2003


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