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Powell's address to the UN
February 5, 2003 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Powell's address to the UN. In a direct, long and rich presentation, Colin Powell has laid the cards on the table, and presented what's likely to be our most explicit case for war. While it's difficult to separate the larger issue of War on Iraq from just this presentation, I'm interested in other takes on Powell's speech. Anything substantially new? Truly irrefutable? Strong enough to justify immediate action? Does this have more heft coming from Powell (considering he's more trusted than Bush on this issue), or is he acting as a mouthpiece? Or, to be succinct, did Colin change anyone's mind? At the very least, he satisfied my need to know more about why our administration is acting so urgently.
posted by kokogiak (227 comments total)

 
Oh - I see now this issue was previously semi-discussed in this deleted thread. Hopefully this isn't a double-post.
posted by kokogiak at 10:48 AM on February 5, 2003


Based on the early reports of Powell's speech, the evidence looks to be enough to constitute a material breach or whatever would be necessary to induce the UN to take military action against Iraq.

I have two concerns: one is that I am inherantly mistrustful of the validity of the evidence. Given what is riding on this war reputationally for this administration, and the fact that they like to play fast and loose with truth, half-truth, denial, no comment and repeat-a-factual-lie-until-the-media-drones-report-it-as-true (the last one being effective because both Bush and the media are stupid and Rove is smart), I have no problem being skeptical of the truth of what was presented today. Further, Rummy has gone to the trouble of creating a department (or some other beurocracy) to 'get' evidence of Iraqi links to al-Queda because he felt the CIA "didn't want to find such information" (like the CIA was ever hesitant about snooping or providing justifications for US unilateral actions; sorry for the lack of source to back that up; take it as you will). I am also not in a position to judge the severity of the allegations in the greater context of the size of their supposed arsenal.

My second concern is North Korea. I am truly surprised that the Bushie foreign policy heavies could not have seen this coming and have effectively let us get caught with our pants down. I think they are a much greater threat, and unilateral precision military action (with some talk with South Korea) *might* even be justified. Hell, I'd even want to find a way to destroy the India and Pakistan nukes too. I don't trust them either: they're too poor not to fuck up non-proliferation somehow.

My US$0.02
posted by cleetus at 10:50 AM on February 5, 2003


I felt that Powell's speech certainly made a case for Iraq not following the UN resolutions, as well as quite possibly having WMD's. Was the case made for a preemptive strike? no...
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:51 AM on February 5, 2003


I, for one, thought it was a very compelling presentaiton. It does present some things that we haven't heard or seen before. Some of it is open to interpretation (some of the satellite photos, for example), but other bits are really quite damning any way you look at them (the intercepts).

Of course, were Hussein to broadcast himself on Iraqi television holding a vial labelled "Grade A Iraqi Anthrax", it wouldn't change some peoples minds, and I expect a torent of paranoia and nay-saying to follow on in this thread shortly.

My only hope is that some of the more rationally minded people who have been asking for "more evidence" have been satisfied to some degree.
posted by jammer at 10:52 AM on February 5, 2003


I'd argue this isn't a double post. That post was objected to on 2 main reasons:

1. The front section was astoundingly agenda based

2. People were talking when they didn't even know what Powell was going to say

I don't like to see mefi get too political, but I'd say this is a valid post, unlike the deleted one.
posted by unreason at 10:52 AM on February 5, 2003


BrodieShadeTreepreemptive about it.
posted by jammer at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2003


Ungh... that was mangled somehow after my preview.

What I was saying was:

How about a case made for a punitive military action, because Iraq is, and has been for 11 years, in direct violation of a ceasefire agreement, and shows no intention of bringing themselves in compliance?
posted by jammer at 10:55 AM on February 5, 2003


The Bush Administration was wise to send Powell, the coolest head of the bunch, as the messenger. But it was exceptionally unwise to take a unilateral stance in front of a body of foreign nations. The evidence presented here seems prima facie and the presentation is more accusatory than diplomatic. If the United States wishes to make a case against Iraq and generate the support of the international community, then it has the obligation to allow a third party to collect evidence or mediate between the two parties at issue. I'm with Dominique de Villepin. Step up the inspections and encourage Iraq to comply with authorities. If we're going to go to war, then it seems to me that such a decision should be handled with greater alacrity.
posted by ed at 10:56 AM on February 5, 2003


Jammer, that's probably the crux of the vague, unsettling language of 1441 - "serious consequences". That really leaves the door wide open.
posted by kokogiak at 10:57 AM on February 5, 2003


Hmm... only seeing the extracts that the BBC news is playing, but the vox pop they are also playing share my scepticism. Basic problem (and one of the ironies of a power that flouts its near-omniscience): if the intelligence was there, why has this not been shared with the inspectors to convert it into tangible material evidence?

This may yet backfire on the US govt in terms of world opinion - if that was an issue for them, of course...

Also thought the anthrax sleight of hand was misjudged - is the (imaginary) vial Powell was waving around not still most likely thought to come from a domestic source? Some sneaky linkages being made there. Not in itself damning either way, but unfortunately undermining of the whole.
posted by klaatu at 11:00 AM on February 5, 2003


I think we all know what "serious consequences" means...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:01 AM on February 5, 2003


For those that missed the speech and don't want to sift through it to read the asserted "evidence," here's a quick run-down from the AP:

In his presentation, Powell:

-Asserted that Iraq "bulldozed and graded to conceal chemical weapons evidence" at the Al Musayyib chemical complex in 2002 and had a series of cargo vehicles and a decontamination vehicle moving around at the site. Powell said that was corroborated by a human source.

- Said Iraq is working on developing missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers - about 620 miles - or more, putting Russia and other nations beyond Iraq's immediate neighbors in potential danger.

-Played audio tapes of what Powell said were intercepted phone conversations between Iraqi military officers. One was a purported discussion about hiding prohibited vehicles from weapons inspectors. Another dealt with removing a reference to nerve agents from written instructions.

-Cited informants as saying that Iraqis are dispersing rockets armed with biological weapons in western Iraq.

-Presented declassified satellite pictures that he said showed 15 munitions bunkers. Powell said four of them had active chemical munitions inside.

-Said Iraqi informants claim that Iraq has 18 trucks that it uses as mobile biological weapons labs.

No smoking gun, of course. Apparently, Clear Channel communications and any photoshop hack have the means to cook this stuff up. An question is for those of us that previously opposed the war is: if this evidence is accurate, does that change your dovish stance?
posted by Pinwheel at 11:06 AM on February 5, 2003


So Saddam *is* a real threat to the safety of a significant number of innocents. So, the tree-hugger hippies were wrong!? Oh man, my whole world is crashing down.
posted by paddy at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2003


At least one open issue is now resolved: We have no
evidence of any link between the government of Iraq and
the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. If the US could have made the case for a connection, Powell would have done so. But he did not.

Another other striking result of Powell's presentation is, we appear to have pretty much burned all our intelligence
sources. (At this point I suppose we have nothing much left
to do but get on with the damn war.)
posted by jellybuzz at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2003


Strong enough to justify immediate action?

See, to me that's not the question. The UN passed resolution 1441 to give Iraq one last chance to prove that it was disarming. Any material breach of that resolution would result in "serious consequences" (and kokogiac, semantics aside, I think it was perfectly clear when 1441 was passed what "serious consequences" meant. Of course I fully expect France, Germany and others to argue -- ex post facto -- that they thought it meant "permanent inspections").

So the question isn't really whether the evidence is strong enough to support immediate action, but whether the UN is prepared to carry through on its threat. I would submit that if no action is taken the UN will irreperably damage its legitimacy and effectiveness.

In other words, if the UN didn't want military action, it should never have passed 1441 in its current form. But the fact remains that it did pass, and the UN did promise "serious consequences" in the event of amaterial breach. Powell proved a material breach. What are the "serious consequences"? What happens now?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:07 AM on February 5, 2003


...encourage Iraq to comply with authorities

I just love comments like these.
posted by eas98 at 11:09 AM on February 5, 2003


United Nations meet League of Nations
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:10 AM on February 5, 2003


CNN2 was playing the press conference given by targetoil last night (can't find a link to it), and brought up some pretty salient points. When asked if clear evidence given by Powell would moderate his stance at all, he said something to the effect of: No, because we already know he has the means to create weapons of mass destruction since we sold him those means when we were allies. What we don't know is whether he has the delivery capability or the desire to use them. He also pointed out that if he had either of these, and was a danger to bordering countries, Isreal or Turkey would have already invaded in the ten years since the first Gulf war because they'd be the ones in danger.

The president of Target Oil also pointed out that no attempt has been made to extradite Hussein as a war criminal a la pinochet.

I'll keep looking for a transcript.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:12 AM on February 5, 2003


Personally I would love to see some evidence presented. Some pictures of buildings, a tape of two guys talking, and numerous "our spies tell us" claims are not evidence, they are accusations.

I do have a "dovish stance", and if there is actually evidence presented to back up these accusations I would probably change my mind. But who are we fooling here? We all know it's a sham. If there were actual evidence we'd be carpet-bombing their whole fucking country by now.
posted by zekinskia at 11:13 AM on February 5, 2003


I'm with klaatu -- by holding onto this intelligence and withholding for the purposes of arguing for a war, the US has violated Paragraph 10 of Resolution 1441, which does call for all Member States to provide full support of UNMOVIC and provide any information related to Iraqi's disarmament program.

If US is so strident about demanding Iraqi cooperation with the UN, it'd be nice if the US, itself, would cooperate as well.
posted by bl1nk at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2003


From the speech:

Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq.

I'm surprised that the strongest evidence Powell gave for an Al Quaida presence in Iraq is in the Kurdish area. If this is the best example, it makes the notion of an Saddam Hussein-Al Quaida connection seem even less likely.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2003


Regarding the Iraq and al Qaida, a British intelligence report leaked today disputes a connection between them.

"There are no current links between the Iraqi regime and the al-Qaeda network, according to an official British intelligence report seen by BBC News.

"The classified document, written by defence intelligence staff three weeks ago, says there has been contact between the two in the past.

"But it assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies."


It would be interesting to compare the British report with Powell's information on Zarqawi, but I don't think the BBC has posted the actual report.
posted by homunculus at 11:21 AM on February 5, 2003


when do we get to start the killing? huh? huh? are we there yet? are we there yet?
posted by quonsar at 11:21 AM on February 5, 2003


Neil Pollack thinks we should go to war: this weekend, if possible.

Quoth Pollack:

"10:51 AM

PICTURE 1: UN Resolution 4566 distinctly prohibits more than three red squares in any given satellite picture. This photo clearly contains four red squares. The same resolution also prohibits trucks from gathering around buildings. The Iraqis are clearly in violation of the truck-gathering prohibition. I have a modest erection.

10:54 AM

PICTURE 3: The buildings appear to have roofs, in direct violation of UN Resolution 5903, which prohibits new roof construction on monitored sites. Why would the Iraqis build these roofs, or is it rooves? Also, in the lower-left hand corner of the screen, you can clearly see a gun. And it is smoking.

10:58 AM

At this point, anyone who doesn't want to bomb those shifty Arabs is obviously a Fifth Column traitor. Where are you now, Frenchie? No sources are more reliable than human sources. A free country does NOT arrest people without charges. Mmm. I am so hard right now.

11:03 AM

If even ONE teaspoonful of anthrax exists in Iraq, then it must be destroyed through a massive deployment of 150,000 troops. Why is Saddam Hussein hiding his teaspoons? It's time to stop his travelling poisonous medicine show on wheels. Preferably tomorrow, because I have plans this weekend. "

Here are the slides, so that you can see the proof-positive red sqaures. They have illustrations of WMD-hauling trucks! The illustrations prove it, if nothing else -- how could White House graphic designers draw them if they weren't real? I bet the Iraqis have stolen the FLAG Mobile Unit! The evidence is damning. What are we waiting for?
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:24 AM on February 5, 2003


What zekinskia said.
posted by crunchland at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2003


pardonyou: The text of UN Resolution 1441 calls for UNMOVIC and the IAEA to be the authorities that Iraq must answer to, not the United States government. In fact, if "serious consequences" occur after this speech, then the United States may very well be in breach.

UN Resolution 1441, Section 10 states: "Requests all Member States to give full support to UNMOVIC and the IAEA in the discharge of their mandates, including by providing any information related to prohibited programmes or other aspects of their mandates, including on Iraqi attempts since 1998 to acquire prohibited items, and by recommending sites to be inspected, persons to be interviewed, conditions of such interviews, and data to be collected, the results of which shall be reported to the Council by UNMOVIC and the IAEA;"

To be clear, the United States, as a Member State, is providing evidence, albeit well after the inspections, that suggest that Iraq is in violation of Resolution 1441. But it doesn't come from the UN branches that make the final call.
posted by ed at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2003


quonsar, if you're as opposed to the war as you make yourself out to be, you should just STFU. You're making people who have serious objections look like fools right there along with you.

Of course, this is assuming that these debates actually change any opinions, which I think we all know by now is not the case...
posted by jammer at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2003


Meanwhile, "a senior Bush administration official warned today that North Korea, if allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods, could sell some of that fissile material to terrorists and other enemies of the United States who are seeking to build nuclear weapons."
posted by homunculus at 11:26 AM on February 5, 2003


An [sic] question is for those of us that previously opposed the war is: if this evidence is accurate, does that change your dovish stance?

In my case, yes. The UN voted for "Serious Consequences" if he did not comply. He hasn't. There was no question in anyone's mind what they were voting for back then, it meant war. They didn't just sit down and think, "oh we can get the US to shut up if we pass this resolution." They thought out and carefully worded a resolution that clearly laid out war if Saddam failed to comply. All "no blood for oil" bull shit aside, what reason does Powell or even Bush have for potentially murdering thousands of people over a lie told to the UN? Powell also said that he had much more information which he was not at liberty to share, its pretty clear though from what he did share, that Saddam has knowingly violated the resolution calling for war. As much as I may hate myself in the morning, Steve@L is right, this is when we separate the UN and the League of Nations. The L o'N did nothing but resolve to say Hitler was a bad man and gave him Austria and Czechoslovakia and had "Peace in their time" for about 15 minutes, the UN goes to war when needed in Korea, Vietnam, Kosavo, Somalia or even in Iraq. He violated the resolution, let him face the "serious consequences."
posted by Pollomacho at 11:27 AM on February 5, 2003


quonsar, if you're as opposed to the war as you make yourself out to be, you should just STFU.

Hey, let's not get ugly here, jammer. If we're going to pull off this discussion civilly, we all need to take a few deep breaths before making personally directed comments like that.
posted by Pinwheel at 11:30 AM on February 5, 2003


"...tens upon tens upon tens upon thousands of teaspoons of anthrax." It's like ten thousand spoons, when all you need is a smoking gun.

For your deliberation, here's the convicting part of the telephone transcripts:

Arab 1: What?
Arab 2: What?
Arab 1: What?
Arab 2: Yeah, yeah.
Arab 1: Yeah.
Arab 2: Yeah.

/literal repost
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:30 AM on February 5, 2003


We have no evidence of any link between the government of Iraq and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. If the US could have made the case for a connection, Powell would have done so. But he did not.

That's not what this conflict is about.
posted by Witty at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2003


pinwheel: Hey, let's not get ugly here, jammer. If we're going to pull off this discussion civilly, we all need to take a few deep breaths before making personally directed comments like that.

You're right of course... that was unfair. I was just annoyed to see someone shitting on what had otherwise been a relatively reasonable discussion. Mea maxima culpa.
posted by jammer at 11:34 AM on February 5, 2003


The Franch foreign minister just maintained his opposition to the war and suggested that we triple our inspection forces.

Seriously, though. It's not like he's going to be firing these weapons off in the next 2 months. Why not use our intelligence to help the inspection teams come up with a smoking gun?

Then again, why does Saddam deserve more time? Does anyone, I mean anyone really still doubt that he's producing bio and chemical weapons? If that's the case, maybe we should remove him. I would just hate to do it without support from the U.N. The US's newly donned "black hat" will only get darker from here on out.

I don't know. I've been put on the fence.
posted by Pinwheel at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2003


I'm amazed at how vitriolic the opposition to the US is among lots of the leftish folks. I get the feeling that they don't give a squat about Iraq one way or the other (witness their disregard for the French actions in the Ivory Coast) -- they just want to see the big bad ol' US of A brought to heel.

To all the anti-war folks: what do you suggest, if war is not your preference?

Containment of Iraqi weapons is clearly failing, and Saddam will move heaven and earth to get his mitts on a nuclear weapon as soon as he can. It's also pretty clear that he already has both chemical and biological weapons stocks (in direct contravention of the peace accords signed after Gulf War I, I might add). He has shown a tendency in the past to act irrationally, to invade his neighbors, and generally to throw his weight around. He has turned his country into a charnel house, a never-ending nightmare of a police state.

Given all those facts, your response is more inspections? What exactly makes you think that would work, given that it completely failed several times over the last decade? And if not inspections, then what? Harsh language?

Like it or not, war may be our only way to remove this threat. If the UN can't do it, the US and her allies will do it without them.
posted by mrmanley at 11:38 AM on February 5, 2003


Here are the slides, so that you can see the proof-positive red squares.

Come on man, those photographs are from what we now know through declassified materials was an outdated resolution for spy photos in the 1960's. They've got cameras with resolution tight enough to read the side of the boxes being loaded onto the trucks that say "100 pounds, pure grade A camel pox, suitable for suitcase bomb on the BART train" What reason does Powell have to bald faced lie to the friggin' UN? Do you really think that the US government is that full of maniacal murderers? Look, I'm the last guy to trust the President's word, but they just don't bring pictures into the Security Council and make accusations like this unless there is some foundation. Hell, now that things have been declassified, turns out Stevenson's photos were telling the truth that Nukes were lined up in Cuba and that the Rosenbergs were actually spies. The President of the US does not just kill people because he feels like it, stop reading UFO books and come to reality!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:39 AM on February 5, 2003


To supplement what Pinwheel posted, here's a nice summary of the key points of the Powell speech, broken down by topic, courtesy of BBC news.
posted by pitchblende at 11:40 AM on February 5, 2003


Can someone help me with the timing of when the Bush Administration announced that they would send Powell to the UN? From the transcript, it appears that the U.S. may have announced the UN visit AFTER intercepting the "forbidden ammo" phone call.
posted by machaus at 11:40 AM on February 5, 2003


If the UN can't do it, the US and her allies will do it without them.

We all know that. Does repeating it over and over somehow make it more right?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:41 AM on February 5, 2003


The UN visit was announced (publicly, anyway) at the State of the Union address on the 28th. What timing information are you inferring from the transcript, machaus?
posted by jammer at 11:42 AM on February 5, 2003


I'm kind of wondering here - if this DOESN'T constitute evidence of a material breach, what would? I frankly didn't expect as much as was shown, due to the sensitivity of the intel sources.

Saddam's playing a shell game, and we're chasing the pea. When are we going to wise up?

Pinwheel: reports are that the inspection teams are listened to pretty much at all times, their rooms are bugged, and their vehicles are bugged. They even talk about intel they get, and the site is sanitized before they can get there.

Hate to say it, but I don't think more time's gonna help.

J.
posted by JB71 at 11:42 AM on February 5, 2003


This is silly. We have tape recordings of Iraqis talking about hiding stuff. We have satellite pictures of them doing it. We would have better pictures from reconnaissance planes, but we don't, because the Iraqis won't allow fly overs! The point of the inspections was to find out if Iraq had WMD's. They obviously do, since they're hiding them, and talking about hiding them! They obviously don't intend to get rid of these weapons, or they would've done it sometime in the past 12 years that we told them to. According to the last resolution, this kind of behavior's supposed to trigger "Serious Consequences". Now's the time to find out if they meant it, or if the UN's as much of a laughing stock now as the League of Nations used to be.
posted by unreason at 11:43 AM on February 5, 2003


As far as the allegations of the al Qaeda-run chemical weapons facility in Iraq, wouldn't the US have bombed that already if we really believe that such a thing exists? We are openly at war with al Qaeda and if they were truly running a chemical weapons facility in Iraq and we had proof, there wouldn't be a chemical weapons facility in Iraq today.

As for the question in the initial post, I don't trust Powell as much as I used to. Prior to today, I saw his constant press leaks about other White House officials as a sign that he wanted to secure his position in the White House for the good of the country. Now I see his constant press leaks about other White House officials as a sign that he wants to secure his position in the White House for the good of his own career.

By the way, I'm not necessarily either pro-war or anti-war; I'm an energy economist.
posted by crazy finger at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2003


What timing information are you inferring from the transcript, machaus?

Powell said that the phone call was intercepted on the 30th. That means that the Bush Admin on the 28th, was planning on heading to the UN with even less evidence than it presented today. Just an interesting tidbit, that's all. I still can't understand why this briefing wasn't done months ago.
posted by machaus at 11:46 AM on February 5, 2003


Look, I'm the last guy to trust the President's word, but they just don't bring pictures into the Security Council and make accusations like this unless there is some foundation.

Pardon me; I have this annoying little interest in proof; the burden of proof is on Powell, and he showed up to the meeting with fuzzy photos and fanciful drawings.
It is important that there be proof. If there is proof, there is no reason for it to be classified.

One A. Lincoln, on the subject of war, and Presidents:

"But to return to your position. Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him,--"I see no probability of the British invading us"; but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."

The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood."

Why indeed should the powers that be want to decieve us? I do not know. Why have the done so in the past? Lincoln believed it happened all the time: " kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object"

Why do they do this? I cannot say. But come on: we all know that they do.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:47 AM on February 5, 2003


reports are that the inspection teams are listened to pretty much at all times, their rooms are bugged, and their vehicles are bugged. They even talk about intel they get, and the site is sanitized before they can get there.


Every single time? With all the technology we possess, why isn't it possible just once to get intel to the inspectors, and get the inspectors to the site before it's sanitized?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:48 AM on February 5, 2003


meanwhile the bush administration pretends nothing is going on, on the korean peninsula
posted by specialk420 at 11:49 AM on February 5, 2003


(Sorta off topic): In regards to the argument that should the UN fail to act against Iraq it will irreperably harm its credibility: Gee, y'know, after this I wasn't aware the UN had any credibility left.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:49 AM on February 5, 2003


I still can't understand why this briefing wasn't done months ago.

Perhaps to prevent the enormous expense of the invasion from being included in Bush's submitted budget? Now that our hand has been tipped, we'll be at war within weeks.
posted by Pinwheel at 11:50 AM on February 5, 2003


The point of the inspections was to find out if Iraq had WMD's. They obviously do, since they're hiding them, and talking about hiding them!

That's brilliant:

The Iraqis have weapons.
How do we know?
Because they're hiding them!

So lack of proof now = proof.

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:51 AM on February 5, 2003


eustacescrubb: Sometimes proof needs to remain classified because YOU don't need to know how we got it. By exposing certain evidence, you also expose how that proof was obtained, putting people lives at risk.
posted by Witty at 11:52 AM on February 5, 2003


They didn't just sit down and think, "oh we can get the US to shut up if we pass this resolution."

They didn't? I'm not so sure. Maybe they were giving the peace movement more time to reorganise.

It sure looks like that Mr Bush (and a few friends and fans) and Mr Blair (hardly any friends and fans) want this war badly. The rest of the entire world population doesn't seem interested at all. Still don't after Powell's speech.

I get the feeling that they don't give a squat about Iraq one way or the other

I think you just hit the nail on its head. Saddam is not a threat to the majority of the world, so why bother.
posted by ginz at 11:55 AM on February 5, 2003


//Sometimes proof needs to remain classified because YOU don't need to know how we got it. By exposing certain evidence, you also expose how that proof was obtained, putting people lives at risk.//

Of course. Believing noproof if proof is patriotic.

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength
Noproof if Proof
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:56 AM on February 5, 2003


eustacescrubb: So lack of proof now = proof.

No. This is a common argument against taking action, but it is mistaken. By the original terms of the cease-fire, the Iraqis were required to reveal and destroy all their banned weapons. What the UN is saying is not, "Proove you don't have weapons", which, of course, is impossible, but "Proove you destroyed them", which is what was supposed to have been done in the first place.

Of course, no proof is forthcoming.

Your comment is duplicitous anyway, though. Stating that you wish to hide something is a de facto admission that you do, indeed, have it -- why would you need to hide it if you didn't? The intercepts related to "hiding" things show that not only are the Iraqis not willing to cooperate in the inspections process, but that they do actually have things they know they shouldn't -- if they can legally have them, why hid them from inspectors?
posted by jammer at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2003


I think that the evidence (both in this speech and from the UN Inspectors) is fairly clear on two things:

(1) The Iraqi government is engaged in a plan systematic deception, if not outright lying. About exactly what and how much, we do not know.

(2) Terrorist cells exist within Iraq that may have access to dangerous techonology. How closely they are tied to the Iraqi government, we do not know.

Given this information, it would seem that the most logical solution would be one that would keep whatever is being lied about in (1) out of the hands of the people in (2).

However, it is not clear that a war would do this because

(3) It is difficult to keep track of what weapons existed before a war, how many were destroyed during the war, how many left the country during the war for points unknown, and how many remain hidden.

This being said, I'm not sure what solution would allow the UN to account for any and all weapons and to insure that they don't fall intot he wrong hands.
posted by iceberg273 at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2003


good point pinwheel. clinton left some little stains in the oval house... these people are sliming the entire whitehouse.
posted by specialk420 at 11:57 AM on February 5, 2003


We're talking about proof YOU didn't get to see... and never will. Twist my words if you must.
posted by Witty at 11:59 AM on February 5, 2003


eustacescrubb: We're talking about proof YOU didn't get to see... and never will. Twist my words if you must.
posted by Witty at 11:59 AM on February 5, 2003


By exposing certain evidence, you also expose how that proof was obtained, putting people lives at risk.

You know what else puts people's lives at risk? War. In fact, I'd say starting a war puts a whole lot more lives at risk than "exposing certain evidence." Maybe we shouldn't do that either.
posted by Silune at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2003


Your comment is duplicitous anyway, though. Stating that you wish to hide something is a de facto admission that you do, indeed, have it -- why would you need to hide it if you didn't? The intercepts related to "hiding" things show that not only are the Iraqis not willing to cooperate in the inspections process, but that they do actually have things they know they shouldn't -- if they can legally have them, why hid them from inspectors?

Who knows? Perhaps they have cool stuff they don't want Saddam to know they have? Perhaps the stuff they have is illegal, but not with regard to weapons of mass destruction? Perhaps they're not talking about the U.N. inspectors? Perhaps the people speaking aren't even Iraqi.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2003


I fail to see how I'm using circular logic. There are recordings of Iraqis talking about hiding vehicles and weapons. There are pictures of them moving the stuff away from sites just before the UN gets there. How does this not show that there are WMD's there? Admit it. You don't approve of the war, whether there are WMDs there or not. That's nothing to be ashamed of, it's a valid point of view. (albeit not mine) But it's time to stop pretending that we don't know what Iraq's got.
posted by unreason at 12:02 PM on February 5, 2003


Good one Silune. Thanks for opening my eyes to the truth.
posted by Witty at 12:04 PM on February 5, 2003


Witty- you're talking about putting people's lives at risk by showing the proof, what about the American servicemen's lives that are at risk from this war? I just had a buddy receive his orders yesterday: Kuwait.

Damn Silune, you beat me to it.
posted by crazy finger at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2003


We're talking about proof YOU didn't get to see... and never will. Twist my words if you must.

Witty:

We're talking about the fact that I am being asked to believe Mr. Powell in the face of no evidence. You are suggesting that I should believe him, and that my request for convincing proof is dangerous because spies might get killed.
In short, you're suggesting that my desire to know the truth is unpatriotic.

This is a democracy. I inherently mistrust anyone who "classifies" information.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2003


Armitage Shanks:

Gotta go, but take a look at this from the Pakistan Daily Times.

Some of the methods said to be used are hardly surprising for an experienced police state such as Iraq. Surveillance equipment has been installed in all the hotels and offices used by the UN, while all phone calls are said to be tapped.

When the teams leave for their inspections, their drivers are intelligence agents and security officers stationed by roadsides give notification about where the motorcades are heading. In addition to their picture of Saddam as willing to resort to anything to outwit the UN, the British and Americans are using the confessions of senior Al Qaeda figures to show the Iraqi regime’s willingness to sponsor terrorism.


It's a mess. Kinda hard to keep where you're going a secret when the drivers are Iraqi agents...

JB
posted by JB71 at 12:06 PM on February 5, 2003


First off, references to, and quotes from, George Orwell's "1984" have officially been invalidated as legitimate criticism or argumentation by a unanimous UN mandate. But since you seem to have no problem with balking at UN mandates, given your belief in the veracity of Hussein's junta, I would suggest that referring to Mr. Orwell's work only serves to highlight the desperation and irrelevance of your position.

the burden of proof is on Powell, and he showed up to the meeting with fuzzy photos and fanciful drawings.

The burden of proof is NOT on Powell; the burden of proof is upon Hussein and his regime to prove that they are hiding nothing. They, of course, will not do anything of the sort, so the question remains: What to do now? The UN is teetering on irrelevance with their continued refusal to enforce their own resolutions. It would be ironic if a coalition, apart from the UN (and the esteemed opinions of such upstanding members of the Security Council as Syria and China) were forced to circumvent the UN in order to enforce a UN resolution.
posted by sir walsingham at 12:07 PM on February 5, 2003


I frankly didn't expect as much as was shown, due to the sensitivity of the intel sources.

We have tape recordings of Iraqis talking about hiding stuff. We have satellite pictures of them doing it.

the burden of proof is on Powell, and he showed up to the meeting with fuzzy photos and fanciful drawings.

You answered your own question, Powell showed up with intel photos and human witness confirmation of the data. If six people saw a guy go into the bank and shoot a teller and the, albeit "fuzzy" video camera shows him shoot the teller, and you have the spent cartridge on the floor of the bank with the guys thumb print on it, do you think the prosecutor needs much more "burden of proof?" Powell presented exactly that, Joe Biden even said that if Powell were in a courtroom he'd be sure of a conviction!

If there is proof, there is no reason for it to be classified.

Oh, come on, there are a million reasons why it should be! For starters, the "human sources" are probably still in Iraq and the reports say who they are, can you imagine what a man that drills people's fingers with a power drill would do to those "human sources" and their families? Second, there is plenty of technology which is not publicly disclosed, we don't want our enemies to know just how much we really can see or just how good the resolution on our spy satellites is.


Powell has shown more classified information to National leaders around the world and when he does the leaders usually and suddenly decide that maybe the US is right, it worked in Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and France already. What it is, I don't know, maybe a video of Saddam and Ossama in a hot tub smoking some Cubans and talking about how much they'll enjoy watching the suitcase nuke go off in London on CNN? I don't know, but it seems to work.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:08 PM on February 5, 2003


There are recordings of Iraqis talking about hiding vehicles and weapons. There are pictures of them moving the stuff away from sites just before the UN gets there.

How do you know when the satellite photos were taken? Can see, in the photos, what "stuff" is being carted away?
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:08 PM on February 5, 2003


JB71- do you think that the Iraqi's have the capability to pick up and move ANY weapons facility in the entire nation at whim? I know that there are probably Iraqi agents everywhere, but we're talking about an enormous infrastructure that would be required for this type of activity.
posted by crazy finger at 12:11 PM on February 5, 2003


I'm beginning to wonder if there's any actual evidence that would convince some of you guys. What do you want, a Powerpoint presentation? Colin Powell to bring in some swarthy-looking guy in handcuffs claiming to be the head of the Iraqi weapons program? Saddam Hussein cackling from his mountain fortress, flinging anthrax-filled balloons on the Kurdish crowds below? If there are tape-recorded conversations between Iraqi soldiers about hiding chemical weapons, well gosh, wouldn't that imply that some chemical weapons exist? If there are satellite photos, before and after, of Iraqi sites, showing that they've been sanitized, well golly gee, maybe they're really there!

There are legitimate reasons to oppose going to war with Iraq. But attacking the evidence, constantly demanding a higher burden of proof - these accomplish nothing, because that line of thinking inevitably leads to the worst kinds of paranoid thought. Dismissing evidence is a sure sign that you're looking for reinforcement of your own worldview, rather than actually analyzing the evidence. It's a fracture of thought, and it does no one any good.
posted by solistrato at 12:13 PM on February 5, 2003


Arab 1: What?
Arab 2: What?
Arab 1: What?
Arab 2: Yeah, yeah.
Arab 1: Yeah.
Arab 2: Yeah.


We have intercepted Iraqi military officers doing a Wassup? commercial. Start the invasion immediately!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:15 PM on February 5, 2003


Oh, come on, there are a million reasons why it should be! For starters, the "human sources" are probably still in Iraq and the reports say who they are, can you imagine what a man that drills people's fingers with a power drill would do to those "human sources" and their families? Second, there is plenty of technology which is not publicly disclosed, we don't want our enemies to know just how much we really can see or just how good the resolution on our spy satellites is.

Dude, espionage is not an honorable occupation. If you decide to build a life on deception, you have to accept the serious consequences of that deception.

I would very much like to know how much spying power our technology has: what's to stop the government from using it against me?
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:15 PM on February 5, 2003


eustacescrubb: I never suggested anything. I'm just telling you that you're not going to get all the proof you want whether we have it or not. You don't have the security clearance necessary. If you don't like that, then apply for one. If you don't trust who is in charge, then fix it however you deem necessary.

And you tools that want to argue with me about servicemen being at risk and all that... I have to brother in-laws already deployed and a best friend who is a Navy Seal... been gone for months. We're talking about (at least I am with eustacescrubb) about proof and where it comes from. Stop combining points into one big "people dying is bad" arguement. No shit it's bad... move on.
posted by Witty at 12:17 PM on February 5, 2003


sjc:

Dismissing evidence is a sure sign that you're looking for reinforcement of your own worldview, rather than actually analyzing the evidence.

Or it means the evidence wasn't convincing.

But you're right. I'm dumb and brainwashed because the fuzzy photos and the testimony of people who work for known liars (Bush, the CIA) aren't convincing me.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2003


meanwhile the bush administration pretends nothing is going on, on the korean peninsula

And as we now know, they've known for quite some time what was going on there, but kept it quiet while they built support for their Iraq agenda. They also don't seem to want to discuss Pakistan's role in aiding North Korea's nuclear program. And they continue to sit on alleged classified information on a Saudi connection to al Qaeda.

An important part of deciding what to do about Iraq is deciding how to prioritize it. When the administration plays these kind of games with the information, they make it impossible for me to make an informed decision or to have faith in their judgement.

Also, crazyfinger makes a good point.
posted by homunculus at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2003


in post powell presentation commentary - good questions are being asked about this al queda camp in northern iraq that may be producing/have chemical/biological weapons.... WTF? ..... and why are'nt we going after these camps patrolled by our aircraft... if we want a smoking gun? why dont the go get it?
posted by specialk420 at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2003


I don't think it's about dismissing evidence. I think it's about not wanting to go to war. Not this time, under these circumstances. Perhaps this war isn't worthy.
posted by ginz at 12:21 PM on February 5, 2003


This is a democracy. I inherently mistrust anyone who "classifies" information.

Please post your social security number, mother's maiden name and home telephone number here... No? Why not? Don't you want us to trust you? Seriously though, sometimes people do bad things with information you don't want them to have. Bad things like raping and torturing a little girl because her dad squealed on an Anthrax stockpile

By the way, next time anyone uses Orwell here, just remember that George took a bullet in the neck that nearly killed him fighting against totalitarianism in Spain. He also railed on Chamberlain for not doing more to fight the spread of totalitarianism and wrote 1984 as an example of a world dominated by Totalitarian governments, governments like they have in Iraq.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2003


Crazy Finger:

Gotta run - but look at it this way.

If you were trying to hide something, and you had 4 years and, oh, $10 billion, and you shot everyone around you who might leak where you were hiding stuff - how well could you hide something?

And the infrastructure for bio and chem stuff doesn't need to be large - especially if they can cram it into semitractor trailers as seems apparent. I've seen 250 gallon fertilizer/spray tanks on the back of hefty pickup trucks for lawn services, so I don't think it'd be too hard to make a mobile fermentation tank farm for bio. And for chem - I'm no organic chemist (nor do I play one on the internet) but you take a look in how-to books from the late 1890s-1920s and you can find plenty of recipies for toxic shit for weed and pest control, that were made with stuff easily available at the local hardware store.

Again, you don't need something the size of a Coke bottling plant when you're making batches of a hundred gallons at a time. And at a hundred gallons a day, in a year you've got 30,000 gallons of weedkiller, for example.

Now I've really gotta go. I'm late.

JB.
posted by JB71 at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2003


Some of you are probably right- they'll never get enough evidence out of the White House that will make me believe all of the allegations about Iraq's current chemical weapons capabilities: that's because there is no evidence.

Seriously though, a couple of pictures of buildings in the desert doesn't proove anything. If the US really has any proof of a currently functioning chemical weapons facility, get that proof to the UN weapons inspectors, send those inspectors there as fast as possible, and catch those Iraqi's with their pants down.

The proof that will convince me, beyond a doubt, is proof found by the weapons inspectors, not some shitty pictures and tape recordings
posted by crazy finger at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2003


This is a democracy. I inherently mistrust anyone who "classifies" information.

This is a democracy, but this issue points out a fundamental conflict within democratic nations - especially as they have to face dictatorships. Saddam hides everything. He can, because his word is law.

The US is now faced with two seperate - and often conflicting - needs ... to persuade the world that Saddam has WMD, and to prepare for a war to disarm him. Do not doubt for a second that as we in the free world are having this MeFi discussion about the speech, a group of people in Iraq are going through the speech with a fine-toothed comb to, gain insight into US intelligence gathering capabilities.

I notice Powell chose carefully selected evidence ... he showed "pre" and "post" satellite photos of sites that had been cleaned up (i.e., where Iraq no longer has any WMD's). The listening post used to record the audio tape of the two soldiers talking is no doubt one that is no longer functional for some reason (because it would only take a matter of hours for Iraq to determine where that conversation had been monitored).

If the US has to use force, it is extremely worried about Saddam using those WMD. The primary goal of it's intel right now is to attempt to identify where they are so that they are the first sites destroyed if military intervention begins. Delivering a "smoking gun" would pretty much assure that US, British and other soldiers would be at much greater risk.

For instance, if Powell said "here's satellite photos of a site, and here's an interview with a defector ... we are 95% certain chemical weapons are stored here" ... well, within a hour of the speech's broadcast, those weapons would no longer be stored there.

That's the Catch 22 Saddam has been so effective in developing - the slam-dunk evidence that would irrefutably prove the case for the UN to use force would simultaneously permit Saddam to fight that force far more effectively.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:26 PM on February 5, 2003


Let me put forth a theory that I'm sure is nothing revolutionary, but I rarely see when the topic of why we are going to war with Iraq is discussed: Rather than simply come out and explain that they want to take out Saddam Hussein for strategic reasons, the Bush administration has attempted to backed itself into a corner with unsubstatiated claims originally intended to pacify its allies, which would not agree that a military attack for purely strategic reasons is acceptable.
posted by 4easypayments at 12:29 PM on February 5, 2003


The proof that will convince me, beyond a doubt, is proof found by the weapons inspectors, not some shitty pictures and tape recordings

How about if we just admit that we know he has the stuff because we gave it to him back in the 1980's, that would certainly convince me, and hey, it could be true too!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:29 PM on February 5, 2003


As I said above, some people will continue to refuse to believe any evidence, no matter what is presented. There is really no point in arguing with them, because they are completely set in their view-point that the US is less trustworthy than Iraq, and nothing short of the spectacular will change it.

For those who see this evidence, and give it credit for veracity, and honestly feel that this means that there is something there, but that it simply warrants increased inspections, I have the following question:

How many times do we go through the cycle of inspections, obfuscations, UN threats, and finally grudging Iraqi concessions before it becomes too much? Do you have a principled argument for when we can draw the line, if now is not such a point?
posted by jammer at 12:31 PM on February 5, 2003


JB71- I'm no organic chemist either, but what about the problems that are associated with transporting mobile fermentation units? If they have a fleet of these trucks going around all over the place, you'd expect some of these trucks to have accidents. I know that some people will argue that the drivers are being really careful. But even studies done about transporting nuclear waste cross country in the US are expecting a certain number of accidents to occur and you can bet those drivers will be careful.
I'm also wondering how often these trucks would be malfunctioning- whether the cars break down or the fermentation tanks experience problems. I would imagine that the Iraqi vehicles would be in worse repair than the vehicles at the company I worked at during college, and those things broke down all the time. You've also got to wonder what it's like for those fermentation vehicles to be driving around on Iraqi roads- I'm from New Hampshire, in the US, and the frost heaves here are bad enough to ruin any car over a couple of winters, I'm sure that Iraqi roads are at least that bad.

Just a few thoughts.
posted by crazy finger at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2003


Powell's presentation presents evidence that the Iraqis have been hiding things. It doesn't prove they have banned stuff, but rather offers an alibi for the inspectors' inability to catch Iraqis with the goods.

To me, it's like accusing someone of murder by pointing to the absence of a person last seen in their house, the fact that they threw away an expensive rug that once covered their living room floor, and scrubbed that floor with bleach.

Suspicious behavior that suggests life-and-death reasons to conceal evidence? Yes. Proof? No.

The White House won't convince the world's skeptical governments with that sort of circumstantial case. If the inspectors keep inspecting, with better intel support from the U.S. or other sources, they may unearth the corpus delecti, the body of the crime.

But the White House seems to have written off inspections already, even though it the inspectors beating the bushes drove the Iraqis to do the suspicious things Powell proffered as evidence.
posted by sacre_bleu at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2003


By exposing certain evidence, you also expose how that proof was obtained, putting people lives at risk

Yes, lives are at risk, and among those lives are those of the many Iraqi citizens that will die in a war. As Bush testifies, they have no power to rise up, and by extension no way to remove themselves from harm's way when fire rains upon them.

Given that, I say fuck the spies. Reveal the evidence, and let them die if they must. I'd rather see a handful of spooks bite it in the line of work that they signed up for and be sure that I was giving my support to a war rather than go to bed wondering if I had supported the deaths of thousands just so I would feel secure about something that 'may be' the case.

The stakes of international order are very high here should Sadaam be allowed to thumb his nose at the world and should Bush be allowed to hobby horse his way into Gulf War II without UN support. With stakes like that, I'd say it's worth losing a few rats.
posted by holycola at 12:32 PM on February 5, 2003


So, the tree-hugger hippies were wrong!?

I recently read an interesting article that proposes what the doves should do if they are, indeed, wrong.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:35 PM on February 5, 2003


Rather than simply come out and explain that they want to take out Saddam Hussein for strategic reasons, the Bush administration has attempted to backed itself into a corner with unsubstantiated claims originally intended to pacify its allies, which would not agree that a military attack for purely strategic reasons is acceptable.

I am so with you on this 4ez, its just that this time they got a golden ticket. They have a UN resolution to back them up and knowledge that Saddam's dirty on this one. Now they can build the military position, eliminate a particularly nasty (partly by our making) dung pile of a dictator AND get some tasty oil reserves (not that I believe that even a sleazy Texas [Conn.] would kill thousands of people over this, but its still a nice benefit) all in one shot.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:38 PM on February 5, 2003


I would like to distance my position from somebody like Holycola, I don't think that it's ok to fuck our guys on the ground if we have them.
What I do think, though, is that if our forces are within striking distance of this Iraq invasion, some or many of our spies may be out already and the evidence that those guys provided should be made public if there is any.
posted by crazy finger at 12:39 PM on February 5, 2003


Bad things like raping and torturing a little girl because her dad squealed on an Anthrax stockpile

Turn up the rhetoric, Pollomacho!

Hell, now that things have been declassified, turns out Stevenson's photos were telling the truth that Nukes were lined up in Cuba and that the Rosenbergs were actually spies. The President of the US does not just kill people because he feels like it

He probably doesn't feel like doing it but it just kind of gnaws away at him until he gets the intelligence and then...
posted by skellum at 12:41 PM on February 5, 2003


No smoking gun, of course

This may have been discussed above, so sorry if I missed it.

Something that really caught my ears in the speech was the evidence Saddam Hussien has not, repeat has not shown to prove he has done what was ordered from a past UN resolution.

He was to destroy certain weapons that he had when the UN inspectors were there the last time. Then to also show the proof that he had done it.

This was a smoking gun I heard fired.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:43 PM on February 5, 2003


By exposing certain evidence, you also expose how that proof was obtained, putting people lives at risk.

Yeah, I bet giving the UN inspectors some GPS coordinates would be really bad. Witty, that one has been shot down so many times I can't believe you actually tried to get it to fly again.
posted by nofundy at 12:44 PM on February 5, 2003


I'm beginning to wonder if there's any actual evidence that would convince some of you guys.

It amazes me that the people who demand a complete and convincing case before sending tens of thousands of troops to depose a government are treated as ninnies and hand-wringers. I know this urgency to depose Saddam has been put in motion, but I lament that fact. There is no reason why we should be considering evidence under this kind of duress.

I haven't seen the photographs and they were described without enough background information to be convincing. The telephone calls sound vaguely convincing, but a lot depends on the translations (and who made them). The bulk of Powell's speech consists of inferences made from scraps of data.

If Joseph Biden thinks that's enough for a conviction, then he and I disagree about standards of evidence. Much, much more hard evidence would be called for in a murder conviction. And this is less serious?

Amazing, the impatience and macho disgust with the sorts of things we all should be doing: questioning, sifting, sorting evidence, coming to a consensus. Why are so many of you so eager for a shortcut around that process?
posted by argybarg at 12:49 PM on February 5, 2003


WolfDaddy: That' a very good peace piece you linked to, save the paranoid claim that America is building some kind of empire. The only American empire is the one which exists in the rest of the world's failure to come up with a compeling, viable alternative.

An empire by default; one defined by the a negative empty space, is not an empire at all.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:53 PM on February 5, 2003


Given that, I say fuck the spies. Reveal the evidence, and let them die if they must. I'd rather see a handful of spooks bite it in the line of work that they signed up for and be sure that I was giving my support to a war rather than go to bed wondering if I had supported the deaths of thousands just so I would feel secure about something that 'may be' the case.

Haha... that's the most ignorant thing I've ever heard. Thanks for continuing to combine arguements.

...they have no power to rise up...

Horseshit. The people of Iraq could remove Saddam if they really wanted to.
posted by Witty at 12:53 PM on February 5, 2003


Israel is provably in material breech of hundreds of UN mandates and resolutions. The attack must begin at dawn, spare no quarter. Shock and awe for Tel Aviv first thing.

The evil ones are killing innocents and are known to possess weapons of mass destruction.

They are currently occupying the lands of their neighbors taken by military force.

How bad must it get before you lily livered left winged doves are ready to sacrifice our young service people in the interest of cleansing the world of this curse?
[/satire]

Irony anyone? Can't see the position of others who oppose war against Iraq? Take off the rose colored glasses and try to view ALL the people of the world with a level sight.
posted by nofundy at 12:56 PM on February 5, 2003


If they have a fleet of these trucks going around all over the place, you'd expect some of these trucks to have accidents.

How would we know? Did you hear about the nuclear waste truck accident in the Utah desert last month? I don't even know if there was one, but I'm sure they happen all the time and we never know, and we have a fairly unsuppressed press in this country, now Iraq is a different story all together.

Turn up the rhetoric, Pollomacho!

Sorry, that's what happens when both sides sling so much tripe, but this is an actual torture technique that Bush documented, torture and rape of family members in front of the informant until they comply. I'm sure they learned it at the School of the Americas, but that doesn't mean its not evil.

There is plenty more to this story than is reported on CNN, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Fox "news," etc. Everyone is so twisted and polarized for or against this war, no one, except the world leaders that have to decipher the information know what's really the truth and what's bull shit. In this case, after what Powell presented, after what I know about Reagan's support of Iraq vs. Iran and given Saddam's swollen ego as the leader of the defense against the Infidel westerners makes me think that yes, Saddam has WMD stockpiles, yes he's hiding them, yes this does violate what the UN resolved he must do and yes he's just evil, swollen and ruthless enough to launch a scud filled with Camel Pox at Tel Aviv and kill my two year old nephew in Damascus because he feels his power threatened. So, with that in mind, I'd now say that the sooner we get rid of the asshole the better.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:57 PM on February 5, 2003


Shortcut the process? This has been going on for over decade (or longer depending on how you want to look at it).

nofundy: Is this and I/P thread? No. So give the "what about these guys" argument a rest. Concentrate.
posted by Witty at 1:03 PM on February 5, 2003


Well the Powell speech wasn't much interesting, imho.

The whole point seems to be :

a) Saddam used chemical weapons in the past (pretty much proved I think)
b) As we see in nice slideshows, chemical weapons can be produced in trucks, trucks can be moved

Given that, and given some suspicious shells we found, given humint suggesting there's a lot of ready chemicals weapons in iraq and given a bunch of useless pics--> USA shall invade Iraq

But why , why didn't they finish their job back in the 90 ?
Why did they stop ? Why didn't they remove Saddam and his entourage ? What -physically- stopped them ?

Saddam had got chemicals back in 1990, today Powell speech in 1990 could have justified immediate removal of Saddam. Why does USA realize NOW they have chemicals weapons ? Didn't they know during Gulf War ? I don't buy that.

The Gulf War started for a very evident "smoking gun" : invasion of Kuwait. Now nobody have this kind of smoking gun, motivator, justification.

A permanent, multilater inspectors force with UN troops makes much more sense, while Saddam and his entourage is slowly "removed" in a thousand different ways.
posted by elpapacito at 1:04 PM on February 5, 2003


good questions are being asked about this al queda camp in northern iraq that may be producing/have chemical/biological weapons.... WTF?

Speaking of camps, here's an interesting article about an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan.
posted by homunculus at 1:06 PM on February 5, 2003


Witty,

So you attack me when you can't refute the logic of my argument? Come on, you can do better than that. And what's my post and I/P got to do with one another? Concentrate. Tell me why they are not comparable.
posted by nofundy at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2003


If the evidence was looked at by a criminal trial, there wouldn't be a conviction... however, just because Iraq cannot be proven guilty doesn't mean they're innocent.

I remember that Scott Ritter said in an interview that he believed that Iraq probably did have some WMDs left. Still, the issue isn't that Iraq has WMDs that they are reticent to give up, but, more importantly, what to do about it. Iraq isn't the only country that has used chemical weapons -- Iran did too, and they have a far larger, more significant chemical and biological weapons cache than Iraq at this point.

If the information that Powell has is correct, then Iraq has the ability to attack both Israeli, Kuwaiti, *AND* US civilians with chemical and biological weapons. They might also have the ability to create a dirty bomb. They could additionally put such weaponry in the hands of terrorists.

Sure, we could go to war with Iraq, but based on the information our own government provided us, would such a war really be winnable, or would it be a pyrrhic victory with significant civilian casualties outside of Iraq, many thousands of civilian casualties in Iraq, the oil production of Iraq in flames, a huge environmental catastrophe as oil slicks flood the gulf and render the desalinization plants of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia unusable, and hundreds, if not thousands, of dead US and British troops? Such a war would also mean a longterm occupation of Iraq by the country that the average Iraqi hates the most... US servicemen will die routinely and for an indefinite period trying to "keep the peace".

Alternately, we can recognize that as dangerous as Iraq seems to be, 95% of their WMDs have been accounted for already by the UN inspectors. If we know they have more that hasn't been accounted for, then we can use all sorts of realtime resources to locate and find much of the other 5 percent. We can keep up the pressure until we start to find what we are looking for, thereby forcing Iraq to come clean. While inspections continue, it will be very hard indeed for Iraq to continue development of any kind.

"I think we all know what "serious consequences" means..."

Apparently, it means what ever the US - not the UN - wants it to mean. Given that it was a UN resolution, however, the US right to make a unilateral decision regarding what serious consequences means is questionable to say the least. Maybe Russia has the right to enforce all those decisions against Israel...
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2003


So, with that in mind, I'd now say that the sooner we get rid of the asshole the better.

I'd like to add, that I hope that once we change the regime, we don't put in some scum bad who's just as bad or worse (see Iran, Guatemala and Chile for our great history of regime change)!

As to North Korea and Israel, sure, yes, there are other bad guys, after we clean up this pile of crap, we'll have other crap to deal with too, but that's what we get for being the world's pooper scooper, serving with pride since 1941 (before that we were just amateurs)!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2003


Why are so many of you so eager for a shortcut around that process?

To pre-empt the pre-emptors, it appears to be due largely to widespread recourse to such devastatingly redundant analogies as 'Well, come on, look what happened with appeasement in the 1930s."

Throw in helpful lashings of the word 'evil' and you're on a one-way dream ticket to hawkish wish-fulfillment paradise.

The tragedy is that this whole Iraq deal is well and truly on a pre-determined track now. The focus should be on a meaningful Israel-Palestine settlement, with full recognition of the relevant but much neglected UN resolutions.
posted by skellum at 1:10 PM on February 5, 2003


If you've nothing to hide, then you've nothing to fear. Bend over while I search ...

I think Powell made a good case for Iraq not complying completely with the UN resolutions. The mistake is to think that makes a good case for war. Take Saddam out, take out his family. Invade, destroy and occupy? Different critter altogether.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2003


An al Queda camp in Pakistan?
Say it ain't so homunculus!
I guess we're gonna have to attack there too. And I really mean that.
Doesn't Pakistan have WMD? Doesn't Pakistan export WMD?
How evil can you get?
Bombs away!!
More shock and awe on their major cities!!
What the hell, let's just nuke their asses and be done with it?
Why mess with little pussies like Saddam when we can go after real baddies like this?
posted by nofundy at 1:14 PM on February 5, 2003


To all the anti-war folks: what do you suggest, if war is not your preference?

Well, some consistancy would be nice. Are we now saying that we as a global community are willing to throw self-determination and national soveignty out the window when it threatens our own national security? Wait, that doesn't even work, because our own national security isn't at stake, since there's no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Lemme try again. Are we now saying that we as a global community are willing to throw self-determination and national soveignty out the window when it threatens our own national interests? Because if that's the case, I think a far, far better target for our aggression would be North Korea. Unlike Iraq, which may have weapons of mass destruction, North Korea has admitted to a nuclear weapons program. So let's get 'em! No? Why not? Is their leader any less insane? Have they not invaded neighboring countries?

And why isn't Pakistan on our list? They have a territorial dispute that has brought the region to nuclear brinksmanship. They (unlike Iraq) have harbored al-Qaeda members, and have been used as a conduit for escaping al-Qaeda members (perhaps even Emmanual Goldstein... I mean, Osama bin Laden).

War in Iraq is absurd; given the larger, more dire problems our country faces (like our faltering economy) it is irresponsible.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:15 PM on February 5, 2003


never miind, I'm not even sure why I bothered to say that. Minds are made up, and that's not going to change (except for Pollomacho who now seems to think its okay for the American public to pay for being the world's toilet plunger...).
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:17 PM on February 5, 2003


nofundy: I didn't attack you. That aside, comparing the two doesn't do the Iraq situation any good. That's why. It has no bearing on whether military force in Iraq is warranted. What is the point? Israel is also a friend of the U.S.... so attacking them seems unlikey.
posted by Witty at 1:19 PM on February 5, 2003


nofundy...Iraq's resolutions are a legally-binding peace agreement. Iraq's leaders signed them in exchange for their lives and their power. The world thought that maybe, just maybe, Saddam would toss the weapons and make a fresh start.

This didn't happen.

Israel, on the other hand, has never signed such legally-binding agreements. No matter what you think Israel is doing from a human rights standpoint, the resolutions applying to Israel are "suggestions", as far as international law in concerned.

As for the speech, I considered myself on the fence previously. I have to say, I'm a bit underwhelmed. I expected more, something that's more of a smoking gun. However, if I was President, we would have tossed Saddam 12 years ago for the same reason that he should be tossed now. If it can be done quickly without a large loss of US soft power and with few casualties, the evidence is certainly there.

The jury has decided Guilty. It's now up to the judge to decide how much leniency to give.
posted by Kevs at 1:19 PM on February 5, 2003


Horseshit. The people of Iraq could remove Saddam if they really wanted to.

This is what I keeping thinking. When I see a bunch of Iraqis protesting & burning a US flag on the news. Then they follow it up at the end with a couple of clips being fired into the air. Why not use those guns to protect themselves against Saddam.

Also seeing Saddam with a rifle in his hand when he speaks in public to his people has given me the impression, that the rest of his country men own one too, a gun.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:24 PM on February 5, 2003


To answer jammer...I guess there is no way to change the opinion of people who believe that this is absolute proof that Iraq has WoMD either huh?

I have a few opinions about Powell's presentation. First I think that the US is only now beginning to build a case for war with this kind of evidence. I think he has raised some serious questions about Iraq's cooperation that Iraq should answer to. I think to a large extent Powell has shown that Iraq has been working to conceal information from inspectors. This could (and should) be considered the first straw in material breach and the result should be more inspectors and greater efforts to find out what Iraq may be concealing.

I certainly believe (and have all along) that Iraq is hiding information from the rest of the world and from inspectors. I also believe that IF there is substantial evidence that Iraq is actively pursuing WoMD it will be found by the US and/or Inspectors in time. Without more conclusive evidence I do not support Military action at this time.

Here is the real question for me at this point:
Do we want to go to war simply because we know that the Iraqi's are hiding something but we don't know what it is they are hiding?

My solution is to give Inspectors more than just a couple months to search and find hard evidence.
posted by aaronscool at 1:25 PM on February 5, 2003


Why are so many of you so eager for a shortcut around that process?

To preempt the preemptors, it appears to be due largely to widespread recourse to such devastatingly redundant analogies as 'Well, come on, look what happened with appeasement in the 1930s."


allright now, no need to answer a question directed to someone else with your own set of rhetoric. Really, I'm not sure that ten, twenty, thirty years is a shortcut? 30 years ago Saddam was violently overthrowing Iraq and implementing totalitarianism, 20 years ago he was gassing Iranians and Kurds, and eliminating his own inner circle a la Stalin, 10 years ago he was the dictator of an oil rich dictatorship with a people that viewed him as unstoppable and he invaded Kuwait to end the incursion of infidels making him a regional hero, now he's had 10 years to drain his nation's coffers and patience and for his people to be tired of sanctions and speeches about how the infidels are so bad when really they just want some food and medicine. We go in now, the people will roll over on him and he's gone, then we have to clean up 10 years of sanction induced damage. I don't know what short cut you're talking about here.

Look war is bad, people die, things blow up, it would be great if we never had to have one again, if Israelis and Palestinians ran through fields of flowers holding hands and singing, but as long as guys like Saddam and Sharon and such ilk are calling the shots in certain nations, that shit ain't happening.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:28 PM on February 5, 2003


Leniency? let Saddam be incinerated by a Tomahawk rather than face trial.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:29 PM on February 5, 2003


Leniency? let Saddam be incinerated by a Tomahawk rather than face trial.

I'm more and more convinced that ParisParamus is a Perl script.
posted by machaus at 1:35 PM on February 5, 2003


Sorry to clip and run, but the end of this New Republic editorial says it all:

"There is one sentence in Tuesday's Times editorial that comes closest to expressing the true sentiments of antiwar liberals: "The world must be reassured that every possibility of a peaceful solution has been fully explored." Consider the implications: The character of the Iraqi crisis is such that there is always the possibility of a peaceful solution. At every point in time, Saddam permits the minimal level of inspections cooperation he can get away with. Whenever he is threatened, he backs down until the crisis subsides, only to ratchet up his defiance later. The only logical end to this cycle is Saddam's successful acquisition of a nuclear weapon, at which point disarmament, forcible or otherwise, will no longer be an option. Indeed, this would be the actual result of the policy favored by antiwar liberals--whether they consciously desire it or not."

Forget about the moldy past - the choice is between a future where Saddam has the bomb and continues to oppress his people, and an Iraq without Saddam and the Iraqi people might have some chance at determining there own future.

If you are against the war don't tell me how bad America is - tell me the first option is the best one. Sorry folks, this is the real world - "wah, Bush is bad" is just whining, it ain't a policy option.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:37 PM on February 5, 2003


save the paranoid claim that America is building some kind of empire

Yeah, the last paragraph of that article was from way out in left field, and didn't do much as the lynchpin on which to hang the rest of the article. Other than that, it was some good rational thought for both doves and hawks. I urge everyone to read it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:39 PM on February 5, 2003


I'm convinced that many people here hate and distrust George Bush and Saddam Hussein equally.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:41 PM on February 5, 2003


"If the US has to use force, it is extremely worried about Saddam using those WMD. The primary goal of its intel right now is to attempt to identify where they are so that they are the first sites destroyed if military intervention begins."

...but given that they have yet to direct inspectors to the WMDs currently, what chance do they realistically have of doing this? They never stopped the scud attacks during the Gulf War, and the scuds were hardly small vehicles.

If, as Powell said, Iraq has WMDs and the delivery mechanisms that it needs to deploy them if attacked, then it's a pretty safe bet to say that there will be a substantial risk of civilian deaths in this war for Israelis and Kuwaitis, with some risk for people in England and the US... not to mention the risk to US and British ground troops.

If the US knows so much about Iraq, then evidence such as that given today will only serve to make the real-time intelligence over Iraq that much more effective, until we actually do start finding WMDs and Iraq is forced to come clean. All the UN inspectors need is one or two discoveries along the lines of those mentioned today to make the case that much clearer.

Case in point. The US mentioned a stationary missile platform. Good. Send inspectors there immediately and let them determine what is really going on and whether it violates Iraq's agreements. How hard would that be?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:46 PM on February 5, 2003


Wait, that doesn't even work, because our own national security isn't at stake, since there's no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Except for the connections that Powell made in his speech, but I suppose if you discredit everything he says as a whole then it doesn't matter anyway.

(except for Pollomacho who now seems to think its okay for the American public to pay for being the world's toilet plunger...)

I made no judgement call on how I feel about this. As a matter of fact I think it sucks. I think its none of our business what people choose to do in their own countries (of course Iraq didn't choose Saddam, he and his party chose to take over) but lets put it a different way and maybe since I'm talking out my ass this won't make since but... As the band War sang "the World is a Ghetto" in the ghetto there is poverty and crime and filth. In the ghetto there are cops, sometimes they suck, like last night when they told my friend that she was at fault for having been alone when a mugger chose to pistol whip her for her wallet. Sometimes those cops do their job right in the ghetto and lives are saved, criminals caught and peace and prosperity can prevail. Can you imagine the ghetto without ANY cops, without ANY consequences for actions? The US is now the only country big enough and militarily strong enough to strike anywhere at anytime and we have chosen for the last 60 ears to exercise the role of policeman for the world. Can you imagine the world without any policeman? Not yet anyway. What I want is not only for the ghetto to turn into a manicured neighborhood, where everybody can leave their doors unlocked, but in the mean time for the cops to NOT to be the LAPD. That said, even the LAPD brings in some bad guys, Saddam is a bad guy, if we're the cops, its time to bring him in.

Oh, and I'd also like it if Israel and Palestine would clean up their own shit every once and a while too!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:47 PM on February 5, 2003


Jos Bleau: Sorry folks, this is the real world - "wah, Bush is bad" is just whining, it ain't a policy option.

But it's all they have.

ParisParamus: I'm convinced that many people here hate and distrust George Bush and Saddam Hussein equally.

Equally??? I'd say many mistrust Bush more.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2003


ParisParamus:

I'm convinced that many people here hate and distrust George Bush and Saddam Hussein equally.

...which to me just shows how insular and intellectually bankrupt many people on the Left have become. Whatever you might have against Dubya, to compare him to a homicidal psychopath like Saddam Hussein is just sick.
posted by mrmanley at 1:49 PM on February 5, 2003


Jammer wrote - Do you have a principled argument for when we can draw the line, if now is not such a point?

When Saddam uses these weapons, or threatens to use them, or is caught red-handed preparing to use them, then we have a clear line we can draw that would make this war worth the risks that it entails. And I include use by associated terrorists in this definition. Also if clear and convincing proof could be found that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, then again, a good case for war can be made. It's my belief that this war is a dangerous enterprise for the world at large and there has to be better justification for it than Saddam's trying to hide something, which I do believe Mr. Powell has proven today.

By the way - if he has the amount of this weaponry that our government thinks he does, are 150,000 troops going to be sufficient to overcome him? Or are there plans to use our WMDs?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:51 PM on February 5, 2003


Pollomacho, hello?

Hussein, Sharon, KIM Chong-iL, Mugabe, Musharraf, the Saudi Royal Family?

What the hell are you commiting the contents of my wallet to?

And PP, how many people are you willing to incinerate with Tomahawks before we find that Hussien has fled the country? How many lives are you willing to trade for your bloodlust at seeing Saddam's fried corpse? Do I need to remind you that, to this very day, we don't know the fate of Osama Bin Laden? Perl script? No, an awful virus is more likely.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:51 PM on February 5, 2003


If you are against the war don't tell me how bad America is - tell me the first option is the best one. Sorry folks, this is the real world - "wah, Bush is bad" is just whining, it ain't a policy option.

Heh...

I'm not against the war because "wah, Bush is bad" (way to oversimplify things). I'm against the war because I don't think Iraq is a creditable threat to my life. I don't belive in starting a war to prevent something from "maybe" happening 15 years from now. I also don't want to see friends, and possibly myself, go off and fight and die to further some businessman's agenda. The government hasn't shown any real rock-solid show-stopper evidence that they need to pull something like this off. Circumstantial evidence and hearsay aren't enough to get a conviction.

Forget about the moldy past - the choice is between a future where Saddam has the bomb and continues to oppress his people, and an Iraq without Saddam and the Iraqi people might have some chance at determining there own future.

Are those the only choices? I had no idea the future of the world was so predetermined.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:54 PM on February 5, 2003


Haha... that's the most ignorant thing I've ever heard.

Thanks for the clever and thorough rebuttal. You've really cut to the quick of the argument. Have you considered a career in investigative journalism?
posted by holycola at 1:57 PM on February 5, 2003


"I'm convinced that many people here hate and distrust George Bush and Saddam Hussein equally."

Saddam Hussein isn't pissing on the constitution. Saddam Hussein isn't screwing with my civil rights and liberties. Saddam doesn't want to profile me or treat me like a criminal. Saddam Hussein has done nothing to hurt my pocketbook. Saddam Hussein hasn't ignored an engineered "energy crisis" in my state so that his friends could get that much richer.

In truth, Saddam Hussein nearly isn't as much of a threat to me as George Bush. Not even close.

With that in mind, however, I would rather not be ruled by Saddam Hussein. I think he's a horrible guy and a bad leader. It's very unfortunate for the Iraqis that they are. Maybe they should get another leader, but really, that's not my problem.

I don't think it's the job of the US to "save the world", by force, if necessary. The most important thing that the US has done for the rest of the world in its history is to set a good example for every other nation on the earth... or at least that used to be the case.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:58 PM on February 5, 2003


Okay - back to my original intended topic - Powell's speech. I'm a little troubled by the quick dismissals of some of the evidence as "useless" or meaningless (both here and from other reactions I've seen). These conversations and images can indeed be fakes or fabrications, but why would Powell and the US stake so much of their credibility and reputation on something false? By laying our cards on the table (however substantial or slim they are), that makes me feel a bit better, simply because we've owned up to our reasons (to some degree) in a very public way - open to attack and criticism.
posted by kokogiak at 2:02 PM on February 5, 2003


SweetJesus:

I'm against the war because I don't think Iraq is a creditable threat to my life. I don't belive in starting a war to prevent something from "maybe" happening 15 years from now.

Gotta love that way of thinking. In 1930, Hitler was just some funny little guy banging on a table in a beer hall in Munich. 15 years later, he had turned most of Europe into a slaughterhouse. Those "maybes" loom pretty large in an age where every shitpot little dictator can get his hands on smallpox, VX, and just maybe a nuke or two.
posted by mrmanley at 2:06 PM on February 5, 2003


Pollomacho, hello?

Hussein, Sharon, KIM Chong-iL, Mugabe, Musharraf, the Saudi Royal Family?

What the hell are you committing the contents of my wallet to?


What has your money been going to already? We use YOUR tax $$ to prop up and empower guys like Sharon, Saddam, the Saud family, Musharraf, etc. How about we stop helping guys like this get into power in the first place, then once we clean up our past, horrible mistakes we can go running through that field?

SweetJesus, I never thought Clinton's missile shots on Bin Laden's compounds were justified either until I saw the Pentagon on fire with my own eyes. Bin Laden funded that attack on the $130 million he got from his family, can you imagine what Saddam could muster with most of the GNP of an oil producing nation? We know he has motive, he has the WMD according to the President and Secretary of State and Prime Minister and etc. and now those same guys say he's even hooked up with Al Queda, great, just remember it will be MY (Washington) public transportation system that gets the Thraxing if he does decide to try something!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:08 PM on February 5, 2003


holycola: What's to rebut? You said that you would rather see some of our guys die in order to expose proof and evidence (which would result in going to war), than believe in our government and military and go to war without actually seeing the proof yourself. I still laugh at that and consider one of the most ignorant things I've ever heard. That's all good HC, until it's YOUR DADDY that's the spy.
posted by Witty at 2:11 PM on February 5, 2003


"The burden of proof is NOT on Powell; the burden of proof is upon Hussein and his regime to prove that they are hiding nothing."

Um, I thought in America one is innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. Oh yeah, Saddam doesn't live in America... my bad.
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:12 PM on February 5, 2003


Oh, back to this burden of proof topic, Joe Biden is on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, I'm sure he got to see plenty more than we did and he actually got the explanation of how the photos were analyzed. He is also the Minority chairperson, which means its his job to be skeptical of the Rubublican's reports and he said that he believed that Saddam could be easily convicted in a court, however that the UN was not a court and even harder to convince than a jury, just to add to a much earlier comment.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:20 PM on February 5, 2003


but why would Powell and the US stake so much of their credibility and reputation on something false?

I posted this elsewhere, but will happily repost it here:


There was a remarkable juxtaposition of headlines for the Bozeman Comical (Chronicle)today. The lead was that Bush has said that diplomacy has weeks to work, not months. Its comin' down and I agree, right about Valenday's day. This guy is beyond obsessed. He picked a fight ... that will benefit his buddies ... make him look decisive ... and win the love of his daddy, who no-doubt found him a remarkable screwup. He will not be denied this. Regardless of what Powell tells the UN, regardless of whether the UN disagrees or attempts to drag its feet, Bush will have his little (unfair) street-fight and prove his worth (by God!).

The second headline, was a group of military personell and military analysts theorizing worst case scenarios to our invasion. Massive desease due to interupted water supplies, higher than expected casualties due to urban fighting, a repugnant number of civilians that "will no longer be a problem to the US or its allies" ... and Saddam's not so unexpected unveiling of his WMDs on American troops, regardless of civilian casualties. Any or all of these are very real possibilities, and a competant leader would be assuring the avoidance of bad outcomes as quickly as Bush has built up his forces in the Gulf. He's shooting for overwhelming force in a fight that has different rules than his daddy's war. We're not liberating a nation invaded, we're invading and occupying. Dubya doesn't seem to understand anything but the permanence of his legacy. We invade, we occupy, and history records GW as a liberator ... until 20 years down the road when the region is more impoverished, more angry and Americans are footing the bill to keep any stability in the region, while our rich nation suffers under the longest economic downturn in its history (trading partners pissed off, shady international oil deals that concentrate wealth, continually increasing military outlay for missile defense and pascification of terrorists/the natives, and decreased consumer confidence due to tighter security, quick disatisfaction leading to quick governmental turnover and less stability of objectives...).

I am terrified of this narcisistic bastard. He has been truly incompetant in every endevour he's undertaken precisely because he's most concerned with proving himself. I should say, he's been competant at one thing only: getting others to give him power. Now he's got it, in spades. All we can do now is to let our elected officials know that we hold them accountable for cowtowing to this man's destructive ego. What scares me are the number of people who share that ego, and want desperately to be the winner, no matter the cost.


Th US government would lie because its driven by a lost puppy seeking acknowledgement. Powell's presentation was in no way evident that the US faces danger from Saddam Hussein, so why the urge to attack Iraq? The reasons are still hidden. The reasons are personal to Dubya; and if anybody wants to support his Royal Presidentness, they better agree that he needs to do this. He needs to destroy Hussein and make Daddy proud.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:20 PM on February 5, 2003


Point of fact: The Bush administration is not ignoring the Korean Peninsula. Yesterday, C-SPAN radio broadcast extensive Congressional testimony about the Korean situation.

Yes, it's unfortunate that there is no way to check the facts in Mr. Powell's presentation for yourself, and unfortunate that so many officials in the past have lied to the public in similar situations. It's also unfortunate that a petroleum-connected Republican Party finds it so difficult to envision a thrifty, socially responsible America which runs on non-petroleum energy sources. It's even more unfortunate that the media is generally ignoring Mr. Bush's modest suggestions about promoting hydrogen and fuel cell research.

Nonetheless, despite extreme skepticism about the US administration, it's *abundantly clear that Iraq has failed to make its case for full, co-operative compliance with inspections. *

Given the invention of RFID tagging, if Iraq really wanted to prove up that its truck and rail traffic is free of WMD, it could. Perhaps the Iraqi government will see the light and start making appropriate arrangements. Given that nobody can put all the world's germs back in the bottle, establishing a rigorous biological tracking and inspection system in Iraq would set a good precedent.

I'm hoping that this is what Mr. Powell is driving at: laying the groundwork for a solid understanding and implementation of the chem / bio equivalent of IAEA standards of accountability. Establishing chem / bio tracking and accountability is crucial, regardless of military escalation or regime change in any given country.

It isn't just oil, and it isn't just Iraq. Perhaps Mr. Powell's presentation will help snap the rest of the world out of denial.

Smart Sanctions: Restructuring UN Policy in Iraq

Coercive Inspections:
"A powerful, multinational military force, created by the UN Security Council, would enable UN and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection teams to carry out "comply or else" inspections."
posted by sheauga at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2003


Gotta love that way of thinking. In 1930, Hitler ...

I don't think anyone would argue that in hindsight. What we're trying to get here is foresight, and that's why it's reasonable for people to disagree a bit more than on an historical slam dunk like Hitler. Whatever the threat, I think it's not worth setting aside one's laws and principles, and I think that's where a lot of the discomfort that people feel about this comes from.

But if you really don't like 'that way of thinking', let's turn it around and see how it works: under what circumstances would you advocate an attack on the US by a foreign nation or nations, with or without UN backing? If you can't think of any, you're not really after justice or peace, just hegemony. Witty, you may call me stupid again if you like now.
posted by holycola at 2:23 PM on February 5, 2003


constrained choices are not the same thing as predetermined ones. And yes, those are the constraints.

"Circumstantial evidence and hearsay aren't enough to get a conviction." Sorry, that's just not the issue here. In a narrow legalistic sense, the issue is 'has Saddam complied his responsibilities to disamarm" as enumerated in numerous UN resolutions? How can anyone answer 'yes' to that question? Inspectors aren't there to find weapons, they are their to confirm his compliance.

But no matter how the debate is framed, the future consists of just the two options listed above Saddam with the Bomb, and Iraq without Saddam.

Sorry.

It's awful and dreadful and uncomfortable no matter what happens, but saying you don't want to fight for a business man's agenda does not answer the question - how is letting Saddam get the bomb good for the future? 'Cause no matter what some bad business man wants, or what you want, or what I want, the choices boil down to that or not that.
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:24 PM on February 5, 2003


That's all good HC, until it's YOUR DADDY that's the spy.

Here, let's broaden your perspective a bit: "That's all good HC, until it's YOUR DADDY that's the soldier going to war in Iraq for extraordinarily questionable reasons."

And here's "An Open Letter to the U.N. about Colin Powell", another view on Powell and his little disappointment at the U.N, in which the author also notes:

I have no love for Saddam Hussein. I regard him as one of many brutal dictators whose most grisly crimes were committed in the 1980s, when they had strong support from the Reagan administration that Powell so loyally served. My preferred solution to the current crisis is for Saddam to go into exile, with a 5-year grant of immunity from international prosecution, after which he must fend for himself. He can come to my state, sunny Florida, where two U.S.-backed Salvadoran generals whose human rights record is nearly as appalling as Saddam’s are enjoying their retirement in relative tranquility.

~chuckle~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:25 PM on February 5, 2003


Well, we will, at least most of us, take satisfaction when the war begins, and a certain subset of Mefi "contributors" go apoplectic.

And then, when the war is fairly quickly over, and there's no longer a Hussein regime in place to lie about the number of casualties, what will you all do? What cause will you set about espousing? Trying to convince us that North Korea really is a workers paradise with free Weight Watchers for all?

Also, no thanks for defaming of the clearly honorable Ariel Sharon as he tries his best to defend against Palestinian Arab savagery.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:26 PM on February 5, 2003


The reasons are personal to Dubya; and if anybody wants to support his Royal Presidentness, they better agree that he needs to do this. He needs to destroy Hussein and make Daddy proud.

The reasons are more than personal, and Bush IS the President of the US, through Constitutional means, we don't need to debate this any longer. I don't like him, I don't like war, but I support my country and when the Secretary of State says to the UN that Saddam has capabilities that threaten the US with WoMD (which he did for example: "Iraq could use these small UAVs which have a wingspan of only a few meters to deliver biological agents to its neighbors or if transported, to other countries, including the United States. ") Powell also spoke about attacks on US personnel abroad, such as the Diplomat in Jordan. My family is in Damascus, they live under constant threat, this makes me VERY uncomfortable. I support anything my country can do to help them stay safe!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:33 PM on February 5, 2003


I am (for) (against) the war. People who are (against) (for) the war are poopyheads. Also, I favor (Israel) (Palestine), and people who favor (Palestine) (Israel) are, likewise, poopyheads. Also I love pancakes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:35 PM on February 5, 2003


"In 1930, Hitler was just some funny little guy banging on a table in a beer hall in Munich. 15 years later, he had turned most of Europe into a slaughterhouse. Those "maybes" loom pretty large in an age where every shitpot little dictator can get his hands on smallpox, VX, and just maybe a nuke or two."

That's the whole point though. Every little shitpot dictator can get their hands on this stuff. Iran, Pakistan, North Korea... they all have WMDs far in excess of what Iraq has.

It's not whether they have them or not that matters, as much as whether they use them.

If the rest of Europe had attacked Germany in 1935, Hitler would have been defeated, but he would have used every weapon in his arsenal to kill his enemies. I expect Saddam will do the same, but the big difference here is that Hitler didn't have bioweapons and VX nerve gas to use against civilians.

If England, France, and Russia had been able to disarm Hitler in 1935 without war, Hitler probably would have have hidden some of his best tanks away too. The one thing he wouldn't have after inspections, however, would be the kind of military necessary to conquer other nations. You just can't hide or develop that much under inspections.

Maybe instead of a cold war and a divided Germany, Hitler would have been assasinated or died of natural causes by the 50s. I, for one, could have lived with that outcome.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:35 PM on February 5, 2003


Also, no thanks for defaming of the clearly honorable Ariel Sharon as he tries his best to defend against Palestinian Arab savagery.

Sharon has done plenty to defame himself, I just report. For example, how about helping the actual Nazi, yes Nazi, Lebanese Falange slaughter the elected government of Lebanon? Is that enough to defame him? An Israeli leader that actively supports Hitlerian Nazis needs no help in this arena!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:37 PM on February 5, 2003


Gotta love that way of thinking. In 1930, Hitler was just some funny little guy banging on a table in a beer hall in Munich. 15 years later, he had turned most of Europe into a slaughterhouse. Those "maybes" loom pretty large in an age where every shitpot little dictator can get his hands on smallpox, VX, and just maybe a nuke or two.

Forgive the bluntness, but speaking of "love that way of thinking," haven't most sentient life forms agreed already that that's the most stupid and evasive rationale in the entire realm of the debate yet? Why not just say we should level Japan while we're at it because, hey, you never know. If Hitler never rose to power, then you wouldn't have analogy to create such an afterthought paradox with. So drop it.

Well, we will, at least most of us, take satisfaction when the war begins, and a certain subset of Mefi "contributors" go apoplectic.

Golly. I can't wait for the bodies to start dropping so I can look smug on an internet message board. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some kittens to hit with a hammer.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:39 PM on February 5, 2003


It's also unfortunate that a petroleum-connected Republican Party finds it so difficult to envision a thrifty, socially responsible America which runs on non-petroleum energy sources. It's even more unfortunate that the media is generally ignoring Mr. Bush's modest suggestions about promoting hydrogen and fuel cell research.

I'd say two things about this. First this shock was well reported as one of the two major surprises from the administration's State of the Union (African AIDS being the bigger story). Second I hate to burst your warm and fuzzy bubble but if this "petroleum-connected Republican Party" were interested in paying anything but lip service to Hydrogen research they'd cough up a lot more than 1.8 billion over five years.

To put this into perspective it cost Ford over 2 billion to design (or redesign as the case may be) the most recent Ford Taurus--and this is with a conventional technology car.

Think about it...
posted by aaronscool at 2:41 PM on February 5, 2003


I am the only one who thinks that, on topics like this, removing 1% of the posters would make these threads interesting and honest debates? Why do people feed trolls? It boggles me mind.
posted by cell divide at 2:43 PM on February 5, 2003


Ariel Sharon is as honorable as James K. Polk.
posted by crazy finger at 2:48 PM on February 5, 2003


cell divide:

This issue is obviously one that people (including, obviously, myself) are passionate about. That makes it hard to see and understand other points of view. Fora like MetaFilter don't lend themselves to rational discussion very well because it's hard to forumulate a coherent argument in 20 lines or less.

So we're often reduced to ad-hominems and solecisms. Still, for all that, MeFi is still better than some other discussions on the same topic.
posted by mrmanley at 2:50 PM on February 5, 2003


cell divide--I think it's because the trolls are the only interesting ones left in a discussion whose relevant points have been flogged worse than the combined expired horses of the past century.
posted by Fabulon7 at 2:57 PM on February 5, 2003


cell divide:

i, for one, enjoy the posts by people you label as trolls. the humor is enough to justify many of the somewhat more extreme or minority viewpoints. and in the ones with little more than seething anger, aside from petty personal attacks, the anger itself can be symbolic of a passion which is not to be ignored even in the face of complex (no matter what bush or greenpeace says) issues such as iraq and north korea. paying attention to the way in which someone says something just as much as what they actually say can go a long way towards establishing a more reliable and productive line of communication which can only help to get as many people as possible to understand more and more of the viewpoints of our diverse population, especially here on metafilter.

damn, i sounded like a politician. sorry.
posted by oog at 2:57 PM on February 5, 2003


If I might say, I found Mr. Powell's explanation of the aluminum tubing to be very interesting. Especially considering the vast amounts of discussion it has caused earlier.
posted by Plunge at 2:58 PM on February 5, 2003


I am the only one who thinks that, on topics like this, removing 1% of the posters would make these threads interesting and honest debates?

Don't be a wuss,(*wink*), name them. Yeah, I'm prolly on that list. But, aren't you really calling for banishment, in a "I don't really want to draw any reaction so I'm not saying what I really feel" kinda way?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:58 PM on February 5, 2003


in a billion years none of this will mean a thing.
posted by poopy at 3:00 PM on February 5, 2003


elpapacito: A permanent, multilater [sic] inspectors force with UN troops makes much more sense, while Saddam and his entourage is slowly "removed" in a thousand different ways.

Just as an answer to that thought...

Firstly, a permanent inspection force is not a solution. Their job is to be a consultant to the world, to be utilized by Saddam, in an effort to prove his innocence. It's like having a permanent defense attorney always working for you... or maybe like a permanent search warrent on your house. It's just not something you want to be dealing with in 20 years.

Secondly, the Saddam being removed thing. Read the fine print of the 1441 resolution. As long as the inspections are happening, everybody is supposed to be respecting their sovereignty. We're not supposed to be doing operations removing his people while inspections are happening. We're probably not even allowed to stop Saddam from directly shooting a scientist in the head for talking to the UN.

And, I only caught the last 10 minutes of the speech. I feel dumb for not knowing when it was going to be on. Hopefully CSpank will have it on soon.
posted by askheaves at 3:02 PM on February 5, 2003


Go on then, have you're bloody war.

It's not that was Powell was particularly convincing to me. I trust the Bush administration about as much as I trust the Hussein administration. But just get on with it will you?

The US and Iraq are like two bad-ass homies from different gangs, fighting down on the street below. I'm just watching from up in my apartment hoping no-one gets hurt, and wishing I didn't live in the damn neighbourhood.
posted by Jimbob at 3:04 PM on February 5, 2003


Wulfgar! Okay, I will. You're ugly and your mother dresses you funny.

Whew, glad I got that off of my chest. :-)
posted by Plunge at 3:04 PM on February 5, 2003


ParisParasmus - Troll! Trollytrollytrollytrollytroll...
You bloody bleeding trolly bastard! Troll!

Can we substitute you for Ann Coultier yet?!

"And then, when the war is fairly quickly over, and there's no longer a Hussein regime in place to lie about the number of casualties, what will you all do?"

Oh, probably point out the fact that those happy, free Iraqi civilians keep killing our soldiers and that terrorism is still alive and well... I might also grieve for all the people who died needlessly, just because Bush wasn't willing to give a policy of escalated inspections a chance.

"No thanks for defaming of the clearly honorable Ariel Sharon."

I only need two words to answer that.
Sabra. Shatilla.

Your taste in heroes is truely repellant, PP.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:08 PM on February 5, 2003


(heh heh. My work here is done...)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:10 PM on February 5, 2003


And since we're on the topic, I just want you to know that every time I see sheauga, the intro to Hooked On A Feeling comes to mind.
posted by y2karl at 3:42 PM on February 5, 2003


Yikes! I thought I posted the comment below and I hadn't!--OK, just read these in reverse order, this one and the one above. OK, got that?

Meant to be first comment:

I scroll down here to how far the commentary has degenerated and I see Sheauga's contribution. Dang, you are going for the MYP, Poli Sci division here. More proof of what iconomy said: sheauga is not a heauga.
posted by y2karl at 3:49 PM on February 5, 2003


Well, MVP to be sure. D'oh! I'm logging off now...
posted by y2karl at 3:52 PM on February 5, 2003


Wulfgar!, you rock!
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:07 PM on February 5, 2003


Okay, let's go to war. Let's invade Iraq just like we did in 1990. Let's get Sadam on the ropes with the oil fields in flames. Let's bring home our troops with illnesses that are not explained. Let's bring home another Timothy McVeigh and his twisted grudge with the government. Now what?

Do we tell Sadam to destroy all his toys and just walk away assuming he will? If I'm in charge the inspectors inspect the actual destruction, not the proof that destruction took place. We helped create the problem in the 80's and we didn't stop the problem in the 90's. In 1990 we could have had military escorts (not Iraqi spies) taking inspectors to sites with aircraft above making sure nothing moved. I'm not so bothered by the evidence that Sadam is a dangerous man with a dangerous will. I'm bothered by what we are going to do once we get there. What are our plans?

To liberate Iraq, and I do think they would welcome liberation (not another puppet to do our bidding, but someone who represents the people of Iraq) will require some gritty fighting and significant casualties. Do we as Americans really have the stomach for this? We didn't in the 90's, why is today different?
posted by whatever at 5:04 PM on February 5, 2003


Because W is leading us! Woo-woo!
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2003


ABC News has an interview with the leader of Ansar al-Islam.
posted by homunculus at 6:15 PM on February 5, 2003


That's all good HC, until it's YOUR DADDY that's the spy.

Daddy knew the risk when Daddy signed up. If America is really fighting for its survival then having support for this conflict is very important - at least it would be to an elected government, which is not the case right now. Support requires evidence, and therefore Daddy is expendable. Maybe you live in a nice warm fantasy where our not one of the boys ever gets left behind, but this isn't Black Hawk Down, and people have died at the hands of American and other governments for much less. THAT's why I say the spies are expendable, and if you can show me how the lives of a few rats who by nature can barely be trusted outweigh the magnitude of what the Bush Admin is looking for, then I'm all ears/eyes. Sticks and stones, Witty, sticks and stones.
posted by holycola at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2003


\\But no matter how the debate is framed, the future consists of just the two options listed above Saddam with the Bomb, and Iraq without Saddam. //

This is an unproven claim in many respects. The infrastrcture to build a nuclear device is still non-trivial, detectable and easily eliminated. And a part of me is still profoundly skeptical that a military intel service that spent most of the cold war tracking mobile ICBMs in polar latitudes can be threatened by a low latitude dictator. (This is one reason why I believe that Kuwait was a set-up from the start.) Destabilizing the region is unlikely to hinder the trade in black market WMD (which at this stage in the game I would be suprised if a country did not possess one in some form.)

We don't live in the 1930s when it was possible to amass forces on the border in secrecy. Saddam is still practically defanged from 1990 and any attempt to deploy can be met with overwhelming, crippling force within minutes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2003


[not entering fray]

I am determined not to enter the fray, but this (slightly off topic) comment was just wonderful:

"Also, no thanks for defaming of the clearly honorable Ariel Sharon as he tries his best to defend against Palestinian Arab savagery."

Thank you.

[/not entering fray]
posted by hama7 at 7:40 PM on February 5, 2003


I also like that comment, as if you look at the evidence and then look at that statement, it's like Sharon is in some sort of Special Olympics of leadership. Sure he ran the wrong way around the track but he's trying his best! Gold medal for Sharon! The lovably obese killer, he just works his heart out, doesn't he!

(and yes I know the Special Olympics athletes run the right war around the track, and yes I know that comparing Sharon to the retarded is a hideous slur against the mentally challenged)
posted by chaz at 8:59 PM on February 5, 2003


while we are on the subject of UN Resolutions --

The world would be a better place with both "the bulldozer" ariel sharon, removed from power and the idiot with the hat, the gun and the moustache. While we are at it, clear both countries of weapons of mass destruction and enforce UN resolutions (as well as US presidential demands) in both of them and gain the respect of the middle east, europe and the world.
posted by specialk420 at 9:02 PM on February 5, 2003


Meanwhile, "North Korea is entitled to launch a pre-emptive strike against the US rather than wait until the American military have finished with Iraq, the North's foreign ministry told the Guardian yesterday."
posted by homunculus at 9:23 PM on February 5, 2003


And then, when the war is fairly quickly over, and there's no longer a Hussein regime in place to lie about the number of casualties, what will you all do?

It would be nice if we stop supporting regimes that are directly supporting the Al Qaeda terrorists that killed 3,000 people on September 11th: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan.

Ain't holding my breath.

Britain disputes terror link to police murder
Leaked report rejects Iraqi al-Qaeda link
Saudis Aided Subpoenaed Woman's Trip Out of U.S.

Even if you believe, as I do, that Iraq has WMD - why does the Bush regime continually lie-lie-lie about the capabilities and the 9.11 links (the reason we're supposedly doing this in the first place)? Sure, we will win a quick (hopefully) war in Iraq - but does starting war over these shaky pretenses give any moral authoritiy or standing to the USA?
posted by owillis at 9:37 PM on February 5, 2003


"In 1930, Hitler was just some funny little guy banging on a table in a beer hall in Munich. 15 years later, he had turned most of Europe into a slaughterhouse. "

I think Godwin's Law is nearly upon us. But just to clear up some history here...

1923: Hitler shoots up a beer hall
1925: Hitler writes a book.
1933: Hitler elected Chancellor of Germany
1936: Germany enters the Rhineland
1938: The "Repatriation" of Austria (Anschluss)
1939: Invasion of Czechoslovakia
1939: Invastion of Poland

I don't think anyone would argue that the west appeased Hitler until full-out war became inevitable. But at what point should they have invaded, if we are to use your historical analogy in the present tense?

If you ask me (nobody does) Germany should have been taken care of when it entered the Rhineland. Definately should have been invaded for the Anshluss. And in 1939 he's invading other countries... to wait for Poland is ridiculous. So how about Iraq? Well, it hasn't invaded anybody since the last war. What is our justification, then? It has dangerous weapons and is run by a crazy-man. North Korea has even more dangerous weapons, and is run by an even crazier man. Hell, the United States has some pretty dangerous weapons, and half the population think our leader is crazy. (Sorry for the Straw Man).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:45 PM on February 5, 2003




Oh, hat tip to homunculus, I see I double commented.
posted by y2karl at 10:42 PM on February 5, 2003


[still not entering fray]

It's odd that the only point in the axis of evil triad that has been (somewhat) silent is Iran.
posted by hama7 at 12:55 AM on February 6, 2003


And PP, how many people are you willing to incinerate with Tomahawks before we find that Hussien has fled the country? How many lives are you willing to trade for your bloodlust at seeing Saddam's fried corpse? Way less than Saddam will have if his regime is allowed to continue to its "logical" conclusion/fruition. You know, if the US never entered WWII, and we just let Germany take over the world, less people may have died than did.

That's the whole point though. Every little shitpot dictator can get their hands on this stuff. Iran, Pakistan, North Korea... they all have WMDs far in excess of what Iraq has. But every shitpot dictator doesn't have unlimited funds from reserves of oil, nor a fairly modern state. Nor is every shitpot dictator promising to destroy Israel. Nor is every shitpot dictator's country surrounded by weak, unprinicipled, unstable nations susceptible to takeover and lemming-like acquiecence in schemes for domination.


Your taste in heroes is truely repellant, PP.
Nice lie. Sharon isn't my hero, and for you and others to so claim suggests a rather empty "reasoning" process. I just see no reason to conclude he's acted unreasonably in a time of war--unless you deny that Israel is, and has been at war for most of its existence. He may have made some mistakes, but that doesn't make someone bad, to say nothing of being a war criminal. But of course, what should I suspect from a forum in which President Bush is equated with Saddam Hussein: some of you are truly disgraceful.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:36 AM on February 6, 2003


It's odd that the only point in the axis of evil triad that has been (somewhat) silent is Iran.

Probably because there appears to be significant opposition to the evil within Iran, and this opposition will only grow as the post-Revolution generations become a larger and larger portion of the population. This is the opposition which isn't allowed to exist in Iraq. Or NK. There is hope for Iran, despite the resources its government allocates to terrorism.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:43 AM on February 6, 2003


"Man of Peace" - what a crock of s**t. how anyone can defend this man while lamenting the plight of iraqis is beyond me? now wonder Bush has a credibility level of 0 in every square mile of the planet beyond 12 nautical miles.
posted by specialk420 at 6:50 AM on February 6, 2003


what a crock of s**t. how anyone can defend this man while lamenting the plight of iraqis is beyond me? now wonder Bush has a credibility level of 0 in every square mile of the planet beyond 12 nautical miles.


The falsity of this contention just goes to show how out of touch you are with most Americans, most Europeans, and probably most people in Iraq. Most Americans support the President on Iraq. Even more believe he is a very decent human being. President Bush is a flawed man, like all men. But he has a lot more humility and wisdom than you do. That's why he'll likely win reëlection, while you are condemned to stew in your own miserable twisted view of the world here on the internet.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:13 AM on February 6, 2003


This is the opposition which isn't allowed to exist in Iraq. Or NK. There is hope for Iran, despite the resources its government allocates to terrorism.

On this I will actually agree with you, PP. Iran needs to just be left ALONE, not even mentioned in speeches. If its left alone to do its own thing, we can soon have a great ally in the region, but it will take time and it will take our best effort to resist the urge to meddle. The opposition is growing, but every time a US President, Dem. or Rep., no partisan bickering here, calls them an "Axis of Evil" or some such, the Imams have more ammo for their rhetoric!

I just see no reason to conclude he's acted unreasonably in a time of war--unless you deny that Israel is, and has been at war for most of its existence. He may have made some mistakes, but that doesn't make someone bad, to say nothing of being a war criminal.

This is a bit naive PP, Sharon has done more than "make mistakes" All present troubles in Palestine aside, he slaughtered hundreds of Lebanese people to allow Nazis (and by Nazi I mean little mustache sporting, jack booted, sieg heil, "kill the jews" Nazis, not just some slightly right of center guys) to take power in his neighboring country. Last time I checked Sharon and the Israelis were Jewish, why are they aiding and abetting NAZIS?!? That's a pretty big mistake, more like a crime against humanity!

But of course, what should I suspect from a forum in which President Bush is equated with Saddam Hussein: some of you are truly disgraceful.

Great, thanks, a little while ago I was defending the Bush plan for war and admonishing someone for trying to bring up the whole stupid election debate, now I'm equating Saddam and Dubya because I think Ariel Sharon is the human waste of world leaders?

On a completely different note: When would I want a foreign power to use force against the United States? If say we were taken over by a ruthless dictator, the constitution was completely dismantled and civil rights abolished. People were being dragged out of their homes and tortured to death for suspicion of being a dissident. The "President for Life" has rounded up, oh, say, black people and "ethnically cleansed" then and has eyes for the latinos next. I'd say then I'd like another country to have a little "regime change" party in Washington. No matter how much you hate Bush, and trust me I'm no fan of the man, this country despite what we may fear it to become, is not like what I described above, Iraq however is, many other countries are just like that too. The US is still the land of the free for most of us (although I'm glad I'm not of Middle Eastern decent right now or for that matter black, but that's another issue), if you don't believe me then travel abroad more. We also happen to be the most militarily strong nation in the world, we are as of now the world's cops, we can use that power for good, like stripping tyrants from power, or bad, like putting tyrants into power (a la Guatemala).

That's why he'll likely win reëlection, while you are condemned to stew in your own miserable twisted view of the world here on the internet.

PP, please calm down. Remember, YOU are on the internet too! Had Gore won, would you have not grumbled? Please, if we must rant, let's not rave. We're not all out to get you, although I would agree that there are some who might be!
posted by Pollomacho at 7:36 AM on February 6, 2003


condemned to stew

oh lord - if i was someone defending the daily barbarities commited by ariel sharon and the IDF - then i would be stewing. which you avoid addressing at all.....

what if that was your deaf grandmother that had been bulldozed in her home paris? i enjoy you informative posts much of time... but your blind defense of israel and sharon makes me wonder.

as for world opinion of mr. bush.... perhaps you should do your usual meticulous research.

ill be thinking about that poor old woman in Jerusalem today... but not stewing. i hope you do the same.
posted by specialk420 at 8:09 AM on February 6, 2003


but every time a US President, Dem. or Rep., no partisan bickering here, calls them an "Axis of Evil" or some such, the Imams have more ammo for their rhetoric!

I'm not sure how obvious that is. Calling the Soviets the Evil Empire didn't seem to strengthen the Soviets, and a number of "former Soviets" have since said the utterance inspired their opposition.

Last time I checked Sharon and the Israelis were Jewish, why are they aiding and abetting NAZIS?!? That's a pretty big mistake, more like a crime against humanity!
Precisely. The illogic of it, of Sharon doing this, and moreover, the Israeli populace supporting him strongly suggests that anti-Israeli propaganda is at work in the development of the "facts" on which your conclusion is premised. My point in this regard is simply to allow a much larger margin of "error" than one would in, e.g., domestic American politics. Lebanon is, not now, and certainly not in 1982 a place conducive to learning what really happened. Yes, refugees may have died, but the precise sequence of events which lead to those deaths can be known with much less certainty. Remember how 500 people were supposedly killed in Jenin last year...?

Great, thanks, a little while ago I was defending the Bush plan for war and admonishing someone for trying to bring up the whole stupid election debate, now I'm equating Saddam and Dubya because I think Ariel Sharon is the human waste of world leaders?

People, if not you, have in this thread, and in others on Mefi. Also, President Bush and a number of other American leaders don't merely tolerate Sharon, they go out of their way to embrace him. So, perhaps you should have less confidence in your assessment of him.

...if you don't believe me then travel abroad more...
I wholeheartedly agree. Being by far the biggest boy on the block has it's advantages, but it's also a huge responsibility. I think we're doing a pretty good job at it. Of course not perfect--whatever the hell that is.


what if that was your deaf grandmother that had been bulldozed in her home paris? i enjoy you informative posts much of time... but your blind defense of israel and sharon makes me wonder.

Guess what? I'm already very sympathetic to the Palestinians in the territories. Just not people and "leaders" who direct or given aid and comfort to homicide bombers. Most of my comments on the P/I subject are in response to outrageous comments made by other people, so you may have the impression I'm extremist, when I'm really not. I hope that makes sense.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:24 AM on February 6, 2003


It appears that one person whose mind was changed by Powell's speech is no less than The Washington Post's Mary McGrory:
Of course, Bush chose Powell to make the case before the United Nations. He has no one else who so commands the country's respect -- or the world's.

Powell took his seat in the United Nations and put his shoulder to the wheel. He was to talk for almost an hour and a half. His voice was strong and unwavering. He made his case without histrionics of any kind, with no verbal embellishments. He aired his tapes of conversations between Iraqi army officers who might well be supposed to be concealing toxic materials or enterprises.

***

Would Saddam Hussein use them? He already has, against his own people and Iranians. He has produced four tons of deadly VX: "A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes." The cumulative effect was stunning...

I wasn't so sure about the al Qaeda connection. But I had heard enough to know that Saddam Hussein, with his stockpiles of nerve gas and death-dealing chemicals, is more of a menace than I had thought. I'm not ready for war yet. But Colin Powell has convinced me that it might be the only way to stop a fiend, and that if we do go, there is reason
My sentiments exactly.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:43 AM on February 6, 2003


But what other proof can be shown to Ms. McGrory? Isn't she really just saying that she will favor war unless the Iraqis come forward with something shocking to show a change of heart? Or is she not simply saying that going to war is a gut-wrentching decision which will never feel completely right?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:53 AM on February 6, 2003


I think the latter. And I guess I tend to feel that way, too -- war may be necessary, but to me it never feels "right." But Powell's speech convinced me of the material breach, and convinced me that if the UN takes no action, it might as well fold up and go home, because its "promises" are really just words on paper.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2003


That's what I got from her too PY? and how I feel about Powell's speech and the issue as a whole as well. Oh, by the way thanks for re-railing us as we'd gotten off on an I/P track and we all know that only leads to the scrap yard!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:20 AM on February 6, 2003


Smoking gun? Yes. Or more like smoking audio tape.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:28 AM on February 6, 2003


"Asuming all his assertions are true, Powell has provided cause to be concerned about an al Qaeda-Iraq alliance. But is the picture so clear that conquest and occupation is the only option? Does the United States want to assume control of a country because there were contacts between its security services and al Qaeda several years ago? But here's the first question that struck me after Powell's presentation: why hasn't the United States bombed the so-called Zarqawi camp shown in the slide? The administration obviously knows where it is, and Powell spoke of it in the present tense. If it is an outpost of chemical weapons and explosives development for al Qaeda, why not take it out, especially since it is situated within a part of Iraq uncontrolled by any national government? The United States has fighter jets patrolling the northern no-fly zone in Iraq. Cruise missiles can easily reach the area. This part of Powell's briefing reinforced a crucial point: al Qaeda is the pressing danger at the moment. The most direct way to strike al Qaeda would be to hit this camp, rather than invade Iraq. So bombs away, but only for this target--regardless of what the French might say."
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM on February 6, 2003


That's a very good question--one of the best I've read anywhere, actually. However, let's assume the base doesn't exist, or it's not Al Qaeda's, but the administration wanted to fabricate a connection: wouldn't they have bombed the area anyway? Moreover, why hasn' the United States bombed other sites in Iraq? I don't think the answer is necessarily that the base or WMD infrastructure doesn't exist. Maybe the Administration truly does believe in the UN process, or at least some international process by which to address Iraq. As it is, the no-fly zones were, if not directly approved by the UN, than impliedly legitimated by the UN.

But really, an excellent question.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:37 AM on February 6, 2003


The answer is that Powell made an excellent case, just not for all-out war and invasion. The missing ingredient is the desire by the administration to re-make the middle east through war, and to secure the oil supplies. Simply protecting the world from WOMD and terrorism can be acheived without a full-scale invasion (if not without violence), while the other goals (ones which are completely unpalatable to almost everyone) necessitate it.
posted by cell divide at 11:42 AM on February 6, 2003


Thread seems to be calming down a bit now. Can I offer a further sedative in the form of Timothy Garton Ash?

On preview: celld, what a gem of a nutshell
posted by skellum at 11:48 AM on February 6, 2003


Simply protecting the world from WOMD and terrorism can be acheived without a full-scale invasion (if not without violence), while the other goals (ones which are completely unpalatable to almost everyone) necessitate it.

Actually, I don't even think invading Iraq can so protect the world, except incrementally: ONE big increment. Without Iraq, there are still a host of places where terrorism can be nurtured. Bank cutting off the bankroll which is Iraq is definitely a step in the right direction. Lets just hope it doesn't amount to fingers in a leaking dike.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:51 AM on February 6, 2003


But here's the first question that struck me after Powell's presentation: why hasn't the United States bombed the so-called Zarqawi camp shown in the slide?

I think that's what they are trying to get permission from the UN to do right now! Bombing a site in Iraq is an act of war. This is not just a anti-aircraft battery that powers up and tries to get a lock on a US plane, this is a bunker, with people that Saddam is going to claim (even if it is) was some kind of civilian site and raise holy hell. That is why we don't just bomb these sites!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:07 PM on February 6, 2003


No, Pollomacho, it's different-- the US bombs people all the time (Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, to name some recent ones) without UN approval. The UN mandate is important because entering a full-scale war opens up so many other issues that simple bombing here and there does not. If it was just a matter of bombing this target and that target, the UN would not be needed as the potential downsides are much smaller.
posted by cell divide at 12:13 PM on February 6, 2003


Well. actually, the Bush administration has only gone after Afghanistan, and has only fired on Iraq when its planes were in imminent danger of being fired upon. Whatever its wisdom, don't attribute Clinton tactics to the present President. Remember, Cell Divide: here in the United States, our leaders actually change fairly often...
posted by ParisParamus at 12:24 PM on February 6, 2003


Well, not exactly CD. We have bombed Saddam when he violates the "No Fly Zone," this is pre-approved by the UN. When we perceive a credible threat, the UN charter, etc states that strikes are justified. I haven't seen any World Court cases from Taliban era Afghanistan charging Clinton with a war crime for hitting an Al Queda compound. There's a civil suit against the US for bombing the Sudanese chemical plant, but there haven't been UN sanctions imposed on us for taking it out. Sure, we bomb when we feel like it, but if we want to hit Saddam in a meaningful way, we're going to have to expect an violent reaction and this time we want to be prepared and approved, or at least try to get approved.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:35 PM on February 6, 2003


You know, the "anti-war movement" in the United States might, actually be taken seriously if their rallies were not discounted by the de rigeur panoply of extraneous signs, slogans and speeches; everything from World Socialism! to FREE MUMIA! to, well, God knows what else. I've never understood the appearance of such distractions other to assume that the "movement" itself is founded in some kind of conspiratorial wackoism.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:36 PM on February 6, 2003


You know, the "anti-war movement" in the United States might, actually be taken seriously if their rallies were not discounted by the de rigeur panoply of extraneous signs, slogans and speeches; everything from World Socialism! to FREE MUMIA! to, well, God knows what else. I've never understood the appearance of such distractions other to assume that the "movement" itself is founded in some kind of conspiratorial wackoism.

And this contributes to the debate over Powell's presentation in what way? You see PP it is exactly "wacko" comments like these that lead to flames, and troll accusations.

If you truly have a factual argument to make then make it. If you find that you need to stoop to throwing insults, labels and rhetoric into the mix you are running out of good evidence to support yourself with.
posted by aaronscool at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2003


here in the United States, our leaders actually change fairly often...

ParisP, your noble belief in the peerlessness of US democracy forgets that presidential candidates sing (and have sung for some little while now) from the same corporate donor sheet.

Call that conspiratorial wackoism if you will but I'm prepared to dig out some links if I really have to.
posted by skellum at 1:35 PM on February 6, 2003


...stoop to throwing insults...

Not insults; observations about tactics and what they reveal. One of the signs that you have a valid argument is when your "opposition" must resort to cobbling together several little, unrelated issues to create the impression of one big one; and when they don't even deem it appropriate to try and hide the fact they are doing it. So, the above is hardly a non-sequitur; hardly a serious counterargument to Iraq trying to hide the goods from the inspectors and the world.

Why so touchy? Were you holding up one of the Mumia posters at that rally in Washington a few weeks ago?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:43 PM on February 6, 2003


Well, O proponents of invasion, is all of Powell's evidence going to be as reliable as this dossier which is not only plagiarized, but full of decade-old information? If Powell's so informed, why did he laud this document as being accurate?
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:02 PM on February 6, 2003


And this contributes to the debate over Powell's presentation in what way?

I guess in about the same way as comments regarding...

* North Korea's nuclear program
* Pakistani training camps
* Saudi Arabia's support of terrorists
* Isreal violating UN sanctions
* The relative worth of Arial Sharon
and
* The Republican party's thirst for oil

have to do with Powell's presentation.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:10 PM on February 6, 2003


Paris, I'm not touchy about this comment at all but pointing out that if you really wanted to try and sway someone's opinion you were make the exacly wrong type of comment to do it.

I could for example and responded very easily with a snarky comment about how the reasons to invade Iraq would sound so much better were it not for the fact that the adminstration from top to bottom is steeped in the oil business and the primary resource in Iraq is oil.

These comments don't contribute to the merits of Powell's presentation at all. Same with the merit's of Sharon's leadership.

In response to pardonyou?:
I partly agree with you but I do believe that the hipocrasy of the administration's argument for war can and should be brought up. If we are so concerned about WoMD, terrorism and human rights then why the hell aren't we invading Pakistan, and N. Korea, along with Iraq?
posted by aaronscool at 2:21 PM on February 6, 2003


hahah... colin... give your staff a nice pat on the back for checking their sources. christ. what joke.
posted by specialk420 at 2:30 PM on February 6, 2003


is all of Powell's evidence going to be as reliable as this dossier which is not only plagiarized, but full of decade-old information? If Powell's so informed, why did he laud this document as being accurate?

Oh, God, no all the photo's and tapes must have been plagiarized too because this one thing was shady, noooooooo! Come on, I don't even remember this dossier being mentioned, much less lauded, so that one's gone from the long list, what about all the rest of the things, what about the things he has that he didn't show us? NPR just had a former weapons inspector on who stated that Powell's report was quite consistent with what he had personally observed in Iraq. What does that guy stand to gain.

One of the signs that you have a valid argument is when your "opposition" must resort to cobbling together several little, unrelated issues to create the impression of one big one; and when they don't even deem it appropriate to try and hide the fact they are doing it.

PP, this is just not true. You may like apples, but that doesn't mean that you can't also like bananas. You can be a pro-lifer and be pro-death penalty, you can be pro-war and anti-school bussing. You're right that the main point gets clouded by all the tiny pet issues of the participants sometimes, but the fact is and was in Washington that they were all on one side of the war issue, regardless of how they felt about Mumia or Israel or feminism or whatever!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:34 PM on February 6, 2003


Powell's statement about the dossier:

I would call my colleagues attention to the fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities.

You miss the point, Pollomacho. On purpose perhaps?

Oh, God, no all the photo's and tapes must have been plagiarized too because this one thing was shady, noooooooo!

The point is not that all the other stuff might be plagiarized, but rather that if Colin Powell and his experts can't recognize 10-year old information in a document which supposedly "describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities," then why should I believe that his interpretation of the other circumstantial evidence is any better informed?
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:26 PM on February 6, 2003


I wasn't saying anything about Bush (or any other leader), just making the point that in general the US does not 'need' the UN to carry out small strikes. I was making no judgement, just responding to Pollomacho's comments regarding the current purposed of going to the UN in the first place.
posted by cell divide at 3:30 PM on February 6, 2003


Another question I have about the al Qaeda camp: is this the same camp that Bush decided not to take out last August? And if so, why after 6 months are we just watching them go about their business? What have they produced in the last 6 months? If there is one target in Iraq that no one in the internationally community would complain about us bombing, this is it.
posted by homunculus at 9:18 PM on February 6, 2003


kristof paints a much more solid case against war. will anyone listen? ... krugmans column tells it like it is today as well.
posted by specialk420 at 10:19 PM on February 6, 2003


Here's the Krugman article for those interested.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:43 AM on February 7, 2003


If there is one target in Iraq that no one in the internationally community would complain about us bombing, this is it.

Except Iraq! If we bombed that site, Saddam would freak, he'd claim it was a school or a hospital, he'd start calling the US infidels and drag the whole region into a mess, without our troops and whatever coalition we can muster ready to take him on! Its like the talk about taking out the NK reactor, do you think the North Koreans would just say, "oh, well, the international community thinks that it was a bad thing, so I guess you were right Bush." or do you think they would nuke Tokyo and Seoul?

EU, let me point out part of that quotation from Powell he calls the dossier a "fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday" Thanks for the section I really couldn't find it, anyway Powell had the document for 24 hours, I don't think you can call him down for MI6 and Jack Straw's mistake. Besides the fact that Powell, being a diplomat speaking before the UN, was using diplomatic language, a Mad magazine would be called a "fine paper" in those circles. Besides even that, just because the info was 10 years old doesn't mean its bad info, we had nerve gas stockpiles in Anniston, AL 10 years ago, and guess what, they're still there. Powell's info for the speech was checked, checked again, confirmed through witnesses, confirmed through satellites, confirmed through intercepted phone messages, confirmed through U2 photos, confirmed by listening devices, so on and so forth. Powell was not going to go in and deliver a speech with info that he didn't know was correct, its not like he's a journalist writing a blurb for the Times and he needs one source and one confirmation to mean something is golden, he's asking for members of the UN to send their boys to join our boys in fighting a war, and he's going to do this with cruddy intel? I think not. I'd still love to see some of the other stuff he couldn't show us, one day it will be declassified and we'll see how bad it really is, but for now, I've got to take his word for it, based mostly, but not all, on my trust in the civility and integrity of the office of the President, the Secretary of State, the United States government and the UN. Nixon may have seriously fucked up the way we view the Presidency, but I still have to believe that the President of the United States would not send our troops, nor ask leaders of other nations to send troops to fight for some bull shit reason like oil and greed. First of all, if he were caught, what are the chances that the GOP would EVER get a President in office again? Secondly, how many Americans that lost kids, husbands, etc. would want to kill him? How could another country ever trust us again? There is too much at risk to make claims like Powell did without back up.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:01 AM on February 7, 2003


I've got to take his word for it, based mostly, but not all, on my trust in the civility and integrity of the office of the President, the Secretary of State, the United States government

Offices are abstractions: why trust an "office"? Bush is either trustworthy or not, and he's amassed a considerable record of deception up to this point, as have Rumsfeld and Cheney. At the risk of looking pretentious, here's a snip from an essay I wrote the other day:

" It boils down to an issue of trust: do I trust Colin Powell enough to take him at his word, that these recordings are genuine. I am not inclined to trust him. Though he himself has not been shown to be a liar, he has the unfortunate bad luck to work for a clique of liars and warmongers. It should remembered, when dealing with Bush's core team of advisors, that nearly every one of them worked for Ronald Reagan, and that most of them have worked for every Republican administration since Nixon. One advisor, John Poindexter, is a convicted felon for his involvement the Iran-Contra affair. The others, Rumsfeld and Cheney most especially, served presidencies which brought us such honest, trustworthy operations such as the Watergate incident, the carpet bombing of Cambodia, a U.S.-directed Iranian invasion of Oman, the carpet-bombing of Laos, the CIA-backed coup of a democratically-elected president in Chile, replacing that president with international human rights criminal Pinochet, CIA-designed coups in El Salvador and Nicaragua, both to unseat democratic leaders, the illegal selling of weapons to Iran to fund the Nicaragua operation, the invasion of Grenada, the arming of Iraq to fight Iran, the invasion of Panama. These are people who worked for the president who urged Kurdish rebels in Iraq to rise up against Saddam in 1990, and then did nothing when Saddam gassed them. While gearing up for the first Gulf War, when Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell all worked for Bush's father; the first Bush spread the outright lie that Iraqi soldiers had gone into Kuwaiti hospitals and pulled Kuwaiti babies from incubators. That is, they showed that they were willing to lie when they dd not need to; recall that the American public overwhelmingly supported the first Gulf War. How much more then would they be willing to lie now that skepticism is high?
Powell associates with liars, works for liars, and takes action justified by lies."
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2003


Eustacesscrubb. Your blog would suggest you don't even trust the veracity of General Powell's presentation. So, what quantum of evidence do you require?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:22 AM on February 7, 2003


And while we're at it, did the United States deserve the attacks of September 11?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:25 AM on February 7, 2003


So, what quantum of evidence do you require?

Proof of the existence of serious WoMD. And I'm not talking about Mustard Gas, I'm talking Nuclear programs/capability, VX Nerve gas or Weaponized Anthrax.

And while we're at it, did the United States deserve the attacks of September 11?

No but we would be foolish to ignore the root causes and motivations of why 19 men felt their only way to get their message heard was to perpetrate this kind of attack. To simply label the 9/11 terrorists (and Al Qaeda) as insane madmen is to bury your head in the sand as to how this happened in the first place.
posted by aaronscool at 9:39 AM on February 7, 2003


To simply label the 9/11 terrorists (and Al Qaeda) as insane madmen is to bury your head in the sand as to how this happened in the first place.

I disagree. It happened because Islam-inspired madmen got their hands on the resources to blow up buildings and people. Understanding why is primarily the province of the psychiatrist. I am only interested in "understanding" such madness to the extent it's coextensive with finding such people and kiiling them first; and implementing defenses to make their mission more difficult.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:12 AM on February 7, 2003


one mans war is another mans terrorism. civilians are killed nearly everyday in the occupied territories freedom is repressed acrossed the middle east by governments supported by the US. and jackie mason thinks ethnic cleansing is a good idea.

the root causes and the conditions that create terrorists should be half the battle - of course the bush junta has'nt even mentioned the idea.
posted by specialk420 at 10:45 AM on February 7, 2003


It happened because Islam-inspired madmen got their hands on the resources to blow up buildings and people.

Islam, as I have said before and will contend again and again, is a religion of peace and justice. What those men did has nothing to do with Islam any more than a klan lynching has anything to do with Christianity. The "resources" they needed were 19 guys with plane tickets, some box cutters and a fanatical hatred for American imperialist meddling in the affairs of their millennia old culture. No, the US didn't deserve 9/11, but denying that we had nothing to do with that nor the hostage crisis in 1980 Iran is just ignoring the whole motivation the terrorists had for committing those terrible acts! What this has to do with Powell's speech, I'm not sure.

Yes, Bush has some sleazy associates (I'm not sure many could lump Powell in that group), yes they have a long history, mostly from the Nixon era, of sneaky shit. I detest the fact that the US did (does) those things, but never did Nixon or Regan or Bush, Sr. ask for the entire UN back them in any of those projects. Chile, Nicaragua, etc. were clandestine wars, shady, underhanded, dirty. Bush, et al. are not doing this in that shady underhanded way, they are bringing some of what they know right into the public forum of the Security Council for all the world to see, that's just one more reason why I tend to believe them all the more. Powell didn't make any "baby snatching" claims or any grandstanding, he clearly, methodically and deliberately laid out evidence bit by bit for over 90 minutes, from VX numbers to aerosolized Anthrax to development of a nuclear (nukular) program.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:12 AM on February 7, 2003


Powell didn't make any "baby snatching" claims or any grandstanding, he clearly, methodically and deliberately laid out evidence bit by bit for over 90 minutes, from VX numbers to aerosolized Anthrax to development of a nuclear (nukular) program.

He presented no evidence that Iraq has pursued or still maintains WoMD since the Gulf War. He presented evidence that Iraq is working contrary to the will and intent of the UN weapons inspectors.

One important note is that any and all current evidence of Iraq WoMD comes from intelligence from before the Gulf war or more substantially from previous weapons inspectors. Iraq behaved the same way with prior inspectors (if not worse) but through careful and methodical work the inspectors were able to gain a great deal of knowledge about Iraq's WoMD. In my mind we are in the same position we were before and if Inspectors are given the time, resources and support (intelligence) they will determine quite handily just what WoMD exactly Iraq does or does not possess.
posted by aaronscool at 11:45 AM on February 7, 2003


We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.

Although Iraq's mobile production program began in the mid-1990s, U.N. inspectors at the time only had vague hints of such programs. Confirmation came later, in the year 2000.

A third source, also in a position to know, reported in summer 2002 that Iraq had manufactured mobile production systems mounted on road trailer units and on rail cars

In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujahid Sali Abdul Latif (ph), told inspectors that Iraq intended the spray tanks to be mounted onto a MiG-21 that had been converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a UAV.

Iraq admitted to producing four spray tanks. But to this day, it has provided no credible evidence that they were destroyed, evidence that was required by the international community.

Saddam Hussein has never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with mustard, 30,000 empty munitions and enough precursors to increase his stockpile to as much as 500 tons of chemical agents. If we consider just one category of missing weaponry--6,500 bombs from the Iran-Iraq war--UNMOVIC says the amount of chemical agent in them would be in the order of 1,000 tons. These quantities of chemical weapons are now unaccounted for.

We have evidence these weapons existed. What we don't have is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are. That is what we are still waiting for.

It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX.


I think you might need to revise these statements:

He presented no evidence that Iraq has pursued or still maintains WoMD since the Gulf War. and

any and all current evidence of Iraq WoMD comes from intelligence from before the Gulf war or more substantially from previous weapons inspectors

Iraq according to multiple sources, none of which were inspectors, has these mobile plants rolling around, for what? They aren't brewing beer in those vats!

Even if the new evidence were wrong, Saddam was ordered to destroy his weapons and to provide evidence that he did so, he has not provided that evidence. He was told that if he didn't come clean he would face serious consequences, however the only consequences he has had to face has been, well, nothing actually, no one has done anything.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:22 PM on February 7, 2003


We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.
Although Iraq's mobile production program began in the mid-1990s, U.N. inspectors at the time only had vague hints of such programs. Confirmation came later, in the year 2000.

A third source, also in a position to know, reported in summer 2002 that Iraq had manufactured mobile production systems mounted on road trailer units and on rail cars.


Unsubstatiated third hand reports. I'm sorry but I won't support going to war on hearsay. I don't believe the UN will either.

In 1995, an Iraqi military officer, Mujahid Sali Abdul Latif (ph), told inspectors that Iraq intended the spray tanks to be mounted onto a MiG-21 that had been converted into an unmanned aerial vehicle, or a UAV.

Iraq admitted to producing four spray tanks. But to this day, it has provided no credible evidence that they were destroyed, evidence that was required by the international community.


Inspectors got this information...and it's a delivery system not WoMD.

Saddam Hussein has never accounted for vast amounts of chemical weaponry: 550 artillery shells with mustard, 30,000 empty munitions and enough precursors to increase his stockpile to as much as 500 tons of chemical agents. If we consider just one category of missing weaponry--6,500 bombs from the Iran-Iraq war--UNMOVIC says the amount of chemical agent in them would be in the order of 1,000 tons. These quantities of chemical weapons are now unaccounted for.

First off do you know what the shelf life for Mustard Gas is? Most of the Mustard Gas he produced is well beyond it's effective lifespan. Secondly this information again came from inspectors.

We have evidence these weapons existed. What we don't have is evidence from Iraq that they have been destroyed or where they are. That is what we are still waiting for.

It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX.


Again evidence from prior to the Gulf War or provided from inspectors. I don't believe I'll be revising my statements and I still will not support a war when we cannot produce real evidence that Saddam either has serious WoMD (VX, Nuclear or Weaponized Anthrax) or has been actively producing these materials since the Gulf War.
posted by aaronscool at 1:37 PM on February 7, 2003


unsubstantiated third hand reports.

We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories


Obviously, it doesn't matter what Powell presents, you are just going to think that he's lying. That's fine, but you should just say that instead of saying that he didn't present anything new. This is new info, in his presentation he gave four separate eye witness reports of these mobile factories, so I don't know why you choose to call them "third hand?" Saddam admitted to having VX, yet you choose not to believe that he has VX, even though the report he presented didn't give any indication that he had try to destroy the 4 tons he had. Mustard gas is not what is being debated here, rather things like Camel Pox, Ricin, VX and Anthrax, but even if we were talking about it, mustard gas produced by the US military for use in WWI is still treated as deadly by the soldiers that watch the stockpiles in Anniston, AL, so I would think that we should too, not to mention that soil from an area in Washington, DC that was used for testing live mustard gas delivery shells back in the 1910's is STILL contaminated with toxins to the level that the US gov't is having to dig up an entire neighborhood, so I'd rather not find out just how deadly Saddam's arsenal is by having him drop some on Tel Aviv. So you don't like the war, great, that's fine. You think Powell is full of shit, fine, nothing then will convince you and its pointless to try. I'll still at least sleep at night knowing that my tax money is finally going to try and clean up a mess we helped create for once, in that we will get rid of another sleazy totalitarian, regardless of his WoMD capabilities. Now if we can just keep from making a mess when we try and put the pieces back together...
posted by Pollomacho at 2:15 PM on February 7, 2003


I have outlined what it will take for me to support a war with Iraq quite well. I do in fact support military action under those terms. It seems to me (and most of the world by the way) that these are quite reasonable requirements to fulfill prior to the invasion and destruction of another sovereign state.

What disgusts me about this is that I'm called on to believe unsubstantiated accounts from an administration that has a very vocal agenda on the matter. Well I'm not going to do it. If there is proof that Iraq has real tangible existing WoMD then provide it. Don't disguise it. Don't tell me a little birdy told you so. Provide the evidence (which could be done if the US shared it's supposed intelligence with weapons inspectors). If Iraq is hiding something, find it and show the world how much they have been lying.

This isn't some kind of game. People will be killed. Americans will lose their lives for this either directly in the war or later when we've fanned the flames of militant Islam further.

Personally I think the world wants to get rid of Saddam. I think France, Germany and all of the Middle East would love to support us. But they can't right now because we haven't shown any real verifiable hard facts and evidence that Iraq has serious WoMD. If the U.S. continues on it's unilateral agenda we only invite more discord and friction in the Middle East. This is why I don't support a war at this time. In my opinion the consequences are far greater than the benefits.
posted by aaronscool at 2:47 PM on February 7, 2003


So when do we bomb the Qatari Ministery of the Interior?
posted by homunculus at 6:16 PM on February 7, 2003


Adlai Stevenson's son, himself a former senator, critiques Powell's presentation.
posted by homunculus at 7:35 PM on February 7, 2003


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