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powell flip flop
February 12, 2003 4:49 PM   Subscribe

powell flip flop [via rc3] on top of citing flimsy, plagiarized, out of date reports as evidence against iraq. powell cant make up his mind if osama is in cahoots with iraq. osamas statement appears to show support for the iraqi people -yet labels "Saddam's Baath party as "infidels." " are powell and the administration grasping at straws?
posted by specialk420 (57 comments total)

 
There probably is a case for war against Iraq. The problem is that Bush and company have damaged their own credibility with falsified data, exaggerations and outright lies that a lot of people won't believe them unless Saddam himself is riding a bomb into downtown Manhattan ala Maj. T.J. 'King' Kong in Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).
posted by substrate at 5:04 PM on February 12, 2003


are powell and the administration grasping at straws?

Honestly, that quote made me wonder about the overall gullibility of Americans moreso than the desperation of the administration. After all, I sincerely doubt that the administration would've declared that the tape proved a link unless a poll indicated such an accusation would be generally credible.

My question then becomes, how is it that such blatant mistruths aren't examined critically by the media or the general public?
posted by mosch at 5:05 PM on February 12, 2003


Here are the complete translations of the tape from Washington Post and the BBC.

Reason has a good analysis of the tape and its significance.

I just wish Bush would finally clarify his position on bin Laden.
posted by homunculus at 5:10 PM on February 12, 2003


From the perspective of Osama, a very relgious fundy, yes, of course, Saddam is not a good person. And yes, Iraqi people ought to become suicide bombers. Why? Because an American presence in Iraq and killing Muslims will further Osama's cause. Is there a direct link between Osam's gang and Saddam? Perhaps no. But that, we are told, is not the reson or at lest the main reason, we are going to remove Saddam.
posted by Postroad at 5:18 PM on February 12, 2003


The BBC also has 'Iraq and al-Qaeda: What's the evidence?' from the 30th of January
posted by X-00 at 5:20 PM on February 12, 2003


Bush and company have damaged their own credibility with falsified data, exaggerations and outright lies
all of which reveal the essential nature of these beasts.
posted by quonsar at 5:24 PM on February 12, 2003



posted by delmoi at 5:27 PM on February 12, 2003


At least Powell can count on Osama to be there when he needs him!
posted by blamb at 5:32 PM on February 12, 2003


My, what serendipity. I posted these comments elsewhere today and I'll share here:

I just took a quick tour of the warbloggers and what has me stupified are the number of people who still see the connection between Saddam and Osama. Let me see if I can parse this through for myself:

The US govt. isn't going to war against the Iraqi people, its going to war against Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein has ties to Al Queda (claim).

The head of Al Queda (Osama) denounces Saddam as a traitor to Islam, and calls on the Iraqi people to fight against all infidels and their supporters (Saddam, Pakistan, Saudi and the US). He urges them to use the tactics of terror that are the staple of Al Queda's Jihad.

So its the Iraqi people that Osama is "linked" to, but we're not going to war against them, right?

This somehow proves a link between Saddam and terror?

I'll take that crib sheet now ...


and:

Okay, let's follow this through. Osama wishes to destroy the culture of the West. Why? He's a religious zealot, that follows the doctrines of Islam as a life or death pattern of behaviour. America is decadent and evil. Fine. Psycho, but at least we get it.

Saddam wants to destroy the West. Why? Saddam is a secular ruler, enamored of power and potency. That means money, the very tool of evil that Osama wishes to bring down. Saddam does not rule in the name of Allah, he rules in the name of Saddam and the Baath party that supports his generosity. They have nothing except oil, that the West will cowtow for, and Saddam seeks legitamcy among the capitalist Western rulers. Even today, he plays the western game of politic and evasion to stay in power while this lost-child headcase in the White house plays Hatfield/McCoy with him.

Saddam is the epitomy of what Osama despises. Saddam IS the West to Osama's zealot fevored mind. The West is the goal to Saddam's ambitions. Osama wants to destroy the West, Saddam wants to join it in its debauchery and will play every card in his deck to show his power. These men have no common ground, except that the US wants both of them dead.

Please disavow yourself of the notion that there is evidence that we haven't seen. Powell had the chance to present the master-stroke before the UNSC. He had the chance to prove Bush's claim that Iraq would help terrorists in attacks against the US or its allies. Powell presented nothing. Not one shred of evidence that Al Queda and Iraq are in league. Except of course the claim that Saddam COULD support terror against the US. Yes, Saddam wants to see more terror attacks against the US and Israel. That's given. But that he is tied to those terror attacks is a supposition. And monkeys could fly out of my butt, too. The wicked witch of the west might wish that. That doesn't mean that I'm going to attack all wicca just because they might wish that monkeys fly out of my butt.


The fact is, as ParisParamus so arrogantly declared several months ago, we're (the US) going to war against Saddam Hussien, so we should just deal with it. Bush will not be "satisfied" until he missile-fucks Saddam. This argument is pointless ... unless everyone here is willing to write their congressional representatives letting them know that we're tired beyond belief of the lies and irrational motivations. 2004 - Bush flames out into disgusting obscurity!
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:41 PM on February 12, 2003


I don't think this is a Powell flip-flop....the two comments cited in the article aren't mutually exclusive. It's not hard to simultaneously believe that Bin Laden doesn't give a whit for the people of Iraq or Palestine, and that he'd work with them to further his own designs. The U.S. almost certainly didn't care for Stalin while they were fighting hitler.

I also, however, simultaneously believe that (1) the Bush administration's case for war is hash and (2) there may be a genuine case to be made for changing things in Iraq.
posted by namespan at 5:41 PM on February 12, 2003


In the audiotape, Bin Laden says "We are following up with great interest and extreme concern the crusaders' preparations for war to occupy a former capital of Islam..." Bin Laden is referring here to Bagdad's status as the capital of the Abbasid caliphate from 750 to 1258 CE. Given Bagdad's significance in medieval Islamic history, that's all the information you need to explain why Bin Laden feels it necessary to defend Iraq against a U.S. attack, even though he has no substantive connection to Saddam and views Saddam as a loathsome infidel. Given Bin Laden's statement on this tape, I'm wondering whether the Bush Administration's attempt to manufacture a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda won't have the unintended consequence of creating such a link where none existed before.
posted by jonp72 at 5:52 PM on February 12, 2003


wulfgar! - excellent post. thankyou.

make the case.

get some semblance of approval from the security council (and allies we'll desperately need in fighting terrorism in the years ahead (germany - france etc.))

and im cool with taking the lunatic with the gun and moustache out.

until then... ill look forward to the aforementioned flameout.
posted by specialk420 at 5:54 PM on February 12, 2003


blamb, page not found... but that is just as well as I see you were attempting to link to a Dowd column. You might as well have linked to Ann Coulter...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 5:56 PM on February 12, 2003


*nothing to see here, please move along*
special420, what's with the no upper-case fpp? (ok so you used upper-case when refering to an external link). That's my ex-style mofo. People are going to think we are different sides of a single personality or something. *If they are as egotistical/pedantic as I*
I have been (more or less) consistant with that format since joining this community, dammit. Get your own style, with your bloody low-key website, yer bastard mumble mumble, too much Booker's etc.

jonp72 - word to your mother.

*need icepack for head*

collapse
posted by asok at 6:02 PM on February 12, 2003


This argument is pointless ... unless everyone here is willing to write their congressional representatives letting them know that we're tired beyond belief of the lies and irrational motivations. 2004 - Bush flames out into disgusting obscurity!

It's probably not worth mentioning that "everyone here" on MeFi (where the general sentiment leans overwhemimgly to one side) is not exactly an accurate sample set of the US population in general:

"In the aftermath of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's address to the United Nations, a growing majority of Americans now say the United States has presented enough evidence to justify going to war with Iraq, according to a new washingtonpost.com-ABC News poll."
posted by MidasMulligan at 6:09 PM on February 12, 2003


Saddam is the epitomy of what Osama despises. Saddam IS the West to Osama's zealot fevored mind.

While I disagree with this statement, it has long been my opinion that the personal agenda of our president should not bring us to war with a people who would have nothing against us if we just stopped making faces at them.
posted by schlaager at 6:14 PM on February 12, 2003


Is it WMD? Is it terrorist links? Is it "he once tried to kill my daddy?" They're trying to make a different case every day, none of them convincing, none of them appropriate for a "pre-emptive' attack. And when the rest of the world says, wait a minute, they're somehow deserving of our scorn and insults (most of the abuse heaped on France & Germany doesn't make the US press.) Remember, Germans thought they had good reason to attack Poland, too.
posted by muckster at 6:15 PM on February 12, 2003


I think there is a case for the United Nations to go to war against Iraq--in fact, I believe it has to if it's going to have relevance in the future--but there is not a case for the United States to go to war. (This doesn't mean I'm pro-war, but the United Nations has recently given Hussein at least one last, final, this-time-we-mean-it chance, and he did not comply.)

The Bush administration's get-him-at-any-cost obsession reminds me, in a way, of the OJ Simpson case, where I believe OJ did it, and the cops framed him. In both cases the bad guy is a bad guy, but the "good guys" are cheating to get him.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:25 PM on February 12, 2003


Ok, so I can't even spell your name right, specialk420. What of it?
*Falls off chair*
*Looks confused*
Gotta love that time difference. Yr 8 hrs behind baby.
Drunkfilter.
Your my best mate, you are.
Unction of mountebank.
Exeunt


On preview, US wants decisive battle? Remember Vietnam.
Schlaager - Iraq defines itself against the 'Illegal Imperialist USA'. If the Us gov said (in deed and word), 'Love those Iraquis' Hussein's support would crumble.
posted by asok at 6:32 PM on February 12, 2003


MidasMulligan, what you say scares me. Not because I believe that the poll figures are incorrect. It's because I believe that they are.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:41 PM on February 12, 2003


Is it WMD? Is it terrorist links? Is it "he once tried to kill my daddy?"

Why do you insist on only one reason? The more reasons the better, I say. (Although the "daddy" thing was lame).
posted by pardonyou? at 7:12 PM on February 12, 2003


Is it WMD?
None found.


Is it terrorist links?

None found.


Is it "he once tried to kill my daddy?"

(Kahn voice) Not quite so lame as we were led to believe! (/Kahn voice)
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:16 PM on February 12, 2003


None found.

Of course, that's not nearly the same thing as "None." (Do you really believe that Saddam Hussein is not trying to produce and collect chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons?)
posted by pardonyou? at 7:25 PM on February 12, 2003


Do you really believe that Saddam Hussein is not trying to produce and collect chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons?

He's sittin' on top of the second largest pool of black gold known to exist, and we just bombed him outta his jock-strap about 11 years ago. As a national leader (evil snarling dictator or not) he'd be an idiot not to try and develope these weapons. He has little reason to believe that bad consequences will come of it (reference Pakistan and North Korea please). He would be an idiot to use them, unless forced to. But Bush is going to misdirect whatever military resources we could/should spend fighting terrorists to fight a piss-pot dictator trying to solidify his power in his own country, and blame a real terrorist to convince the masses why we should? Wrong move, George.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:38 PM on February 12, 2003


a growing majority of Americans now say the United States has presented enough evidence to justify going to war with Iraq

Well, a growing majority of Americans think it was mostly Iraqis who hijacked the planes on Sept 11, 2001, so it just goes to show that Goebbels was right about the art of lying to one's people.

Got that rebuilding contract sorted yet, Midas, or are you facing competition from Halliburton?
posted by riviera at 7:47 PM on February 12, 2003


"Evildoers. 9/11. With us or against us. Avenge my dad. Let's roll."

My conscience is clean, I voted for Gore.
posted by owillis at 7:57 PM on February 12, 2003


growing majority of Americans think it was mostly Iraqis who hijacked the planes on Sept 11, 200

riviera. have you got any poll numbers (i really think someone needs to start a polling organization that polls - real people (have two jobs, go to school, go out after work, etc. etc.)) to support? im sure a FOX could produce what you suggest.

another view on the matter:

"If the administration had made clear that it would accept a disarmed Iraq without Hussein's ouster, it might have eventually forced the Iraqi dictator to comply with UN Resolution 1441"


asok - asok.
posted by specialk420 at 8:16 PM on February 12, 2003


Donald Rumsfeld at 2:40pm, September 11, 2001:

"Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at the same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin laden]. . . Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Source: Village Voice, Feb 12, 2003 / CBS News, Sept. 4, 2002.
posted by muckster at 9:01 PM on February 12, 2003


By law, Bush has to tie Saddam to terrorists before war can begin
posted by homunculus at 9:14 PM on February 12, 2003


...a growing majority of Americans now say the United States has presented enough evidence to justify going to war with Iraq.

At one time a majority of Americans found slavery acceptable, at one time a majority of Americans found Nixon to be a suitable leader, at one time a majority of Americans decided women weren't capable of casting a vote.

People ain't that bright, ya know?

Note: Pedants feel free to replace majority with plurality, consensus or that electoral thing I don't pretend to understand.
posted by cedar at 9:32 PM on February 12, 2003


riviera. have you got any poll numbers... to support? im sure a FOX could produce what you suggest.

Actually, it was Princeton Survey Research Associates for Knight-Ridder:

As far as you know, how many of the September 11th terrorist hijackers were Iraqi citizens: most of them, some of them, just one, or none?"
%
Most of them 21
Some of them 23
Just one 6
None 17
Don't know 33


Something of a push-poll, since it loads the question a little (though gives the 'none' option to unload it slightly), but still, you have to commend the bait-and-switch.
posted by riviera at 9:50 PM on February 12, 2003


You might as well have linked to Ann Coulter...

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course!

powell (x 3) iraq(x 2)...osama (x 2)...then: Saddam's Baath.

Subliminal message perhaps?
posted by hama7 at 9:51 PM on February 12, 2003


riviera. have you got any poll numbers (i really think someone needs to start a polling organization that polls - real people (have two jobs, go to school, go out after work, etc. etc.)) to support? im sure a FOX could produce what you suggest.

I understood in posting the poll that at least some on this list can not, and will not ever accept the thought that large numbers of reasonable people could come to conclusions different than their own. Should such an outcome occur, it is invariably because:

1. Pollsters inadvertently (or deliberately?) did not actually sample "real" people; or

2. They did accurately sample "real" people, but those people are merely reflecting the "artful" lies they have been told (and, of course, implies that "real" people have no capacity to assess the information in an argument).

What it may, of course, be, is a case in which anti-war opinions have been arguing their case (loudly) in the public sphere. Their opponents, who do believe force is necessary when dealing with some like Saddam Hussain, have been arguing their case (just as loudly) in the public sphere. Their case is simply proving to be a more compelling argument.
__________________________________________

Donald Rumsfeld at 2:40pm, September 11, 2001:

"Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at the same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin laden]. . . Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Source: Village Voice, Feb 12, 2003 / CBS News, Sept. 4, 2002.

.......................................................................................

Khidhir Hamazak at 12:01 a.m. EST February 11, 2003 :

"What has become obvious is that the U.N. inspection process was designed to delay any possible U.S. military action to disarm Iraq. Germany, France, and Russia, states we called "friendly" when I was in Baghdad, are also engaged in a strategy of delay and obstruction."

Source: Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2003
_________________________________

At one time a majority of Americans found slavery acceptable, at one time a majority of Americans found Nixon to be a suitable leader, at one time a majority of Americans decided women weren't capable of casting a vote. People ain't that bright, ya know?

Yes, and at one time the US thought the Nazi Party was strictly a European concern, and many Europeans thought Hitler should be dealt with through diplomacy.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:54 PM on February 12, 2003


IF you're signing up for this war, just remember you're not supporting JUST this war, you're supporting a massive undertaking to remake the middle east by force. Last time that happened, we ended up with Iraq, Palestine, Israel, The Saudi family, etc, etc, etc.

There are better ways to do what Bush is saying he wants to do in Iraq (get rid of Saddam, get rid of weapons). There is no other way to remake the Middle East. So why don't we be clear about what those who support the war are supporting. It's not a humanitarian mission for the Iraqi people, and it's not to make America safer from Saddam.

It's a massive and extreme undertaking that requires the highest level of competence, clarity of vision, and committment to serious change, coupled with an overriding vision that includes the deaths of thousands, if not tens of thousands of innocent people, in order to create a better and more US-friendly world. So just make sure you're ready to support that when you support this, the opening war of what is sure to be many wars to come.
posted by chaz at 10:23 PM on February 12, 2003


And to Midas I don't believe Hitler analogies are appropriate-- this war is about starting something, not stopping something.
posted by chaz at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2003


Midas, I don't know if it was meant as a rebuttal, but your Hamazak quote merely asserts what we all know: that Germany, France, and Russia are trying to delay U.S. military action. To which I say, great, I'm against military action also. We should all be interested in delaying military action: war must be the terrible last resort.

The Rumsfeld quote shows that the administration was looking for ways to use the attacks on New York and D.C. as justification for an adventure in Iraq within hours, no matter how thin or truthful the connection ("things related and not"). Excuse me if I remain skeptical as to their motives, and unconvinced by their repeated weak attempts of making their case. The burden of proof is theirs, and clearly, the world is not convinced. As long as there is no proof of an immediate threat, war is not justified.
posted by muckster at 10:47 PM on February 12, 2003


There are better ways to do what Bush is saying he wants to do in Iraq (get rid of Saddam, get rid of weapons).

Which are?

I have yet hear a single positive suggestion from anyone on MeFi, or from anyone on the left in general, on how to deal with Saddam. I see thread after thread of partisan sniping, I see no proposed policy positions. I see no ideas from the left, just bile.

Oh, that's unfair. The left doesn't want war, doesn't want more deaths, which is normal, human, and commendable. But I see no evidence that the left has any idea how to achieve these things.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:56 PM on February 12, 2003


Thanks for the Hamaza link, MM. You might also be interested in this article by Imad Khadduri, who worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 until 1998. The article is also indirectly responsible for yellowtimes.org going off-line. I have no idea whether Hamza or Khadduri is more credible.
posted by homunculus at 11:13 PM on February 12, 2003


Slithy_Trove, for starters: France Offering Plan to Expand Iraq Arms Hunt
posted by muckster at 11:15 PM on February 12, 2003


muckster, I wondered if someone would mention French/German proposal.

It's a non-starter.

1. Iraq is hiding stuff in the houses of Baath Party members. Inspectors can't search 10,000 private houses, even at double or triple their current number. Powell's presentation to the UN documented Iraq's moving stuff before the inspectors arrived at a suspected site. The inspection process has been compromised, somewhere: someone is tipping off the Iraqis.

2. Iraq has refused to guarantee the safety of surveillance flights. I.e., they're going to fire on them, as they do now.

3. Iraq is fighting even the French/German proposal.

4. Hans Blix reported to the UN that the Iraqis are not cooperating with even the present inspection process.

We know what happened the last time, in the 90's. Saddam put more and more restrictions on the inspectors, until they couldn't do anything useful. There's no reason to think that wouldn't happen again.

The French and Germans are proposing a policy that has already failed.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:36 PM on February 12, 2003


I have yet hear a single positive suggestion from anyone on MeFi, or from anyone on the left in general, on how to deal with Saddam.

I make no suggestions on Saddam because I'm not concerned about Saddam. I am concerned about North Korea and Pakistan, I am concerned that the 9/11 investigation is being set up to fail, and of course I am very concerned that bin Laden is still alive and able to inspire his followers. Saddam is just not high on my list of concerns. I wish we had continued with containment while focusing on thse other priorities.
posted by homunculus at 11:36 PM on February 12, 2003


(Though make no mistake, I do think Saddam is a despicable bastard who deserves one of his own infamous acid-baths. A bullet in his head would be a relief, but he would be getting off easy.)
posted by homunculus at 11:42 PM on February 12, 2003


The French and Germans are proposing a policy that has already failed.

whereas the last time a george bush led a war against iraq, saddam was permanently toppled and iraqis danced in the street to non-bootlegged american pop music. thanks for the clarity silthy_tove.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:10 AM on February 13, 2003


Ignatius: yes, that's the point (sans the snark).

You get it. You just don't realize that you get it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:28 AM on February 13, 2003


Iraq has refused to guarantee the safety of surveillance flights. I.e., they're going to fire on them, as they do now.

Incorrect

Hans Blix reported to the UN that the Iraqis are not cooperating with even the present inspection process.

Also incorrect. Blix has indicated increased Iraqi cooperation (albeit offered grudgingly).

You are correct about Iraq rejecting the French peacekeeping plan. And the only references I can find to Iraqis hiding prohibited items in their homes is in Powells statement to the Security Council.
posted by smcniven at 6:32 AM on February 13, 2003


MM said: It's probably not worth mentioning that "everyone here" on MeFi (where the general sentiment leans overwhemimgly to one side) is not exactly an accurate sample set of the US population in general:

Did you ever consider that "everyone here" at MeFi are not necessarily a part of the "US population in general?" The best thing about MeFi is the diversity of opinion. Yes, even yours.
So how about stopping the "all you Mefi people are left leaning liberals crap," huh?
If it really upsets you so much that world opinion is to the left of your opinion then leave and go to freerepublic or something but stop the whining! It doesn't add anything to your arguments and most probably pisses some people off with those silly ego-centric assertions.
posted by nofundy at 6:36 AM on February 13, 2003


nofundy: if you read the paragraph before, you would have noticed that MM's statement was in direct response to the following statement:

This argument is pointless ... unless everyone here is willing to write their congressional representatives letting them know that we're tired beyond belief of the lies and irrational motivations. 2004 - Bush flames out into disgusting obscurity!

so it was about the US Population in general and it seemed to tie the opinions on MeFi with a portion of the general populace large enough to sway congressional opinion.
posted by probablysteve at 7:00 AM on February 13, 2003


Slithy_Tove, you have still to convince that the WMD in Baath party homes represent a realistic and pertinent threat to the US/UK, notwithstanding that your assertion about their location is hearsay.

I am affraid that the US press is not doing a good job of representing a spectrum of opinion as regards Blix's statements.
'The other event, perhaps even more significant, was UNMOVIC Chief Inspector Hans Blix telling the New York Times that the there was insufficient evidence to justify a war with Iraq.'

S_T - 'We know what happened the last time, in the 90's.'

'In February 1991, in the midst of the Gulf War, George Bush senior called for a revolt against Hussein, but rapidly backtracked when the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north rose up. The US military stood by while Hussein’s elite Republican Guards slaughtered the insurgents, sending streams of refugees flooding towards the borders.'

3. Iraq is fighting even the French/German proposal.'

And the US flouts international bio-weapon treaties. Pot, kettle.

'Lefties' suggest solution to Iraq situation:
'we allow UN weapons inspectors to do their job, we work for a change in regime rather than leader, we allow medicines and food into Iraq and we avoid a humanitarian disaster.'
posted by asok at 7:02 AM on February 13, 2003


riviera - thanks for the digits. im quite certain the results would be very close, were one to do a random sampling of the happy shoppers - right here in minnesota at - the mall of america.

as for a solution to the "crisis" in iraq - how about enforce UN resolutions uniformly throughout the region? in israel, turkey and iraq. in the process gain respect to the US, the UN and for the rule of law in general.
posted by specialk420 at 7:46 AM on February 13, 2003


more flip-flopping - back pedaling and indecision from george tenet. should'nt this guy have been out on the street on 9-12? a number of pre 9-11 articles certainly suggest yes.
posted by specialk420 at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2003


smcniven:
He drew journalists' attention to a quote from Saddam yesterday as reported on Iraq television saying, "How can we allow U2 aircraft to fly in our airspace to photograph our air defenses and give information about them without the aim of destroying them?" So, perhaps all was not as it seemed with Saddam's 'permission' to allow the inspectors to use the U2s in their work.
Iraqi statements on whether they will tolerate U2 overflights change at their convenience. In the past, they have frequently fired on overflying aircraft.

Blix was very clear in his initial report to the UN that the Iraqis were not cooperating. And they still aren't. A single example: the UN inspectors want to interview Iraqi scientists outside of Iraq, with their families, so Saddam can't apply pressure (i.e., threats of torture and murder) to them. The Iraqis are not allowing this.

And the UN is letting them get away with it!

You are taking at face value the daily bobbing and weaving in Iraqi policy, and you seem to be assuming that each twitch represents an important and permanent change. Look instead at the history of their behavior over the past decade.

asok: most your statements are non-sequiturs, and I'll ignore them. As for your final statement, food and medicine are being allowed into Iraq right now. What, exactly, does it mean to "work for a change in regime rather than leader"? Replace the Baath party? How do you propose to do it? Be specific. You can't use sanctions, or war, or the threat of war, because the left has condemned all of those, and sanctions, at least, have clearly failed, from any point of view.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:44 AM on February 13, 2003


Yes, and at one time the US thought the Nazi Party was strictly a European concern, and many Europeans thought Hitler should be dealt with through diplomacy.

sweet merciful allah, you're right! hitler is bad and using his name in reference to saddam causes my mind to force some sort of connection between the two, and compels me to yearn for war. blood for oil, please!

I wonder if these sissy diplomat types were the same kind that were opposed to using weapons of mass destruction on significant civilian populations in japan?

It's probably not worth mentioning that "everyone here" on MeFi (where the general sentiment leans overwhelmingly to one side) is not exactly an accurate sample set of the US population in general

just out of curiosity, why do you suppose mefi "leans to the left" ? have "the rest of us" simply failed to reject the allegedly overwhelming liberal bias of our media in lieu of the truth conveniently contained from sources that flaunt their conservative bias?

or, is the anti-war movement simply something that gives us a purpose? a little bumper sticker activism to make us feel better about ourselves?

or, could one "side" possibly just be wrong?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:54 AM on February 13, 2003


Ok, here's a left wing reponse to the threat Saddam presents: Destroy his weapons of mass destruction. Sorties, cruise missiles, whatever - we've got enough spy satellites and can get enough people on the ground - we can just destroy them every time he builds them. In the long run, instead of a Western occupation of Iraq (with a military governor, which is the current plan) - we aid and arm democratically minded Iraqi opposition. The west is now a friend of democracy and regular people in the region (as opposed to rushing for oil fields and supporting unelected leaders like Musharaf(sp?) in Pakistan).
posted by owillis at 9:06 AM on February 13, 2003


Here's another idea-- sign up for the international criminal court on the condition that the first person indicted is Saddam Hussein. Have his regime declared illegitimate by the UN. Take over the airwaves of Iraq and start playing anti-Saddam propaganda created by fellow Iraqis. Disable the computer systems of the Iraqi secret police, assassinate its leaders, and generally throw Saddam's machanism for crushing dissent into chaos. Leaflet the city daily, and break the grip of fear that Saddam has over his people. Encourage a coup. If that doesn't work, encourage another one. If that doesn't work, another. Repeat the above until Saddan collapses under his own weight.
posted by cell divide at 9:32 AM on February 13, 2003


owillis: But that's the failed policy. That's what we've been doing since the inspectors were pulled out in 1998. As both of us have discussed before.

Ah, the memories. It looks like I was saying the same thing then, that the left had no idea what to do. And they haven't come up with anything since then, either.

Yes, by continuously bombing we could probably keep the WMD down to a low roar (as we have since 1998), but we couldn't eliminate them; the taped conversations of Iraqi officers that Powell played at the UN sure sound like they're still hiding stuff. The photographs sure look like they're moving stuff around.

And we'd have to maintain sanctions on 'dual-use' materials like chorine and insecticides, because you can make those into chemical weapons. So meanwhile, during the years or decades that this goes on, tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis die of typhoid fever and cholera because they don't have chlorine to treat public water supplies; they starve because insects are eating the crops.

More than would have been killed in a war? Unknown.

I'm not a hawk. I just don't see a clean way out of this. War is bad, but the alternative might be worse.

So you propose that we aid and arm a democratically minded Iraqi opposition. Golly, we did that in Nicaragua, and I'm still hearing the leftists berate us for it. Look, I'm not against the idea, but it will definitely hurt us in the short run: it will be viewed as interfering in the 'internal affairs' of another country. And 'democratically minded' folks are scarce in the middle east, outside of Israel.

On preview: cell divide, some of that we're doing already, such as the leaflets, and we've stepped it up recently. I suspect that broadcasting propaganda doesn't work because anyone caught listening to American radio broadcasts is carted off to jail. Assassination of foreign leaders has been forbidden since the mid-70's; people didn't like it. And see the posts just above for complaints by leftists that we didn't back up the Kurds and the Shiites when they revolted against Saddam, and were massacred. If we did intervene? Well, that's a war...
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:58 AM on February 13, 2003


Slithey-- if Saddam and his regime is declared the illegitimate, he is no longer a foreign leader, and is open to assassination under US law. If the security services are immobilized and/or otherwise distracted, they will be unable to arrest everyone listening to the radio or watching television-- and our stuff would be the only stuff on.

I don't know what leftists say/said as I am not a leftist. I just think that war is not the best way to accomplish the goals that most people care about wrt Iraq. War is the easy way out, the uncreative way to accomplish what are legitimate goals. If America is truly the most intelligent, wealthiest, most vibrant nation in the world, surely our best minds combined with the best technology can think of ways to solve our problems without a massive invasion.
posted by cell divide at 10:09 AM on February 13, 2003


Here's an interesting catch from the Asia Times:

"There are some interesting aspects in the way in which bin Laden's message has been disseminated by CNN and the BBC. The CNN's initial versions omitted bin Laden's reference to Pakistan, whereas the BBC referred to it. The CNN version referred to only Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. This likely reflects Washington's concern over the impact of the message on the people of Pakistan in their campaign against the Musharraf regime."

Sure enough, CNN's translation ommits Pakistan, and Yemen too. Both the BBC and the Washington Post translations I posted above include them.
posted by homunculus at 4:24 PM on February 13, 2003


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