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The people speak
February 19, 2003 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Listen to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
posted by Ron (41 comments total)

 
I would just like to say, God bless them for having their views, but some of what they said was just so funny. "Kill them with kindness." I laughed so hard I cried.
posted by Ron at 4:10 PM on February 19, 2003


That rocked.

Also, I think if you ambushed anyone on the street with a predetermined question designed to throw them off very few would respond intelligently.

So I'll cut them some slack.

But not much.
posted by Stan Chin at 4:15 PM on February 19, 2003


Beautiful!
posted by xmutex at 4:15 PM on February 19, 2003


I have to admit, it's a great little movie. Very amusing stuff. Of course, when you're taping people, you can edit out anyone with any intelligence and just keep the wackos, you can edit out the questions that got good answers and just keep the ones that confused most people, and you can narrate the piece to make yourself look smarter. But still, it's funny stuff.
posted by mathowie at 4:17 PM on February 19, 2003


I agree, they must have edited out anyone that had something intelligent to say. But it does raise the question: if they care enough to go out and protest about something, isn't there some kind of personal responsibility to know about the subject? It's not really random ambush of people on the streets considering he asked people that were at the protest, who made signs, etc. Shouldn't they at least know enough about what they're protesting to answer some questions? I'm sure there were plenty of people who provided good answers, but the fact remains that there is also a sizeable chunk of protesters who probably have no idea what the hell they are doing.
posted by swank6 at 4:23 PM on February 19, 2003


were also/had no idea/were doing, rather.
posted by swank6 at 4:23 PM on February 19, 2003


Everyone is assuming that the entire thing isn't scripted.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:26 PM on February 19, 2003


I think this is from a parallel universe where Michael Moore is a thin East Coast Republican.
posted by condour75 at 4:34 PM on February 19, 2003


but the fact remains that there is also a sizeable chunk of protesters who probably have no idea what the hell they are doing.

I'd wager nearly every one of them knows what they're doing; they're reacting to something they can't support, whether or not they can put into words their reasons. Plain and simple, these people aren't convinced a war is necessary and have chosen to publicly denounce it.
Do you need to be a scholar for that?
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:37 PM on February 19, 2003


eustacescrubb: everyone is also assuming the whole thing wasn't staged on a soundstage 3,000 miles from NYC by evil Bush cohorts intent on stemming the tide of public opinion.

but that's ok.
posted by xmutex at 4:37 PM on February 19, 2003


Wow, is that mathowie's evil twin?
posted by gyc at 4:56 PM on February 19, 2003


if they care enough to go out and protest about something, isn't there some kind of personal responsibility to know about the subject

Absolutely, just as there is if you support it. Given the recent Knight-Ridder poll where over 80% of respondents were under the impression that at least one of the September 11th hijackers was Iraqi, I'm not sure where that leaves us.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:06 PM on February 19, 2003


But it does raise the question: if they care enough to go out and protest about something, isn't there some kind of personal responsibility to know about the subject?

No more than there is for the folks on the other side. I've heard plenty of people make pro-war arguments along the lines of "I think we should kick Saddam's ass" or "These colors don't run." Unfortunately, the First Amendment doesn't exclusively cover intelligent speech.

Of course, if you want to avoid looking like a bimbo on camera, you should follow some simple rules: (1) be ready to articulate a cogent argument in favour of your opinion, and (2) don't fellate Joe Millionaire while the tape is rolling.
posted by Raya at 5:12 PM on February 19, 2003


(which is another way of saying, "What Armitage Shanks said.")
posted by Raya at 5:13 PM on February 19, 2003


I'm pretty middle-of-the-road politically. I think the piece is hilarious, in the same way that Moore is hilarious, but I would think somewhat less of someone who thought the "facts" gained by this guy or Moore are in any way useful toward determining one's stance on an issue.

It was funny, though.
posted by Kevs at 5:15 PM on February 19, 2003


I saw that yesterday and loved it. Great stuff, made me think of some of the people Jay Leno finds on the street.
posted by Plunge at 5:17 PM on February 19, 2003


I'm sure there were plenty of people who provided good answers, but the fact remains that there is also a sizeable chunk of protesters who probably have no idea what the hell they are doing.

Rule 1: the editor is God.

You cannot draw any conclusions about the protestors from this small sample who have been chosen specifically because their answers reflect what the editor wanted to hear.

Illustration 1: The Jellybean Analogy.

If I grabbed a handful of jellybeans out of a bag, then I threw away everything but the green jellybeans, and showed only those green jellybeans to you, saying "I pulled these jellybeans out of an ordinary bag that I bought at the store," I wouldn't be lying at all. However, you might remark "wow, there must have been only green jellybeans in that bag."

But that's not right, of course.

That's what people are meant to say when they see this film. You admit that's probably not the case. But what you're saying instead is, "well, I know there couldn't have been only green jellybeans in that bag, but there must have been quite a few green jellybeans in that bag, or else you wouldn't have been able to pull out a handful."

Which is not right either, because you don't know anything about the original bag of jellybeans based on the handful I've shown you. What's to say that there wasn't a 10-ton bag of jellybeans, and I sifted for days and days and days, and finally came up with this meager handful, the only green jellybeans in the entire bag? What if there weren't actually any green jellybeans in the original bag, and I've just taken a few white jellybeans out and painted them green to trick you? How do you know the difference? The answer is, you don't.

Likewise, you have not seen the raw footage this video was edited from, therefore you cannot draw any conclusions about the people represented.

The editor is God. Repeat it. Repeat it.
posted by Hildago at 6:26 PM on February 19, 2003


Dang you, Ron, you beat me to it. Just saw this post as I was coming here to post it myself.
posted by oissubke at 6:30 PM on February 19, 2003


Who cares whether it's representative? It's hysterical.
posted by swerve at 6:31 PM on February 19, 2003


I think the point of this is comedy. And sorry, oissubke :)
posted by Ron at 6:36 PM on February 19, 2003


Of course, when you're taping people, you can edit out anyone with any intelligence and just keep the wackos, you can edit out the questions that got good answers and just keep the ones that confused most people, and you can narrate the piece to make yourself look smarter.

I mean no offense, but I can think of at least one far more egregious example of this in recent memory which few seem to take offense over - Michael Moore.

Though I hate to advocate vanguardism, if we're genuinely talking about these protests being a spontaneous popular expression, then it's very unlikely that most of the people attending have more than a general idea of the details involved in their position. Not to insult them as a result, they simply don't want a war and aren't politics buffs. The insults hurled at "Bush Country" for being politically uninformed apply equally well to New Yorkers, and more importantly, they apply across the spectrum. As the 2000 election showed, for every ignorant right-wing redneck, there's an equally ignorant left-wing urbanite. In both cases, there is a relatively small but politically well-informed group of people who decide and then disseminate viewpoints to their respective political camps who accept it more or less unquestioningly.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:47 PM on February 19, 2003


mini-hijack: GoogleNews has 17 versions of this one story, which hardly rates as an FPP--although feel free--as it is so thin:

U.S and British intelligence services are tracking three mystery ships suspected of carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the Independent newspaper said Wednesday. Asked to comment on the newspaper report, a spokeswoman for Britain's Ministry of Defense said: "We don't discuss intelligence issues."

Financial market dealers said the story increased tensions about the situation in Iraq again and some said it helped push safe-haven government bonds higher and the dollar lower in early trading Wednesday.

The paper, quoting what it called authoritative shipping industry sources, said the giant cargo ships had been sailing around the world for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in violation of international maritime law.


I heard about this on NPR this morning. It didn't seem to me that Iraq was mentioned then. Just that three large container ships were sailing around for three months in radio silence. That alone gives me the willies.
posted by y2karl at 9:09 PM on February 19, 2003


Of course, when you're taping people, you can edit out anyone with any intelligence and just keep the wackos, you can edit out the questions that got good answers and just keep the ones that confused most people, and you can narrate the piece to make yourself look smarter.

It's just like Talking to Americans. Except his questions are of a more serious nature.
posted by damclean2 at 9:12 PM on February 19, 2003


Now that the palette has been cleansed: Carol Lay draws protesters.
posted by skallas at 9:51 PM on February 19, 2003


I never said I was drawing any conclusions from the video itself. I'm merely saying that the video raises the question. To PROVE that there are a large portion of protestors who don't know what they're talking about is pretty unreasonable to do, maybe even impossible. But would you deny it?

Of course I'm not saying all right-wing war mongers know their politics. It applies evenly to both sides. Being on the fence on this issue, I hate to see bad sides of both arguments. I do believe, however, and I think the video wanted to show some of this too, that the ignorant pro-war people are much more publicized/brought up/discussed/whatever than the anti-war side. It seems to me you hear a lot more about stupid rednecks saying bomb Iraq than anti-war protesters that don't know anything. Maybe that's because I live in left-urban areas. The dumb rednecks are simply dismissed because they can't argue their point, yet nobody notices if a protester can't back their case. Like Pseudoephedrine said, there are just as many uninformed people on both sides.

A lot of people are saying that a lot of protesters don't know the answers, but they just don't want war. If you ask me, if you can't support your position, then you shouldn't go on a protest. Taking that kind of action should require some preparation and knowledge on the subject. This goes both ways; if you want war but don't know why, then you shouldn't be actively pushing for it (not sure how to phrase that since I don't think there are many "pro war protests").
posted by swank6 at 9:59 PM on February 19, 2003


If someone made a film interviewing members of the public who are in favour of the war, what would the result be?

Answer: people would sound stupid, and/or they would parrot what they'd heard on TV. Not much of a surprise because most people sound stupid when interviewed, and most people parrot what they hear on TV. Hardly evidence for or against a war.

If the interviewer had met me at a protest and asked what should be done instead of bombing the people of Iraq, I would have offered the following:

- Many more UN inspectors backed by UN peacekeepers
- Assassination of Saddam if indeed he is the problem
posted by skylar at 12:52 AM on February 20, 2003


And if the interviewer saw your answer as a "problem" perhaps he would have assasinated you. Perhaps somebody actually cares about you and therefore saw your assassination as a "problem" so that person would have assassinated the interviewer. Of course it stands to reason that the interviewer also has loved ones who would now be faced with the "problem" and guess what, your loved one would then getsassassinated. Of course this "problem" is endless, especially if the answer is always the same.



hypothetically.


--
posted by sic at 5:52 AM on February 20, 2003


As far as this video, the overall coverage of the war protests in the US media, as well as the "war on terror" the "war" in Afghanistan and the "war" on Iraq, it has all been heavily manipulated to serve on dominant point of view: that of the Bush administration. They are hellbent on it for reasons that are most likely not covered by the media. Thus, war will happen and happen and happen. Punctuated by more terrorist attacks and general misery of course.

Are we happy yet?
posted by sic at 5:56 AM on February 20, 2003


skylar> One of the problems with assassination, though, which I must admit I initially favoured myself, is the sheer scope of people you've had to assassinate. You not only need to get Saddam, but also his two sons, and most of his security apparatus. By the time you tabulate up the number of people you'd have to assassinate to free Iraq, or at least put it in the hands of a dictator who isn't a belligerent or fanatic, you're talking a war level event. The Republican Guard and the various security agencies know exactly what will happen to them if they lose power.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 7:08 AM on February 20, 2003


The protesters may be clueless, but I'm quite certain the reporter has an offer from Fox News in the mail.
posted by owillis at 7:29 AM on February 20, 2003


The questions were loaded, and he slipped in several statements which were erroneous...

"Why do you think it was that between 1991-1998, the UN was unable to disarm Iraq?"

Actually, the UN did destroy considerable amounts of Iraq's WMDs, and verified the destruction of 90-95% of Iraq's WMDs and the agents that they could theoretically use to make such weapons.

"Do you think in the past the world community has lived up to its responsibility to deal effectively with Saddam Hussein?"

The UN nations repeatedly authorized the disarmament of Iraq and allowed the use of force to enforce that doctrine.

"Is eight years enough?"

If there is still uncertainty, no it is not. A completely cooperative South African government was praised highly for their unprecidented cooperation with inspections for nuclear disarmament. That unprecidented cooperation still took three years to achieve.

"They've already taken more than eight years and they have not disarmed Iraq."

The statement that Iraq has not disarmed is unproven and inaccurate. UN inspectors verified that Iraq destroyed a very substantial amount of their WMDs and WMD-making materials before inspections of their country even began. For this reason, it will be nearly impossible to prove that Iraq has completely disarmed, but we know that they are at least 90-95% disarmed.

Furthermore, UN inspectors have inspected the so-called "mobile laboratories" that Saddam is supposedly using to create new chemical or biological weapons. The result?! The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) stated the labs were being used as quality-control laboratories for foodstuffs.

"Why didn't we keep the oil fields after the first Gulf War?"

This is an unfair comparison of two distinctly different situations. The US was acting with a coalition comprised of dozens of nations, and the goal was clearly defined by the UN -- the removal of Iraqi military forces from Kuwait and the restoration of Kuwait's government.

"No country has given more in foriegn aid or freed more people from foriegn tyranny."

While the US has given a considerable amount in foriegn aid, it actually gives far less as a percentage of total GNP than other Western nations. It is also a questionable statement to say that the US has freed more people from foriegn tyranny. Their contribution to WWII in arms and materials was considerable, but their battle deaths were far less than some of our other allies in that conflict, Amongst our allies, US ranked seventh in total casualties, behind the USSR, China, Poland, Rumania, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. The French, who some consider cowards, lost over 200,000 people in the war, which is about 250% more per capita than US losses.

Four out of five Germans who died during WWII died on the Eastern Front, and though the US could have fought for Berlin, they chose to let the Russians fight that battle instead, at a cost of 70,000 Russian soldiers -- equivalent to about a quarter of all US casualties during the entire war. Likewise, far more Japanese soldiers were killed fighting in the Asia mainland as opposed to fighting against the US.

This, of course, doesn't even address the US' mixed record since World War II, its attempts to overthrow or subvert democratically elected governments, and its support for "pro-Western" dictators.

Hey, wait... Saddam was a pro-Western dictator, wasn't he?! Guess it just goes to show that dictators, by definition, cannot be trusted.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:18 PM on February 20, 2003


Thanks for the reminder on the WW II stats, insomnia_lj--surrender monkeys indeed.
posted by y2karl at 4:26 PM on February 20, 2003


"Why do you think it was that between 1991-1998, the UN was unable to disarm Iraq?"

Actually, the UN did destroy considerable amounts of Iraq's WMDs, and verified the destruction of 90-95% of Iraq's WMDs and the agents that they could theoretically use to make such weapons.


Which isn't disarming them. They still have plenty of WMDs left. "Considerable amounts" is not disarmament.

"Do you think in the past the world community has lived up to its responsibility to deal effectively with Saddam Hussein?"

The UN nations repeatedly authorized the disarmament of Iraq and allowed the use of force to enforce that doctrine.


If this is the case, what is everyone's problem with using force to do it now?

"Is eight years enough?"

If there is still uncertainty, no it is not. A completely cooperative South African government was praised highly for their unprecedented cooperation with inspections for nuclear disarmament. That unprecedented cooperation still took three years to achieve.


Then 8 years should have been plenty of time considering that Iraq agreed to the UN resolutions which stated they had to disarm themselves and that inspectors were only there for verification purposes.

"They've already taken more than eight years and they have not disarmed Iraq."

The statement that Iraq has not disarmed is unproven and inaccurate. UN inspectors verified that Iraq destroyed a very substantial amount of their WMDs and WMD-making materials before inspections of their country even began. For this reason, it will be nearly impossible to prove that Iraq has completely disarmed, but we know that they are at least 90-95% disarmed.


No, no we don't know they are 90-95% disarmed. Who knows what they have done during the time inspectors have not been there. You can always look at Tony Blair who said while talking to the EU heads of state, ""There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."

"Why didn't we keep the oil fields after the first Gulf War?"

This is an unfair comparison of two distinctly different situations. The US was acting with a coalition comprised of dozens of nations, and the goal was clearly defined by the UN -- the removal of Iraqi military forces from Kuwait and the restoration of Kuwait's government.


So, the US government was able to be believed then but their stated goals of forcing Iraq to comply with UN sanctions is now not believable?

"No country has given more in foreign aid or freed more people from foreign tyranny."

While the US has given a considerable amount in foreign aid, it actually gives far less as a percentage of total GNP than other Western nations. It is also a questionable statement to say that the US has freed more people from foreign tyranny. Their contribution to WWII in arms and materials was considerable, but their battle deaths were far less than some of our other allies in that conflict, Amongst our allies, US ranked seventh in total casualties, behind the USSR, China, Poland, Rumania, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. The French, who some consider cowards, lost over 200,000 people in the war, which is about 250% more per capita than US losses.


Who cares what percentage of the gnp that it is? Percentage of gnp doesn't feed a starving person, actual dollar amounts does. Also, who cares how many we lost in battle, in relation to the statement? The statement was about freeing people from tyranny, something the US has done quite well, including France. Address the statements made instead of adding unrelated material.

This, of course, doesn't even address the US' mixed record since World War II, its attempts to overthrow or subvert democratically elected governments, and its support for "pro-Western" dictators.

Hey, wait... Saddam was a pro-Western dictator, wasn't he?! Guess it just goes to show that dictators, by definition, cannot be trusted.


The cold war brought about many horrible things, on all sides. People who talk about the problems of the US seem to always gloss over the millions upon millions that died behind the Iron curtain and in those countries that were supported by the USSR. The also seem to ignore that atrocities that happen today in places like Iraq, North Korea, Rwanda and other dictatorships.

One wonderful thing about the US is that administrations change, policy changes and new people come to power. While I understand the vitriolic hatred of Bush that is held by many here, I look at what will happen in Iraq and see a wonderful future for the people there.
posted by Plunge at 8:03 PM on February 20, 2003


I look at what will happen in Iraq and see a wonderful future for the people there

And people accuse the left of wearing rose-colored glasses. Better? Probably. Wonderful? Not likely.
posted by owillis at 9:28 PM on February 20, 2003


"Which isn't disarming them. They still have plenty of WMDs left. "Considerable amounts" is not disarmament."

Hans Blix says that there is no proof of Iraq possessing *ANY* weapons of mass destruction. Because Iraq took it upon themselves to destroy much of their WMDs, it may not be possible to prove that Iraq has any WMDs. Inspections combined with spy planes should be able to find them, however, if they exist.

The UN nations repeatedly authorized the disarmament of Iraq and allowed the use of force to enforce that doctrine.

"If this is the case, what is everyone's problem with using force to do it now?"

Because there is no proof that such weapons exist. You can't prove a negative, and it is unamerican to suggest that Iraq should be considered anything other than innocent until proven guilty. With that in mind, I would still like to see tougher inspections with real time recon to make sure that WMDs aren't slipping out the back door.

"You can always look at Tony Blair who said while talking to the EU heads of state, ""There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq has weapons of mass destruction."

Funny, then, that Turkey, Spain, Israel, Kuwait, Italy, and just about every other country out there (including the US and the UK) haven't come forward with damning, irrefutable evidence against Iraq.

"So, the US government was able to be believed then but their stated goals of forcing Iraq to comply with UN sanctions is now not believable?"

Their goal, as stated, is also to bring about regime change and to run Iraq with military rule, controlling its oil exports. Those are far more sweeping, far less noble goals than liberating Kuwait.

"Who cares what percentage of the gnp that it is? Percentage of gnp doesn't feed a starving person, actual dollar amounts does."

Yes, actual dollar amounts do count, but so does the level of total commitment. The US may give more than the other nations of the world can afford, but the level of its commitment isn't particularly admirable.

"The statement was about freeing people from tyranny, something the US has done quite well, including France."

The US troops weren't the only ones who liberated France, you know. The English, the Canadians, and the French were there too. The US actually stayed out of the conflict until they were attacked too.

"I look at what will happen in Iraq and see a wonderful future for the people there."

Down with military dictatorships! Up with military occupation! Too bad about democracy...

posted by markkraft at 10:09 PM on February 20, 2003


Joe Conason has an interesting suggestion for the next peace march.

Today's bad news from UNMOVIC has to be taken seriously by principled opponents of the impending war: According to this report in the Washington Post, Iraqi officials believe that last weekend's demonstrations expressed support for their regime -- and as a result have stalled their cooperation with inspections. (The Guardian also reports renewed frustration among the U.N. inspectors.)

That is precisely the opposite of what the peace movement should want.

During the weekend's rallies and marches, it occurred to me that the next venue for protest should be Iraq's embassies in New York and around the world. I thought such an initiative would serve the interests of the antiwar movement by shoving off ANSWER and proving that doubts about war aren't synonymous with softness on Saddam.

Now the reason to aim demonstrations at Baghdad as well as Washington is much more urgent. Antiwar sentiment has encouraged the Iraqis to continue gaming the inspectors. By doing so, they are making Bush's case and undercutting everyone who prefers inspecting to bombing.

posted by homunculus at 11:06 PM on February 20, 2003


And people accuse the left of wearing rose-colored glasses. Better? Probably. Wonderful? Not likely.

Fine...I'll take better.

Because there is no proof that such weapons exist. You can't prove a negative, and it is unamerican to suggest that Iraq should be considered anything other than innocent until proven guilty. With that in mind, I would still like to see tougher inspections with real time recon to make sure that WMDs aren't slipping out the back door.

We aren't proving a negative. They are supposed to provide the inspectors with all the necessary records to prove it was destroyed or where it is now. Saying there are no records doesn't cut it and I guess I just don't trust the guy to tell the truth. Oh well, bad me.

Funny, then, that Turkey, Spain, Israel, Kuwait, Italy, and just about every other country out there (including the US and the UK) haven't come forward with damning, irrefutable evidence against Iraq.

Yeah, but I didn't see anyone saying Blair was wrong with his statement.

Their goal, as stated, is also to bring about regime change and to run Iraq with military rule, controlling its oil exports. Those are far more sweeping, far less noble goals than liberating Kuwait.

Not quite. This is supposed to be for a period of time until they have been able to get rid of the bad guys and the good guys can take over. I personally think it is a necessary evil and I'm believing that they mean what they say that it is for as short of time as possible.

Yes, actual dollar amounts do count, but so does the level of total commitment. The US may give more than the other nations of the world can afford, but the level of its commitment isn't particularly admirable.

The US commitment isn't bad, even as a percentage of GNP. Plus, as many of us feel, there are other ways that the US provides help to other countries like in providing security with the US military. Finally, I still think total dollar amount is the most important thing to consider.

On a side note, it would be interesting to see the dollar commitment from US citizens compared to citizens from other countries. I personally feel that people in the US are very generous with their money to various charities. I haven't been able to find anything online about this.

The US troops weren't the only ones who liberated France, you know. The English, the Canadians, and the French were there too. The US actually stayed out of the conflict until they were attacked too.

Never said we were, that wasn't the issue. But, the liberation of France wouldn't have happened without the US involvement.

The US did not stay out until we were attacked. We supplied much in the way of goods before actually sending soldiers. Also, we entered the European theater of war without being attacked by Germany, but that is splitting hairs I guess.

Down with military dictatorships! Up with military occupation! Too bad about democracy...

Democracy delayed is better than not at all.

I won't say I agree with everything going on. I'm extremely annoyed with some of the things that have been coming out about Turkey and Northern Iraq. I will be disgusted if we sellout the Kurds this time around. I'll be the first to decry what has happened as well if we don't have a steady progression towards democracy in Iraq. Saying that though, I see a much brighter future for Iraq, even if my comment of "wonderful" was too rosy. :-)
posted by Plunge at 11:19 PM on February 20, 2003


I will be disgusted if we sellout the Kurds this time around.

Can't break the streak now.
posted by y2karl at 11:24 PM on February 20, 2003


To be accurate, what Hans Blix said was:

"To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for".

One must not jump to the conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded."


Full text of the report

I find it somewhat idealistic, personally, to assume that Iraq, a regime with a "checkered" history in regards to disarmament has destroyed that material and simply forgotten to register that fact with UNMOVIC.

There is other credible evidence to the effect that Saddam has produced additional chemical weapons that the inspectors have not found, and that he has also tried to assemble a nuclear weapon, unsuccessfully thanks to a lack of the proper type of uranium. Overall, what this means is that he almost certainly has a great deal of poison gas and a nuclear bomb casing. No one is sure yet whether he has biological agents or not, though we know that he has developed and tested them since 1992. Here's a link to some more useful documents in regards to Iraq's NBC programs.

The real debate shouldn't be over whether Saddam has poisonous gas, which he almost certainly does, but whether it is worth going to war over, and whether the administration's plans on how to conduct that war and the related issues are competent and sufficient for the task or not.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:54 AM on February 21, 2003


"I find it somewhat idealistic, personally, to assume that Iraq, a regime with a "checkered" history in regards to disarmament has destroyed that material and simply forgotten to register that fact with UNMOVIC."

There's the rub... we know that this is exactly what they did with a huge amount of their WMDs and precursors due to inspections and testing... we just have no way to fully verify that they destroyed all of it.

"The real debate shouldn't be over whether Saddam has poisonous gas, which he almost certainly does, but whether it is worth going to war over."

Exactly. We know, due to inspection, that he is about 95% disarmed, which means that both his chemical and potential nuclear threat is far less than either North Korea or Iran. We also have no credible information that he has been trading in WMDs. As reluctant and recalcitrant as Iraq has been at times, they are cooperating significantly with inspectors, and may even be more prone to destroy things such as their longest-ranged missiles if they probably didn't feel sure that the US would attack them irregardless.

It's really difficult to judge what Saddam will do, however, because he is prone to paranoia, and probably feels like a cornered animal. Yes, he does need pressure on him in order to disarm, but I would argue that the pressure only means anything so long as he feels he has a real alternative. He probably needs a peaceful, honorable way to comply with the UN resolution, while still saving face.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:22 AM on February 22, 2003


we know that this is exactly what they did with a huge amount of their WMDs and precursors due to inspections and testing... we just have no way to fully verify that they destroyed all of it.

Not to impugn you, but may I have a source on that for further reading?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:40 AM on February 22, 2003


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