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US and Gassing Iraqis
March 21, 2003 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Military use of Gas
Top US military planners are preparing for the US to use incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed the plans in February 5th testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee. This is the first official US acknowledgement that it may use (bio)chemical weapons in its crusade to rid other countries of such weapons.

Would someone explain to me again why we're attacking Iraq? Was it something about use and/or possession of chemical weapons?
posted by nofundy (60 comments total)

 
Lethal chemical weapons, as opposed to the non-lethal ones we're using. But the boundary between the two is a very gray area.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:28 AM on March 21, 2003


I'll try to explain this simply: We're attacking Iraq because Saddam tried to have the president's father killed.

That said I find the evidence given by Sunshine Project to be rather frail at best. They're referencing a pre-war postulation by Rumsfeld, not a matter of policy.

And all of that being said I hope that the war goes well, that Iraq is disarmed, Saddam dethroned and that the Iraqi people get everything that Bush promised.
posted by substrate at 7:30 AM on March 21, 2003


I do believe they're talking about tear-gas. That does not a conspiracy make.
posted by tiamat at 7:30 AM on March 21, 2003


Tiamat (great name!) I believe that the irony of the desire of the US to use non-lethal means to subdue its enemies, rather than slaughtering them outright is lost on certain people. Especially the 'this is revenge' crowd.

The difference between a cherry bomb and a thermobaric one wouldn't be lost on them, but somehow the difference between Sarin and Pepper Spray is.
posted by swerdloff at 7:33 AM on March 21, 2003


Tiamat: exactly. All of this is about riot control agents designed to SAVE LIVES. For instance, in Somalia one reason US forces suffered so many casualties was because the enemy literally placed himself in civilian crowds. There is no easy way to target them at that point without killing civilians, which goes against the whole point of the mission. However, an incapacitiating agent, like tear gas, or a gas that induces say, bowel movements, can incapacitate the enemy without killing those around him.

The US spends a ton of money on non-lethal weapons every year. Its a good thing.
posted by pjgulliver at 7:35 AM on March 21, 2003


Oh god, they might use teargas. Which I can buy at a seven-eleven down the street. I'm terrified for the poor soon-to-be teargassed soldiers, who will now be deprived of their chance to die hideously instead.

Somebody hold me.
posted by aramaic at 7:37 AM on March 21, 2003


Non-lethal weapons cool, they are awesome. The more this "revenge crowd" tries to make a point, the more it backfires on them. Next thing they'll be complaining we didn't do a "shock and awe" like we promised and they'll be saying we are liars. The logic is dumbfounding.
posted by stbalbach at 7:38 AM on March 21, 2003


nofundy - Thanks for helping us (those who oppose the war in Iraq) look like idiots. Have you ever considered the idea that your cause might be better served by you shutting the hell up?
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:45 AM on March 21, 2003


"Have you ever considered the idea that your cause might be better served by you shutting the hell up?"

That would make a fantastic .sig somewhere where people use sigs.
posted by callmejay at 7:50 AM on March 21, 2003


Sheesh.
posted by Samsonov14 at 7:51 AM on March 21, 2003


Would someone explain to me again why we're attacking Iraq?

Because they hate us and are jealous of our Freedom. We have to liberate them and give them some Freedom so that they won't hate us any more. We love freedom and we're not going to change.
posted by mikrophon at 7:51 AM on March 21, 2003


Did anyone read the entire article?

In October 2002, Russian Special Forces used a so-called "non-lethal" incapacitating biochemical weapon when storming the Palace of Culture Theater in Moscow. It resulted in the deaths of over 100 hostages ....

Maybe these weapons are much safer, and will save lives. I have no idea from the article. But why are you presuming that this is tear gas or pepper spray? Maybe it's something much stronger?
posted by raysmj at 7:55 AM on March 21, 2003


[ahem] Perhaps some didn't read the link so here's an excerpt:

In October 2002, Russian Special Forces used a so-called "non-lethal" incapacitating biochemical weapon when storming the Palace of Culture Theater in Moscow. It resulted in the deaths of over 100 hostages and was used to facilitate the extrajudicial execution of as many as 50 Chechen separatists.

The use of these agents is BANNED by treaty(and for a good reason.) Not that Duhbya EVER saw a treaty, agreement of international organization that he didn't want to destroy.

On preview...good catch raysmj!
posted by nofundy at 8:01 AM on March 21, 2003


I understand the difference between lethal Sarin warheads and tear gas, but from the PR and appeal-to-the-Iraqi-people perspective, why the hell is this a good idea? I'm sure when the Iraqi soldiers see large clouds of toxic gas rising up from the ground they'll really sit there and say "oh, don't worry, it's just the brave U.S. troops and their non-lethal weaponry!" I mean, it's not like these are a people proven to be easily susceptible to anti-American propaganda or anything.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:02 AM on March 21, 2003


I'll try to explain this simply: We're attacking Iraq because Saddam tried to have the president's father killed.


Not to derail the thread, but I haven't heard a reason trying to kill a former President of the U.S. isn't enough reason for the U.S. to kick the crap out of them.
posted by gyc at 8:03 AM on March 21, 2003


It may be Ray, but a couple points.

First, everything I have ever read and seen demonstrates to me that the US military is better trained, more technologically advanced, and cares more for civilians than their Russian counterparts. A mix-up with a non-lethal in Russia doesn't scare me.

Second, the US military has been intensively studying non-lethals for years, just for these type of situations. And the US military isn't stupid. They know the WORST thing for their public image would be to use a gas agent on Iraqi civilians that would end up killing them. Just using traditional weapons would be better from this. So, if the US uses a non-lethal, I think we can assume it would be pretty safe. Because one of the ironies of the world is, if you appear to be fully evil, like Hussein, global opinion gives you a pass, but if you attempt to good, play by the rules, but f@ck up occassionally, you get crucified.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:03 AM on March 21, 2003


Oh, and the revulsion against lethal chemical weapons is not so much that they kill people - bombs can leave people just as dead, y'know - but that people can end up being horribly disfigured and psychologically or physiologically screwed up for life by their use. It would be nice to know what the long-term effects of these non-lethal weapons are. I'm presuming the matter has been studied. But does the government have any long-term cases to study here? I'm thinking maybe not.
posted by raysmj at 8:04 AM on March 21, 2003


Given that the US bio-weapon research team are the only people to have used Anthrax against civilians in the past couple of years, I wouldn't like to guess as to why they want to re-introduce chemical weaponry to the battlefield.
posted by asok at 8:07 AM on March 21, 2003


I haven't heard a reason trying to kill a former President of the U.S. isn't enough reason for the U.S. to kick the crap out of them.

It's refreshing to know that Mefi is well-read amongst American seventh-graders...
posted by jpoulos at 8:11 AM on March 21, 2003


nice try, nofundy. however, your flimsy reasoning fails miserably
posted by reality at 8:12 AM on March 21, 2003


Thanks for your usual concise analysis reality. It means so much to me having you cogently disassemble posts so utterly and completely. [cough]
posted by nofundy at 8:19 AM on March 21, 2003


So, if the US uses a non-lethal, I think we can assume it would be pretty safe.

doubtful. just because we're the Smart US and not some dumb commie coldwar leftover armies doesn't mean we're any better at not-screwing-up bioweapon deployment.

the problem with gas agents is that it is impossible to calculate safe dosage. doesn't matter how smart or advanced you are, there is always a good chance that people will die or suffer irrevocable effects. the Russians aren't stupid, far from it; but they also managed to show us a perfect example of what happens when you play with gas: result unpredictable.

usage of these things isn't banned by treaty just for some simplistic "but bioweapons are evil!" mindset, they are banned for very damned good reasons.

<snark>maybe this one is lsd-based, heh</snark>
posted by dorian at 8:27 AM on March 21, 2003


It's refreshing to know that Mefi is well-read amongst American seventh-graders

Shooting the messenger is an automatic foul. Score one mikrophon, good point.
posted by stbalbach at 8:37 AM on March 21, 2003


Oh, and the revulsion against lethal chemical weapons is not so much that they kill people - bombs can leave people just as dead, y'know - but that people can end up being horribly disfigured and psychologically or physiologically screwed up for life by their use

Not to contradict your point, ray, but the revulsion against NBC weapons in general is that they are not target-specific, in that they do not distinguish between civilians and combatants. It's a fairly fundamental distinction.
posted by Doozer at 8:37 AM on March 21, 2003


In October 2002, Russian Special Forces used a so-called "non-lethal" incapacitating biochemical weapon when storming the Palace of Culture Theater in Moscow. It resulted in the deaths of over 100 hostages ....

Maybe these weapons are much safer, and will save lives. I have no idea from the article. But why are you presuming that this is tear gas or pepper spray? Maybe it's something much stronger?


This is the problem. The article doesn't say what the chemicals are that are under discussion. It attempts to imply that it is a very strong class of chemical being used.

Note that it mentions a classification system "non-lethal incapacitating biochemical weapons", but does not explain what this class of weapon is ... rather, it picks the most extreme outcome from the use of one of the most powerful chemicals in the class, and attempts to lead readers to the conclusion that the US is about to use something similar. It has absolutely no such evidence of course - it is pure innuendo.

It does not report, for instance, that "non-lethal incapacitating biochemical weapons are anything from the pepper spray women use to defend against rapists, to the tear gas police use to rescue hostages, to the more potent chemicals that killed 100 people in the Moscow tragedy".

The article itself, and the FPP comments, were not meant to inform - but rather to inflame.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:46 AM on March 21, 2003


Doozer: Not really. That wasn't the case against them in World War I, which led the Geneva Convention ban on them. It was the sight of what chemical weapons did to people, many if not most of them soldiers. The implication that bombs make an absolute distinction between combatants and civilians is, meanwhile, not even remotely worth a resopnse.
posted by raysmj at 8:52 AM on March 21, 2003


Why is the US is Invading Iraq?

1) Water - probably.

2) Oil - yes: "The problem of growing US dependence on imported petroleum was first raised in the National Energy Policy Report, released by the White House in May 2001. Known as "the Cheney report," after its principal author, the Vice President, the document revealed that imported supplies accounted for half of US oil consumption in 2000 and will jump to two-thirds in 2020. And despite all the talk of drilling in Alaska, the report makes one thing clear: Most of America's future oil supplies will have to come from the Persian Gulf countries, which alone possess sufficient production potential to meet ever-growing US energy requirements. Thus, the report calls on the White House to place a high priority on increasing US access to Persian Gulf supplies."

Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2002: "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue -
U.S. Drillers Eye Huge Petroleum Pool A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets, according to industry officials and leaders of the Iraqi opposition.....Although senior Bush administration officials say they have not begun to focus on the issues involving oil and Iraq, American and foreign oil companies have already begun maneuvering for a stake in the country's huge proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of crude oil, the largest in the world outside Saudi Arabia."

The highly esteemed, conservative British publication, The Economist concurs: "Iraq's oil - Don't mention the O-word - If America goes to war against Iraq, what will become of all that oil?" [Sep 12th 2002, From The Economist print edition ] "If AMERICA'S chief interest in going after Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, is doubtless to save the world from his actual or potential weapons of mass destruction. Another large consideration, secondary as it may be, has attracted less attention than it should have: the effects that would follow from the opening up of the country's enormous reserves of oil."

3) "The Grand Chessboard" of Zbigniew Brzezinski - yes ["The most shocking part of this book is the authors blunt statement that what the U.S. truly needs to awaken public opinion and lead to the kind of initiative to seize control of oil rich territory he deems necessary is a calamitous attack on the order of a Pearl Harbor. This came about with 9-11, which occurred after this book was published. "]

4) The "Perle Plan" (according to Seymour Hersh - For the US to Invade Iraq and Iran (or otherwise topple Mullahs from power in Iran) and so deprive Hezbollah and Hamas of two important sponsors, thus undercutting Palestinian resistance and so ennabling Israel to force a peace settlement on favourable terms. And (of course) American style democracy sweeps through the Mideast and everyone lives happily ever after.

5) - Pump up the market valuations of Cheney's Haliburton, Perle's (and Kissinger's) Trireme Corporation and other financial interests (see New Yorker/Sy Hersh story) and, indeed, a whole constellation of defense related industries favoured by Bush Administration insiders. - Yes

6) Bush family personal picque at Saddam Hussein - Yes.

7) Distract Americans from a slow, steady (and perhaps carefully) managed collapse of excessive stock market valuation - Maybe.

8) An attempt to provoke the Biblical Armaggedon (of which we were all warned recently by the the Hebrew-spouting carp) - Maybe.

9) Increase International terrorism? - Richard Perle is director of firm selling terror alert software. See also Top White House Anti-Terror Boss Resigns - Maybe.

10) Let the world know who is boss, and that George W. Bush is now (as), effectively, the Dictator of the World: "Putting all this together, Bush is asserting the right of the United States to attack any country that may be a threat to it in five years. And the right of the United States to evaluate that risk and respond in its sole discretion. And the right of the president to make that decision on behalf of the United States in his sole discretion. In short, the president can start a war against anyone at any time, and no one has the right to stop him. And presumably other nations and future presidents have that same right. All formal constraints on war-making are officially defunct.

Well, so what? Isn't this the way the world works anyway? Isn't it naive and ultimately dangerous to deny that might makes right? Actually, no. Might is important, probably most important, but there are good, practical reasons for even might and right together to defer sometimes to procedure, law, and the judgment of others. Uncertainty is one. If we knew which babies would turn out to be murderous dictators, we could smother them in their cribs."


11) Underlying it all, the New Pax Americana. The newsweek feature story this week (a superb piece):
"The Arrogant Empire: America’s unprecedented power scares the world, and the Bush administration has only made it worse. How we got here—and what we can do about it now."  (By Fareed Zakaria, author of "The Future of Freedom".)

12) Human Rights? Probably not: Talos (from Metafilter) had quite a bit to say (From "Idiot Prince..." thread) about the already rising tide of refugees surging out of Iraq and the immediate vicinity (here: "Listen. This war is coming and most of you won't even feel the consequences. This is what is happening over here at the European South East: we're waiting (according to estimates) for half to one million refugees pouring out from a devastated Iraq, and that's if Turkey doesn't attack Northern Kurdistan." There will likely be a wave of refugees flowing out of Iraq, and the UN Refugee Fund set up to cope with the expected 1 millon or so refugees, and a possible humanitarian disaster is seriously short of cash.

13) Boys like toys.



Not on the list at all - WMD's, or a direct 9-11 Iraq-Al Qaeda link:

1) The significant WMD stocks are not in Iraq: huge WMD stocks - nuclear weapons, plutonium, uranium, bioweapons agents, chemical weapons - are lying about in poorly defended heaps (so to speak) within the confines of the ex-Soviet Union. These WMD stocks constitute the really significant "loose WMD" threat - above, in all likelihood, the possibility that North Korea or rogue elements of the Pakistani military might give nuclear weapons to terrorists.




2) even GW Bush is unwilling to state a connection between the 9-11 terrorists and Iraq



posted by troutfishing at 8:54 AM on March 21, 2003


The use of these agents is BANNED by treaty

Ok boys, put away that non-lethal shells and get the Willy Pete.

That suit you better nofundy?
posted by a3matrix at 8:55 AM on March 21, 2003


Shooting the messenger is an automatic foul.

I have no idea if gyc is actually a seventh-grader. I was attacking his/her argument as being of a seventh-grade mentality.
posted by jpoulos at 9:03 AM on March 21, 2003


you guys use big words.

yous smart.

yous knows whats going on in the world.

yous are big mens.
posted by Satapher at 9:04 AM on March 21, 2003


It's refreshing to know that Mefi is well-read amongst American seventh-graders

Fuck off man. I wasn't looking to stir up debate. It's just a question I've been wondering about and was hoping someone would give a quick answer to that question.
posted by gyc at 9:23 AM on March 21, 2003


That suit you better nofundy?

(Pardon me other MeFi'ers) SHOVE IT ASSHOLE!

I do not wish to see anyone brutally and senselessly murdered, even the slimy lowlifes like yourself!
posted by nofundy at 9:23 AM on March 21, 2003


The chemical that the Russians used was some derivative of Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic form of Heroin which is 80 times more potent than Morphine. There are several Fentanyl derivatives, ranging from Sufentanil, which is 5 - 10 times more powerful than Fentanyl, to Carfentanil, which is 10,000 times more powerful than Morphine. That's some potent stuff!

Those folks in the Moscow theatre died of a drug overdose. They really should consult a good anesthesiologist before they try to sleep somebody.
posted by whatever at 9:29 AM on March 21, 2003


“ My dynamite will sooner lead to peace than a thousand world conventions. As soon as men will find that in one instant whole armies can be destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.”

Alfred Bernard Nobel
posted by th3ph17 at 9:35 AM on March 21, 2003


Within the first hours of the war, Iraq fired Scud missiles -- that Hans Blix could not find and Saddam claimed not to have -- at American and British troops.

Don't expect the antiwar crowd to notice this. Up to the very last minute, they were arguing that inspections had "worked." Having been proved so wrong, they will not reconsider. They will instead do what they always do -- assume that the world will forget and move on to the next thing
posted by Macboy at 10:02 AM on March 21, 2003


Macboy, a source for your scuds?

Maybe he just bought them? I am pretty sure he wouldn't have fired them if he wasn't under attack.
posted by asok at 10:56 AM on March 21, 2003


No one's certain whether the missiles were Scuds or not, or at least that's my understanding. If there are updates, I'd like to hear them.
posted by raysmj at 10:58 AM on March 21, 2003


The article itself, and the FPP comments, were not meant to inform - but rather to inflame.

Translation: "I'm unable to refute the point made, so I'll whine about 'inflammation.' I get 'inflamed' when my own views are challenged. I fear any dissent from my own limited worldview."

Rumsfeld and his toadie General Meyers are giving a briefing at the moment, with the flames of Baghdad superimposed behind them. How fitting. And they each may get honorary Oscars for "Most Defensiveness in the Cause of Terrorizing Civilians". Shameful.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:07 AM on March 21, 2003


Today we face a dilemma much like the dilemma that challenged Neville Chamberlain in the 1930's. He was confronted with the prospect of waging war against a madman or brokering peace based on thin promises. Chamberlain signed a treaty with Hitler hoping against reason that it would mean peace. Hitler mocked Chamberlain and he mocked the world when he ignored the treaty and broke his promises. Inaction in trying to appease Hitler resulted in ruin. By the war's end, Hitler's death toll had reached over 30 million.

The publicly available evidence against Saddam Hussein is compelling:

· His aggressive invasion of Kuwait and brutal oppression of the Kuwaiti people in 1990

· His record in complying with UN inspections. In total, Saddam Hussein currently stands in violation of 16 UN resolutions.

· His repeated attempts to gain access to nuclear weapons.

· His public praise of the attacks of September 11. While ideologically Al Qaeda and Saddam are opposites, their common goal is the destruction of America. These two evils united pose a great threat to our security.
posted by Macboy at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2003


A bad man, fer sure. Macboy - You forgot to mention "and having sex with Satan!"

I wonder how history will judge Hussein's crimes with respect to the alleged war crimes of Henry Kissinger ( a la Christopher Hitchens ) ?

But - please, please, pretty please? - no more "this is just like Chamberlain appeasing Hitler before WW2" comparisons. How about it? Saddam Hussein is a gnat-sized threat compared to that which was posed by Hitler. Oh - and by the way - Hitler was substantially bankrolled and armed by US financial and industrial interests prior to the war.

But Kim Jong Il is a very bad man too (and crazy, too boot). And his WMD programs are years ahead of where Hussein's were. Then there are also all those WMD's lying around in the territory of the ex-Soviet Union, in poorly guarded heaps..........
posted by troutfishing at 12:11 PM on March 21, 2003


Macboy: His public praise of the attacks of September 11. While ideologically Al Qaeda and Saddam are opposites, their common goal is the destruction of America. These two evils united pose a great threat to our security.

Whilst it may be stupid with Bush and his itchy trigger-finger, I don't see how saying bad things about America is in and of itself proof that you're an evil regime/tyrant. It'd never stand up in court.

Common goal is the destruction of America? He's been doing a really bad job of it for the past decade, then. Has he tried to invade? Has any terrorist attack in the past decade been positively, incontrovertibly, linked back to Iraq? Sure, he might be joining with some of the Middle East in saying "Death to the great Satan", but I don't see how he's made much progress. Hey, almost as if he's just saying that to gain support. You know, much like America's saying they're really, really concerned about civil rights in Iraq.
posted by kaemaril at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2003


Oops, forgot a bit:While ideologically Al Qaeda and Saddam are opposites....These two evils united pose a great threat to our security
Absolutely no conclusive (or even largely credible) evidence whatsoever of any link between Iraq and Al Qaeda has ever been presented. OTOH, we KNOW that Osama regards Saddam as an infidel, and wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire. Yep, those two are just natural buddies. Probably went fishing together once.

Mind you, if they really wanted to justify this "war" they're currently embarked upon it wouldn't surprise me if the US were to uncover a secret Al Qaeda training base deep inside Iraq loaded up with Boeing 747 flight simulators, chemical weapons, nuclear devices marked "DANGEROUS: ACME NUKES" and a large photograph of George Bush with a whole load of darts in it. Oh, and all the buildings would be VERY freshly painted. In whatever colour paint the ol' CIA budget would spring for this week.
posted by kaemaril at 12:19 PM on March 21, 2003


troutfishing: Your "Why is the US is Invading Iraq?" post was extremely inspiring. Excellent work.
posted by psychoticreaction at 12:21 PM on March 21, 2003


Speaking as someone who is against the war and as someone who is perfectly aware that "non-lethal" weapons can turn out lethal, given bad luck or judgment errors, I would much rather be on the receiving end of one of these weapons than, say, napalm or cluster-bombs.

I agree that anyone who uses these "non-lethal" weapons needs to be aware that they carry serious risks, and should not be casually used on civilians. However, probably most of the situations where these weapons might be used are situations where we would otherwise go in firing with conventional weaponry - which carries a much greater chance of death, injury or disfigurement for civilians as well as combatants.

Because of their lethal potential, weapons like this are risky business in a law-enforcement setting, if they are used in place of negotiations. (Witness the Moscow tragedy.) In a wartime situation, where the decision has already been made to go in with deadly force, these weapons have the capacity to save lives.

I'm against the war, and I hold G.W. in contempt, but I don't think this issue is valid grounds for criticism of G.W. & co.
posted by tdismukes at 12:53 PM on March 21, 2003


What tdismukes said. Getting incinerated by a FAE or MOAB would be worse.

Arguing the fact that the US has all of the weapons that it doesn't want other nations to have is fruitless. You will make no headway with the sort of folk who cannot see this as a fundamental hypocrisy.

As for those who say that the anti-war folks have "lost" -- wait until the game is up before you gloat. A great number of those against the war were not arguing that war wouldn't happen but that it shouldn't happen. Only after all of the lofty goals of the pro-war side materialize (freedom, apple pie, and world peace and security under the Pax Americana) will you be in the position to make claims of vindication and victory.

Sure, it's going to be a long wait, but won't it be worth it?
posted by moonbiter at 3:06 PM on March 21, 2003


Macboy, a source for your scuds?

Don't worry, there will be TONS of evidence pouring out of Iraq very soon. Scuds? Tip of the iceberg. You may disagree, time will tell.

Saddam is compareable to Hitler. Those who say he is no Hitler it's like saying a tangerine is not an orange. Who cares, its round, orange, and smells and tastes like orange.

Those who say we are not going after North Korea so we have no justification for going after Saddam - we are going after North Korea we have tons of resources involved it's a diffrent strategy we can't go marching in with troops.

Before 1991 Saddam had plans to controll the Middle East either through direct conquest or threat of WMD. He was not going to stop at Kuwait. Those who think otherwise can line with the rest of the apologists who avoided dealing with Hitler in the 1930s ie. the MAJORITY OF BRITAIN AND USA. No one wanted war and refused to believe that anyone could do such a thing. The fools. Not in my name.
posted by stbalbach at 3:41 PM on March 21, 2003


stbalbach: Yes, of course Saddam is comparable to Hitler. Adolf Hitler had a tremendously powerful military machine backing him up, and invaded another country which was no military threat to him. Also, Adolf was keen on blitzkriegs, and did bomb a civilian capital (London, the blitz)

So, of course so did Saddam...

Oh, no, wait, he doesn't have that tremendously powerful military machine. And he's not bombed Washington recently. Looks like that argument went out the window, huh?

Mind you, I can think of another world leader who has got a tremendously powerful military machine backing him up and has just invaded another country which was no military threat to him, has bombed a civilian capital and ... And hey, you know "shock and awe" --- blitzkrieg... ya think? No, couldn't be...
posted by kaemaril at 4:15 PM on March 21, 2003


Before 1991 Saddam had plans to controll the Middle East either through direct conquest or threat of WMD.

Ah, yes: and with the wholehearted support of the West, who supplied all the weaponry and technology for his conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear programmes. Which must mean that the orange-growers are now burning the orchard, with people like stbalbach cheering as the flames rise higher.

Speaking as someone who is against the war and as someone who is perfectly aware that "non-lethal" weapons can turn out lethal, given bad luck or judgment errors, I would much rather be on the receiving end of one of these weapons than, say, napalm or cluster-bombs.

Good job you're not in Iraq, then, because the US has been dousing Iraqi soldiers with napalm on its northward advance. The British and American media kept that one quiet today:

A legal expert at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva said the use of napalm or fuel air bombs was not illegal "per se" because the US was not a signatory to the 1980 weapons convention which prohibits and restricts certain weapons. "But the US has to apply the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and take all precautions to protect civilians. In the case of napalm and fuel air bombs, these are special precautions because these are area weapons, not specific weapons," said Dominique Loye, the committee's adviser on weapons and IHL.

I feel sick.
posted by riviera at 6:34 PM on March 21, 2003


(Actually, CNN's field reporter appears to have mentioned the napalm in passing -- 'anything that was up there that was left after all the explosions was then hit with napalm. And that pretty much put an end to any Iraqi operations up on that hill.' -- which now makes me even sicker. I had no idea that 'embedded' meant 'indoctrinated into being a military cheerleader'.)
posted by riviera at 6:39 PM on March 21, 2003


Riviera - Please click this link

See Iraqi town liberated by U.S. forces you hippie.
posted by Macboy at 7:23 PM on March 21, 2003


See Iraqi town liberated by U.S. forces you hippie.

Well, I imagine that they don't broadcast the aftermath of napalm attacks, you blinkered twit. They remember Vietnam.

(Just for my 'hippie' benefit: do I take it that you approve of the use of napalm? I'm only guessing now that you think it's a-ok, based on your recent posts.)
posted by riviera at 7:34 PM on March 21, 2003


Macboy - re: "See Iraqi town liberated by U.S. forces you hippie" - As far as I've read, the US plans to install a somewhat less bloody and ruthless authoritarian regime (than Sadam Hus the invasion of Iran. As with Afghanistan, the rebuilding of Iraq will come later, if at all.

psychoticreaction - thanks.
posted by troutfishing at 7:46 PM on March 21, 2003


FWIW, there likely wasn't anyone left alive on the hill to get napalmed.

From the CNN link -

CNN.com - Protecting Iraq's oil supply - Mar. 21, 2003
It is now estimated the hill was hit so badly by missiles, artillery and by the Air Force, that they shaved a couple of feet off it. And anything that was up there that was left after all the explosions was then hit with napalm. And that pretty much put an end to any Iraqi operations up on that hill.
Army counterbattery fire's pretty accurate.

And it looks like the Anti-war crowd is looking to bring it home to the US. For our own good, of course. Kudos to the guy who persuaded his buddy that it WASN'T a good idea to use these.

KTVU.com - News - SF Police Find Cache Of Molotov Cocktails
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco arson investigators removed 12 Molotov-type cocktails on Friday from a backpack discovered by a groundskeeper cleaning up debris left by anti-war protesters in a downtown alley way.
Black Bloc, anyone?

JB
posted by JB71 at 7:47 PM on March 21, 2003


Oops: Macboy - re: "See Iraqi town liberated by U.S. forces you hippie" - As far as I've read, the US plans to install, in Iraq, a somewhat less bloody and ruthless authoritarian regime (than Sadam Hussein's) and then proceed with the invasion of Iran. As with Afghanistan, the rebuilding of Iraq - or Iran - will come later, if at all.

psychoticreaction - thanks.
posted by troutfishing at 7:48 PM on March 21, 2003


I'll add that the British are prohibited from using napalm, as a full signatory to the CCWC, while the US opted out of Protocol III on incendiary weapons such as napalm. Of course, since the Richard Perles of this world think that treaties don't mean bum, anything goes.
posted by riviera at 7:56 PM on March 21, 2003


riviera - damn straight. Perle.....err....The U.S.A rules. Rock on, dudes. Kick butt. Touchdown time. Blah blah blah. Blah! blah blah blah...
posted by troutfishing at 8:55 PM on March 21, 2003


Black Bloc, anyone?

Or COINTELPRO?
posted by trondant at 12:33 PM on March 22, 2003


Right. Couldn't be Black Bloc. THEY wouldn't do anything like that.

SF Indymedia - Black Bloc, night the war starts.
To "yo"
by Mr. Kropotkin Tuesday March 18, 2003 at 03:11 PM

"DC por ejemplo, doesn't do that. "

do you know what you're talking about?? during the march 15th ANSWER march, my comrades and i (about 50 of us) broke away and marched to the World Bank Headquarters. Not only did we get inside... we destroyed the place! All their banquet decorations were torn down. when the security called the alarm, all the doors locked automatically and cops were pouring in looking to kick some ass. so we smashed 2 windows and got the fuck out of there. only 6 (out of 30-50) were arrested.

so don't go saying DC anarchists are innactive. Also, i always see "LIES!" on the front of newspaper bins.
Yeah. It's gotta be the government - but the government that's too stupid to do anything right wouldn't be subtle on something like this. They'd find someone and plant the bottles on him.

Makes me think it's real, and someone changed their mind. Good for them - I'm glad they had second thoughts and I hope they don't get tagged by their appearance on survelliance cams.

JB
posted by JB71 at 8:06 PM on March 22, 2003


JB71 - Even though anyone is free to post to IndyMedia, I am sure that you have proved, without a doubt or even the slightest question, the identities and political affiliations of the "Black Bloc". So what did you say their names were?
posted by troutfishing at 9:51 PM on March 22, 2003


My point? - They could be dumb leftist kids, or US 'dirty tricks' Special Ops. goons - or aliens in for a lark from the planet XX#@32w - Who knows? But (personally) I suspect that those who know won't talk, and that those who talk either don't know, or are dead.
posted by troutfishing at 9:58 PM on March 22, 2003


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