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Iraq civilians shot at checkpoint
March 31, 2003 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Human Filter. "U.S. troops killed seven Iraqi women and children at a checkpoint Monday when the Iraqis' van would not stop as ordered, a military official said."
posted by four panels (95 comments total)

 
Trolling, trolling, trolling... keep those posts a' trolling...
posted by SpecialK at 2:06 PM on March 31, 2003


The army must have ran out of the "It's not okay to keep going when military people point guns at you and tell you to stop, even if you have women and children in the car" propaganda pamphlets.
posted by PrinceValium at 2:11 PM on March 31, 2003


How is this a troll?

Just because you don't like it doesn't make it a troll.
posted by jpoulos at 2:13 PM on March 31, 2003


Where's a good stop stick when you need one?
posted by shepd at 2:13 PM on March 31, 2003


Hm. Van ordered to stop by heavily-armed soldiers, van didn't stop, soldiers destroyed van.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:14 PM on March 31, 2003


Definitely an outrage. Thanks for pointing this out. I'm going to write Colin myself and get this stopped!
posted by mr_mindless at 2:15 PM on March 31, 2003


What would you expect to happen at any military roadblock anywhere in the world, where a vehicle refused to stop upon being ordered to? Easter eggs all round? Oh, wait, they've already gone...
posted by Joeforking at 2:21 PM on March 31, 2003


It's not an outrage, but it is sad. I'm sure the soldiers feel awful. Probably not as awful as the dead innocents, but certainly more awful than specialk, prince valium, crash, and mr. mindless.
posted by vito90 at 2:22 PM on March 31, 2003


Yes, vito90, I'm sitting here cheering the deaths of women and children, because I'm a cruel heartless bastard. You win the prize.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:24 PM on March 31, 2003


Tragic, but what alternative did the soldiers have?
posted by smackfu at 2:27 PM on March 31, 2003


how about we add a bunch of armed soldiers by the new topic submit button?
posted by andrew cooke at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2003


Great the way this thread has degenerated into mindless personal insults and saracasm, as usual.

However, here's a real point: the iraqi command has warned that there will be more suicide attacks similar to the one where two apparent civilians in a taxi blew up their vehicle at a checkpoint.

Much as I hate to see Americans killing civilians, in this case I can't blame them. Not when they have been warned - by the iraqis - to expect lethal attacks from every civilian vehicle.
posted by riddley at 2:29 PM on March 31, 2003


Sorry dude. That definitely came off snarkier than it should have. I'm just saying there does appear to be a lack of sensitivity right off the bat..

Of course it is "reasonable" that a soldier, fearing for his own life, would fire on the van, especially in light of recent suicide bombings...but there is a "they had it coming" attitude in this thread, and the victims most certainly did not have it coming.
posted by vito90 at 2:30 PM on March 31, 2003


Tragic, but what alternative did the soldiers have?

Perhaps now would be a good time to roll out the "this war was not a good idea, for this reason and others" argument.
posted by irix at 2:33 PM on March 31, 2003


US soldiers indicated at the vehicle to stop, at about 4.30pm local time (2.30pm BST), US central command said. When it did not do so they fired warning shots, before shooting first at the engine and then at the passenger compartment.
God those US soldiers are animals!

Might as well have titled this post: Someone did something stupid today and died because of it.
posted by fletchmuy at 2:37 PM on March 31, 2003


Probably not as awful as the dead innocents...

Pretty sure they can't feel a thing right now.

Anyway... so the thread is about what? C'mon, someone help me... point me in the intended direction of the poster. Was it to become outraged with the Bush administration and the war in/on... blah blah blah?

Oh I see. We're here to chit chat about the history and development of military check-point policy during times of war. Remember that check point incident that occurred during WWI in Italy? I think we all learned a lesson there. Great post four panels... thanks for the links.
posted by Witty at 2:37 PM on March 31, 2003


Perhaps now would be a good time to roll out the "this war was not a good idea, for this reason and others" argument.

damn yes! i didn't realise. people will be killed in a war! damn damn damn. why didn't someone point this out earlier? now i have seen the light. thanks, irix, for your brilliance.

or: no, it's never a good time to post more mindless crap. but hey, let's all play on.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:39 PM on March 31, 2003


How is this a troll?

Because the poster clearly had no intentions to provoke a spirited or interesting debate. Just a bunch of nastiness and "See, I told you war was violent" rhetoric.
posted by Karl at 2:40 PM on March 31, 2003


Perhaps now would be a good time to roll out the "this war was not a good idea, for this reason and others" argument.

To be immediately followed with the "not-fighting is not a panacea" argument.
posted by jammer at 2:41 PM on March 31, 2003


fletchmuy: so if foreign soldiers went to your town, pulled out guns and ordered you to stop and then killed you and your children for not obeying their orders, that would be your just desserts, right?
posted by signal at 2:41 PM on March 31, 2003


Seems to me one person is responsible for what happened in this case - the suicidally unwise driver of the van.

Soldiers fired warning shots and then shots into the vehicle's engine, neither of which stopped it, he said.

In a war zone, you gotta do what the soldiers tell you to do, or be killed. Period. Any vehicle is a potential bomb now. The soldiers have to assume danger when drivers refuse to stop...
posted by beth at 2:43 PM on March 31, 2003


it's never a good time to post more mindless crap. but hey, let's all play on.

gotta love that mefi "let's bury our heads in the sand and only talk about friday flash fun" aesthetic. so conscious!
posted by irix at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2003


Signal gets it! Hurrah!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:45 PM on March 31, 2003


Because the poster clearly had no intentions to provoke a spirited or interesting debate. Just a bunch of nastiness and "See, I told you war was violent" rhetoric.

Yes, that's complete bullshit.

GO AMERICA!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!! LETS ROLL!!!!
posted by iamck at 2:47 PM on March 31, 2003


To be immediately followed with the "not-fighting is not a panacea" argument.

And followed right back with a "you wouldn't recognize the truth about this war if it hit you over the head or shot you and your kids at a security checkpoint" return volley.
posted by irix at 2:49 PM on March 31, 2003


For irix only...
posted by Witty at 2:50 PM on March 31, 2003


Debka is reporting that Iraq let the Tigris and Euphrates dams loose (though nobody else is yet(?)). Seems like an unfortunate Monday.
posted by VulcanMike at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2003


For irix only...

Gee, I've never read the posting guidelines for MeFi in the 2.5 years I've been reading and posting. Why don't you read it yourself?
posted by irix at 2:53 PM on March 31, 2003


If anyone ever needs evidence for the theory that bad posts make worse threads... here it is.

On preview:

Gee, I've never read the posting guidelines for MeFi in the 2.5 years I've been reading and posting. Why don't you read it yourself?

I love when 5-digiters wag their "I've been here longer than you" dicks at each other.
posted by jammer at 2:56 PM on March 31, 2003


If anyone ever needs evidence for the theory that bad posts make worse threads... here it is.

And yet you continue to post. Who's watching the watchers now, jammer?
posted by irix at 3:00 PM on March 31, 2003


Thanks for agreeing.
posted by Witty at 3:00 PM on March 31, 2003


*awards Quickest Degerating Thread Ever medal*

*ambles off*
posted by Cyrano at 3:01 PM on March 31, 2003


I love when 5-digiters wag their "I've been here longer than you" dicks at each other.

Well, one is definitely longer than the other.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 3:02 PM on March 31, 2003


*Comes back to correct the spelling of "Degenerating" on the medal*
posted by Cyrano at 3:03 PM on March 31, 2003


And yet you continue to post. Who's watching the watchers now, jammer?

I love going to the zoo to watch monkeys fling shit at each other. This is cheaper, and doesn't involve excrement... just hordes of righteously offended undergrads feverishly fuming over their keyboards.

Which in a way is funnier than monkeys.
posted by jammer at 3:04 PM on March 31, 2003


damn hippes
posted by tiamat at 3:04 PM on March 31, 2003


Fuck. I just posted this on another website. Considering its relevance to the topic, I hope that none will find it out of place if I just cut'n'paste it here:

There's a whole lot of waking up that has to take place on the home front for any of this to change. American's see themselves as invincable; we can win a fight with anybody. Indeed we can, if we're willing to take the steps necessary. Popping a cap in some kid's head is actually becoming okay, as long as none of our boys die. There's only one progression this can take.

I'm too tired after working this weekend to look up the quotes online, but Sun Szu pointed out clearly the different objectives necessary for an occupation. To successfully repel an invader, overwhelm his expectations, draw out his will on your schedule, cut off his assistance, and then frighten him into retreat. That is what we did in GHW Bush's war. To successfully be an invader, you have to completely crush and subjugate any will to resist. None of this namby-pamby care for civilians crap. Destroy the enemy's will to resist and you create safety for those who must control the unwilling. Is that or is that not what Shock'n'awe was supposed to accomplish? It didn't. This country lacks the will to be an invader (thank GOD). Yet we're playing the role of invader, but rename it liberator. The necessity is the same, only the semantics are different.

What scares me most is that the will of the American people is hardening. Many have begun to see it as our right to take Iraq down. Concern for Iraqi citizens is wavering, and our President's popularity is again on the rise.

I feel torn down the middle like I never have before. I know what it will take to win this. Decisive push, commit, commit, commit. Bomb until you can't bomb no more. Kill anything that poses a threat. Don't get me wrong, I believe that we will win the military battle, by most accounts, decisively. But the terror war has begun already in Iraq, and has escalated in Afghanistan. We're afraid to lose our souls by crushing the enemy completely. Because of that, we've made a pact to keep Death well supplied for a very long time.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:07 PM on March 31, 2003


Jammer, get over yourself. Nerd.
posted by Witty at 3:12 PM on March 31, 2003


The soldiers were doing what they were expected to do after having not very long before this lost some people when a suicide driver waved them over to his car and then blew it up. I am surprised however that with all the name calling etc no one has asked whether Iraquis involved could understand what was being asked of them since they probably did not understand English.
posted by Postroad at 3:12 PM on March 31, 2003


Hey, cool.... I've just been insulted by both sides of the fence. That's about the maximum accomplishment that anyone can hope for in these threads any more... I can rest peacefully now in the knowledge of a job well done.

Cheers!
posted by jammer at 3:14 PM on March 31, 2003


GO AMERICA!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!! LETS ROLL!!!!

Yes, iamck, because I think this was a bad post, I must be a rip snortin' patriot. That kind of logic is identical to the "If you're not with us, you're against us" arguement. Nicely done.

Now kindly piss off.
posted by Karl at 3:19 PM on March 31, 2003


Since it's pretty obvious that the Iraqi want civilian causulties in this war, has anyone thought that Government officials might now be telling citizens that if they stop for U.S. checkpoints they might be shot, raped, or whatever. Iraq hopes it's civilian body count gets even bigger so I wouldn't find this suprising.
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 3:31 PM on March 31, 2003


This excerpt from Fox news just posted:
"It said soldiers motioned for the driver to stop but were ignored. The soldiers then fired warning shots, which also were ignored. They then shot into the vehicle's engine, but the van continued moving toward the checkpoint, according to the statement" This answers my earlier question about not understanding English. I have had a rifle put to my head in a war zone (by America drunk) and I figured out that he was a bit upset with me about something and so I had best try to make him feel more at ease. Somethings transcend language.
posted by Postroad at 3:40 PM on March 31, 2003


Iraq hopes it's civilian body count gets even bigger so I wouldn't find this suprising.

wake up, please.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:41 PM on March 31, 2003


Here's a more detailed account of the incident, also from the WaPo, which puts the number of dead at 10 and puts some doubt on whether a warning shot was fired.

Ten Iraqis Killed at U.S. Checkpoint
posted by homunculus at 3:49 PM on March 31, 2003


Iraq hopes it's civilian body count gets even bigger so I wouldn't find this surprising.

wake up, please.


so you thing great saddam is doing everything to protect his people?

The only weapon Saddam has is Public Opinion. He hopes images and body counts will be to much for the US and her allies' public to accept and beg the government to end it.

Which makes you a tool.
posted by Mick at 3:50 PM on March 31, 2003


Damn waffles.

Anyway, this is one of those unfortunate but totally understandable incidents. Clearly the State's Soldiers had some good reasons to fire at a rouge van, given its behavior. That does not of course diminish my regret at having innocents die.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:51 PM on March 31, 2003


If this thread wasn't so sad, it'd be funny. And I got to start the degeneration! *buffs fingernails on shirt*

(Forgot to say, "First post!" though.)
posted by SpecialK at 3:55 PM on March 31, 2003


MetaFilter: It's like watching munkies at the zoo!
MetaFilter: Now with more Poo!
posted by SpecialK at 3:59 PM on March 31, 2003


"Fire a warning shot," he ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. "Stop [messing] around!" Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken. Finally, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Stop him, Red 1, stop him!"
That order was immediately followed by the loud reports of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of the platoon's Bradleys. About half a dozen shots were heard in all.
"Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"


Stupid civilians, right?
posted by signal at 4:00 PM on March 31, 2003


so you thing great saddam is doing everything to protect his people?

neither side is, so no.

He hopes images and body counts will be to much for the US and her allies' public to accept and beg the government to end it.

think about what you're implying for a moment. are you trying to tell me that the civilians in that van rushed the checkpoint and deliberately courted retaliation from US troops in order to be killed on the chance that maybe it will make coalition forces look bad, and inspire people to take to the streets and call for the end of the war, which bush will happily oblige?

Which makes you a tool.

...said the hammer.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:01 PM on March 31, 2003


MetaFilter: It's like watching munkies at the zoo!

Now that's a tshirt I'd wear.

I'm wondering what kind of monkies. Howlers, maybe?
posted by jammer at 4:04 PM on March 31, 2003


(I think you misunderstood him, mcsweetie)
posted by Karl at 4:05 PM on March 31, 2003


Anyway, this is one of those unfortunate but totally understandable incidents

No, this is why fighting a conventional war in the name of a "war on terror" will only end up making you look really, really bad to people who already think you sacrifice babies to your god, Moloch. We fanatics kill soldiers with a scary suicide bomb, your soldiers get nervous, rules of engagement change — because, let's face it, "don't get killed, and also don't kill any civilians" is a classic catch-22 when nobody bothers to put on a uniform with "combatant" written on the front of it — and then bang! You're a babykiller from a nation of babykillers. But hopefully you're alive when the next election comes around to tell your tale. Give Iraq the benefits of modern democracy! Vote anybody but Bush!

And please, don't leave those chads hanging this time. Or maybe we can find a good reason to impeach this fucking chimpanzee by then. Clinton lied about a blow job. This president has misrepresented the evidence supporting his case for war. Gosh, this whole thing just makes me ... kind of snippy!
posted by hairyeyeball at 4:12 PM on March 31, 2003


We've become the Israeli military by choice. This is so pathetic.
posted by skallas at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2003


MetaFilter: Kind of snippy!

(sorry, hairy, just couldn't resist...)
posted by SpecialK at 4:25 PM on March 31, 2003


>In a war zone, you gotta do what the soldiers tell you to do, or be killed. Period.

Yeah Beth, I'm sure its that simple. First off, this is one side of the story. Secondly, did it ever occur to you that perhaps they didn't know they were being shooting at until it was too late? It is a war zone, guns are going off all the time. Think about all the problems there for one minute before you write this off as "learn how to live in a warzone you stupid peasants!"

Lastly, we've been feeding them pamphlets that the loving arms of Americans are waiting for them. If they were fleeing from Saddam's people perhaps they thought they were being shot by Saddam's people. I wonder how many Iraqi's can tell the difference between a roadblock consisting of an american tank or a russian built tank.

Yes Beth, its all that simple. Its so cut and dry. I really hope you never, ever have to experience how complex and surreal a war zone truly is.
posted by skallas at 4:31 PM on March 31, 2003


10 more people liberated. 23,999,990 to go.
posted by wah at 4:33 PM on March 31, 2003


"Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"
According to beth and the other pro-war people a war zone is a simple thing and if a civillian gets shot its his own fault. Why is the pro-war Washington Post writing lies? I'm sure they had all the time in the world and were just stupid. Perhaps Beth and the rest of you can submit this dead familiy for a Darwin Award.
posted by skallas at 4:34 PM on March 31, 2003


MetaFilter: Now with more Poo!

Hee hee! Thanks, best laugh I've had all day.
posted by homunculus at 4:38 PM on March 31, 2003


Ain't war hell?

This is such non news, being overplayed by the media because death = ratings.

You can bet that the most sorry, other than the dead, are the soldiers at the checkpoint. Killing woman and children does not top their list folks. Imagine how scared they were when the van was whipping down the road at them. They probably thought it was a suicide bomber, or homicide bomber as I see them called now.

This type of thing is very unfortunate. It will happen again. These things happen in war, and it sucks everytime. The alternative is to let it through and see if it explodes when it gets near you.

Hmm, decisions decisions.
I for one, open fire.
posted by a3matrix at 4:39 PM on March 31, 2003




A3matrix, do you post signs before or after you kill your first family?
To try to prevent a recurrence, Johnson ordered that signs be posted in Arabic to warn people to stop well short of the Bradleys guarding the eastern approach to the intersection. Before they could be erected, 10 people carrying white flags walked down the same road. They included seven children, an old man, a woman and a boy in his teens.
I'm not about "spitting on troops". These are our troops, and I am morally culpulable for this.
posted by Wood at 4:42 PM on March 31, 2003


MetaFilter: I am morally culpable for this.
posted by SpecialK at 4:47 PM on March 31, 2003


"As a last resort the soldiers fired into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle they found 13 women and children. Seven of the occupants were dead. Two were wounded. Four were unharmed," a spokesman said.

This is from the Yahoo story off AP wire. I cant believe a spokeman would use the term unharmed. I cant imagine going through an experience like that and being anything that would resemble "unharmed". Soldiers, wounded, everyone involved, especially the children who survived.
posted by mikojava at 4:47 PM on March 31, 2003


> The alternative is to let it through and see if it explodes when it gets near you.

Nonsense. How about pulling out that country altogether?

Or if you're hell-bent on taking it over, stop sending these people pamphlets and disinformation about how Americans are here to help. We're not. We're here to conquer and replace a sovereign government with one of our choosing.

It blows my mind that the pentagon and media talking heads are surprised by basic guerilla tactics like fake surrenders and fighting out of uniform. All this should have been accounted for, but in Bush's little war it doesn't seem to matter. We tell them to "rise up against Saddam." We also tell them to "Run to us." Both options tend to lead to murder by either American GIs or Saddam's people.

We should be telling them, "Stay in your homes, do not approach anyone."
posted by skallas at 4:48 PM on March 31, 2003


~180 people in the USA died in automobile accidents today.

Wear your seatbelts, and stop at checkpoints.
posted by tomplus2 at 5:09 PM on March 31, 2003


I believe Americans are generally good people, despite the urban violence, manipulation by corporate news or corporate greed.

It's when feckless intentions are met with arrogant leaders do a nation's people seem veered toward atrocity.

If America is set toward a moral future, Americans will perhaps together be a great nation. Yet such good intentions (support our troops, support the President, etc.) are milked for auspicious gain. Most countries have seen this in their histories. It's a shame the rest of the World, already imbued with thousands of years of History before the United States, cannot see this, or voice this. Surely France sees this. China.

There is a foreign aggressor in America, this may be true. But allow for a brief respite for those of much lower social position who are a part of a greater arm, moving now across the Middle East.

The soldiers may have been mistaken, maybe being heroic, but surely there is more to this than a dichotomy of prejudices, sitting atop too many years of war. Are the Turkish wrong? Are the Greek? Japanese, Chinese?

Perhaps the children of History are illegitimate heirs to a world not of their making, of which they have every part.

Change can be revolutionary. It is knowing where to focus it that, simply, makes all the difference.
posted by the fire you left me at 5:32 PM on March 31, 2003


These things happen in war, and it sucks everytime. The alternative is to let it through and see if it explodes when it gets near you.

Actually, the alternative is to not invade countries.

But I think you already knew that.

Also, I find that the people who have the "people die - tough luck"-attitude are seldom the people in the line of fire.
posted by spazzm at 6:11 PM on March 31, 2003


According to beth and the other pro-war people...

I'm not pro-war.

I just think that the driver should have stopped, okay? To avoid doing what the people with weapons trained on you are asking you to do (motioning, shooting at your vehicle, etc), is suicidally unwise.

It's also quite tragic.
posted by beth at 6:16 PM on March 31, 2003


The only weapon Saddam has is Public Opinion.

Wasn't the war cry "Disarm Saddam" a couple of short weeks ago?
posted by spazzm at 6:17 PM on March 31, 2003


Israeli military by choice, eh skallas? "I hope you never have to find out..." You speak like such an expert. Clearly, you've been to both Israeli and American war zones, and you known exactly what it's like to have to treat every approaching "civilian" vehicle as a potential human bomb. That must be why your sympathy never lies with the soldiers -- because they are military personnel, they are allowed to be killed just to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

The deaths are very saddening, but these soldiers had little choice. Tell me, if every accidental civilian death at American hands can be turned into cliched anti-war rhetoric, does this mean that every intentional civilian death at the hands of the Iraqi regime can be turned into cliched pro-war rhetoric? We should tell both sides of the story, as you so nicely put it.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:21 PM on March 31, 2003


And re. the whole tragic incident:
It's obvious that no warning shot was fired.
It's pretty hard, especially for starved, shell-shocked scared shitless peasants, to know how close or how far away you're supposed to stop to a military checkpoint.
posted by spazzm at 6:25 PM on March 31, 2003


Tell me, if every accidental civilian death at American hands can be turned into cliched anti-war rhetoric, does this mean that every intentional civilian death at the hands of the Iraqi regime can be turned into cliched pro-war rhetoric?

Remind me again, who started this war?
posted by spazzm at 6:26 PM on March 31, 2003


I really can imagine the drivers final moments:
"Hm...that guy over there is gesturing - is he motioning for me to stop or come closer? Silly me to forget my binoculars. I'll drive just a little bit closer, so I can s..." KABOOOM.
posted by spazzm at 6:30 PM on March 31, 2003


i wonder how many people who are saying "they should have stopped when they had weapons pointed at them" have ever had a weapon pointed at them.

i have. i've also had a cop give me a very nasty look and put his hand on his holstered weapon while addressing me (i'm a young black male, btw, so i was thinking he was going to draw and fire).

your thoughts aren't exactly nice and linear and rational when you're looking at the business end of a lead-spitter.

another thing: perfectly clear-minded people in the u.s. sometimes put their foot on the gas pedal instead of the brake while operating a car...i can see how someone scared out of his/her mind in that little corner of hell we call present-day iraq wouldn't know what the hell they were doing.

that said, i think this is a horrible, horrible situation for everyone involved. i hope those soldiers are re-assigned and get some counseling. and i sure wish all of my fellow americans praying so fervently, loudly, and publicly for our troops would take just a few minutes to feel some grief and sadness for our iraqi brothers and sisters who are caught between the hammer and the anvil over there right now.

what with all these politicians making sure everyone knows they want to declare days of prayer and moments of silence, it sure would be nice if pres. bush declared a day of prayer solely for the innocent iraqis who were/will be killed. to borrow a taq from fark, "unlikely."
posted by lord_wolf at 6:42 PM on March 31, 2003


Debka is reporting that Iraq let the Tigris and Euphrates dams loose

Hmm...I wonder where they got that idea from?
posted by Degaz at 6:57 PM on March 31, 2003


We all agree that this was a tragic incident. There is useless sniping over whether or not it was avoidable.

The real issue for the US is that it is a PR fiasco. We already have Shiite muslims in Iraq (who were supposed to be our allies) taking up arms against us. We already have 6,00 Iraqi refugees returning from Jordan to Iraq so they can fight against Americans (these are people who fled from Saddam Hussein). We already have Syria saying openly and many other Arab states saying privately that they hope the US loses this war.

This is what it looks like to liberate a country? We are losing all moral standing in the world. Among Europeans this will create difficulties. Among Arabs and other muslims around the world it could create war on a much more massive scale.

This is very scary. It is very, very bad news for the USA that we just shot up a vanload of women and children regardless of how understandable it is.
posted by alms at 8:05 PM on March 31, 2003


spazzm: Remind me again, who started this war?

Saddam Hussein, 1990.

There is no 'Gulf War II'. This is still the Gulf War, the one and only. The Gulf War never ended. There was no peace treaty.

There was only a ceasefire, the terms of which Iraq never lived up to. UN attempts to enforce the terms of the ceasefire failed. Further UN efforts dissolved into squabbling. The Gulf War now continues.

HTH.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:24 PM on March 31, 2003


If the Hussein started the war in 1990, why are we invading him now?
He doesn't have any WoMD (or else he would have used them by now) and he let the UN investigators in (after a lot of pressure, yes).

I'm not saying Saddam Hussein isn't the biggest a-hole on the planet, I'm saying that invading Iraq isn't a good solution to our dislike of him.
And a vanload of dead women and children seems to be evidence in favor of that assessment.
posted by spazzm at 10:18 PM on March 31, 2003


Here's a passage from an interesting survey of Israeli opinion on Operation Enduring Cakewalk from Lebanon's Daily Star
- Suicide bombing near Najaf: ‘welcome to hell’ :

Maariv columnist Ruvik Rosenthal says the Americans and the British have fallen into a trap of their own making and “in order to silence the critics, they must win the ‘war of choice’ that they have begun. This entails both unseating the Saddam Hussein regime and finding and destroying his weapons of mass destruction. Failing to do so will not only unseat those who initiated the war, but it will cause immense damage: Saddam, together with everything that he represents, will emerge strengthened.”

“This is a dangerous moment,” Rosenthal warns. “The coalition has come up against resistance and may be gripped by hysteria, leading it to enter the large cities, primarily Baghdad, because only in the narrow side streets can victory be achieved. Millions of Iraqi refugees will be sitting in the desert around their cities, more and more bodies of civilians and soldiers of both sides will be scattered in the streets. Gradually it will transpire that this war, despite its grandiose goals, is just another war: ugly, futile and a losers’ game.”

Rosenthal’s conclusion: “The fundamental truth was forgotten by the instigators: War is the last resort, to be used only when there is no other way to achieve the goals, and only when those goals are, beyond any doubt, just and reasonable. This doesn’t appear to be the case in Iraq. The instigators of the war are trapped by their goals, and the longer it takes to achieve them, the more remote they will become and more and more lives will be lost, not to mention material and political assets, and the last vestiges of hope that the world can still set a sane course.”


Interesting phrase, that trapped by their goals, isn't it?
posted by y2karl at 10:36 PM on March 31, 2003


spazzm, he didn't let the UN inspection team do what they needed to do. Hans Blix complained in every one of his reports that he was not getting adequate cooperation from the Iraqis. Saddam is hiding something; how much, we don't know yet. US Special Forces are guarding a number of sites that may be related to WMD.

If Iraq really wanted to come clean, it could have done so in a year or so after 1991. Destruction of WMD doesn't have to be a struggle. Two of the post-Soviet republics, and South Africa, have destroyed their nuclear arms with assistance and confirmation by UN inspectors. Hardly anyone noticed, because the process went very smoothly. Iraq could have followed the same course, and ended the Gulf War. It didn't. I can't imagine any reason except that Saddam Hussein is still trying to hide WMD.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:41 PM on March 31, 2003


Military leaders in Qatar and in Washington said Monday that no evidence of weapons of mass destruction has yet been found., as it says in your link, /= US Special Forces are guarding a number of sites that may be related to WMD.

Trying to spin a happy ending out of this war is a fool's errand. You should have stuck with The current Iraq situation has no good solutions, only bad ones and worse ones, and quit when you were ahead. No evidence of weapons of mass destruction has yet been found, and as for democracy, there is the problem that Eric Margolis, author of War at the Top of the World noted:

I believe 100 percent that if free elections were held, every single Arab country -- with the possible exception of Lebanon -- would produce an Islamist government that would kick the Americans out.
posted by y2karl at 11:34 PM on March 31, 2003


Spazzm seems to be operating on a hell of a lot of assumptions. "It's obvious no warning shot was fired." "Saddam obviously has no WoMD." Why, he even provides the final thoughts of the driver for our benefit. Perhaps we can have some factual non-circumstantial support for any of this? Anything?

By the way, my comment about pro and anti-war rhetoric is not "refuted" by implying that the US started the war (while I agree with Slithy_Tove that in many ways, the war is still continuous). There is a pro-war side, there is an anti-war side. Spazzm's comment was again irrelevant.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:39 PM on March 31, 2003


y2karl, here's how I see it.

If we had not enforced Resolution 1441, it would have sent a message that a nation can possess WMD with impunity, and that it can stand down the UN and the US.

The result would have been two, three, many Iraqs, all around the world. We would have had to deal with the same situation later, multiplied many times.

That's the worse solution. Immediately resuming war with Iraq is the bad solution. Yes, it is all sorts of bad, from killing Iraqis and Americans and British, to inflaming the passions of the Arab street. But the alternative is worse.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:56 PM on March 31, 2003


Wow, like there's only two choices? Well, that makes it a no brainer, huh?
posted by y2karl at 12:22 AM on April 1, 2003


The result would have been two, three, many Iraqs, all around the world.

Are you fuckin' crazy? This invasion cinches North Korea as a nuclear power, no matter how we bribe them, Iran is given more, not less incentive to go nuclear and we've made enemies of Arabs everywhere. The result now is many Iraqs. You keep trying to make a gourmet meal out of the shit sandwich of a war started for ideological, not military, reasons, reasons cooked up by the likes of Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld, long before 9/11. Wish, wish, wish, shut eyes, imagine better days, look for the weakest links to bouy your wishful thinking. That's the way to build a better tomorrow. Let a hundred al Quedas bloom.
posted by y2karl at 12:32 AM on April 1, 2003


"We are at war with Iraq. We have always been at war with Iraq."
posted by tpoh.org at 6:19 AM on April 1, 2003


Wow, like there's only two choices? Well, that makes it a no brainer, huh?

Well speak up... list the alternatives. You know, something besides the very lame "diplomatic means".

This invasion cinches North Korea as a nuclear power, no matter how we bribe them, Iran is given more, not less incentive to go nuclear and we've made enemies of Arabs everywhere. The result now is many Iraqs.

The expert has spoken!
posted by Witty at 6:59 AM on April 1, 2003


Even if a warning shot was fired, how does one tell what a warning shot is? If you are a panicked driver and someone begins shooting at you, what do you do? What do you think?

It's not as if these warning shots have little flags on them that say "Hello, we don't want to hurt you. These bullets are just coming at you to warn you away."
posted by moonbiter at 7:03 AM on April 1, 2003


Compare this thread with the Columbia thread. Remorse for unnecessary deaths not fashionable any more?
Witty - alternatives to war in Iraq are generally difficult to reduce to easily digestible sound bites, as they usually involve a 'holistic' approach. They deal with the issues of oil depletion, instability in the Middle East, promoting democracy and making the world safer through arms control.
Here's a good one:
'Have the Bush administration sign on to the International Criminal Court and pursue an indictment of Saddam for crimes against humanity, which would gain the support of the international community for a multi-national coalition force to apprehend Saddam, if necessary.'
Trapped by their own goals?
http://www.amacad.org/publications/monographs/War_with_Iraq.pdf
http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0107-02.htm
http://www.worldwatch.org/alerts/20021126.html
posted by asok at 8:30 AM on April 1, 2003


Ooh, a list of "references" from credible individuals. The last one suggests "putting pressure on Israel" as an "alternative to war on Iraq." I wonder where this person's priorities lie (his other "alternatives" not only rely on diplomatic means which have been failing for 11 years, but in fact are likely to strengthen Saddam's regime). Why don't we just eliminate the "global Zionist oil mafia" to appease our Iraqi friends while we're at it.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:29 AM on April 1, 2003




'Have the Bush administration sign on to the International Criminal Court and pursue an indictment of Saddam for crimes against humanity, which would gain the support of the international community for a multi-national coalition force to apprehend Saddam, if necessary.'

Thanks asok... I like that. At least it's a REASONABLE alternative, which we tend to hear very few of lately. The only hang up with ANY alternative is they all must be backed by force or a guy like Saddam has no incentive to comply. Then, when the "time is up", the consequences have to be enforced. I think we're at least seeing a version of that now.
posted by Witty at 4:38 AM on April 2, 2003




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