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Robert Scheer on the so far non-existant Iraqi WMDs.
April 25, 2003 12:53 AM   Subscribe

Robert Scheer on the so far non-existant Iraqi WMDs. If the President went to war without real evidence of a threat would this be considered an impeachable offense as Scheer suggests? What's Ken Starr been up to lately?
posted by skallas (86 comments total)

 
I'd give them at least a couple more weeks before starting to write articles like this. You will look pretty stupid if they find a big stockpile of chemical shells somewhere next week. Clearly, one would think that the weapons would have been found by now. However, they may very well yet be found, and so it's pretty early to be talking about impeachment.
posted by cameldrv at 1:12 AM on April 25, 2003


If they find any stockpile of chemical weapons most objective people will suspect that the US itself planted them there. Why you ask? First of all we have the numerous shoddy and downright insulting fabrications that Powell (to his permanent discredit) and the White House used to try to prove their existence before the attack. This proved to the world that the US thinks nothing of lying to its own citizens and the rest of the planet to achieve their goals. The majority of Americans may have forgotten this already, but the rest of the international community certainly has not. Then there is the past and current UN weapons inspector situation: why did they cut the inspectors work short before the attack and why do they refuse to let them in now? And if not UN inspectors, why have they rejected the idea of third party non-coalition nations verifying any WMD discoveries?

If they find any WMD under these circumstances only Moron-America will be convinced that they are true and to that particular demographic it doesn't even matter, they already have decided that winning was enough justification for the attack and the WMD excuse, along with all of the other shifting excuses that were used, are no longer necessary.
posted by sic at 1:30 AM on April 25, 2003


Oh and I forgot to mention this obvious flaw in the scenario. Why didn't Saddam use the WMD during the invasion if he had them? Inexplicable.
posted by sic at 1:33 AM on April 25, 2003


Wow, I'm going to derail the thread here, but sic, my man, you might want to tone it down a bit. I tend to get very passionate when I rant about politics, but what's your point here? Are you trying to make people aware of the steps that America needs to follow if they want to strengthen their faltering reputation in some parts of the world, or are you just trying to tell us that we're all just morons?

I don't know what your politics are, but if you wonder why millions of rational Americans believe that people who didn't support this war are anti-American, look no further than your own post.

However, I agree with your main points completely. We need to maintain pressure on those in power to follow through with the proof necessary. It's our duty as citizens to demand accountability from our representatives. We also need to make sure that the proof is handled in a way that's satisfactory to those who might question it's authenticity. Obviously bringing in third parties is the best way.

I also agree with the article. If we don't find proof we need to impeach the President. We cannot complain about our politicians until we hold them accountable.
posted by betaray at 2:14 AM on April 25, 2003


Obviously the short term threat of Iraq would have been considerably smaller if they indeed have no WMD (it's a big country though, lots of hiding places), but the long term threat would hardly have been any smaller. I don't think anybody disputes Iraq's intentions of rebuilding their MWD- and ballistic missileprograms, and with Iraq's history of using those (against Iran and Iraq's own population) (even though their official policy has been a strict "no-first-use") those intentions are arguably sufficient reason for the war.

Problem is, though, that the administrations have focussed on MWDs and made the existence of them a casu belli. They've painted themselves into a corner on that one.
posted by cx at 3:30 AM on April 25, 2003


If they find any WMD under these circumstances only Moron-America will be convinced that they are true

Hmmm..... Not that I don't think these scenarios are entirely plausible, but jesus man, grow a little objectivity. How can you say that without out even weighing whatever situation DOES arise? You make the rest of the left here look bad.

why did they cut the inspectors work short before the attack and why do they refuse to let them in now? And if not UN inspectors, why have they rejected the idea of third party non-coalition nations verifying any WMD discoveries?

I'd really like to read about this. Do you have a link?
posted by Espoo2 at 4:10 AM on April 25, 2003


To the "give 'em some more time" people: it is in the U.S. utmost interest to find those WMDs. If they really existed and U.S. intelligence knew of where they are kept (which is what the U.S. admin claimed in the first place), there is no doubt that they would have been unearthed by now to claim the moral victory. That has not occurred by a long shot - clearly they do not know even where to look. Impeach the liars!

Espoo2 - Britain Reluctant on U.N. Inspectors Return to Iraq
posted by magullo at 4:32 AM on April 25, 2003


Right. Because putting Dick Cheney in the driver's seat is such a great idea.

Hell, impeaching Bush is probably just what Cheney is hoping we'll do.
posted by padraigin at 4:35 AM on April 25, 2003


You really can't impeach presidents for acting on bad intelligence; we'd have had to impeach just about every one of 'em if those were valid grounds.
posted by Bryant at 4:39 AM on April 25, 2003


Bryant, apparently you can impeach them for lying to congress. If someone wanted to persue this they just have to compel Bush to testify about what he knew and when. If he lies, you can impeach him. If he tells the truth, and it contradicts his statements to congress and the american people before the war, then Karl Rove has a problem.

An Aside, Hilary should be out front on this! Love to hear her talk about what an impeachable offense is on the sunday morning shows.
posted by tellmenow at 5:06 AM on April 25, 2003


Is it possible to impeach someone who isn't legitimately occupying the office in the first place?

Lying is wrong only if you're Democrat and the lie is about sex. Just ask any "liberal media" pundit! Lying about serious things is the expected routine of the righty tighties.

You go sic! Preach it brother!
*duck and cover*
posted by nofundy at 5:15 AM on April 25, 2003


Testify!
posted by jpoulos at 5:37 AM on April 25, 2003


and , conveniently,elsewhere: Bush: Iraq's WMD may have been destroyed
posted by Espoo2 at 5:40 AM on April 25, 2003


"Russia will insist that UN arms inspectors return to Iraq and verify that Baghdad has no weapons of mass destruction before sanctions imposed on the country can be lifted, a senior Russian diplomat said Monday. "This could be done within a couple of weeks as it is obvious that there are no such weapons there," an unnamed Foreign Ministry official told Itar-Tass."

Where are the weapons of mass destruction? (RealPlayer or mp3). Joseph Cirincione says the only thing worse than finding WMD is finding none and leaving the balance unaccounted for.

I don't understand why there is opposition to sending UN inspectors back to Iraq, given the importance of verifying what happened to the WMD. The more people and contacts active in the search, the better chance of getting some results.
posted by sheauga at 5:52 AM on April 25, 2003


Didn't Hans Blix say just the other day that the security situation in Iraq was too unstable to even consider returning just yet?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:14 AM on April 25, 2003


To answer the headline question in the linked article, "Did Bush Deceive Us in His Rush to War?"

No, Bush didn't deceive us. He lied. He's a liar, and that's what liars do. They lie.

The left needs to finally stop pussyfooting around and begin attacking on this. The benefit of the doubt account in Bush's name is overdrawn.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:16 AM on April 25, 2003


If Saddam destroyed them, why couldn't he provide any evidence? It's not like he didn't think anybody would be interested in proof. It was never the world's burden to prove he still had them. Rather, it was always his job to prove they were gone. He never did.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:17 AM on April 25, 2003


Um, nofundy, the issue with Clinton was lying under oath, which is perjury, not lying in general, which is still completely legal as this administration has shown.

No matter. Evidence or not, the hawks have their line of reasoning already well established:

"We have to get Sadaam because he supports global terrorism."
No, he's just a regional terrorist.

"Well, we have to get him because he might sell nasty things to global terrorists."
It doesn't look like he has any of those nasty things.

"Well, at least we rid the world of a evil dictator."
Yeah, at the cost of alienating our allies and giving fuel to the fiery rhetoric of the real terrorists in the middle east. Nice one, there.

We took our 9/11 wildcard with the Arab world and threw it away on Afghanistan and Iraq - a lousy pair of deuces. Great work.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:20 AM on April 25, 2003


Even when he released his huge 12,000+ page report on the status of his weapons, it was mostly old information and blatantly still incomplete. They continued to deny possessing what they knew they still had, stuff Blix and his crew found that wasn't in that report. No one in their right mind can rationally claim that Hussein's regime ever gave the slightest hint of a good faith effort here.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:21 AM on April 25, 2003


From yesterday's interview of Bush by NBC's Brokaw:

Brokaw: But it is important to find the weapons of mass destruction, or the evidence that he had a massive program underway, isn’t it?

Bush: Yes. I think we will. I’m pretty confident we will.

Well, that puts my mind at rest.
posted by carter at 7:21 AM on April 25, 2003


There are three possibilities: Iraq had WMD, they didn't, or they had them and destroyed them (which, by the way, is what they claimed; finally something that Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush agree on). If they had them and destroyed them, we should've let the inspections continue. Instead, the US launched an illegal invasion. If they didn't have them, the US launched an illegal invasion. If they did have them, where are they? Why did they not use them? It's pretty scary that one of the best case scenarios for the US government's credibility is that Iraq actually had WMD, but sold them to terrorists or other governments in the region.

Even when he released his huge 12,000+ page report on the status of his weapons, it was mostly old information and blatantly still incomplete.

That's not the point. The issue is that the US claimed to have new, complete information that proved Iraq had WMD, and the only reason we used made-up reports and cribbed grad student essays at the UN was that we had to protect our sources. If we knew they had WMD, why didn't we drive our tanks directly to the sites?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2003


If Saddam destroyed them, why couldn't he provide any evidence? It's not like he didn't think anybody would be interested in proof. It was never the world's burden to prove he still had them. Rather, it was always his job to prove they were gone. He never did.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:17 AM PST on April 25


Sorry, techgnollogic, but you can't prove a negative.
posted by *burp* at 7:27 AM on April 25, 2003


Again, you put the burden on the US, when according to the cease fire agreement and the following decade of sanctions, the burden was Saddam's. At every opportunity to demonstrate full cooperation, the Iraqis denied, delfected, delayed, hid, or misrepresented information regarding WMD.

Kirkaracha, if you can provide a source to back up your claim that the US claimed to have "new, complete information" I'd appreciate it. All the US ever needed to do was demonstrate that Saddam wasn't cooperating. They never needed to - and as far as I'm aware never did - claim to know the full extent of Iraq's WMD programs. Not to the extent that we could just "drive our tanks directly to the sites."

Burp, "We destroyed our weapons" is not a negative. Not only did he fail to prove beyond a doubt that he'd destroyed them, he failed to provide any evidence whatsoever. He couldn't even come up with bulldozer receipts? Rented hours at the Baghdad incinerator? No, all we ever got was "we have no WMD. we destroyed them, promise," even as Blix and crew turned up missiles and drones and all sorts of other violations - hidden, unreported violations. How do you explain this phenomenon? Saddam *thought* he got everything, but there were a few dozen huge-ass al-Samud missiles that the regime sorta lost track of? That's ridiculous.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:41 AM on April 25, 2003


*burp*: I never really got that. Isn't that "you can't prove a negative" thing only really useful in theoretical logic and such?

Take Kaycee Nicole. Some people said "Kaycee doesn't exist." Well, you can't prove a negative. Oh hey look, it's been proven.
posted by ODiV at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2003


I don't think anybody disputes Iraq's intentions of rebuilding their MWD- and ballistic missileprograms

Yes, and we all know that mere intentions are prosecutable. Sounds like another job for the Department of Pre-Crime.
posted by rushmc at 7:44 AM on April 25, 2003


Sorry, techgnollogic, but you can't prove a negative.

It's not proving a negative, as much as you'd like it to be. It's not "prove that you don't have any weapons" but, rather, "prove that you destroyed them". A completely different proposition.

As for the folks saying, "If we were so sure they had them, why haven't we found them yet?": Knowledge of presence does not equate to knowledge of location.

I know for a positive fact that my girlfriend's mother owns a handgun. I'd be willing to stake a large amount of money on this. However, if you were to ask me to go into her house and bring it out, I would have no idea where to start. I know she has it, but I have no clue where it is. It could even be kept in her car, for all I know.
posted by jammer at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2003


What is this, consipiracies are us?

Aren't you the same people who were arguing that Blix needed months and months to find any WMDs? Ummm...isn't it a little presumptious to say, well, Blix needed months but the US military, which is also trying to hold together civil order, defend itself, and defend Iraq's territorial integrity, must find weapons immediately?

Also, none of you address directly what techgnollogic is clearly stating...there is no way anyone can argue that the Hussein regime lived up to its responsibilities under the UN resolutions. Frankly, it was the Hussein regime's responisbility to prove a negative burp.

And lastly, nothing about this war was "illegal." Show me the international law it violates. You all may not have supported it, you may think it was a horrible idea for a lot of reasons, but it most patently is not "illegal." Conflict was legal as soon as Hussein refused to live up to the 1991 cease-fire agreements.

If all you all are interested is a giant circle jerk about why Bush sucks (a statement I agree with) then by all means, continue to write inflamatory rhetoric to each other stepping way beyond the bounds of any reality. If you're interested in learning and discussing the real and serious issues that are facing our world, grow up.
posted by pjgulliver at 7:46 AM on April 25, 2003


I believe sincerely that Iraq had WMD. I found it persuasive that while inspectors saw tons of sarin, mustard gas, VX, etc. under the first inspection regime, Blix never was given any evidence of its destruction during his tour there. These facts are incontrovertible. I believe in the United Nations, I was dismayed that they were unwilling to enforce their own resolutions over 12 years regarding disarmament, and so I supported the U.S.'s going in to do disarmament itself.

Having said all that, our inability to find the WMD is fucking freaking me out. Why did Saddam not use it? Who did he give it to? Or is it just so well hidden that it will take us a couple of months to find it?
posted by luser at 7:51 AM on April 25, 2003


"the US military, which is also trying to ... defend itself"

Not singling you out, but this is pretty indicative of stuff I've seen/read about the war. Is it me or the USA who has offence and defence confused?
posted by ODiV at 7:55 AM on April 25, 2003


Frankly, it was the Hussein regime's responisbility to prove a negative burp.

That's exactly the problem. The terms of the ultimatum given, as I see it, were virtually impossible for Iraq to satisfy.

(I wasn't actually trying to start an argument (or a logic-class discussion) here. I was just trying to point out the flaw in the design of the ultimatum itself. I won't comment on this point any further unless explicitly asked to do so.)
posted by *burp* at 8:03 AM on April 25, 2003


Aren't you the same people who were arguing that Blix needed months and months to find any WMDs? Ummm...isn't it a little presumptious to say, well, Blix needed months but the US military, which is also trying to hold together civil order, defend itself, and defend Iraq's territorial integrity, must find weapons immediately?

That's a good point, and I agree people jump to conclusions far too hastily (two weeks into the war people were claiming the ground war would last months if not years...), but there is a difference between searching a house guarded by its authorities and an empty house - like that analogy about finding a friend's gun above - it'd take a while to find it while she was there, maybe able to have it moved around, but with her out of the picture, it should just be a clean sweep.
posted by mdn at 8:06 AM on April 25, 2003


If all you all are interested is a giant circle jerk about why Bush sucks [...] If you're interested in learning and discussing the real and serious issues that are facing our world, grow up.

If discussing the very serious matter of whether the current President abused his unconstitutionally inflated powers, did huge damage to international relations built over decades, and is spending billions we don't have and lives that aren't his on the basis of transparent, self-serving lies is a "circle jerk" to you, I don't think you have any business telling anyone else to grow up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:07 AM on April 25, 2003


"if you wonder why millions of rational Americans believe that people who didn't support this war are anti-American"

Is it just me, or is that a self-canceling statement?
While I do think we have more than our share of morons in this country, I would say that most of these "rational Americans" are just lazy.

To quote a recent popular crappy song:
"I'm just a singer of simple songs.
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran.".

posted by 2sheets at 8:08 AM on April 25, 2003


Burp...I phrased my comment poorly. Others ahead of me did much better.

There was nothing wrong in the way the "ultimatum"--I prefer UN Security Council Resolution--was formed. Iraq had to prove it was clean of WMD. It had very specific tasks to accomplish, mainly proving that it either still possessed or had destroyed the large stocks of WMD uncovered by the first inspections regime. This is not difficult. If Iraq had destroyed those stocks, there would have been lines of people in from of Blix's headquarters all independently telling of their actions during the WMD destruction, ie, you would have had managers telling how they organized the operation, scientists telling how they placed safeguards on the destruction process, down to individual workers say "sure, I operated a backhoe in the desert that day." There also would have been a paper trail of some sort the Iraqi's would have been able to turn over to the UN to prove the destruction happened....this was a highly centralized industrialized state the kept meticulous records of everything...are you really telling me there was no evidence to show the WMD stocks had been destroyed?

All the inspectors were left with was the Hussein's government's word that the WMD had been destroyed. And that governments word had lost all credibility years ago. They have been shown to be lying time and time again.

ODiV...don't screw with the sematics to be funny or clever. Sure maybe in general the military was "attacking" in Iraq, not "defending." But the individual guys and units on the ground, who were ordered halfway around the world by their superiors, you better believe they are defending (maybe "protecting") themselves.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:13 AM on April 25, 2003


there will be no impeachment. i gag just reading the daily letters to our local paper. the vast majority of ignorant buffoons take everything that man says at face value, they repeat his lies indiscriminately because he hides behind jesus and WWII-style nationalism. incredulous writers express dismay over protesters and wonder how such traitors can possibly forget 9/11, or they dole out tired recitations of iraqi 'rape camps' and chemical crimes against iraqi people and never ever seem to detect the huge gaping disconnect between the day the buildings fell down and anything iraq related. they've completely forgotten bin laden or write as if he is indistinguishable from hussein. note the governments/media rhetoric has moved away from WMD and now focuses on "liberation" and this is always framed in the style of the WWII liberation of europe. they have no concept of the massive cultural crevasse separating americans from typical the iraqi and seem to think these are the kind of folks they would have over for a delightful brunch. the people in power count on this ignorance and exploit it to the hilt. i see very little to be optimistic about, and if this bunch is re-elected i truly fear for the future of this nation.
posted by quonsar at 8:15 AM on April 25, 2003


George, really, I take issue with you too.

Of course discussing the utility of this war may be interesting and important. But describing it using phrases such as "illegal" with no basis in reality is simply poor argument and not designed to do anything other than reinforce ones opinion.

You commit the same fallacy in your post here: "lives that aren't his." Actually George, they are. The President is commander in chief of the US armed forces. He got an authorization of use of force from Congress in November (whether you agree or disagree with the outcome of that vote is was conducted openly and fairly), and, under the War Powers Act, he holds the unilateral authority to commit US forces to combat abroad for up to 100 days without consulting Congress (I may be wrong on the exact number of days, but its something like that.)

So again, argue against the policy, but don't inflame your post with rhetoric that leads nowhere. Saying things like "lives that aren't his" is just assanine. Commiting US forces to military engagements is probably foremost on the President's job list...ie, defending the safety of the citizens of the US. You may feel this action did not defend that safety, was poorly though out, and will utlimately hurt America and the west. But argue those points. Don't through in lies and misstatements claiming/implying Bush is some sort of criminal, when the conduct of this war was clearly carried out within the rule of American and international law.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver: Your comment just reminded me a lot of what I saw on television. References to soldiers possibly experienceing terrorist acts and having to defend themselves. I think I'm probably pretty far down in the "screwing with semantics" category. That said... I'm drifting a bit off topic, aren't I? I don't know anything about the WMD (or lack therof) in Iraq, so I'll bow out now.
posted by ODiV at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2003


In January 2001 Ari Fleischer was asked why the Administration would not release details about meetings with energy companies such as Enron to prove that nothing improper occurred. His reply was: "You're asking us to prove a negative, and that's a road that we're not traveling."

Flash forward to January 2003 when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [NYT requires registration] said that "[t]he United Nations resolution did not put the burden of proof on the United States or the U.N. to prove that Iraq has these weapons. The U.N. resolution put the burden directly on Iraq to prove that it is disarming and that it does not have these weapons."

In other words, the U.S. and the U.N. asked Iraq to prove a negative. Something they refuse to do themselves.

And now Bush is saying that the weapons may have been destroyed. In other words exactly what the U.S. insisted needed to happen to avoid war. And yet the US waged war anyways.

Oh, and also the Bush Administration is now saying that they fear that a fundamentalist Shiite Muslim government may be formed in Iraq because the Bushies "misunderestimated" the aspirations of the Shiites.

So to sum things up: 1) No Osama bin Laden found, 2) No Saddam found. 3) No WMD found 4) Thousands of antiquities stolen 5) Thousands of lives lost 6) No democracy in Iraq.
posted by terrapin at 8:28 AM on April 25, 2003


If discussing the very serious matter of whether the current President abused his unconstitutionally inflated powers

Hey now, hold on a minute there partner. According to the author of this article, the proper title is:
EMPEROR BUSH

I take these matters seriously and so should you. Please stick to the script.
posted by clavdivs at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2003


How you can call other people "ignorant buffoons" while acting as if Bin Laden was the whole threat, branch and root, is beyond me. Why wouldn't you have an Iraqi over for lunch, quonsar?

In other words, the U.S. and the U.N. asked Iraq to prove a negative. Something they refuse to do themselves.

Please show me the UNSC resolutions requiring the White House to prove no misconduct during meetings with energy companies.

Since we haven't found Osama or Saddam, does that mean they never existed too?

If Saddam destroyed the weapons and every scrap of evidence to indicate he'd done so, then it's his fault we "waged war anyway."
posted by techgnollogic at 8:34 AM on April 25, 2003


"it is in the U.S. utmost interest to find those WMDs"

Why? What will happen if we don't find them? Nothing. Other nations won't distrust us more. Voters don't seem to care. The left will rant no matter what.

If we don't find WMDs in Iraq the political fallout will be zero.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:43 AM on April 25, 2003


Reports of Weapons 'Greatly Exaggerated'
posted by muckster at 9:23 AM on April 25, 2003


to all those who are arguing that we didn't ask iraq to prove a negative, let me ask you to do something:

prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you aren't hiding evidence of the fact you abuse children

the less evidence i find of your child abuse, the more convinced i will be that you are hiding evidence and therefore guilty of child abuse.

isn't this the same approach rummie was using before the invasion? i don't have time to grab a link, but i seem to recall him saying numerous times that if inspectors didn't find anything, it was proof that hussein was hiding weapons.

pjguliver wrote: "Conflict was legal as soon as Hussein refused to live up to the 1991 cease-fire agreements."

you ask those who claim the war is illegal to provide proof of an international law that it violated. i ask you to submit proof that there is an international law that permitted the u.s. -- not the u.n., but the u.s. -- to invade. or do you mean hussein's violation of the u.n. cease-fire and resolutions meant it was open season on iraq? could senegal, lichenstein, or norway have declared war (or given their leaders war powers) and launched an assault?

and before you ask or accuse: yes, i am glad hussein is gone and i'm overjoyed for the iraqi people, i just don't think it had to be done the way it was done.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:42 AM on April 25, 2003


Techgnollogic: how about the GAO lawsuit requiring the same? Doesn't US law count for anything in the US?
posted by Ptrin at 9:49 AM on April 25, 2003


quonsar, you really MUST stop reading the Grand Rapids Press. I think it's giving you indigestion. And yes, folks, as much as I hate to say it, quon speaks truth. Just as people like, oh, say, f&m can make "liberals" look silly, so too can the Opinion page of the GRPress make the right look barking mad.

And yes, I seriously doubt an impeachment movement, no matter the justification or lack thereof. Think back, if you will, to the previous impeachment attempt. House Republicans and other rightish agitators saw an opportunity to poltically assassinate one of its foes, and without really thinking of the consequences, plunged ahead. Now despite the fact that Clinton was no longer hugely popular, and his actions were a real embarrassment even to his supporters, the effort to remove him pretty much petered out, due mainly in my opinion to an inability of Clinton's enemies to change the minds of those in the middle.

Today Bush gets much more favorable ratings in popularity polls than Clinton did at that time. I think anyone even suggesting an impeachment attempt would have to come up with some pretty damning evidence of malfeasance, much more than anything that has been suggested so far. Anything less and the attempt will just shrivel up and die (which is a good thing; impeachment is not a process to be undertaken lightly, something the Starr-ites of several years ago should have understood).
posted by deadcowdan at 9:58 AM on April 25, 2003


votetoimpeach.org
posted by muckster at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2003


And so it begins.....

"Officials inside government and advisers outside told ABCNEWS the administration emphasized the danger of Saddam's weapons to gain the legal justification for war from the United Nations and to stress the danger at home to Americans. "We were not lying," said one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis."

"Officials now say they may not find hundreds of tons of mustard and nerve agents and maybe not thousands of liters of anthrax and other toxins. But U.S. forces will find some, they say. On Thursday, President Bush raised the possibility for the first time that any such Iraqi weapons were destroyed before or during the war."


Look like the Bush administration agrees with y6y6y6.
posted by dglynn at 10:41 AM on April 25, 2003


Lord Wolf:

Your Child abuse anology was false. Hussein was proven to have had WMD in the late 1990s. The question was what happened to them. The used to exist (or at least the raw materials used to exist) where are they now? The Hussein government was completely unable to show what happened to weapons/materials who's evidence was already documented.

Second: Yes, theoretically any nation who was a UN member could have undertaken this war.

Hre's a quote from an old FT article discussing the issue (sorry, the link button doesn't seem to be working) "The war ended not with a peace treaty but with a ceasefire. UN Resolution 686, passed on March 5 1991, demanded full compliance with all relevant resolutions as a condition of commencing the ceasefire. Iraq accepted this and there followed UN Resolution 687, passed on April 3 1991, that set out the full ceasefire terms and obligations to which Iraq had to adhere. This included a demand that Iraq unconditionally accept the destruction and elimi-nation of all of its WMD, and that it unconditionally undertake not to use, develop or acquire any items relevant to WMD.

Crucially, Resolution 687 was passed under UN "Chapter 7" authority dealing with threats to the peace. It does not in any way terminate the authorisation to use force in the earlier Resolution 678. That has to be seen as intentional.....

1998, the Security Council - in Resolution 1205 - ruled that Iraq was in "flagrant violation" of ceasefire Resolution 687. It continues to be. Iraq has behaved in a way that undermines the ceasefire terms and therefore the authorisation to use force in Resolution 678 can be revived. "

All of these resolutions (and 1441, which further affirms Iraq is in continued violation of all previous resolutions) are accessible on the UN server.

You may disagree with the war, but it's legality is not in question.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2003


Dglynn: I don't think anyone who was pro-regime change on this site ever argued that WMD were the sole justification for conflict. In fact, I don't the administration ever argued that.

Remember, America went to war in WWI because of "Freedom of the Seas" issues....German submarine warfare was supposedly impinging on international law...of course this neatly forgets to mention that the British maratime exclusion of the Central Powers was also a violation of international law. Would you have not had us particpate in that conflict?
posted by pjgulliver at 10:47 AM on April 25, 2003


I would rather see Bush impeached for his assault on Consitutional rights than what might have happened in Iraq. I suspect we'll find some chemical and bio research programs with some limited amounts of these weapons, but it may be a few weeks or months from now; probably after Iraq is out of the news.

Bush won't be impeached and I suspect will even be reelected as Brand D offers no alternative to most thinking people (especially Lieberman).

In any event it is too quick to call for Bush's impeachment. After all, we don't have any *moral underpinnings* like extramarital sex to initiate proceedings and Americans obviously don' t mind losing their rights while paying for a huge government reorg and restriction of information.
posted by infowar at 10:50 AM on April 25, 2003


impeachment is not a process to be undertaken lightly, something the Starr-ites of several years ago should have understood

Word up. I am scathingly pro-pretzel and all, but I fail to see what benefit would be gained from impeachment over just voting the mofo out. It would be cool to not have two impeached presidents in a row, for one (actually, screw that, we should impeach 'em all from now on). Plus, I think that the case for him being an irresponsible and dishonest war profiteer can be made much more easilly than than any claims that he broke a specific law could be validated to a cheerleading congress.

Can you impeach a Pres. for beaking international law?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:51 AM on April 25, 2003


I know for a positive fact that my girlfriend's mother owns a handgun.

No offense to anyone, but I find this the most interesting statement in the whole thread.
posted by adampsyche at 10:58 AM on April 25, 2003


terrapin: This difference between your examples and the situation in Iraq is that Iraq KNEW they would need to show proof of the "negative" from the beginning.

...i just don't think it had to be done the way it was done.

And the "other way" would be?
posted by Witty at 11:08 AM on April 25, 2003


Are you trying to make people aware of the steps that America needs to follow if they want to strengthen their faltering reputation in some parts of the world, or are you just trying to tell us that we're all just morons?

Betaray: When I refer to Moron-America, I am only referring only to that segment of the U.S. population that blindly accepts anything the Bush administration says, even after that administration has been caught in various astonishing lies and falsifications, even after that administration continually shifted the "reason for the war" between any number of bizarre theories (Hussein responsible for 9-11? )all the while torpedoing NATO, the UN, international law and order, domestic social structure, the Constitution, etc. The list is long. Any US citizen who keeps taking anything that administration says at face value is, in my opinion, part of Moron-America.


However, I agree with your main points completely.

Thank you, I hope you understand that I don't consider you part of Moron-America, not because you agree with me, but because you are capable of criticizing your government when it needs to be criticized.
posted by sic at 11:24 AM on April 25, 2003


witty: And the "other way" would be?

1. This? [non-pdf link].

2. Or an honest presentation of nonfabricated evidence during the process of trying to justify this war (as in, not this)?

3. Or at least actual dialogue (not so much with Iraq as with the intl. community) about any alternatives?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:39 AM on April 25, 2003


I would rather see Bush impeached for his assault on Consitutional rights than what might have happened in Iraq.

I'd think it'd be pretty hard to impeach a President over something he did with the active participation of Congress: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? But this brings to mind a question I've had since the "PATRIOT" abomination: what does the oath, which all senior elected officials take, to defend the Constitution actually mean in practical terms? Who are they swearing to defend it from?

I can only think it means to defend it from themselves, or from each other. No-one else is at liberty to damage the Constitution; no enemy has that power. (Except of course when we give it to them: the terrorists won that round.) Does history record any case of a member of Congress being brought to account on the matter of their oath, or is it just high-sounding words? But if they take out the sunset provisions or pass "patriot II", we, the citizens, are gonna need a lot of tar, feathers and rope.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:45 AM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver:

i'll start with the last part of your response 1st.

you've cited the fact that iraq was in violation of several un resolutions and that one resolution authorized the use of force.

i had a hard time finding info here: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_search.html

i will continue to try to find more information about the resolutions, but in the meantime, can you please tell me again how these resolutions authorize the u.s. to act without u.n. approval? does resolution 738 specifically say that if iraq is found to be in violation of the cease-fire and various resolutions any member nation can just start dropping bombs on iraq without having to bother with getting u.n. approval? why do russia and some others not agree with you and the FT article? (by the way, this article also contains an interesting quote from a bush letter on march 18 to congress about why we needed to invade iraq).

keep in mind that i'm not arguing that iraq was innocent of any wrongdoing, but, to use another analogy, just b/c i think drug dealers are scum of the earth doesn't mean i think police can beat the crap out of them at will and convict them without following proper procedures.

speaking of analogies, let's return to my one about child abuse. i do not think it's false. it is, perhaps, guilty of being incomplete. prior to the invasion, we were asking iraq to prove 1) that they didn't have chem and bio weapons, 2) that they destroyed the ones they had, 3)that they weren't trying to acquire new ones, and 4) prove that they weren't hiding evidence of any wrongdoing.

you pointed that iraq had been "convicted" of posession of chem and bio weapons. let's extend my analogy and say that we're dealing with a person who's been convicted of child abuse. we can ask him to prove that he's not abusing children, we can ask him to prove that he's destroyed all the photos and other sick s--t he had at the time of his conviction, we can probably reasonably ask him to prove that he's not trying to acquire new contact with children or obtain child pornography...but how on earth can we ask to him prove that he's not hiding evidence of wrongdoing?

rumsfeld himself said, back in january, that a lack of evidence could mean iraq is hiding something.

so how were we not asking iraq to prove a negative?

(btw, thank you for a reasoned and sincere rebuttal)
posted by lord_wolf at 11:48 AM on April 25, 2003


sic: Isn't there a "moron club" in every country out there? I mean, I see interviews with average Iraqi or Syrian, Jordanian, Israeli... whatever on TV and think how moronic they sound as well (not all of course). They seem just as clueless about "the truth" because of what their gov't has been telling them or not telling them. It's always the American morons we hear about on MetaFilter, as if they're to blame for everything.

Ignatius J. Reilly: Thanks for the link... I look forward to scouring it. But to comment on your #3... hasn't the US and the rest of the world been engaged in dialogue about Iraq since the first military conflict? I mean it got to the point where France didn't even want to hear of it if military force was going to be used to back up a new resolution. Why even have a new resolution if noncompliance wasn't even going be punishable by force? More sanctions? They didn't seem to bother Saddam the first time around.
posted by Witty at 12:07 PM on April 25, 2003


Does history record any case of a member of Congress being brought to account on the matter of their oath, or is it just high-sounding words?

So let it be written, so let it be done.
posted by clavdivs at 12:15 PM on April 25, 2003


Lord Wolf, the original resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq from 1990/1991 (I forget its number right now) authorizes UN members to restore international peace and security in the region Under Chapter 7, which explicitely authorizes military force. As the ceasefire, and all subsequent resolutions, are based upon the authority of the original resolution, therefore member nations are still authorized, under Chapter 7, to conduct military operations against Iraq.

As best as I understand it, the argument that the war was "illegal"--as advanced by Russia primarily (notably France never made a big deal about the legality/illegality of use of force, their argument was more about the appropriateness of use of force) was that the intervening 12 years of "non-conflict" between the orignal breaking of the ceasefire and the flurry of US diplomacy beginning in 2002 essentially nullified the original resolutions and that for all practicle purposes a new resoltuion was required. This argument does not hold water. The US/UK (and formerly French) no-fly zones have been continually patrolled during this time, and the US/UK "Operation Desert Fox" of 1998 used the initial authorization of force and cease-fire resolutions as justification for the combat. While there might be a persuasive "real-politique" argument to be made from the Russian perspective, my best understanding is that by a strict, legalistic interpretation of international law, use of force against Iraq to uphold the terms of the original cease-fire resolution (ie banning WMD) was always authorized for any UN member once the UNSC found Iraq in violation of the cease-fire, which it has done in multiple resolutions.

As to your child abuse anology, I still have problems with it. I don't want to get bogged down in the details of the argument, but I still competely disagree with you. I mean 1) we know he had at least precursor chemicals and probable weaponized WMD in1998. 2) We know these things were incredibly important to him because he had been found, over the previous decade, to have been conclusively lying about their existence time and time again, and he was willing to submit to sanctions rather than comply fully with the terms of UN mandates, 3)if these materials and weapons were so important to him, and if every other piece of previous evidence indicates Iraq was a bureaucratic/highly centralized state with vast archives, etc, what is the possiblility that there would be no conclusive evidence of the WMD destruction? Remember, Iraq never submitted any real evidence showing the weapons had been destroyed. Or even probable descriptions of how the weapon destruction occured. All that was said was "hey, we destroyed them" this from a known liar.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:15 PM on April 25, 2003


The US military certainly has been looking for chemical and biological weapons as well as evidence of a nuclear bomb program (Iraq was never said to be in possession of nuclear weapons). But what is surprising--if not scandalous--is that two weeks after US troops moved into Baghdad the Bush Pentagon has not yet mounted a full sweep of Iraq for WMD, or even dispatched a sufficient amount of trained troops and specialists to conduct such a mission. It's as if the Bush administration and the Pentagon had not bothered to listen to their own rhetoric about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction while planning the invasion and occupation. Shouldn't a mess of these units have been scrambling across Iraq--using all that prewar intelligence that allowed administration officials to declare without pause that Saddam Hussein controlled enough of these dangerous weapons to be a direct threat to the United States--within days, if not hours, of the collapse of Hussein's murderous regime? Perhaps they should even have been among the forward-deployed troops. Yet while some US WMD-hunters are hard at work, the Pentagon acknowledges that nothing close to a full detachment has been sent to Iraq. As The Los Angeles Times reported on April 20, the Defense Department is still preparing to send "hundreds of additional investigators to speed up the search" for WMD and remains in the process of "assembling a 'survey group' with more than 1,000 experts to interrogate Iraqi scientists and sift through recovered documents to broaden the search for weapons of mass destruction." Is it dumb to ask, why wasn't all this ready to go when the war started?
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2003


what does the oath, which all senior elected officials take, to defend the Constitution actually mean in practical terms? Who are they swearing to defend it from?

All enemies, foreign and domestic.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
There's an interesting history of the Oath of Office at the US Senate's site.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2003


witty:
thanks for responding civilly, even though I have been a jerk to you in the recent past. In looking over my commenting history, I noticed how many times I have referenced or linked to the Matthews proposal (at least three or four). Congrats for being the first pro-war mefite to even ackowledge that links to alternatives are clickable.

hasn't the US and the rest of the world been engaged in dialogue about Iraq since the first military conflict?
I meant to speak in a less general sense than that. For what it's worth, #'s 2 & 3 could probably be conflated. The lying, as well as the natioanlistic posturing, in my eyes at least, removed any hope for earnestness in specific dialogues: USA/France; USA/Russia; USA/Germany (for some random reason, to a lesser extent); Powell/UNSC. I am not claiming that independent discourse has not arisen around this issue in the world in general, just that in throwing away our credibility with much of the rest of the world (it was predictable, even if one does not think it rightful) unilateral war became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:21 PM on April 25, 2003


Retired CIA intelligence analyst Ray McGovern told AFP: "Some of my colleagues are virtually certain that there will be some weapons of mass destruction found, even though they might have to be planted.

"I'm just as sure that some few will be found, but not in an amount that by any stretch would justify the charge of a threat against the US or anyone else."

He added: "Even if the planting was discovered by and by, they'll say, 'ok, the weapons were planted -- fine.'"

posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on April 25, 2003


Nag-nag-nag to the left and to the right. Enough with the bull, pleeease.

The war was and is illegal and a violation of all international laws we have in this world. Period.

There's nothing to be discussed regarding this. Nothing can change the simple fact that the government of the United States took the international law in their own hands. Nothing can change the fact that the decision was to be made by the security council, not the Bush administration. Nothing can change the fact that the security council didn't even get to make this decision. That's why it is and always will be an illegal act. Period.

Now... Wether or not this war was morally, financially, politically or what have you right or wrong, is another issue.

...and this is what you just were discussing - 1441

[/rant]
posted by psychomedia at 12:31 PM on April 25, 2003


Psychomedia, the only shred of evidence you present, 1441, clearly states that Iraq is in non-compliance with all previous resolutions and that those resolutions authorized use of force. Could you please show me the "international law" that the US broke? Specifically. What treaty the US has signed, what motion that it has accepted, what rule of the United Nations did the US violate?
posted by pjgulliver at 12:45 PM on April 25, 2003


This thread may be the most moot argument in the history of MetaFilter, for three reasons:

(1) "F___ Saddam. we're taking him out." Those were the words of President George W. Bush, who had poked his head into the office of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. It was March 2002, and Rice was meeting with three U.S. Senators, discussing how to deal with Iraq through the United Nations, or perhaps in a coalition with America's Middle East allies. Bush wasn't interested. He waved his hand dismissively, recalls a participant, and neatly summed up his Iraq policy in that short phrase.
Everything about WMDs was fairly well documented as a "cover story" for the Bushites to try to get UN approval (unsuccessfully) and American popular support (successful) for the Iraq War, the timing of which was ultimately determined only by the U.S. and U.K. military's ability to mobilize for the attack. The handling of the "search" for WMD's was kinda like Goldfinger's "interrogation" of James Bond with the lazer aimed at his crotch:
James Bond: Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!


(2) An "impeach Bush" campaign would be likely to backfire even worse than the "impeach Clinton" campaign backfired on the Republicans at the time, and would take energies away from a campaign to clearly and undeniably defeat him in the 2004 election, and, even if successful, would leave Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the neo-cons in power. Not smart politics.

(3) I just like using the word 'moot'.
posted by wendell at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2003


Isn't there a "moron club" in every country out there? I mean, I see interviews with average Iraqi or Syrian, Jordanian, Israeli... whatever on TV and think how moronic they sound as well (not all of course). They seem just as clueless about "the truth" because of what their gov't has been telling them or not telling them.

Witty: of course every nation is made up of both morons and brilliant people and average people. I should think that goes without saying.

It's always the American morons we hear about on MetaFilter, as if they're to blame for everything.

I would suggest that you only hear about American Morons on Metafilter when American political topics come up, which is often. But, if you look hard enough (actually not that hard), you'll realize that morons from many nations have been discussed on Metafiler. Nobody has ever blamed American Morons for anything but their own opinions. However, an unfortunate by-product of their existence is that, collectively, their unwavering support allows the Bush administration to continue lying to the rest of the American people and the world. Indeed, in what shape would the Bush administration be right now if it didn't have the blind unconditional support of Moron-America? Perhaps Bush really would be in danger of impeachment. But unfortunately they do exist and in great numbers, and no lie will be ever be big enough to shake their faith in Bush, so there is no chance that Bush will be impeached.
posted by sic at 12:47 PM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver: Oh I'm so sorry, I didn't know anybody wasn't aware of the sole purpose of the United Nations and the responsibillities member countries undertakes. And yes, maybe I should start citing the Hauge and Geneva convention as well. Or, maybe, you might wanna grab a history book or two. No pun intended.
posted by psychomedia at 12:58 PM on April 25, 2003


Psychomedia: Though you respond in a sarcastic and ridiculous manner, I am really interested in what you see as patently illegal about the current US operation in Iraq. What part of the UN Charter did it break? What part of teh Geneva convention did it break? What part of the Hauge Convention did it break? As far as I am aware it broke none of these. Additionally, it didn't break any of the myriad of other treaties signed by the US, which constitute what we commonly call "international law."

But I may be wrong. There may be things it broke. If so, show me, don't just give out vague statements.

Oh, and my understanding was that the "sole purpose" of the United Nations was to provide a forum so that the great powers could attempt to talk through there issues without resorting to combat outright. Which is exactly what happened here. But if you believe that the UNSC resolution is the only internationally legally recognized authority that can authorize force, you are sadly mistaken. Reread the UN Charter. I have. I studied the UN system for 2 solid years of classwork as an undergrad, have written extensively on peacekeeping operations, and consider myself both familiar with and a supporter of the UN system. I still am convinced that the US violated no international law in the current Iraq situation.

And try to be polite, everyone else is.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:05 PM on April 25, 2003


George_Spiggott: Indeed. Fortunately, we can't legislate against stupidty and ignorance, although those can't be used as excuses for breaking the law.

Your observation about Congress' complicity in acts like PATRIOT, abrogating their duty to declare war etc etc is one reason why I will vote as many incumbents out as possible come next election.

Is there anybody in Congress or the White House with a shred of integrity? I certainly don't see it.

Back to WMD: Even if Iraq had WMD and was prepared to use them how does that jibe with Powell's "we won't be threatened" line? I just don't get the inconsistency in policy. *Possible* weapons in Iraq demands a quick invasion, yet conformed 6-8 nukes in Korea provokes the US Secretary of State to say that number won't change US policy?
posted by infowar at 1:22 PM on April 25, 2003


Oh, and my understanding was that the "sole purpose" of the United Nations was to provide a forum so that the great powers could attempt to talk through there issues without resorting to combat outright. Which is exactly what happened here.

pigulliver: I beg to differ, the US "talked" through the issues in the UNSC - if you can call lying, bullying and falsifying documents diplomacy- then when they convinced no one, they declared the UN irrelevant and went ahead with the invasion anyway.

I'm not sure that was done in the spirit of the UN charter.

Oh we know that despite the "irrelevancy" of the UN, the US tries to sell the world on the fact that resolution 1041 already justifies the invasion (then why put Powell through the humillation of trying to get a new resolution with false documents and easily penetrated lies?), but that resolution never explicitly authorizes the use of force, but only vaguely speaks of "serious consequences" and France only agreed to put that language into 1041 with the understanding that the US would first allow the inspectors to do their jobs and if Iraq didn't comply another, harsher, resolution would be VOTED on. And as the US diplomatic fiasco proved, the majority of the UNSC did NOT want to invade Iraq. I mean the desire of the majority of the UNSC is crystal clear on this. So, for me, hiding behind 1041 proves nothing except that the UN really is irrelevant if the country with the most guns simply doesn't wish to listen to the rest of the world.
posted by sic at 1:31 PM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver: First, let me apologize for my indecent tone - it's easy to get carried away sometimes. Second, I have a suggestion - You find articles among our international laws supporting pre-emptive attacks on sovereign countries and I'll go get the opposite. I will email you the articles tomorrow when I wake up, and you email me your findings. This way we can let people continue to discuss Robert Scheer, and at the same time I'm sure we both will have an excellent moment proving a point. Obviously, none of us has done that so far. Cheers.
posted by psychomedia at 1:31 PM on April 25, 2003


Dglynn: I don't think anyone who was pro-regime change on this site ever argued that WMD were the sole justification for conflict. In fact, I don't the administration ever argued that.

I think that the advocates of war with Iraq certainly did argue that the possession of bio, chemical, and potentially nuclear weapons by the Hussein regime meant that Iraq represented a definite threat to the United States. Didn't Bush's own press conference a couple of weeks before the war involve him stating that his job was to protect the US, and that Iraq represented a direct threat to the US, and that threat was from NBC weapons?

You reference to WWI may relate to your argument as per the legality of the war, but my point was that the political penalties for this administration in the US for not finding chem, bio, or nuke weaponry are not something the current administration even worries about. The link I provided earlier has administration spokespeople floating the possibility that there were no weapons, they may have unduly emphasized NBC weaponry for political leverage, and that history will judge them on the outcome of the war, rather than whether they were actually truthful in their public arguments for going to war.

In other words, whatever portion of the argument for war that was based on WMD(I hate that phrase) was manufactured for political purposes, and did not, and in fact never did, represent an actual physical threat to the United States.

It looks to me like they lied about it, and are now admitting it, and I assume that their judgement is their admission will cost them nothing in the American political field(for a variety of pathetic reasons). It's not even a conspiracy or a cover-up, they are admitting it to the press, with apparently no fear of any consequences.

I don't know if any of this stuff is presidential impeachment material, but I am certain that this administration certainly isn't afraid of anyone pointing out they are liars.
posted by dglynn at 1:50 PM on April 25, 2003


Most legal scholars that I've read think that we violated both international AND U.S. law with our Iraqi adventure. Marjorie Cohn, the law professor who wrote the article I just linked, states

"The January 12, 1991 Persian Gulf Resolution authorized the use of force pursuant to U.N. Security Council Resolution 678, which was directed at ensuring the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait. That license ended on April 6, 1991, when Iraq formalized a cease-fire and notified the Security Council."

Moreover, "[a]lthough the Security Council warned Iraq, in Resolution 1154, of the “severest consequences” if it continued its refusal to comply, the Council declared that only it had the authority to “ensure implementation of this resolution and peace and security in the area.” "

Other law professors agree with this view.
posted by norm at 2:17 PM on April 25, 2003


Umm, Norm, the first link you refer to was written on Sept 2, 2002, before the last Congress authorized action in Iraq. I would have agreed with you that then there was a lack of domestic legal support. No longer, not after the October vote.
posted by pjgulliver at 2:22 PM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver: my friend, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. i remain firmly convinced that the preponderance of evidence suggests this war was illegal. or, if it is legal, it's legal in the way tax loopholes are: shady and designed to benefit only a certain few at the expense of many others.

re: the analogy, i will drop it. if rumsfeld's january statement does not suggest to you that the administration was setting iraq up to fail spectacularly by making them prove a negative -- taking absence of evidence as evidence of malfeasance, i have no other instruments at my disposal with which to make my case. (please note that in discussion of my extended analogy, i did acknowledge that the negative wasn't the only thing we asked them to prove.)

to keep my post at least somewhat on topic, i will close by saying that even if bush lied to congress and the american people to go to war, i don't think it's impeachable, but he should be censured for it. and he should be made to personally apologize to the family of every fallen or injured soldier and every slain or injured non-combatant.

however, politicians have learned their lesson since the days of nixon, and there are always layers of protection between them and any potentially damaging decision. there's a word for it: plausible deniability. bush can just claim he was fed bad intelligence, and someone else will take the fall.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2003


Umm, PJ, your point is nonresponsive to the overall thrust of the article: UN approval had expired, which is why I posted it in rebuttal of your claim that it hadn't. Regardless, the Congressional resolution unconstitutionally approved an illegal war. As the UN charter is part of the supreme law of the land, no approval of a war in violation of that treaty is lawful.
posted by norm at 2:27 PM on April 25, 2003


lord_wolf: i remain firmly convinced that the preponderance of evidence suggests this war was illegal. or, if it is legal, it's legal in the way tax loopholes are: shady and designed to benefit only a certain few at the expense of many others.

I think you're right about this...technically it was not an illegal war...just extremely inconsistent with America's history/attitude regarding non pre-emptive attacks (as well as the attitude of the modern western world). I haven't read anything yet in this thread (though I skimmed some of it!) that absolutely shows how illegal this war was. It was unjust. It was morally wrong. But, unfortunately, not quite illegal.
posted by fishbulb at 2:45 PM on April 25, 2003


Metafilter: I know for a positive fact that my girlfriend's mother owns a handgun.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:56 PM on April 25, 2003


It's always the American morons we hear about on MetaFilter, as if they're to blame for everything.

That is patently untrue, but yes, we do hear about them specifically here quite a bit. Why is that? Could it perhaps be because, as Americans, they fall more within our sphere of responsibility and influence than the morons of other nations?
posted by rushmc at 4:00 PM on April 25, 2003


Site That Contained Uranium Was Looted After War

"Nearly three weeks after U.S. forces reached Iraq's most important nuclear facility, the Bush administration has yet to begin an assessment of whether tons of radioactive material there remain intact, according to military officials here and in Washington."

Absolutely pathetic.
posted by homunculus at 4:11 PM on April 25, 2003


Site That Contained Uranium Was Looted After War

Couldn't they at least have had the good taste to put all the uranium in the oil ministry?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2003


(Via WarFilter.)
posted by homunculus at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2003


pjgulliver: Since you don't have an email address available, I have to publish the first article proving my point here: UN Charter - Article 51.
posted by psychomedia at 12:30 AM on April 26, 2003


Umm, Norm, the first link you refer to was written on Sept 2, 2002, before the last Congress authorized action in Iraq. I would have agreed with you that then there was a lack of domestic legal support.

Um, a vote in Congress doesn't change the status of UNSC resolutions, pjgilliver, so your argument is somewhat beside the point. And norm is expressing a very-widely held view that the 'all necessary means' mandate of Res 678 expired when the terms of the ceasefire were agreed in Res. 687. (A view held more widely, in fact, than the dubious justification offered by such luminaries as the British Attorney General, which is why one of his chief advisers resigned in protest.) That's to say, it's basically wrong to claim that non-compliance with 687 revives the mandate of 678. And the 'serious consequences' of 1441 is not the same as the 'all necessary means' of 678.

Sorry about that.
posted by riviera at 2:05 AM on April 26, 2003


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