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Osama Bin Laden Link To Iraq
April 27, 2003 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Osama Bin Laden Link To Iraq found by a Toronto Star reporter, Mitch Potter. "The documents, discovered yesterday in the bombed-out headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's most feared intelligence service, amount to the first hard evidence of a link long suspected by the United States but dismissed as fiction by many Western leaders." [more]
posted by alicesshoe (72 comments total)

 
If you announce to the media enough lies, rumours and half truths, will something eventually stick? Will you look like a genius?


Does this absolve George W. Bush from finding WMD and starting a war? Now what?
posted by alicesshoe at 3:41 PM on April 27, 2003


ooops, I meant to say ...from not finding WMD.

It was a Freudian slip, honestly! Damn.
posted by alicesshoe at 3:44 PM on April 27, 2003


interesting. the telegraph claims THEY found the documents.
posted by quonsar at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2003


"According to U.S. officials, Hijazi travelled to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December, 1998, for an alleged meeting with bin Laden near his expanding network of terrorist training camps. Details of that meeting are not known, but U.S. officials cite the allegation as the clearest link to date between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

According to the Observer:

"Representatives from the Mukhabarat are known to have travelled to Kandahar in the late Nineties to build links with al-Qaeda. Most analysts believe, however, that the ideological differences between the Iraqis and the terrorists were insurmountable. The talks are thought to have ended disastrously for the Iraqis, as bin Laden rejected any kind of alliance, preferring to pursue his own policy of global jihad, or holy war."

If true, then the meetings described in the new documents didn't lead to a working relationship.

This is also being discussed on WarFilter, btw.
posted by homunculus at 4:00 PM on April 27, 2003


Yeah, I think the most important fact is that the only evidence there is is for a meeting, nothing more. It just shows that they were in contact.
posted by mr. man at 4:23 PM on April 27, 2003


I wonder if the people who will play this up to the max are the same people that played down the infamous rummy and saddam photo.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:29 PM on April 27, 2003


Wow, a link between Iraq and global terrorism on the same day when they say they've found possible weapons of mass destruction! That is so awesome!
posted by Hildago at 4:35 PM on April 27, 2003


Even if hard evidence does emerge, this does not interest me. Nations are constantly dealing with terrorists. To what degree, maybe, does matter, but not when any degree of contact is blown out of proportion.

The secret truth that the CIA guards is that the world is ugly. That is it. None of their secrets amount to any more than that fact.

I do not doubt for a second that Iraq had contact with him, but I also think the U.S. had contact, and Russia. It is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the U.S. had contact with him. Why should we care if Hussein (another former U.S. intelligence asset) had contact with him?

Rumsfeld the Butcher (or whatever nickname the world press eventually gives him) knows this first hand. I don't particularly mind that they are bombing backwards countries, but I hate dishonesty. It does not help the general public when our military's goal is unclear. The uneducated among us may start lynching my Indian cousins, for example.
posted by son_of_minya at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2003


I wonder if this forgery will be better than the Nigerian Uranium fiasco and the grainy satellite photographs of, what the hell was that photo supposed to be again?

I wonder when we'll discover the documents that link Saddam Hussein to SARS.
posted by sic at 4:51 PM on April 27, 2003


If you consider this in whole with the non-agression pact Saddam had with Osama and Osama openly calling him an infidel (its a pretty serious thing to say in the muslim world) it certainly doesn't add to what the Bush administration has been repeating for months, namely that 9/11 can more or less be linked to Saddam and that Saddam is a serious and immediate threat to US security.

Oh well, lets see what else they dig up.
posted by skallas at 5:17 PM on April 27, 2003


Bin Laden is also tied to the U.S... The CIA gave him billions to fight the Soviets in the 80s. September 11th was the result of the failure of the U.S. to aggressively pursue Bin Laden after he bombed the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, killing over 200 people.
posted by banished at 6:36 PM on April 27, 2003


I wonder if the people who will play this up to the max are the same people that played down the infamous rummy and saddam photo.

I still don't get the point about that photo. So what? There's also a photo of Chirac with Saddam. What does that mean?
posted by gyc at 6:38 PM on April 27, 2003


the CIA supposedly tried to get Bush to cool it when he came out saying that the government had proof of links of Hussein and Bin Laden, because apparently the CIA had nothing concrete to show. i wonder now, does that mean that Bush will trust the CIA less?
posted by memnock at 7:01 PM on April 27, 2003


son_of_minya,
Yep, gotta agree with you on that one. What DO we know what goes on behind closed doors? Nothing.

It is funny to see these papers claiming first find though. Both were in that bombed out building reaching for the same bit of paper, or maybe they were in triplicate?

See, what do we know?
posted by alicesshoe at 7:05 PM on April 27, 2003


Ok, so there was meeting. And? Rumsfeld met with Hussein too at some point in the past. No one got in a tizzy over that meeting.
posted by gluechunk at 7:44 PM on April 27, 2003


How pathetic the number of contributions denying any real link, and then downplaying the significance of any found link based on US dealings with various stinky players. Old Reliable Metafilter can always be turned to to find a pocket of people who think the US is no better than Osama, etc. Yeah, sure. Fuck you very much.

And did anyone catch how Paris was communicating with Bagdhad up until the very last minute? The world is a cesspool of amorality...Fuck France very much, too.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:44 PM on April 27, 2003


Um...Parisparamus...it's kinda late, and maybe I missed something, but has anyone here even hinted at anything close to what you're accusing them of: believing that "the US is no better than Osama"?
posted by kozad at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2003


This is not news.

The links to Osama were mentioned, if you remember, some months ago. What they basically amounted to was that an Al Qaeda representative went to Iraq to talk about their mutual hatred of the US, but after some time, the relationship proved fruitless, with the idealogical differences between Saddam and Osama proving too great.

Osama went off on his own, and we know the rest.

Oh, and while I'm here, let's not forget the lies and fabrications, the faked evidence and forgeries the US Government has served up in abundance recently and in the past in it's quest for, well, doing and getting what it wants.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:00 PM on April 27, 2003


While the US-Osama comparison hasn't been mentioned in this particular discussion (though I suspect a large number of MeFi's fine members will be more than happy to make the claim in question), there has been a lot of talk here that sounds a lot like "the US is no better than Saddam."

To all who try to present "common-sense" rationalizations against the Iraq to al-Qaeda link -- subjective logic is not proof. One "deduction" states that al-Qaeda would never ally with Iraq because of contrasting beliefs. An equally valid one states that Iraqi factions and al-Qaeda would ally to better their chances of defeating a common enemy. "Osama called Saddam a poopyhead so they'd never work together" just doesn't cut it. You don't trust the media, so why trust the words of a terrorist?

The hypocrisy of the French, in my opinion, is pretty much a given.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:10 PM on April 27, 2003


Krrrlson.... what about the links of the US Government to Al Qaeda?
Y'know... where the CIA trained them and funded them?

Shock News! US Government linked to Osama!
posted by Blue Stone at 8:16 PM on April 27, 2003


The key here, in case blowhards on both sides missed it, is that Iraq wanted to get into bed with Al Qaeda, but nothing could be done about it, as the two could not work together.

So it is true that Iraq could have one day, if possible, work with anti-US terrorist groups, however, they would not work with the specific group that scares people right now. In other words, everybody's right, everyone's wrong.
posted by chaz at 8:25 PM on April 27, 2003


While the US-Osama comparison hasn't been mentioned in this particular discussion (though I suspect a large number of MeFi's fine members will be more than happy to make the claim in question), there has been a lot of talk here that sounds a lot like "the US is no better than Saddam."

Riiiiight. [rolls eyes]
posted by five fresh fish at 8:45 PM on April 27, 2003


let's not forget the lies and fabrications, the faked evidence and forgeries the US Government has served up in abundance

Interesting links, Blue Stone, there's no question about their *accuracy* is there?

You might also enjoy the delusional meanderings of Robert Fisk or traitor and Hussein apologist Peter Arnett, or a certain MIT linguist/ fiction scribbler, who are every bit as reliable as your "sources" of "lies" and "fabrications".

Just a sec, isn't this post a news article from the Toronto Star? Oh it is?
posted by hama7 at 8:48 PM on April 27, 2003


So you can't believe Comical Ali, but you can believe anything you read in Iraqi intelligence memos? I'm just trying to get this all straight. (In the linked case, re France's alleged heinous actions, one of the memos involved was written by Comical Ali.)
posted by raysmj at 9:25 PM on April 27, 2003


hama7/paris:
Do you both believe that the documents presented by Powell which were later shown to be a yoinked thesis were, in fact, actual intelligence? Is the fact that this was widely reported in the international and even american press just an indicaiton of the fact that noone knows shit but you guys?

traitor and Hussein apologist Peter Arnett

That was as well-reasoned as Paris' pre-emptive fuck you. I, on the other hand, will be content to allow you monkeys to fuck yourselves.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:25 PM on April 27, 2003


Has Salman Pak been inspected yet? I would think that might be a likely source for new evidence of links between Hussein and any terrorist groups

Of course, we still haven't inspected the nuclear facility, so probably not...
posted by homunculus at 9:26 PM on April 27, 2003


Monkeys?
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on April 27, 2003


Old Reliable Metafilter can always be turned to to find a pocket of people who think the US is no better than Osama, etc. (ParisParamus)

there has been a lot of talk here that sounds a lot like "the US is no better than Saddam." (Krrrlson)

Three dunce caps awarded: One for each of you, and one for the tired straw man you're foisting upon us for the millionth time.

Why is this straw man so ubiquitous? Do the people using it really believe it, despite its total lack of resemblance to anything that has been said during a given conversation? Or is it just a cynical ad hominem used to defame people they disagree with, even though they know the accusation is groundless?
posted by boredomjockey at 10:52 PM on April 27, 2003


Blue Stone -- what have I said that contradicts your point that the US funded Osama?

boredomjockey -- "I do not doubt for a second that Iraq had contact with him, but I also think the U.S. had contact, and Russia. It is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the U.S. had contact with him. Why should we care if Hussein (another former U.S. intelligence asset) had contact with him?" is one quote from this discussion. An implication of this statement is that Saddam can no more be blamed for ties to Al Qaeda than the US. Hence, in my primitivistic dunce viewpoint, the US is no better in this matter than Saddam. My statement was a reflection on Paris' comment. While the current discussion does not compare the US to Osama, it does compare the US to Saddam.

Keep the dunce cap for yourself. You need it more.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:07 AM on April 28, 2003


Old Reliable Metafilter can always be turned to to find a pocket of people who think the US is no better than Osama, etc. Yeah, sure. Fuck you very much.

Are you intentionally trying to torpedo this thread, or are you simply unable to hold a civilized conversation with those people that disagree with you?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:55 AM on April 28, 2003


Civil_Disobedient: perhaps you are new on Metafilter, but that poster is a well known troll, who only posts using the kind of language meant to insult. Ignore his posts, they aren't worth your time. Watch how he will insult me (for calling a troll a troll) and watch how I ignore him.

So it is true that Iraq could have one day, if possible, work with anti-US terrorist groups, however, they would not work with the specific group that scares people right now. In other words, everybody's right, everyone's wrong.

Chaz: Hussein's secular regime was despised by the Al-Qaeda fundamentalists, making a working relationship not only improbable but damn near impossible. And although Hussein superficially embraced Islam over the last decade (putting Allah is great, on the Iraqi flag, for instance and built some mosques), I don't think that he fooled any of the religious extremists in the Islamic world since he continued to supress the more religious Shiite majority.

However, that Shiite majority in Iraq (the group that just held a million man religious celebration that included slicing open their heads with swords and smearing the blood all over their bodies and who are aggressively calling for US withdrawal) are now free to organize again and desperately want to set up a theocracy. The shiites have certain extreme elements that will be MORE THAN HAPPY to work with Al-Qaeda to "liberate" their country from the invading infidels and I am certain that their ultimate goal of Islamic government is something Al-Qaeda would agree to fight for.
posted by sic at 3:45 AM on April 28, 2003


While the US-Osama comparison hasn't been mentioned in this particular discussion

How about, supra:

"Bin Laden is also tied to the U.S... The CIA gave him billions to fight the Soviets in the 80s. September 11th was the result of the failure of the U.S. to aggressively pursue Bin Laden after he bombed the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, killing over 200 people."

So, if a criminal prosecutor winds up working with a criminal to snag a larger one, or two or three co-equal ones, the prosecutor is as bad as the criminal? If the US funded Osama at some point in the past, it was to defend against the Soviets, or Iranians, each of which had avowed to destroy the US.

It's one thing to question the wisdom of dealing with vile forces to defend against even larger vile forces; its quite another to declare that doing to transforms you into said vile force.

By the way, in terms of Saddam-Osama dealings, what would a relationship look like on paper? Are you expecting a 100-page notarized joint venture agreement?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:10 AM on April 28, 2003


sic, according to c_d's profile, he has been 'online' since 1987. Perhaps you were being sarcastic. It was funny to me anyway.
Just sayin', is all.
Plus it was a good question, I wonder if we'll get an answer?
posted by asok at 5:14 AM on April 28, 2003


So, if a criminal prosecutor winds up working with a criminal to snag a larger one, or two or three co-equal ones, the prosecutor is as bad as the criminal?

Only if you're playing fast and loose with the term 'co-equal' in order to make your case seem other than risible; from what I know, the Soviet-sponsored government in Kabul during the 1980s didn't kill that many Americans.

If the US funded Osama at some point in the past, it was to defend against the Soviets, or Iranians, each of which had avowed to destroy the US.

Ah, right. You're talking unsupportable shite. I understand now.

Are you expecting a 100-page notarized joint venture agreement?

No, just accounts of meetings -- one meeting, even -- after the well-documented 1998 sounding-out period out between the two groups ended in acrimony. It's what's known as 'evidence', and if you pay attention from now on, it might help you out a bit in the real world.
posted by riviera at 5:24 AM on April 28, 2003


Just to spell this out to PeePee, since he's not so quick on the uptake: how exactly did chucking 100,000 AK-47s into Afghanistan, and bankrolling Osama and his mujahedin friends, prevent the Soviet Union from 'destroy[ing] the US'.

Were there secret tunnels in the Hindu Kush that, had the Soviets discovered them, would have led to a hidden trapdoor under Ronald Reagan's toilet?
posted by riviera at 5:29 AM on April 28, 2003


its quite another to declare that doing to transforms you into said vile force.

Who says it is the relationship that makes you vile? What is vile is to avoid the WMD's issue altogether *while Saddam is using them* (not to mention the transmission of certain cultures) and come back over a decade later to preach the immorality of it all, except of course the tiny bit about America being involved (Just blame the French!).

The thing with vile stuff is that it attracts the same flies over and over again.
posted by magullo at 6:04 AM on April 28, 2003


Paris: That's another false analogy, which your posts are always full of. A correct analogy would be if the prosecutor took someone without a criminal record, bankrolled him on a multi-state crime spree, used the credentials built by this spree to get him in good with some crime lord, and then used the guy to turn State's evidence.

Then yes, the prosecutor would be no better that either of them.
posted by Cerebus at 6:18 AM on April 28, 2003


The US is good, everyone else is bad. When will you all just bow down and accept that?
It's so much easier this way.

And by the way, in that picture of Rumsfield and Saddam, what they don't tell you is he's saying, "we will let you rule for another 20 years or so, then we will bomb the living shit out of your country and repeatedly claim to have killed you. How's that sound."
posted by Outlawyr at 6:40 AM on April 28, 2003


The US is good, everyone else is bad. When will you all just bow down and accept that? It's so much easier this way.

Nice strawman. I've never said the US is all good. The US is flawed, and because it's so powerful, has proportionally large flaws.

The problem is the chorus of people in this post who describe the US without nuance; as being all bad, as if our mistakes, be they in the form of flawed policy, or individuals who go out on their own, cancel all the good the US has, and continues to do in the world.

Were there secret tunnels in the Hindu Kush that, had the Soviets discovered them, would have led to a hidden trapdoor under Ronald Reagan's toilet?

Riviera at his typical myopic. Or is it cynical and anarchistic?

The Soviet's failure in Afghanistan, due in no small part to the import of US weaponry, was one of the four or five demoralizing "last straws" of the Soviet Union, the others being, in no particular order, the Chernobyl disaster; the overall US military buildup of the 1980's; the fall of oil prices; the Presidency of Gorbachev; and the personal charisma, however vapid he may have been, of President Reagan.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:08 AM on April 28, 2003


PP: Any specific examples, other that the "overall US military buildup of the 1980's" and Reagan's "personal charisma", of "all the good the US has, and continues to do in the world"?
posted by magullo at 8:16 AM on April 28, 2003


You've mangled my words. The first two items on the list pertain, at least directly to the 1980's. As for today, it's fairly clear that the liberation of Iraq is a direct result of the US maintaining a strong defense (sidenote: according to Matt Drudge, at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night, Al Franken supposedly walked up to Paul Wolfowitz and said ~I see Clinton's military did pretty good in Iraq," to which Wolfowitz responded "fuck you."), as is the scaring of Syria and Iran. As is the preservation of Taiwan and South Korea, and so on, down to Europe not having to have a serious military. But I will only take answers to disingenuous questions so far....
posted by ParisParamus at 8:43 AM on April 28, 2003


i sometimes wonder if the peepee's and hama's of metafilter are just straight up trolls....as many have suggested many times before.

if they really believed what they were saying i couldn't imagine them tearing themselves away from jerking off to the latest fox news update. laurie duhe has such nice lips....ohhh. then coming here to post to metafilter to let everyone know how 'patriotic' they are. i just don't believe it.....if they really believed what they said they wouldn't give a shit about metafilter.

The problem is the chorus of people in this post who describe the US without nuance; as being all bad, as if our mistakes, be they in the form of flawed policy, or individuals who go out on their own, cancel all the good the US has, and continues to do in the world.

hey....let me know when we've done anything good over in the mid-east......ya'know the kind of stuff that's going to stop wars and free people from blowing eachother up.
posted by oliver_crunk at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2003


Magullo:

The US contributes more foreign aid than any other nation. It funds the bulk of the United Nations, even though that organization is often used as nothing more than a mouthpiece of dictators to slam the US. The US patrols the world's seas, keeping international trade safe. US military power led to the end of violence in Bosnia and Kosovo, after the EU and the UN were proven unable to do so themselves. US government research and medical companies have been resoponsible for the vast majority of medical advances over the past half century, some of which like viagra, benefit only those who already have extreme wealth, while the rest, like anti-retroviral treatment for HIV is extending life-spans around the world. The US university system, heavily supported by the federal government, educates the world, providing an essential training to people of all lands.

I could go on and on. If you really can't name anything "good" in your opinon that the US does and continues to do, I suggest you get off your ass and read some history, as well as current events.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:45 AM on April 28, 2003


and the personal charisma, however vapid he may have been, of President Reagan.

I'm sure the Russians were scared shitless by the all-powerful force of Ronald Reagan's charisma.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:48 AM on April 28, 2003


Look. I think President Reagan should never have been elected. Nonetheless, his use of Evil Empire to describe the Soviet Union was one of the most effective uses of rhetoric in history (Axis of Evil is in the top 50, as will become even more evident when the Mullahs of Iran fall, some time in the next five years.)
posted by ParisParamus at 8:52 AM on April 28, 2003


pjgulliver - Damn straight.

The U.S. often acts in its own self-interest, but manages to do some good sometimes anyway. Everything isn't black and white. We're probably the most hypocritical nation on the earth, but we do get some good stuff done from time to time.
posted by Samsonov14 at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2003


(Axis of Evil is in the top 50, as will become even more evident when the Mullahs of Iran fall, some time in the next five years.)

Ah yes: I'm sure we'll be praising David Frum's rhetorical brilliance if, in the next five years, North Korea chooses to test out whether its nuclear research was worth the effort. After all, including Kim Jong Il just to satisfy a trope (the rule of three) and the need to make this 'axis' include a country not beginning with 'Ira-' was utter genius.

What was it that George Lakoff said? Oh, yes, metaphors kill. Extend that to all bits of 'top 50' speechifying.
posted by riviera at 9:17 AM on April 28, 2003


Saddam link to al-Qaeda in doubt
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on April 28, 2003


"The US contributes more foreign aid than any other nation. "

And the bulk of it goes to Israel. Thanks, but no thanks.

"It funds the bulk of the United Nations, even though that organization is often used as nothing more than a mouthpiece of dictators to slam the US. "

And all this time I thought it was TedTurner the one picking the bill because the US government refused to do so

"The US patrols the world's seas, keeping international trade safe. "

This is an obvious and borderline catatonic lie to anyone with any nautical experience

"US military power led to the end of violence in Bosnia and Kosovo, after the EU and the UN were proven unable to do so themselves"

End of violence?

"US government research and medical companies have been responsible for the vast majority of medical advances over the past half century, some of which like viagra, benefit only those who already have extreme wealth, while the rest, like anti-retroviral treatment for HIV is extending life-spans around the world."

And all this time I thought it was the generic companies the ones providing cheap drugs to the countries who don't want to fund the highly unethical marketing schemes of big pharma

"The US university system, heavily supported by the federal government, educates the world, providing an essential training to people of all lands"

"Educate the world" ?????? I'll put it in the bullshit pile, right after the "patrolling international waters" part.

This is not to say that the US does not have plenty of good things - i.e. mefi - but what's amazing is how naive, puerile and downright uninformed are the most passionate patriots. I guess that is what it takes to be one ...
posted by magullo at 9:52 AM on April 28, 2003


This rational and cordial discussion of the day's issues brought to you by Metafilter!

Metafilter: from each according to his prejudices, to each according to his rancor.


*goes back to sweeping*
posted by UncleFes at 10:02 AM on April 28, 2003


Magullo, you are insulting, rude, and incompetent.

First, yes, large scale organized violence did end in both Bosnia and Kosovo as the direct result of US led military campaigns. The fact that you can't even admit this simple point demonstrates the futality of your arguments.

Second, where do you think the research that created retrovirals came from? Brazilian, Indian, and South African generic pharmaceutical firms? No. It was created by public-private partnership right here in the US.

Third, vastly more students travel to the United States than any other nation every year. We are a bewilderingly complex country with great inequality. But there is no doubt that the US is the epicenter of high level research in viritually every academic field. Deal with it.

Fourth, yes, the world's sea lanes are patrolled by the US. Are there still piracy problems in parts of the world? You bet. But the vast majority of the world's seas are safe for commerce, courtsey in part to the US navy.

Fifth, whether you agree or disagree with US foreign aid priorities, we do give numerically more funds to other nations then any other nations (though sadly as a proportion of GDP we do not give more aid.) The US provides 22% of the UN budget. Despite what you may have heard about non-payment of some dues, it is dollars direct from the US Treasury that keeps the US afloat.

And lastly, show me another country that is unambigously good? The purpose of any government is to protect the welfare of its citizens, not the citizens of other nations. That the US is able to protect the welfare of its citizens while simulatneously playing a huge global role is something to be impressed by, not discourage.

Is the US perfect? No. I disagree in the strongest terms with many of the actions of this government and many long-term policies of this nation. That's life. But on the whole, I think the good the US has done has far outweighed the bad.

I always considered myself a liberal and was proud of that label. But now I find myself agreeing more and more with commentators who use the term "hate-America left" to discribe one wing of the progressive/liberal movement.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2003


Not to waste a lot more type with the cesspool this discussion has become, both sides have their share of trolls -- oliver_crunk, Outlwyer just to name a couple.

The word "bulk" most often means the majority of. 17% of expenditure is not the majority. Do not lump contributions from the defense budget in the same bin with foreign aid -- that's not a valid response to the post you were addressing. And, of course, linking to a heavily subjective and biased article raises your credibility sky-high.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2003


pjgulliver - 'I think the good the US has done has far outweighed the bad.'

You are entitled to your opinion, the background of which you have helpfully provided here.

I would have to disagree, quite simply. I have not the time to go into the detail of my position, but I would probably summarise thus: US responsible for more damage to world society, people and environment than any other country. The argument that the government is just doing the best they can for the people of America is specious when they see America defined by corporations rather than people, IMHO.

aliceshoe, perhaps this FPP was posted as a troll trap?
posted by asok at 11:23 AM on April 28, 2003


Arrr! And damn those land-lubbin' 'Merican dogs, cuttin' into me business!
posted by kaibutsu at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2003


Here's some numbers to peruse:

'By way of contrast, in 1999 the US devoted just 0.1% of its Gross National Product to overseas aid: by far the smallest of any of the 28 members of the rich-country club, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the US owes the UN $1 billion.'
posted by asok at 11:32 AM on April 28, 2003


We're probably the most hypocritical nation on the earth...

How so? As if any other nation is playing in the same league as we are? Most of the time, when other nations fuck-up, no one notices, and no one cares, because the event is on such a minor scale. But of course, when the US acts imperfectly, everyone complains. Guess what? Americans' are more critical of their own country as anyone else is.

I love how people living in even ostensibly open societies, with, in reality, much more secretive, less democratic governments rag on the United States. Take, even a relatively benign (if loathsome) place such as France, where the election cycles are, rougly twice as long as ours, and, e.g., under the guise of "privacy" laws "protecting" private life, government officials have huge latitude to deal dirty in private. From France, one falls down a cliff into an abyss of fully undemocratic countries with populations too controlled and repressed to judge so-called American mistakes; and in many cases, in too much denial of their own horrid societies.

Isn't it pathetic how, at least in certain circles, such as Metafilter, you're automatically considered right-of-center if you take significant pride in the American liberation of Iraq, and how such is making slimy Syria scared, and Iran think twice about its own Islamofascism?

'By way of contrast, in 1999 the US devoted just 0.1% of its Gross National Product to overseas aid

Military spending should definitely be counted in foreign aid. How is the liberation of Iraq not aid to Iraq and the entire region? Certainly I'm not complaining that the US is the world's only superpower, but just remember: our military allows Europe, and much of the world to need little or no military. Ever hear of the economics notion of "free-riders"?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2003


Apologies all around. That was pretty dumb. The ones that want to do so, please keep on digging yourselves in the vacuum and tell the rest of the planet how good it feels. History says empires can last thousands of years - have a laugh. In the meantime, trolling is peddling inexistant WMD's as casus belli ... for real.
posted by magullo at 12:26 PM on April 28, 2003


ParisParamus: Military spending should definitely be counted in foreign aid. How is the liberation of Iraq not aid to Iraq and the entire region?

I don't know about that, considering thousands of Iraqis were murdered thanks to our "foreign aid" in the form of military power and spending. It's an interesting thought you bring up, I grant you that, but I'm not really sold on the idea.
posted by fishbulb at 12:51 PM on April 28, 2003


I think what Paris was saying fishbulb is that there is certainly a portion of our military budget (notably the deployments in Bosnia...to pick a relatively uncontroversial deployment--there is no oil in the Balkans) serve a broader goal of world stability, much in the way that foreign aid does. If you really to be broader, our deployments in South Korea, while helpful in preserving regional economic stability and therefore beneficial in some degree to the US consumer, and our 1990s deployments in the Gulf, which did more to secure a stable European/Japanese supply of oil than an American supply (the bulk of our ol comes form our hemisphere) fit a gray area between outright military spending for defence of the US, and military spending with the broader goal of global stability...which is essentially what foreign aid seeks to accomplish as well.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:14 PM on April 28, 2003


And Paris, I totally feel your frustration that just because I celebrate the liberartion of a horrifically oppressed people, its suddenly assumed that I want to poison our rivers, deprive orphans or healthcare, impose evangelical christianity on the populace, and celebrate the creation of a US monarchy....
posted by pjgulliver at 1:18 PM on April 28, 2003


I don't know about that, considering thousands of Iraqis were murdered thanks to our "foreign aid"

How many months will pass before the number of people not murdered by the regime of Saddam Hussein equals the number killed during our invasion? Then we must add some number of Palestinan Arabs and Israelis who will not be killed because there is no longer a Saddam to fund such barbarity. And, perhaps even a few Syrians who will not be murdered by that horrid regime, which is now on notice.

And, of course, that's not even addressing the more messy moral issue of how many of those killed by the US invasion were defending Saddam because they wanted to (as opposed to had to). And how many fewer malnourished children will not die? Of course, there's also the issue of the ended of those who would otherwise be tortured and/or maimed, but weighing being dead against "merely" being tortured or maimed is not an evaluation I wish to make.

My point is: how myopic, if not brainwashed of you to pose this "explanation" for why the US invasion was not humanitarian in its effect.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:11 PM on April 28, 2003


impose evangelical christianity on the populace, and celebrate the creation of a US monarchy

PJ: just remember: when you go behond a certain number of degrees left of center (as right of center), you're dealing with cultists more than rational-thinking people. A small but significant chunk of the world derives meaning from hating the United States. So don't get too frustrated. But also, don't stop defending the US, at least when appropirate.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:15 PM on April 28, 2003


appropriate.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:16 PM on April 28, 2003


asok,
No, I didn't post this as a troll trap, in fact, I saw it in my morning paper and felt it worthy of a post.

The conversation has veered this way and that, but like at any party, it's part of a conversation and a starting point.

One can't deny the climate change [not meteorological, only as metaphor] brought about by Bush et al. His "method" is certainly putting his actions and the USA under a microscope.

From his Presidential "win" to his reason for invading Iraq, the question is what have you done for your citizens lately. That's another topic though.

I'm curious if anyone felt that given that document found by Mitch Potter and [I find now] his war-zone teammate, Inigo Gilmore of London's Telegraph, is it proof enough?

Given all the misinformation and changing reasons for starting a war to date, would it appease the barking dogs?

Apparently not really.

I'm curious how getting Osama Bin Laden morphed into getting Saddam Hussein. What seems to be the real agenda, what with limiting freedoms in the USA via the Homeland Security Patriot Bill. Was anyone doing their jobs prior to September 11th [ie:CIA, FBI, Customs & Immigration] that warranted this sudden rash of Bills?

Is he just testing how gullible the citizens are, couching every other thing in god's name and patriotism?

What I learned instead, is that many would rather spend that money [the war chest] to looking after one's own home, never mind the neighbors'.

What price freedom, one may ask and at what cost?

I don't live in the USA, but my sister does. Interestingly enough, we haven't discussed politics and have stuck to hockey, for now.
posted by alicesshoe at 4:12 PM on April 28, 2003


And Paris, I totally feel your frustration...

PJ: just remember: when you go behond a certain number of degrees left of center (as right of center), you're dealing with cultists more than rational-thinking people. A small but significant chunk of the world derives meaning from hating the United States. So don't get too frustrated. But also, don't stop defending the US, at least when appropirate (sic)

It warms my heart to see trolls nurturing each other.

". . ."
posted by sic at 6:12 PM on April 28, 2003


And just to set the record straight (after a quick google), there are about 20 nations that give a higher percentage of GNP (a much more accurate gauge of how much a country is really pitching in) in foreign aid than the United States. As you can see, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and France top the list, although for some strange reason most Americans think that the US actually gives much more.



I know its an old graphic, but do your own search, lazy ass, instead of complaining about it and you'll find that the relative figures haven't changed much in the last decade.

-
posted by sic at 6:26 PM on April 28, 2003


Yeah, sure. Fuck you very much.

That's our ParisParamus - raging against a world of those who don't agree, nor know nor care that s/he exists. Rage on, Paris, rage on. And save a place in the promised land for us stupid skeptics.
posted by holycola at 8:21 PM on April 28, 2003


Your third link is interesting and encouraging, sic. It'd be wonderful if ordinary US citizens were able to make US policies. Apparently they're a whole lot more generous and thoughtful than the people who do run the government. Sigh.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:24 PM on April 28, 2003


For the record SIC, I clearly stated that I regretted the fact the US did not give the highest percentage of its GDP, but rather only gave the highest dollar figure.

I also firmly believe that a large portion of our defense budget can be counted as foreign AID, as well as other US government activities, like CDC for instense, which would raise the total some what, I would like to read a paper compiling those figures.

Third, I read somewhere once (no I don't have time to track it down) that the US, as private citizens, give more money, as a percentage of national income, to charities than any other nation. Anyone else know about this?

Lastly, I take deep offense at being called a troll. I don't know how long you have been on here, but though I may have strong views, I always try to be polite (admittedly failing sometimes) and to argue for a rationale point of view. You may disagree with me, but I am not flaming and stirring up pointless arguments for the hell of it.
posted by pjgulliver at 6:59 AM on April 29, 2003


pjgulliver,

my apologies, I hope we can continue to disagree with dignity, I should be more careful throwing that term around I suppose. However, if you do not want to be mistaken as a troll you should disassociate yourself with certain trollish elements who lurk hereabouts, even if your opinion coincides with theirs every now and then.

That said, to state that the US gives the most foreign aid, in dollar amounts, can be considered disingenous, because it only amounts to a tiny percentage of what they could give and is much less than what at least 20 other nations DO give. But when Americans hear about the "high" dollar amount, they become tricked into thinking their government is giving what they could (link from my previous post). This is bad for obvious reasons, I think.

I also have to disagree with counting the defense budget as foreign aid, because while the bulk of it does largely aid certain countries (read: Israel) those countries use this particular form of aid to do base things, that is, they use the weapons to kill and opress others. When one is pointing out the "positive" aspects of the US, I would not include supplying weapons of mass destruction and mid-level destruction to violent and aggressive regimes. Again, that could be considered disingenous.

A further thought on defense budget as "foreign aid": when the US militarily aids another country, they have repeatedly and openly declared that they do so in order to protect their own interests. Which of course, as the most powerful nation on earth, is its perogative. But again, this carries many more negative aspects to it than positive, because rarely do US interests coincide with the majority of the rest of the world's interests.

Now before any trolls out there say that I equate the US to Osama bin Laden, I have to point out that I think that when they are allowed to work, the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and US democracy are probably the best political tools on the face of the earth. Indeed, the US Constitution allows and even encourages criticism. Criticism is healthy, because it keeps us all honest. However, there are many elements in the United States, past and present (GW Bush), who have little regard for this and are working daily to dismantle some of the best aspects of the United States. Those elements are better off in prison along with Osama, in my opinion.
posted by sic at 12:37 PM on April 29, 2003


Sic, if you read my post, I've never spoken of defense bilateral transfers as a foreign aid type expense (and even so, this is a small part of the military budget. Rather, the expense of maintaining a global military, which contributes stability to many parts of the world far beyond the borders of the US (ie, US basing in Europe during the Cold War, South Korea, Bosnia, the Sinai post 1973) and the capacity to flow forces quickly into a region (military transport, tanking, carrier battle groups, etc) and the money spent on the development of precision weaponry that spares non-combatents all allow the US, at the unspoken behest of the rest of the world, to provide a global environment in which stbaility and security between nations is relatively the norm. This all comes at a high price for the American taxpayer. Is it good for America, sure. But its also good for a lot of other regions of the world.

Example: East Timor, late 1990s. Australia leads a UN mission to restore order. The mission can be considered an "aid" project in that its aim was to stop an ethnic cleansing and restore rule of law. Also in the national interested of Australia to stop a potential onslot of refugees. Interestingly (and underreport) the Australians had to make use of US transport aircraft and ships to move their forces to the island, US intelligence and communications assets to operate so far from their own base, and US "small supplies" like personal weapon ammunition and helmets because the Australian government never budgets for more material for their land forces than basic training requirements. The assets the US deployed to assist Australia in this case were expensive and the result of years of technological and logisitical preparedness. Should it be counted as foreign aid, maybe.

Rwanda: Of course, we did little to stop the geoncide there. But, when the UN (and the EU/US) did finally get its act together to deploy forces to halt the genocide to some degree, the Western European armies that provided the bulk of the peacekeepers again relied on US tranport infrastrucutre and intelligence/communications systems to operate so far from West Europe.

Bosnia/Kosovo: The fighting in both cases was stopped primarily by US ariel bombardment. No other nation could accomplish this. Why? Because no one else had the precision weaponry that would allow a NATO planner, with a fair degree of reliability, to target Serb forces while sparing the Serb/Bosniac/Kosvar civilians in the next street over. Is this foreign aid? No, not in the traditional sense. But again, these are actions the US undertakes in the image of greater stability with no clear direct benefit to the bulk of the US population.

I could go on and on with examples like this.

So no, I'm not talking about US aid to Israel when I say part of the military budget should be counted as foreign aid.

Lastly, I am skeptical, on an intellectual level, of the claim the US "should" give more in foreign aid... (though on a personal level I agree with this sentiment.) Why? Why should any nation give away its tax proceeds to other nations? Why should my government compel me to pay a tax to distribute funds in nations half-way around the world that does not benefit me at all and serves no purpose as outlined in the founding documents of our country? If foreign aid is a moral choice, shouldn't we be funding it privately through charity?

I don't know....
posted by pjgulliver at 12:52 PM on April 29, 2003


And if I agree with PP's views, and am polite to him, that is still no reason to call me a troll. I accept your apology, but I suggest you rethink the way you classify people.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2003


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