LA Weekly interviews Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski
February 23, 2004 10:32 PM   Subscribe

You gave your life to the military, you voted Republican for many years, you say you served in the Pentagon right up to the outbreak of war. What does it feel like to be out now, publicly denouncing your old bosses?

Know what it feels like? It feels like duty. That’s what it feels like. I’ve thought about it many times. You know, I spent 20 years working for something that — at least under this administration — turned out to be something I wasn’t working for. I mean, these people have total disrespect for the Constitution. We swear an oath, military officers and NCOs alike swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. These people have no respect for the Constitution. The Congress was misled, it was lied to. At a very minimum that is a subversion of the Constitution. A pre-emptive war based on what we knew was not a pressing need is not what this country stands for.

LA Weekly interviewsLt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, retired, Pentagon insider present at the creation. Skeletons from the closet tumble.
posted by y2karl (59 comments total)
 
Er, I mean Kwiatkowski...
posted by y2karl at 10:36 PM on February 23, 2004


Lordy, that's some juicy stuff.

I await attempts at debunking with great anticipation, if anyone can do it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:52 PM on February 23, 2004


That is the clearest explanation of the real reasons for the invasion I've seen so far.
posted by bowline at 10:55 PM on February 23, 2004


Thanks for the memories, Saddam [Flash.]
posted by homunculus at 11:12 PM on February 23, 2004


Mmmm... corned-beef reHash. Yummy!
posted by Witty at 11:43 PM on February 23, 2004


nice find y2. bush and his brothers - nest of snakes.
posted by specialk420 at 12:17 AM on February 24, 2004


That was refreshing. I was afraid honor was completely dead in the American military. Nice to see a hero.
posted by Goofyy at 12:41 AM on February 24, 2004


One of those reasons is that sanctions and containment were working and everybody pretty much knew it. Many companies around the world were preparing to do business with Iraq in anticipation of a lifting of sanctions. But the U.S. and the U.K. had been bombing northern and southern Iraq since 1991. So it was very unlikely that we would be in any kind of position to gain significant contracts in any post-sanctions Iraq. And those sanctions were going to be lifted soon, Saddam would still be in place, and we would get no financial benefit.

The second reason has to do with our military-basing posture in the region. We had been very dissatisfied with our relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly the restrictions on our basing. And also there was dissatisfaction from the people of Saudi Arabia. So we were looking for alternate strategic locations beyond Kuwait, beyond Qatar, to secure something we had been searching for since the days of Carter — to secure the energy lines of communication in the region. Bases in Iraq, then, were very important — that is, if you hold that is America’s role in the world. Saddam Hussein was not about to invite us in.

The last reason is the conversion, the switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil program, from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000 — selling his oil for euros. The oil sales permitted in that program aren’t very much. But when the sanctions would be lifted, the sales from the country with the second largest oil reserves on the planet would have been moving to the euro.

The U.S. dollar is in a sensitive period because we are a debtor nation now. Our currency is still popular, but it’s not backed up like it used to be. If oil, a very solid commodity, is traded on the euro, that could cause massive, almost glacial, shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar. So one of the first executive orders that Bush signed in May [2003] switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.


All these points were extensively discussed on MeFi. It's nice to see that someone in the know agrees with those of us who argued these points. It was about the oil, and it was about protecting the dollar.

In other words, how can anyone possibly condone the war? If this is not grounds for impeaching Bush, then what the hell is?
posted by salmacis at 2:32 AM on February 24, 2004


always useful link:

The Stovepipe, by Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker
posted by matteo at 2:50 AM on February 24, 2004


In The New Yorker, Seymour Hersh described how the Pentagon set up its own intelligence unit, the Office of Special Plans, to sift for data to support the administration's claims about Iraq. And on "Truth, War and Consequences," a Frontline documentary that aired last October, a procession of intelligence analysts testified to the administration's use of what one of them called "faith-based intelligence."

Watching and reading all this, one is tempted to ask, where were you all before the war? Why didn't we learn more about these deceptions and concealments in the months when the administration was pressing its case for regime change—when, in short, it might have made a difference? Some maintain that the many analysts who've spoken out since the end of the war were mute before it. But that's not true. Beginning in the summer of 2002, the "intelligence community" was rent by bitter disputes over how Bush officials were using the data on Iraq. Many journalists knew about this, yet few chose to write about it.


Now They Tell Us
By Michael Massing
New York Review of Books

and, from last year, always interesting:
The Neocons In Power... check out young Richard Perle seen by Levine
posted by matteo at 2:56 AM on February 24, 2004


Impeachment? Anyone?

How much lying and deception needs to be uncovered before we admit as a nation that these people are too dangerous to keep in power? If this secret agenda was going on a year ago, what secret agenda are we being lied to about now?
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:44 AM on February 24, 2004


I await attempts at debunking with great anticipation...


I'm still reeling from last weeks comprehensive debunking. Thud!
posted by Tuatara at 4:44 AM on February 24, 2004




I'm still reeling from last weeks comprehensive debunking


funny how it's most about catchy slogans and good rhymes.
"Bush lied - people died" doesn't sound nearly as catchy as "hey - hey - LBJ - how many kids did you kill today?".
you could also consider that Nixon killed more kids than LBJ but RNM didn't really rhyme with anything.
Bush is lucky. his name doesn't really rhyme with anything good. that I've heard so far, at least.
but there's still time, who knows
/small derail


posted by matteo at 5:17 AM on February 24, 2004


What did Bush lie about?
posted by techgnollogic at 5:28 AM on February 24, 2004


Interesting how she mentions the economics of the call for war - specifically how Iraq was going to begin selling oil in Euros, something that was discussed at length here several months ago.

The problem is that you are hard pressed to argue that the region is not better off without Saddam. The Bush Administration will always fall back on this: "you mean to tell us that you'd rather have Saddam BACK in power?"

I've always felt that the administration would have been much better off laying off of the whole WMD argument and 'imminent threat' argument and just push the argument that Saddam is a destabilizing force for the region, an oppressor, and needs to be made an example of for all other dictators.

Oh wait - that would mean that we would have to be willing to go to war to remove every other eeeevil dictator in the world...and I don't see us headed into Africa anytime soon.
posted by tgrundke at 5:58 AM on February 24, 2004


"The problem is that you are hard pressed to argue that the region is not better off without Saddam."

*We* would have been better off if we'd left Saddam in power. Feer dead americans, $400 billion+ saved, less hatred for the U.S.around the world, no terrorist breeding ground in Iraq, greater focus on terrorism, etc.

We were *way* better off with Saddam in power.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:03 AM on February 24, 2004


> *We* would have been better off if we'd left Saddam in power.

Henry Kissinger morality.
posted by jfuller at 6:28 AM on February 24, 2004


Nope, can't let it go with just that. From this Guardian essay:

The traditional conservative, Burkean view is that our affinities ripple out from our families and localities to the nation, and not very far beyond. That view is pitted against a liberal universalist one that sees us in some sense equally obligated to all human beings, from Bolton to Burundi


You know, it's really sweet jerking the mefi high ground out from under from all you neanderthal Amurikuh-first right-ringers.
posted by jfuller at 6:55 AM on February 24, 2004


"Henry Kissinger morality."

No, that's all me. No need to drag in someone else to blame.

Invading a sovereign nation under false pretenses, and against the wishes of the world community, without any hint of imminent threat, is unjustifiable. And the idea that we needed to do this to save the Iraqi people from misery and death is laughable. We haven't made their lives better. We've just traded harsh dictatorship for civil war, an occupying army, death by foreign insurgents, U.S. corporate blood suckers, and general chaos.

Innocent Iraqis are still dying every day. And while I'm sure it's less traumatic to be blown apart by a suicide bomb than slowly tortured to death, I think it's naive to simply assume the Iraqis are better off. They seem to be rather undecided about that themselves.

The *world* is worse off. And the jury is still out on whether Iraq will end up better than the mess we left in Afghanistan.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:01 AM on February 24, 2004


y6y6y6 - Especially now that font-of-realpolitik stalking horses such as Henry Kissinger are musing about the trisection of Iraq. Such - a strategic objective for some israelis - has been echoed by some within the D.C. power structure such as Leslie Gelb, former head of the Coucil on Foreign Relations :

"While plans have been announced for Washington to erect a "sovereign" Iraqi regime by the middle of next year, this hollow exercise holds little prospect for ending a bitter conflict that is claiming the lives of American soldiers daily and creating growing political unrest in the US itself.
 
Enter the New York Times with a modest proposal for a bloodbath. It advances what it terms a "three-state solution," based on the partition of Iraq along ethnic and religious lines.
 
The proposal appeared in a November 25 column by Leslie Gelb, a former editor and senior columnist for the Times. Gelb calls for dividing Iraq between the "Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south."
"
: - " “Almost immediately, this would allow America to put most of its money and troops where they would do the most good quickly—with the Kurds and Shiites. The United States could extricate most of its forces from the so-called Sunni Triangle, north and west of Baghdad, largely freeing American forces from fighting a costly war they might not win. American officials could then wait for the troublesome and domineering Sunnis, without oil or oil revenues, to moderate their ambitions or suffer the consequences.” (Gelb, NYT Op ed, Novmebr 25th 2003)
"

A trisected Iraq would be a real mess....though some in the Bush Administration might actually be pushing for such a development. Interestingly, this dismemberment scenario - as a covert US objective - has been discussed long prior to the US invasion of Iraq

The Dreyfuss report, over at TomPaine.com, covers this story in some depth
posted by troutfishing at 7:12 AM on February 24, 2004


> No, that's all me. No need to drag in someone else to blame.

Fine, and I can accept that. I hope you folks also inderstand that I, I and no one else, am responsible for the war. Bush and the neocons were poor unwitting tools. I used their fears about oil and the dollar and mideast geopolitics, together with their willingness to spin intelligence however they liked, to manipulate them into sending the army around the world to work my will. So when you're looking for someone to blame and you fix upon GWB you're chasing a red herring.

And I sent the army to dig up the mass graves.


> And the idea that we needed to do this to save the Iraqi people from misery
> and death is laughable.

I get the same feeling when I talk to Holocaust deniers.
posted by jfuller at 7:31 AM on February 24, 2004


Iraq and the Gulf of Tonkin
North Vietnamese gunboats did not attack U.S. warships in the Gulf of Tonkin, anymore than Saddam threatened to attack us with his nonexistent WMDs. So the leitmotif for Operation Iraqi Freedom was not WMDs, but the freedom of Iraq in the larger context of long-range security for Israel. Mr. Bush is right to change the rationale for war to isn't-the-world-a-better-place-without-Saddam? Of course it is. Was Iraq ever a threat to the U.S. homeland? Of course it wasn't. But hasn't the U.S. occupation of Iraq provided a force multiplier for al Qaeda? Of course it has. And the world is not a more peaceful place than it was before the occupation of Iraq.

Arnaud de Borchgrave
posted by y2karl at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2004


Troutfishing: huh? Granted, I'm more sympathetic to realpolitik arguments than most on the left, but the only problem I can see with a 3-state Iraq, assuming it could be achieved without civil war, is that Turkey might not like it. I wouldn't want us to go out of our way to alienate Turkey, but morally I've got to side with the Kurds on this one. I'd be much more comfortable with a tripartite Iraq than Kissinger's "benevolent autocrat" scenario, I know that at least.
posted by furiousthought at 7:38 AM on February 24, 2004


matteo - i was going to post that stovepipe/hersch article this morning, every bush supporter should be forced to read this article and the stovepipe article clockwork orange style prior to november.

The fact that most americans are still in favor of the war on Iraq implicates this as a minority opinion and to this date I know of no one in my life who can claim they have had their Constitutional Rights violated...nor can anyone prove the President lied...

this from a bush supporting friend this morning.
posted by specialk420 at 7:53 AM on February 24, 2004


"I get the same feeling when I talk to Holocaust deniers."

So....... I'm lost here.........

Where do you pull this parallel from? I'm wrong and the Iraqis are really better off? Well, maybe. But it's just my opinion dude. I'm not denying Saddam was a bad person. I'm not claiming he wasn't brutal. How do you justify comparing me to a Holocaust denier? You think that's fair? Fuck you.

Saddam was no worse than dozens of other dictators we've seen come and go, or not go, over the last few decades. Certainly less dangerous than others, certainly less brutal than others, certainly less insane than others.

Also certainly a vicious, disgusting monster who is getting much better than he deserves.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:54 AM on February 24, 2004


If you want to understand why the Bush administration invaded Iraq, read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, not the National Security Strategy of the United States. Only the twisted logic of dreams can explain why the United States thinks that the aggressive pursuit of contradictory goals—promoting democracy, affirming U.S. hegemony, and ensuring stable energy supplies—will produce success.

To illustrate the weird logic of dreams, Sigmund Freud used to evoke a story about a borrowed kettle: When a friend accuses you of returning a borrowed kettle broken, your reply is, first, that you never borrowed the kettle; second, that you returned it unbroken; and third, that the kettle was already broken when you borrowed it. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms precisely what it endeavors to deny: that you, in fact, did borrow and break the kettle.

A similar string of inconsistencies characterized the Bush administration's public justifications for the U.S. attack on Iraq in early 2003. First, the administration claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which posed a “real and present danger” to his neighbors, to Israel, and to all democratic Western states. So far, no such weapons have been found (after more than 1,000 U.S. specialists have spent months looking for them). Then, the administration argued that even if Saddam does not have any WMD, he was involved with al Qaeda in the September 11 attacks and therefore should be punished and prevented from launching future assaults. But even U.S. President George W. Bush had to concede in September 2003 that the United States “had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.” Finally, there was the third level of justification, that even if there was no proof of a link with al Qaeda, Saddam's ruthless dictatorship was a threat to its neighbors and a catastrophe to its own people, and these facts were reason enough to topple it. True, but why topple Iraq and not other evil regimes, starting with Iran and North Korea, the two other members of Bush's infamous “axis of evil”?

So, if these reasons don't hold up to serious scrutiny and merely seem to suggest that the administration was misguided to do what it did, what, then, were the real underlying reasons for the attack? Effectively, there were three: first, a sincere ideological belief that the destiny of the United States is to bring democracy and prosperity to other nations; second, the urge to brutally assert and signal unconditional U.S. hegemony; and third, the need to control Iraqi oil reserves.

Each of the three levels works on its own and deserves to be taken seriously; none of them, including the spread of democracy, should be dismissed as a simple manipulation and lie. Each has its own contradictions and consequences, for good and ill. But taken together, they are dangerously inconsistent and incompatible and all but predestine the U.S. effort in Iraq to failure.


Iraq's False Promises

Sidebar: Too Much Vision Thing

There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society, in every culture. Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military—so that governments respond to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite. Successful societies protect freedom with the consistent and impartial rule of law, instead of selectively applying the law to punish political opponents….

[Securing democracy in Iraq] is a massive and difficult undertaking—it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, and increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed—and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran—that freedom can be the future of every nation. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.…


Excerpts from U.S. President George W. Bush's speech on freedom in Iraq and the Middle East at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy on Nov. 6, 2003.
posted by y2karl at 7:55 AM on February 24, 2004


Henry Kissinger morality.

As opposed to the Ahmed Chalabi morality.

And jfuller, next time you "talk to those holocause deniers" about how you've proven our silly disagreement with the war is equal to slaughtering six million people, make sure you tell them how great it was to invade Iraq via our alliance with dictators who have no problems with torture and genocide. Oh, wait... I guess you want those previous victims to blame YOU for that, right? Or were you just setting up dramatic parallels to sounds like an ass?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:06 AM on February 24, 2004


jfulller - fine, except that the Bush neocons explicitly rejected, prior to the the invasion, human rights violations as a sufficient casus belli. The human rights violations were #3 on the list, behind the discredited WMD and Al Qaeda connection threats.

The question is, why didn't the Bush Adm. just start the humans rights reason at #1 and hammer away at it, while keeping WMD and terrorism rationales at ( at the most if not even lower on the list ) #2 and #3 ?

In fact, there was a whole host of reasons - some of which I might even have agreed with ( if properly framed ) - for taking down Saddam. But the WMD and terrorism link reasons were, by far, the weakest - even based on intelligence available at the time.

My only explanation is that the Bush Neocons had been repeating the same arguments and talking points for 8 years at their Think Tank cloisters - long enough to forget the difference between ideology and facts on the ground - and they were too greedy to wield real power.

Furiousthought - I'm not advocating a tripartite solution for Iraq, but individuals associated with the Bush Administration have ventured the idea a number of times recently. They seem to be softening up the ground should that scenario prove necessary. Check out the "Dreyfuss report" link (scroll 2/3 way down page).
posted by troutfishing at 8:07 AM on February 24, 2004


ok, and this isn't getting picked up by bigger sources why? This is amazing, but it's my fear that no one will touch something big like this. *sigh*
posted by jearbear at 8:12 AM on February 24, 2004


BTW - What's a "closet tumble" ?

Is it like a clusterfuck in a dark, confined space? What, exactly, are you saying about the Bush Administration, Karl ? That it's incestuous, shallow, and myopic ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:14 AM on February 24, 2004


jearbear - The American mainstream mass media is mostly - re the OSP story - putting it's fingers in it's ears and shouting "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA....." .

Power beckons, the Fourth Estate swallows.
posted by troutfishing at 8:18 AM on February 24, 2004


A tripartate solution may look inviting, but it is fraught with dangers. It's not like Ireland, Cyprus, Korea or India ever had a problem with partition, is it now? If the Sunnis were left with a region without oil, how long would the peace last? Months or weeks?
posted by salmacis at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2004


And I sent the army to dig up the mass graves.

Which date from 1991 and before.

Following the Halabja attack and Iraq’s August CW offensive against Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed on 8 September the "Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988" the day after it is introduced. The act cuts off from Iraq U.S. loans, military and non-military assistance, credits, credit guarantees, items subject to export controls, and U.S. imports of Iraqi oil.
Immediately after the bill’s passage the Reagan Administration announced its opposition to the bill, and SD spokesman Charles Redman called the bill "premature". The Administration works with House opponents to a House companion bill, and after numerous legislation compromises and end-of-session haggling, the Senate bill died "on the last day of the legislative session".
According to a 15 September news report, Reagan Administration officials stated that the U.S. intercepted Iraqi military communications marking Iraq’s CW attacks on Kurds.
U.S. intelligence reported in 1991 that the U.S. helicopters sold to Iraq in 1983 were used in 1988 to spray Kurds with chemicals.
posted by y2karl at 8:24 AM on February 24, 2004


NPR's Morning Edition, 02/24/04

Senate investigators looking into pre-war intelligence failures are taking a closer look at the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans. Pentagon officials say the office was a policy-planning group. Critics say it was created to second-guess CIA intelligence on Iraq. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports.

Karen Kwiatkowski interview included

Listen here
posted by y2karl at 8:29 AM on February 24, 2004


troutfishing: Skeletons from the closet tumble --What is the verb, what is the subject, from where do the skeletons tumble?
posted by y2karl at 8:35 AM on February 24, 2004


y2karl - that's a good sign. Quick on the uptake, aren't they.

NPR/Radio = NYT-WaPo/Print media

So the wheels of power creak along. Imprimature on a takedown ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:36 AM on February 24, 2004


Karl - gotcha.

D'oh !
posted by troutfishing at 8:37 AM on February 24, 2004


hey, what better way to keep a volatile region "stable" then the presence of a few U.S. aromoured divisions.

Interesting article. I do not like she was passing stuff on in uniform but she retired and good for her. Hackworth is pretty much teflon when reputation is concerned.

this for example
"He's a boy from Arkansas who's connected to Clinton from '66 at Oxford. He has gone up the political route. He was Alexander Haig's aide-de-camp; he was a White House fellow. He didn't have the kind of assignments that a real muddy-boots grunt would have, someone like Schwarzkopf. If you had Schwarzkopf running the campaign, you would see a far different campaign, meaning you would hit their forces with overwhelming power, and thump the son-of-a-bitch in the head with a two-by-four on the first hit so he's seeing stars from then on."

In other words, General Clark is another Clinton hack (forgive the pun).


I believe the British where the ones who erased the old tripartite lines when they ruled iraq and alot of countries thought that was madness.

I do not buy the greed argument, I do buy the the concept of world wide economic trouble caused by a middle east that is totally unstable.

I'm with trout that the WMD issue should have been presented fairly to the people. I admit that the WMD are gone or sold or perhaps a few are buried. It could have posed a threat but tell people the difficulties about proving such things.

But something larger, more ugly seems to be happening. This now seems to be some sort of realignment of Iraqis future partners in weaponry, heavy equipment, and consumer goods.
I'm sorry but it feels like vulture time. Russia, france, germany, everyone wanting to get back into that iraqi petro $, er, euro.
posted by clavdivs at 8:44 AM on February 24, 2004




Hmmph. She must be one of those damn RINOs - why does she hate freedom and wish Sadaam was still in power?

Great post, y2karl - one of these days, outrage may reach critical mass.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:51 AM on February 24, 2004


For the record, I never served with Clark. But after spending three hours interviewing the man for Maxim’s November issue, I’m impressed. He is insightful, he has his act together, he understands what makes national security tick – and he thinks on his feet somewhere around Mach 3. No big surprise, since he graduated first in his class from West Point, which puts him in the super-smart set with Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur and Maxwell Taylor...

He says he now wants to lead America out of the darkness, shorten what promises to be the longest and nastiest war in our history and restore our eroding prestige around the world.

For sure, he’ll be strong on defense. But with his high moral standards and because he knows where and how the game’s played, there will probably be zero tolerance for either Pentagon porking or two-bit shenanigans.

No doubt he’s made his share of enemies. He doesn’t suffer fools easily and wouldn’t have allowed the dilettantes who convinced Dubya to do Iraq to even cut the White House lawn. So he should prepare for a fair amount of dart-throwing from detractors he’s ripped into during the past three decades.

Hey, I am one of those: I took a swing at Clark during the Kosovo campaign when I thought he screwed up the operation, and I called him a “Perfumed Prince.” Only years later did I discover from his book and other research that I was wrong – the blame should have been worn by British timidity and William Cohen, U.S. SecDef at the time.


Reporting for Duty: Wesley Clark by By David H. Hackworth
posted by y2karl at 8:52 AM on February 24, 2004


At sites such as al Hillah where extensive digging has already begun, the CPA will deploy humanitarian response teams. The teams will work with local leaders to coordinate an orderly digging process; encourage detailed examinations of personal effects; assist in implementation of a system to keep records of identified remains; implement a process for providing death certificates and conducting witness interviews; and facilitate documentation of information found at the sites.


Military at these sites will help inform the families of the importance of careful exhumation, and provide them with water, shade, plastic bags, gloves and masks.


might want to update your sources there karl.

hey, with, what is it, 10 silver stars, I could back peddle too.
welcome to the military mindset karl.
posted by clavdivs at 9:01 AM on February 24, 2004


A tripartate solution may look inviting, but it is fraught with dangers. It's not like Ireland, Cyprus, Korea or India ever had a problem with partition, is it now? If the Sunnis were left with a region without oil, how long would the peace last? Months or weeks?

True, but what are the options? A democracy with staunch protection of minority rights would be ideal, but that has to be something enough Iraqis have to want. If that failed, and Iraq wound up in a three-way civil war that way, it'd be worse, since other nations might jump in the fray in an uncontrolled environment. The resource imbalance among factions is going to remain the same whether Iraq stays one state or not.

I'm getting the sense that people are worried that Iraq may come out of this less powerful than it was before the war. I don't care whether Iraq or the former Iraq is powerful or not, so long as the people wind up better off. I don't want to write off any humane options we might have.

I don't think any of these solutions will do anything about the foreign jihadis who've decided Iraq is their new playground, though.
posted by furiousthought at 9:10 AM on February 24, 2004


might want to update your sources there karl.

Yes, since we all know from the war in Viet Nam, the US Defense Department tells the the truth and only the truth and never ever lies.

US armed forces also have always protected all Iraqi civil installations and always have and still are guarding all Iraqi weapons depots. Not.
posted by y2karl at 9:14 AM on February 24, 2004


Oh, and only 37 pieces were taken from the Baghdad Museum. Mustn't forget that ''fact'' either.
posted by y2karl at 9:16 AM on February 24, 2004


Yes, since we all know from the war in Viet Nam, the US Defense Department tells the the truth and only the truth and never ever lies.

yeah. i really thought this when the war department was renamed the defense department.
posted by clavdivs at 9:25 AM on February 24, 2004


only 37...hmmm
how many did saddam and family steal?

or do you suspect that george clooney took home some of the wonders of UR.
posted by clavdivs at 9:30 AM on February 24, 2004


Come on Karl - facts don't count, do they ? Aren't we in the land of perception faith based foreign policy ?

cladivs - War Defense Dispute-Resolution Pacification Peace Love Sex Department.

Yeah, that's it's sex sells everything.
posted by troutfishing at 9:31 AM on February 24, 2004


oops. that was : "Yeah, that's it. Sex sells everything."
posted by troutfishing at 9:32 AM on February 24, 2004


did i mention that sell sexes everything?
posted by troutfishing at 9:35 AM on February 24, 2004


"The steady growth of Osama bin Laden's anti-U.S. sentiment through the wider Sunni (Islamic) extremist movement, and the broad dissemination of al Qaida's destructive expertise, ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future -- with or without al Qaida in the picture,'" Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee in his annual assessment of global threats.

The leadership of the original al-Qaida terror group, which the United States targeted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is seriously damaged, Tenet said. Beyond al-Qaida however, Tenet said, there is a continuing threat to the United States from a "global movement infected by al-Qaida's radical agenda.''

"And what we've learned continues to validate my deepest concern -- that this enemy remains intent on obtaining and using catastrophic weapons,'' he said.


C.I.A. Chief Reports to Senate on Threats Facing U.S.
posted by y2karl at 9:49 AM on February 24, 2004


So wait... has this been debunked yet?
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2004


Thanks to y2karl for posting the long excerpt from Foreign Policy above.
I only wish you had gone on to quote more of the main thesis:
"The supposition underlying these good intentions(of American intervention) is that underneath our skins, we are all Americans. If that is humanity's true desire, then all that Americans need to do is to give people a chance, liberate them from their imposed constraints, and they will embrace America's ideological dream. No wonder the United States has moved from “containing” the enemy to promoting a “capitalist revolution,” as Stephen Schwartz of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies put it in February 2003. The United States is now, as the defunct Soviet Union was decades ago, the subversive agent of a world revolution.

But when Bush said in his January 2003 State of the Union message, “The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity,” this apparent burst of humility, in fact, concealed its totalitarian opposite. Every totalitarian leader claims that, in himself, he is nothing at all: His strength is only the strength of the people who stand behind him, whose deepest strivings only he expresses. The catch is, those who oppose the leader by definition not only oppose him, but they also oppose the deepest and noblest strivings of the people. And does the same not hold for Bush's claim? It would have been easier if freedom effectively were to be just the United States' gift to other nations; that way, those who oppose U.S. policies would merely be against the policies of a single nation-state. But if freedom is God's gift to humanity, and the U.S. government sees itself as the chosen instrument for showering this gift on all the nations of the world, then those who oppose U.S. policies are rejecting the noblest gift of God to humanity.
posted by dreeed at 10:13 AM on February 24, 2004


It would have been easier if freedom effectively were to be just the United States' gift to other nations; that way, those who oppose U.S. policies would merely be against the policies of a single nation-state. But if freedom is God's gift to humanity, and the U.S. government sees itself as the chosen instrument for showering this gift on all the nations of the world, then those who oppose U.S. policies are rejecting the noblest gift of God to humanity

And farther, this time--unlike the above passage--not sarcastically, he writes:

Moreover, despite Bush's talk of a ''forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East,'' we know now what bringing democracy means: The United States and its ''willing partners'' ultimately decide if a country is ripe for democracy and what form that democracy should take. Witness Rumsfeld's comment in April 2003 that Iraq should not become a theocracy, but a tolerant secular country in which all religions and ethnic groups enjoyed the same rights. U.S. officials have reacted with barely muted discomfort to the possibility that a new Iraqi constitution might give Islam a privileged position. The irony here is twofold: Not only would it be nice if the United States were to demand the same from Israel with regard to Judaism, but while Saddam's Iraq already was a secular state, the likely result of democratic elections would be the privileging of Islam! One unnamed senior U.S. figure even stated, according to the British newspaper The Independent, ''the first foreign policy gesture of a democratic Iraq would be to recognize Israel.''

Instead, what is likely to emerge as a result of the U.S. occupation in Iraq is precisely a fundamentalist Muslim anti-American movement, directly linked to such movements in other Arab countries or countries with a Muslim presence. It is as if, in a contemporary display of the ''cunning of reason,'' some invisible hand of destiny repeatedly ensures that the U.S. intervention only makes more likely the outcomes the United States sought most to avoid.

posted by y2karl at 10:30 AM on February 24, 2004


"while the President’s opponents have made much sport of the idea that God called George Bush to the presidency, it’s becoming increasingy difficult to doubt that God wants President Bush re-elected." - David frum, National Review Online, December 14, 2003

Is this just religious faith - or is it Jesus plus some weird mix of Xanax, antidepressants, and Beta Blockers ? Or the cumulative damage of too many deep fried chocolate nougat bars from the White House kitchen whilst brainstorming with karl Rove and smoking fat joints?

Whatever the truth, this does not strike me as the sort of clearheaded thinking which I want asociated with the formulation of U.S. national policy. Frum may be trying to rally Bush's religious base, but - holy crap ! - he's on the thin edge there.
posted by troutfishing at 11:10 AM on February 24, 2004


But something larger, more ugly seems to be happening. This now seems to be some sort of realignment of Iraqis future partners in weaponry, heavy equipment, and consumer goods.

doesn't that always happen when big-ass governments suddendly collapse? (especially when dictatorships do)?
the USSR being one of the more recent examples (see the vultures, the rise of the oligarchs, etc.).
also, see Carolyn Eisenberg (among many) regarding Germany's reconstruction
posted by matteo at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2004


Wow! That's the lowest smear attempt I've seen here in a while. Way to make no effort to understand y6y6y6's point.
posted by john at 1:29 PM on February 24, 2004




The more I think about this the more I think the investigation which Bush called for to look into the intel failures needs to come out before the election. If it really was about oil and money (which I never thought was credible before) then we'd just need to impeach Bush if he got elected again. I think we need this put to bed before the election.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:45 AM on February 25, 2004


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