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"Confident Bremer hurries away from Baghdad"
June 29, 2004 1:27 PM   Subscribe

"Confident Bremer hurries away from Baghdad" "Brave Sir Robin ran away. Bravely ran away, away!" Hey! Where's that $20 billion in Iraqi oil revenue money? I know it was laying around here somewhere (maybe in those pants I threw in the laundry?)
posted by troutfishing (85 comments total)

 
Mmm, laundered.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:42 PM on June 29, 2004


"Brave Sir Robin ran away. Bravely ran away, away!"

That pretty much nails it.
posted by jacobsee at 2:06 PM on June 29, 2004


He left the signing ceremony in a helicopter. Why does that seem familiar?

Bush and Bremer are getting a lot of credit for the hidden handover, but changing the date means the insurgents are dictating events, and the sudden and secret nature of the ceremony are a tacit admission that neither the American forces nor the interim government can provide security. If the US military can't secure the country under the CPA, how can it secure the country by assisting (i.e., propping up) the interim government? The interim government's already considering martial law, with Bush's backing. If the interim government institutes martial law and has the power to suspend political parties, how confident can you be that there will be elections in Iraq?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on June 29, 2004


I do not support the war. It was and will be a horrible mistake, one that I imagine will haunt the Bush record for a long time to come. But that said, Bremer played within the game plan: announce the hand over on the 30th and then, suspecting that to be a day of major attacks, instead do the handover a few days in advance. That is what took place. The Lefty Guardian, typically, would see it through an anti-American perspective. If there is to be martial law, then it will be imposed not by America but by those now in charge. their choice. Their destiny. Yes: things may get even more mucked up, but this perhaps expected since you simply can not impose democracy upon a country that is made up of three factions that dislike each other: Sunnis, Kurds, Shia. In Germany and Japan, after WWII we were able to impose democracy and write a consitution. But we also had and still maintain troops in those countries.
posted by Postroad at 2:28 PM on June 29, 2004


Give me a break. So what's the story here? That the administrator of Iraq left after his job was over? Would you have preferred that he stuck around for another few months or years? And for all the crap that anyone posting links from Heritage or Free Republic gets around here, I'd expect less biased links than antiwar.org that, at least initially, doesn't claim it was stolen or misappropriated, only unaccounted for, and essentially only reprints the claim from Christian Aid.

If there is a story here, at least wait for some proof, or anything more than allegations of accounting delays, before posting. And if you're upset about Bremmer leaving, well, then, I'm very confused.
posted by loquax at 2:32 PM on June 29, 2004


According to a recent Nation article, 3 billion has been spent the remaining 16 or so billion is under control of the US and will be parceled out over a five year span. In other words we're holding the guns and the money.

So much for 'sovereignty' How can one be "the supreme authority in a territory" when a different nationa controls the economy, police, and the military?

Time to pin another star on the flag.
posted by skallas at 2:38 PM on June 29, 2004


Correction: The money I wrote about isn't the oil money, but the handout congress gave Bush "for Iraq." Which in practice means for American outsourcers and contractors.
posted by skallas at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2004


um, bite me.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2004


I think the assumption was he would be hear for the interim Hand over to Negraponte at least, it gives the impression he was afraid and bolted when he could...
Appearances are important here... and this looks bad.
posted by Elim at 2:45 PM on June 29, 2004


changing the date means the insurgents are dictating events

By that logic, how do you react to the insurgents at all without that reaction meaning the insurgents "dictated" the reaction?

tacit admission that neither the American forces nor the interim government can provide security.

Was that some kind of secret?

If the US military can't secure the country under the CPA, how can it secure the country by assisting (i.e., propping up) the interim government?

Um, maybe it takes time?

If the interim government institutes martial law and has the power to suspend political parties, how confident can you be that there will be elections in Iraq?

Why would they suspend political parties? Despite the violence and the chaos, Islamists and Baathist are losing municipal elections nationwide.
posted by techgnollogic at 2:46 PM on June 29, 2004


If there is a story here, at least wait for some proof

Hahahahahahahahah. *wipes tears* Oh, loquax, that's rich! "Proof"! I remember those halcyon days when I thought people should support claims with "proof" and "logic" and "reason," and so forth. Good times, good times.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:53 PM on June 29, 2004


Not to mention, Bremer did his job. Bremer had to push right-wing economics into Iraq, codify them, and take off. Mission accomplished.
But what was Paul Bremer III, the head of the C.P.A., focused on? According to a Washington Post reporter who shared a flight with him last June, "Bremer discussed the need to privatize government-run factories with such fervor that his voice cut through the din of the cargo hold."

Plans for privatization were eventually put on hold. But as he prepared to leave Iraq, Mr. Bremer listed reduced tax rates, reduced tariffs and the liberalization of foreign-investment laws as among his major accomplishments. Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time — but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics.
Why stay? He did the damage his masters sent him to do.

Quote from here.
posted by skallas at 2:54 PM on June 29, 2004


So, pardonyou?, because Bush was illogical it gives his detractors license to be illogical in return?

Good comment techgnollogic.
posted by loquax at 2:57 PM on June 29, 2004


Yeah, skallas, just like those filthy post-bloc Russians with all of their privatization and free trade. What Iraq needs ais a dose of good, old-fashioned protectionist communism.

Maybe it's an indictment of my social circle, but Metafilter is the only place I frequent where I can see someone sneeringly proclaim that free trade, privatization of state-owned industries, and permission of foreign investment are "right-wing" economics.
posted by trharlan at 3:01 PM on June 29, 2004


With user names like leotrotsky, what do you expect trharlan?
posted by loquax at 3:09 PM on June 29, 2004


trharlan, you're missing the point here. At 50% unemployment its time to drop the free trade crap and get people to work. Not to mention Iraqi firms would have done the reconstruction cheaper and have experience doing this kind of work. Remember 1991?

>privatization of state-owned industries

I don't think its terribly radical to protect some industries, like transportation. Here in the US we not only disallow private ownership of highways, streets, and expressways we also engage in corporate welfare which is closer to Soviet economics than any free market idealism.

Also, better to leave well-enough alone. Are we going to dismantle Iraq's free healthcare also for the sake of economic theory? Different societies have different needs and expectations. Its a shame you live in one where "privatize everything," to you, is a centrist position.

>permission of foreign investment

Permission is a loaded word. Even here in the US we protect many industries with tariffs and through subsidization.

In the end, the Iraqi government (when it forms after free elections) should be making economic decisions, not some Bush flunkies doing their best to get American companies on the war profiteering bandwagon.
posted by skallas at 3:09 PM on June 29, 2004


Not to mention, the croyism of the West has yet to be matched by anything from the East. The VP's old company is running the show in Iraq with no-bid overpriced contracts, while he recieves a paycheck from them? That sounds like the old Soviet system to me.

That's one of the triumphs of right-wing propaganda, the corp welfare and cronyism is swept under the carpet because of fears of "communism" or socialism. The irony is that cronyism and large subsidies for industry are closer to these systems than a free market system.
posted by skallas at 3:16 PM on June 29, 2004


loquax - the story ? Start with the lack of the CPA to attempt to maintain any sort of audit trail. Move along to the "supersize me" US Embassy which will move in to take control of the CPA's offices and also the Republican Palace.

Like no one ever left.

Take a little peek at the edicts issued by Bremer before he ran away, edicts limiting Iraqi sovereignty :

"Some of the orders signed by Bremer, which will remain in effect unless overturned by Iraq's interim government, restrict the power of the interim government and impose U.S.-crafted rules for the country's democratic transition. Among the most controversial orders is the enactment of an elections law that gives a seven-member commission the power to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support.

The effect of other regulations could last much longer. Bremer has ordered that the national security adviser and the national intelligence chief chosen by the interim prime minister he selected, Ayad Allawi"

You know, of course, this : "the interim prime minister is a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who later conducted anti-Hussein terrorist operations on behalf of the CIA — operations in which innocent Iraqi civilians may have been killed — his anointment as leader of a "free Iraq" is being hailed by President Bush as a great victory in the war on terror" - Of course you do.

The new prime minister is a CIA ex-terrorism warfare asset.

Face it - this is subcontracting. The Mafia does it too. It's just business.

The NYT called Allawi a - "Suprising Choice" for Prime Minister because "his closeness to the United States could become an issue in a country where public opinion has grown almost universally hostile to the Americans" -

"After turning to the United Nations to shore up its failing effort to fashion a new government in Baghdad, the United States ended up Friday with a choice for prime minister certain to be seen more as an American candidate than one of the United Nations or the Iraqis themselves.
Advertisement

The man chosen to be prime minister, Iyad Alawi, is the secretary general of the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group that has received funds from the Central Intelligence Agency. His ties with the C.I.A., and his closeness to the United States could become an issue"

Stroll over to Iraq's new Mininstry of Information, run by former CIA Director and neocon (who advocates a reshaping of the Mideast and then a full out war on North Korea, casualties be damned, the man who's said repeatedly, we're in WWIV....James Woolsey.

Watch Woolsey - who does he know, who does he talk to? What does he do?

Try to arrange a meeting with John Negroponte, now top American dog in Iraq. Observe the relative sizes of his, and Iyaad Allawi's personal armed guard units.

Pan around to the decayed Iraqi infrastructure. Then to the huge sums officially directed towards rebuilding that infrastructure.

Quick school fixes won few Iraqi hearts
[ By Dan Murphy | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor ]

"BAGHDAD - The US government lists renovations done on 2,356 Iraqi schools in a $70 million effort as one of its major accomplishments. The idea behind it was to meet a pressing Iraqi need and quickly win goodwill from a wide swath of the population......

But many Iraqis, like Mustafa Ibrahim al-Jubari, weren't won over. Mr. Jubari is the deputy principal of the Zam Zam elementary school (named after a sacred freshwater well in Mecca). His two-story building in northern Baghdad smells far from fresh. Jubari points to a four-month-old paint job already peeling, a roof that was caulked but leaks, and new porcelain toilet bowls installed on top of backed-up sewage lines. "You're lucky that school has been out for a few weeks,'' he says. "When they're here, the whole place stinks."

.........Bechtel Corp., which oversaw the work at Zam Zam and about 1,300 other schools, points out that its contract, part of a larger $1 billion contract to fix Iraqi infrastructure, didn't include money for long-term problems like sewage.

Yet amid a construction program focused on the long-term, the schools program was one of the few designed to touch many Iraqi lives quickly..........

Thanoon Hussein, an engineer at the Education Ministry who checked the work at Zam Zam, says no documents were filed with the ministry on the school by Bechtel or its subcontractor, Al-Assem. He says the average amount Bechtel spent per school was $40,000. "I'd be amazed if $10,000 was spent at Zam Zam." "


Zoom in on details - "Iraqi sovereignty won't extend to the Web
" and.....

Oh, fuck it. I don't think you really care, do you?

posted by troutfishing at 3:18 PM on June 29, 2004


Troutfishing, I sure do. Deeply. Which is why I think that half-baked allegations and song-singing about Bremmer is useless noise.

The title of the antiwar.org article you linked is "Did the CPA take the money and run?" I think the resounding answer to that is "who knows?" Who took what money? Was it stolen, misappropriated, lost, unaccounted for, or did it even exist in the first place?

The other links you provided discuss Iraqi sovereignty, which has been discussed in numerous other threads, and points out a discrepancy with 70 million targeted for schools. Where is the evidence of malfeasance with the 20 billion? What is your point with respect to this post, beyond vague insinuations and cheap shots at Bremmer?
posted by loquax at 3:29 PM on June 29, 2004


The first link begs the question: did we succeed or did we retreat? The answer seems painfully obvious: If a year of US control did not restore order how will a bunch of untested Iraqis do it.
posted by stbalbach at 3:34 PM on June 29, 2004


Why don't you read techgnollogic's link again stbalbach?

Or here's the Economist's take on the handover, with a more serious discussion of the challenges faced post-power transfer. Here's another link about the banking system.

Or here's Slate's take on the sovereignty question and the politics behind it.
posted by loquax at 3:40 PM on June 29, 2004


Where is all the outrage over the hundreds of billions of dollars the United Nations and it's cronies stole from the mouths of starving Iraqis, in the "Oil-For-Food" scandal?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:40 PM on June 29, 2004


Where is all the outrage over the hundreds of billions of dollars the United Nations and it's cronies

Is it?

Where is all the outrage over Steve's inability to use an apostrophe?

Well, we don't know who got what, do we, because good ol' Chalabi nicked all the records and won't give them back. So once the investigator finds out who got the kickbacks, I'll know where to aim my outrage.
posted by riviera at 3:54 PM on June 29, 2004


But you don't need any "evidence" of stolen CPA money to aim your outrage squarely at the US, Bremmer and Bush, right riviera?
posted by loquax at 3:58 PM on June 29, 2004


the world's saddam safer place, now.
posted by quonsar at 4:05 PM on June 29, 2004


Picking apart grammar now, riviera?
posted by trharlan at 4:11 PM on June 29, 2004


If Bremmer had stayed, many people here would be saying things along the lines of, "If the U.S. is really serious about handing over sovreignty, what is Bremmer still doing there?" There's no pleasing some people.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:12 PM on June 29, 2004


There's a difference between walking out the front door and sneaking out the back
posted by ElvisJesus at 4:28 PM on June 29, 2004


I wonder if there are any pictures of Iraqi Qwags? According to the left, the mires of Iraq are full of them; unless, of course, the left is full of it.
But I bet if you asked some of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi schoolchildren attending school to draw you a picture of a Qwag, I bet you they could.

Come to think of it, what is known about the Iraqi Qwag?

1) It's very hide to find. It is usually seen by those who already have fairies in their gardens.
2) It likes to be in pictures with masked men waving around machine guns bravely while swearing dire revenge.
3) It may respond to commands in French.
4) Qwags cannot tolerate large quantities of flowing oil and busy marketplaces.
5) Qwags are deathly afraid of US Marines, who eat Qwag.
posted by kablam at 4:47 PM on June 29, 2004


go tell it to the families of the dead soldiers today, kablam. They can tell you what a quagmire is, and why it's not that funny.
posted by amberglow at 4:51 PM on June 29, 2004


kirkaracha posted this yesterday. From Get Your War On:
Nothing says "Good luck" like handing off sovereignty and running straight to the airport. Do we always treat sovereignty like it's a goddamn grenade?

posted by wsg at 5:11 PM on June 29, 2004


But I bet if you asked some of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi schoolchildren attending school...

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children are in summer school? Figures that the GOP would mess up their education system, too :-P
posted by Ptrin at 5:14 PM on June 29, 2004


wsg, don't worry, there are 130,000+ US troops still there, and all sorts of civilians. The Americans, UN, NATO and all of the other countries there aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Iraq is hardly being treated like a grenade, despite the claims of the unbiased, non-partisan folks over at Get Your War On.
posted by loquax at 5:16 PM on June 29, 2004


Where is all the outrage over the hundreds of billions of dollars the United Nations and it's cronies stole from the mouths of starving Iraqis, in the "Oil-For-Food" scandal?

Read All About It: Giant Texas Based Coroprations Fellow Hogs At Oil-For-Food Scandal Money Trough.

Well, crony Exxon Mobil got its subpoena, as did fellow Texas-based cronies Chevron Texaco and Premcor and Valero.

Hey, they don't call them transnationals for nothing! Calling Dr. Howard! Calling Dr. Fine! Calling Dr. Safire! Nyuck nyuck nyuck!
posted by y2karl at 6:09 PM on June 29, 2004


But you don't need any "evidence" of stolen CPA money to aim your outrage squarely at the US, Bremmer and Bush, right riviera?

Did you see any 'outrage' from me in this thread, loquax? I'm waiting for the Iraqis to call in some auditors. (Ideally not Arthur Andersen.)

And trharlan: 'koff.
posted by riviera at 6:11 PM on June 29, 2004


There's no pleasing some people.

You're right, because this was not a good goddamn idea from the start. This is a monumental catastrophe in the history of human affairs. This is the event that sends the United States on the downward spiral from a shining beacon of whatever to just another cynical, well-armed thug nation. You actually have to work really, really hard to fuck things up this badly, and the present Administration has done everything in its power to break the United States government. You actually have to consciously think, "I wonder how I could take the international goodwill and sympathy that arose after 9/11, take all that energy that could have been used to actually work on making the world a safer, better place, and just completely fuck it up in such a way that people will hate me and hate the United States for generations to come." It takes a certain cunning and a void where your heart is to fuck things up this greatly.

This isn't a Democrat/Republican thing, nor a left/right thing. This is about competency. This is about the idea that people making these globe-spanning decisions are actually, y'know, good at making them. This is about the fact that the people controlling the United States government are stunted pigs catering the capitalist raid on the U.S. Treasury, and they could give a shit about your best interests.

"Saddam's gone!" "The electricity sometimes works!" "Rape rooms!" "Terrorists!" PEOPLE. THEY FUCKED IT UP. THEY FUCKED IT UP BUT GOOD. STOP IT. What more are you going to offer up to the altar of George W. Bush? What more are you going to sacrifice in his name to never admit that you were wrong? They've already taken your faith in a fair electoral process, the indepencence of the judiciary, the moral clarity of the U.S., the military strength of the U.S., the safety of our and other's P.O.W.s, the domestic security of living in this society, your civil liberties, your sense of security, your money, your safety, your mind -- what more are you going to offer up just so you don't have to admit that 9/11 scared you?

"Oh, well, it's easy to bitch and moan, but we're in this, whaddya suggest now, smart guy?" How about some fucking accountability??? How about the idea that if you fuck up as badly as the people in this Administration have, there will be consequences? And I'm not talking the 2004 election, I'm talking impeachable, criminal offenses. High crimes and misdemeanors. War crimes. That's what we're talking about here. This is what they have done in your name. There is a black hole sitting in the Oval Office, and more and more people are passing that event horizon and being torn to pieces just because they couldn't pull themselves away and see that He Fucked Everything Up. And since Dubya has chosen to make everything in the U.S. government All About Him, since he has worn the mantle of Defender of America, since it's never about what we or the government or anyone else has done, but about what He, He, He has done, he can take the responsibility for all the wreckage he's created. Fuck him, and everything he represents.

And if you take this and dismiss it, if you don't really give a shit what's been "sacrificed", if you admit in your heart that it was never about WMDs or taking out Saddam or spreading democracy or the money or terrorism or gay marriage or faith-based initiatives or tax breaks or No Child Left Behind or "compassionate conservatism" or the Lord's will, if you just chuckle at the extreme naivete of my rant here and try to tell me How The Game's Really Played, if you know it's all been about the power, that O'Brienesque lust for power, then fuck you too.
posted by solistrato at 6:14 PM on June 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


The United States is one of the biggest purchasers of oil, period, y2karl. Is that some kind of indictment in and of itself?
posted by techgnollogic at 6:14 PM on June 29, 2004


*cheers solistrato*

Well played.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:34 PM on June 29, 2004


If he had stayed there would be whining.

If he had made a big show of leaving, there would be whining.

There is whining now.

Let's be honest - the left in this country has now a vested interest in making sure that they and their supporters put the worts possible spin on anything that happens. It's no longer even remotely about what happens - its about keeping the anti-Bush fever running till the elections.

The Democratic party knows that the ONLY think Kerry has going for him is that he is not Bush. On his own he is a non-entity.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:01 PM on June 29, 2004


The Democratic party knows that the ONLY think Kerry has going for him is that he is not Bush. On his own he is a non-entity.

John Kerry's platform.

If you read this, you can see that his platform consists of a little bit more than "I'm not Bush".
posted by Space Coyote at 7:42 PM on June 29, 2004


solistrato is my new hero
posted by muckster at 8:15 PM on June 29, 2004


So, pardonyou?, because Bush was illogical it gives his detractors license to be illogical in return?

loquax, I was trying to be funny -- I agree with you completely. I think people who make outlandish claims should be pressured to support those claims with proof, logic, and reason. Unfortunately those qualities are in precious short supply around these parts.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:20 PM on June 29, 2004


This isn't a Democrat/Republican thing, nor a left/right thing ... This is about the fact that the people controlling the United States government are stunted pigs catering the capitalist raid on the U.S. Treasury, and they could give a shit about your best interests.

Oh, so it's not a left/right thing. Got it. ~wink~

Too bad you had to throw in the "capitalist pig" thing -- I was actually with you when you were talking about competency.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:24 PM on June 29, 2004


Sorry pardonyou?, I did re-read your comment a couple of times, but still could have sworn you were taking a (not totally undeserved) shot at Bush. Guess I'm getting a little too sensitive! Apologies, and I, of course, totally agree with you in return.
posted by loquax at 8:27 PM on June 29, 2004


We got your sovereignty right here:
Iyad Akmush Kanum, 23, learnt the limits of sovereignty on Monday when US prosecutors refused to uphold an Iraqi judges' order acquitting him of attempted murder of coalition troops.

US prosecutors said that he was being returned to the controversial Abu Ghraib prison because under the Geneva Conventions they were not bound by Iraqi law.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:32 PM on June 29, 2004


I sure as hell can't blame Bremer. Terrorists are those few people who can truly say that Iraq is safer for them now than it has ever been.
posted by clevershark at 9:53 PM on June 29, 2004


solistrato, well put.
posted by skallas at 10:01 PM on June 29, 2004


Terrorists are those few people who can truly say that Iraq is safer for them now than it has ever been.

Was Saddam killing hundreds of them each month?
posted by techgnollogic at 10:14 PM on June 29, 2004


Solistrato preaches to the choir. The choir rejoices.

This country is fucked, not just the people in charge. What kills me is that after all the shit that's happened, after all the lies and robbery and death at our expense, there's still something like 50% of the US population that doesn't care.

It's like going into a highschool and asking, "So, how many of you believe there are dinosaurs that can talk? Hmm. Okay, now, of those that raised their hands, how many of you believe in Santa Clauss? I see. Now, all of you that still have your hands raised, would you please step over to this wall so we can fucking shoot you and take you out of the population, because you're pissing in the gene pool."

I'm glad you're outraged, Solistrato; I share your anger. But I've come to the conclusion that this country is getting worse by the minute, and it's compounded by the fact that these morons breed faster than we do. Our only option is to jump ship, say, to Canada or Europe, or start getting violent.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:15 PM on June 29, 2004


Yes, solistrato, well played, indeed. How many times have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11? One-sided rants are fun, therapeutic, and usually not worth the screen they're written on. Yours is no exception.

How about some fucking accountability??? How about the idea that if you fuck up as badly as the people in this Administration have, there will be consequences? . . . I'm talking impeachable, criminal offenses. High crimes and misdemeanors. War crimes. That's what we're talking about here.

Everyone's talking about it. Most sane people are talking about it in relation to Saddam, and how he constantly balked at his commitments under UN Resolutions. After his track record, the only way a rational person could stand in front of the world and defend him is if they were being paid off. As it turns out, that's exactly how it was played. You can't fathom how anyone could turn a blind eye to the blatant corruption of America, while you stand there with a (presumably) straight face and give Russia, France, and Germany a pass for turning a blind eye to Saddam's genocidal tendencies to protect continued crooked backdoor dealings, and you, in turn, proceed to turn a blind eye to that corruption? Are you telling me, in your heart, you know that the countries who refused to take part in the Iraq war did so out of a higher moral standard rather than a corrupt desire to keep pocketing illegal funds and a fear that the toppled government would surrender implicating documents? All of which, by the way, has actually fucking happened, unlike the laundry list of fear and disinformation you cite as the source of your outrage.

And if you take this and dismiss it, if you don't really give a shit what's been "sacrificed", if you admit in your heart that it was never about WMDs or taking out Saddam or spreading democracy or the money or terrorism or gay marriage or faith-based initiatives or tax breaks or No Child Left Behind or "compassionate conservatism" or the Lord's will, if you just chuckle at the extreme naivete of my rant here and try to tell me How The Game's Really Played, if you know it's all been about the power, that O'Brienesque lust for power, then fuck you too.

Ha. If I don't accept your word as religious law, then fuck me. I'm glad skallas finally fell to his knees, but I'm not so easily persuaded by pathos based arguments. What you're telling me, is that beyond any and all doubt, you alone hold the Holy Grail of Truth about this war, and you alone know that this was simply about. . . power? You're telling me that you believe GWB went into Iraq . . . because he could? Wasn't that Clinton's admitted reason for letting interns suck his dick in the Oval Office? I'm certain you've confused these two issues somehow, because you can't seriously believe that the mountain of factual evidence against the threat that was Saddam Hussein was in reality just so much convenient window dressing on a personal quest for spiteful revenge. Give me a fucking break.

On preview:

*waves good-bye to Civil Disobedient while simultaneously cocking his shotgun*

Let me know what you decide.
posted by David Dark at 10:39 PM on June 29, 2004


Well, Civil, we agree on one thing at least, and that's that too few people care about what's going on around them.

On the other hand, you're out of your mind, and I hope those in this thread who are against Bush and against the war in Iraq come out and tell you what they think about your proposed little violent revolution.

Go preach your hate speech elsewhere.
posted by loquax at 10:47 PM on June 29, 2004


Was Saddam killing hundreds of them each month?

Now, is that some cheap Because I just said so psychodrama or was Saddam actually killing people by the hundreds anytime lately ? Where are the stories about massacres in Iraq more recent than 1991 ? Those mass graves all seem to date from before 1991. He used chemical weapons against his own people, too--in the early 1980s. Where are the stories about gassing Kurds or any other Iraqis after the Iran-Iraq War was over ? So we can invade countries after the fact, citing twenty year old atrocities as an excuse ? That certainly opens up the field.
posted by y2karl at 10:53 PM on June 29, 2004


Was Saddam killing hundreds of terrorists each month, or not, karl? It's not a nuanced fucking question. Clevershark said the terrorists are safer now than they were, so I want to know where these thousands of terrorists who were dying under Saddam were coming from, because I haven't heard anything about them. They're dying now, though, by the thousands. That doesn't sound very safe to me. Iraq might not be safe for most Iraqis, and it's definitely not safe for most soldiers, but it sure as hell isn't safe for any RPG-toting halfwit praying for his virgins.
posted by techgnollogic at 11:11 PM on June 29, 2004


y2karl, you're right. Hussein cut down on his mass murder after 1991. How much of that is because of the American and British jets patrolling his airspace under UN mandate severely curtailing his ability to act maniacally, as he had in the past? There can be no doubt that, given his druthers and the absence of the safe zone for the Kurds, they would have suffered even more in the 90's than they had in the 80's. Not to mention the slaughter of the Shias after the first gulf war (which the US in some way shares responsibility for, but Hussein still ordered and executed).

Even still, his secret police was doing his bidding, killing his opponents, real and imagined, in much the same way that the police forces in the former communist countries quelled dissent. Here's a brief article about the files that were found early on during the occupation.
posted by loquax at 11:16 PM on June 29, 2004


Well said indeed, solistrato.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:24 PM on June 29, 2004


But I've come to the conclusion that this country is getting worse by the minute, and it's compounded by the fact that these morons breed faster than we do.

You are probably just trolling, but this is extremely offensive, Civil_Disobedient -- the suggestion is there of eugenics, that the way to do away with the opposition is to restrict their procreation.

Oh, and: Well said, solistrato, and I hope you won't mind if I quote you
posted by quarantine at 11:34 PM on June 29, 2004




Solistrano, that was the most beautiful thing I've heard in months. Bravo, and encore, as soon as the spirit moves you. You are my newest hero.
posted by cookie-k at 12:30 AM on June 30, 2004


On the other hand, you're out of your mind, and I hope those in this thread who are against Bush and against the war in Iraq come out and tell you what they think about your proposed little violent revolution.

Nah, it's just late and I'm tired in more ways than one. But a revolution is already occuring, and it's violent, but it's not coming from my side of the table. How many people have lost their jobs, their bank balances, hell even their lives because of the policies of self-serving greed and the complacency of an electorate that refuses to do anything about it? With every new travesty, perhaps a single percentage point changes hands between Bush and Kerry, though given enough time and media errata, those points slowly go back again (how much airplay does Koby Briant or Lacy Peterson get compared to Iraq, for instance?).

Every day I meet people from small towns who are struggling to make ends meet, yet they fully support Republicans' policies -- these are policies that actively hurt them, mind you. Policies that close their schools, cripple their health benefits, kill their sons and daughters -- but they are either unable to make the connection or unwilling to admit they picked the wrong horse. Perhaps it's a combination of both. But what I have discovered is that it's damned near impossible to get these people to listen to reason, even in the face of damning evidence. The more proof you pile on, the more they dig in their heels and harder they press their hands against their ears.

For the first two years of Bush's presidency, I quietly rejoiced at each new debacle that hit our country. Unemployment through the roof? More troops killed? A giant explosion rocks an innocent city? Great, maybe this will be the thing that gets these ignorant masses to understand that they were wrong and need to do something about it. But I have slowly lost just about all the hope I ever had that the situation will ever get better and all I'm left with is my anger. The past three years have screwed this country, and most of the world, for the next century. Sorry if I come off a bit pissed about it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:35 AM on June 30, 2004



Was Saddam killing hundreds of terrorists each month, or not, karl? It's not a nuanced fucking question. Clevershark said the terrorists are safer now than they were, so I want to know where these thousands of terrorists who were dying under Saddam were coming from, because I haven't heard anything about them. They're dying now, though, by the thousands. That doesn't sound very safe to me. Iraq might not be safe for most Iraqis, and it's definitely not safe for most soldiers, but it sure as hell isn't safe for any RPG-toting halfwit praying for his virgins.


Terrorists aren't born, they're made. The US invasion and occupation made many terrorists, and not thinking to guard the borders has allowed many others to flood into Iraq for the chance to kill some americans.

And the more that are killed, the more that are made in response. Your method of keeping score is woefully flawed.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:35 AM on June 30, 2004


So what exactly was the case for war in Iraq again?

A list, in no particular order, of things we seemed to have accomplished:
  • Toppled Saddam Hussein's government, which may or may not have been a threat to the United States in a hypothetical future. We will never know.
  • Maybe installed another dictator, maybe not. Time will tell.
  • Maybe acted as a trigger for a civil war, maybe not. Time will tell.
  • Found no nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, except for a few legacy cannon rounds.
  • Destroyed what was left of Iraq's army after a decade of attrition.
  • Temporarily reduced the supply of oil coming out of Iraq.
  • Suffered several thousand combat casualties.
  • Caused several tens of thousands of combat casualties.
  • Built some bridges.
  • Repainted some schools.
  • Other civil engineering projects.
  • Founded the world's largest embassy.
  • Implemented many supply-side economic rules.
  • Spent 150+ billion dollars.
  • Made ourselves more disliked and less trusted on the world stage.
  • Made some people/governments fear us.
Probably many other things I can't think of off the top of my head. Were any of these part of the case for war? Of the ones that were, were any of them successful? Of the ones that were, was it worth it?

I wonder what Mr. Bremer's resume will say ...
posted by moonbiter at 2:36 AM on June 30, 2004


" I quietly rejoiced at each new debacle that hit our country. Unemployment through the roof? More troops killed? A giant explosion rocks an innocent city?"

And there you have it. Rejoicing in the deaths of innocents because it may help your political cause. You knew it was happening, you just rarely heard someone admit it.

As for Kerry's platform it's not only limp but irrelevant and the DNC knows it. The only important thing in their mind is that he is "not Bush" and as it becomes obvious that some of them are practically dancing in the aisles every time a body bag comes back to the US people are getting a little fed up.

If the election was tomorrow - Kerry would win. Hell, I might even vote for him for various reasons (Patriot Act)... but between now and November? Expect the Moores and other DNC zealots to overplay their hand.
posted by soulhuntre at 2:49 AM on June 30, 2004


Let's be honest - the left in this country has now a vested interest in making sure that they and their supporters put the worts possible spin on anything that happens. It's no longer even remotely about what happens - its about keeping the anti-Bush fever running till the elections.

Oh...hmm... And let's see, the right was all whipped up into a fervor over Bill Clinton diddling an intern, and lying about it, even though he presided over a period of unprecendented growth in this country? Gimme a break. Pot calling the kettle black.

Now let's see, Clinton lied to keep from telling his wife the truth...americans killed or injured by it: 0.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld lied about WMDs to take us into a war...americans killed 850+, injured 4K+.

The left has a vested interest in getting this president out because he is bad for the country and the world. He's made the world an unsafer place, and single handedly brought back record budget deficits, while slashing taxes in time of war, something no nation in recorded history has EVER done.

He and his neocon cabal needs to go.
posted by prodigalsun at 6:09 AM on June 30, 2004


Definition:

right wing "free market" - Handing out sole source contracts to large and well connected corporations such as Halliburton. As in, federal monies are freely given to my best friends and fuck everything else. Not taught in any economics class but widely accepted in all right wing "think tanks."

Bremer is and always was a chickenshit, unlike MeFi's very own brave 101st fighting keyboarders. :-) But I give him credit for knowing when to cut and run. I would have done the same if I were in his shoes. Those fucking Iraqis are pissed as hell at the way we have invaded, killed and then subsequently fucked up their country. And they know we intend to stay permanently to protect the oil flow. Imagine Iraqi military stationed in your town "protecting" the local industries from the native population which is full of "insurgents" and killing off your family members. Would you be pissed?
posted by nofundy at 6:18 AM on June 30, 2004


is about the idea that people making these globe-spanning decisions are actually, y'know, good at making them.

This is key. Senator Joe Biden, in a recent interview:

About six months ago, the president said to me, "Well, at least I make strong decisions, I lead." I said, "Mr. President, look behind you. Leaders have followers. No one's following. Nobody."

In Bush's mind, and in the minds of many of his supporters (both within the government and among his constituency), just making a decision is enough. Whether it's the right decision is distantly secondary. Bush is of a mindset that the details are unimportant--only the big picture matters. The big picture, in Iraq, is as follows:

a. Saddam is gone
b. There's a friendly government sitting on all that oil

Everything else--900 dead, Abu Ghraib, anti-US sentiment throughout the world, trillion-dollar defecits--are meaningless details. What matters is that he got his cowboy on and did something.
posted by jpoulos at 6:47 AM on June 30, 2004


Destroyed what was left of Iraq's army after a decade of attrition.

Or maybe we didn't. From the Asia Times, June 25, 2004:
"We knew that if the United States decided to attack Iraq, we would have no chance faced with their technological and military power. The war was lost in advance, so we prepared the post-war. In other words: the resistance. Contrary to what has been largely said, we did not desert after American troops entered the center of Baghdad on April 5, 2003. We fought a few days for the honor of Iraq - not Saddam Hussein - then we received orders to disperse."

"As we have foreseen, strategic zones fell quickly under control of the Americans and their allies. For our part, it was time to execute our plan. Opposition movements to the occupation were already organized. Our strategy was not improvised after the regime fell." This plan B, which seems to have totally eluded the Americans, was carefully organized, according to these officers, for months if not years before March 20, 2003, the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They anticipate our next question: "No, we don't have weapons of mass destruction. On the other hand, we have more than 50 million conventional weapons." By the initiative of Saddam, a real arsenal was concealed all over Iraq way before the beginning of the war. No heavy artillery, no tanks, no helicopters, but Katyushas, mortars (which the Iraqis call haoun), anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other Russian-made rocket launchers, missiles, AK 47s and substantial reserves of all sorts of ammunition. And the list is far from being extensive.

Why have these former officers waited so long to come out of their closets? "Because today we are sure we're going to win."

posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 AM on June 30, 2004


Well, heres to hoping that Saddam wins the election next year. I hope he broadcasts his mighty purge on pay-per-view. It will be better then the cheesy beheading videos we are getting now.

If a year of US control did not restore order how will a bunch of untested Iraqis do it

Well, that is the test of it isn't it. I guess you have to hope that they want the "freedom" they have (or will have) and will fight for it. Seems to me, the current climate makes it more like a mini civil war. Any way you slice it, it is going to be tough going. No hot pancakes for a while I would say. Only cold ones you eat with your hands.

The reasons for going into Iraq were lame, I think we have discussed that enough here. Fact is we are there, and it is pointless to keep bringing it up. As much as the handover was purely symbolic, it means something to someone, and that something is different to different people.

All we can really do is help the new Iraqi gov't get its shit together and see where that takes them. Given that we went in, and are there, what else can we really do? Leave? Not going to happen. Doesn't matter who wins the next election, we won't be leaving Iraq anytime soon.

As for Brave Sir Robin running away. Bremer had to leave, otherwise it undermines the validity of the new government. Now, I use the word validity loosely, so don't beat up on me too much.
posted by a3matrix at 7:07 AM on June 30, 2004


Another round of applause for solistrato from me, and I have little patience for most of the breast-beating oratory routinely on display here. But I do have one question: what does "that O'Brienesque lust for power" mean? Are we talking about Conan? Tim? Flann? Edna??
posted by languagehat at 7:11 AM on June 30, 2004


Pat?
posted by jpoulos at 8:04 AM on June 30, 2004


Hm. If you mean the Aubrey-Maturin guy, 1) it's O'Brian, not O'Brien, and 2) I don't think of "lust for power" as a defining feature of the novels.
posted by languagehat at 8:14 AM on June 30, 2004


I recall Collin Powell or someone just prior to the invasion saying something to the effect that soon we would "own Iraq."

Very reminiscent of the signs in china shops: "You break it, you own it."

Whether Bremer comes or goes is of little consequence. Whether Negroponte allows the same tactics to flourish as in South America, who knows. I think one of the best double talker in this administration would put the proper perspective on all this. Let Rumsfeld ask one of his circular, meaningless questions...."Do we wish we had found WMD? You bet. Are we going to be here a while? Who knows..."

The plain and simple fact of the matter is, we broke it...we own it. And own it we will for a very long time. We will pour billions of taxpayer dollars into an endless black hole. At the same time, our schools will continue to deteriorate and millions will still be without health care. We will continue to pour or blood and guts into Iraq. Meanwhile our forests will burn to the ground without adequate firefighting forces and our cities will sit unguarded. Whether left or right, liberal or conservative, big D or R, this administration has saddled future leaders and in fact generations of Americans with debt yet to be calculated, diminished world standing, and provided elusive enemies with tens of thousands of additional targets at home and abroad.

This administration longs to make us believe that Iraq is the staging area for the current phase of the war on terror. But it is nothing of the sort. It was a colossal mistake. Tyrants in iraq and elsewhere will come and go.

But we are not really interested in taking on every bully. This was to be our proof. We were to be capable of fighting wars in two or more simultaneous theaters. We were to be greated as liberators and the bright shiny democracy in iraq was to be a beacon for the world.

We broke it. We own it. We won't leave Iraq in our lifetimes.
posted by charms55 at 8:16 AM on June 30, 2004


We broke it. We own it. We won't leave Iraq in our lifetimes.

That is the sad truth of it.
posted by a3matrix at 8:21 AM on June 30, 2004


Those fucking Iraqis are pissed as hell at the way we have invaded, killed and then subsequently fucked up their country.
Then suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.

The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time. The most sensational moment was the end of the speech when Mr. Bremer used a famous Arab emotional poem. The poem was for a famous Arab poet who said it while leaving Baghdad. Al-Jazeera had put an interpreter who tried to translate even the Arabic poem which Mr. Bremer was telling in a fair Arabic! “Let this damned interpreter shut up. We want to hear what the man is saying” One of my colloquies shouted. The scene was very touching that the guy sitting next to me (who used to sympathize with Muqtada) said “He’s going to make me cry!”

Then he finished his speech by saying in Arabic,”A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq”! (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).

I was deeply moved by this great man’s words but I couldn’t prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed She’at and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, “So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?” My friend smiled, still touched and said, “Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him.”

Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, “I must admit that I’m beginning to believe in what you’ve been telling us for months and I’m beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises.

-By Ali.
- posted by Omar @ 15:49
nofundy, I suggest more than mental exercises and hypotheticals if you want to preach about what those fucking Iraqis think about America.
posted by David Dark at 9:38 AM on June 30, 2004


what does "that O'Brienesque lust for power" mean?

It refers to O'Brien, the Inner Party member Winston Smith has contact with in 1984.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:39 AM on June 30, 2004


Juan Cole opines :

also, he's got a piece in In these Times, "The New and Improved Iraq"

Strangely, Cole doesn't mention the appointment of Jams Woolsey, former head of the US CIA as head of Iraq's new Ministry of Information. But then, nobody seems to be talking about it. Also, the location of new US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte's "supersize me" sized mega-embassy (which will employ up to 3,000) is revealing.

It's in the CPA office complex. Plus, they grabbed (annexed) the Republican Palace too.

I doubt this looks very promising to Iraqis.

"Monday, June 28, 2004

Bremer Flees Iraq Two Days Early
Paul Bremer suddenly left Iraq on Monday, having "transferred sovereignty" to the caretaker Iraqi government two days early.
It is hard to interpret this move as anything but a precipitous flight. It is just speculation on my part, but I suspect that the Americans must have developed intelligence that there might be a major strike on the Coalition Provisional Headquarters on Wednesday if a formal ceremony were held to mark a transfer of sovereignty. Since the US military is so weak in Iraq and appears to have poor intelligence on the guerrilla insurgency, the Bush administration could not take the chance that a major bombing or other attack would mar the ceremony.
The surprise move will throw off all the major news organizations, which were planning intensive coverage of the ceremonies originally planned for Wednesday.
This entire exercise is a publicity stunt and has almost no substance to it. Gwen Ifill said on US television on Sunday that she had talked to Condaleeza Rice, and that her hope was that when something went wrong in Iraq, the journalists would now grill Allawi about it rather than the Bush administration. (Or words to that effect). Ifill seems to me to have given away the whole Bush show. That's what this whole thing is about. It is Public Relations and manipulation of journalists. Let's see if they fall for it.
Allawi is not popular and was not elected by anyone in Iraq. The Kurds were sullen today. There were no public celebrations in Baghdad. When people in the Arab world are really happy, there is celebratory fire. They are willing to give Allawi a chance, but that is different from wholehearted support.
What has changed? The big change is that Allawi now controls the Iraqi government's $20 billion a year in income. About $10 bn. of that is oil revenues, and those may be hurt this year by extensive sabotage. To tell you the truth, I can't imagine where the other $10 bn. comes from. The government can't collect much in taxes. Some of it may be foreign aid, but not much of that has come in. The problem is that the Iraqi government probably needs $30 billion to run the government properly, and with only 2/3s of that or less, the government will be weak and somewhat ineffective.
Since Bremer was a congenital screw-up, just getting him and his CPA out of the country and out of control may be a good step forward. Allawi won't care about Polish style shock therapy for the economy. Allawi does not have any investment in keeping Iraq weak or preventing it from having a proper army. But how the Iraqi military, if brought back, can operate in a security environment where there are 160,000 foreign troops under US command is unclear.
So that some group of Iraqis now control the budget and can set key policy in some regards may be significant. But the caretaker government is hedged around by American power. Negroponte (the US ambassador to Baghdad who has just arrived in the country) will control $18 bn. in US AID to Iraq. Rumsfeld will go on controlling the US and coalition military. There isn't much space left for real Iraqi sovereignty in all that."
posted by troutfishing at 12:41 PM on June 30, 2004




Meanwhile, In Afghanistan, the return of the reds.
posted by homunculus at 1:28 PM on June 30, 2004


So this is what a china shop looks like after a bullshitter stampede.
posted by trondant at 1:51 PM on June 30, 2004


Was Saddam killing hundreds of terrorists each month, or not, karl?

Oh, I'm sorry--I thought you were talking about Iraqis with that by the hundreds a month as in:

Well good thing we liberated 2500 times "as many as 10,000" huh, since the liberated lives are worth more.

Saddam only killed 70,000 a year on average... We're saving 60,000 a year just indiscriminately tossing our bombs around huh?


See, if you include the massacres committed by Saddam--assisted domestically with a cover up at the time by the Reagan-Bush administration--upon the Iraqis before 1991, but average them out through 2003, you can fling figures like 70,000 deaths a year around.

Taking Saddam's killing sprees from twenty years ago off the scales makes the Saddam of the last 20 years no greater a killer than, say, Radovan Karadzic.

If, as is likely, Saddam had Iraqis executed by the low 100's per year at most in any given year in the first three years of 21st century, and for most of the years in the 20th century following 1991, then the answer to the question would the Iraqis be better off today with Saddam in power--the logical answer would be YES. Killing 10,000 in order to stop the possible executions of hundreds is a poor trade. And you know it.

But your invocation of 100,000s of dead as an excuse for invasion was a knowingly dishonest emotional appeal. As you have admitted elsewhere today, even the humanitarian excuse for the war was a falsehood.

Iraqis may very well be worse off right now than they were before a war started in their country. Wars tend to do that. Will they be better off in 5 years than they were before the war? Will they be worse off in 5 years than they would be if Hussein was still in power?

Well, they'll just have to wait and find out! ~wink!*

Here's one from the unintended consequences department:

Iraq war may have same psychological effect as Tet offensive

Whatever the future of self-government in Baghdad, the Bush administration has inadvertently created a domestic mind-set that might be called the "Iraqi Syndrome."

Any future attempt by Bush or another president to wage war in the absence of a direct attack is likely to trigger a chorus of angry opposition. Critics will inevitably cite the missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the woeful intelligence failures and the unduly optimistic scenarios that accompanied the occupation. Just as memories of the Vietnam quagmire once hobbled American foreign policy, now presidents will have to grapple with the images from the Iraqi sandstorm.

The overthrow of Saddam was probably not the war to end all American wars. But because of the creation of the Iraq Syndrome, it may be the last preventive war that we wage for years to come.

posted by y2karl at 3:47 PM on June 30, 2004


Gee, I'm truly impressed by those of you who view a war, or any major domestic or foreign policy agenda, with the same light as what you see on a 1-hour long teevee show.
Someone runs into the Oval Office and yells "Mr President, we have a problem!", and after 45 minutes of emotional play, a decision is reached that "solves the problem."
Next week, everything is back to normal. Zero continuity.
Much like how debates are solved here, or on CNN 'Crossfire'. They aren't.

In reality, Washington D.C. has two faces. One tells you what they think you want to hear, and the other is what they really do. NONE of you know anything about the real Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, you just *think* you do.

Clinton, for his part, is sad that events never let him show his greatness in foreign policy. That he never had a 9-11, or some equally good event, to respond to, only the long, slow preparation of potentially bad things to come that anyone would be hard pressed to deal with. Of a thousand, ten thousand threats the US faces, what can you do about them *before they happen*?
In truth, he could do little, a lame duck president two years into his first term, both he and congress focused on domestic sparring.

Granted, Bush did go into office with the idea that war was going to happen, if not instigated by the US, then on its own, and possibly far worse and uncontrollable. And YES, Saddam *wanted* WMDs, he *had used* WMDs, he had the resources to *get* WMDs, and since 1991 had continually ordered attacks against the US patrolling the skies over north and south Iraq. What credibility has any part of the UN? None.

And Saddam was NOT alone in wanting WMDs. India was getting them, Pakistan was getting them and helping others to get them. North Korea wants them and is trying to get them, along with Libya at the time, and even possibly Egypt and Saudi Arabia, NOT TO MENTION terrorist organizations that were even then coming onto the radar screen.

So, should Bush have just sat on his ass, or endlessly debated the tragedy of proliferation like Europe was doing then about Iraq and continues to do about Iran RIGHT NOW? Would you prefer that the US just sat it out and let little tinpot dictators throw nuclear weapons at each other and we just ignore it all?

These are the decisions a US President must make. And it doesn't matter if they are Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, only the decisions they make matter. The decisions they can make in their time.

WHO AMONG YOU would enjoy being President if a nuclear weapon was thrown at Israel and they responded by wiping out most of the Arab world? Would you be gratified in deploying the entire military to care for 50 million surviving radiation casualities, knowing that by your INACTION, you allowed it all to happen?

So both sides, conservative posters and liberal posters, cut some slack for the worst job ever invented. These men, these candidates, are not gods. They make mistakes and sometimes people die because of it. But rarely do they make petty and stupid and mean mistakes that result in the deaths of millions.

I will credit Clinton for not trying to do what couldn't have been done in his time. He did not engage in an inopportune foreign adventure for no cause. But I will also credit Bush for having the intestinal fortitude for seeking out World War Three before it could happen and doing what he could to stop it. It was well worth a thousand American lives, or even ten thousand American lives to TRY.

For even if Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Israel get into a nuclear war, it may still not devastate a quarter of the world, because the rest of the middle east may not be involved.

And it won't stop with Bush. Kerry is perhaps too honest to deny that he and most of congress agree with the overall big picture of things. If he is elected, he will have to do much of what Bush is doing, with only cosmetic changes as to how it is done. And even with a republican congress, it will not be a case of his being arm twisted--because the real face of Washington D.C. is not a creature of partisanship, but of the greater good and the best their wise men have to offer.
posted by kablam at 5:49 PM on June 30, 2004


But I will also credit Bush for having the intestinal fortitude for seeking out World War Three before it could happen and doing what he could to stop it. It was well worth a thousand American lives, or even ten thousand American lives to TRY.

If that were so, he'd have gone after Iran, or North Korea, or even India, Pakistan, or China (all nuclear powers that we're not very friendly with), but not Iraq. The facts even before invading showed Saddam having nothing even close to usable nukes. Is this a new post-facto rationale for invading?

And of course, you say nothing of the war we were already fighting at the time, in Afghanistan, against the people that actually attacked us.
posted by amberglow at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2004


The last days of the Coalition Provisional Authority have the feel of a deathwatch. Soldiers who once spoke ardently of wanting to rebuild Iraq now express open contempt for a people who seem unwilling to help themselves. “I sympathized with the Iraqis when we first got here,” a young sergeant who has served every single day of the occupation in Iraq said. “But now I’m cold. I feel no remorse. When some of your friends get killed, and you came here to help these people, it changes you.” A majority of the American public has finally turned against the war. As for the Iraqis, their opinion of the Americans in their country has long since gone rancid with disappointment and suspicion. A recent poll commissioned by the C.P.A. itself found that two per cent of Iraqis have great confidence in the Coalition forces, around eighty per cent have none at all, and more than half believe that all Americans behave like the abusive jailers at Abu Ghraib. Sovereignty won’t untie the knot of this mutual hostility, but it will bring a welcome replacement of American decision-makers with Iraqi ones. Many Iraqis seem to be giving the new interim government a chance, but they don’t have much choice.

The occupation’s flaws were many, and they all lead from Baghdad back to Washington. The heart of the problem has always been the Bush administration’s almost theological conviction that American power is by nature good and what follows in its wake will be freedom and democracy. This is sometimes called American exceptionalism, and it’s another idea that the Iraq war should lay to rest. But at least one idea should be salvaged. In the last years of the twentieth century, with the liberation of Eastern Europe, the tragedies of Bosnia and Rwanda, and the qualified success of Kosovo, a new conviction began to stir in certain quarters of the liberal democracies—that regimes don’t have an absolute right to slaughter their own citizens, that the democratic powers should intervene when it’s feasible to stop the worst atrocities and create the kind of security in which democracy has a chance to grow. This was always a fragile minority view, and it has become a significant piece of the collateral damage inflicted by the Administration’s blunders in Iraq. The war has everyone from George Will to Michael Moore sounding like an unsentimental realist with no patience for any American involvement in moral messes overseas. The closest analogy to the Iraq war is the aftermath of the First World War: we’re in for a bitter reaction against “liberation” and “humanitarianism” and the other lofty words that sent American troops into Falluja and Najaf. The Administration has given idealism a bad name, and it will now take years to rescue Vaclav Havel from Paul Wolfowitz.


Wars And Ideas
posted by y2karl at 6:10 PM on June 30, 2004


"But I will also credit Bush for having the intestinal fortitude for seeking out World War Three before it could happen" - Wouldn't that be World War IV ? That's what the Neocons refer to it as.

" the real face of Washington D.C. is not a creature of partisanship, but of the greater good and the best their wise men have to offer." - Kablam, you're having a bad rhetorical hair day.
posted by troutfishing at 4:20 AM on July 1, 2004


You're the man, dawg!!!!
posted by rocketman at 12:06 PM on July 1, 2004


rocketman wins.
posted by homunculus at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2004


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