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What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?
February 2, 2005 7:39 AM   Subscribe

What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along? [...]By now, you might have even voted against George Bush -- a second time -- to register your disapproval. But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong? It's hard to swallow, isn't it?[...]
posted by Postroad (240 comments total)

 
I've been saying this ever since Colin Powell went to the UN and told the world how awesome it would be if Iraq had democracy.
posted by ignu at 7:44 AM on February 2, 2005


Right about what? Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Because that's why we went to Iraq in the first place.
posted by bshort at 7:44 AM on February 2, 2005


Well, what if? We can play that game all day. What if Jerry Falwell really is right, and heaven really is populated by rich, white right-wing bigots? What if?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:44 AM on February 2, 2005


I think that very few people would say that Bush is wrong to want to bring Democracy to anywhere. That's an honorable goal. But I think the only people who would say "Bush has been right about Iraq all along" are the people who prefer to ignore the facts: that invading Iraq was about WMD. When there were none, Bush changed his song.

That doesn't make him right all along. That makes him a flip-flopper.

(On preview, what everyone else said)
posted by Plutor at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2005


Pre-emptive war with no imminent threat? Yeah, I guess I really should get behind that.
posted by ao4047 at 7:46 AM on February 2, 2005


He wasn't right, regardless of what kind of government winds up in charge of Iraq. Self-determination is right, and is what I was taught was the foundation of American foreign policy. Invading a sovereign nation because we don't like its leader is wrong. Might does not make right, and we do not have the right to impose our beliefs on anyone else.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:46 AM on February 2, 2005


We had to destroy the country to save it.
posted by rushmc at 7:47 AM on February 2, 2005


Where's orogonthality (i can't remember the username correctly) with that great little bulleted list of the things Bush sure was "right" about this time around?


Remember the number 200 BILLION?
posted by odinsdream at 7:48 AM on February 2, 2005


I have been wrestling with this myself. I hate Bush for all the usual reasons. But, no matter how we got there, if Bush is able to establish a stable democracy in the heart of the Muslim world, he will go down in history as of the great American presidents. Which will really stick in my craw.

And good on Postroad for posting this.
posted by LarryC at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2005


What if the Iraqi people elect someone, sometime, that the US government doesn't like? Will their democracy be maintained? I hope so.

And what bshort said.
posted by fossil_human at 7:49 AM on February 2, 2005


Bush is right. Now that Saddam has been taken out and the Iraqis have "Democracy" we are all safer. Right?

And one event out of a thousand does not validate bullshit, in my politically neutral assessment. After all, this is a War without end.
posted by gsb at 7:50 AM on February 2, 2005


But, no matter how we got there,

... isn't that the entire POINT?
posted by odinsdream at 7:51 AM on February 2, 2005


Guys, come on! Mission Accomplished!

Also, if you have a strong stomach you could look at these free people.
posted by ignu at 7:53 AM on February 2, 2005


What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?

What if a frog had wings?

What if I were the richest man in the world?

What if fairy tales came true?

How does one lie and be correct at the same time?

Bush has always been way right but he's seldom correct.
posted by nofundy at 7:54 AM on February 2, 2005


It's too soon to tell. I agree with LarryC, but who knows what's going to happen with the insurgency. What happens if they kill Sistani? Or Allawi?
posted by atchafalaya at 7:54 AM on February 2, 2005


I'm very happy that the Iraqi people have taken this step. However, it is still way too early to make any judgements about the long-term impact our intervention will have on direction of Iraqi society. "Election" =/ "Democracy". They still have a lot to learn and a lot of civil society to create.

And the relative success of this election does not dispel any of the broader concerns about the Bush administration's views of civil society and democracy. They have a consistent track record of opposing government accountability and transparency. The civil authority they created in Iraq was staffed through cronyism rather than using an open merit-based process. This has also been true of their administration in the United States. They base their actions on idealogy and politics rather than evidence-based policy analysis.

They ignore math, and try to obfuscate mathematical realities that interefere with their agenda (for example on privatizing social security).

So in general I am (a) glad for the Iraqi people, (b) not sanguine about the future course of events in Iraq, (c) disappointed to the extent that this outcome could give Bush and company power to wreak more havoc in the U.S. and the rest of the world, and (d) cognizant of the fact that "bringing democracy" was only the backup reason for invading Iraq; the primary reason was that they had weapons of mass destruction and Al Queda links and were an imminent threat to the United States (which turned out to be not true).

It will also be interesting to see how this election effects the broader arab and muslim view of the United States. Will this decrease animosity towards us? Or will animosity towards us continue to increase, thereby continuing to increase the risk of future terror attacks. Again, a long-term question.
posted by alms at 7:55 AM on February 2, 2005


Winning a million bucks in Vegas doesn't retroactively justify putting your kids' college money on 00.

I wish the best for Iraq. I wish the best for counter-terrorism efforts. I hope that Bush will somehow have done right for the wrong reasons rather than having done wrong for the wrong reasons. There are still tens or hundreds of thousands dead, billions of dollars gone, and the goodwill of nations squandered. The war is largely believed immoral. It's a high price, and I really do hope the results will be worth it. I will vote Democrat again next time either way.
posted by callmejay at 7:55 AM on February 2, 2005


The Iraqis are now free to engage in civil war.
posted by lobstah at 7:57 AM on February 2, 2005


I have absolutely NO faith that this election is meaningful, we won't know that for a very long time..

and, somewhere in the statement "what if Bush was right" is the implication that "the end justifies the means".
posted by HuronBob at 7:58 AM on February 2, 2005


This is an awesome opinion about the GOP's chest thumping over this election:

You do not own their courage.

The people who stood in line Sunday did not stand in line to make Americans feel good about themselves.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to justify lies about Saddam and al-Qaeda, so you don't own their courage, Stephen Hayes. They did not stand in line to justify lies about weapons of mass destruction, or to justify the artful dodginess of Ahmad Chalabi, so you don't own their courage, Judith Miller. They did not stand in line to provide pretty pictures for vapid suits to fawn over, so you don't own their courage, Howard Fineman, and neither do you, Chris Matthews.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line in order to justify the dereliction of a kept press. They did not stand in line to make right the wrongs born out of laziness, cowardice, and the easy acceptance of casual lying. They did not stand in line for anyone's grand designs. They did not stand in line to play pawns in anyone's great game, so you don't own their courage, you guys in the PNAC gallery.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to provide American dilettantes with easy rhetorical weapons, so you don't own their courage, Glenn Reynolds, with your cornpone McCarran act out of the bowels of a great university that deserves a helluva lot better than your sorry hide. They did not stand in line to be the instruments of tawdry vilification and triumphal hooting from bloghound commandos. They did not stand in line to become useful cudgels for cheap American political thuggery, so you don't own their courage, Freeper Nation.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to justify a thousand mistakes that have led to more than a thousand American bodies. They did not stand in line for the purpose of being a national hypnotic for a nation not even their own. They did not stand in line for being the last casus belli standing. They did not stand in line on behalf of people's book deals, TV spots, honorarium checks, or tinpot celebrity. They did not stand in line to be anyone's talking points.

You do not own their courage.

posted by ignu at 7:58 AM on February 2, 2005


How the hell is there a right or wrong here? The question isn't whether Iraq is going to be doing peachy in the long term because of our actions, it was whether the course of action was the right one at the time and whether it was planned in a way to minimize the loss of life and damage to property. If an internal movement somehow ousted Saddam in another decade (improbable but possible), would things have been better?

There are some skeptics about the election but I haven't heard any doomsayers claiming it's a mark of the apocalypse. Were we right to do what we did when we did? Well, that's a measure of justification and public opinion which history may rewrite. Could it have great results? It's possible.

This whole republicans = pro-Iraq war = "free Iraq" = democracy thing is crap, though. Campaign rhetoric aside, Gore might have done the same thing had he been in office. Maybe with better a justification, maybe with worse.
posted by mikeh at 7:59 AM on February 2, 2005


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
posted by matteo at 7:59 AM on February 2, 2005


Guess who put Saddam in charge of Iraq to begin with?

Guess who supported Saddam and his evil reign for years and years?

Was that part of the long range plan to prove Bush's "rightness?"

Does anyone really expect to see things change in our behavior?

Elephants in the living room:

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are evil Islamist dictatorships.

The US is currently building 14 PERMANENT military bases in Iraq. Why?

And why won't the media touch these behemoths when politicians go spouting off about Mideast issues?
posted by nofundy at 8:00 AM on February 2, 2005


What navel gazing horseshit. Until WMD are found (and that's unlikely since, ya know, they've given up fucking looking for them) then he's WRONG. Historical revisionism, indeed.
posted by jperkins at 8:01 AM on February 2, 2005


Christ! Can't anyone keep their focus anymore? Are you still undecided about this war? Is democracy so sacred that it justifies ANY one thing the US has done during this debacle?

Iraq just elected a puppet dictator that supports an occupying force in their damn--back--yard! Hey grandma...yeah you. We're shooting up your house because we want democracy in your country. Nah, we aren't going to stop until you vote for democracy. Hey, now! Stop crying! You don't want us to have to shoot you too, now do you? You little scamp.
posted by apiaryist at 8:01 AM on February 2, 2005


and we're never leaving there, no matter what happens--the largest embassy in the world, many many enormous military bases...
posted by amberglow at 8:04 AM on February 2, 2005


The election is just the first step in a long and difficult path to a stable democracy. I hope they make it, but I have my doubts. Right now many citizens of Iraq still consider the insurgents legitimate. If the new government provides enough for the Sunnis that they are comfortable with it and start speaking out in numbers against the insurgents then there might be a chance. Civil war is still a distinct possibility. All in all, I think it is a bit premature to start thinking Bush has succeeded in Iraq. I hope he does, or rather I hope the Iraqi people do, as the world will be a safer place for it, albeit only marginally safer than it was before we invaded. The invasion made us less safe as it provided a new home for terrorists to breed. A stable government can perhaps eliminate that home. To achieve this status required a huge investment in lives and money and quite frankly even if Iraq does become a stable government I am not sure if it was worth it.
posted by caddis at 8:04 AM on February 2, 2005


Invading Iraq never was really about WMD, even though that's what the administration chose to talk about. That choice backfired for them, but it doesn't matter now - he's been re-elected.

Going to Iraq was, and is, about knocking over the first domino. Get something more democratic happening there, and provide a base for further operations to stamp out organized islamist militancy.

The real discussion to be having is not whether the administration knows what it's doing: big picture, it does - I suspect that the commonly-held image of the president and the administration as bumbling fools is more useful to them than it is annoying.

The question is, who are we (the US) to think we can just go and do this? And I don't know the answer to that one. I suspect that history will be the judge of that, and not the Hague or the UN. If the gamble turns out well, and the region is helped instead of further destablilized, Bush et al will look like geniuses, no matter how much that may bother some people.
posted by dammitjim at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2005


Winning a million bucks in Vegas doesn't retroactively justify putting your kids' college money on 00.

Probably the best answer yet.

I hope to hell it all works out, but I don't think it will, and if it does, it certainly won't prove that we handled the occupation beautifully, no matter what the right says.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2005


You mean, if you ignore all of the Iraqi lives, soldiers, the lies, the underhanded political work, and money that got us here, would it all be worth it?

Maybe if this was it, but things aren't done. There's still going to be violence there for a long time, particularly since it has become a magnet for jihadists across Europe. The cost will keep increasing exponentially. And people don't like occupying armies.

At some point the people will start to think maybe Saddam wasn't so bad comparitively, and at that point it will have been a complete failure.
posted by destro at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2005


So the ends always justify the means? God help us ....

And if I can add my personal favorite: "If your aunt had balls, she's be your uncle"
posted by ElvisJesus at 8:06 AM on February 2, 2005


What the Iraqi people really want is marihuana. If we legalize it over there and they get all happy, then was he right all along?

Just ask any of those kids who'll never walk again if George was right. Just ask any of the orphans, widows or parents who'll never get to see their loved ones again.

I already know the answer to that one: they're better off in heaven.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:06 AM on February 2, 2005


Right about what? The best I can come up with is "we're better off without Saddam in power," but I'm not even so sure of that.

An election does not a democracy make. I read/heard something yesterday about how many "elections" we've lent some degree of support to in the past 25 years. Once you get away from the glam success stories of Eastern Europe and look at the nascent African republics (the best analogy to Iraq), they're not any better off now- they just upgraded to better-dressed thugs.

Besides, it's an open secret that the Iraqis really aren't getting quite the government they actually voted for. Show me a functioning government, with an independent legislature and judiciary, that the Iraqi military is loyal to (because, whatever else happens, if the military doesn't fall in line, they're fucked), and I'll sing Hoseannas to W.
posted by mkultra at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2005


Also, let us not forget that BUSH DIDN'T WANT THESE ELECTIONS.

Like the 9/11 Commission and the Department of Homeland Security, Bush takes credit for things he fought tooth and nail.
posted by ignu at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2005


It's nice that the Iraqis got to sort-of vote, but it wasn't worth one American life, and it wasn't worth hundreds of billions of American taxpayer dollars. And this is going to cost us 3000+ dead, 20,000+ maimed, and 500+ billion dollars before we get out of it.

You see, Bush does not understand the concept of "cost." In Bush's world, everything is free because someone else always picks up the tab.
posted by grytpype at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2005


addendum: I'll need to see some WMD's first.
posted by mkultra at 8:11 AM on February 2, 2005


This is stupid. All that has happened is that there was a high voter turnout among people who registered. it says nothing about the views of those who did not turn out to vote, or what will happen now that the vote is over. Popular mandate does not a stable democracy make.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 8:11 AM on February 2, 2005


Bush wanted to invade Iraq because of the threat of terrorism particularly terrorists with WMDs.

What I'm thinking is, have we eliminated more terrorists or created more? Is there any argument that the world's feelings towards the US has grown cold? I'm actually more worried about terrorism now than I was back then. (Me and my family also live in Queens, NYC)
posted by pez_LPhiE at 8:11 AM on February 2, 2005


off-topic... amberglow,

>many many enormous military bases...

I just had a Police Academy flashback.
posted by gsb at 8:12 AM on February 2, 2005


To recap something I said somewhere else:
Left: "This war is immoral, murderous, unChristian, unneccessary, bloodthirsty, and based on two premises that have both been proven false and deliberately trumped-up."
Right: "Iraq voted!"

What I still don't understand was the urgency. Even if you think Iraq was a threat (they probably were) and the people were suffering under Saddam (they absolutely were), why was this something like, like Kosovo, required immediate action and Hard Decisions?
Getting inspectors in there was a HUGE step, the opening of a gateway to continue to inspect, sanction, and enforce standards in Iraq. No WMDs were being produced when we had inspectors there, no Kurds were being massacred, and we could've kept inspectors there INDEFINITELY. I have a feeling that better men than Bush could've brought some kind of democracy to Iraq within ten years without turning the world (and most of Iraq) against us.

Callmejay's metaphor fantastic, but I think misses the point that democracy WASN'T what we were gambling for; it was something that was almost sure to come out of this thing regardless. What we did was more like losing the college money on two spins, then going back to the hotel room and swiping some towels.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:12 AM on February 2, 2005


*sigh*

What the hell, Postroad. Not only is this a terrible FPP (chastizing single-link to an op-ed?), but it's horrifically ahistorical. The Bush Administration has been as much an opponent as enabler of free, one-person, one-vote elections. Needlenose has a good run-down.

But this isn't about reality, is it? This is about you, Postroad, which is what makes this such a spectacularly shitty FPP. Ass.

On preview: *shakes fist at ignu*
posted by Coda at 8:15 AM on February 2, 2005


Bush wasn't wrong, he was lying.
posted by signal at 8:20 AM on February 2, 2005


jperkins wrote:
"Until WMD are found (and that's unlikely since, ya know, they've given up fucking looking for them) then he's WRONG."


Can't you accept that WMD was a convenience? It's like you've learned that your parents were the ones taking the teeth from under your pillow and leaving money, and you're declaring that you'll never be able to trust their word on anything ever again.

Sometimes governments have to lie, even to their own citizens. This is - or should be, anyway - done for the greater good.

The real strategy is to overhaul the region completely, by toppling a country or two, then (this is the theory, now...) allowing the network effect of the benefits of democracy and stuff to tip the other countries in the same direction. Meanwhile, we spend a lot of time in the neighborhood, with our military, and our civilian advisors, and our investment of money.
posted by dammitjim at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2005


I'm speechless right now, for so many reasons.
posted by loquax at 8:21 AM on February 2, 2005


The article is a well done bait that requires serious and honest analysis, something politicized people is unlikely to do. Let's look at the article ..it

1. describes a kind-of-person who

opposed the war, but tought it was too late to call back the army without causing a bloodshed (showing responsability instead of rushed judgement) so something had to be done ; evaluated capture of Saddam as a positive event but considered that just a drop in the ocean..more of a propaganda victory then a tangible one

after this description which obviously fits some person the author delivers the sucker punch

But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?

The author implies that the above person (let's call it anti-war Joe) necessarily tought iraquis don't care about their own freedom (that's an implication) and leaves to the
reader to infer that Joe must have tought Iraquis aren't worth soldier time ! This inference is possible as every other inference, but it's not the only possible one..maybe Joe knew exactly that Iraquis cared about freedom..maybe some Iraqui would have preferred to obtain freedom by not giving away their oil in return and control of their government to an hidden theocracy (the likely outcome, imho) but by fighting.

There's another implication: that election is a clear sign of freedom. Well it turns out it isn't if the election is rigged..look at Ukraine and see what was about to happen in the very "democratic" Ukraine...sometime an election is an election is an election...sometime it's a rigged election, the complete denial of democracy.

It's hard to swallow, isn't it? Yes if one eats the bait, the line and the sink.

Instead of making the elections a further expression of "Yankee Go Home," their participation gave us hope that all those soldiers haven't died in vain.

Another sneaky implication , that partecipation to events in Iraq is usually if not always an anti-american manifestation. It simply isn't true, because population is known to manifest sympathy to those who help them in any possible way..that probably includes helpful american soldiers.

Quite obviously the soldier who were of the same kind of the Abu Grabhi abusers were met and will be met with something more deadly then the usual Yank go Home invective.

Also, to some soldier probably the spectacle of a voting line is enough of a satisfaction for risking his/her life...but to some, maybe a little more disillusioned rather then cynical, that's just some cute show. I wouldn't be so sure I could speak for every soldier, I find it strange the author is so confident..maybe a little too confident.

My impression ? It's a sucker punch disguised as autocritic.
posted by elpapacito at 8:22 AM on February 2, 2005


So we've thrown the Iraqi people a buiscuit... "We blew your country to shit, we're gonna stay and rape it for all it's worth to us, but you can vote for one of these fine gentlemen, or choose what's behind the door Carol's standing in front of."

Please. Of course these people want to take part in governing themselves; who wouldn't want that? The point that we HAD to go in there and do the locust-dance so whoever might be left could have the opportunity to vote like we do is absurd. And while we're on that subject, we can't even prove our own elections weren't tampered with.
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:24 AM on February 2, 2005


dammitjim

Holy SHIT. Did I actually just read that you support the idea of the government of the United States (representatives of you so, by extension, working for you) lying to you "for your own good."

Holy FUCK that is one of the dumbest fucking things I have ever heard.

Pardon my language, but that level of stupidity is one of the best examples I have seen of reasons why democracy might not always be the best choice.
posted by Yellowbeard at 8:25 AM on February 2, 2005


The lie was wrong! No way it can be justified.
posted by caddis at 8:30 AM on February 2, 2005


So if this all happens to somehow end reasonably well, using logic, we'll all have to agree that the end completely justified the means.

Especially now that we have
...the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people...

It all makes perfect sense.
posted by 31d1 at 8:32 AM on February 2, 2005


Can't you accept that WMD was a convenience? It's like you've learned that your parents were the ones taking the teeth from under your pillow and leaving money, and you're declaring that you'll never be able to trust their word on anything ever again.

No shit? They were lying? Then I guess the appropriate thing to do is hold their feet to the fire over the series of lies that led to the invasion of a sovereign nation, the deaths of 1500 (and counting!) U.S. Servicemen and women, God knows how many Iraqis and at the cost of... well, a shitload of money.

No thanks, I think I'll stick with accountability of elected officials, but I do appreciate your "get over it" stance which tells me to keep repeating the cry of "where the fuck are the weapons of mass destruction?" Remember Senator Cato and his exhorations of, "Censer Carthaginem esse delendam?" I'll continue to do that same, if for no other reason than the memory of the members of our own armed services whose lives were traded in on lies (but white lies! Because the cause of nation building wouldn't have been as easy to sell as, "a mushroom cloud over Manhattan").
posted by jperkins at 8:33 AM on February 2, 2005


I don't think it's wrong to ask the question, but...

FAITH, people! FAITH. I have absolute, unquestioning FAITH in the ability of this dipshit administration to fuck up anything good.

While bringing Democracy to a foreign land may seem like a positive thing, don't forget that our administration is made up of managerial retards. They fucked up the war, they fucked up the reconstruction, they're about to fuck up social security. Don't worry, they'll fuck up this too.
posted by fungible at 8:33 AM on February 2, 2005


...the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people...

What, all the car bombs, resistance fighters, etc., wheren't a pretty fucking clear sign?
posted by signal at 8:33 AM on February 2, 2005


dammitjim, that's a terrible comparison. a convenience? i don't know about your household, but when most kids leave a tooth under their pillow, no one dies or loses billions of dollars. there's a big difference between a "white lie" to preserve childhood innocence (something i don't really agree with, and i know my parents were uncomfortable with because they came clean with just about everything when i wasn't quite five yet. not that i really believed in santa, the easter bunny or the tooth faerie to begin with) and a boldfaced lie to the entire american public about the reason we went to war. we're not all eventually going to be mature about this one day and realize there was no ill intent on george's part.

and i think you're right about the real strategy part. that's what scares me the most. hints of iran being next should send up signal flares all over the place. we might leave iraq, but we're not leaving the middle easy any time soon. why does our government think it should play world police? i liked it better when we stuck to our own borders and our own internal problems.
posted by Igor XA at 8:34 AM on February 2, 2005


Sometimes governments have to lie, even to their own citizens. This is - or should be, anyway - done for the greater good.

In which case, Bush can stand up tonight and say, like Chalabi earlier, that 'what was said before is not important', and that he's a 'hero in error', can't he?

If you really believe that, anyway.
posted by riviera at 8:34 AM on February 2, 2005


What democracy, they had 300,000 troops on the ground to enforce the peace on election day, there were still suicide attacks and people died. Yes, many people voted and that's a good thing but calling the election a victory makes as much sense as calling the SuperBowl after the first series of downs.

And Bush wasn't right, Bush lied about the WMD's or have you conveniently forgotten about that.

Last thought, democracy may be a nice ideal for US to spread around the world but missionaries think that spreading the word of God to heathen tribes is good work too. Just because we think it, doesn't make it so. Some people do not want democracy and yet we're going to try and force it down their throats and then hold their mouths closed so they can spit it out.
posted by fenriq at 8:36 AM on February 2, 2005


odinsdream, here it is.

[COMMENT RE-POST]
WE WENT TO IRAQ TO GIVE THEM THE GIFT OF DEMOCRACY*
*Not valid in Sunni majority provinces. "Democracy" means the right to cast a ballot, not necessarily to know for whom you're voting. Democracy means the right to cast a ballot, not necessarily national sovereignty. Democracy means the right to cast a ballot, not to decide who owns your oil. Not valid with other offers, like voting for Islamic theocracy or a pro-Iranian government. Must retain fourteen permanent U.S. military bases to play. Voting will not restore lost parents or children, and will not remove the horror from your soul. Void where prohibited by the USA Patriot Act, the Bybee Memo, Proconsul John Negroponte or any U.S. Soldier's whim.
posted by orthogonality at 3:40 PM PST

[ /COMMENT RE-POST]
posted by shoepal at 8:37 AM on February 2, 2005


Maybe postroad is right. Let's do a quick survey of the 100,000 killed in the invasion and see if they're cool with Bush's approach to democracy.
posted by mecran01 at 8:37 AM on February 2, 2005


Yellowbeard: Are you kidding? Do you really think the government ought to be required to always tell the absolute truth?

I'm not advocating perpetual cover-ups or anything, I'm talking about not tipping your hand.

If the administration were required to really tell the whole truth all the time, to the press and to Congress, it would immediately tell our enemies what to do. They watch CNN just like we do. In fact, I remember from Gulf War I, the Iraqis often got better battlefield situational awareness from CNN than they could get from their own sources.

The people in our government, dumbasses though they may sometimes be, have access to information that we as citizens don't have. They can't always be required to divulge what they know, or how they know it. Remember how Al Quaeda stopped using satellite phones because it came out in testimony to Congress that we were tapping the lines?

It's not like a being a citizen of a democratic republic entitles you to a slice of every decision, or to be informed about everything completely. This isn't a mutual fund, where we all have voting shares.
posted by dammitjim at 8:44 AM on February 2, 2005


Why do so many people say democracy when they obviously mean capitalism?
posted by 31d1 at 8:49 AM on February 2, 2005


Powell/McCain 2008:
The ends justify the means, hippies!
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:50 AM on February 2, 2005


This isn't like telling our enemies where troop positions were.

We told our enemies they had WMDs, and I'm pretty sure they knew they didn't. Our justification for the war would've changed nothing about how they defended or reacted, but it changed everything about why people like us supported it.

Lying to win a war is a tough call, but lying to start one is absolute bullshit.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2005


Yellowbeard: Are you kidding? Do you really think the government ought to be required to always tell the absolute truth?

Yes, I think that was the idea. Why is that so surprising? CNN is not the government, your example makes no sense. Telling the truth doesn't mean saying "We are bombing at these coordinates"... it means saying "We are bombing aspirin factories" instead of lying and saying "We are bombing military installations."
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2005


Alex, you just made me a little happier.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 8:52 AM on February 2, 2005


Democracy includes the right to vote FREELY.
I read a few articles, including a few on muslim websites, on how Iraqi citizens were intimidated to vote, some forced, by the threat of taking away their food rations. Many just voted in fear that they were going to lose thier food! Fear from the government? Sounds like Saddam is still there.
Sadams biggest mistake was bringing the USA ARMY to Iraq.
posted by bmpetow at 8:53 AM on February 2, 2005


FAITH, people! FAITH. I have absolute, unquestioning FAITH in the ability of this dipshit administration to fuck up anything good.

That's exactly where I'm at - let the dumbasses screw things up so badly that we'll reset the counter to another sixty years of Republicans attempting to gain a simple majority in either the House or Senate. The American populace may be slow to catch on, but their collective memory is long.

I'm not advocating perpetual cover-ups or anything, I'm talking about not tipping your hand. If the administration were required to really tell the whole truth all the time, to the press and to Congress, it would immediately tell our enemies what to do.

Calling for an invasion for nation building would've tipped our hand (and would never have been supported by the populace or any other countries) so we had to base the call for invasion on lies regarding their WMDs? And that's similar to operational security in what world?
posted by jperkins at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2005


This is long-winded, and I apologize in advance:

I was always under the impression that the WMDs were simply a ruse. Bush knew that Saddam was a bluffer, a blowhard, and a much-reviled tyrant - exactly the sort of person who would never exactly allow the world to know that he actually wasn't that dangerous, outside of his own people and writing checks to the families of suicide bombers. Oh, he was still quite dangerous - just ask the Kurds - but not dangerous in the 9/11 sense. In other words, he was no threat to us. In addition, his own tyranny acted as a cork on many of the ethnic and religious conflicts that would have otherwise arisen.

However, the neocons had other ideas. Their tactic was to use Saddam's own bluster against him, as pretense to invade the country he ruled. Their actual goal: to strike fear into anti-Western Islamic governments, and to stir at least grudging respect from rebellious forces within those countries. In their ideal world, Iraq and other such countries would be reformed into pro-Western democracies, which would not only allow for easier trade with the US - petroleum's a big one here, of course - but also as advertising for the American way in general. The way they see it, once the Middle Easy sees what it's like to remove a dictator and let the people run themselves, the dictators will high-tail it and the people will run themselves with a friendly smile to the West.

Of course, even the force of democracy is a pretense of a sort. What they really want are pro-Western republics, and installing democracy is the best excuse they can think of generate such things. That isn't to say that there aren't those within their ranks who sincerely want the Middle East to have the joys of democracy, but, to be sure, the US (and almost every other nation with the power) is, shall we say, rather primarily concerned with its own end. The neocons want the anti-Western leaders to fear that, either with the direct aid of the US or without, their people will rise against them and angle towards the West - so that, perhaps, those selfsame anti-Western leaders might temper their rhetoric, or at least be marginalized.

Pro-Western sentiment is what they want, and overthrowing an example dictator to install a democracy is how the planned on achieving it.

I'm not a Bush supporter. I am not a supporter of the War on Iraq. It is obvious to me that the WMDs were a thin and deceitful pretense, and even this act of democracy is a pretense in and of itself. But this vote is very, very much part of their overall plan, and it is not a contradiction to point out that much while also admitting that booting Saddam and then giving the Iraqis the vote is a wonderful thing. Assuming that it hasn't been rigged - and that the Shi'as do not discriminate against the Sunnis - that's terrific.

I do not need to go into every reason why I opposed this war or how this war has been mishandled, because this is just a post while my tea cools and not a position paper. However, I am still very, very happy for this part of the Iraqis' experience, even as I lament the rest of it.

Nifty post, Postroad.

PS: Fuck that was long. I will shut up now.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:57 AM on February 2, 2005


If the administration were required to really tell the whole truth all the time, to the press and to Congress, it would immediately tell our enemies what to do. They watch CNN...

You're citing reasons to limit truth during war, not reasons to get support to start one. Big difference, dude.
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:59 AM on February 2, 2005


odinsdream, here it is. [COMMENT RE-POST]

... actually, I like this one better:

I remember, as if it were yesterday, when President Bush went before Congress and the American people, and told us that
  • Saddam Hussein had no Weapons of Mass Destruction;
  • and no ties to Al Quada;
  • and no plans to attack the United States;
  • but that we should
    • forget about Osama bin Laden;
    • and bill our grandchildren 200 billion dollars because the Iraq War couldn't be won on the cheap or paid for with Iraqi oil;
    • and sacrifice 1430 of our fighting men and woman, and condemn another 20,000 to lifetimes of paralysis and amputation and post-traumatic stress disorder;
    • and prepare for an indefinite occupation with the natives throwing, not roses and candy but IEDs and mortars;
    • while we threw out the Geneva Conventions that had served to safeguard our own soldiers and our country's humanity;
    • and dragged our country's integrity and honor by a leash through the mud in the dungeons of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib;
    • to make Iraq into a giant recruiting booth for Al Quada while at the same time destroying our own Army and its readiness to fight any other wars;
    • so that we could altruistically give Iraqis the gift of Freedom and Democracy!
We were told all along that the whole point of George W's Excellent Adventure was to give the gift of Democracy to Iraq!

Shame on you liberals! You have no right to question the costs or complain you were misled as to the rationale for war!
Shame on you conservatives who pretend that conservatism isn't about nation-building and exporting American lives and treasure in the name of Democratizing the world!
George W. Bush told us honestly and from the very first that the war in Iraq was all about securing Democracy for the Iraqis!
Shame on us all!
- orthogonality

posted by odinsdream at 9:02 AM on February 2, 2005


FAITH, people! FAITH. I have absolute, unquestioning FAITH in the ability of this dipshit administration to fuck up anything good.

That's exactly where I'm at - let the dumbasses screw things up so badly that we'll reset the counter to another sixty years of Republicans attempting to gain a simple majority in either the House or Senate. The American populace may be slow to catch on, but their collective memory is long.


And long is exactly the time a lot of American troops and Iraqi citzens will spend in that box in the ground. sigh.

But I do agree W will fuck this up too, sadly at great cost though.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:03 AM on February 2, 2005


I nominate Mark Brown for this week's Alan Colmes Stepford Liberal award.
posted by psmealey at 9:05 AM on February 2, 2005


Going to Iraq was, and is, about knocking over the first domino. Get something more democratic happening there, and provide a base for further operations to stamp out organized islamist militancy.

Hello, Mr. PNAC. Are you a paid spokesperson? I think you're supposed to declare that fact....

Seriously, though. This time the dominos are falling because of US. Think about that. We once went to war to stop the dominos from falling. What the hell?
posted by taumeson at 9:06 AM on February 2, 2005


The American government has been devoutly/brutally/surreptitiously/illegally/inconsiderately bringing "democracy" to countries who are unfortunately deficient in that regard all around the world for decades.

Of course they were right to do it this time, everyone else sat in that big leather seat did the same. Hasn't hurt anyone yet, has it?
posted by NinjaPirate at 9:07 AM on February 2, 2005


Sticherbeast said it so well.
posted by caddis at 9:08 AM on February 2, 2005


dougunderscorenelso wrote:
"Lying to win a war is a tough call, but lying to start one is absolute bullshit."


But this assumes that the presence of WMD was the only valid reason to invade. According to the doctrine of pre-emption, it's not.

The concept of pre-emption gives me the creeps, since it means that we really need to have faith in the good intentions and capabilities of our leaders and our military. It's clear that most people in this discussion do NOT have that faith. I actually do - I don't think Bush and Rumsfeld and crew are really devil spawn, enjoying the smell of napalm in the morning.

But WMD was just one of the many reasons the administration had for pursuing the invasion of Iraq. It was convenient in that in the mood of the country at the time, support for getting rid of WMD was nearly assured. So that's the angle they leaned on. Getting approval from Congress was becoming more and more time-critical in the first months of 2003, since the weather was going to be getting worse for military action.

Anyway, I guess it comes down to whether or not one believes that the course of action that we're pursuing overall in the Middle East is valid and just. I happen to believe that. Some corners have been cut to get the plan moving in places, yes. That doesn't bother me as much as the alternate choice: useless discussions about what to do, while not doing anything.
posted by dammitjim at 9:10 AM on February 2, 2005


Oh, he [Saddam] was still quite dangerous - just ask the Kurds - but not dangerous in the 9/11 sense.

What's the difference here?
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:10 AM on February 2, 2005


"It will also be interesting to see how this election effects the broader arab and muslim view of the United States. Will this decrease animosity towards us? Or will animosity towards us continue to increase, thereby continuing to increase the risk of future terror attacks. Again, a long-term question."

Here's a short term answer...NO, it will not decrease animosity toward us. I can't understand why so many Americans continue to only view this situation from 'their' perspective. If China decided one day that George Bush was a threat and went before the UN spouting false intelligence to back a false claim and then invaded our shores, killed our citizens, tortured our soldiers and demolished a good part of our infrastructure, I doubt many of you would see the "good" in that. Sure, 48% of you might secretly enjoy the fact Bush was overthrown but at what cost?

dammitjim, you scare me.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:10 AM on February 2, 2005


Since I am a Democrat, mostly, I am clearly also a flip-flopper, so let me suggest that my very own post forgot to ask: What if the election was NOT what Bush wanted?

http://www.needlenose.com/node/view/1043
posted by Postroad at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2005


I am not a supporter of the War on But this vote is very, very much part of their overall plan, and it is not a contradiction to point out that much while also admitting that booting Saddam and then giving the Iraqis the vote is a wonderful thing.

Hear hear!

The Neocons used WMD to justify an agenda that Bush couldn't possibly elucidate as much as the Libs use Saddam's lack of WMD to disguise their lack of a realistic moral argument.
posted by WebToy at 9:15 AM on February 2, 2005


From September 3, 1967:
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

....A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon
Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

(From Harper's Weekly)
posted by cytherea at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2005


It's not like a being a citizen of a democratic republic entitles you to a slice of every decision, or to be informed about everything completely. This isn't a mutual fund, where we all have voting shares.

I am going to go ahead and disagree with that statement. Felons and minors aside, we all DO have a voting share. In addition, if we are not truthfully informed about issues, most importantly the motivations behind starting a war, that voting share is worth nothing. So, please stop with the "You can't handle the truth!!" argument.

Also, aren't we all forgeting tht Poland would be right too?
posted by Armen Tanzarian at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2005


Regardless of the effects or outcomes of the war, which has cost 20,000 lives and countless injuries, it's not a matter of whether freedom is better than tyranny or democracy is better than dictatorship.

The question is whether Bush was truthful or not. The answer is no. How can anyone trust this guy? I don't get it.

The question is how democracy might be achieved in a place the mistrusts the West and its types of governments even more. The answer is not at the point of gun in a society that will likely slip into civil while alienating the very allies we need. Simply ask yourself that in late 1970s should the US have invaded the USSR? Bush the Neo-cons say yes, but MAD tells us of no. If you believe that nuclear holocaust is correct, than I guess you might say Bush was right. If you believe otherwise the short answer is no.
posted by Bag Man at 9:16 AM on February 2, 2005


Getting approval from Congress was becoming more and more time-critical in the first months of 2003, since the weather was going to be getting worse for military action.

Weather? Are you for real? Such a just and noble cause had to be sold quickly and at any cost to credibilty because our tanks might overheat?

I think if time was any factor at all, it was more likely that re-election time was fast-approaching, and had nothing to with weather.

I can't believe people buy into this shit.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:17 AM on February 2, 2005


But Rumsfeld gets to install his new man. Why would Bush ever not want the election?
Democracy means you get to choose who gets into power, and if it's Donny's election then he gets to choose. That's how it works.
Isn't it?
posted by NinjaPirate at 9:18 AM on February 2, 2005


If, in let's say, five years, Iraq is a relatively functional, reasonably free, open, and progressive democracy, I will cheerfully admit, not that W. was right, but that, somehow, some good has emerged from this debacle after all.

Sadly, I expect that the chances that I will be able to make such an admission are roughly the same as my chances if having the reanimated corpse of Richard Nixon showing up at my door to give me a million dollars and a free pony. I think the odds are much better that Iraq by then will either be a fundamentalist theocracy, a civil-war blasted anarchy, a brutally repressive pro-US one-party "republic", two to three bitterly warring smaller states, or a puppet regime propped up by tens to hundreds of thousands of US troops. I guess we'll see.

Until then, sing along! -

"For . . . might makes right!
Until they've seen the light!
They've got to be protected,
All their rights respected,
'Til someone we like can be elected!"
posted by kyrademon at 9:19 AM on February 2, 2005


The Neocons used WMD to justify an agenda that Bush couldn't possibly elucidate as much as the Libs use Saddam's lack of WMD to disguise their lack of a realistic moral argument.

Can someone parse that for me? That makes no sense whatsoever.
posted by psmealey at 9:21 AM on February 2, 2005


There was no justification for the invasion of Iraq. Plain and simple. That something good might come of it is inconsequential to the assessment of the originating policy. The ends do not justify the means though they may mitigate the sting of failures along the way.
posted by effwerd at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2005


Can't you accept that WMD was a convenience? It's like you've learned that your parents were the ones taking the teeth from under your pillow and leaving money, and you're declaring that you'll never be able to trust their word on anything ever again.

No, it's like finding out that the reason you moved into a new house is because your parents burned down your old one and blamed it on the neighbors.

Sometimes governments have to lie, even to their own citizens. This is - or should be, anyway - done for the greater good.

Yeah, that whole transparency-in-government thing, as well as the "government accountable to the people" principle is way overrated.

High-ranking government officials resigning "to spend more time with family" is the government lying to the people for their own good.

God, that comment was the most fucking retarded thing I've read in a while, and people say a lot of retarded things here.
posted by mkultra at 9:22 AM on February 2, 2005


But this assumes that the presence of WMD was the only valid reason to invade. According to the doctrine of pre-emption, it's not.

Nope, I'm not letting that crap slide either. I don't give a shit what other "secret" reasons the Bush administration had for invading Iraq; the reason that they "sold the war" to us on was the presence of WMDs in Iraq. They were sure of this. They all but crossed-their-hears-and-hoped-to-die and that's what I'm holding them to. Period. Do I think that they were lying now? Yep. Hell, I thought that they were lying then. But they sold it on those grounds and on those grounds is where I'm holding them. And this means that I don't have to plumb the depths of their black souls as to what their real intentions were or if pre-emption was really the reasoning or not. I don't care. WMD is was, is now and shallever be. World without end.
posted by jperkins at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2005


Furthermore, Saddam was sitting on tons of enriched plutonium (not the most dangerous but sure as hell not a paperweight) and was rumored to be conversant with Osama for years (there are numerous web accessible news articles that put Osama in Iraq well before we went there). Saddam answered to noone and was rapidly convincing the UN and the rest of the world that sanctions, that were supposedly killing hundreds of thousands each year, were unjustified. Just being able to get rid of the sanctions is enough justification for this war.

Getting rid of him was a logical, bold step and history will bear this out.
posted by WebToy at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2005


taumeson: Hello, Mr. PNAC. Are you a paid spokesperson? I think you're supposed to declare that fact

I think that Den Beste and some other warbloggers were always up front about the strategy spelled out by dammitjim.

I mean, the administration might have lied about the rationale for the war (to sell it to the people), but plenty of government-unaffiliated neocons have offered dammitjim's explanation from the start.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point. (I'm not being a smartass)
posted by trharlan at 9:23 AM on February 2, 2005


Jim, WMDs were presented as the main reason to us, the voting public in a democracy.
Our government lied about them.
My statement is still valid.

So your philosophy is that our government doesn't have to disclose its main reasons for its actions? They should just tell us the most palatable ones they have, and outright lie about them?

By that philosophy, there should be no accountability at all. Why should there even be a State of the Union address?

"None of your business" is a fantastic motto for a coin. Bravo, Jim.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:25 AM on February 2, 2005


Sure psmealey, the left is trumpeting around the fact that no WMD were found as if there was no other argument for war. They seem to be just as narrow-minded as they claim the Neocons to be.
posted by WebToy at 9:25 AM on February 2, 2005


^
Basically, what perkins and everyone else said, but with a less coherent point.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:26 AM on February 2, 2005


Am I the only one that worries that these elections as a precursor to a potentially lengthy and bloody civil war amongst the various ethnic/religious groups, particularly the Shiite, the Sunnis and the Kurds?
posted by tuxster at 9:26 AM on February 2, 2005


Am I the only one that worries that these elections may be a precursor to a potentially lengthy and bloody civil war amongst the various ethnic/religious groups, particularly the Shiite, the Sunnis and the Kurds?
posted by tuxster at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2005


cool - "oil for food" is a "scandal", but vote for
food is not!

...just because it's not funny doesn't mean it's not a joke.
posted by dinsdale at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2005


Web, it's a good point, but WMDs were a major, major, major argument for the war. The other arguments were ones that apply to about 20 countries around the world.

Major argument for the war: Failed.

Late-game re-reasoning for war: Initially successful.

on preview: Tuxster: Nope. But since we have all those military bases in there, a civil war is practically action against US. We're likely going to just take the side of the Kurds and put down those who oppose.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:29 AM on February 2, 2005


What is it with our culture that requires a winner and loser, someone to be right and someone to be wrong?

In 20 years we will look back upon the war in Iraq as either an incredible strategic blunder that did immense damage to the security and standing of the United States, or, it will be viewed as a brilliant move to reshape the Middle East away from radicalism and towards moderation.

The risks are mighty, and the rewards are not so clearly established, so is the reward worth the risk? Reasonable people can disagree here.

What is important about the vote is that people voted. The average Iraqi's donned the mantle of democracy, ignored the threats of the insurgents and voted. That was an important event because individuals took responsibility for their government. Time will tell whether their government will be able to earn the trust of the people, but it was an important event.

I wish Iraq would stop being about Bush, and being about ... well Iraq.
posted by forforf at 9:30 AM on February 2, 2005


Getting rid of him was a logical, bold step and history will bear this out.

Can I have access to your time machine please?
posted by edgeways at 9:32 AM on February 2, 2005


Well, I'm just waiting to see what Bush and company will do when the Shia's win the day and push for an Islamic constitution. I'm gonna hold off on that Starbucks franchise in Iraq just a bit longer.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:34 AM on February 2, 2005


Thanks for the post, postroad.

nofundy, I would like to address a few of your concerns first.

Guess who put Saddam in charge of Iraq to begin with?

Well, that would depend on your perspective. I certainly hope you aren't implying that it was George W. Bush - or any other U.S. leader, for that matter. The correct answer would probably be Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, a relative of Saddam's, who took power in 1968 through a successful coup, and named Saddam as his chief deputy. One could also say it was Saddam himself, who forced General Bakr's resignation in 1979. If one were to hypothesize that it was an American leader pulling the strings (an old chestnut amongst activists on the left), then that would make it Jimmy Carter, and I'm not buying that.

Guess who supported Saddam and his evil reign for years and years?

This is another one where I'm not sure what your point is. Certainly you aren't implying that Saddam was supported by Bush Jr. or Sr.? As I recall, they both went to war against him.

Was that part of the long range plan to prove Bush's "rightness?"

Placing conspiracy theories aside (because they're silly), I think you're hitting on something here. The fact that there has been a long history of Saddam being an unruly and threatening (in the sense that he has consistently threatened the U.S., Israel, and his neighbors) world participant does sort of lend itself to the conclusion that W might be right in thinking that we ought to "liberate the people of Iraq."

Does anyone really expect to see things change in our behavior?

I certainly hope not.

As for callmejay's excellent soundbite:

Winning a million bucks in Vegas doesn't retroactively justify putting your kids' college money on 00.

That analogy doesn't quite fit, callmejay and John Kenneth Fisher. Are you saying that the chances of succeeding in having democratic elections in Iraq were less than 50%? To me, the whole point of considering whether Bush was right is considering whether the odds were not, in fact, against us, and the results were, in fact, positive.

This brings us to the WMD argument. Many are saying that they can't concede that Bush was right about Iraq, stating that WMDs were our "reason" for going in, and hence the whole enterprise is faulty. I can definitely see the logic there, but WMDs are not the only Iraqi issue on which Bush has stated a position. Is it possible that, though Bush was wrong about WMDs, he could have been right about some things in Iraq? Or is that the only issue worth discussing?
posted by rush at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2005


Forforf, as long as some of us believe going to Iraq was wrong, we'll be interested in holding those who did it with blood-thirsty and immoral reasons accountable. That's what makes democracy work.

If you crashed a truck into a few houses, could you get out and tell the residents, "Well, what's done is done. Let's focus on reconstruction!"? No, they would probably want to take away your damn license.

They voted: Great. But the more noise made about the war, the more likely future such mistakes will happen. Er, in theory.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2005


The Neocons used WMD to justify an agenda that Bush couldn't possibly elucidate

Why couldn't he elucidate it? Isn't it a bit ironic that conservatives, of all people, should suggest we just trust the government to mislead us (and the world) for our own good?

as much as the Libs use Saddam's lack of WMD to disguise their lack of a realistic moral argument.

Why isn't the point that we simply don't have the right to do it a realistic moral argument? Where are the checks and balances going to come from if the administration is free to meddle wherever it wants without even being honest about why it does so?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:37 AM on February 2, 2005


Oh, he [Saddam] was still quite dangerous - just ask the Kurds - but not dangerous in the 9/11 sense.

What's the difference here?


9/11 happened to us. In any moral sense, there's no difference - my life is not worth more than a Kurd's - but as far as policy goes, do you really think the US doesn't care?

(Note that I am not necessarily opposed to the practice of prioritizing those moral battles that effect us the most, in and of itself.)

What if the election was NOT what Bush wanted?


Thanks, I think this goes a long way to proving my earlier points.

On preview:

The Neocons used WMD to justify an agenda that Bush couldn't possibly elucidate as much as the Libs use Saddam's lack of WMD to disguise their lack of a realistic moral argument.

Can someone parse that for me? That makes no sense whatsoever.


I think what WebToy's trying to say is, the WMDs were a ruse by the Bush administration to further goals that, by design, could not be laid plain, whereas the anti-war argument concerning the lack of WMDs dodges any realistic moral argument, by arguing against the ruse and not the policy. Apologies if I'm wrong...

My response to that would be, for one thing, that arguing against any sort of deceit like that is, in fact, a very moral argument, even if it doesn't immediately address the bigger picture. Realistically speaking, I'm aware that just about any war lives and dies through various ruses, but just because, as a sad part of human nature, wars happen and falsehoods are made as a matter of course, that doesn't make them all right.

Anyhoo. I'm taking enough time away from work as it is, but I'd like to see more anti-war arguments that tackle the bigger picture. I want to see really snappy ones that go beyond "where are the WMDs?" and "NO BLOOD FOR OIL."

There is, in fact, a Bush Doctrine. It must be identified and then refuted.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 AM on February 2, 2005


What if Bush & Co. told us the truth all along. What if he said "I want to undermine a soveriegn state and depose it's leader via military means. Then our military will occupy the country until a democratice government that meets my approval is installed. I don't know how much it will cost in numan lives and in US dollars but I can guess that it won't be cheap either way.

What if he told us the truth indeed!
posted by wonway at 9:39 AM on February 2, 2005


Rush, Bush Sr. was part of an administration that literally gave WMDs to the man, even as he gassed his own people with them. A war later doesn't make up for that; and it's more than enough reason to start realizing the ends don't justify the means.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:39 AM on February 2, 2005


Sure psmealey, the left is trumpeting around the fact that no WMD were found as if there was no other argument for war. They seem to be just as narrow-minded as they claim the Neocons to be.

There were a couple I recall: Besides WMD, there were possible links to Al Quida/9-11, and my all-time fav, "...and let's not forget, this is the man who tried to kill my daddy." I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting others, like I always forget Poland, but if there had to be so many "truths" to prompt Americans to support this, maybe there really weren't sufficiant reasons?
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:39 AM on February 2, 2005


Sure psmealey, the left is trumpeting around the fact that no WMD were found as if there was no other argument for war.

OK, should we start on the "harboring terrorists" argument? Last I checked, there were more there now than under Saddam, and bin Laden (remember him?) is still loose.

WebToy, I challenge you to same ONE argument given by this Administration BEFORE THE WAR that still holds up to scrutiny. None of this ex post facto bullshit.
posted by mkultra at 9:41 AM on February 2, 2005


the reanimated corpse of Richard Nixon...

...burglarized my hotel room last night.
posted by quonsar at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2005


I can't understand why so many Americans continue to only view this situation from 'their' perspective. If China decided one day that George Bush was a threat and went before the UN spouting false intelligence to back a false claim and then invaded our shores,...

This is exactly that point that I try to make when I encounter this ends-justifies-the-means nonsense. Not only it is profanely premature to call this a victory for democracy, there are also huge open wounds that will take decades to heal (we are talking about civilizations that still harbor bitterness over the Crusades, after all). What happens six months down the road, when the man on the street in Baghdad wonders what good the elections were when American troops are still patrolling the streets, and seem years away from leaving?

Whatever "moral" case there was to undertake this expedition is almost completely undermined by deceitful and amoral means that were used to execute it.
posted by psmealey at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2005


dammitjim, the argument you're making is long the one I've suspected really did motivate this administration to intervene in Iraq. And you're absolutely right, the WMD angle just happened to be one the public could get behind, so that was what was flogged relentlessly; it was a matter of, whatever will get the public behind this war, that is the rationale we will use.

But this is exactly why I did not support this war; because I suspected, from day one, that the administration was trying to bullshit the country.

Had the argument been made honestly; had the president or anyone else acknowledged that the main rationale for the war was because we believe that we can affect a reverse domino theory in the Middle East, and need to start somewhere, and Saddam's a comparatively unliked dictator running a mostly secluar state, I might have considered the run-up to war in a different light.

But the country would never have bought it. So, we went for the gut-punch, the WMD issue, instead.

The problem is that this central dishonesty, which have resulted in so many deaths, has made me unable to trust this administration on anything. If they are going to lie - for that's what it was - for political expediency when it comes to war, and the death of American servicemen and women, what else are they willing to lie about in order to get their way?

But beyond this is the fact that when you come right down to it, we are waging war in the Middle East on the basis of a theory - the reverse domino theory. This fight may well qualify as the largest attempt at social engineering in history. And I simply do not think it will work, especially because so many of our assumptions about who those in the Middle East are and what and how they think are so fundamentally flawed.

We are proceeding on the assumption that folks in Baghdad - and perhaps Tehran - are just like folks in Indianapolis or Des Moines, wanting the same things, valuing the same things.

Finally, is the role petroleum plays in all of this. It can never be discounted, and the more I read about China and India's population explosions and need for more raw resources, the more central I begin to believe that control of the globe's second largest proven reserves was to this whole enterprise.

All wars, at some level, are resource wars, aren't they?
posted by kgasmart at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2005


dougunderscorenelso,
but the Neocons, who were clearly in control at the White House, have been promoting war against Iraq since early in the Clinton administration. Their argument was well-documented, but everyone continues to hang their hat on the WMD argument. And did you have a time machine that allowed you to know that Saddam DIDN'T have the weapons he said he did. C'mon, the guy miscalculated and paid dearly for it. With the new accelerated schedule of promoting democracy and stability, we couldn't afford to have this pivotal jackass taunting us from the sidelines.
posted by WebToy at 9:42 AM on February 2, 2005


Does one think that if Bush went to congress and said, "well we want to spend 200+ billion to invade and occupy Iraq so we can further democracy in a country that poses us no real risk, oh and at least a thousand of our soldiers will die and who-cares how many Iraq civilians, what-do you-say?"
We would be over there now. of course not. So... either people have been incompetent and believed the WMD bit, or they lied to congress and the people.
I think if they lied it is an immoral act, I am not allowed to lie about my reasons of operation, neither should the government. It is an EXCUSE.
posted by edgeways at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2005


Webtoy: If you can provide evidence, in the form of reasonably mainstream links, to back up the saddam-osama connection as well as the enriched plutonium that you have claimed Iraq possessed, then I will eat my cat.

Saddam, the Pan-Arabian, secular Sunni Baathist was the sworn enemy of Osama, the fundamentalist islamic jihadist Shiite.

Would the Nascar Dads approve of their son dying to end sanctions in Iraq? Hell no. Would the Nascar Dad's approve of a war in order to spread democracy? Hell no. To build a nation? Nope.

That's what counts, really, in a democracy. It's the reasons the PEOPLE support the war, not the reasons the politicians support the war. You see, what all of you apologists are saying is " Look, you are all stupid. We had to fool you with false pretenses to get you to agree to kill a whole bunch of people, invade a sovereign nation, and generally piss the whole world off so that our little long term plan could be realized."

If the reasons to go to war are good enough reasons, the war can be sold on those reasons. If they are not good enough reasons to go to war, then you need to find some trumped up bullshit like WMD. That's the issue.
posted by Freen at 9:43 AM on February 2, 2005


wonway, that's assuming the truth is that he wants to bring democracy to the "heathens" (and maybe some Bibles?) when a growing belief is that there was never any intention to go in and then leave. The intention was to go in and create a US territory that happens to sit on some massively attractive oil fields.

The real truth from Bush is about as likely as either of the Bush twins saying some of any real relevance.
posted by fenriq at 9:44 AM on February 2, 2005


I'm still at a loss as to why those that seem to support this war never seem to consider that the same result ( The removal of Saddam, Breaking up the Batthist party, et al.) could have been accomplished without going to war.

We can put a RC car on Mars, spend 100 billion dollars on a missile defense shield but war was our ONLY option in dealing with Saddam? I refuse to believe that his miserable hide was worth one brave American soul.

We should have bombed the country and slipped in an assault team of iraqi exiles and created our own sleep assassination cell. Even if such an operation cost 100 billion it still would have been cheaper. And no one would have shed a tear.
posted by wonway at 9:47 AM on February 2, 2005


Furthermore, Saddam was sitting on tons of enriched plutonium

You mean uranium? Which was where, exactly?

and was rumored to be conversant with Osama for years (there are numerous web accessible news articles that put Osama in Iraq well before we went there).

You mean the one meeting where al-Q and Saddam decided they'd have nothing to do with each other?

Saddam answered to noone

Except for Al Quaeda?

and was rapidly convincing the UN and the rest of the world that sanctions, that were supposedly killing hundreds of thousands each year, were unjustified.

The world is a multiple choice test? Everything that is not A must be B?

Just being able to get rid of the sanctions is enough justification for this war.

So why'd they have to make up all that lie stuff then - if that was all the justification we needed?

Getting rid of him was a logical, bold step and history will bear this out.

And history will not allow us to wonder if there was any way it could have been done logically?
posted by 31d1 at 9:48 AM on February 2, 2005


We are proceeding on the assumption that folks in Baghdad - and perhaps Tehran - are just like folks in Indianapolis or Des Moines, wanting the same things, valuing the same things.

I dont't understand, are you saying that the people in Indianapolis or Des Moines would welcome being invaded?
posted by signal at 9:49 AM on February 2, 2005


This was a total bullshit trollistic Op-Ed FPP, postroad - shame on you. Though you did get the nest all stirred up - that must feel kinda good.

penance eh? Who among us will pay the penance when the rest of the world decides it can't risk a belligerent tyrannical superpower with a doctrine of preemptive invasion. I fear for us - this path we're allowing ourselves to be led down ends in a giant abattoir with the gnashing and the grinding and the blood spurting...
posted by dorcas at 9:51 AM on February 2, 2005


dougunderscorenelso, you have a point there. He was part of that administration, and they did supply Saddam with weapons. As I recall, he opposed it at the time. I will get a source for that, though, and post it.

As a side note, they weren't WMDs. If what we gave Saddam classifies as WMDs in your book, then according to your book, we have found WMDs in Iraq. Pick a definition of WMDs, and stick with it.

That having been said, I concede your point. In terms of supplying Saddam with weapons, two American administrations participated in those activities.
posted by rush at 9:53 AM on February 2, 2005


so how do those of you using the "it was necessary to say he had wmd's in order for us to invade" reconcile that with the fact that prior to 9/11, people from the bush admin were saying he had no wmd's and posed no threat regionally or globally? you have no problem with that flip flop?

what about the cooked up and doctored evidence for wmd's? you're cool with that, too?

you're cool with our troops being lied to about why they need to be put in harm's way?

you're cool with the fact that the bush admin won't let us get an accurate idea of how many iraqi civilians have been killed? that helps this cause in what way?

you're cool with the fact that the president can't pronounce abu ghraib and that probably 90% of those who voted for him in november have already forgotten about it?

you're cool with the fact that we can't quite seem to get democracy to work properly here, but now it's up to us to spread it all over the world, regardless of what other nations want?

cuz if you are, please hip me to what you're smoking and drinking so that i too can be at peace with what my country is doing.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2005


Hmm, Freen, that wasn't very hard. Took all but two seconds.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1046064

And there certainly wasn't any reason to think he had weapons... http://www.iraqwatch.org/un/IAEA/iaea-facts-042502.htm

About the enriched plutonium, I think it was actually not enriched. Does anyone out there have alink to all of the uranium or plutonium that was removed from Iraq roughly a year after we went in?

WebT
posted by WebToy at 9:58 AM on February 2, 2005


You mean uranium? Which was where, exactly?
I am still looking ro the links to this story.


You mean the one meeting where al-Q and Saddam decided they'd have nothing to do with each other?


Please refer to NPR link just posted.

Saddam answered to noone
Except for Al Quaeda?

Again, the NPR link

and was rapidly convincing the UN and the rest of the world that sanctions, that were supposedly killing hundreds of thousands each year, were unjustified.

The world is a multiple choice test? Everything that is not A must be B?


100,000 dead after we went in, 800,000 dying over 4 years before we went in. Another gamble, BUSH WINS!


So why'd they have to make up all that lie stuff then - if that was all the justification we needed?

Because they weren't lying. The CIA was misinforming the administration. The New York YTimes did an extensive expooise on this about 6 months ago.

Getting rid of him was a logical, bold step and history will bear this out.

And history will not allow us to wonder if there was any way it could have been done logically?


Like more world cooperation through the UN, I suppose? That wouldn't have taken very long, of course and the world would continue to rally around the US well after 9\11, YEAH RIGHT!
posted by WebToy at 10:05 AM on February 2, 2005


I'd gladly take Saddam Hussein being back in power in return for Abu Grahib having never happened. I have a feeling that the West is going to be paying for Abu Grahib with lives lost to terrorism for a long, long time.
posted by goethean at 10:05 AM on February 2, 2005


please hip me to what you're smoking and drinking so that i too can be at peace with what my country is doing.

lord_wolf, try this, man. Real good shit!
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:06 AM on February 2, 2005




I for one, bet my brother $500 that Saddam didn't have any WMD, far in advance of the beginning of the war. I'm actually going to collect on my bet in a few days.

Look, the US gave Saddam everything and anything that could be remotely considered a weapon of mass destruction. We were his ally, up untill the Gulf War, when our Ambassador, April Gillespie gave Saddam tacit approval to invade Kuwait. I've heard reports that he was genuinely surprised that we were pissed off about it. As soon as we went to war in August of 1991, wouldn't you think the first order of operations would be to destroy any potential weapons of mass destruction? I mean really, do you think the US military is that incompetent not to bomb the most deadly arsenals first?

On preview: Webtoy: A) learn how to make links, it's not that hard. B) Yopur Claims are about pre-1991 Iraq. From the Iraqwatch link you gave me:

As of 16 December 1998, the following assessment could be made of Iraq's clandestine programme:

•There were no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons. Iraq's explanation of its progress towards the finalisation of a workable design for its nuclear weapons was considered to be consistent with the resources and time scale indicated by the available programme documentation.

•Iraq was at, or close to, the threshold of success in such areas as the production of HEU through the EMIS process, the production and pilot cascading of single-cylinder sub-critical gas centrifuge machines, and the fabrication of the explosive package for a nuclear weapon

•There were no indications to suggest that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapons-grade nuclear material through its indigenous processes.

•There were no indications that Iraq otherwise clandestinely acquired weapons-usable material

•All the safeguarded research reactor fuel was verified and fully accounted for by the IAEA and removed from Iraq.

•There were no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.

I'll get back to you about Ian Black in a bit.
posted by Freen at 10:07 AM on February 2, 2005


Winning a million bucks in Vegas doesn't retroactively justify putting your kids' college money on 00.

We can quibble about what the real odds might of been all day long. The only way to find the truth is to repeat the experiment for a large sample size. I think 100 or so might do.

It's great to see my faith in Bush is finally paying off. Watching libruls squirm is beautiful.
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:08 AM on February 2, 2005


The renewed sanctions that the Bush administration pushed through the UN at the beginning of 2002 were effectively focused on limiting Saddam and relieving the deleterious effects of previous sanctions on the Iraqi general population, and were viewed by all in the international community as a great success. If Bush had waited, accepted the UN inspectors' assessment on WMD in Iraq and not invaded, his first term would have been an unquestioned success with only hardliners complaining that they didn't get to have another war.
posted by effwerd at 10:09 AM on February 2, 2005


Floydd , clealry out of context and after the fact. But hey, hindsight, 2020. I never said there was a connection, only that many people believed that there was, and that was enough to go to war. Thank YOU for playing.
posted by WebToy at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2005


trharlan - Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point. (I'm not being a smartass)

It was just snark. The real comment was the second bit.

But I guess my snark had a deeper meaning. It's odd that more and more people are comfortable with admitting this was all some big PNAC scheme, and nothing more. When somebody says "They just wanted bases in the middle east, so they drummed up some bogus claim and invaded Iraq" and aren't being ironic or derogatory, then it's time we take notice that the doublespeak might be clearing, to be replaced by bullying "what are you gonna do about it?" phrases implied at the end of every sentence.
posted by taumeson at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2005


Containing Iraq: Sanctions Worked
posted by effwerd at 10:11 AM on February 2, 2005


Link 1: from 1999, before or around the time of that meeting where they decided they didn't like each other anymore than they like US. If you want to keep going that route, keep in mind that Bush has closer ties to Al-qaeda, for example his dad was in a meeting with Bin Ladens brother on 9/11.

Link 2: Seems to have to do with all the stuff that UN inspectors removed well before this whole thing even got started. [on preview, what Freen said]

And yo, just a heads up - you don't enrich plutonium, you get it from enriching "uranium". It'll make you seem smarter if you know that.
posted by 31d1 at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2005


Webtoy: You should read The Stovepipe by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. It clearly indicates the means and methods used by the current administration and the office of special plans to circumvent traditional intelligence gathering and parsing systems with regards to information concerning Iraq and WMD often leading to incorrect assumptions (i.e. the yellowcake scandal) that were refuted by the CIA but revered as fact by the administration.

Belief is not enough for war. And if that was the case, then we shouldn't have gone to war. Often people forget that the protests against the iraq war were the single largest demonstrations for a single cause in the history of humanity.

"We know exactly where the WMD are, they are in the region north, south, east and west of Tikrit" Donny Rumsfeld
posted by Freen at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2005


Before I spend any more time reading political threads, could someone point me to a metafilter political post in which someone says something to the effect "gee, I hadn't thought of it that way, I do believe I was wrong all along and you're right!".....?

just wondering if it was even possible that someone is going to convince someone else to change sides on this issue.......
posted by HuronBob at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2005


From AriannaOnline today:

It was a great moment. A Kodak moment. And unlike the other Kodak moments from this war -- think Saddam's tumbling statue and Jessica Lynch's "rescue" -- this one was not created by the image masters at Karl Rove Productions.

But this Kodak moment, however moving, should not be allowed to erase all that came before it, leaving us unprepared for all that may come after it.

I'm sorry to kill the White House's buzz -- and the press corps' contact high -- but the triumphalist fog rolling across the land has all the makings of another "Mission Accomplished" moment.

Forgive me for trotting out Santayana's shopworn dictum that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it but, for god's sake people, can't we even remember last week?

So amid all the talk of turning points, historic days and defining moments, let us steadfastly refuse to drink from the River Lethe that brought forgetfulness and oblivion to my ancient ancestors.

Let's not forget that for all the president's soaring rhetoric about spreading freedom and democracy, free elections were the administration's fallback position. More Plan D than guiding principle. We were initially going to install Ahmed Chalabi as our man in Baghdad, remember? Then that shifted to the abruptly foreshortened reign of "Bremer of Arabia." The White House only consented to holding open elections after Grand Ayatollah Sistani sent his followers into the streets to demand them -- and even then Bush refused to allow the elections until after our presidential campaign was done, just in case more suicide bombers than voters turned up at Iraqi polling places.

And the election doesn't change that.

Let's not forget that despite the hoopla, this was a legitimate democratic election in name only. Actually, not even in name since most of the candidates on Sunday's ballot had less name recognition than your average candidate for dogcatcher. That's because they were too afraid to hold rallies or give speeches. Too terrorized to engage in debates. In fact, many were so anxious about being killed that they fought to keep their names from being made public. Some didn't even know their names had been placed on the ballot. On top of that, this vote was merely to elect a transitional national assembly that will then draft a new constitution that the people of Iraq will then vote to approve or reject, followed by yet another vote -- this time to elect a permanent national assembly.

And the election doesn't change that.

Let's not forget that many Iraqi voters turned out to send a defiant message not just to the insurgents but to President Bush as well. Many of those purple fingers were raised in our direction. According to a poll taken by our own government, a jaw-dropping 92 percent of Iraqis view the U.S.-led forces in Iraq as "occupiers" while only 2 percent see them as "liberators."

And the election doesn't change that.

Let's not forget that the war in Iraq has made America far less safe than it was before the invasion. According to an exhaustive report released last month by the CIA's National Intelligence Council, Iraq has become a breeding ground for the next generation of "professionalized" Islamic terrorists. Foreign terrorists are now honing their deadly skills against U.S. troops -- skills they will eventually take with them to other countries, including ours. The report also warns that the war in Iraq has deepened solidarity among Muslims worldwide and increased anti-American feelings across the globe. Iraq has also drained tens of billions of dollars in resources that might otherwise have gone to really fighting the war on terror or increasing our preparedness for another terror attack here at home.

And the election doesn't change that.

Let's not forget the woeful lack of progress we've made in the reconstruction of Iraq. The people there still lack such basics as gas and kerosene. Indeed, Iraqis often wait in miles-long lines just to buy gas. The country is producing less electricity than before the war -- roughly half of current demand. There are food shortages, the cost of staple items such as rice and bread is soaring, and the number of Iraqi children suffering from malnutrition has nearly doubled. According to UNICEF, nearly 1 in 10 Iraqi children is suffering the effects of chronic diarrhea caused by unsafe water -- a situation responsible for 70 percent of children's deaths in Iraq.

And the election doesn't change that.

posted by psmealey at 10:15 AM on February 2, 2005


The idea that somehow liberals are "squirming" about this is one of the oddest. Why do the people who say this assume that now I must be wracked with self-doubt, in agony over the shambles of my preconceptions, and fighting against an urge to admit my terrible mistakes, when in fact all I'm doing is sadly waiting to see what actually happens while the other side proclaims victory in the second inning - just like they did on the "mobile biological weapons factories", the yellowcake uranium, the WMD's in general, Abu Ghraib, necessary troop strength, "being greeted with flowers", the museum robbery story, how long we'd be in Iraq, etc., etc., etc.

Frankly, their track record is too lousy for me to bother to "squirm" at this point.
posted by kyrademon at 10:17 AM on February 2, 2005


Here's a nice, classically conservative, realist argument: the war in Iraq has cost us enough to drive our fundamental economic stability into question. I don't think raising the deficit to such staggering heights is intelligent.

Some people will say "well, it was worth it". Back when I was in high school, I was told in CPR class that the rescuer must never overexert him/herself trying to save the victim. In other words, in dire situations, you must take steps to preserve your own health as well as the one you're trying to save. The recommended action is to take turns with someone else that's trained.

So, here we are in Iraq- spending a lot of money we don't have and refusing to do it with other countries (unless they do it "our way"). Wouldn't it be realistic to rethink our position and worry about overexertion? And wouldn't Bush be "wrong" if democracy does succeed in Iraq, but America is seriously harmed as a result?

Oh, wait, we are invincible because we have God on our side. Being intelligent about the future of our nation is selfish and un-Christian, and is also for wusses.
posted by Maxson at 10:18 AM on February 2, 2005


Sorry webtoy, It seems the guardian has pulled the article that NPR snippet was referring to. Can you find anything better? Perhaps a whole article or something?
posted by Freen at 10:18 AM on February 2, 2005


HuronBob: You are absolutely right. However, i find these threads infinitely interesting. Primarily because i get to read well thought out arguments from both sides, well actually usually from the lefty side, but that's primarily due to volume. I learn new things here, i find out what the right wing talking points are, and different strategies for countering them. Almost all of the points I brought up have been either something I've read here or at other blogs, or something I've been forced to look up in order to defend my arguments.

That, for me, is useful and productive. As long as the debates remain relatively sane and insult free. Thus far in this thread we've been doing okay.
posted by Freen at 10:22 AM on February 2, 2005


Maxson, shortly before this whole mess started, I had a brain-dead conservative say to me in a conversation, "war is good for the economy", no matter how many examples I brought up to demonstrate that, in fact, not all wars are WWII. It was a frustrating conversation.

I don't know if Bush will shipwreck America's economy on this war, but he stands a chance of doing so. Breshnev didn't help Russia much by invading Afghanistan. This land war in Asia may do us the same favor.
posted by kyrademon at 10:23 AM on February 2, 2005


Freen, I'll agree that this discussion, to this point has been fairly reasonable... I think my remark was prompted by the exhaustion of reading this debate yet again.

But, I guess until it is resolved in some manner, we are forced to continue to discuss it. Better perhaps that we discuss it here than in the streets.
posted by HuronBob at 10:28 AM on February 2, 2005


Freen, I am confident that we won't agree on this point, no matter how many links I post. There was a summary in that link I sent, which was dug up in about two seconds. I answered your original request, which was to post a link that posed that there might be a connection bewteen Saddam and Osama.

My mistake for reactng to the original post anyway.
posted by WebToy at 10:28 AM on February 2, 2005


What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?

What do you mean "what if?"

We're sort of past maybe-maybe-not here, Postroad. Bush WAS wrong. He was wrong about the WMDs, wrong about the "welcomed with open arms," and wrong about capturing bin Laden "not being a priority."

This is like asking "what if the Millenium Doomsday theorists were right all along?" It's over and done, man.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:36 AM on February 2, 2005


Freen Says: Webtoy: If you can provide evidence, in the form of reasonably mainstream links, to back up the saddam-osama connection as well as the enriched plutonium that you have claimed Iraq possessed, then I will eat my cat.

Webtoy responds: I answered your original request, which was to post a link that posed that there might be a connection bewteen Saddam and Osama.

See, evidence, not that there might be a connection. There might be a connection between Alfred E. Newman and Napoleon, but there is prescious little evidence. If that is all the evidence you can muster for a connection then it is very shoddy evidence, and certainly not worthy of a war. Even if conneciton to Al Qaida was war-worthy, we'd have to bomb a heck of alot of other countries. Specifically ones that happen to be our current allies.
posted by Freen at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2005


Though, thankfully, I do not have a cat.
posted by Freen at 10:39 AM on February 2, 2005


But, I guess until it is resolved in some manner, we are forced to continue to discuss it. Better perhaps that we discuss it here than in the streets.

I might have to disagree with that...

What are we accomplishing here exactly? Only a lot of "your side sucks" going on in here and still people dying over there. Unless this lights a fire under a lot asses to actually "take it to the streets," nothing changes... at all.
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:40 AM on February 2, 2005


Bush: Saddam has WMDs, and wants to attack America!
Us: Er, no he doesn't.
Bush: He sure does! I'm going to invade!
(one invasion, several thousand bodies, torture, no-bid contracts, and several billion dollars later)
Us: See? No WMDs.
Bush: But... the Iraqi's are free! Saddam had rape rooms, you know.
Us: What? What about the WMDs?
Bush: We were given bad intelligence. But that doesn't matter, because we freed all those people. Even the dead ones.
Us: But-
Bush: They're having elections now! See? I told you I was right about all this!
posted by ralphyk at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2005


We are accomplishing very, very, very little in the way of actually changing the world. The point is not to get things done. The point is to converse and learn. At least that what I'm here for.
posted by Freen at 10:44 AM on February 2, 2005


Ralphyk: let me amend one line.....

Bush: But... the Iraqi's are free! Saddam had rape rooms, you know.
Us: What? We have rape rooms! What about the WMDs?
posted by Freen at 10:47 AM on February 2, 2005


LouReedsSon -- goddamn! i'm going to need to take one of those pills so that my mind isn't seared by the horror of what can be done with those pills. jesus god!
posted by lord_wolf at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2005


The point is to converse and learn. At least that what I'm here for.

Shit, sorry, that wasn't an attack... I'm here for that too... and the beer! :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:48 AM on February 2, 2005


i'm going to need to take one of those pills so that my mind isn't seared by the horror of what can be done with those pills.

Neat, ain't they? We don't need no stinkin' regret! :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 10:52 AM on February 2, 2005


Webtoy, I am confident that i never once believed in any Saddam-Osama Connection, and despite searching, have never found any good evidence to believe in such a connection. I also believe that those, who at one point believed in a Saddam-Ossama connection were victims of an incredibly well orchestrated PR effort to conflate the two while never explicitly stating the connection, as well as occasionally publicly denying ever claiming there was a connection. Furthermore, I believe that those who do in fact still believe in such a connection are either willfully deceptive or severely cognitively dissonant.

LouReedsSon: No worries.
posted by Freen at 10:55 AM on February 2, 2005


Freen reading material. Saddam Osama speculation links. Now if Osama and Saddam actually met, do you happen to have a transcript of what they were talking about because in this day and age, I need some EVIDENCE they weren't ever going to be or currently up to something. Just those two idiots in the same room is enough evidence, which is not like saying Saddam's Dad was with Osama years back 31d1, which isn't very smart is it. Freen, I trust you and other open-minded individuals will read the links that I am linking to. YEAH RIGHT!
posted by WebToy at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2005


WebToy, the incredibly tenuous non-evidence you are presenting as justification for starting a war which has killed tens of thousands (at the very least) makes you sound overly credulous at best and a fanatical paranoiac at worst.
posted by kyrademon at 11:04 AM on February 2, 2005


Really really really bad post.
posted by filchyboy at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2005


"Fanatically paranoid", that's rich!
posted by WebToy at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2005


Late to the party here, but I have to respond to this by dammitjim:

That doesn't bother me as much as the alternate choice: useless discussions about what to do, while not doing anything.

That right there sums up the problem I have with the current administration: they are of the philosophy that it's always always better to do something than to do nothing. And the reason they were re-elected is because there is a large proportion of the american population that agrees. Idle hands make some people antsy.

The problem is that people who are of this philosophy are renowned for being completely lacking in self-awareness. They just break things and then move on to the next place to break things. They neither understand nor appreciate the fact that the outcome of their work can ever be negative.

What we're seeing right now was foretold in Dad's administration: it's the reviled and feared New World Order. Sounds even more ominous now, doesn't it?

And you, WebToy, none of us had a time machine to know that Saddam didn't have his weapons, but I distinctly recall my reaction when I saw Powell's presentation before the UN. It had been trumpeted for weeks before as "ironclad" proof of wmds, and when I, and a great many other people, saw the lame inconclusive sat photos and the semi trailer diagram I thought "That's it?! They're bluffing or they're stupid." That along with the whole "The CIA was misinforming the administration" crap makes me furious at an administration that gives plenty of lip service to "making hard decisions" and "valuing accountability" but yet shows in their behavior evidence of making snap or thoughtless decisions and passing the buck at every turn.

Here's the deal. The CIA could have said anything at all, the sat photos could have shown anything at all. The decision to go to war is always the responsibility of the commander in chief. Period. If he chose to go to war on crappy or questionable evidence, then he's irresponsible and should be impeached. If, as you maintain, the neocon position was well known all along, and was the true reason for the war, then the president lied to gain support for a war that would not have otherwise been supported by the American people, and that is most certainly an impeachable offense. If we can impeach a president for lying about a blowjob, then we most certainly should impeach one about lying to start a war.
Of course, this will never happen. Because Everything changed after 9/11.

sigh.

posted by Pliskie at 11:14 AM on February 2, 2005


Die-hard Republicans make me think of abused wives who stick by their man and justify his every action even as they are wheeled into the emergency room.

How can you still make apologies for this administrations' deception and manipulation? Strauss-style administrations can never be compatible with democracy. They are founded on the assumption that the people cannot rule themselves.

To carry the analogy futher, by continuing to support and make post-hoc justifications for the husband, you put the rest of your family (countrymen) in jeopardy.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:23 AM on February 2, 2005


Even Hans Blix, who was in Iraq looking for weapons up until the day we invaded thought Saddam was lying about WMD. This was broadcast on NPR so I know most of you heard it and gasped. But, keep hanging that hat on the no WMDs found argument, it is just as compelling now as ever before.
posted by WebToy at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2005


If you're bitter and you watch the State of the Union tonight, you might want to try the Drunken State of the Union. (self-link)

It's in its fourth year of existence and is a hell of a lot of fun with discussions much like this one following. I mean, everything changed after September 11, right?
posted by Captaintripps at 11:24 AM on February 2, 2005


No WMD *were* found, WebToy. Which *is* a fairly compelling argument. So the rest of us are kind of wondering what you're going on about.
posted by kyrademon at 11:31 AM on February 2, 2005


Just those two idiots in the same room is enough evidence

Right, and by that logic, the photo of Rummy and Saddam...

Maybe I'm reaching here?
posted by LouReedsSon at 11:36 AM on February 2, 2005


The decision to go to war is always the responsibility of the commander in chief. Period.

Or, y'know, Congress.

At least that's how it's supposed to be.

How ironic (in an Alanis way) that Delay's website was the first hit for my Google query.
posted by trharlan at 11:37 AM on February 2, 2005


This is Bush we're talking about. Do not give this man credit of any kind or you just might lose your mefi identification card and lose all membership benefits.

The real truth from Bush is about as likely as either of the Bush twins saying some of any real relevance.

I remember when the clintons were in office and people made fun of chelsea and all the backlash. After all, the children have nothing to do with anything the president does. I'm guessing as long as the name is "bush" it's all ok though.

The irony that you took the time to insult the twins with a sentence that reads like gibberish is not lost on me. Thanks fenriq.
posted by justgary at 11:42 AM on February 2, 2005


The shape of the Middles East and the presence of democracy and stability there in the years to come will be a far more compelling argument that history will take far more interest in, knowing that the more important reason we went was the NeoCon argument. The non-presence of WMD is quickly becoming irrelevant and will certainly be when Bush is out of office. Again, no WMD, very interesting sttuff.
posted by WebToy at 11:43 AM on February 2, 2005


Maxson, as a conservative myself, I have to question your "conservative" statement. I do agree that the rescuer must not overexert him/herself, but I don't agree that we've done that.

Your argument seems to be based on the deficit. While I agree that we should try to keep the deficit low, it's still not a good measurement of whether or not we're "overexerting" ourselves. To look at our exertion, we have to look at debt.

If we're to determine if a rescuer is overexerting themselves, we have to establish their capacity for exertion. This would most reasonably be based on our GDP. Total Federal debt is currently at about 38% of the GDP. The average since WWII is somewhere around 43%. In your analogy, rescuing actually requires less exertion than just standing by and watching (early Clinton years). In fact, with the economic growth we've seen since the mid-nineties, we're actually getting stronger as we rescue.

So, I feel your pain about the deficit, and we need to get it under control immediately, but let's not use it as a basis to say that we're overexerting ourselves. It doesn't address capacity.
posted by rush at 11:44 AM on February 2, 2005


Oil IS a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Bush was right, he found the WMDs
posted by nearo at 11:45 AM on February 2, 2005


I took a trip to the Iraqi Polls here in DC on Sunday and interviewed a bunch of voters--got some good photos too.

It made me ask myself a lot of of diffucult, similar questions, too.

The resulting post got linked to Instapundit and traffic went NUTS--a lot of conservative blogs picked it up.

Check it out for yourselves--I'd love a lefty perspective.
posted by chinese_fashion at 11:48 AM on February 2, 2005


Prediction: It will be very interesting, several months from now, to see how Iraq looks with an elected president who will be forced to implement the same policies that Saddam Hussein used in order to bring order to the country.

How else will you really -- I mean completely -- get rid of militants and turrrists, except through brutality, intimidation, death squads, and torture cells. If anyone knows how else to do it, perhaps he or she should say something.

But Iraq is fucked up -- everyone knows it -- and the US will turn a blind eye to any "elected" Iraqi president who enforces order on the country.

And Rethuglicans will call it a victory for democracy.
posted by mooncrow at 11:50 AM on February 2, 2005


Even Hans Blix, who was in Iraq looking for weapons up until the day we invaded thought Saddam was lying about WMD.

Is that why he later said these things?

"They were convinced that Saddam was going in this direction and I think it is understandable against the background of the man,"

"But in the Middle Ages people were convinced there were witches. They looked for them and they certainly found them."

And

"My guess is that there are no weapons of mass destruction left,"
posted by shawnj at 11:51 AM on February 2, 2005


Whoops. Wrong post, what a dummy...here it is.

Sorry.
posted by chinese_fashion at 11:52 AM on February 2, 2005


ShawnJ, it sounds like Hans Blix is a bit conflicted... SHOCK!
posted by WebToy at 11:57 AM on February 2, 2005


Here's the Uranium news i was looking for earlier. 2 Tons of Uranium removed from Iraq.
posted by WebToy at 12:05 PM on February 2, 2005


What they all said.

Also, I question whether it was worth 1500 US American citizens' lives to give Iraq the vote.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:08 PM on February 2, 2005


WebToy, learn how to think before you post things. The statements above by Blix make sense in everyone's head but yours.

Here is the President, making his case for war:

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On March 18, 2003, I made available to you, consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), my determination that further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, nor lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

I have reluctantly concluded, along with other coalition leaders, that only the use of armed force will accomplish these objectives and restore international peace and security in the area. I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. United States objectives also support a transition to democracy in Iraq, as contemplated by the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338).

Consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), I now inform you that pursuant to my authority as Commander in Chief and consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1) and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), I directed U.S. Armed Forces, operating with other coalition forces, to commence combat operations on March 19, 2003, against Iraq.

These military operations have been carefully planned to accomplish our goals with the minimum loss of life among coalition military forces and to innocent civilians. It is not possible to know at this time either the duration of active combat operations or the scope or duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to accomplish our goals fully.

As we continue our united efforts to disarm Iraq in pursuit of peace, stability, and security both in the Gulf region and in the United States, I look forward to our continued consultation and cooperation.

Sincerely,

GEORGE W. BUSH


Do you see the important parts? There is a clear sense that the national security of the United States cannot be guaranteed without attacking Iraq. The attack is supposedly the "only option" left, and the letter is very clearly trying to link Saddam with the September 11th attacks. All of these points are now completely worthless, since they were based on lies. Democracy is mentioned in passing, in that it is something that happens to be supported by our other objectives - democracy is not mentioned as an objective itself.

And for the last time - stop it with "i gave you guys some kind of tenuous links to stories that might mention saddam might be related somehow to bin laden! that's what you wanted! get off my back already." You were asked for credible evidence. Look up the word "evidence" before you proceed. Linking Saddam with Bin Laden by saying that they both "hate america" is not evidence.
posted by odinsdream at 12:20 PM on February 2, 2005


Do you see the important parts?

barely
posted by matteo at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2005


WebToy -

Whether you are right or wrong about the eventual results in the Middle East, I still think the doctrine of "pre-emptive invasion" is a ghastly, morally bankrupt, might-makes-right, myopic, dangerous doctrine which will do us far more harm than good in terms of our safety at home and abroad, our diplomatic ties, our economy, and our moral standing as a nation. And yes, that's even if you are right and Iraq somehow becomes a shining beacon of democracy.

Nonetheless, I sincerely hope you are right.

However, as I said before, I'll believe it when I see it.
posted by kyrademon at 12:23 PM on February 2, 2005


The Saudi-born fundamentalist's response is unknown. He is thought to have rejected earlier Iraqi advances, disapproving of the Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist regime.

U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden

Freeper link to an indictment in 1998
Both indictments offer new information about Mr. bin Laden's operations, including one deal he is said to have struck with Iraq to cooperate in the development of weapons in return for Mr. bin Laden's agreeing not to work against that country.

No details were given about whether the alleged deal with Iraq led to the development of actual weapons for Mr. bin Laden's group, which is called Al Qaeda.
?

Vice President Dick Cheney said there was no evidence to link Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Look Man, You get alot of mights, maybe, unknowns. Alot of links to People directly connected to Achmed Chalabi, and the exiled Iraqi National Congress, such as Parisoula Lampsos, peole who have been singificantly discredited. Or others like Laurie Mylroie, whose book purporting to link saddam and al qaida, is almost purely fictional.

Plus, you have administration officials, when pressed on the subject, admitting that there is no connection between Saddam and al qaida, while using the terms simultaneously and interchangably in speeches.

Others link to blantant falsehoods, like the idea that Osama supported Saddam in his fight against the US. No Osama supported the islamic people of iraq in their fight against the US. go read he's actually said on the topic

These articles tend to be a bit less speculative.

the 9/11 Comission seems to be a fairly definitive source for information on this topic. A decent blog link with necessary posts
posted by Freen at 12:25 PM on February 2, 2005


In 20 years we will look back upon the war in Iraq as either an incredible strategic blunder that did immense damage to the security and standing of the United States, or, it will be viewed as a brilliant move to reshape the Middle East away from radicalism and towards moderation.

The risks are mighty, and the rewards are not so clearly established, so is the reward worth the risk? Reasonable people can disagree here.

What is important about the vote is that people voted. The average Iraqi's donned the mantle of democracy, ignored the threats of the insurgents and voted. That was an important event because individuals took responsibility for their government. Time will tell whether their government will be able to earn the trust of the people, but it was an important event.

I wish Iraq would stop being about Bush, and being about ... well Iraq.
posted by forforf at 1:30 AM ACST on February 3


A-motherfucking-men and a half with fries and a coke. I want to add something to that. I typically vote liberal, because I despise the idea of a society without a social safety net. Once upon a time, that's what politics was about, you know? That's why, when I was a teenager, we used to use "Republican" as a pejorative the way them kids use "gay" now. The Republican social agenda takes away the safety net and puts us all in the hands of supposedly benevolent rich people. I say Bush is a whackjob fundamentalist who got elected in the first place by promising everybody in America $300, then appointed religious fuck-ups to the most important posts in the country and turned his party members into dogma-spouting robots, doing significant damage to whatever it is that constitutes the culture of American democratic freedom. That's why I hate him.

If you disagree, fantastic. Everybody should have a problem with at least a little bit of what I think. But when an op-ed thread like this gets 120-odd comments and is still getting them a day and a half after it's been posted, something is wrong, especially when there is so much else going on that should be discussed. No matter how bad the things that Bush did in Iraq now, it's turned into political flamebait. These are the Iraqi elections, and we're still talking about whether the invasion two years ago was moral? I won't say it wasn't wrong, because I think it was, but my point is that it's become a straw man.

Those 120+ comments aren't just metafilter's problem, they're the world's problem. I literally cannot find anyone who can talk to me about current politics without dragging the issue of the morality of the Iraqi invasion into things, American or otherwise. It's a debate that liberals use the same way as conservatives use 9/11. When the LGF crowd waves the rather conspicuous but by now well-known absence of two very tall buildings in New York in your face as a justification for knowing what you check out from the library, it doesn't convince you. But there are a lot of Democrats who'll agree that Bush should be impeached for Iraq. To someone who cheered the war, that's as ridiculous as the PATRIOT Act is to liberalsk. And to someone like your average non-voter, people who for one reason or another can't be assed to deal with politics, it's just another reason to stay away. Most importantly it's just no way to win arguments with people who disagree with you.

People, for the love of god, it's chaff. The morality of the initial reasons for invasion are about as historically relevant as the debate over whether Ceaser was a tyrant or a revolutionary. Even if it started about WMD's, it stopped being about them a long time ago. Officially it's about democracy and freedom and human rights now. It happened. The Iraqis are voting. Mistakes were made in the war. American troops are in Iraq. What should happen now?

If you want Bush out of office, ask someone who supports him that question. The lack of a good, clear answer from on high should be enough to convince the rational ones.
posted by saysthis at 12:34 PM on February 2, 2005


Fair enough, saythis. OK - what *should* happen now?
posted by kyrademon at 12:36 PM on February 2, 2005


There was never any question that we would win a war with Iraq and there was little question that having elections there would be successful at some point. From day one of the war this goal was inevitable to me so I hardly count it as a victory for Bush and company - although, yes, it's good to see Iraq have fair elections.

The question is what was our motivation in the first place? It seems to me it was because Saddam had WMD and refused to disarm. Others say it was a 9/11 connection. Both were bogus claims.

Ultimately our actions set a dangerous precedent.

I suppose we could invade every dictator lead country on the planet and open them up to democratic elections and claim victory. But is declaring war to achieve democracy a worthy goal? Or the only way to achieve democracy?

The question is would it be right to invade these other countries to achieve that end alone, kill a good many people, kill some of our own and run up billions of dollars of debt and put a dent in our relations with the world?

I think there is a better way.
posted by Rashomon at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2005


What we should do know? Are you kidding?! I'm a liberal, "I have a PLAN!". Now, where the hell are those WMD's?!
posted by WebToy at 12:41 PM on February 2, 2005




During the vice presidential debates:

EDWARDS: Mr. Vice President, there is no connection between the attacks of September 11th and Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 Commission has said it. Your own secretary of state has said it. And you've gone around the country suggesting that there is some connection. There is not.

And in fact the CIA is now about to report that the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein is tenuous at best. 

And, in fact, the secretary of defense said yesterday that he knows of no hard evidence of the connection. 


We need to be straight with the American people.

<snip>

CHENEY: The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11, but there's clearly an established Iraqi track record with terror.

And the point is that that's the place where you're most likely to see the terrorists come together with weapons of mass destruction, the deadly technologies that Saddam Hussein had developed and used over the years. 

You get that? No fucking connection.
posted by jperkins at 12:46 PM on February 2, 2005


What we should do know? Are you kidding?! I'm a liberal, "I have a PLAN!". Now, where the hell are those WMD's?!

Ah, flippancy, the last resort of the truly confused.
posted by odinsdream at 12:48 PM on February 2, 2005


Good point, saythis, primarily because the "what now" question is a loaded one.

As noted previously in this thread (too lazy to look it up), we're building the baddest embassy in the world, and a whole buncha' permanent military bases in Iraq. Which means many of the troops ain't coming home any time soon... if ever.

And then there's the fact that those who cheered loudest for the invasion of Iraq would like to see us continue on to Damascus and/or Tehran.

Is one domino enough to start the whole theory in motion?

How many more American lives are we willing to sacrifice if there are to be subsequent invasions?

How much is all this going to cost?

And what happens when the administration comes up with another bogus reason for our next invasion?
posted by kgasmart at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2005


Ah, flippancy, the last resort of the truly confused.

And he's probably very confused with all the mixed signals he's getting from the other keyboard kommandos. It's about WMD. It's not about WMD, it's about connections. It's not about connections and we've never said it was about connections - it was about Iraq being the most likely place for terrorists to get ahold of WMD... and so on.
posted by jperkins at 12:53 PM on February 2, 2005


We're trying to get past the pointless mocking now, WebToy. Please try to be substantive.

You've said you wish to see Iraq transition to a deomcratic state. Sounds good. I'd therefore like to hear you suggestions on the following:

What should be done, long-term, regarding the ongoing insurgency?
How do you propose guaranteeing the rights of the Sunni minority, when so many of them were either intimidated from or opposed to voting in the elections?
How long should American troops stay in Iraq? At what level? What should be done about the apparent problems recruiting and training an all-Iraqi military to take over?
Should the Kurds be granted autonomy? Why or why not? What do you propose should happen if there becomes a problem with that?
What do you propose should happen if the new Iraqi government opposes the interests of America on:
Adopting Sharia law?
Nationalizing the oil industry?
Forbidding foreign economic ownership in Iraq?
Going to the Euro standard?
How can the Sunnis be best encouraged to actually vote in elections? Participate in the consitutional convention? How do you propose civil war should be kept from breaking out if they don't?
posted by kyrademon at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2005


jon stewart said the same thing on his show. i'll tell you what i told my tv: don't worry, it won't last.
posted by blendor at 12:59 PM on February 2, 2005


you just might lose your mefi identification card and lose all membership benefits.
posted by justgary at 11:42 AM PST on February 2


I hereby revoke your membership and all benefits thereof. Please return your identification card and the security officer will escort you from the building.

What we should do know? Are you kidding?! I'm a liberal, "I have a PLAN!".
posted by WebToy at 12:41 PM PST on February 2



Now if Dear Leader only had a plan, other than letting Karl exploit everything to political advantage. What a bunch of heartless, cruel bastards.

(That ought to keep my dues up for the rest of the year)

You get that? No fucking connection.
posted by jperkins at 12:46 PM PST on February 2

[wingnut with hands over ears]
Nananananana ... what? Nananananana
posted by nofundy at 1:03 PM on February 2, 2005


Arab street digests the Iraqi election: "Although the Bush administration is hopeful that the example of democracy in Iraq will spark democratic reform in the rest of the region — a theme the U.S. leader will touch on again in his State of the Union speech later Wednesday — most observers are skeptical."
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on February 2, 2005


five fresh fish said:

I question whether it was worth 1500 US American citizens' lives to give Iraq the vote.

Now that is a conservative statement. I would say most certainly not.

However, and this speaks to odinsdream's post as well, I don't think that the reason we went into Iraq was to give them the vote. That was a nice side-effect. The reason we went into Iraq was to proactively protect our country.

I agree that the WMDs argument that was posed by the Bush administration was tenuous at best, and deceitful at worst. For my part, I believed that Iraq had WMDs. However, it was not about WMDs for me. It was about 9/11. Do I think that Iraq was involved in 9/11? Almost certainly not. Let me tell you what I do believe, though.

On 9/11, a handful of moderately trained crazies managed to do significant damage to the U.S. Thousands died. Our markets stumbled. It was terrifying. In my terrified state (which, I admit, continues to a certain extent today), all I could think about past basic thoughts of my family and loved ones was that someone had found a chink in our armor. I felt so naked and afraid, after realizing that so much damage could be done by so few, and that now, the world knew how it was done. Our domestic security was terrible, and everyone knew it. We were a sitting duck.

I immediately started making a mental checklist of the people in the world that wanted to do us harm - the people that might learn from this event, and pile on top of us, staging attack after attack against our weak security. It was a long list. That didn't help my peace of mind.

Saddam was on that list. He had repeatedly threatened us with violence, calling us the great Satan, swearing that we would fall, as soon as he found a way to make it happen. He had plotted to assassinate our President at one point. He had impressive resources - much more impressive than the resources necessary to prove that it could be done. He was definitely terrifying, in my new understanding of what could be done to us. But he was just one of many.

That is, until some of my fellow conservatives started pointing out that perhaps all we needed was one of many. Many of us felt like we were against the ropes, strategically speaking, and some people (perhaps they're the same people that Stitcherbeast and Webtoy were talking about - the ones that wanted to topple Saddam from the start) were saying that we could take a prison approach - pick out the loudest/biggest bully, and knock him down. And don't think that our President wasn't saying the same thing, in his own way. He kept talking about how we needed to get on the offensive, and stay there. He was telling us that one of our only chances at surviving the world's realization that the emperor of our national defense may not be wearing any clothes was to get aggressive. We all knew that there was absolutely no way we were going to be able to address every domestic security concern before someone got organized enough to attack us again. What's the difference in time between getting together some guys with boxcutters, or putting a nasty container on a ship, versus locking down every lax bit of security in our vast nation? Is tighter domestic security even a realistic or desirable goal? Watching Ashcroft in action, I would say probably not.

I didn't feel ready when we did it. I felt, like a lot of people, that if toppling Saddam was our only goal, there were a lot of ways to skin that cat. There's an old chestnut of a neocon joke that when someone does something the U.N. doesn't like, the U.N. writes a very stern letter. But could stern letters have worked against Iraq? I don't know. They might have. Evidence does seem to indicate they were at least useful. But would they have worked in the larger scope? No way.

This brings us back to our original question: Was Bush right about Iraq?

Well, I have to say that in some ways he was not only "not right," but deplorably wrong. But I also have to say that in the long run, I think he's right about a great deal. I feel terrible about the men and women that have died, and we'll never really know how many of our lives their deaths may have saved, so I understand why so many disagree.
posted by rush at 1:20 PM on February 2, 2005


"Die-hard Republicans make me think of abused wives who stick by their man and justify his every action even as they are wheeled into the emergency room."

Off topic: There does seem to be a lot of worship of "Strong Leaders" and "doers of deeds through might and power" on the right side of the aisle, generally. To me that's what all this "end justifies the means"-apologizing and "the government has to lie to us for our own good" rationalization is all about. It is, indeed, very much like an abused wife saying "but he loves me, and you don't know him like I do, he does so much and works hard for our family" as she's nursing a broken arm.

This kind of over-respect for Power in general is fairly common among humans I suppose. There's glamour in decisive action, and lots of people worship the "winners" in any arena.

However, here's a hypothetical situation to walk through. You are a homeowner with a family, and are at home one evening enjoying a night with your spouse and kids. I knock on the door. You ask me who it is, through the closed door, and I reply that I am from the gas company, and I need to enter to check for a gas leak that is registering on our instruments, somewhere in your neighborhood. I produce proper identification, so you open the door.

When you let me in, I knock you down and pistol-whip you, your spouse, and your children. I then tie up the kids and put them in the basement, and tell you that from now on, you will do as I say in all respects or your children will die horribly. You will now go about your life as always, except now I live in your house, you give all your money and access to everything you own to me, and you are under my complete domination - or else. And a few of my friends are moving in too, and we'll be watching every move you make. As long as you do everything I say, you will be safe and protected - no matter where you go. And don't forget that case of beer and the pizza on the way home tonight.

Have I not exhibited cunning and strength? Have I not taken decisive action? Am I not a winner?

You, clearly, are the loser. You believed my lie about being from the gas company. You were not smart or strong enough to resist my power. You failed to handle your own life, failed to protect your family. You are clearly not worthy to do so. Now I will control your life and be responsible for your safety and your family's, as I will keep you all under my direct control.

Do you respect my decisiveness, my strength, my winning nature? Do you accept your position as the naturally weaker creature? Do you accept my initial deception to gain access to your home as necessarily justified to begin my domination? Are you pleased that now since I have taken over and established my leadership role in your life - grateful that someone strong has finally come to handle the difficult decisions and tell you what to do?

From the standpoint you're taking on how our government operates these days, you should also be happy and respectful of my cunning methods and my strong, decisive leadership in the above situation. That I have made you my slave and taken all you had in life should not bother you, because my power is the greater; clearly I am your superior, I know better than you, and thus I deserve to rule you.

Doesn't the situation sound insane when you think of it that way?

Note that it's the same bullshit that power-mongers have used for the entire existence of humanity to justify their acts of brutality, violence and domination.

Try to connect the above situation with how things are going generally in the world. You may find that much of what you see as "necessary," when presented in a much more immediate and local format, is just plain, unadulterated evil.

/off topic
posted by zoogleplex at 1:27 PM on February 2, 2005


But rush, I gotta ask: Where does it end?

Our domestic security is still sh*t. I was at a pro football game last year where I got the most cursory of pat-downs by a disinterested "security" type at the gate. At the time, I had this thought: How simple it would be to smuggle in a couple hand grenades and toss them down from the top level.

Think someone determined to set off a bomb at your local mall could possibly be stopped before it happened?

We are absolutely vulnerable, but we can never not be vulnerable.

We are never going to create a world where resentment of the sole global superpower does not exist. We are never going to create a situation where the perception of our magnanimity in the Middle East outweighs the perception that we're really there to steal their oil.

So the question is: How far are we prepared to go to return to the "safe" days pre-9/11, which in reality were never "safe" to begin with?
posted by kgasmart at 1:28 PM on February 2, 2005


In a way, I'm more afraid of success in Iraq than failure. If Bush cleans up Iraq and stops there, I'll be content. But I suspect that the better Iraq goes, the more likely Bush will be to spend billions more cleaning up other countries. I'm starting to think bin Laden's goal all along was to entice Bush into attacking Iraq (it was no secret that plans were in the works) in an effort to goad Bush into ruining the American economy with war expenditures.
posted by Doohickie at 1:36 PM on February 2, 2005


I'm not sure if "right" is the correct word to use... he obviously wasn't right about the WMD's. And that was his major reasoning for going in there in the first place...

What's his excuse going to be for Iran?
posted by AloneOssifer at 1:38 PM on February 2, 2005


Sometimes governments have to lie, even to their own citizens. This is - or should be, anyway - done for the greater good.

Wow, just wow!

Saddam answered to noone and was rapidly convincing the UN and the rest of the world that sanctions, that were supposedly killing hundreds of thousands each year, were unjustified
Just a few hundreds of thousands a year? Well, OBVIOUSLY they were not working.
It's pretty depressing to think that I'm sharing a country with such fuckwads.
posted by c13 at 1:42 PM on February 2, 2005


That is, until some of my fellow conservatives started pointing out that perhaps all we needed was one of many. Many of us felt like we were against the ropes, strategically speaking, and some people (perhaps they're the same people that Stitcherbeast and Webtoy were talking about - the ones that wanted to topple Saddam from the start) were saying that we could take a prison approach - pick out the loudest/biggest bully, and knock him down. And don't think that our President wasn't saying the same thing, in his own way. He kept talking about how we needed to get on the offensive, and stay there. He was telling us that one of our only chances at surviving the world's realization that the emperor of our national defense may not be wearing any clothes was to get aggressive.

And the solution was exactly what bin Laden had been predicting and hoping for - the invasion and occupation of an Islamic country which clearly demonstrated the USAs intention with regards to the Islamic world. Bin Laden couldn't have scripted a better response from us.

On the bin Laden subject - why is this piece of shit still breathing air 3 1/2 years after 9/11? Like I said, a complete failure on the part of the Bush administration to deal with the real threats to this country. See also: N. Korea.
posted by jperkins at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2005


Because they weren't lying. The CIA was misinforming the administration. The New York YTimes did an extensive expooise on this about 6 months ago.

Please...you really expect the company line to be truthful at this point? Just another ex-post facto excuse for the war.

Even if taken as true, it makes Bush look like a pawn to the Neocons and simply reinforces the fact that Bush is unable to admit mistakes and take corrective action. The excuse presidency indeed.
posted by Bag Man at 1:48 PM on February 2, 2005


kgasmart, I agree wholeheartedly with what you're saying.

If the "it" in "Where does it end?" includes Iraq, and other possible threats, I don't know where it ends. I know that we shouldn't even try to recapture the pre-9/11 days, which I also agree were not that safe to begin with.

But if the "it" in "Where does it end?" about protecting the American people? Well, in a lot of ways, we're making a lot of progress, and I'm glad that there haven't been any more major attacks here. However, I don't know that protecting ourselves in that respect ever ends.

I guess the question is how much of the stuff outside of our borders is necessary in order to secure what's within our borders for the foreseeable future. I have no idea. I just hope it's not much.
posted by rush at 1:51 PM on February 2, 2005


kgasmart alludes to this, so does rush: September 11th did nothing to change how safe we were. It was just a day when we got attacked. That didn't suddenly mean we were less safe, those problems were always around. To those who say "well there's nothing we could have done to prevent it." How about: Locked, metal cabin doors? Just a thought.

Anyway, more to the point: rush's appeal to the action in Iraq as some kind of bully-technique to ward off future attacks in stead of actually implementing real security is worrying, but probably very common. The attack on Iraq had absolutely nothing in the world to do with deterring the kinds of attacks that happened on 9/11. For one thing, it's highly likely that the attacks of 9/11 were not from one particular country, but from a disjointed, geographically dispersed, but highly organized group. But that isn't what Iraq is, is it? Al Qaeda is laughing at this move - it's exactly what they need to bring in new recruits. Surely this isn't lost on everyone?

But, more to the point, what concrete things can we do to actually prevent future attacks, since, as others have pointed out, it's very easy to plan and execute rudimentary acts of significant terror? Well, the easiest option would be to reduce the desire people have to execute such acts. That seems pretty simple to me. One big fucking flash-card you should review in studying how to make people not hate your country: "Do not attack other countries."
posted by odinsdream at 1:56 PM on February 2, 2005


justgary, Chelsea's fair game, she always has been. But Clinton wasn't so stupid as to say "Leave my kid out of it" like Bush did and then parade Chelsea around like a prize horse.

Bush has been using his kids like tools, they've done nothing of substance save demonstrate how closely they fell to the tree (bush?). Making the embarassing photo columns is something, eh? Beyond that, they're the see us but don't talk to us or ask us any questions First Daughters. Actually, they're a good representation of the Bush administration, not too bad to look at but mostly hollow and self absorbed.

Show me something that demonstrates that either Jenna or Laura have said or done anything of relevance? The closest thing I can think of is they tried to get Kid Rock to play the inauguration when he was totally inappropriate.

Chelsea is a very bright and well educated young woman who's making her own path in life, yes, her family name helps but she's not riding coat tails as its patently obvious that neither Jenna or Laura are going to be weaned off the family teat anytime soon.

But hey, thanks for trying.
posted by fenriq at 2:05 PM on February 2, 2005


Chelsea is a very bright and well educated young woman who's making her own path in life, yes, her family name helps but she's not riding coat tails as its patently obvious that neither Jenna or Laura are going to be weaned off the family teat anytime soon.

I won't argue that Jenna and Laura are bright, or that they would succeed without being Bushes, but can you substantiate that Chelsea is "very bright" or that she's not "riding coattails?"
posted by trharlan at 2:14 PM on February 2, 2005


Jenna and Barbara, sorry.
posted by trharlan at 2:15 PM on February 2, 2005


odinsdream said:

The attack on Iraq had absolutely nothing in the world to do with deterring the kinds of attacks that happened on 9/11.

I don't think I understand your statement. Do you mean that it was not a motivation, or that you don't agree with it as a motivation? Or something else?
posted by rush at 2:16 PM on February 2, 2005


kgasmart: "How simple it would be to smuggle in a couple hand grenades and toss them down from the top level."

You know what, kgasmart? The fact that nobody is doing that, even though it's clearly not so hard to do, actually brightens my day.

See, 99% plus of people are actually relatively decent and don't do horrible things like that. It's kind of a strange thought, but consider that there has been pretty much zero in the way of that sort of violence in America, even given that our security is hardly super-strict. It means the vast majority of people are uninterested in perpetrating any such sort of violence in America (other than the "normal" violence we have anyway).

So, security is still crap, and yet nothing much has happened. Imagine that.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:17 PM on February 2, 2005


zoogleplex: Exactly.
posted by rush at 2:19 PM on February 2, 2005


So, security is still crap, and yet nothing much has happened. Imagine that.

And yet we continue to dismantle our free society while screaming that we must do so to ensure our security.

I think you can see the disconnect.
posted by rushmc at 2:35 PM on February 2, 2005


Sorry rush, I meant that attacking Iraq does nothing to deter the kinds of attacks that we suffered on 9/11, since said attacks were perpetrated by non-state actors who aren't dissuaded by the fall of this or that dictatorship.

...as an aside, I agree with most of what you said. I didn't mean to sound like I was challenging you.
posted by odinsdream at 2:37 PM on February 2, 2005


What caddis said, with the addition that there's no guarantee Iraq won't fall into the wrong hands again in 20 years. It's also worth considering what other real, substantial threats have taken root and grown while we've been engaged in Iraq. Aaaand, living in a state that is firing teachers because of budget cuts, I have to wonder about the long-term costs of this war to US, HERE, given that we've sent hundreds of billions abroad to make this war happen. I would rather have seen that money spent on sending all those kids to college instead of war. Where might that have taken this nation in 20 years' time?
posted by scarabic at 2:52 PM on February 2, 2005


trharlan, sure, bubbleheads don't, as a rule, go to Oxford.
posted by fenriq at 2:56 PM on February 2, 2005


"those who would exchange their liberty for security deserve nor shall receive either." A paraphrasing of Benjamin Franklin.

The fact of the matter is people, if you want to live in a free society, you must live with the fact that there is no such thing as security. You are never safe. You are never secure. You are always and everywhere at risk of being injured by someone else. In order to live in a world where you are not at risk, you will have to live in a world without most basic freedoms. That is unacceptable.

9/11 changed the lives of thousands of people, primarily because they lost loved ones. It did not change the security situation, nor the international political situation, nor anything other than peoples awareness of the world around them. A whole bunch of people woke up and realized that they could be hurt by people who wanted to hurt them. But that's always been true. Get used to it. You are more likely to die in a car accident, or from smoking, or a household appliance than you or anyone you know is likely to be killed by terrorists. It's simple mathematics. If your fear of terrorists somehow justifies invading another countries, killing many thousands of innocent people, countless iraqi soldiers, and 1,400 American soldiers, then you have serious delusions you need to consider. If you think that war will somehow make you less prone to lunatics with weapons, you too are a lunatic, and moreover, if you think a war will stop the lunatics with weapons, you too are a lunatic who approves of the use of weapons.

Grow up. Don't be afraid. Terror terrorizes, that's what makes it effective. Do not allow yourself to be terrorized.

On that day I smelled the burning flesh of a a thousand innocent people and those that killed them, I ran from the billowing toxic smoke, I wept in the knowledge that my friend had died. And on that very day, I vowed that I would never allow myself to be terrorized.
posted by Freen at 2:57 PM on February 2, 2005


By the way, I just found this Wiki: Chelsea Clinton. And I didn't know it but she works in the same company as my brother, thanks for making me go and research!

That's pretty cool to be in the Wiki! And its a better pic than the CNN article.
posted by fenriq at 2:58 PM on February 2, 2005


Sorry got a wee bit agitated with that last comment. I think you all get the jist of what I'm saying when I get to the lunacy part......
posted by Freen at 3:03 PM on February 2, 2005


since we "brought" "democracy" to iraq, lets "bring" it to the rest of the world. don't stop now. don't stop until the earth is covered in the blood of the liberated, and millions of freedom loving stumps wave flags we give them. on that day i will smile a big stupid "freedom" loving smile.

"bring it on!"
posted by nola at 3:07 PM on February 2, 2005


rushmc: "And yet we continue to dismantle our free society while screaming that we must do so to ensure our security.

I think you can see the disconnect."


Absolutely. I would hope my posts so far would give that impression!

scarabic: "...with the addition that there's no guarantee Iraq won't fall into the wrong hands again in 20 years."

It should be pointed out that no such guarantee exists for the US, either. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Freen: "The fact of the matter is people, if you want to live in a free society, you must live with the fact that there is no such thing as security. You are never safe. You are never secure. You are always and everywhere at risk of being injured by someone else. In order to live in a world where you are not at risk, you will have to live in a world without most basic freedoms. That is unacceptable."

Most definitely correct. You see that statement neatly dovetails with my observation that in the US today, which is still basically a free country without draconian security, we are in fact still overwhelmingly safe and unlikely to be the victims of violence - even "everyday criminal violence" as opposed to "attacks directed against Americans by hostile terroristic forces."

So even with all our freedoms, in fact because of all our freedoms and the relative general prosperity they have brought (let's not get into IMF, BCCI, World Bank stuff in this thread, OK?), this country is incredibly safe.

We're getting pretty far off topic, though this isn't necessarily a bad tangent...
posted by zoogleplex at 3:13 PM on February 2, 2005


Mooncrow is correct. Iraq doesn't have the cultural critical mass for a pluralistic system without a strong man at the top.
There was a reason Saddam was in power. And we will install Saddam Light... with an "elected" parliament rubber stamping his Secret Police. There will be torture and disappearances. The usual.

AS for WHY we attacked Iraq? It's a fairly long story. We did have the "Regime Change" policy in place under Clinton - that our allies in Nato signed off on, remember. And Saddam in 1989-1990 had violent expansionist goals that were only delayed by Gulf War I. So some confrontation between the west and Saddam was highly likely.

The PNAC/Neo-con crowd had long been arguing that establishing a firm US military presence in the region (outside of Saudi and Israeli borders) would give us a strategic edge over future trouble spots like Iran and another Saddam. This is a fairly rational argument. But without also solving the Israeli Palestinian conflict it was destined to go no where. Until 9/11. 9/11 made - in the minds of the Neo-cons - the Palestinians irrelevant (the favorite neo-con word).

A word on the over all strategy of invading Iraq. I hate to say it but it wasn't - from an amoral strategic thinking perspective - that bad an idea. We have successfully, though temporarily, redirected terrorist resources from attacking us domestically to attacking combat personnel in Iraq (yes, I know, they were not there until WE got there - but that is the point of moving the front). We did capture a ruthless Dictator. One down about 23 more to go. But these thing were not worth the cost. Simply not. By any metric. Because Bush fucked up.

Yes, we did have a clear moral obligation to help the Iraqi people since our tacit support for Saddam in the past compels us to set things right today. Though a preemptive unilateral military invasion was a poor choice for a humanitarian mission.

Had they done it right:

A) Allowed inspectors to finish their job.
A.1) Less exaggerated air campaign AKA shock and awe. But rather a longer more robust invasion build up and embargo.
B) Worked on a broader coalition to include Arab States - possible ONLY if we got serious about Israel.
C) Told Iran to go ahead an build all the nukes they wanted IF they recognized Israel's right to exist AND promised to stay the fuck out of invading Iraq - that would also give us the hedge against Israel as they would've needed us more than ever.
D) No de-Baathification.
E) The first troops on the ground SHOULD have been Iraqi ex-pats.
F) NOT occupying Saddam's palaces - rather turning those over to various internal charities and schools. Torched all Saddams Prisons on day one.
G) Left the minute Saddam was captured. (yeah we could of kept those nifty bases in the Khurd controlled regions.
H) Done all this AFTER successful elections in Afghanistan.

A rabid irrational ideology drove Bush to do what he did and now we pay the price.
posted by tkchrist at 3:15 PM on February 2, 2005


odinsdream, no worries - I just misunderstood your post to mean that you didn't think anyone was motivated by that reasoning. I think I get what you're saying now - that though people were motivated by that reasoning (I was, to a certain extent), it wasn't very good reasoning.

I can definitely see your point on that. In my opinion, attacking Iraq discourages 9/11 style attacks from nations that have the resources to conduct them on an even larger scale, but it doesn't directly impede the most likely attackers - the same non-state terrorists, or another group like them. In other words, it kept the nations out of the game, but not the small cells. It is likely that any nation that has beef with us will just support those cells. That makes sense.

Given the location of the lion's share of those terrorists, we can only hope that they will opt for the short hop to Iraq to fight our soldiers, as opposed to the longer hop to North America, Europe, or wherever, to attack our civilians. Either way, it's not something I want to happen.

On preview: Freen, nice quote, and I take no offense.
posted by rush at 3:16 PM on February 2, 2005


odinsdream: don't non-state actors live in states? Further, if Islamist extremism (I don't call it "Islamic fundamentalism" because it's not) stems from authoritarianism, doesn't a liberalizing of the middle east help to stem the tide of Islamist terrorism in general? Finally, if Arabs percieve that the United States is a corrupt, materialistic behemoth, intent on doing nothing but destroying and consuming, wouldn't a proactive destruction of the dictators that threaten the lives and happiness of Arabs be the very best thing to convince them that liberal institutions can be good?

Bush's doctrine of proactively interfering in the middle east might be difficult to accept. However, his apparent belief that terrorism, mideastern authoritarianism, and radical Islamism are related is at least very plausible. The Arab world is now confronting the West in ways that it never has before; this is apparent in the situation in Israel/Palestine, it's apparent in the tension between liberal democracies in Europe and their Muslim immigrants, and it was also apparent on 9/11.

On preview: freen, I understand your feelings. Also, I think it's despicable that some people believe that "fear" is an adequat justification for going to war. But is it not the duty of a political leader (a president, an imam, or whatever he be called) to attempt to save the lives of the many people over whom he has responsibility, sometimes through war? Less than a hundred years after the second world war and the soviet union, I can't bring myself to believe that war isn't sometimes necessary to save lives; in fact, more people have died in the last century than ever before. A genuine concern for the modern world is called for, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on February 2, 2005


bubbleheads don't, as a rule, go to Oxford.

But you can't really say that Chelsea Clinton got there exclusively on her own talents, can you? Because that's what I asked.
posted by trharlan at 3:20 PM on February 2, 2005


Ahh, that is true, her dad went there. But I was prepared for that line!

McKinsey, the company that she's gone to work for is completely uninterested in celebrity or who her parents are. They hired her because she's a very smart and capable woman with a good education.
posted by fenriq at 3:45 PM on February 2, 2005


My question, although addressed to WebToy, is not limited to that person. Anyone defending the invasion on "bringing democracy" grounds should feel free to weigh in on exactly how that is going to occur.
posted by kyrademon at 3:54 PM on February 2, 2005


Oh yes, but think about who we were fighting against. It wasn't a ragtag group of guys with box cutters, which no real state affiliation. Those were nations, who we declared war on only after they had either attacked us, or attacked an ally. Sure there are some other wars that we probably shouldn't have fought but did, based on reasons other than aggression or respect for treaties, but i can't look em up now.

Yes, did the Iraq war save american lives? That is the question. Did it? Can anyone honestly say yes?

on preview: for that matter kyrademon, why not ask "When has a country been effectively democratized by force?". I can only think of WWII examples, and clearly this is a bit different.
posted by Freen at 3:57 PM on February 2, 2005


I know all about McKinsey, and if you think they're unconcerned with who Chelsea's parents are, then you (for the first time ever, perhaps) have wholly overestimated the character of American business.

Listen, it's entirely possible that Chelsea would be even more successful if she wasn't the daughter of Bill and Hillary. In fact, I'm not saying that she hasn't earned every accolade. All I'm saying is that I don't know, and neither do you.
posted by trharlan at 4:05 PM on February 2, 2005


Freen: " "When has a country been effectively democratized by force?". I can only think of WWII examples, and clearly this is a bit different."

Those countries after WWII were most emphatically not democratized by force, though long occupation was part of the change - they were democratized by the West pouring enormous investment of money, energy and brainpower into rebuilding them in both the physical sense and in showing them the way to democratic constitutional government based on the American model. Very critical in that process was a sensitivity to cultural and political situations within those nations - for instance, dealing effectively with the Japanese imperial monarchy and its importance to the Japanese people, in contrast to rebuilding the central German government, which was a relatively new organization even in the 1900s, as what was then Germany had been a very loose group of fractious and squabbling micro-states for hundreds of years after the other major nations of Europe had solidified.

Our rebuilding of those nations took these details into account and worked within the local cultures and politics while introducing powerful new ideas, and extending great generosity. Germany and Japan were able to become strong, free-standing nations, and believe it or not, they do remember our help - because the last thing they expected was for the victors to come in with helping hands to restore their nations. The Japanese were particularly amazed, I recall reading that most of them thought they would all be put to death.

There is exactly none of that sort of powerful, resonant treatment going on in Iraq or pretty much anywhere else we've tampered with local governments since WWII. We're not making friends anymore.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:57 PM on February 2, 2005


trharlan, no, of course she's not earned everything good that's been said about her, people flatter people who they think can help them. But she's gone far further and done far more than the Bush twins will do combined.

Could either Jenna or Barbara (did I call her Laura earlier? oops, sorry mama) qualify to get into Oxford? Could either of them even get an interview at McKinsey? I don't think so.

Has Chelsea benefitted from her parents' power? Undoubtedly. But she's also not sitting on their coat tails and expecting the world. She's actively working to better her position. That cannot be said for the Bush twins who seem to be content to slump around daddy and his rich pals.

Don't get me wrong, if I were going to party with any of them, it'd be the twins. But that wasn't the question.
posted by fenriq at 5:18 PM on February 2, 2005



Listen, it's entirely possible that Chelsea would be even more successful if she wasn't the daughter of Bill and Hillary. In fact, I'm not saying that she hasn't earned every accolade. All I'm saying is that I don't know, and neither do you.


On the other hand, Bush's daughters and neice aren't in jail right now because of who their fathers are.

For that matter, the same could have been said about George himself.

But of course, by all means, keep thinking about the Clintons...
posted by Space Coyote at 5:29 PM on February 2, 2005


Seems to me that if Rush's idea of "deterring the kind of attacks that happened on 9/11" were to be properly executed, it'd have looked something rather more like this:
  • use the best special-ops forces to find and kill Osama and the topmost levels of his terrorist network.
  • implement foreign policy changes that would make the USA a better global citizen from all viewpoints.
    Going to war against Iraq did neither of these things and, indeed, served only to make the terrorism risk much worse.

  • posted by five fresh fish at 5:37 PM on February 2, 2005


    How is it that a citizen like, tkchrist, can form a rational long term alternative plan that has as much if not more chance at success than the war that our president got us into. I really hope that history is not kind to Bush and that one day he finds himself in the Hague on charges of mass murder!

    The people that support this war will never own up to the folly of it all because they could never survive the guilt of all of those lost souls.

    If there was just one if not many alternative ways that regime change could have been accomplished then it was our duty to have pursued another course. But Bush never tried. Bush got into a pissing contest with a megalomaniacal despot but used our young citizens like pawns on a chess board.

    War is the ultimate rape, the ultimate violence. It's the worst of the worst. I thought that the most advanced country on this planet had evolved beyond the need to use war as a political tactic but according to Bush and his supporters war is still a viable means to an end. That's what scares me the most.
    posted by wonway at 6:02 PM on February 2, 2005


    Holy shitake--it's not like the Iraqi people have any choice anyway. After 230 some-odd comments, I'm sure anything I have to say has already been said. But the author of this article should be strung up for writing such naive, short-sighted garbage.
    posted by PuppyCat at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2005


    don't non-state actors live in states?
    Why yes, yes they do live in states, along with everyone else. What's your point? Remind me where most of the 9/11 hijackers were from, anyway?

    Further, if Islamist extremism stems from authoritarianism, doesn't a liberalizing of the middle east help to stem the tide of Islamist terrorism in general?
    If it stemmed from authoritarianism, I suppose this might be reasonable, provided liberalism itself wasn't anathema to Islamic extremists. What makes you think it does? Even if it did, why is one Islamic extremist representative of any other? The real danger is from geographically-disperse but intelligently-managed networks of terrorist cells. This type of grouping is not affected by the rise and fall of authoritarian regimes. It is not fought by attacking countries. It is fought by being intelligent, covert, and capable of striking multiple tiny targets simultaneously.

    Finally, if Arabs percieve that the United States is a corrupt, materialistic behemoth, intent on doing nothing but destroying and consuming, wouldn't a proactive destruction of the dictators that threaten the lives and happiness of Arabs be the very best thing to convince them that liberal institutions can be good?
    No. That requires a leap of logic. This war is portrayed by terrorist recruiters as a war against Islam, not against dictators or regimes. The lazy rhetoric used to justify the war here is just as easily used to recruit new members of terrorist groups elsewhere.
    posted by odinsdream at 7:07 PM on February 2, 2005


    Freen, you're my new hero.

    Grow up. Don't be afraid. Terror terrorizes, that's what makes it effective. Do not allow yourself to be terrorized.

    But we are living in a society that makes it so easy to be terrorized. Just replay the video 100 times in a row; tell me that when you flicked on the news this morning and saw the plane crash in New Jersey your first thought wasn't: terror?

    Just the use of the f*cking word to describe a tactic implies that you've been terrorized. And we have, we relentlesslly have; you'll never fail to make money warning Americans that they're in danger, nor will you fail to earn votes. It's the perpetual terror state, where we must constantly be reminded that the terrorists are on the march - unless we are willing to go the extra mile to stop them.

    And the extra mile, of course, being the gradual erosion of the things that have made this country what it is.
    posted by kgasmart at 7:50 PM on February 2, 2005


    And kgasmart, you're my new hero. Well said.

    I suppose, gentlemen and gentlewomen, that the only thing we have to fear...
    posted by rush at 9:27 PM on February 2, 2005


    Listen, it's entirely possible that Chelsea would be even more successful if she wasn't the daughter of Bill and Hillary. In fact, I'm not saying that she hasn't earned every accolade. All I'm saying is that I don't know, and neither do you.

    On the other hand, we know how Bush II's Yale transcript turned out, so we know that even though he didn't earn any accolades, mum and dad sure helped him out at every turn.
    posted by AlexReynolds at 9:46 PM on February 2, 2005


    tell me that when you flicked on the news this morning and saw the plane crash in New Jersey your first thought wasn't: terror?

    It never crossed my mind.

    For one, planes are so done. For two, I live in Canada where we don't talk about terrorism every day. You don't have to, either.
    posted by KS at 9:54 PM on February 2, 2005


    I lie for truth, I kill for peace, I fuck for Jesus, yeeeee! I'm it! (Pack it, Postroad. It doesn't go down).
    posted by acrobat at 6:42 AM on February 3, 2005


    What if Osama Bin Laden was right about America all along?
    posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on February 3, 2005


    Feh. Our administration shoots pigeons with howitzers, then brags excitedly about it, even when they miss the pigeon and blow up the neighborhood. Morality doesn't enter into it.
    posted by FormlessOne at 10:19 PM on February 3, 2005


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