President Bush today accepted responsibility for decision to go to war against Iraq based on faulty intelligence.
December 14, 2005 8:34 AM   Subscribe

 
If he admits responsibility, he and his adminstration should resign. Or he and Cheney should be impeached, since this is evidence that they went to war under self-admittedly false pretenses.
posted by Rothko at 8:36 AM on December 14, 2005


"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," Bush said. "And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

Step One: Admitting you have a problem.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:37 AM on December 14, 2005


"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," Bush said. "And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."


Considering what's been going on in "reforming" the CIA, I'm sure he'll get exactly the intelligence he's expecting, at least in the near term.
posted by alumshubby at 8:38 AM on December 14, 2005


can you say WHITE WASH ?
posted by phredhead at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2005


I want to see his picture on that "I'm sorry" page.
posted by soyjoy at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2005


Step One: Admitting you someone else (i.e., the CIA) has a problem.
posted by aaronetc at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2005


he lies. and you all fall for it. he didn't make the decision based on any faulty intel. he made the decision long before, and committed to it after 9/11. let's keep the facts straight, hrm?
posted by quonsar at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2005


this is no time to "rewrite history"
posted by nola at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2005


The crucial paragraph:

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," Bush said. "And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

Carefully parsing that sentence indicates that Bush is once again blaming the intelligence community. When Bush apologizes for "cherry-picking the evidence and ignoring advice from much of the State Department and military establishment," I'll eat my hat. Then the impeachment proceedings can begin. Right.
posted by kozad at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2005


It's meaningless unless it's followed by immediate withdrawal or resignation. He also went on about "timetables" and why he won't set one.
posted by amberglow at 8:43 AM on December 14, 2005


Bush went to Iraq because he wanted to finish his father's war, and he thought it would be good for the oil industry. The faulty intelligence was obtained by people who were willing to overlook the appallingly unreliable nature of their sources in order to obtain data, any data, to suit the President's needs.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 8:44 AM on December 14, 2005


And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities.

If part of "what went wrong" was cherry-picking only the intelligence that supported the desired action, how does "reforming our intelligence capabilities" fix that?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2005


It's not like one "accepts" reponsability as if he didn't have them in the first place.
posted by elpapacito at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2005


for the local trolls , a quick refresher.
posted by nola at 8:45 AM on December 14, 2005


Two days ago, he said that knowing what he knows now, he'd start the war anyway.

That's right. Knowing that the intelligence was 'faulty' (i.e, cooked), knowing that there were no WMD's, knowing that Iraq was not a threat to the US, knowing that 30,000 Iraqis and 2,100+ American soldiers would die, he'd do the whole thing all over again anyway.

This is an insane administration.
posted by wadefranklin at 8:46 AM on December 14, 2005


Has this guy ever admitted he was wrong about anything throughout his life? His entire adulthood has been spent in denial. Business failures? Denial. Taking over private property to build a baseball stadium? Denial. Not going AWOL from the National Guard? Denial. Corruption in his gubernatorial campaign? Denial. Corruption during his governership? Denial. Dirty tricks during the first presidential campaign? Denial. Dirty tricks throughout his first presidential term? Denial. Dirty tricks during the most recent presidential campaign? Denial. Denial, denial, denial.

For this guy and his administration to admit they are wrong about anything, anything at all means their tit is in a pretty tight wringer right now. Let's hope it ssssqqqqueeeeezzzzeeesss some more.
posted by mk1gti at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2005


I guess this means he won't seek the nomination of his party in '08?
posted by wfrgms at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2005


Bush is such a worthless shitbag. It was bad enough when he was campaigning for this obviously ill-conceived business venture. Now, to hear him campaign against criticisms by "accepting responsibilities" is the most absurd thing I've ever seen in my fucking life. They are the most insiduous political bastards: destroy/deflect incoming criticisms with PR flak such as this "accept responsibility" bullshit - as if it absolves him completely.

No, sorry you fucking ape, the blood is still all over your hands... no matter how much you play with your own shit.
posted by prostyle at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2005


Wait, are we talking about Bush or King Kong?
posted by NationalKato at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2005


My four-year-old son takes more responsibility for his actions than the President of the United States has demonstrated for his 15,000-dead-and-maimed-Americans, $250-billion-down-the-drain mistake.

OK, I guess it's not so surprising when you look at it that way.
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2005


quonsar has it.

It's long past time to impeach Bush, although I despair of who should be put in his place and how much can be done now that things have gotten this bad.

Just a cheery thought for the holiday season.
posted by Space Kitty at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2005


This is an insane administration.

He laughed and joked after talking about how many were dead that day too: THE PRESIDENT: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis. We've lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq. Yes.

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you --

THE PRESIDENT: I'll repeat the question. If I don't like it, I'll make it up. (Laughter and applause.)


So let's review: immediately after the President told us that more than 32,000 people have been killed, he moved seamlessly into joking around - and the audience yukked it up, as if they either hadn't even heard the casualty count, or didn't care. 32,000 people - that's like filling up an NBA arena and killing everyone in it. How could someone immediately then start hamming it up? Worse, how could the people sitting there laugh along?
posted by amberglow at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2005


At least he never instituted the draft. Remember 2004? When we were all worried about that? He does play with his own feces though, I have heard that.
posted by loquax at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2005


Ironic that "reforming intelligence capabilities" is just a euphemism for the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, surveillance of peaceful Americans, secret prisons, and of course, the torture that goes on within them.
posted by solipse at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2005


In fact Bush also noted that though Iraq did not have WMD, Saddam was using oil for food program to build up WMD, the implication being that he did have some at one time and now would restock them. Bush also noted that the fault is Saddam's beccause he refused to allow inspectors to do their work.

Though I dislike both Bush and his war, his speech was, commentators noted, perhaps his best and most coherent to date on this war issue.
posted by Postroad at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2005


Wait, are we talking about Bush or King Kong?


posted by quonsar at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2005


Insert comment 481380 here.
posted by psmealey at 9:02 AM on December 14, 2005


Bush lying or not isn't the issue. If FDR had told us that we had to fight the Nazis because a purple elephant told him we should, it wouldn't have changed the fact that it was right to fight them. And, though I don't know whether he really lied or simply didn't know, something had to change.

Our foreign policy for the last forty years with regard to middle eastern nations has been, "eh, support a dictator here and a dictator there, they'll kill each other, and God will sort it out." That's a shitty foreign policy. Given that non-involvement isn't an option in the world today, and given that an embargo only killed people without removing the dictator, attacking the tyrants we used to support is at least a good show of faith. And a Shi'a- led, gradually liberalized Iraq, which still seems the most likely outcome, is a good thing, simply because what's good for Muslims is good for us.
posted by koeselitz at 9:03 AM on December 14, 2005


So he's accepting responsibility for having started a war without justification, responsibility for the deaths of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis, and responsibility for taking America's return to fiscal responsibility and grinding it in the dirt?

What's his punishment, a slap on the wrist? I just wonder how lost the remainder of the party loyalists are, hearing their prophet admit he was wrong.
posted by Saydur at 9:03 AM on December 14, 2005


He laughed and joked after talking about how many were dead that day too

Good Lord. He really is sickening. If Blair tried that schtick, there'd be an outcry here. (Not that Blair is any less sickening for having the decorum not to make wisecracks when failing to apologise for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.)
posted by jack_mo at 9:07 AM on December 14, 2005


And a Shi'a- led, gradually liberalized Iraq, which still seems the most likely outcome,

Most likely outcome to who?

What makes you believe that Iraq is going to be 'gradually liberalized?'
posted by Cycloptichorn at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2005


Given that non-involvement isn't an option in the world today, and given that an embargo only killed people without removing the dictator, attacking the tyrants we used to support is at least a good show of faith

Fine then. When do we invade Saudi Arabia? Or, if you dont like that question, why did we pick Iraq over Iran or Syria?
posted by spicynuts at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2005


something had to change

koeselitz, do you think that the 'change' that has occurred in Iraq as the result of this war has been worth the price: $300 billion and counting, 30,000 Iraqi dead, 2100+ American dead, 15,000 Americans maimed, the US seen worldwide as a nation that tortures prisoners, and a politically divided and polarized America?
posted by wadefranklin at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2005


I can't see how attacking a sovereign nation under false pretexts to install what very likely will, instead, be a fundamentalist theocracy is good for Islam or good for us. But, then, I assume anyone who still speaks in favor of this awful war to be insane.
posted by maxsparber at 9:12 AM on December 14, 2005


Why does everyone keep poking ParisParasmus with the sharp stick of that comment? You know he's just going to insist that WMD's were, in fact, found. If you're going to feed the troll, at least wait until he shows up.
posted by you just lost the game at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2005


is it illegal to send bush a case of pretzels for xmas?
posted by troybob at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2005


Why does everyone keep poking ParisParasmus with the sharp stick of that comment?

Because it reminds us what a hypocrite he is.
posted by alumshubby at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2005


"Oh, my bad! Bygones!"

Postroad/koeselitz, et al- If the US had taken the time to to build up an effective international response to Saddam, I don't think many people here would have objected. But NO, we had to do it NOW, and it was OUR way or NO way, because we weren't about to share the Spoils of War with anyone.

Spare me your tapdancing.
posted by mkultra at 9:17 AM on December 14, 2005


Cycloptichorn: "Most likely outcome to who? What makes you believe that Iraq is going to be 'gradually liberalized?'"

A couple of things: economic necessity, first of all. Iraq already had major ties to Europe and Asia which, absent an autocratic government, would have tipped them toward liberalism. Also, so-called 'Islamist' extremism is running its course in the region; it's having its last gasp over in Iran, where people have been putting up with it for years.

Also, it's not really up to Americans to 'save' them; we couldn't do that in the first place, anyway. It's our responsibility to provide some security, but aside from that, it's not our country. I have a feeling that (a) we know that, and (b) they know that enough to revolt the minute our back is turned if we try to own them. What's more, Islamic civilization is capable of more than anybody in the White House probably realizes. Americans are afraid of it because it's not our own, or we're derisive because we like to look down on things; but the thing they're proud of over there, that'll get 'em through.
posted by koeselitz at 9:18 AM on December 14, 2005


Four more years!

Four more years!
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2005


It's long past time to impeach Bush, although I despair of who should be put in his place and how much can be done now that things have gotten this bad.

The order of presidential succesion; read it and weep:

Vice President Dick
Speaker of the House of Representatives- Dennis Hastert
President Pro Tempore of the Senate- Ted Stevens
Secretary of State - Condi
Secretary of the Treasury - John W. Snow
Secretary of Defense - Rummy
Attorney General - Alberto Gonzalez

It is doubtful that it would get even that far, or even past Cheney unless he get's so overjoyed at his promotion that his heart gives out. It seems that impeachment would do more harm than good.

(the list continues, for the curious)
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
posted by leapingsheep at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2005


Postroad, the only WMDs he ever had were the ones we sold to him. He had no programs to make his own ever, and they knew it.
posted by amberglow at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2005


When do we invade Saudi Arabia? Or, if you dont like that question, why did we pick Iraq over Iran or Syria?

Yeah, exactly. I mean, Syria assassinated ANOTHER major opposition guy this week. If GWB got up in front of the UN and said, "It's time for a multinational force to step in and keep Syrian in line", I'd be all over that.

The President of Iran today said... AGAIN... that the Holocaust was a myth used to justify Israel's existence. The president of the most powerful Muslim nation in the world is going around saying this shit. Even the Germans spoke up against him. Where's the outrage coming from DC?
posted by mkultra at 9:22 AM on December 14, 2005


All right, I've realized koeselitz isn't insane. koeselitz is joking with us.

You had me for a moment.
posted by maxsparber at 9:23 AM on December 14, 2005


i doubt it is illegal , but you may find your self in a special camp if you do.
posted by nola at 9:23 AM on December 14, 2005


Bah, this isn't accepting responsibility. Once again it's "I'm sorry that someone else screwed up". As far as accepting responsibility? Great. This changes what precisely now?

Just more spin to further their BS.
posted by Stunt at 9:25 AM on December 14, 2005


oeselitz: it needs to be made clear: we did NOT go to war with Hitler because he was terrible human being. We went to war because we were attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and when we declared war on them, Germany declared war on us...forget the elephant thing. Would we have got into the war had the Japanese not attacked Pearl Harbor?
If you are all for dumping wicked leaders, then we should go into Syria, Iran, N. Korea, China and a batch of other countries.
posted by Postroad at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2005


Three more years, actually.


I thought the WMDs were behind the couch?
posted by spiderwire at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2005


"we weren't about to share the Spoils of War with anyone."

I must have missed the treasure galleons being loaded with plunder and gold.

Or maybe it was the cheaper oil we were getting... no wait...

I have no problem with people being upset with the war, but independant evaluation sites like factcheck.org and others have been looking for evidence of "spoils of war" and haven't found a great deal of it yet (including Halliburton).

It grows wearying to hear people refer to spoils as the reason we went quickly. As if another country like Germany were involved and we were taking "spoils" that somehow Germany would have stopped it from happening.
posted by Drylnn at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2005


When Bush apologizes for "cherry-picking the evidence and ignoring advice from much of the State Department and military establishment," I'll eat my hat.

When Bush apologizes for allowing PNAC to drive his foreign policy to the letter, including manufacturing an excuse to invade Iraq, I'll eat half of your hat for you.

The president of the most powerful Muslim nation in the world is going around saying this shit.

I think that's overstating it; IMHO, Indonesia is the most powerful Muslim nation in the world.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2005


and others have been looking for evidence of "spoils of war"

How many Presidents have not been reelected during wartime?
posted by NationalKato at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2005


It grows wearying to hear people refer to spoils as the reason we went quickly.

So ... we're supposed to be happy that our leaders are morons instead of thieves? Somehow I'm not relieved.

Personally, I think they're both.
posted by spiderwire at 9:33 AM on December 14, 2005


koeselitz:What's more, Islamic civilization is capable of more than anybody in the White House probably realizes. Americans are afraid of it because it's not our own, or we're derisive because we like to look down on things; but the thing they're proud of over there, that'll get 'em through.


I agree that a strong sense of national pride would help the Iraqis; I don't agree that it exists, or that the situation is trending towards stability.

Too many factors involved, not the least of which is amount of money spent and the Iraqi response to next year's invasion of US oil companies.

Cheers
posted by Cycloptichorn at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2005


In recent news, Ronald Reagan was engulfed and destroyed survived quite handily after having decieved a nation by supporting non-mandated wars that killed tens of thousands of people:

From wikipedia:

The U.S. Congress issued its final report on 18 November 1987, which stated that the President bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides and his administration exhibited "secrecy, deception and disdain for the law."

Faced with undeniable evidence of his involvement in the scandal, Reagan expressed regret regarding the situation on national television. In his speech, Reagan stated that he believed what he did was right, and understood how the American people might not think the same way. Nevertheless, Reagan survived the scandal, and would see his approval ratings return to previous levels.


Wonder who Bush II takes his ideas from.
posted by lalochezia at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2005


"we're supposed to be happy that our leaders are morons instead of thieves?"

I didn't say you should be happy about it, I'm just saying it gets wearying to hear the "We did it for plundarrrrrrrr" when there's not a lot of evidence for it. I'm sure someone will answer me with "Here's the Halliburton evidence" at some point...

"How many Presidents have not been reelected during wartime?"

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make (which is probably just me being an idiot). But it seems that statistic has a small sample size. There's been what.... 7 major wars in the country's history?
posted by Drylnn at 9:44 AM on December 14, 2005


spicynuts: "Fine then. When do we invade Saudi Arabia? Or, if you dont like that question, why did we pick Iraq over Iran or Syria?"

Those are easy ones. We don't invade Saudi Arabia because it's unstable enough to already show the cracks: single-product economy, less and less oil production (meaning high reliance on reserves), unsupportable class system... the signs are all there. Not to mention the few gasps of liberalism there have been there, what with the (admittedly not-so-consequential) recent elections. People in Saudi Arabia already know that something has to change. Every rich person who's faced with losing everything they have knows that.

Syria's a pretty deadly hotspot, what with its proximity to Israel/Palestine meaning that any attack might blow way out of control. (Although that seems less likely over the years.) What's more, Syria has had its moments; Bashar al-Assad has tried to paint himself as a liberalizing influence, which, though it's blatantly false, is worth something, since, as we're seeing now, it means we can get him to do things if we push him hard enough.

Iran is the easiest. Iran's government is by no means simply despotic. The 1979 revolution had plenty of democratic (and even communist) elements; the problem was that Ruhollah Khomeini was a cranky, controlling, stupid old man. In the late '90's, things were really looking up in Iran; they were opening up economically, and the president, although he wasn't extremely powerful, was clearly a proponent of liberalization. Ahmadinejad, the current president, is certainly a step backward, but I have a feeling it isn't permanent. I don't think so-called Islamist extremism can last for that much longer among muslims who've seen what government under Khomeini was like.

wadefranklin: "koeselitz, do you think that the 'change' that has occurred in Iraq as the result of this war has been worth the price: $300 billion and counting, 30,000 Iraqi dead, 2100+ American dead, 15,000 Americans maimed, the US seen worldwide as a nation that tortures prisoners, and a politically divided and polarized America?"

Heh. Well, first of all, '30,000 Iraqi dead.' We wonder how many might have died if we hadn't invaded. That is to say, if we'd maintained the embargo, or given Saddam more money. Remember that those are your options when you discuss whether or not we should go to war. I don't believe that this is more than would have died anyhow in Saddam's Iraq or fighting another Iran-Iraq war. (If you think Iran's threats against Israel these days are ridiculous, imagine what kind of threats they'd be making against an internationally-despised dictator who gassed their people back in the '80s?) As for money and for American lives: yes, anybody who claims that Iraq posed an immediate threat, and that American lives were therefore at risk, is uninformed. But the simple fact is that, as I said above, something has to happen. If people in the middle east don't get a chance to move forward economically and to create their own forms of government, if we instead simply keep supporting the system of oppression, then, not only will the world really be overrun by terrorists, but the globe won't really function right anymore. It doesn't really matter what 'the rest of the world' thinks of us. Do you wonder what people will think when you jump in to save your friend in a fight?

mkultra: "If the US had taken the time to to build up an effective international response to Saddam, I don't think many people here would have objected."

I've been wondering how he could have done that, given that I don't think weapons were exactly his reason for doing it in the first place. I think he tried his best. But, perhaps, if it were me, I would've gone to the UN complaining about 'human rights abuses' and demanding a 'humanitarian mission.' It would've been more true, and it would've been more effective.
posted by koeselitz at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2005


As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq

This is clearly an acceptance of responsibility.

But this quote in the same speech:

My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision. Saddam was a threat and the American people

Saddam was not a threat to the American people, because he just said that was based on faulty intelligence.
posted by stbalbach at 9:47 AM on December 14, 2005


Drylnn, I was trying to point out that 'the spoils of war' are not always material items equated to wealth. Sometimes, the spoils can be policy changes, administrative changes, and changes to the law.
posted by NationalKato at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2005


Wonder who Bush II takes his ideas from.

lalochezia, there's an interesting issue there-- Reagan intervened on behalf of non-communist autocrats in Latin America. Today, we are saying that we're trying to spread peace, love, and democracy in the Middle East. I'd love it if that's really the way we were orienting our foreign policy-- but I think it's a rationale crafted to fit a desire to go to war against Saddam. (Not that it was totally irrational to want to step up pressure on him).

While "we're fighting for democracy" is a prime Republican talking point now, there's been no grappling with our not-too-recent past as far as I've seen. That makes me think that the Republican conversion to Wilsonianism is a centimeter deep. A future Democratic president who does something like what Clinton did in Serbia will get near-zero support from Republicans.

I would've gone to the UN complaining about 'human rights abuses' and demanding a 'humanitarian mission.' It would've been more true, and it would've been more effective.

Exactly, koeselitz. Or we could have held off just a few weeks and let Saddam exhaust the world's patience with his obstruction of the inspectors. I worry that we're so unpopular now, that we're discrediting the very idea of democracy, at least in the Middle East. (Think how "federalism," a generally Good Thing, is a toxic notion in Indonesia because of its association with its colonial past).
posted by ibmcginty at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2005


The president of the most powerful Muslim nation in the world is going around saying this shit.

I think that's overstating it; IMHO, Indonesia is the most powerful Muslim nation in the world.


Actually, if the US is the world's lone superpower, wouldn't the most powerful Muslim nation in the world be the one whose citizens have organized, financed and executed the vast majority of terrorist attacks against the US and its allies the world over without any real consequences or change to its status as a close and trusted American ally? Saudi Arabia, I'm looking through a veil and a flagrant disregard for human rights in your general direction.

/off-topic

On-topic: This is spin. This is the Bush Regime's equivalent of the Nixon gang's non-denial denial.
posted by gompa at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2005


I think that's overstating it; IMHO, Indonesia is the most powerful Muslim nation in the world.

Don't you mean Pakistan?
posted by loquax at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2005


Postroad: "it needs to be made clear: we did NOT go to war with Hitler because he was terrible human being. We went to war because we were attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and when we declared war on them, Germany declared war on us...forget the elephant thing. Would we have got into the war had the Japanese not attacked Pearl Harbor?"

Fair enough. But Roosevelt was telling everybody he could before Pearl Harbor that the Japanese buildup couldn't be allowed to stand. Lots of people didn't agree with him, and, even after the Germans declared war, plenty of people in the US thought we shouldn't have fought them. It took some time, and a recognition of what the Germans really did during WW2, for many people to see that it was right to fight the Nazis.

It's important to note this: 'internationalism,' or whatever you wish to call it, is Roosevelt's legacy. It was he who pulled the US into the 20th century by convincing us to take an active and immediate part in world politics. That was a major turning point, and that's what I was alluding to when I mentioned Roosevelt and WW2.

"If you are all for dumping wicked leaders, then we should go into Syria, Iran, N. Korea, China and a batch of other countries."


I already went through Syria and Iran up above. (And if you think that Iran is simply at the hands of "wicked leaders," you should know that it's more complex than that. The whole "axis of evil" thing was off-base, if you ask me.) N. Korea is a bit dangerous because K. J. Il might actually have pretty devastating weapons, and, unlike Saddam, he's insane enough to use them; it's going to be very difficult, and will take a lot of care and hope, to fix that problem. China... invade China? Seriously, invade a nation of several billion and topple the ruling 4 or 5 %? That's not really within our capabilities, sadly. And China is a complex case too; there are places in China which are almost democratic... and then there are places where you wouldn't send your worst enemy.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2005


How is taking responsibility and laying the blame elsewhere consistent? If he's responsible for using bad intelligence then he should resign and take his posse of cronies with him.

How George W. Bush has any credibility with anyone in this country is shocking to me (assuming you're not on his pal payroll, of course).
posted by fenriq at 10:04 AM on December 14, 2005


ibmcginty: "Exactly, koeselitz. Or we could have held off just a few weeks and let Saddam exhaust the world's patience with his obstruction of the inspectors. I worry that we're so unpopular now, that we're discrediting the very idea of democracy, at least in the Middle East. (Think how "federalism," a generally Good Thing, is a toxic notion in Indonesia because of its association with its colonial past)."

Good points. Here are a few thoughts I have:

First, I still don't know how effective going to the UN like that would've been. There were a lot of people in Europe and all over who had a stake in keeping Saddam in power, not only because of Oil-for-Food, but because Saddam had established every kind of economic ties he could with the right people. He wasn't a stupid man.

Second, while I might be worried that this would hurt the reputation of democracy in general, I don't think we have much to lose at this point. All of the major threats to world peace over the last few hundred years have come from the West anyhow. If this is the right thing to do-- if it works-- it will be fine, anyway.

Third, the real reason I'm not so concerned about the reputation of democracy is because I'm not so keen on the idea that the Muslims need to be taught these new tricks by the West. With just a little bit of exaggeration, it can be said that the whole idea of 'open societies' and tolerance of other viewpoints came to the west via Averroes, Ibn Rushd, who was, after all, a Muslim. They have it in them already; if we can facilitate it in any way, it may end up that we have more to learn from them than they do from us.
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on December 14, 2005


Bush also noted that the fault is Saddam's beccause he refused to allow inspectors to do their work. - postroad

Was it Bush ran the inspectors out of Iraq or Bush? Seems to me it was Bush. But then, maybe I'm rewriting history.

As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq
This is clearly an acceptance of responsibility. - stbalbach

No, that is clearly only the repetition of a fact. All Presidents are responsible for such actions. "I was wrong and I'm sorry" would be an acceptance of responsibility for this quagmire.
posted by nofundy at 10:07 AM on December 14, 2005


oeselitz: it needs to be made clear: we did NOT go to war with Hitler because he was terrible human being. We went to war because we were attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and when we declared war on them, Germany declared war on us...forget the elephant thing. Would we have got into the war had the Japanese not attacked Pearl Harbor?

Are you saying that if Japan had never attacked, we would have been morally obligated to stay out of the war? It's generally accepted that FDR wanted to get involved but didn't have enough domestic support, so in a sense Pearl Harbor was good luck for him. That's the same situation that this war has for Bush, except that 9-11 was not a plausible reason to invade Iraq, although somehow people were convinced by it. But as some have said above, Bush already had the invasion in mind, and just needed excuses to go forward, just as FDR already wanted to join the allies against fascism before the japanese attacked.

So the question of WMDs, etc, is really secondary to the underlying question of whether this war is justified as foreign policy in the middle east. Was WWII justified in your eyes? I think most people would agree that the US was an important component to the defeat of Hitler, and that the defeat of Hitler was unquestionably a Good Thing. So our question here should be whether instituting democracy in Iraq is going to lead to a better world.

I have been conflicted over this from the start, because I think the Bush administration is largely incompetent and incapable of working with others; I think they did not fully understand what they were getting into, and that they are far too willing to try to force things than to work things through, but at the same time I am somewhat open to the Chris Hitchens view. Why Iraq rather than Saudi Arabia, etc? Well, Iraq's dictator did have more likelihood of 'acting out', of invading other countries, etc, was less fundamentally rooted (was propped up by outside forces, like, uh, the US), and the country was largely split over his power, i.e., lots of Iraqis were opposed to him. Plus Iraq already had strong economic ties to first world nations that could help in setting up a new democracy.

Will it work? It will definitely take a lot longer than people want it to, and it may never fully work, the way Israel still doesn't really work. Invading without a clear plan and strong european support was really a bad idea, especially because geographically, Europe is the one who has to deal with the repercussions. Europe is right there next to the middle east, andd sometimes it seems like in this modern internetted world that doesn't matter, but I still find when I'm in europe that it does. America is kind of isolated & out of touch on some level. If it does work, will that make everything okay? He still went about it the wrong way, in my opinion. There needed to be a lot more negotiating, consideration, & investigation. If it fails, will that make it completely wrong? In a sense, I'm not convinced the intentions were so far off; just the method and the attitude. Basically, this needs to have happened throught he UN and as a coalition...
posted by mdn at 10:08 AM on December 14, 2005


Point taken re: Iran vs. Pakistan/Indonesia, et al. But, my point stands- Iran is not to be dismissed lightly.

I didn't say you should be happy about it, I'm just saying it gets wearying to hear the "We did it for plundarrrrrrrr" when there's not a lot of evidence for it. I'm sure someone will answer me with "Here's the Halliburton evidence" at some point.

Hello? All those "no-bid" contracts? Halliburton may not be doing a very good job, but they're certainly making a lot of money not doing it. If there were a true multi-national force, you'd be seeing a lot of foreign companies scooping up those contracts.
posted by mkultra at 10:08 AM on December 14, 2005


*weeps*
posted by Space Kitty at 10:09 AM on December 14, 2005


posted by fenriq How George W. Bush has any credibility with anyone in this country is shocking to me (assuming you're not on his pal payroll, of course).

It's the same reason people smoke cigarettes and eat McDonald's --it's a combination of denial and ignorance.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2005


koeselitz: "China... invade China? Seriously, invade a nation of several billion and topple the ruling 4 or 5 %? That's not really within our capabilities, sadly."

I've had enough of your Tom Clancy/Revisionist History Mashup, I think we're well past the fourth or fifth round of that bullshit. Your statements are incredibly embarassing and I honestly feel sorry for someone who would go off on such a ridiculous rant (to defend these worthless assholes) by painting things with such an incredibly wide brush that they touch on WW2, Iran/N Korea, Syria, and China all in the same fell swoop.

I'd hate to live in your version of the world where the US isn't crippled by their "inability" to do whatever the fuck they want under whatever pretexts they consider necessary. Your blocks of texts are more than worthless, they are offensive and derisive to rational thought.
posted by prostyle at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2005


Halliburton's 5-Year stock graph:


posted by mkultra at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2005


Tom Clancy/Revisionist History Mashup

Truth be told, Protocols of the Elders of Red October was a bit underwhelming, but I found The Sum of All Illuminatus! Fears was a rippin' page-turner.
posted by mkultra at 10:23 AM on December 14, 2005


Don't you mean Pakistan?

No. And it was just my humble opinion.

And: Holy shit, prostyle. Take a pill.
posted by solid-one-love at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2005


Can you say, PAR FOR THE METAFILTER COURSE?
posted by ParisParamus at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2005


amberglow writes "32,000 people - that's like filling up an NBA arena and killing everyone in it."

amber, I believe the words you`re looking for are "32,000 people - that's like filling up an NOLA SuperDome and killing everyone in it." Well, they tried, but faulty intelligence prevented the completion. It was, anyway, a heck of job...

Drylnn writes "I'm just saying it gets wearying to hear the 'We did it for plundarrrrrrrr'"

A non-Halliburton originated reason for going to war - not all thieves are Vice-Presidential or agree with all plans...
posted by nkyad at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2005




Ugh. That should read A non-Halliburton originated reason for going to war - note that not all thieves are Vice- Presidential or even agree with all plans...
posted by nkyad at 10:30 AM on December 14, 2005


If part of "what went wrong" was cherry-picking only the intelligence that supported the desired action, how does "reforming our intelligence capabilities" fix that?

That's easy: reform the agencies so you don't have to cherry pick to get the data you want.
posted by MikeKD at 10:30 AM on December 14, 2005


I'm saddened to think that anyone (such as koeselitz) believes that war is an acceptable tool of foreign policy, if and when it is 'within our capabilities.'

War is an abomination that can only be justified as an absolute last resort, when one's very existence is directly threatened.

The idea that we have some God-given right to alter the politics of sovereign nations through the use of bombs, artillery, guns, white phosphorus, torture, and rivers of gore is an appalling point of view.
posted by wadefranklin at 10:34 AM on December 14, 2005


The White House Iraq Group’s doctrine, in a nutshell, has ample evidence that the Saudis, including the royal family, are up to their eyeballs in financing Wahhabi extremism, and this includes Al Qaeda... Effective prosecution of the War on Terror must include taking a hard line against the Saudis, the neo-con doctrine goes, but no U.S. executive branch has felt it could without jeopardizing the US’s lifeline to a stable national oil supply. The neo-cons believe that sponsoring a client state in oil-rich Iraq will guarantee the U.S. stable oil imports enabling it to deal from strength when confronting Saudi Arabia about terror and the need for continuity of Saudi oil flow to the US at a time of increasing world demand.
Daniel Ellsberg on Exiting Iraq

If that was the theory, and we invaded Iraq so as to have a dependable source of oil while dealing with those elements in Saudi Arabia who are our real enemies in the War on Terror, well.... consider the practice:
It is one thing to have traveled to the area as a senior government official. It is another to have lived there and worked with the people of the region for long periods of time. People with that kind of experience in the Muslim world are strangely absent from Team Bush. In the game plan for the Arab and Islamic world, most of the government's veteran Middle East experts were largely shut out. The Pentagon civilian bureaucracy of the Bush administration, dominated by an inner circle of think-tankers, lawyers and former Senate staffers, virtually hung out a sign, 'Arabic Speakers Need Not Apply.' They effectively purged the process of Americans who might have inadvertently developed sympathies for the people of the region.Instead of including such veterans in the planning process, the Bush team opted for amateurs...
Drinking the Kool-Aid
posted by y2karl at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2005


That's easy: reform the agencies so you don't have to cherry pick to get the data you want.

Yup. They'll pre-cherry pick so you don't have to, or else torture til they hear what they want.
posted by amberglow at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2005


Your statements are incredibly embarassing and I honestly feel sorry for someone who would go off on such a ridiculous rant (to defend these worthless assholes) by painting things with such an incredibly wide brush that they touch on WW2, Iran/N Korea, Syria, and China all in the same fell swoop.

As a mildly educated individual, I am going to have to agree with this sentiment.
posted by mek at 10:45 AM on December 14, 2005


The idea that we have some God-given moral right duty to alter the politics of save the citizens of sovereign nations criminal totalitarian states through the use of bombs, artillery, guns, white phosphorus, torture, and rivers of gore diplomacy, economics, and military means when necessary is an appalling noble point of view.
posted by loquax at 10:45 AM on December 14, 2005


Nice whitewash, loquax. Paint over all of the gore with nice pretty words.
posted by wadefranklin at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2005


wadefranklin: "I'm saddened to think that anyone (such as koeselitz) believes that war is an acceptable tool of foreign policy, if and when it is 'within our capabilities.'"

I'm disturbed that you think the lives of Chinese people are worth so little. I don't doubt that it'd be better if somebody else did it, but wouldn't it be nice to see the government in China replaced with something better? Look back up there, and notice that that's all that I was implying. I'm no neocon.

"The idea that we have some God-given right to alter the politics of sovereign nations through the use of bombs, artillery, guns, white phosphorus, torture, and rivers of gore is an appalling point of view."

Where have I heard this before? Hmm... ah yes...

"How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing."-Neville Chamberlain, 1939

Sorry if the reference seems pedantic, but you're being somewhat blustery and self-righteous. I think it's therefore deserved. In case it needs to be spelled out: now, we can't help but alter the politics of sovereign nations. We're tangled up in the affairs of every other nation; that's the way the world works.

posted by koeselitz at 10:48 AM on December 14, 2005


Paint over all of the gore postive motives and results of the war in Iraq with nice pretty words partisan rhetoric, shrill paranoia, imbalanced reporting and selective disclosure. Funny, the very things a certain administration is lambasted for.
posted by loquax at 10:51 AM on December 14, 2005


...
posted by prostyle at 10:52 AM on December 14, 2005


---
posted by loquax at 10:55 AM on December 14, 2005


///
posted by koeselitz at 10:55 AM on December 14, 2005


I predict that there will be cries to impeach every single president from now on.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:57 AM on December 14, 2005


Paint over all of the gore postive motives and results of the war in Iraq [snip]

Could someone please tell me what we really accomplished there other than making 80% of the Iraqi citizenry our sworn enemies for generations?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:59 AM on December 14, 2005


???
posted by Space Kitty at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2005


OC, we've pretty much made Iran a superpower, which is a good thing if you're Iranian, I guess.
posted by Rothko at 11:01 AM on December 14, 2005


blue_beetle writes "I predict that there will be cries to impeach every single president from now on"

I am not so familiar with this aspect American History, but haven't there been cries to impeach every single president since 1776?
posted by nkyad at 11:01 AM on December 14, 2005


was an asshole, is an asshole, will always be an asshole.

I grow weary just thinking about Bush..
posted by HuronBob at 11:04 AM on December 14, 2005


posted by koeselitz I'm disturbed that you think the lives of Chinese people are worth so little. I don't doubt that it'd be better if somebody else did it, but wouldn't it be nice to see the government in China replaced with something better?

Before you go round making these somewhat strident and poorly-considered protests, maybe you ought to explain why so many of them are making tennis shoes and working in call centers and propping up our economy.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:05 AM on December 14, 2005


loquax writes "The idea that we have some God-given moral right duty to alter the politics of save the citizens of sovereign nations criminal totalitarian states through the use of bombs, artillery, guns, white phosphorus, torture, and rivers of gore diplomacy, economics, and military means when necessary is an appalling noble point of view."

If that was even near truth, there were a long line of countries that should have had their regimes changed well before anyone even thought about an already contained petty dictator who was more than eager for a way back into civilized company.
posted by nkyad at 11:05 AM on December 14, 2005


This also gets tiring, but I'll risk the derail:

"It's generally accepted that FDR wanted to get involved but didn't have enough domestic support, so in a sense Pearl Harbor was good luck for him."

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mpearlharbor.html

Even so, without the Japanese attack, America would never have declared war upon Japan.

Not true. Most people point to the August 1941 resolution to keep draftees on duty for more than twelve months, a measure that passed by the narrowest of margins, 203-202. But antiwar sentiment was waning quickly, especially in the wake of German U-boat attacks upon American vessels. In September, a poll showed 67 percent of the American public felt the United States should risk war rather than allow Japan to grow more powerful; 70 percent felt the United States should risk war with Germany. Many in Roosevelt's cabinet and the press felt that the President would have no difficulty in getting a declaration of war against Japan following the breakdown in peace negotiations in late November. But it was Roosevelt who refused to push the issue, instead waiting for Japan to make the first move.

posted by Drylnn at 11:09 AM on December 14, 2005


The idea that we have some moral duty to save the kill thousands of citizens of criminal totalitarian states (that the U.S. propped up) through the use of bombs, artillery, guns, white phosphorus, torture, and rivers of gore when necessary is an appalling point of view.
posted by badger_flammable at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2005


"My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision," the president said. "Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power."

I love how he tries to shift focus with statements like this. He keeps trotting out soundbites like this as if this is the crux of the controversy. I personally find this insulting. Is anyone worried about the decision that Saddam was a bad man? (For those that missed it; yes, saddam was a bad, bad man) The decision that most of the country, and some fairly significant portions of the world, have an issue with is the decision to present false evidence as pretence to go to war. I don't know why the media even bothers to quote this type of thing. I would think at this point that they would interrupt him and say, "yeah yeah yeah, so anyway what about the whole lying to the people you are supposed to represent thing?".
posted by Dr No at 11:28 AM on December 14, 2005


we need a recall election, like they do in California.
posted by amberglow at 11:49 AM on December 14, 2005


koeselitz wrote:
Those are easy ones. We don't invade Saudi Arabia because it's unstable enough to already show the cracks ...

Syria's a pretty deadly hotspot, what with its proximity to Israel/Palestine meaning that any attack might blow way out of control ...
and the war in Iraq, by contrast, is a shining example of a perfectly controlled conflict that hasn't exceeded its initial scope and is totally going according to plan.
Iran is the easiest. Iran's government is by no means simply despotic ... in the late '90's, things were really looking up in Iran; they were opening up economically, and the president, although he wasn't extremely powerful, was clearly a proponent of liberalization.
and for all of that his country gets rewarded with the Axis of Evil monicker, and the hardliners in Iran get to say, "see! see where all of this moderation gets us?! The Great Satan still shits in our turbans and makes us think it's hair."

k, the problem with your analysis is that, by all lights, the Middle East could well be on the road towards democracy without war. As you say, there are moderating influences, liberalization in the air. All it needs are a few catalysts; to inspire the population and bring about change.

Support Lebanese independence from Syria. Support Palestinian self-determination. Pressure Mubarak and the Sauds to liberalize their politics. Reward the moderates. All of these objectives encourage democracy and freedom in the region, yet war proponents insist that Iraq is in the critical path for all of these developments, but they never explain why.

So, here's your follow-up: why would containment of Iraq have been an obstacle to the reform of Fatah? How would Saddam have interfered in the Cedar Revolution? Would the Islamic Brotherhood still be excluded from Egyptian politics if the Oil-For-Food program were still running?
posted by bl1nk at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2005


yeah, so you'll get President Schwarzenegger thanks to some weird amendment
posted by matteo at 12:17 PM on December 14, 2005


koeselitz, your equating of those who wanted to see a more peaceful end to Hussein's tyranny with Neville Chamberlain shows both a lack of historical perspective and a total lack of fucking respect.
posted by mkultra at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2005


It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong... Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power.
Oh, I see. The intelligence that said that Iraq was a threat to us was wrong. It turns out that Saddam Hussein personally was the real threat.
posted by Western Infidels at 12:27 PM on December 14, 2005


yeah, so you'll get President Schwarzenegger thanks to some weird amendment

Only if Emperor Bush II doesn't do away "with that goddamned piece of paper" first.
posted by Rothko at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2005


If he admits responsibility, he and his adminstration should resign.

"The very rich are different from you and me," as F. Scott Fitzgerald said. For regular people, admitting responsibility for a colossal screwup, or even a catastrophic success, would mean you'd resign or get fired. For rich and powerful people, taking responsibilty doesn't mean much other than saying "I take responsibility." There aren't any real repurcussions.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2005


Hrm, seems like he hasn't actually suffered from the "responsibility" he's taken for the horrible response to Katrina, so I'm guessing not a damn thing is going to happen now either. What a friggin shock.

I am noticing less Bush/Cheney 2004 bumper stickers on the road now. That's nice, or something.
posted by Talanvor at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2005


I am noticing less Bush/Cheney 2004 bumper stickers on the road now

Well, it's two winters later. All that salt and slush and whatnot must be ruining them. Don't count on seeing too many Clinton/Obama stickers popping up in their stead.
posted by loquax at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2005


Western Infidels, yes, that is the signal demogoguery of the pro-war, conflating Hussein with Iraq. Funny, we didn't backed off of this word-painting with Khaddafi/Libya, he's now our pal, even though he had killed hundreds of civs and US troops. TANJ.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:20 PM on December 14, 2005


loquax, not much snow in Cedar Park, TX.

Bush's falling numbers are documented here, tho I do agree that a McCain ticket will recover nearly all of the disaffected, and then some.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:25 PM on December 14, 2005


Basically, this needs to have happened throught he UN and as a coalition...

ayup, that was the majoritarian view in the US, until it became clear that Bush was going in regardless.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:27 PM on December 14, 2005


YOU have the nerve to speak about "shrill paranoia", loquax? you, sitting in Canada, scared shitless by terrorists? grow some fucking balls already.
posted by mr.marx at 1:28 PM on December 14, 2005


I agree with mr.marx, Canada is way too cold for terrorists to go after during the winter. Loquax, definitely grow a pair.
posted by Rothko at 1:33 PM on December 14, 2005


Indeed. America fucking owns terrornoia.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:06 PM on December 14, 2005


THE PREZ'S IRAQ LOGIC --... President Bush recalled that between the end of the Revolutionary War and the approval of our Constitution was a period of six years that were filled with rebellions, tensions threatening the nation's fragile post-war unity and a horde of veterans angry about not getting paid. The point of the comparison was to remind Americans that building a democracy is never easy. If the comparison seemed far too convenient, it was.

The American fight for liberty came about after 75 years of monarchial rule during the English colonial era. It did not take an invasion from Spain to "liberate" the English colonists - we broke free when we were ready. ...

posted by amberglow at 2:08 PM on December 14, 2005


mkultra: "koeselitz, your equating of those who wanted to see a more peaceful end to Hussein's tyranny with Neville Chamberlain shows both a lack of historical perspective and a total lack of fucking respect."

Mr. Franklin was doing much more than "wanting to see a more peaceful end to Hussein's tyranny," my friend. He was, for some reason, lamenting my wish (and it's not my wish, believe me; I don't know how y'all come up with this stuff) that the United States would invade China.

Geez, it was somebody else's idea. All I did was said it was a bad idea to invade China.

posted by koeselitz at 2:44 PM on December 14, 2005


YOU have the nerve to speak about "shrill paranoia", loquax? you, sitting in Canada, scared shitless by terrorists? grow some fucking balls already.

Scared? Of terrorists? Not me. I agree that balls are important in a time like this. I'm sure you'll therefore agree with my braggadocio when I quote a certain political figure in saying "bring them on!"

I agree with mr.marx, Canada is way too cold for terrorists to go after during the winter. Loquax, definitely grow a pair.


Days like these up here, I wish I didn't have a pair. In fact, it's so cold that I barely do, so you guys may be right after all. Goddamn George Bush and his lack of results on the weather control device!
posted by loquax at 2:59 PM on December 14, 2005


Scared? Of terrorists? Not me.

LOL!
posted by mr.marx at 3:11 PM on December 14, 2005


koeselitz, perhaps I misunderstood you. I interpreted your posts here as indicating that you do feel that it is acceptable to wage war as an instrument of foreign policy in the case of Iraq, where it was 'within our capabilities.' My post referred directly to the invasion of Iraq, and had nothing to do with China. I am sorry if that was not clear.

And in the case of my direct question to you as to whether you think the results in Iraq have been worth the cost, I think you evaded the question. A simple 'yes' or 'no' would have answered it sufficiently.

I would like to make it clear that I am a pacifist, not an appeaser. There is a difference. I am not aware that anything positive has ever been accomplished by appeasement. On the other hand, the achievements of pacifists such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. speak for themselves. These men are my inspiration.

To compare me to Chamberlain is to rehash the old and fully debunked 'Saddam is Hitler' argument. It was clear that Hitler was a direct and immediate threat to the entire world. It was clear that Saddam was not.
posted by wadefranklin at 3:12 PM on December 14, 2005


Scared? Of terrorists? Not me.

LOL!


mr.marx, I was joking. I will state here for the record that I am quite scared of terrorists, terrorism and the impact thereof. When my testicles descend, I'll let you know.
posted by loquax at 3:18 PM on December 14, 2005


It was clear that Hitler was a direct and immediate threat to the entire world. It was clear that Saddam was not.

Hitler was what now? How was he a direct and immediate threat to anyone outside of continental Europe, (much of which didn't mind him at all, especially given the options)? Was the prospect of goosestepping down the mall imminent? I don't think so. He didn't even want to fight England. Much of England and the US didn't even want to fight him! The Royals thought he was a swell chap! He was most certainly a threat, but it was no more direct and imminent to the US than Hussein's. Stalin beat the crap out of him with a mere 10 million peasants, two to a gun (again, not that there weren't plenty of people cheering him on against the communists). Both were indirect and long-term threats to both the US and to liberalism in general. The advent of the nuclear weapons age may even give the slight edge to Hussein, as it was more likely that at some point he would have used a bomb against the US or others than the Nazis, unless the Germans would have developed one first. Hmm. Let's call the directness and imminence of their relative threats a draw.
posted by loquax at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2005


"I will state here for the record that I am quite scared of terrorists, terrorism and the impact thereof."

I think we're all saying that you really shouldn't be, loquax. You're just not a target, though perhaps it makes you feel better to think that you are. I'm not really meaning to be snarky, I'm just reacting to what we've all seen on here as your great fear of the terrorists, which in my opinion (and clearly many of our fellow MeFites's) is totally unwarranted given your actual situation.

Living in fear makes people crazy, and makes them do dangerous, crazy things. Like become terrorists, for instance.

Oh and BTW: Hitler was working on developing nuclear weapons. Had he been allowed to take over Europe and consolidate his position, he probably would have completed that work and had the bomb first. Where do you think he would have dropped the first one? And what do you think the world's reaction to that would have been? Hitler was clearly the kind of guy who would use such a weapon in a first attack; certainly he would have nuked London and Moscow had he managed to develop a bomb early enough in the war.

However, discussion of Hitler is not germane to the current discussion, so we should get off that.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2005


Responsibility without consequences is less than nothing.
posted by clevershark at 3:35 PM on December 14, 2005


Oh, so now instead of inflating Saddam to the stature of Hitler, we're deflating Hitler to the stature of Saddam.

Hitler declared war on the US. Hitler had U-boats directly off the shore of the US. Hitler supported Japan in their brutal domination of the Far East. Hitler invaded Africa. Hitler was a far greater threat to world peace and stability than Saddam could ever possibly have been.
posted by wadefranklin at 3:37 PM on December 14, 2005


War is an abomination that can only be justified as an absolute last resort, when one's very existence is directly threatened.

koeselitz, your equating of those who wanted to see a more peaceful end to Hussein's tyranny with Neville Chamberlain shows both a lack of historical perspective and a total lack of fucking respect.


To suggest that war is absolutely only justifiable when one's own existence is directly threatened seems to be in line with those who opposed stepping into the mess with germany. It was not directly threatening to england at that time - Hitler wanted land to the east, some portion of which had previously belonged to germany... I think it's plausible to suggest you lack historical perspective to imply that Chamberlain's position was so obviously misguided. At the time it was an attempt to support peace, to not get involved in 'other people's problems', to generally be tolerant and reasonable. It's only in retrospect that we are so dismissive of his approach, since now we can see how he misunderstood things, how he was naive and how dreadful the threats/intents really were.

I'm not saying that this war is equivalent, but I do think that some of the anti-war people are making stupidly blanket statements about the whole thing. I understand the sentiment, of course - I was 18 years old once too - but "war is bad, peace is good" is not a foreign policy. If you want to establish an isolationist foreign policy, you have to be prepared for how global concerns like economics, the environment, and, perhaps, if you care about such things, humanitarian needs, are affected by that. If you want to be involved internationally, then military power is inherently part of the equation, although one certainly hopes it's not expected to be the whole story.
posted by mdn at 3:41 PM on December 14, 2005


mdn, for the record, I'm not 18 years old, I'm 49.

There are a lot of other countries that are 'involved internationally' without invading and bombing other countries.

I am going to make one last statement here, and then stop making such an insufferable ass of myself:

There can be no greater evil than a 'war of choice.' Fight a war if you must, if it is forced upon you, if you have no other choice. To choose to wage war when one is not directly threatened is, as I have said, an abomination.

Thank you and goodnight.
posted by wadefranklin at 3:50 PM on December 14, 2005


posted by zoogleplex Hitler was working on developing nuclear weapons. Had he been allowed to take over Europe and consolidate his position, he probably would have completed that work and had the bomb first.

Thank goodness Edith Keeler was hit by that truck.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:52 PM on December 14, 2005


I think we're all saying that you really shouldn't be, loquax. You're just not a target, though perhaps it makes you feel better to think that you are.

I disagree. I'm being a little tongue in cheek here. I'm not stocking up dry goods and building shacks in the mountains. And I'm not actually scared of being killed by a terrorist. I'm afraid of what unchecked terrorism does. I don't want the world to be like Israel, where the constant and very real threat of terrorist bombs has a serious impact on the economy, stability and politics of the country, and the everyday life of the citizens, let alone the people actually killed and their families. Looking back on history, it's foolish not to be afraid of what terrorism can accomplish, and that's why every effort should be made to prevent and mitigate it. Of course irrational fear and illogical responses are bad, and should be prevented. I just don't think that we've gotten to the point that the reaction has been out of proportion to the threat. I know, I know, the PATRIOT act, secret jails, so on. I disagree with the general consensus around here, let's leave it at that.

However, discussion of Hitler is not germane to the current discussion, so we should get off that.


Agreed (and I agree with mdn), though I'm not really sure what the thread is about at this point.
posted by loquax at 3:52 PM on December 14, 2005


what wade said--it really is an abomination, and it's impossible invade and occupy other countries (an inherently undemocratic act) in order to create democracy (just one of the many and shifting rationales for this war).

In October 2003, President Bush gave Condoleezza Rice the authority to manage postwar Iraq. ...
Today, it was deja vu all over again:
The White House formally gave Condoleezza Rice authority on Wednesday to take the lead in planning and reconstruction efforts in conflict areas such as Iraq. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:56 PM on December 14, 2005


fandango_matt: heh... yeah. But even given that fictional supposition, it is certainly possible that it could have happened that way. :)

"I just don't think that we've gotten to the point that the reaction has been out of proportion to the threat."

Leaving out all the other stuff you mentioned, I'd venture the opinion that attacking and occupying a nation-state that, as far as anyone can tell, had no plausible connection to the actual terrorists who did and are doing the violence (disregarding any other problems with Saddam for the purposes of discussing fear of the terrorist threat), is a bit out of proportion to the actual threat.

Which is probably something else you disagree with, but consider most of us feel, with good reason, that the effect on the terrorists would have been the same had we invaded, say, New Zealand, which had about the same amount to do with Al Qaeda.

In any event... Bush's "acceptance of responsibility" will have little effect on him. I agree with those above who point out Reagan's apology, and scot-free escape, following Iran-Contra.
posted by zoogleplex at 4:14 PM on December 14, 2005


Hitler was what now? How was he a direct and immediate threat to anyone outside of continental Europe, (much of which didn't mind him at all, especially given the options)? Was the prospect of goosestepping down the mall imminent? I don't think so. He didn't even want to fight England. Much of England and the US didn't even want to fight him! The Royals thought he was a swell chap! He was most certainly a threat, but it was no more direct and imminent to the US than Hussein's. Stalin beat the crap out of him with a mere 10 million peasants, two to a gun (again, not that there weren't plenty of people cheering him on against the communists). Both were indirect and long-term threats to both the US and to liberalism in general. The advent of the nuclear weapons age may even give the slight edge to Hussein, as it was more likely that at some point he would have used a bomb against the US or others than the Nazis, unless the Germans would have developed one first. Hmm. Let's call the directness and imminence of their relative threats a draw.

Hmm. Let's not.

This is by far the stupidest thing I've ever seen written on this site, and that's saying a lot.

There's not space nor do I have the inclination to write a contrary opinion, but you might think about things such as natural resources and the world economy before you say that a Fascist takeover of Europe (oh, and the Med region) has no consequence to the rest of the world. Oh, and then there's the alliance with Japan. And the 'a mere 10 million peasants' line is an abomination.

What a disgrace. Why people continue arguing with someone as dimwitted as yourself, I'll never know.
posted by cell divide at 4:43 PM on December 14, 2005


what cell said, and don't ever forget that Hitler wanted the whole world--they weren't going to stop at Europe. Saddam never threatened us nor even planned to--he didn't even want to take over Iran. From Encarta: Hitler’s plans for conquest consisted of four distinct wars. The first war would be against Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia). He was certain that the Czechs would put up little resistance and Czech territory and resources could then be used to further his continuing plans for conquest. Hitler’s second war would be against Britain and France. He expected this to be the most difficult conflict, as these countries had defeated Germany during World War I. Hitler prepared for this war during the 1930s.

The third war would be against the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), where Hitler planned to seize huge portions of territory for German settlement. However, Hitler badly miscalculated when he assumed the conquest of the USSR would be simple. His assumption was based on his belief that the Soviets, many of whom were of Slavic descent, were an inferior race controlled by the Jews under the guise of socialism. As a result, Hitler made no military preparations for that war and counted on a quick victory to provide Germany with the resources, especially the oil, needed for the fourth war, which was to be waged against the United States. Hitler felt that actually fighting the Americans would be easy, but technical preparations for the conflict had to be made well in advance because the United States was far away and had a large navy.

posted by amberglow at 4:56 PM on December 14, 2005




Oh relax. It was a pithy comment about a throwaway point. You've both missed my point anyways. An American war with Germany could have waited. There was no *imminent* threat the same way that there was no *imminent* threat from Hussein, as people are want to claim. Hitler could not have lobbed a nuke at New York no more than Hussein could have. If we want to talk about the definition of "imminent" and the definition of "threat" fine, but I've been rebuked by the community elsewhere when I've tried to do so with respect to Iraq. And we weren't talking about the consequences to the world, or Europe, we were talking about the consequences to the United States. In 1941, Hitler did not pose an immediate, military threat to the existence of the US. Period. As others have posted here, shouldn't that make the American involvement in WW2 immoral and reprehensible? As amberglow's passage says, war with the US was many many years away, there was plenty of time for diplomacy or whatnot. Surely you're not claiming that the US was justified in preemptively attacking Nazi Germany, are you? Because amberglow, I have to tell you, the documentation of Hitler's war plan looks a lot like the Islamofacists' plan to restore the Caliphate.
posted by loquax at 5:58 PM on December 14, 2005


Because amberglow, I have to tell you, the documentation of Hitler's war plan looks a lot like the Islamofacists' plan to restore the Caliphate.

If you're worried about "the Islamofacists' plan to restore the Caliphate", why attack one of the few relatively secular states in a region full of religious nutjobs?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:23 PM on December 14, 2005


actually I didn't find loquax's minimization of Hitler that stupid.

The fallacy we are engaging in here is mistaking the Leader for the nation

Hitler was a bad man, Saddam was a bad man, Stalin was a bad man, etc etc.

But Hitler was 50 when the war started and would have shuffled off by the 1960s. Whether Naziism had the "stickiness" of Marxist-Leninism-Stalinisn is debatable, but at any rate I have enough faith in the soft power of liberal democracy that it can reestablish itself anywhere eventually.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:25 PM on December 14, 2005


Because amberglow, I have to tell you, the documentation of Hitler's war plan looks a lot like the Islamofacists' plan to restore the Caliphate.

Somebody doesn't know much about Iraq.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:29 PM on December 14, 2005


actually I didn't find loquax's minimization of Hitler that stupid.

I really really did not intend to "minimize" Hitler or Nazi Germany. Obviously he and they were foul, odious creations and were extremely dangerous, as I said, to the world and to liberalism itself. I only intended to compare the imminence of their military threat to specifically the US to the imminent threat (or lack thereof) posed by Hussein and Iraq.

If you're worried about "the Islamofacists' plan to restore the Caliphate", why attack one of the few relatively secular states in a region full of religious nutjobs?


Good question, and I have an answer, but it would be too much of a derail here (even more than this). I only meant to bring that up in the context of preemptive war being justified, as amberglow and cell divide seemed to imply. That specific sentance was not meant to refer to Iraq. I know that it was not an Islamofascist state.
posted by loquax at 6:32 PM on December 14, 2005


don't ever forget that Hitler wanted the whole world--they weren't going to stop at Europe

This is very, very debatable.

What Germany was fighting for was the return of a multi-polar world, a place in the sun again for them. Hitler harnessed this national desire to launch the might of the nation in a war for Lebensraum in the underdeveloped East.

The UK & France declared war on Germany to honor their treaty obligations to Poland.

It's a different world now, but I'd just note that Germany's murderous policies against the Slavs were only different in scale and not necessarily kind to the US's murderous and/or violent expansion 100 years prior (though our treatment of Mexican property holders in California was AFAIK respectable).
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:34 PM on December 14, 2005


I only intended to compare the imminence of their military threat to specifically the US to the imminent threat (or lack thereof) posed by Hussein and Iraq.

yeah, I got where you were coming from, already.

The difference, as I see it, is justice, really. Hitler and the Germans were bombing the crap out of England and had subjugated France because England & France had dared to stand against German aggression.

Lend-Lease was the first noble, "unsordid" act the US took to begin to join the fight against Nazi aggression and bring the German outlaws to justice.

It was clear that the US and Germany was on a collision course by 1941.

It was not at all clear to me that the US and Iraq was on a collision course in 2001, though.

The situation was a tricky ball to untangle and I just think launching war the way we did was the wrong solution.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:41 PM on December 14, 2005


we need a recall election, like they do in California.

Yes, that certainly turned out well.
posted by hoborg at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2005


Just to be a pedant ... (since we're all taking our turns in beating this horse with our talking sticks)
In 1941, Hitler did not pose an immediate, military threat to the existence of the US. Period. As others have posted here, shouldn't that make the American involvement in WW2 immoral and reprehensible?
loquax -- Hitler declared war on America first. German U-boats were sinking American merchant vessels within days of the battle of Pearl Harbor.

Your point does not stand.

And to everyone else -- your clueless cherry-picking of World War II history as guided by your Iraq War agendas makes the baby Churchill cry. I suggest you all take the suggestion of dropping the Hitler =/!= Saddam derail before any more similes are needlessly maimed.
posted by bl1nk at 7:25 PM on December 14, 2005


Heh. I don't have a stick nearly long enough nor pointy enough.

Is that all you got, PP?
posted by loquacious at 7:27 PM on December 14, 2005


loquax -- Hitler declared war on America first. German U-boats were sinking American merchant vessels within days of the battle of Pearl Harbor.

Yes, but it appears from many comments here that those actions were not required in order for the US to preemptively go to war with Germany. Hussein also had in effect declared war on the US, and his army had been attacking coalition forces for years. Of course there's no direct comparison between the two situations, only the principles involved.
posted by loquax at 7:35 PM on December 14, 2005


During the buildup to the invasion, I was involved in an email debate with the husband of one of our staff people. I work at a large university in central Texas, and he was a local guy, spent some time in the Navy; he worked tech support somewhere on campus.

This guy's primary argument -- the one he would return to again and again-- was as follows: He would paint a scenario where I was standing in dark alley with my family… Down the alley, running towards my loved ones is a crazed lunatic. He is running with a knife, clearly intent on killing my wife and kids. “Wouldn’t you defend your family?” he would say. “Or would you be a loser and let them die…?”

I’m sure the rest of you can remember people like that. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest poisoned their minds. These people were so taken in by the lies, and propaganda, schemes and criminality that they could not think straight. They were duped by their own government… used like pawns… in the same callous way the Bush administration is currently using the troops… It’s sickening.
posted by ALvard at 7:39 PM on December 14, 2005


"Don't tell my mom I work in the White House. She still thinks I pimp for children."
posted by Dareos at 7:44 PM on December 14, 2005


I can't tell when Bush is lying to me anymore.
posted by Balisong at 7:55 PM on December 14, 2005


Interesting commentary from the current LGF:

"Distorted Headline of the Day

World media don’t even bother to hide their astounding bias any more. Today’s example: Bush defends Iraq war, says he will attack another nation if necessary.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - One day before Iraq’s historic parliamentary elections, US President George W. Bush defiantly defended his case for war and said he would preemptively attack another country if he deemed it necessary.

Here’s the full speech: President Discusses Iraqi Elections, Victory in the War on Terror.

The only statement that even comes close to AFP’s outrageously false summary is this:

In an age of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long."
posted by ParisParamus at 8:38 PM on December 14, 2005


What this means is that if Iran, or some other nation appears to be dangerous and threatening, based on intelligence, and, perhaps, past conduct, then in age of WMDs, that's enough to intervene militarily. Again, and again, and again, if necessary: Korea, Iran, Syria...the list is actually not that long.

Mr. President, I vote for Iran to be bombed. And soon.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2005


And if we were wrong about what "they" had, TOUGH. That's just to damn bad.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:43 PM on December 14, 2005


too, not to.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:51 PM on December 14, 2005


Paris, it's been half an hour and nobody cares, you can stop reloading the page.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:09 PM on December 14, 2005


"accepted responsibility" GWB is having the Peter Parker (a.k.a Spiderman) epiphany ... "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."

He's probably a nice guy who fell in with the wrong crowd.
Huge disconnect between how he sees himself ultimately "framed by history" and how history textbooks circa 2025 will portray him. Thats my humble opinion.
I hope the next 3 years are kind to him. Cheney is the real liability... retire that old man to sunny florida or as far away as possible asap.
posted by celerystick at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2005


Besides that one paragraphy, (It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong, etc.) this sounds like the same rhetoric we've been hearing all along, which is bizarre since the rhetoric doesn't hold up under the admission that the intelligence was faulty. He continues to contend that Saddam Hussein was a threat, and that he was holding out on the weapons inspectors. But.. how could that possibly be true? Why do I get the feeling he just choked out that paragraph so everybody would think he's still paying attention?
posted by ScottMorris at 11:20 PM on December 14, 2005


And he just happened to choose to say this the day before the Iraq elections? I guess he's hoping this is forgotten pretty quickly...
posted by ScottMorris at 11:39 PM on December 14, 2005


This man takes responsibility only when he has no consequence to face. He is no manly man.
posted by wrdwrght at 3:13 AM on December 15, 2005


"Whether or not it needed to happen, I'm still convinced it needed to happen." -- President George W. Bush
posted by kirkaracha at 7:29 AM on December 15, 2005


Say, ParisParamus. what's your LGF handle?
posted by Balisong at 7:33 AM on December 15, 2005


What this means is that if Iran, or some other nation appears to be dangerous and threatening, based on intelligence, and, perhaps, past conduct, then in age of WMDs, that's enough to intervene militarily. Again, and again, and again, if necessary: Korea, Iran, Syria...the list is actually not that long.

Mr. President, I vote for Iran to be bombed. And soon.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:42 PM PST on December 14


We're kind of busy in Iraq and to a lesser extent Afghanistan right now; we don't have the manpower to go after three other nations. If you're so gung ho about attacking five countries in a row, maybe you should head to the recruiter's office and enlist.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:45 AM on December 15, 2005


Yes, but it appears from many comments here that those actions were not required in order for the US to preemptively go to war with Germany. Hussein also had in effect declared war on the US, and his army had been attacking coalition forces for years. Of course there's no direct comparison between the two situations, only the principles involved.
not even that. The state of conflict between the Iraqi army and the US was unresolved at the end of Desert Storm. A peace treaty had not been signed and hostilities were continuing. Therefore Hussein did not have to declare war against the US, in effect or otherwise (besides, it was the US who had declared war on him1 after he refused to depart from Kuwait ).

What's more, the US, through its enforcement of the no-fly zones was continuing to bomb Iraqi targets long after Desert Storm ended. To regurgitate the talking point that the Iraqis were unilaterally attacking American planes for years; and constituted some dire threat to American lives is at best lazy and, at worst, dishonest. Again, German U-boats were sinking and killing American merchant marines within days of Pearl Harbor. How many F-15s or F-18s were downed by the Iraqi army during the 90s?

The principles that you are trying to relate are as dissimilar as apples and antelopes.

1 of course, not saying that it was immoral for the US to have intervened in Desert Storm. One can make the case that a specific threat against world order and stability is the same as a specific threat against one's own nation. This is why Desert Storm wasn't nearly as controversial as the Iraq War, eventhough Hussein, at the time, had no direct hostility towards America. It is also why nations like Canada have gone to war at America's side, such as in Kosovo and Afghanistan, even when those conflicts did not constitute a direct threat to our nation. But going to war to deter an aggressor and ameliorate the rape and pillage of a nation or peoples is not the same as escalating the conflict against a foe that you have successfully contained and can continue to contain.

It is similarly foolish or dishonest for one to argue that choosing to go to war for the sake of international stability means that your foe has "in effect" declared war on you. Nations elect to intervene or not intervene in conflicts as befits their agendas. They have chosen to enter into conflict, the conflict did not choose them -- regardless of how rhetorically wonderful that would've sounded.

posted by bl1nk at 7:52 AM on December 15, 2005


mdn, for the record, I'm not 18 years old, I'm 49.

yeah, sorry, that was unnecessary.

However, discussion of Hitler is not germane to the current discussion, so we should get off that.

Hitler is not a good analogy for the current war, or anything, but I do think the case is pertinent when people make broad sweeping statements that we should never intervene militarily and that war is always wrong, etc. The case of WW2 was much more complicated at the time than it looks now. Even if you just read a history of it (Shirer's Rise & Fall is a good one) you get a sense of just how difficult it was at the time to make these decisions. Hitler was very diplomatic; he presented himself as quite reasonable. He initially claimed only to want some of the land back that had been given up only a decade or so earlier in the Versailles treaty. At the time of the war, Germany was actually divided into two distinct land masses, with the "polish corridor" between them, separating East Prussia from the rest of Germany (so Poland could have access to the Baltic Sea). Hitler had a past where he'd made some seemingly nutrageous claims, but once he was head of state, and had an alliance with the far more stable, conservative Nationalist party, it was assumed that some of the radical ideas of his youth were no longer applicable. He had been democratically elected, and claimed only to want what was fair and reasonable for the citizens of Germany. In some ways, he looked like less of a threat than Saddam, especially at a time when information didn't travel as quickly, and he & his ambassadors could genially deny rumors & reassure everyone that they were willing to work out a solution, all the while building up their military for the already certain invasion.

The point is not that therefore anyone who might be a threat should be attacked. It's just that the world is complicated, people are sometimes full of shit, and maintaining a foreign policy of "peace no matter what, unless a gun is at your head" is a)unrealistic and b)subjective (when is the gun really at your head?).

I mean, you could spin the analogy the other way, too - that Hitler really thought what he was doing was for the good of everyone, that the germanization of the world through military invasion was manifest destiny, that a little lying in order to get the policy through was fine because the ends were so noble, etc - I'm certainly not trying to make the case that the Iraq war is a shining example of democracy in action or something. I'm only trying to point out that it is complicated. I think some anti-war advocates make a lot of sense. I think far too many are are just repeating simplistic and unreflective slogans, that have a nice immediate appeal but do not take into account the actual factors of the situation. I really encourage people to read histories of previous wars and political decisions if you want to intelligently take part in these kinds of discussions. I was in high school/college during the first Iraq war, and I remember all the "no blood for oil" posters then, and I realize now that we didn't know what we were talking about (which is not to say that there can't be a legitimate case against that war, although I think it's tough to make, but simply that a lot of protesters did not think beyond 'no blood for oil'--)

on preview, I can't keep up around here, sorry :)

posted by mdn at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2005


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