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Reuters confirms
February 16, 2001 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Reuters confirms that our friend Dubya did in fact authorize the attack on Iraqi radar stations. We're killing people and giving a dictator fuel for the propaganda mill he needs to prop up his regime. But that's okay, because the people who are dying don't share our race and religion and so, in fact, they're not really "people" at all. They're ciphers and objects and statistics. Apparently it's only when white Protesetants die that death really matters. Incidentally, remember this bombing isn't a matter of protecting the Kuwaiti ethnic minority (read: our oil interests), this is over perceived violation of arbitrarily imposed NATO sanctions. Scum. Scum scum scum!
posted by hanseugene (40 comments total)

 
I agree completely, but unofrtunatley, today's incident is nothing new: bombing like this has been going on steadily for over a decade. As far as I can tell, the only reason this one got some press is because Bush is new in office and because it was close enough to Baghdad that air raid sirens went off in Baghdad and Iraqi TV could broadcast the raid.
posted by tippiedog at 1:56 PM on February 16, 2001


Not to be a stick in the mud or anything, but this post really belongs here.
posted by jpoulos at 2:03 PM on February 16, 2001


You are being unduely harsh on dubya, it is nothing that clinton would not have done.
posted by dancu at 2:41 PM on February 16, 2001


The real issue is that every political post -- aside from being boring as Hell to read -- is completely slanted and skewed.

No, you're not obliged to be even-handed when you post something on MeFi, but would it honestly kill you to think about what you're writing before you hit "Post"...?
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:49 PM on February 16, 2001


No doubt... Bubba has made similar attacks in the past. Did you paint him as scum scum scum? I doubt you skewed the reasons for those attacks as being Ethnically motivated and against a specific religion.

Next time, think before you post such dribble.
posted by da5id at 3:01 PM on February 16, 2001


Ah yes: because really, I've got to understand that 1) some people don't like reading political posts, so I'd better not post any, and 2) if I want to maintain MeFi's credibility it would be better follow CNN's lead in terms of tone for any political posts I do make here. People, puh-leeze! This doesn't make sense at all. What's the point of having MeFi around in the first place if we don't post things that we're interested in from our own point of view? If you like reading tech posts or literary posts better than political posts, post a post of your own! And I only occasionally post political stuff, both here and on my own weblog. I get tired of the self-righteousness around here sometimes. Remember that "desert island blog" post I initiated a few days ago? The first two posts were completely snarky and sarcastic. Then it went on to become one of MeFi's all-time most popular posts. You think before you take a pot-shot at other users who are happily minding their own business.
posted by hanseugene at 3:09 PM on February 16, 2001


I think people (such as myself) might be responding not to the posts or the point of view, but the way in which you said it.
posted by jragon at 3:20 PM on February 16, 2001


Alright: jragon, I agree that in the future it might be appropriate to temper my bile and channel my criticism into a more constructive and thoughtful post. However, it is my (political, biased) belief that people who order the destruction of others for no other purpose than the preservation of their own hegemony, without having to answer to the mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses and friends of the slain, that these people do not deserve much better than base and thoughtless epithets.
posted by hanseugene at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2001


If I step back for a moment and look at a bigger picture, I recall that Powell noted very early in his new job that he would do something to tighten the boycott etc. and then I have read at least two accounts that Iraq was mouthing off about sending man many volunteers to help the Palestinians do battle with Israel. And then I noted still elsewhere that though liberals were bemoaning our boycott and the poverty it was causing, Iraq was sending ten thousand bucks to every Palestinian family that lost a son because of the intifada. And I also saw any numnber of articles that indicated that Arab nations , at first annoyed with Iraq because of invasion of Kuwait, were now speaking up in Iraq's defense and badmouthing America and the West. In fact, Kuwait, I read, was getting on better terms with Iraq. and yet another article pointed out that Saddam claimed Kuwait did indeed belong to him. Still.
So the picture is a very mixed one and to make it still odder, Iraq said it would ignore OPEC cuts in production and offer more oil at a better price to world market.
I clearly can't make much of all this but it serves as a complicated background. And oh yes: was it two weeks ago thatIraq was said to have at least two nuclear bobms (noted by a defector) and that, on the other hand, a Atomic group inspected Iraq and gave them a clean bill of health on nuclear bombs?
Thank god for my meds
posted by Postroad at 3:54 PM on February 16, 2001


I have read at least two accounts that ... then I noted still elsewhere ... And I also saw any numnber of articles that indicated that ... In fact, Kuwait, I read, ... and yet another article pointed out that ...

...and with absolutely no links to back up these claims your post has no credibility at all and therefore lends not much to the discussion.
posted by palegirl at 4:09 PM on February 16, 2001


palegirl: Read the news much? I missed a couple of the developments Postroad alleges, but I heard about most of the things he's referencing.

Postroad: Bravo, thanks for putting that picture together.
posted by sudama at 4:35 PM on February 16, 2001


I totally agree hanseugene.

Settle down, palegirl. You may be somewhat right, but you seem to take delight in shooting down someone's thoughtful and intellegent addition.
posted by jragon at 5:51 PM on February 16, 2001


But the links! We need the links Postroad. Not only because it is always good to get as close to the source of information as possible, but because some of us are here to steal links for our pages, and we can't do that without the links!
posted by donkeymon at 5:55 PM on February 16, 2001


Postroad: I stole your “socialism for corporations, capitalism for everybody else” line for this thing I’m writing.

Anyway, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, America was scared they’d install a puppet regime and leave. This is exactly what NATO moved to prevent. If there were two large oil producing countries bucking OPEC (of which Saudi Arabi, a loyal-to-a-fault US country, pretty much runs) mandate, that would be too many for the oil interest’s hegemony. They nipped a mounting fuel insurection in the bud, so Iraq wouldn't have a chance to produce oil indepedent of OPEC. Of which they certainly don't anymore. All their oil is sold through OPEC, as per UN resolution.

Palegirl: This article is about Iraqi aid to Palestinians and other MidEast countries arguing against the sanctions.

This article about Powell strengthing sanctions.

Here is OPEC via a Kuwaiti proxy getting all pissy about Iraq trying to usurp OPEC by claiming oil theft. Strained logic on the Kuwait team, even if they're basically right.

Interestingly, here is Saddam reiterating his pre-1991 claims to a western oil Superpower. (The kick being he has a point.)

I've seen the $10,000 thing too, but I'm done researching for tonight.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 6:12 PM on February 16, 2001


Here's an update: Iraq pledges more money for Palestinian families. This is, of course, part of Iraq's long rehabilitation campaign in the Arab world.

There's an emerging new generation of Arab leaders, and they're under tremendous pressure from their people to take a stronger stance. [And that article was written a year ago.] They're not, in many cases, the same men who stood with George W. Bush in the Gulf War Coalition. The US has less to offer them, this time around. The only upside is that the new generation is Western-educated and arguably more open to new approaches.
posted by dhartung at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2001


That Saddam Hussein is forking money over to Palestinian families doesn't mean that Iraq isn't broke. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi citizens have died from lack of medicine and modern medical equipment since the Gulf War. Many more are malnourished or just scraping by on the edge of starvation.

Nobody in the Arab world likes Saddam Hussein. But the sanctions are hurting the wrong people. What's the point of the no-fly-zone anyway? Is there any danger Iraq is going to invade Kuwait again?
posted by Loudmax at 7:37 PM on February 16, 2001


Dear Palegirl: I am sorry I am unable to provide links to support what I cited. However, when I read the news (and extensively and world-wide) I don't jot down every spot "just in case" I have to support things. It never occurred to me at the time of reading that I would need this news at hand. I guess you just have to read the news a lot or, if otherwise doing other things, take what I say on faith but with a grain of salt until you can prove me wrong.
Of course you could always go back over the news to check it out. But I am merely trying to drop bits and pieces and also to note that I have no position on what this all means.
The simplest thing? We had a bunch of allies supporting what we had done earlier in Iraq; most have broken away from the boycott to do their own thing. The Brits remained with us and again are with us. Is Bush Jr trying to even the score for his dad? I don't know. I am not a supporter of the Bush clique but I do defend the father, whose mandate was not to do anything but get the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. The allies went along with this limited objective. Later, many detractors accused Bush the Father of not doing enough--that is, getting rid of Saddam. Clearly we are trying to make this possible (again) by throwing support and money to opposition forces within Iraq.
posted by Postroad at 7:46 PM on February 16, 2001


typical MF post?

hanseugene: Scum. Scum scum scum 
Dark Messiah: would it honestly kill you to think  
hanseugene: People, puh-leeze!....You think

 

posted by greyscale at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2001


why is this such a big deal? really, I'd like to know.

I don't remember this kind of response any of the times Clinton used foreign intervention to distract the public's attention from his hijinks?

I'm really not posting this a flamebait, but isn't the the real problem a lot of people have with this that it's coming from a republican administration?
posted by justkurt at 11:01 PM on February 16, 2001


I don't remember this kind of response any of the times Clinton used foreign intervention to distract the public's attention from his hijinks?

The occasion of the NATO bombing of Kosovo marked the first time the phrase "wag the dog" (from the film of the same name) was used to describe a real-world situation. Oh yes, there was plenty of outrage directed at Clinton then, mostly from conservatives but also from liberals, and many remarks about life imitating art so soon after the art had entered the public eye. Of course, I know a Serb woman (now living in the States and married to an American, but at the time she lived in New Zealand), so maybe I heard a little more of it than some people.
posted by kindall at 12:06 AM on February 17, 2001


Loudmax, I think you'll find this excerpt from a Pacifica radio interview with Bill Clinton interesting:
AMY GOODMAN: President Clinton, UN figures show that up to 5,000 children a month die in Iraq because of the sanctions against Iraq.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: (Overlap) That's not true. That's not true. And that's not what they show. Let me just tell you something. Before the sanctions, the year before the Gulf War, you said this ... how much money did Iraq earn from oil? Answer - $16 billion. How much money did Iraq earn last year from oil? How much money did they get, cash on the barrel head, to Saddam Hussein? Answer - $19 billion that he can use exclusively for food, for medicine, to develop his country. He's got more money now, $3 billion a year more than he had nine years ago.

If any child is without food or medicine or a roof over his or her head in Iraq, it's because he is claiming the sanctions are doing it and sticking it to his own children. We have worked like crazy to make sure that the embargo only applies to his ability to reconstitute his weapon system and his military statement. This is a guy who butchered the children of his own country, who were Kurds, who were Shi'ites.

He used chemical weapons on his own people, and he is now lying to the world and claiming the mean old United States is killing his children. He has more money today than he did before the embargo, and if they're hungry or they are not getting medicine, it is his own fault.
posted by NortonDC at 12:16 AM on February 17, 2001


I'll just add one data point that the Bush haters have conveniently forgotten: Bill Clinton has bombed Iraq at least twice: Once for planning an assassination of Bush Sr., and the other for pretty much the same reason we bombed them today.

Also, reports seem to indicate that all Dubya did was sign off on a Pentagon-made plan; he didn't wake up this morning and think, "Ah, what a good day to blow up stuff." If Clinton were still in office, he would have gotten the same request, and almost certainly would have given the same approval.
posted by aaron at 12:54 AM on February 17, 2001



It was bullshit when Clinton did it, and it's bullshit now. Just because Dubya and his three immediate predecessors have been subservient to the military-industrial complex does not mean that I have to swallow the load of crap that they feed me. Iraq is not a threat to the U.S., period. Never has been, never will be. This is state sponsored murder. Nothing more. It's about time that we call these Pentagon bastards out on this little game they're playing.
posted by Optamystic at 2:58 AM on February 17, 2001


The real issue is that every political post -- aside from being boring as Hell to read -- is completely slanted and skewed.

Correction: *every* post is "skewed" and "slanted" be the topic politics, sports or linux. Every thought, every verbal and written expression of a human being is "skewed" and "slanted".

Show me an "objective" post, a post that is not "skewed" or "slanted".

As for being boring that is your own "skewed" and "slanted" opinion, which by your rules, would seem to disqualify it. no?



posted by locombia at 3:17 AM on February 17, 2001


I'll just add one data point that the Bush haters have conveniently forgotten: Bill Clinton has bombed Iraq at least twice: Once for planning an assassination of Bush Sr., and the other for pretty much the same reason we bombed them today.

Speaking for the Bush haters, I think a lot of the same people were opposed to Clinton's bombing adventures too. Some of the most outspoken critics of Clinton's military policies appeared in places like The Nation.
posted by rcade at 6:35 AM on February 17, 2001


Race and religion can be conveniently ignored when they get in the way of military agendas. Weren't those pesky Germans white protestants? All you have to do is demonize the enemy. It just might be easier to do when there are racial and cultural differences.
posted by mecran01 at 6:42 AM on February 17, 2001


Iraq is not a threat to the U.S., period. Never has been, never will be.

Huh? I suppose, because Osama bin Laden is of another race and religion, and is headquartered in the Middle East, he's not a threat to the U.S. either? Why, then, did a bomb tear a hole in the belly of the USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors and injuring 37 others?

Leaders who declare jihad on the United States usually find a way to make their voices heard, often at the cost of American lives. If America doesn't take a proactive stance toward keeping its declared enemies in check, we're setting ourselves up for a tremendous fall.
posted by Danelope at 7:06 AM on February 17, 2001


Denelope, Osama bin Laden is not the government of Iraq. Please be logical.
posted by Optamystic at 10:46 AM on February 17, 2001


You're right. The government of Iraq has an entire country to fund and/or back its cause, instead of a small (but growing) dissident group, making the situation all that more serious.
posted by Danelope at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2001


It was bullshit when Clinton did it, and it's bullshit now. Just because Dubya and his three immediate predecessors have been subservient to the military-industrial complex does not mean that I have to swallow the load of crap that they feed me. Iraq is not a threat to the U.S., period. Never has been, never will be. This is state sponsored murder. Nothing more. It's about time that we call these Pentagon bastards out on this little game they're playing.

How convienient it is for you to forget that the purpose of the no-fly zone is to prevent Iraq from killing its own people (the Kurds in the North and the Shi'ites in the South).

You want to talk about state sponsored murder, why don't you go and interview those Kurds who were Gassed with mustard gas by Iraq. Oh wait. You can't. They are DEAD!

This isn't whether Iraq is a threat to the U.S. or not. It's about protecting certain people in the country of Iraq who are discriminated against by the Suuni Muslims who are in power.
posted by da5id at 12:48 PM on February 17, 2001


Then you've got to ask why we don't protect the Kurds from Turkey now, don't you?
posted by sudama at 1:30 PM on February 17, 2001


da5id, way to tow the government’s public relations line.

You want to talk about state sponsored murder, why don't you go and interview those Kurds who were Gassed with mustard gas by Iraq. Oh wait. You can't. They are DEAD!

They certainly are, with America’s full knowledge of their occurrence and inaction during the time most of the killings were going on (1985-89). Before and after the war Bush (and subsquently Clinton) prefered an “iron-fisted Iraqi junta” lead by Hussein, to an Iraqi revolution which NATO and Bush subsquently quelled.

If, in fact, the no-fly zones were imposed to protect the Kurds from Hussein then they would’ve been put in place before the invasion. In fact, they were put in place after the “war.” During the time Hussein committed most of his atrocities he was an ally, killing tens of thousands of Kurds without a word from Bush or Thatcher. The UN passed a resolution asking Hussein to stop. Little else was done until after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Sudama’s question is observant: the American military doesn’t act against human rights violations, it creates them. If the American government wasn’t hypocritically interested in human rights, it would stop sending aid to Indonesia and Isreal, which killed millions of East Timorese and has a long history of violent Palestinian oppression, respectively. Both the Palestinians and East Timorese, are largely unarmed and disorganized groups, just like the Kurds when Hussein was killing them with American aid.

posted by capt.crackpipe at 4:15 PM on February 17, 2001


Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are in hot competition over at the Amnesty International human rights violation contest. What distinguishes them from Iraq? Yep, they host NATO air bases (and in Turkey's case, belong to NATO).

Hypocrisy being the tribute that vice pays to virtue.
posted by holgate at 8:40 PM on February 17, 2001


Why, then, did a bomb tear a hole in the belly of the USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors and injuring 37 others?

Because the US pushes its weight around way too much in that region. Because the US is usally not the shining city on a hill that it claims to be, but is instead the source of much of the death and destruction and violations of human rights that go on in the world.
posted by locombia at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2001


Because the US is usally not the shining city on a hill that it claims to be, but is instead the source of much of the death and destruction and violations of human rights that go on in the world.

That's a pretty cheap rationalization for blowing 17 U.S. servicemen to smithereens. Was Timothy McVeigh justified too?
posted by rcade at 6:15 AM on February 18, 2001


Spreading death and destruction was a pretty good reason to make war against somebody last time I checked.

I am not justifying the use of violence to solve problems. I am just answering Danelope's question.
posted by locombia at 9:04 AM on February 18, 2001


That's a pretty cheap rationalization for blowing 17 U.S. servicemen to smithereens. Was Timothy McVeigh justified too?

Explanation is not the same as justification. There are things we should face whether we approve of them or not.

posted by rodii at 9:46 AM on February 18, 2001


Instead of a comment I refer to this excellent Robert Fisk article (posted in Znet). Not much to add...
posted by talos at 4:05 AM on February 19, 2001


Actually, there's plenty to add, but I'll stick to a few basics.

Fisk speaks of Saddam being responsible for the deadly privation and suffering within Iraq in mocking tones, but does nothing to discredit the assertion. In fact, he supports it when he directly says that Saddam gassed his own people, but then mysteriously implies that because he was fighting a war with an external enemy, gassing his own people was OK.

Talos, I'd look elsewhere for support for my positions if I was you.
posted by NortonDC at 12:27 PM on February 19, 2001


I somewhat agree with you, Norton, but on the other hand I think his mocking tone was directed at Robin Cook and the context of his remarks about "his own people," not at the validity of the claims themselves.

As for the Iran-Iraq War connection, his point was that at that time, the West supported Saddam, while most of the gassing was going on-- not that it was "OK" to do so.
posted by cell divide at 12:55 PM on February 19, 2001


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