Speaking of gassing one's own people
March 17, 2003 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Speaking of gassing one's own people: US Government admits it tested nerve gas (sarin and VX) on its own sailors (Project SHAD). This is in addition to the testing of LSD on civilians (MK Ultra), syphilis on 399 black Alabama men (Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment), radioactivity on American GI's (Operation Crossroads), and the secret testing of germ warfare tactics on American cities. It's really no surprise the US government rejected an international ban on biological weapons, and yet we personalize this imminent war with Iraq and claim the justification as the forced disarming of dangerous 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'? I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.
posted by letterneversent (53 comments total)
Sorry, even though I linked to the correct page in the last link it doesn't let you pull up that page without using the frames. I tried to link to the document "Napalm and its Effects on Human Beings".
posted by letterneversent at 5:10 PM on March 17, 2003

on the subject of hipocrisy...... according to someone... iraq will no longer "execute its dissidents" or "have torture chambers"... once the "coalition of the willing" is done with their business.

very nice.
posted by specialk420 at 5:15 PM on March 17, 2003

Do you think CNN will actually explicate Bush's speech, or just keep on repeating the parts they like best?
posted by hammurderer at 5:16 PM on March 17, 2003

it's important for the Iraqis not to destroy their oil fields.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:21 PM on March 17, 2003

i agree.
posted by pemulis at 5:31 PM on March 17, 2003

In Atomic Cafe (which is made entirely of stock and government documentary footage), there are a few minutes dedicated to a nuclear test in New Mexico in which the soldiers were ordered to wait for the bomb to explode and the run INTO the blast area. The idea was to find out how effective soldiers would be under the effects of heavy radiation as caused by a nuclear blast. Go us. Sometimes its hard being the good guys.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:43 PM on March 17, 2003

I do agree with you that these acts were horrendous. There is a big difference, though, between testing weapons on a small group and using them to kill a large group.

I do think the U.S. Government has gone too far in the past. I do fear they will go too far in the future. I do not believe their past actions are comparable to those of Iraq, both provable and accused. Let me stress that I do believe the actions of Iraq may be proved in the future.

Both actions are evil. I hope innocent people will not be used to test actions that can be used against evil-doers in the future. Killing of innocent people is wrong, and for no matter what purpose deserves the ultimate punishment.
posted by son_of_minya at 5:46 PM on March 17, 2003

I just dislike the efforts to appear like we are liberators and promoters of 'freedom and democracy' instead of voicing the real reason we are taking over Iraq which is the long-term strategic value of the region and the desire to maintain American predominance on the part of the neoconservatives. I hate being lied to and jerked around by forces in our government and expected to consume outright lies and hypocrisy. I will not renounce the principles this nation was founded upon: real freedom, skepticism, non-interference, equality, truth, and the idea of a community of nations.
posted by letterneversent at 5:53 PM on March 17, 2003

See men shredded, then say you don't back war“There was a machine designed for shredding plastic. Men were dropped into it and we were again made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food . . . on one occasion, I saw Qusay [President Saddam Hussein’s youngest son] personally supervise these murders.”
posted by Macboy at 5:57 PM on March 17, 2003

Umm.. the reason the govt brings up the Iraqi gassing is because Sadam invaded Kuwait, tried to invade Iran and was headed to other countries next. Plenty of countries have used gas, and have used it in testing, but not many commit full-scale invasion of their neighbors. It's not about the gas, it's about Sadam causing a wide-scale major conflict the likes of which this little romp in the desert has no compare.
posted by stbalbach at 5:59 PM on March 17, 2003

Why do yoo hate amurica?
posted by 2sheets at 6:04 PM on March 17, 2003

See men shredded, then say you don't back war.

I don't back war.

War means more shredding.
posted by iamck at 6:07 PM on March 17, 2003

US had no problem with Saddam fighting with Iran, we supported that war. We also gave the go ahead to Iraq to invade Kuwait (pretext was Kuwait stealing Iraqi oil) and used this as our pretext.
posted by letterneversent at 6:08 PM on March 17, 2003

Oh course LSD was tested on civilians, that's how Ken Kesey discovered it. Thus the Electric Kool-aid Acid Test.
posted by BlueWolf at 6:13 PM on March 17, 2003

Well, it is arguable whether the Kurdish Iraqis were considered by Saddam to be "his own people." The arrangement, ethnic groups with a bad history grouped together by rather arbitrary political gerrymandering, has led to similar instances of genocide on many occasions in the past.

Which isn't to say that I support Iraq in the slaughter of innocents - I just think it's rather foolish for the U.S. to be taking some kind of moral high ground on this. We've been just as horrible in the past, though under the guise of Bureaucracy, which somehow makes it easier for people to swallow.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are, in my humble opinion, scars that we will never be able to wash away. We used the same dehumanizing techniques against the Japanese that are used in any genocidal conflict. TIME magazine told us that it was "questionable whether the Japanese were even human," for example.

It is important to march to war knowing full well what you are capable of, before the fog grows too thick and the drums beat too loud.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:16 PM on March 17, 2003

Macboy, if it weren't for your description, seeing men shredded is why I don't want war. Because that's what happens when a grenade blows up beside you. Except it takes more than a few seconds to die. Sometimes you die when they take shrapnel out if you and your flesh bursts into flames. I'd probably take the plastic machine over that.

Unfortunately, as I have C-Band, I'm supposing I'll actually be able to see the uncut news uplinks full of gore they won't be putting on the news... I suppose I have a choice not to watch it, but how could I do that? It would be... unpatriotic?
posted by shepd at 6:37 PM on March 17, 2003

I heard the US used nuclear weapons against Japan as well.
posted by smackfu at 6:38 PM on March 17, 2003

"It is important to march to war knowing full well what you are capable of, before the fog grows too thick and the drums beat too loud.".....Or you might be in danger of "Becoming Evil"
posted by troutfishing at 6:40 PM on March 17, 2003

The technical term for what has been happening in letterneversent's two most recent posts is moral equivalence: attempting to deflect or render irrelevant charges against one side (in this case, the use of WMDs by the Iraqi state) by pointing out equivalent (or, by implication, worse) wrongdoing committed by the opposite side (e.g., Tuskegee). It's a favourite of apologists who try to mitigate unacceptable conduct by pointing to its universality, or suggesting that the other guys were much worse. Stalin was way worse than Hitler, or Auschwitz vs. Dresden (a favourite of Holocaust deniers, incidentally). Hiroshima and Nagasaki vs. the Rape of Nanjing, Pearl Harbor and the Bataan Death March. And so it goes, this time as historical events are bandied about by both sides who want to undercut -- or buttress -- the U.S.'s moral authority to wage war on the grounds its government has cited.

Lookit, determining which historical crime was worse is a tyro's game; in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter as much as we think it does. Taken to extremes, no one will have the moral authority to say or do anything. At heart, we're all hypocrites; no one is selfless enough to be in a state of perfect moral rectitude. Particularly if the crimes of decades or centuries past disqualify us from taking any position or undertaking any action today. (Does Canada's weak position re the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 prevent it from having any authority in re today's crisis in Iraq? How dare we!)
posted by mcwetboy at 6:47 PM on March 17, 2003

I don't deny anything another government does to brutally repress another people. Saddam is a piece of crap. We know this. When have we cared about brutal dictators? I'm just saying we're hypocrites and that there is NO MORAL JUSTIFICATION, and there is NO IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE UNITED STATES and the UNITED STATES HAS NO MORAL AUTHORITY to wage war for its strategic interests. End of f*cking story as Bill Hicks would say.
posted by letterneversent at 6:57 PM on March 17, 2003

Whether or not we have the moral high ground isn't as important as whether or not we should be there at all. I'm not convinced Saddam is the next Hitler, and I'm not convinced war will work where the UN has failed. The US is giving a big "Fuck You" to the rest of the world by running with this alone, and it pisses me off.
posted by cohappy at 6:57 PM on March 17, 2003

The tactic used by the press and the US government in beating the drum about Saddam gassing his own people while covering up their own culpability in allowing him free reign during the 80's and actually selling him the very weapons we want to invade Iraq over now is called hypocrisy. It's a favourite tactic among neoconservative power brokers and chickenhawks in the military who consider actual justification of a tactical war for selfish gain to the citizenry to be at best an annoyance. They who would rather go about their business without having to explainthemselves. "You know the great thing about being president is you don't have to explain yourself to anybody" says it all.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:59 PM on March 17, 2003

Oh, I think almost everyone agrees that Saddam must go. It's a question of how and why.

The constant barrage of outright lies from the government does not constitute an acceptable "why." Give us the g.d. truth, George: you want Saddam killed because you want to occupy a key mid-East nation. Great! At least that's an honest explanation.

The "how" of the matter is tough. A whole lotta people are tired of war. And everyone knows that the poor Iraqi conscripts who are going to be slaughtered by the tens of thousands aren't exactly well-armed, eager militants hoping to keep Saddam in power. Hell, they were surrendering two weeks early!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:01 PM on March 17, 2003

Oh course LSD was tested on civilians, that's how Ken Kesey discovered it. Thus the Electric Kool-aid Acid Test.
posted by BlueWolf at 9:13 PM EST on March 17

Ken Kesey volunteered for tests that involved LSD, enjoyed it, and then experimented on his own. He himself instituted what he called "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" as a social experiment (it was the sixties). All of this stuff was detailed in Tom Wolfe's book.
posted by jpburns at 7:08 PM on March 17, 2003

Why is forcibly outing Saddam better than UN mandates and restrictions?

Why Saddam? How about the leader of North Korea? Or better yet, how about his Excellency Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, leader of Bhutan? Yeah, that guy sucks, lets kill him.
posted by cohappy at 7:12 PM on March 17, 2003

mcwetboy - Wouldn't you say that the "moral equivalence" argument has weight in inverse proportion to the proximity of the alleged crimes to the present? Or....if the US gave an implicit OK for Iraq to use gas against advancing Iranian troops to blunt a potentially devastating offensive.....Sure, we're all hypocrites. Hypocrisy is a matter of degree. Time slowly, slowly erases the chalk marks on the slate. Most of the rest of the world considers the US chalk marks to be very, very fresh.

Oh yeah - (to beat a point into the ground all the way through to China) the US made the greatest possible use of imported Nazi scientists post WW2 - not just the garden "V2" variety of Nazi scientists, Werner Von Braun's crew (who did use slave labour at Peenemunde, by the way) - but also the more exotic "Mengele" strain.

I haven't checked the veracity of This stuff yet: "U.S. Government admits that it had offered Japanese war criminals and scientists who had performed human medical experiments salaries and immunity from prosecution in exchange for data on biological warfare research."

As this historical trail approaches our present day, it becomes progressively harder and harder to research and authenticate, for obvious reasons. There is no reason, however, to expect that this vein of government research was terminated. I would expect it's continuance......for "Reasons of State".

I don't know about this material (from above link) but.....

1986 A report to Congress reveals that the U.S. Government's current generation of biological agents includes: modified viruses, naturally occurring toxins, and agents that are altered through genetic engineering to change immunological character and prevent treatment by all existing vaccines.
1987 Department of Defense admits that, despite a treaty banning research and development of biological agents, it continues to operate research facilities at 127 facilities and universities around the nation.
1990 More than 1500 six-month old black and hispanic babies in Los Angeles are given an "experimental" measles vaccine that had never been licensed for use in the United States. CDC later admits that parents were never informed that the vaccine being injected to their children was experimental.
1994 With a technique called "gene tracking," Dr. Garth Nicolson at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX discovers that many returning Desert Storm veterans are infected with an altered strain of Mycoplasma incognitus, a microbe commonly used in the production of biological weapons. Incorporated into its molecular structure is 40 percent of the HIV protein coat, indicating that it had been man-made.
1994 Senator John D. Rockefeller issues a report revealing that for at least 50 years the Department of Defense has used hundreds of thousands of military personnel in human experiments and for intentional exposure to dangerous substances. Materials included mustard and nerve gas, ionizing radiation, psychochemicals, hallucinogens, and drugs used during the Gulf War.
1995 U.S. Government admits that it had offered Japanese war criminals and scientists who had performed human medical experiments salaries and immunity from prosecution in exchange for data on biological warfare research.
1995 Dr. Garth Nicolson, uncovers evidence that the biological agents used during the Gulf War had been manufactured in Houston, TX and Boca Raton, Fl and tested on prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections.
1996 Department of Defense admits that Desert Storm soldiers were exposed to chemical agents.
1997 Eighty-eight members of Congress sign a letter demanding an investigation into bioweapons use & Gulf War Syndrome."

posted by troutfishing at 7:18 PM on March 17, 2003

Trail of Tears: Indeed, casualties amongst the first wave of Cherokee were enormous. The government had provided funding for the move, sixty-five dollars a head, for supplies, food and medicine. But, in order to maximize their profits, many of the whites, both military and contractors, kept the money for themselves, leaving little for the Cherokee to survive on. They slept in the wagons or on the cold ground with too few blankets to go around, and usually no fire to keep them warm. Private Burnett reports he saw as many as twenty-two people die in one night from pneumonia "due to ill treatment, cold, and exposure." After John Ross' appeal to Washington to prevent the continued exportation of his people failed, the Great Chief of the Cherokee Nation decided to lead them himself. By breaking the group into smaller bands, he was able to cut the loss of life a little and himself arrived safely to the region that would eventually become Oklahoma, which, ironically means "red man." His wife, on the other hand, wasn't so fortunate. She died of pneumonia after giving her only blanket to freezing child.

My Lai: In the course of three hours more than 500 Vietnamese civilians were killed in cold blood at the hands of US troops. The soldiers had been on a "search and destroy" mission to root out communist fighters in what was fertile Viet Cong territory. Yet there had been no firefight with the enemy - not a single shot was fired at the soldiers of Charlie Company, a unit of the Americal Division's 11th Infantry Brigade.

And more recently... The Air Force acknowledges that at least 56 cases of rape or other sexual assaults at the academy have been investigated in the last 10 years, though only one male cadet has faced a court martial as a result of any accusation, in 1995.

These aren't just scars were dealing with, but something irrevocably embedded within our military system.
posted by ed at 7:18 PM on March 17, 2003

A moral military is an oxymoron.
posted by letterneversent at 7:27 PM on March 17, 2003

Also, when people call Bush 'Churchillian'. remember that Churchill was all for gassing 'savages' in the Middle East. Especially Kurds.
"I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes."
At least it gave Bomber Harris practice for his later war crimes.
posted by riviera at 7:40 PM on March 17, 2003

1. Project SHAD was "initiated in 1962, by the Department of Defense (DoD) to protect and defend against potential chemical and biological warfare threats". That does read "defend" and not "attack civilians".

2. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, a tragic medical crime conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service, had nothing to do with the United States Military, and because of this secret test, in 1974 the U.S. Government passed the National Research Act, requiring institutional review boards to approve all studies involving human subjects.

3. Operation Crossroads was a series of two nuclear tests in the Pacific at the Bikini atoll, hardly an attack on American GIs.

4. The rense.com link (*cough*) I couldn't find much information about, and I won't touch the LSD thing.

In any case, these extremely varied events bear little relation at all to the threat that Iraq poses today, a situation in which there are very few choices.

The New Arab Way of War, By Captain Peter Layton, Royal Australian Air Force, includes the following passage:

"There is a worst-case fear in the West of a Middle Eastern weapon-of-mass-destruction (WMD) attack; this fear has led directly to a preventive war strategy. Possessing, developing, or even considering developing a WMD capability may be considered intent to use in the near future. Although understandable, this is an unwelcome strategy with some inherent flaws. Unnecessary wars may be fought to prevent nations from developing a capability and the possibility of use; a future uncertainty thus becomes the basis for a certain war today. Preventive war may be insufficient by itself to stop all attacks; some may occur. Moreover, chemical and biological weapon laboratories are difficult to detect, making their preemptive destruction hard to guarantee."
posted by hama7 at 8:27 PM on March 17, 2003

hama - You'll waste the rest of your life trying to refute the vast, stinking bulk of material cited in this post - but the irony of your quote (above) lies in the fact that the US claims, simultaneously, the right to research nuclear, chemical, and biological WMD's for "defensive" and "research" purposes (which are, however, indistinguishable from research into "offensive" capabilities)...while denying the rest of the world's non-nuclear club (especially those without a substantial nuclear deterrent to discourage US invasion) the right to conduct the same type of "defensive" research.
posted by troutfishing at 8:51 PM on March 17, 2003

didn't bush say tonight that "just following orders" was not a valid excuse?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:59 PM on March 17, 2003

A moral military is an oxymoron.

Er, so the military is an entity that is somehow inherently immoral? In whose eyes? Care to explain? I think that's shitting on a lot of "moral" people who have in fact served in the military over the years, including my father who was reluctantly deployed to Kuwait last weekend. Bonus points if you can explain without resorting to hyperbole about how the military exists to turn men into "killing machines" or mindless pawns of the federal government.
posted by Karl at 9:40 PM on March 17, 2003

the right to conduct the same type of "defensive" research

The difference here is that supporters of terrorist regimes and those who would sell nuclear weapons to them must be prevented from doing so. It's not all that complicated, unless one is not interested in protecting London, Los Angeles, Rome, Sydney, Paris or countless other possible cities from a nuclear attack. Several of those cities have been targeted in the past.

I think every precaution should be taken to prevent it.
posted by hama7 at 9:43 PM on March 17, 2003

Yay, let's appeal to emotion and fear to cfounter reasoned questions!

An army may or may not be 'immoral'. A moral army is a very tall order, and considering that different people have different morals, it's really quite meaningless.

An armed force is more accurately described as being amoral, neigher inherently good nor bad, but potentially very bad, and possibly also good in very specific cases.

Calling an army a 'moral army' has the dangerous effect of justifying any means they might employ because the end is a desireable one, and they've got their god on their side.

I prefer to think of an army as a bunch of young kids who have been trained to be very good at killing people and taking orders.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:57 PM on March 17, 2003


The military exists so that the nation may be defended and continue to exist. Insofar as they contribute to that, they are a Godsend. When their activities don't further the survival of the nation (or even imperil it, if Al Queda pops up again b/c of the coming invasion,) you must ask yourself how their actions make you more secure.

The military isn't immoral so much as it's amoral. The Commander-in-Chief is accorded all due respect and his orders are followed unstintingly. The alternative is that they pick and choose which orders to follow, which isn't something we can tolerate in a country where the military is under civilian (i.e., political) control. It's not that they are transformed into "killing machines" but rather that they are at the mercy of a civilian command that can use them as they see fit. When that civilian command chooses to abrograte international law, they are stuck with the task of breaking that law. I'd much rather they not be placed in such a position in the first place, but then I'm not the President.

Even if it goes well (whatever that means,) lots of American soldiers are going to have their minds and souls scarred permanently by what they see and what they do in the weeks to come. If I had it in my power, I'd spare all of them that experience. Including your father.
posted by trondant at 10:07 PM on March 17, 2003

trondant - very well said, but I will swoop in and claim some of Karl's Bonus Points if he will take out this library book; "Becoming Evil" ["Bonus points if you can explain without resorting to hyperbole about how the military exists to turn men into "killing machines"] But, I can't claim all those points. Indeed, I don't think any military establishment in the world exists solely to turn humans into killing machines. However, most military establishments do know how to condition military recruits to accomplish this grim task - of robotic slaughter (if the need arises). Karl - this does not implicate your father. I am talking about very specific methods employed in very specific circumstances.
posted by troutfishing at 10:28 PM on March 17, 2003

hama - You'll waste the rest of your life trying to refute the vast, stinking bulk of material cited in this post

Primarily, that is, because of the great difficultly inherent to refuting anything that is vast and stinking.
posted by shoos at 10:45 PM on March 17, 2003

I prefer to think of an army as a bunch of young kids who have been trained to be very good at killing people and taking orders.

We try.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:46 PM on March 17, 2003

The test of nuclear weapons on American soldiers was Operation Tumbler-Snapper, not Operation Crossroads

"With the 19-kiloton Dog shot on May 1, 1952, the Marines got their turn at a nuclear exercise. They loaded into their trucks and drove toward ground zero until intolerable radiation levels forced them to abort the mission."
posted by yarmond at 10:53 PM on March 17, 2003

Unnecessary wars may be fought to prevent nations from developing a capability and the possibility of use; a future uncertainty thus becomes the basis for a certain war today. Preventive war may be insufficient by itself to stop all attacks; some may occur. Moreover, chemical and biological weapon laboratories are difficult to detect, making their preemptive destruction hard to guarantee."

ok hama, help me out here: preemptive war will not work, so, uh, we should wage a preemptive war. cool.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:54 PM on March 17, 2003

ok hama, help me out here:

It works better than the other alternative.
posted by hama7 at 10:59 PM on March 17, 2003

It works better than the other alternative

let's do a comparative analysis of these two strategies. for fun, i fully grant that it it is at best hopeful on my part that the carnegie plan would garner the needed support.

1. in terms of solving the stated problem at hand, do you think that war or ordered coercive inspections would do a better job or creating an environment in which all chem and bio weapons can be safely rounded up?

2. given the widespread belief that this war will be over quickly, it seems likely that emphasis will be reaverted to the ongoing "war on terrorism". will war or coercive inspections leave us with a better framework for this objective?

i'm sure that you know my answers to these two questions. in reference to #1, i can not help but think that the fact that the former soviet republics whose WMD have had the wildest ride since '91 have been the most wartorn.

#2 reminds me of the fact that the girl who i peed on in first grade wouldn't ever go out with me in high school.

man, we've fallen on strange times when i find myself plugging "the carnegie plan".
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:32 PM on March 17, 2003

Everyone here has done something stupid at one time, therefore noone here can EVER say anything about anything. So THERE! That settles it.
posted by HTuttle at 11:54 PM on March 17, 2003

Everyone here who's done something stupid should probably check with their friends and acquaintences before doing it again.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:48 AM on March 18, 2003

This link posted by letterneversent above is an example of the kind of propaganda that is floating around. Supported by zero facts it simply makes an incredible claim that US policy is to steal oil from the middle east. There is so much of this crap floating around it is mind boggleing the level of ignorance out there.
posted by stbalbach at 4:58 AM on March 18, 2003

St. Balbach - I do think your rhetoric is a bit overheated there: "The problem of growing US dependence on imported petroleum was first raised in the National Energy Policy Report, released by the White House in May 2001. Known as "the Cheney report," after its principal author, the Vice President, the document revealed that imported supplies accounted for half of US oil consumption in 2000 and will jump to two-thirds in 2020. And despite all the talk of drilling in Alaska, the report makes one thing clear: Most of America's future oil supplies will have to come from the Persian Gulf countries, which alone possess sufficient production potential to meet ever-growing US energy requirements. Thus, the report calls on the White House to place a high priority on increasing US access to Persian Gulf supplies.

Washington Post, Sept. 15, 2002: "In Iraqi War Scenario, Oil Is Key Issue -
U.S. Drillers Eye Huge Petroleum Pool A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets, according to industry officials and leaders of the Iraqi opposition.....Although senior Bush administration officials say they have not begun to focus on the issues involving oil and Iraq, American and foreign oil companies have already begun maneuvering for a stake in the country's huge proven reserves of 112 billion barrels of crude oil, the largest in the world outside Saudi Arabia."

The highly esteemed, conservative British publication, The Economist concurs: "Iraq's oil - Don't mention the O-word - If America goes to war against Iraq, what will become of all that oil?" [Sep 12th 2002, From The Economist print edition ] "If AMERICA'S chief interest in going after Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, is doubtless to save the world from his actual or potential weapons of mass destruction. Another large consideration, secondary as it may be, has attracted less attention than it should have: the effects that would follow from the opening up of the country's enormous reserves of oil."

Have I substantiated the point?
posted by troutfishing at 6:15 AM on March 18, 2003

Put down your protest signs and get behind our troops
posted by Macboy at 6:45 AM on March 18, 2003

No thanks.
posted by letterneversent at 8:35 AM on March 18, 2003

Put down your protest signs and get behind our troops

oh, the sweet, staggering irony! I need a Kit Kat break.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:35 AM on March 18, 2003

Macboy - That's exactly what I am doing: supporting our troops. They shouldn't be invading at all -- and most certainly not in a Blitzkreig-like "Shock and awe" manner which seems very likely to kill many civilians and infuriate 1 billion Muslims around the globe. This will, in my opinion, merely lead to more wars down the road for them to fight. Further, I doubt that our career soldiers will be too happy with a ten-year garrison action in Iraq, I imagine that the National Guard reservists would rather get back to their families and jobs.

If I said "certainly not in a Blitzkreig-like "Shock and awe" manner" - how do I propose that US troops invade, anyway?.....well, I think that, in this case, the "cure" is far worse than the disease, and that, without UN support, the US should not invade at all. Iraq is not really a major WMD threat. North Korea is, or a Pakistan radicalized by a US invasion of Iraq, and then there are the vast, poorly defended (and often pilfered) WMD stocks lying around within the ex-Soviet Union's borders.

WMD's really have very little to do with this. If they did, the US would first address the largest WMD threat by increasing the funds it gives to implement the Nunn-Lugar plan - by a factor of ten.
posted by troutfishing at 2:59 PM on March 18, 2003

troutfishing -- those points are digestable. The link posted by letterneversent makes claims way beyond what your suggesting. No thanks.

Let me put this in perspective. Historically when oil goes to $40 a barell for 3 months in a row the US economy goes into a recession. We were at $38 recently and hovering around $35 now. If the USA was cut off in any signifigant manner from Middle East oil we will go into a recession and possibly a depression which will drag the world with it. This means you, me and everyone on this list faces job loss, living with parents, bank failures, etc.. this is not about a few fat cats getting rich it effects all of us it effects the entire world which is peged on the American economy (exception Russia and China economies are more independent).

Now you say lets drill at home. Problem is the costs are much higher because the quality is lower and the access and transport are more difficult. We need 'sweet crude' from the Persian Gulf. Everyone knows this, it's no secret. We are not going to steal the oil but we will use whatever is required to keep the US economy and thus the world economy on a level footing. The Iraq situation has everything to do with oil. But its not for the reasons the "common man" suspects its not about Bush getting rich or the oil companies. Do they benefit? Yes of course, but so does everyone. The alternative is to allow the Chinese and Russians to controll the access, as they benefit by Sadam staying in office, and this shifts the power balance. But this is not a war just about oil it is also about human rights and takeing out a dictator who has proven to be dangerous and instigate larger conflicts.
posted by stbalbach at 5:03 PM on March 18, 2003

stbalbach - there was a period in recent US history, roughly from the late 70's to the mid 80's, when US energy consumption remained virtually flat and yet the US economy grew at a healthy enough pace. US consumers and industry become more energy efficient. In the short term, I agree with you that an oil price shock would harm the US and world economy. But in the long run, both the US and the World need to move towards new energy sources. Oil is running out and new technologies have not reversed the decline in US oil production which began around 1970, as per the prediction of M. King Hubbert, the originator of the "Hubbert Curve" theory. We can expect Mideast oil producton to also conform to the Hubbert Curve.

I would be much more sympathetic to the Bush administration if it moved to shift the tens of billions of federal subsidies which go to subsidize US oil, coal, and nuclear industries towards the development of renewable energy sources. (See here, here, here, and here) From the last link: "The Bush administration plans to oppose an international drive to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and increase financing for nonpolluting energy sources worldwide, administration officials said today. ... The White House says its opposition to the proposals is based on a desire to let the marketplace, rather than government, decide how quickly renewable energy sources are adopted worldwide." --New York Times, July 14, 2001 "

And merely moving to significantly raise CAFE fuel efficiency standards would substantiallly cut US demand for Mideast oil.

The US is invading Iraq for a number of reasons, I believe:

1) Water - yes.

2) Oil - yes.

3) "The Grand Chessboard" of Zbigniew Brzezinski - yes ["The most shocking part of this book is the authors blunt statement that what the U.S. truly needs to awaken public opinion and lead to the kind of initiative to seize control of oil rich territory he deems necessary is a calamitous attack on the order of a Pearl Harbor. This came about with 9-11, which occurred after this book was published. "]

4) The "Perle Plan" (according to Seymour Hersh - For the US to Invade Iraq and Iran (or otherwise topple Mullahs from power in Iran) and so deprive Hezbollah and Hamas of two important sponsors, thus undercutting Palestinian resistance and so ennabling Israel to force a peace settlement on favourable terms. And (of course) American style democracy sweeps through the Mideast and everyone lives happily ever after.

5) - Pump up the market valuations of Cheney's Haliburton, Perle's (and Kissinger's) Trireme Corporation (see link above) and, indeed, a whole constellation of defense related industries favoured by Bush Administration insiders. - Yes

6) Bush family personal picque at Saddam Hussein - Yes.

7) Distract Americans from a slow, steady (and perhaps carefully) managed collapse of excessive stock market valuation - Yes.

8) An attempt to provoke the Biblical Armaggedon (of which we were all warned recently by the the Hebrew-spouting carp) - Maybe.

But I believe that concern for human rights is fairly low on the list. Talos has quite a bit to say (From "Idiot Prince..." thread) about the already rising tide of refugees surging out of Iraq and the immediate vicinity (here: "Listen. This war is coming and most of you won't even feel the consequences. This is what is happening over here at the European South East: we're waiting (according to estimates) for half to one million refugees pouring out from a devastated Iraq, and that's if Turkey doesn't attack Northern Kurdistan."

Not on the list at all - WMD's, or a direct 9-11 Iraq-Al Qaeda link:
1) The significant WMD stocks are not in Iraq: huge WMD stocks - nuclear weapons, plutonium, uranium, bioweapons agents, chemical weapons - are lying about in poorly defended heaps (so to speak) within the confines of the ex-Soviet Union. These WMD stocks constitute the really significant "loose WMD" threat - above, in all likelihood, the possibility that North Korea or rogue elements of the Pakistani military might give nuclear weapons to terrorists.

2) even GW Bush admits that there was absolutely no connection between the 9-11 terrorists and Iraq

But this is all straying a bit from letterneversent's original post now, isn't it? The original link - the Guardian story - seems well substantiated to me.
posted by troutfishing at 7:05 AM on March 19, 2003

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