More Mass Graves discovered
April 18, 2005 9:05 AM   Subscribe

More mass graves unearthed in Iraq | Investigators have discovered several mass graves in southern Iraq that are believed to contain the bodies of people killed by Saddam Hussein's government, including one estimated to hold 5,000 bodies, Iraqi officials say. If the estimated body counts prove correct, the new graves would be among the largest in the grim tally of mass killings that have gradually come to light since the fall of Saddam's government two years ago. At least 290 grave sites containing the remains of 300,000 people have been found since the U.S. invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say. In the aftermath of Saddam's fall, thousands of Iraqis overran mass-grave sites, digging for their relatives' remains with backhoes, shovels, even their bare hands. More evidence of genocide was discovered in Spring 2003, and though the numbers were disputed, the number of buried bodies discovered has continued to rise.
posted by jenleigh (161 comments total)
 
Too bad the largest grave only fits 5,000. That won't fit our contribution. And that's not even counting the thousands upon thousands who died due to U.S. imposed sanctions before the war.
posted by banished at 9:11 AM on April 18, 2005


Gee, I was just replying to predict how long it would be before the first US bashing comment. Clearly, I need to be quick on the draw to beat the America haters around here.
posted by keswick at 9:13 AM on April 18, 2005



posted by matteo at 9:14 AM on April 18, 2005


the America haters around here

priceless
posted by matteo at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2005


So they find 300,000 bodies, and you are against both invasion and sanctions. What would you have done, banished?

Seriously, just asking here.
posted by jikel_morten at 9:16 AM on April 18, 2005


Oh, I used to like Saddam, but now I think he's bad. And we definitely invaded because of human rights abuses and mass murder, because he's the only leader who did those sorts of things.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:16 AM on April 18, 2005


"Clearly, I need to be quick on the draw to beat the America haters around here."

s/American/hypocrisy
posted by jperkins at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2005


So they find 300,000 bodies, and you are against both invasion and sanctions. What would you have done, banished?

Ummm... not let him do it? How's cleaning the blood off from that handshake coming, Donny?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:22 AM on April 18, 2005


There's still no proof of 300,000 bodies. Repeating old propaganda is not right or proper or moral at all, especially now that we've been there for so long, and killed so many ourselves. The lies should stop.

This statement was proven absolutely false ages ago: least 290 grave sites containing the remains of 300,000 people have been found since the U.S. invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say.

I did a post on it, based on this Guardian Story: PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
posted by amberglow at 9:33 AM on April 18, 2005


and it's not that "the numbers were disputed," but that they were absolutely false, and lies, and admitted to be so.
posted by amberglow at 9:34 AM on April 18, 2005


There is a large distance between being an "America hater" and questioning the actions of the government of the United States...
posted by joaovc at 9:35 AM on April 18, 2005


OK, america haters is one of the funniest damned things I have ever read. THe funny thing is..the people who are saying it are 'repeating often' ..tehy are selling liberals as brand 'america hater' in the minds of lots and lots of people...not necessarily on MetaFilter...but you know..in that whole physical space place.

And I am not saying for a second that I believe that we went in for human rights issues, or to prevent more mass graves, I just want to point out two things:

1) I have shaken hands with at least one man that I later found out was a complete bastard. It happens

2) once we are in a position where we have supplied a crazy man with weapons....and he IS using them, and using our money, etc to harm others...and our sanctions are really hurting thousands of kids...what DO we do? Seriously? ASk doc if he can warm up the DeLorean?
posted by das_2099 at 9:37 AM on April 18, 2005


There is a large distance between being an "America hater" and questioning the actions of the government of the United States...

To the mindless sheep, there is no difference.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:37 AM on April 18, 2005


Also, wow, great link amberglow. THanks! I can pass that one along to people next time someone pulls the mass grave argument.
posted by das_2099 at 9:39 AM on April 18, 2005


Gee, I was just replying to predict how long it would be before the first US bashing comment.

Good thing you did, huh? Now you feel superior because you are a reasonable person who loves America while the other people on the internet are unreasonable ingrates. These mass graves sure are good for your self-esteem.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:39 AM on April 18, 2005


tehy is the new teh
posted by petebest at 9:40 AM on April 18, 2005


I have shaken hands with at least one man that I later found out was a complete bastard.

We knew he was a complete bastard long before that handshake.

what DO we do? Seriously?

We admit our mistakes, apologise for our previous actions, and demonstrate by our current actions that we've learned from our mistakes. Appointing one of the architects of Reagan's central American death squad adventure to be the Iraqi ambassador is pretty much a textbook example of how not to do any of the above.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:44 AM on April 18, 2005


I'm no expert, but aren't we talking about a region that's been through a number of brutal wars in the past 40-50 years? Wouldn't it stand to reason that they'd find mass graves somewhere?
posted by fungible at 9:45 AM on April 18, 2005


fungible: Yeah, the false assumption here is that all these people were executed by Saddam's firing squad for impertinence and tossed in graves, when really these are from the first Gulf War.

Most are probably Kurds who were trying to overthrow Saddam with our help, but when our promise to help fell through, they got massacred by Saddam's defense.
posted by destro at 10:08 AM on April 18, 2005


Jenleigh, how many of those graves hold the bodies of Kurds who died from poison gas technology Reagan allowed to be sold to Hussein? Take your time, no rush. This is one of those questions you'll want to give some serious thought to, something that might challenge your assumptions of propriety about the current campaign of colonial expansion.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:12 AM on April 18, 2005


I always look forward to Jenleigh's posts - it's like my own personal Fox News Update right smack dab in the middle of MeFi.

Also, I heared they found Osama hidin' in a rape room buried under a pile o' them WMDs at the bottom of one of them mass graves!

FREEDOM SI ON TEH MARCH
posted by stenseng at 10:19 AM on April 18, 2005


1) I have shaken hands with at least one man that I later found out was a complete bastard. It happens

The problem with this is that Rumsfeld knew Saddam & The Iraqis were using chemical weapons against the Iranians & The Kurds before Reagan sent him to meet Saddam (more here).
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:24 AM on April 18, 2005


What Mr_Zero said...
And what joaovc said...
Oh, and what matteo said, as always...

But, for reals yo, y'all is just haters!!

I weep for this country.
posted by AspectRatio at 10:27 AM on April 18, 2005


Metafilter: FREEDOM SI ON TEH MARCH

: >
posted by amberglow at 10:29 AM on April 18, 2005


From my link above:


The U.S., which followed developments in the Iran-Iraq war with extraordinary intensity, had intelligence confirming Iran's accusations, and describing Iraq's "almost daily" use of chemical weapons, concurrent with its policy review and decision to support Iraq in the war [Document 24]. The intelligence indicated that Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces, and, according to a November 1983 memo, against "Kurdish insurgents" as well [Document 25].

What was the Reagan administration's response? A State Department account indicates that the administration had decided to limit its "efforts against the Iraqi CW program to close monitoring because of our strict neutrality in the Gulf war, the sensitivity of sources, and the low probability of achieving desired results." But the department noted in late November 1983 that "with the essential assistance of foreign firms, Iraq ha[d] become able to deploy and use CW and probably has built up large reserves of CW for further use. Given its desperation to end the war, Iraq may again use lethal or incapacitating CW, particularly if Iran threatens to break through Iraqi lines in a large-scale attack" [Document 25]. The State Department argued that the U.S. needed to respond in some way to maintain the credibility of its official opposition to chemical warfare, and recommended that the National Security Council discuss the issue.

Following further high-level policy review, Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 114, dated November 26, 1983, concerned specifically with U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The directive reflects the administration's priorities: it calls for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities, and measures to improve U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf, and directs the secretaries of state and defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take appropriate measures to respond to tensions in the area. It states, "Because of the real and psychological impact of a curtailment in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf on the international economic system, we must assure our readiness to deal promptly with actions aimed at disrupting that traffic." It does not mention chemical weapons [Document 26].

Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld (who had served in various positions in the Nixon and Ford administrations, including as President Ford's defense secretary, and at this time headed the multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co.) was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish "direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein," while emphasizing "his close relationship" with the president [Document 28]. Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.'s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq's oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran's ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting [Document 31].
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:29 AM on April 18, 2005


I also wonder how many of the mass graves are actually left over from the first gulf war. The US army used tactics that involved burying large numbers of Iraqis alive.

See here and here
posted by ALvard at 10:33 AM on April 18, 2005


Disagreeing with right wing militant politicians = America hating. Don't ever forget that. - Keswick Goebbels
posted by nofundy at 10:38 AM on April 18, 2005


Thank God there's no overlap between Metafilter foreign policy and American foreign policy.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:39 AM on April 18, 2005


Also, wow, great link amberglow. THanks! I can pass that one along to people next time someone pulls the mass grave argument.

I liked the link, too—when I read it in this FPP ("and though the numbers were disputed...)". Apparently no one's clicking the links.

Next time someone 'pulls the mass grave arguement' will you dispute the NYT reportage of 290 grave sites?

At least 290 grave sites containing the remains of some 300,000 people have been found since the American invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say.

I'd say 'the mass grave' arguement—that they indeed exist, that they are the work of Saddam's regime, that Saddam should be dealt with—is stronger than ever if Iraqis & coalition forces are still finding massive numbers of bodies.

Amberglow: your contention last year (the Guardian link) was that a particular disputed gravesite could not have held 300,000. Jenleigh's links are pointing out that 300,000+ bodies have been discovered since the overthrow of Saddam, not just in one single discovery. Those are two different arguements.

Seems like there's an awful lot of diversionary, reactionary noise in response to this story, minus Fuzzy Monster's link & contribution. Even Farkers no longer breathlessly post the Saddam-Rumsfeld pic anymore.
posted by dhoyt at 10:41 AM on April 18, 2005


Metafilter: FREEDOM SI ON TEH MARCH
: >


Thank God there's no overlap between Metafilter foreign policy and American foreign policy.

Yup--we're not the lying, murderous thugs our policymakers are. We tell the truth, and have never ever invaded another country for no reason. We don't have oil connections, and nor have propped up dictators, only to knock them down when convenient.
posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on April 18, 2005


Yep. Guess that's it. It's so lucid and pristine in here...
posted by ParisParamus at 10:46 AM on April 18, 2005


Next time someone 'pulls the mass grave arguement' will you dispute the NYT reportage of 290 grave sites?

I don't need to, dhoyt, because I can simply dispute all the other stories NYT didn't tell two decades ago. NYT is a known Bush apologist; any credibility they had was shot, burned and buried in a mass media grave after they collaborated with the Bush administration is not reporting lies told about so-called WMD "intelligence" three years ago. All this reportage is nice — we knew Saddam was a psychopath, thanks — but it cheerfully, willfully ignores the larger picture of our own collaboration with the man.

Perhaps if we didn't prop him up all those decades ago, those graves would never have happened?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2005


.
posted by agregoli at 10:52 AM on April 18, 2005


I'm relatively new here. Can someone please tell me whether it's ParisParamus's standard modus operandi to ignore arguments, links and documented facts and just post one-line "I'm a snarky conservative with no actual rebuttals" stuff? Those posts are really kinda embarrassing.
posted by Decani at 10:55 AM on April 18, 2005


Can someone please tell me whether it's ParisParamus's standard modus operandi to ignore arguments, links and documented facts and just post one-line "I'm a snarky conservative with no actual rebuttals" stuff? Those posts are really kinda embarrassing.

Yes and yes.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:59 AM on April 18, 2005


I always look forward to Jenleigh's posts - it's like my own personal Fox News Update right smack dab in the middle of MeFi.

A tedious, one-sided echo chamber is certainly better.

I didn't realize the New York Times was equivalent to Fox News these days.

Can someone please tell me whether it's ParisParamus's standard modus operandi to ignore arguments, links and documented facts and just post one-line "I'm a snarky conservative with no actual rebuttals" stuff? Those posts are really kinda embarrassing.

Strange you accidentally glossed over those other embarassing one-liners...

• What Mr_Zero said...
And what joaovc said...
Oh, and what matteo said, as always...
But, for reals yo, y'all is just haters!!
I weep for this country.

• FREEDOM SI ON TEH MARCH

• Keswick Goebbels
posted by dhoyt at 11:04 AM on April 18, 2005


I also wonder how many of the mass graves are actually left over from the first gulf war. The US army used tactics that involved burying large numbers of Iraqis alive.

Wow wouldn't that be embarrasing?

We've discovered more mass graves in Iraq... Oh, apparently, these are ours from Gulf War I.
posted by jperkins at 11:05 AM on April 18, 2005




Re: Rumsfeld shaking hands w/ Hussein
Homer Simpson: "Look, I thought...the cop...was a hooker"

So, what... that's it? Question the veracity of anything the Admin says - excuse me - a republican admin says - and you hate America?

So not only does the "Um Ok THIS is why we went to war...now. Um, always was, yep...uh huh" Bullshit piss me off, but we have to contend with this snarky crap stating in essence to take up a contrary position is America bashing?

WTF is wrong with you bastards? This is a FORUM. This is what is done here and has been done on Mefi forfuckingever.

Does "This website exists to break down the barriers between people, to extend a weblog beyond just one person, and to foster discussion among its members" ring a bell with you people?

Oh, but if we talk about it we hate America. Yeah? Well I don't remember you covering my 6 in any engagements I've been in therefore you are cowards who hate America.

That and because you support BushCo you obviously molest children based on this spurious link I have here: http://www.prisoners.com/cmarmy.html, and vast amounts of evidence I have that is so compelling I need not cite it or even ever refer to it again.

I will now log off this thread since I need not be responsible for anything I say or indeed I don't even want to discuss this since you disgust me so much (even though it's y'know, the reason the site exists).

For fuck sake, put up or shut up.
You can recognize we screwed up in the past and what a bastard Rummy was while defending that at least Hussein is out of power now and this type of thing won't continue - at least under him.
(And whether the mass graves are factual is debatable - debate it)
How hard is it?

You want a 'lets jerk each other off festival' visit some wing nut site.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:24 AM on April 18, 2005


After seeing the rush to blame America and the effort put towards equivocating, one can see the very reason for the "why do you hate America" question.
posted by dios at 11:27 AM on April 18, 2005


You want a 'lets jerk each other off festival' visit some wing nut site.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:24 AM PST on April 18


Eh? This place is about varied perspectives? That suggestion can't even pass the red-faced tedst. That is why myself or anyone else, such as jenleigh, posts anything other than the echo chambered opinions we get insulted and labeled trolls or other insults? Yeah. This is a real opinion-tolerant place, eh Smedleyman?
posted by dios at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2005


I still have not seen proof of anywhere near 300,000 people in mass graves--whether from the 80s, 90s, or more recently.

Even that NYT article only mentions:
--5,000 bodies of Iraqi soldiers who joined a failed uprising against Mr. Hussein's government after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

--2,000 members of the Kurdish clad led by Massoud Barzani.

--the remains of 58 Kuwaitis spread across several sites,

--A smaller site was discovered near Nasiriya earlier this week.


So, where is the proof of 300,000? This is just repetition of the same false amount told us pre-war--over and over.

It doesn't make it true--sorry.
posted by amberglow at 11:30 AM on April 18, 2005


Even Farkers no longer breathlessly post the Saddam-Rumsfeld pic anymore.

unlike you, I don't read Fark, so I don't have data -- but it's always nice to remind the "down with the America Haters" silly crowd that the bad bad man with a mustache used to get his weapons from certain Western then-allies who now suffer from a shameful case of self-serving amnesia, just like you seem to.

I also suspect that if it was Hillary Clinton shaking Saddam's hand in '83 to celebrate that big fat weapon deal you wouldn't complain as loudly. but from MeFi's own Zell Miller I wouldn't expect anything less. in fact, I'm kinda surprised you didn't shamefully hurl (well, yet) wild accusations of misogyny against people here simply for having problems with jenleigh's post, like you sometimes do.
unlike Bush in Iraq, at least you're making progress, dhoyt.

posted by matteo at 11:33 AM on April 18, 2005


More reported by the KRG:
John Pace, head of the United Nations Human Rights Office for Iraq, said there could be even more bodies inside the graves.

"Some graves contain multiple layers of bodies, so they might contain more remains than the surface area might indicate," Pace said.

Investigators have found other mass graves around Iraq in recent days in the vicinity of Kirkuk, Sulaymaniya, Halabja and Nasiriya."
posted by jenleigh at 11:40 AM on April 18, 2005


matteo, since our past behavior was inappropriate in its support of Saddam, didn't that place a burden on America to go in there and remove him? Wouldn't we have a duty to undue the deathgrip he had on that region if we permitted it? You know, like go in there and remove him so people can suffer under this tyrant we propped up? You know, like we just did.

Or should we just all commit suicide because we are irredeemably evil because of what happened in 1980? Nothing good can ever be done by America again because Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand, correct?
posted by dios at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2005


Hey Smedleyman, lay off the profanity. It stands out so F'ing loud I can't remember anything else about what you wrote except for F F F F....
posted by buzzman at 11:44 AM on April 18, 2005


No f'ing S
posted by TetrisKid at 11:47 AM on April 18, 2005


Is there any fact that could possibly come to light that would make you think the Iraq war was a net negative, dios?
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:49 AM on April 18, 2005


Nothing good can ever be done by America again because Rumsfeld shook Saddam's hand, correct?

Dios, don't be so... dramatic. Besides, if we survive long enough, we'll get to do all of this again in twenty- or thirty-odd years, when we dispose of the inconvenient dictators we're installing now.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:50 AM on April 18, 2005


For the "how dare you question my patriotism crowd": opposing a policy of the country does not make you unpatriotic. Criticizing actions taken by the country does not make you unpatriotic. Regretting actions taken by your country in the past does not make you unpatriotic.

But when you consistently look to blame America first... when you make an effort to deny good news because it might look good for America... when you state how disgusting you find displays of patriotism... when you act like America is a failed sinner and therefore can never do good again... when your comments consistently show that you think the country is a force for bad and not good... when you consistently trumpet bad news and marginalize good news because of its corresponding effect on the analysis of an action taken by America.... THEN you are unpatriotic. THEN it becomes fair to ask why you hate America. If you don't, then maybe you shouldn't make such an effort to attack it.
posted by dios at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2005


Is there any fact that could possibly come to light that would make you think the Iraq war was a net negative, dios?
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:49 AM PST on April 18


Absolutely. Luckily, none of those facts are present now.
posted by dios at 11:51 AM on April 18, 2005


matteo, since our past behavior was inappropriate in its support of Saddam, didn't that place a burden on America to go in there and remove him?

Talk about moving the goalposts.

The administration didn't care enough about the people of Iraq to do that. They only cared when they believed he had weapons that might be used against us.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:52 AM on April 18, 2005


Alex... we are installing dictators? Funny, but I seem to recall elections. A Constitution being worked on. More elections coming. Don't let those inconvienent facts stand in the way of your insinuation that we are installing dictators.
posted by dios at 11:53 AM on April 18, 2005


After seeing the rush to blame America and the effort put towards equivocating, one can see the very reason for the "why do you hate America" question.
posted by dios at 2:27 PM EST on April 18


God (dios) has spoken.
Repent all ye America hating sinners!
All hail right wing militants!
They are pure and spotless in God's (dios's) eyes and need not apologize for anything ever and are imminently qualified for political position recycling so long as they live!
posted by nofundy at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2005


Alex... we are installing dictators? Funny, but I seem to recall elections. A Constitution being worked on. More elections coming. Don't let those inconvienent facts stand in the way of your insinuation that we are installing dictators.

Did you once work for the Eastern German Propagandische Bund? Your vocabulary and phrasing are very familiar to me.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:00 PM on April 18, 2005


Patriotism means never having to say you're sorry for being a right wing militant douchebag complicit in murder and a terrorist dictator supporter.
posted by nofundy at 12:01 PM on April 18, 2005


Well, I suppose everyone knew that this thread would degenerate into a shitslingin' contest by both the "right" and the "left"... I know it was inevitable but it's too bad, really... the actual issues being raised get lost within the shitstorm.

Dios: elections and constitutions are an important step toward democracy, yes, but elections and constitutions don't necessarily automatically equal democracy. Just look at Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

In this particular case, I think AlexReynolds was pointing out that The U.S.A. does have a history of helping to install foreign leaders who are or later became dictators (Pinochet in Chile leaps immediately to mind), and that Iyad Allawi and/or his replacement has the potential to become such a dictator.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:22 PM on April 18, 2005


matteo, since our past behavior was inappropriate in its support of Saddam, didn't that place a burden on America to go in there and remove him?

Talk about moving the goalposts.


Armitage: While I am disgusted by the ever-shifting post-facto rationalizations for the invasion of Iraq, there's just no getting around the fact that Saddam had been behaving rather badly, and given half the chance, would have continued to do so. Did we encourage and enable this misbehavior? (sorry to be flippant about it, but we've been over this and over this) Yeah sure, probably. Lots of evidence besides that famous handshake. But is it too much to ask to keep these facts separate. They are not mutually exclusive. Did the administration care about Saddam's malfeasance? No, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't.

And dios, Sure, we, the US, were most likely morally culpable for a good portion of Saddam's carnage. Therefore, a reasonable person could make the argument that the US had a responsibility to clean up the mess it had made. Or did we? One could also argue that simply stopping it from getting any worse would have been the least harmful course.

All this is leading to some sort of cost/benefit analysis of whether or not the ammount of slaughter resultant from the war is or isn't outweighed by the potential future Saddam induced carnage which would have occured absent our intervention. Tough call.

And please, enough with the hyperbole. I feel like I'm ass deep in straw men and ad hominems today.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 12:22 PM on April 18, 2005


"Yeah. This is a real opinion-tolerant place, eh Smedleyman?"

No, dios. You misunderstood me perhaps.
I said people who did not stick up and rationally defend their opinions in the face of that intolerance are cowards.

People have said I have my head up my ass about a great many things. When I'm wrong I update my opinion. When I'm right I defend it in the face of whatever foolishness is in front of me.

One of the points here being that I can be shown that I'm wrong through reasoned discourse.

The "ya'll hate Amerikuh" one post bullshit does not fufill that requirement.

This is quite aside from the snarks one must endure from whatever side.
You - and I at times - have not been worthy of an answer to our posts because they have been too bucolic or unreasonable or whatever, but very often we recieve an 'up yours' type of reply.
That kind of feedback alone should wake one up out of the myopic or too emotional funk (garbage in garbage out).


-
In this case, on this topic, I have not been convinced either way. But neither have I read much discourse, in this particular instance, from yourself or anyone else, such as jenleigh which convinces me on the other side.

What exactly is the point? That the graves DO exist? That they COULD have existed? That Hussein was a bastard and we were right to take him out?

From the initial post that last bit is what I gleaned. He was an S.O.B., but the responses were "Well, he was OUR S.O.B."
To which the retort was "you hate America"

In fact we did have a lot to do with putting him in power and keeping him there and selling him weapons etc.

To which the response was "you hate America"

I could say for example: we took out Hussein partly because he was an evil bastard and partly to bring stabilty to a region which, if held by Islam extremists, could threaten our economic security through manipulation of oil prices which would limit our national autonomy in that if they didn't like the U.S. making sanctions or making war or any number of other foreign policy decisions they could use their toehold on the cost of our oil through their hold on the second largest oil reserve in the world to limit or alter our decisions.

That although Hussein was an evil bastard we accept that he was indeed an evil bastard and that the freedom to navigate our own destiny is worth the non-interferance with the internal workings of his country.
No one told the sick bastard to kill his own people, but he did it with some secrecy so although we suspected we didn't know for sure and we didn't want to jeprodize regional stability (and of course our autonomy) by tipping our hand and letting everyone know how vitally important Iraq was to us by invading over a few hundred thousand people killed.
Especially when instability in the U.S. would cost far far more in lives due to the dependance the world has on our economy and our policies.
That there are intangibles here that no one can prognosticate and as deplorable as other dictators were and are, Hussein made it to the top of the list because he got away with so much crap under our nose for so long.
So we waited until we could get away with taking him out by manipulating our position with other arab countries while appearing to give Hussein free license to attack Kuwait so we could stomp on him. Which we didn't do in Round One because the other arabs said we shouldn't and we wanted to appear as though we had some restraint and that they had some say in the matter.
So Bush the lesser gets elected to carry out the master plan designed to run over several decades and we finally put the bastard on ice where he will be tried for human rights violations - a side benefit - while we tidy up our concerns in the Middle East.

...but I don't believe I read any piece of that - just:
"Thank God there's no overlap between Metafilter foreign policy and American foreign policy."

I can't blame the folks who are saying "this shouldn't have happened" I can't call them America bashers.
I can think they're being a bit unrealistic about foreign policy, but while I think that, I can also suspect our leaders as having motives less than pure when all their buddies profit from the blood and tears of my brothers and sisters in the field working to put that plan I just outlined into operation.
They're told "were bringing freedom to Iraq, because its good for them and good for the U.S."

Ok, is it? And who else is it good for?
Those questions need to be asked. That and - where the hell did these graves really come from? Is is all propaganda like so much of the other crap we've been shown?
I don't know, I'm not there at the scene, so I sure as hell would like to hear what everyone has to say on it while they share information with each other.
And I couldn't give a crap about their tolerance or motives or other character flaws.
Just what I said - sharing of different ideas.

Because I certainly don't have all the answers unlike many folks who seem to think so.

...sorry for writing so much, but I'd be a hypocrite if I wrote in favor of sharing opinions fully and I didn't.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:27 PM on April 18, 2005


I still have not seen proof of anywhere near 300,000 people in mass graves--whether from the 80s, 90s, or more recently.

That number is being widely reported by Iraqis themselves who are present at the gravesites taking count. I don't know if the number is accurate any more than you, but the numbers are obviously growing with each new discovery. If there have been almost 300 individual gravesites confirmed containing "hundreds" of bodies, then it is not fantastical to think that that number is creeping toward 300,000 by now.
posted by jenleigh at 12:33 PM on April 18, 2005


I suppose everyone knew that this thread would degenerate into a shitslingin' contest by both the "right" and the "left"...

It's either that or having to deal with the "I wonder why the usual suspects on the Right aren't participating?" crap (from the usual suspects on the left. Go figure.)

Echo chamber or rhetorical bukakke. Take your pick.
posted by Cyrano at 12:37 PM on April 18, 2005


"I said people who did not stick up and rationally defend their opinions in the face of that intolerance are cowards. "
That said, in the interim everyone begins to defend their positions.
*sigh*
Day late and a dollar short.

But your right, Fuzzy Monster, the B.S. slinging still abounds.

I'm curious what the Iraqi parliment has to say on this. (not the b.s. slinging on mefi....but the mass graves) All we seem to have is the news fashionable 'unsource': "officials say"
posted by Smedleyman at 12:39 PM on April 18, 2005


/derail/

Man, the level of discourse on Metafilter is really starting to be a drag. PP and dios and company are welcome to their opinions, hell, I *welcome* them to the site - I want all sides represented, but guys, come on - back your stuff up with something beyond the usual attacks and talking points. See Fuzzy Monster's post for a start - just bring something like that to the table. Something. As for the rest of us, we can do better than resorting to hyperbole and calling the opposition names. It's tiresome and it actually gets us nowhere. This could have been a great thread, but like so many threads on this site it simply turned into another boring shouting match dominated by the usual suspects. I'm tired of it.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 12:39 PM on April 18, 2005


jenleigh, the Iraqis themselves are not an objective source for any of this, especially if they're the same Iraqis (who were in exile at the time) telling us the same thing. Chalabi fed us lies and lies. Who's feeding this to us now? Is it that same bunch?

And you just linked to multiple google listings for the same article.

...If the estimated body counts prove correct, the new graves would be among the largest ...

I just listed the amounts above--those are "among the largest"? and only "if the estimated body counts prove correct"?

What kind of suckers are we?
posted by amberglow at 12:48 PM on April 18, 2005


Serious question:

Does anyone here ever say "you hate America" in an un-ironic way? Serioulsly, given the responses in this thread I'm starting to wonder. I wish I didn't have to ask...
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2005


So, um... are there 300k bodies or not? and whodunit?
posted by papakwanz at 1:01 PM on April 18, 2005


Yes, at this point, even if the number of bodies discovered in mass graves continues to rise, it doesn't really mean anything. We don't know for sure how long those bodies were there, who they are, etc.

We propped Saddam up and we got rid of him. Simply put, that evens the score for us, but now we're in the hole because we're the ones killing innocent Iraqis. When is that going to stop? How deep into this hole are we going to go?

For those who have followed the story beyond the current administration, we know Saddam was bad and we know why, but that doesn't change our belief that the U.S. is in Iraq for all the wrong reasons. Finding out about more dead bodies won't change that belief, because it is not tied to our stated reasons for being there.

Understand? You can try all you want to change the focus, but it ain't gonna work.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:02 PM on April 18, 2005


Our history with Iraq was a continuation of realpolitik that closely resembled what happened in Cambodia with our support of the Khmer Rouge. Instead of Vietnam being seen as the greater evil, it was Iran. Iran was certainly a scary place. During the Iran-Iraq war the Ayatollah sent out children tied together with plastic "keys to heaven" around their necks to clear minefields. Often kids were sent out with little to no training to face the machine-guns.

The rural Kurds had no love of the Iranians. They were opportunists and wanted to be free of Saddam's rule. This made it hard for the US to support them, fearing a victorious Iran in control of the much of the world's oil the US was able to overlook the gas attacks, forced relocations, and mass machine-gun executions as Iraq fighting resistance. West Germany profiting heavily from chemical sales to Iraq. American rice farmers sold 23 percent of their total crop to Iraq while a million tons of American wheat was exported there. Peter Galbraith, who that fought for sanctions, had a person from Senator John Breaux of Louisiana staff before him in tears claiming he was committing genocide against Louisiana farmers.

So in 1988 the sanctions failed and in a May 26th meeting al-Majiid talked of the Kurds says, "I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them!" So it continued into the 90's with the aborted uprising that triggered even more killing.

Reagan and Bush never said anything about what was happening to the Kurds during their terms.

Why the lives of those in Iraq matter now was met with suspicion by many. The lies about WMD only fed distrust of the real motives. Perhaps, if true concern had managed to break through the economic and geo-political gridlock there would be no insurgency. Perhaps, if the architects of the Operation Iraqi Liberation were not mostly the same people that helped cover up or at least ignore and dismiss the genocide, this nation would have stayed united and legitimate coalition would have emerged to topple Saddam.

It's not about hating America. It's about integrity. It's about responsibility. It's about living up to the values so often boasted about, but rarely embodied.

It's not to say that we don't have enemies that are seeking to destroy us. They are out there and they have a deep philosophy that stands against the West. I don't believe we are pursuing a strategy that actually counters this and I don't know exactly what it entails except that I feel our image has been tainted by those in power. I don't believe this has helped.
posted by john at 1:05 PM on April 18, 2005


That 300,000 number has been tossed around for the last 10 years, and it comes from a USAID ( a US gov organization) estimation. There's been no evidence for it. A lot of those numbers could be the result of refugees.
posted by destro at 1:11 PM on April 18, 2005


I'm curious why someone would believe 'the Iraqis' when they say that Saddam killed 300,000 people in 20 years, and then not believe 'the Iraqis' when they say that Uncle Sam killed more than 100,000 people in 2 years?
posted by bashos_frog at 1:12 PM on April 18, 2005


First, WMDs were found in Iraq; not of the quantity expected, but nonetheless, found. There is also growing evidence that much of the stuff is now in Syria. But of course recognizing that would be to acknowledge that President Bush is better President than Hitler....

Second, I don't respond directly to arguments made in political posts unless they're especially novel or cogent. My MO here is to remind the hopelessly Left that they are precisely that. Why? Because this place is sufficiently slanted Left that I feel there's no more valuable contribution I can make. Were the Left sland of Mefi to subside I would alter my MO.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:18 PM on April 18, 2005


Do you actually think that was a cogent statement, Paris?

Does anyone remember that Twilight Zone episode where everyone's language is gradually replaced by nonsense words? That's what it feels like talking to the True Believers these days.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2005


First, WMDs were found in Iraq; not of the quantity expected, but nonetheless, found

Your comment was If WMDs are not found in Iraq, and in large quantity. It's arguable whether WMDs were found at all; it's unarguable that they were not found "in large quantity".

There is also growing evidence that much of the stuff is now in Syria.

How long is this Get Out Of Jail Free clause good for?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2005


I feel there's no more valuable contribution I can make.

like, um, links maybe?
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:27 PM on April 18, 2005


Third, my aim is to keep as many Hate America/Hate Americans people engaged inside Metafilter, where they can do little or no harm in the real world. In this way, mindless, pathologically hateful opposition to the Bush Administration can be minimized, and progress can be made in Iran, the West Bank and Gaza, and elsewhere in the world where European-like "thought" hinders making the world a better, more humane place.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:28 PM on April 18, 2005


Links? I'm not aware of an obligation to post links in threads. If you want links. Try the Op-Ed pages of the WSJ, NYSun and New York Post.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:29 PM on April 18, 2005


elsewhere in the world where European-like "thought" hinders making the world a better, more humane place

Yes! The obligatory Eurobash! Your work is done here!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2005


why do you hate America haters?
posted by thanatogenous at 1:32 PM on April 18, 2005


*leaves Metafilter, attacks Real World*
posted by pieisexactlythree at 1:33 PM on April 18, 2005


"How long is this Get Out Of Jail Free clause good for?" It's good until Syria, which is just Saddam's Iraq without the steroids (oil) is brought down.

And what if none are found there? Then, I was wrong, and everyone, including those who opposed invading Iraq, were wrong. What should be my punishment? Apologizing for a stupid remark? Resign from Metafilter? What would you do with your time, then?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:34 PM on April 18, 2005


I hate America haters because they are cynical, hypocritical quasi-anarchists.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:35 PM on April 18, 2005


I hate America haters because they are cynical, hypocritical quasi-anarchists.

Where do I sign up?
posted by Kwantsar at 1:38 PM on April 18, 2005


my aim is to keep as many Hate America/Hate Americans people engaged inside Metafilter,

It's the flypaper strategy that is working so well in Iraq.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:40 PM on April 18, 2005


And what if none are found there? Then, I was wrong, and everyone, including those who opposed invading Iraq, were wrong.

You seriously draw no distinction between "I thought there might have been WMDs in Iraq, but I wasn't sure, so I was opposed to invading" and "I was in favor of invading because I was sure there were WMDs in Iraq"?

What should be my punishment? Apologizing for a stupid remark?

I'm just trying to understand your position. Are you now saying that your "Bush should be indicted" comment was a stupid remark that you regret? Or do you still believe it, but it's not operative until it's established beyond doubt that there aren't "large quantities" of Iraqi WMDs hidden in Syria?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:46 PM on April 18, 2005


I'm not aware of an obligation to post links in threads.

Sorry man, but if you make the claim you should be able to back it up. You got time to make the comment, you got time to make a link. Not doing so only invites the kind of invective that so often turns these threads to shit.
posted by Cyrano at 1:49 PM on April 18, 2005




Paris, I threw you a bone and everything. Sigh. C'mon, engage someone in debate, back up your arguments with something beyond the op-ed pages. You never know, you might actually get one of us to consider your position (for instance, you have no idea what my politics are). You already think you're smarter than everyone on the site - now prove it. Write something meaningful. Please.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 1:49 PM on April 18, 2005


Some of you are just acting dumb. I hope you're acting, and I hope you stop.
posted by breezeway at 1:53 PM on April 18, 2005


don't waste your time, theinsects. PP never links to facts or stats or even intelligent op-eds to support his assertions and slander.
posted by amberglow at 1:54 PM on April 18, 2005


No bashos, it's the Roach Motel strategy, and it has worked well. And a numerical increase in "terrorism" during a war hardly disproves that."

But keep going, if it makes you feel good.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:56 PM on April 18, 2005


Amberglow: hopelessly braindead.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2005


I hate America haters because they are cynical, hypocritical quasi-anarchists.

Amazing. He seemed to say that without the tiniest trace of irony.
posted by lodurr at 2:05 PM on April 18, 2005


ParisParamus, I agree with your idea about the futility of engaging in arguments against the liberal left-wing bias at Metafilter. It's clear the editorial board is pushing an agenda.

On the other hand, your comments are a little crass when you talk about:

>...my aim is to keep as many Hate America/Hate Americans people engaged inside Metafilter, where they can do little or no harm in the real world.

One could just look at the liberal leftist slanted Lancet report about 100000 Iraqi (post)War dead, a bit like the estimates for those mass graves. If one were to give both sides some leeway then a 1:3 Golden Imperial Ratio could argue against your "they can do little or no harm in the real world."

And seriously, do you really think Europeans don't want to make "the world a better, more humane place." Do you smell what you're shoveling?
posted by gsb at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2005


And a numerical increase in "terrorism" during a war hardly disproves that."

Huh? What does that even mean?!

The best evidence I'm aware of suggests that membership in terrorist organizations has increased since 2001. Did you mean to say "decrease" -- as in, the number of terrorist incidents has decreased? Perhaps you could provide a link to some evidence of that. (I know, you're not obligated -- but we're not obligated to take you seriously if you don't...)

Or are you just being incoherent to confuse people? If so, it's working: You're right on message.
posted by lodurr at 2:08 PM on April 18, 2005


You know, for all I disagree with jenleigh on a wide variety of political subjects, she is polite, thoughtful, and attempts to back her opinion up with evidence. Good for her.

Many other on the further right side of the political spectrum here complain bitterly about how they are met with nothing but derision. As far as I can tell, however, this is in large part because they are not polite, not thoughtful, and are backing up their opinions with nothing more than snottiness.

Next time you complain about how the right wing is treated here, perhaps you should wonder if the problem is your political opinions, or the quality of your posts. I think jenleigh is a valuable addition to metafilter, and I'm glad she's here.

Incidentally, ParisParamus' "flypaper" policy with respect to Metafilter made me laugh out loud, as a trenchant parody of the "flypaper" keep-the-terrorism-killing-our-soldiers policy in Iraq retconned into existence as an explanation for the war by bloggers on the right. If that was an intentional joke, PP, good for you - that was funny. If it wasn't, well, that's even funnier, but oh well.
posted by kyrademon at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2005


Strange you accidentally glossed over those other embarassing one-liners...

• What Mr_Zero said...
And what joaovc said...
Oh, and what matteo said, as always...
But, for reals yo, y'all is just haters!!
I weep for this country.

• FREEDOM SI ON TEH MARCH

• Keswick Goebbels
posted by dhoyt at 11:04 AM PST on April 18 [!]


dhoyt... why ya gotta hate on me yo? My lines are stone cold kickin G!

In today's environment, people can find a news source which will back them up with facts to support whatever position they decide to take. Or, one can take a whole story, find one small part of it they want to use to prove a point, and ignore the rest.

What is unopen to dispute is: Saddam was not a nice guy, and really needed to be removed, if for nothing else than to stop the sanctions that the people of Iraq were taking the brunt of.

However, removing Saddam and installing chaos, where, (Paris, sorry if you haven't seen what's been going on) the Americans sacrificing their lives for these people leave their bases every day in fear of a faceless enemy and the common people cannot access clean water, electricity or education is not a good thing.

What else is not open to dispute is that there are many other bad guys running countries: take your pick of any of a dozen African states, Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc etc. But are we really responsible for removing them as well?

An election does not make a liberal democrary (especially in Iraq, where the Sunnis refused to participate because they rightfully fear retaliation from the majority). A liberal democracy (and I mean liberal how Jefferson, Madison, Jay, etc meant it) is based on ideals such as freedom of thought, individual rights, acceptance of a social contract and the like. None of which are a fundamental part of an Islamic culture.

When Iraqis stop killing themselves, then we can talk about freedom and democracy. Because, as Locke and others of his time commented, democracy and freedom cannot exist where the fundamental necessities of life cannot be had.

But, being at a computer in a comfortable environment where we're not worried about roadside bombs, well, we can talk all day about how freedom is on the march and life for Iraqis is getting better because they had an election. Yay us and boo America haters!!!

posted by AspectRatio at 2:11 PM on April 18, 2005


/further derail
"Links? I'm not aware of an obligation to post links in threads."

Yes. Why back up any assertions when issuing a statement then retreating is so much more... um...
...well, really Paris, on that note - why the hell are you here at all then?

I would think if anything the leftist slant of MeFi would encourage one to argue for a contrary position. (monty python 'arguement' sketch echoes in my mind)

Why insist on this zero sum game?
Because it's hopless here? Why then not STFU?
Bring your 'A' game or go home.

I do want to read what people think, not what they think about each other. That's not you per se, that's everyone.

I think jikel_morten raised a great point. What do you do when you know? We had economic sanctions, which killed people. We bombed, which killed people. Clearly at least part of the problem is the tools we have to use in geopolitics.
We got guns, we got butter, we got the witholding of either....that's about it.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2005


AspectRatio, why do you hate irrational people so?
posted by lodurr at 2:15 PM on April 18, 2005


ParisParamus, I agree with your idea about the futility of engaging in arguments against the liberal left-wing bias at Metafilter. It's clear the editorial board is pushing an agenda.

Wow... simply... amazing.
posted by AspectRatio at 2:15 PM on April 18, 2005


Well, a numerical increase in terrorism around the world does disprove the theory (put forward by supporters of the administration) that all the terrorists would be attracted to, contained, and dealt with in Iraq, rather than around the world.

But don't let facts and figures intrude on your faith-based jingoim, if they don't make you feel good.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:15 PM on April 18, 2005


guys! I know I've said this before, but DON'T reply to parisparamus. he's not interested, or interesting.
posted by mcsweetie at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2005


Er. McSweetie's right. Damn. But he's so much fun to kick...
posted by lodurr at 2:20 PM on April 18, 2005


...well, really Paris, on that note - why the hell are you here at all then?

He already explained that above. Alone in his bunker, he's singlehandedly engaging the entire lefty-liberal-America-hating Metafiter axis, thereby preventing them from infecting the geopolitical world order with hopelessly decadent European groupthought. It's kind of heroic really.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:21 PM on April 18, 2005


Well, smedleyman, the traditional argument there is that the problem may be less one of what do when our enemies get our of control, as taking better steps to see they don't get that far along in the first place. Many of our current enemies are former allies we trained and armed against former enemies-of-the-moment - including both Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The entire concept of fighting wars through proxies should be looked at; it's popular, because it saves the lives of American soldiers, but in the long run, is it a good idea? And is the solution to fight fewer battles, or to fight them with our own troops more?

Similarly, many current dictatorships are being propped up by the US because of economic or political interests. Many outright military coups, including the recent one in central Asia, have been blamed in part or in whole on the US. Should we be doing more to keep our corporations and friendly troops out of dictatorships, and more to get them into democracies?

Also, not mentioned in the sanctions-and-invasions doctrine is the role of foreign aid as a political tool. Should we be doing more to get people on our side?

Sanctions and invasions may be called for when threats get out of hand. But it should be wondered if all these threats really needed to get out of hand in the first place.
posted by kyrademon at 2:24 PM on April 18, 2005


"Yes. Why back up any assertions when issuing a statement then retreating is so much more... um...
...well, really Paris, on that note - why the hell are you here at all then? "

Perhaps because I have, or am, at least, trying to have, a life. I have a job, and cannot spend my days and hours Googling the Web for that article I read last week, or lat month. I don't have talking points. I'm expressing my views, which are factually based. Moreover, my opinions are based, often on the same facts as yours. I think Iraq is a huge, fantastic success; you think the opposite, despite the evidence.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:25 PM on April 18, 2005


What else is not open to dispute is that there are many other bad guys running countries: ...African states, Syria, Iran, North Korea, etc etc. But are we really responsible for removing them as well?"

AspectRatio - part of the reason to deal with Iraq is not the human rights issue, but the fact that we had a bad guy (relative to us) who was in charge of enough of the resources we need to influence our decision making.

We can otherwise safely ignore them.
North Korea can sound off just to the point they actually openly test a nuke. Then we might have to put a boot in their winkies.

The problem is mixing the humanitarian arguement with the realpolitik John was writing about.
The loss of many lives is not sufficient reason to get involved, even genocide.
We didn't even go into WWII for that reason.


Unfortunately BushCo had to 'sell' the war somehow and for some reason people are defending the propaganda.
Still, the same thing seems to have happened with Roswell.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on April 18, 2005



What is unopen to dispute is: Saddam was not a nice guy, and really needed to be removed, if for nothing else than to stop the sanctions that the people of Iraq were taking the brunt of.


Slow down there Aspect, Yeah, Saddam was not a nice guy. But it is possible that a lot less people would be dead if we'd pursued some other strategy, such as keeping Saddam declawed and quaking in fear. Ultimately, we're beating a dead horse in this thread, or at least we will be untill we can figure out just who's in those graves, how many of them there are, or how they got there.

That said, i do agree with most of your arguments. Same to you, kyrademon, and gsb.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 2:26 PM on April 18, 2005


What an amazing playbook Paris has! Let's make horseshit assertions ad nauseum in a vain attempt to push back the encroaching reality of the phenomenal clusterfuck neocon foreign policy has become, and then, when challenged on these ridiculous assertions (oh hay teh wmdeez are in Syria, duh!) he responds with "OMG I have a job, slackars! Who has time to actually provide evidence to back their continual baseless assertions? Post links? On MetaFilter? Wha?"

Head asploded.

Also:
"I think Iraq is a huge, fantastic success; you think the opposite, despite the evidence."

which evidence is this? The evidence you don't have time to post links to? The roadside bombs? The kidnappings? The thousands of dead?

Catastrophic success indeed. Being a longtime reader but new member, I'm happy to say that my :5bucks: was worth it just for this:

ParisParamus, you sir, are a jackass.
posted by stenseng at 2:45 PM on April 18, 2005


PP: I think Iraq is a huge, fantastic success

And the holocaust was a minor setback for international Jewry.
posted by Sparx at 2:48 PM on April 18, 2005


In considering the criteria that would justify humanitarian intervention, the most important, as noted, is the level of killing: was genocide or comparable mass slaughter underway or imminent? Brutal as Saddam Hussein’s reign had been, the scope of the Iraqi government’s killing in March 2003 was not of the exceptional and dire magnitude that would justify humanitarian intervention. We have no illusions about Saddam Hussein’s vicious inhumanity. Having devoted extensive time and effort to documenting his atrocities, we estimate that in the last twenty-five years of Ba`th Party rule the Iraqi government murdered or “disappeared” some quarter of a million Iraqis, if not more. In addition, one must consider such abuses as Iraq’s use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers. However, by the time of the March 2003 invasion, Saddam Hussein’s killing had ebbed.

There were times in the past when the killing was so intense that humanitarian intervention would have been justified—for example, during the 1988 Anfal genocide, in which the Iraqi government slaughtered some 100,000 Kurds. Indeed, Human Rights Watch, though still in its infancy and not yet working in the Middle East in 1988, did advocate a form of military intervention in 1991 after we had begun addressing Iraq. As Iraqi Kurds fleeing Saddam Hussein’s brutal repression of the post-Gulf War uprising were stranded and dying in harsh winter weather on Turkey’s mountainous border, we advocated the creation of a no-fly zone in northern Iraq so they could return home without facing renewed genocide. There were other moments of intense killing as well, such as the suppression of the uprisings in 1991. But on the eve of the latest Iraq war, no one contends that the Iraqi government was engaged in killing of anywhere near this magnitude, or had been for some time. “Better late than never” is not a justification for humanitarian intervention, which should be countenanced only to stop mass murder, not to punish its perpetrators, desirable as punishment is in such circumstances.


But if Saddam Hussein committed mass atrocities in the past, wasn’t his overthrow justified to prevent his resumption of such atrocities in the future? No. Human Rights Watch accepts that military intervention may be necessary not only to stop ongoing slaughter but also to prevent future slaughter, but the future slaughter must be imminent. To justify the extraordinary remedy of military force for preventive humanitarian purposes, there must be evidence that large-scale slaughter is in preparation and about to begin unless militarily stopped. But no one seriously claimed before the war that the Saddam Hussein government was planning imminent mass killing, and no evidence has emerged that it was. There were claims that Saddam Hussein, with a history of gassing Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds, was planning to deliver weapons of mass destruction through terrorist networks, but these allegations were entirely speculative; no substantial evidence has yet emerged. There were also fears that the Iraqi government might respond to an invasion with the use of chemical or biological weapons, perhaps even against its own people, but no one seriously suggested such use as an imminent possibility in the absence of an invasion.

That does not mean that past atrocities should be ignored. Rather, their perpetrators should be prosecuted. Human Rights Watch has devoted enormous efforts to investigating and documenting the Iraqi government’s atrocities, particularly the Anfal genocide against Iraqi Kurds. We have interviewed witnesses and survivors, exhumed mass graves, taken soil samples to demonstrate the use of chemical weapons, and combed through literally tons of Iraqi secret police documents. We have circled the globe trying to convince some government—any government—to institute legal proceedings against Iraq for genocide. No one would. In the mid-1990s, when our efforts were most intense, governments feared that charging Iraq with genocide would be too provocative—that it would undermine future commercial deals with Iraq, squander influence in the Middle East, invite terrorist retaliation, or simply cost too much money.

But to urge justice or even criminal prosecution is not to justify humanitarian intervention. Indictments should be issued, and suspects should be arrested if they dare to venture abroad, but the extraordinary remedy of humanitarian intervention should not be used simply to secure justice for past crimes. This extreme step, as noted, should be taken only to stop current or imminent slaughter, not to punish past abuse.

In stating that the killing in Iraq did not rise to a level that justified humanitarian intervention, we are not insensitive to the awful plight of the Iraqi people. We are aware that summary executions occurred with disturbing frequency in Iraq up to the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule, as did torture and other brutality. Such atrocities should be met with public, diplomatic, and economic pressure, as well as prosecution. But before taking the substantial risk to life that is inherent in any war, mass slaughter should be taking place or imminent. That was not the case in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in March 2003.


Human Rights Watch - War in Iraq: Not a Humanitarian Intervention  January 2004
posted by y2karl at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2005


Sudan deaths may top million
posted by destro at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2005


MeTa
posted by amberglow at 2:58 PM on April 18, 2005


Thank you y2k, that's what I've been looking for!

The extraordinary remedy of humanitarian intervention should not be used simply to secure justice for past crimes. This extreme step, as noted, should be taken only to stop current or imminent slaughter, not to punish past abuse.

This is the crux of the matter, which allows us to have our cake (Saddam was a motherfucker) and eat it too (the war was a horrible idea). Some people of you just can't seem to get it through your heads that you don't have to choose between these two in order to be morally and intellectually consistant. It's really a tribute to the way the war has been spun and the issue framed that we've been spending all this effort butting heads over such a facile and assinine conflation.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 3:01 PM on April 18, 2005


'"Perhaps because I have, or am, at least, trying to have, a life."
What I mean is - why then aggravate yourself and others by posting less than your best.
Take responsibility for what you said on this topic earlier - you post to remind lefties how hopeless they are. Why do you have time for that then?
You can express your factually based views as much as you like, but if you don't lead a person through your reasoning using the evidence you used to reach those conclusions that person won't understand you.
If you then post an abreviated version using only the conclusions don't expect others (who also have lives) to do the legwork to follow up.
I'm not attacking your participation, I'm attacking the lack of depth.
I wouldn't be doing that if I didn't want to hear what you had to say - but also why you came to that conclusion - I'd simply ignore you.

"I think Iraq is a huge, fantastic success; you think the opposite, despite the evidence."
Again - that evidence being? At least allude to it...the elections, the stability in the middle east, the fact that we will have bases there to protect our oil interests, the fact that continued contact with the Iraqis will lead the entire region to a less closed state, the fact that making money and doing business with people leads to greater understanding, that individual achievement is more of a possibility now than it was before, that theocracy is a less likely reality under the possiblity of a real representative democracy...etc. etc. etc. something.

I think the opposite? Yep. I remember saying how what a huge fantastic failure Iraq was....not.
(wow that's old)
I opposed, and continue to oppose the war on the grounds that it appears we were sold a bill of goods - whether by our own people (BushCo) or Iraqis.
I am opposed in principle to doing even a good thing based on a lie.
It ruins everything you're trying to do.
I recognize the reality that we're there however. I recognize some good, even overwhelming good, can come from it if handled properly.
I have yet to see that though. I hear lots of people connected to the administration are making lots of money ilicitly. I see plenty of hypocracy on the 'pro-troops' front.
I know one can do everything tactically correctly, and still lose strategically.
So I am witholding judgement on the event itself while opposing those things I outlined above.
But perhaps - in addition - we simply gauge 'success' differently.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:05 PM on April 18, 2005


Actually, thinking about y2karl's long and worthy post, by any objective legal remit the War was illegal [pdf].

Thus, committing War crimes to exact justice over mass graves, running away to Syria WMD or just about any other reason has its moral consequence.

To quote from the report:
The point has probably best been made in a speech by Sir Thomas More, written by playwright Robert Bolt, in A Man for All Seasons. More turns to his former confidant Will Roper who has become a vigilante in the name of justice and asks:
And when the last law was cut down and the devil turned around on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast – man’s laws, not God’s – and if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think that you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
posted by gsb at 3:11 PM on April 18, 2005


Smedley, stop making this about PP. It's not worth the aggravation.

on preview: what gsb said
posted by pieisexactlythree at 3:14 PM on April 18, 2005


I'm surprised at the people who think that the reasons for going in and removing Saddam exist independently of each other or of the time frame. Some of you people are addressing these issues as if they were each hypotheses that have to be tested and proved right now.

Were there multiple reasons for going into Iraq? Sure. Were any of them sufficient in and of themselves? Possibly not. Were we made aware that the time had come we couldn't be just passive proxy-internationalists? Absolutely.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the US became refocused following 9/11 to being proactive and addressing the hostility of parts of the Muslim world. It's reason that 9/11 was called a hinge event. We couldn't ignore the hostility and condition of the Middle East. We had to do something.

So looking around the Middle East and problem countries, one sees various options of countries which either directly foment terrorism or indirectly aid or contribute to Muslim hostility to the West. One sees various problem areas: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan. So the question becomes, where can the US make the most needed change and most effectively? To some, including me and I guess the administration, the ripest target was Iraq. The leader was a known commodity militarily and we had all these UN Resolutions and other various things to hold against him. So he became the firs target. Maybe you think someone was a bigger threat. Fair enough. But that doesn't diminish the case against Iraq that someone was a bigger threat. Maybe you think we shouldn't have done anything. Fine. That's a difference of opinion on the most effective means of fixing things. But a judgment was made based on the totality of the circumstances and possible problems.

Now you can call the Domino Theory wishful thinking. You can decry that is all just imperialism. But don't pretend that the context of our need to do something in the Middle East can be divorced from the evaluation of the WMD claim or Humanitarian claim in isolation.

Personally, I'm waiting to make judgment on the ultimate big picture question. Re-shaping the world is a big task. So far, I think things are going well when balancing the benefits vs. the costs.
posted by dios at 3:15 PM on April 18, 2005


What is unopen to dispute is: Saddam was not a nice guy, and really needed to be removed, if for nothing else than to stop the sanctions that the people of Iraq were taking the brunt of.

Slow down there Aspect, Yeah, Saddam was not a nice guy. But it is possible that a lot less people would be dead if we'd pursued some other strategy, such as keeping Saddam declawed and quaking in fear.


I actually agree with you 100%... He needed to be removed, but that needed to happen by the hand of the people of Iraq, not an outsider such as the US, UN, Russia or anyone else.
posted by AspectRatio at 3:16 PM on April 18, 2005


"The entire concept of fighting wars through proxies should be looked at...is it a good idea?"
I think it is a good idea short term, but it ultimately degrades American democracy because it forces our leaders to lie to us.

Mercinaries perhaps? I dunno. But any society that won't fight for itself deserves to die. That is - given that we're actually fighting for ourselves not some corporate interest.

"..foreign aid as a political tool. Should we be doing more to get people on our side?"
kyrademon - as much as I hate the bastard, Machiavelli was right about a few things. It is better to be feared than loved. Ideologies can change (self-evident) but fear always works.

That said, I think we need to blend more with folks, I'm not so much in favor of the one world stuff, but co-mingling our interests over these imaginary lines is a hell of a good idea. We're far less likely to shoot someone we depend on to do business over the perception that they are somehow evil because the live between some other imaginary lines than ours.
Separation by principles is something that I wouldn't change though. We can't relax the safeguards that make liberty possible here through co-mingling of interests - or in the trend that appears to be now occuring - through fear.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:16 PM on April 18, 2005


What is unopen to dispute is: Saddam was not a nice guy, and really needed to be removed

just now, many people the world over feel that bush is a bad man and should be removed. if they formed a coalition and invaded with that purpose, destroying infrastructure and slaughtering civilians left and right, i wonder what tune you would be singing?
posted by quonsar at 3:29 PM on April 18, 2005


dios >Re-shaping the world is a big task. So far, I think things are going well when balancing the benefits vs. the costs.

Don't call it "benefits vs. the costs", that really clouds the issue. Call it, "neo-liberal utopia vs. dead people."

And by what right does any country or group have to "reshape the world." It's a ridiculous concept, intelligent people with greater talents have failed in that regard since dawn of civilisation. Give up now before the nukes come into play.
posted by gsb at 3:29 PM on April 18, 2005


"Smedley, stop making this about PP. It's not worth the aggravation."

- Your not wrong, pieisexactlythree, but I haven't tried it yet (longtime lurker) and it's not so much about PP.
To wit:
"ParisParamus, you sir, are a jackass.
posted by stenseng "
....Which would be the 'lefty' non tolerance opinion thing (as perceived at least)...
Not that I haven't flown off the handle myself.

/back on topic

"...by any objective legal remit the War was illegal [pdf]."
I'd concede the U.S. was wrong to pre-emptively attack Iraq. I would argue though that the assertion that there is some sort of 'law' to govern such a thing predisposes power over such an event
(QED - the U.N. would have to authorize or the U.S. would have to show the need for self-defense to the U.N.) when in fact no such real power exists.

Or rather - that authorization, such as it is, is subject to approval from the member country and thus revocable.
In the case of the U.S. it is simply pointing out the fallacy of force to the forceful. Not going to work.
Right or wrong a puny cop with no gun isn't going to tell a gigantic well armed felon that he has to go to jail.

That aside - is it possible to take as a legitimate argument that they did pose a threat through potential economic upheaval?
If Saddam did switch to using Euros - that would threaten our dominance and our stability, are those not legitimate reasons to make war?
If not than does disarming and economically destroying a country legitimize it's reason to attack? If it's people are starving, etc. etc.
(I'm thinking Hitler in the 30s here).
Particularly given one could argue that not only the U.S. but the world depends on the stability of that system?
(So the well armed felon in this case is the Mayor of the town who pays the cop from the analogy above)

So if you prognosticate this (incorrectly or correctly) can you then make a pre-emptive attack 'legitimate'?

That said - what is legality in war given that war is in essence nothing but naked force absent of law?
(Oh sure there are laws and such in place before the war - usually agreed upon by equals - but afterward are dictated by the victors).
posted by Smedleyman at 3:45 PM on April 18, 2005


Sorry this is LONG.

Sanctions killed lots of innocent people. They entrenched a ruthless dictator. They also made him a weakened paper tiger. Let us not forget this 'containment' policy was Bush Sr.'s brainchild post Gulf War I. It was Clinton who was convinced by the Neo-Cons to enter the much more aggressive "Regime Change" policy and we bomb the fuck out Iraq during his administration. AND he kept the sanctions in place.

So an "either/or" scenario was never proposed nor implemented by either the political Right or the Left. They BOTH wanted the street cred and the stripes for taking down Stalin-lite.

That either political spectrum is claiming some moral high ground here is fucking LAUGHABLE. It's like you guys are all competing for the same pretty girl at the prom. "I hate Saddam MORE." "Well, I love the Iraqi people MORE."

Fuck Saddam. And Fuck the Iraqi "people." The Iraqi "people" don't even like the Iraqi people.

You ever gone to Al Jazeera and hear what they say about eachother? They only want freedom for whatever small limited group they happen to belong to and could care less about anybody else. They have not the critical mass for pluralism nor the traditional moral education for tolerance af ANYPLACE in the west. Your stuck on a 4 man life raft with four iraqi's and just you? There won't be any debate over your value as a human being or your 12 years as a naval survival instructor. Your ass is going over.

And we are not going to beat "democracy" into them. It has to evolve. And it will. But not with a rifle pointing at them. Whether we represent Friend or Foe it doesn't matter. You cannot impose by OCCUPATION these things to culture with no history of it. And don't you dare say "we did in Japan" because we fucking didn't (one could even say they are NOT a democracy since they still have a frigg'n God Emperor to this day). Japan wanted to be western more than anything BEFORE WWII and were at the point where they no longer had rival Shogunates (tribes) and could reach political consensus. Iraq is not even close.

You try it. Have your best friend point a gun at you (even if he reassures you that he WON'T shoot) and he instructs you to acquire a completely new skill while you, your wife and child, stare down that barrel. You have to trust he wont slip and blow your brains out. See how well that goes. Now imagine the scenario with somebody you fucking HATE.

This is Iraq. And it's why we MUST leave. Now.

So any you Right Wingers going on about your love for liberating the Iraq people PLEASE shut the fuck up. You never cared 20 years ago and you don't care now. I'll throw you a bone, though. You don't HAVE to care.

And you lefties: for Gods sake whether Saddam killed 300,000 or 3000... so what. It's an irrelevant detail for the mouth breathers. Quibbling over that is stupid. We don't even know how many Iraqi's WE have killed let alone how many Saddam killed 20 or thirty years ago. And you know that if Saddam COULD that he WOULD!

He was a really bad guy. And everybody should be glad he is in jail.

And that's the point. 20 years ago he was a useful evil stooge for a very brief period of time. And nobody on the right and DAMN few on the left ever cared. So all of you quit your posturing.

No. We did NOT sell him massive amounts of weapons. That is a LIE.

He has MiG, T-62's and AK-47s. Not exactly made in the mid west. These were purchased from our cold war rivals NOT from us. His original sponsors were the Soviets. Not us.

Are we clean? NO! We gave him radar technology and limited arms - enough to entice him into thinking, if he played our game, we would give him more. We never really did. We fucked him over because we knew he was an evil son of a bitch. We let him be evil while it served us. We wanted OIL!

So let's talk about NOW. Now. Today. We have invaded preemptively and are occupying a foreign country under force of arms. This is unprecedented in our history.

Iraq is now a client state on the verge of Civil War. One that was not, nor could EVER be a true DIRECT strategic military threat to us.

It presented a threat in only one way.

The real estate it occupies.

Iraq was failed and arbitrary post colonial construct doomed to fail. It was testament to Hussien that he kept it together as long as he did. But even he knew it was doomed. Why do you think he drank himself stupid every night?

And Iraq, by an accident of fate, happens to sit on 1/3 of the most valuable resource on the planet - Oil (ok - water is up there, too, but Iraq has THAT. Bet you didn't know that?).

Regardless of how you feel about the morals of stealing it - having a hostile and UNSTABLE dictator resting on boundless riches IS something that would be a direct threat to YOU eventually.

So now what do we do? Getting to that oil the EASY way by buying the fucker off was not dramatic enough for the politicians who ALL wanted a notch in their belts.

So we are fucked. We should arrange to lease our bases in the north from the Khurds, make friendly with Iran and let them build nukes in exchange for recognizing Israel's right to exist, point some missiles at Saudi Arabia let them know we have included them on the MAD list, and get the fuck out of Iraq now before we have to choose sides in a civil war.

Whew. Let us never speak of this again.
posted by tkchrist at 3:48 PM on April 18, 2005


So, where is the proof of 300,000?

Dude, chill, they're are counting. They're counting so hard, as a matter of fact, that it takes people like Marla Ruzicka to count how many US army killed. US army is too busy, apparently. So give them some time.
posted by c13 at 3:49 PM on April 18, 2005


You know, for all I disagree with jenleigh on a wide variety of political subjects, she is polite, thoughtful, and attempts to back her opinion up with evidence. Good for her.

I'm seconding kyrademon's shout-out to the original poster. jenleigh's politics are not mine but she's got my undying admiration. She presents information and lets it speak for itself. When she does comment, she's unfailingly polite and responsive to questions.

I'm far, far more likely to listen to jenleigh than I am to dios, who relies on dismissive contempt to carry his argument, or parisparamus, who seems to be entirely unhinged.

FYI, for those fighting for the right on MeFi.

On preview: dios, try again.

Maybe you think someone was a bigger threat. Fair enough. But that doesn't diminish the case against Iraq that someone was a bigger threat. Maybe you think we shouldn't have done anything. Fine. That's a difference of opinion on the most effective means of fixing things. But a judgment was made based on the totality of the circumstances and possible problems.

The decision was made long before 9/11, as has been amply demonstrated. As far as the specific arguments for invading Iraq, promoted August 2002 to March 2003 (and, not incidentally, used to influence mid-term elections) — they were based on manipulated intelligence. Again, as has been amply demonstrated.

Your specious "difference of opinion" is simply not operable for anyone who's been paying attention.

Also, your rosy scenario (is that a porn name?) doesn't address the post-invasion planning, or lack thereof, for which an unconscionable number of people have died and been maimed. How does that factor figure into your calculations?
posted by vetiver at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2005


"Give up now before the nukes come into play."
That should be written in the sky, gsb.
/no sarcasm

"...many people the world over feel that bush is a bad man and should be removed."
quonsar, I think if we didn't have nukes and if we didn't pretty much own the world (just now)....they would form a coalition and invade us.

...on second thought perhaps even because we have WMDs. LOTs of them.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2005


And please, enough with the hyperbole. I feel like I'm ass deep in straw men and ad hominems today.

You must be much taller than I.

Didn't we talk about the discrepancy between the Admin's terrorism report and reality here (Admin claimed terrorist recruitment on decline, others dare(d) to differ)?
To paraphrase Mr. Gannon, how do you reason with people so obviously divorced from reality? ;)
posted by schyler523 at 3:51 PM on April 18, 2005


quonsar... my point was that Saddam should have been removed... but only by his own people. If another country tried to oust Bush by force, our nation would fight that invader off regardless of what we thought of Bush as a leader. I'm no fan of Bush, but I would fight until the death before I allowed another country to come here and get rid of Bush for me.

tkchrist... love your post.. don't agree with all of it, but I love the post.
posted by AspectRatio at 4:08 PM on April 18, 2005


I don't have time to read all this. Please post more pictures. Thanks.
posted by moonbird at 4:19 PM on April 18, 2005


"
It seems pretty obvious to me that the US became refocused following 9/11 to being proactive and addressing the hostility of parts of the Muslim world. It's reason that 9/11 was called a hinge event. We couldn't ignore the hostility and condition of the Middle East. We had to do something."

Just saying it don't make it so. Repeat a lie often enough, etc. etc.

"Now you can call the Domino Theory wishful thinking. You can decry that is all just imperialism. But don't pretend that the context of our need to do something in the Middle East can be divorced from the evaluation of the WMD claim or Humanitarian claim in isolation.

Personally, I'm waiting to make judgment on the ultimate big picture question. Re-shaping the world is a big task. So far, I think things are going well when balancing the benefits vs. the costs."

Be sure to let us know how that evaluation turns out. I for one would be happy to chip in five bones towards a plane ticket so you can go take a look first hand.

But then again, I'd imagine "reshaping the world" is much more comfortable when done from the safety of one's home, in front of their cozy little keyboard, a continent away, trundle distance from a nice cool fridge full of tasty pre-packaged comestibles.

Pass a brother some mountain dew?
posted by stenseng at 4:50 PM on April 18, 2005


tkchrist - Maud'Dib!!!
Ahem, sorry, lost it there. Good post.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:12 PM on April 18, 2005


Did we win yet, or is this a tie like Vietnam?
posted by warbaby at 5:30 PM on April 18, 2005


dios: when you make an effort to deny good news because it might look good for America... THEN you are unpatriotic. in an attempt to explain why those who are unimpressed with this post as a justification of our intervention really hate America.

Stated in a post titled: More mass graves unearthed in Iraq


I was going to post this comment many an hour ago, but the site was being pissy to me. Regardless, I think the juxtaposition of these statements tells us a great deal about ... hating.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:43 PM on April 18, 2005


Saddam Hussein = bad
USA gov't = bad

it's a tie.
posted by weezy at 5:50 PM on April 18, 2005


I remain baffled by those who equate Hussein/Iraq with Bush/USA. The ignorance of those people -- or their deliberate attempt to claim that they are both evil/bad -- is stunning in its scope.
posted by davidmsc at 6:08 PM on April 18, 2005


how about "When Bad Things are Done by Good Countries?"

david, we invaded another country that had done nothing to us, and continue to kill and/or torture lots and lots of innocent people who had done nothing to us--that's bad, and wrong.
posted by amberglow at 6:24 PM on April 18, 2005


Look, there's no point to moral calculus, but in my book, it's true: Bush is bad. People got killed because of a war sold to the American people under largely false pretenses, jingoism, and paranoia. I'm not going to sit here and put him on a yardstick with Hussein. Still his moral offenses are pretty severe if you ask me. I know it's a cute catchphrase, but I believe it in my bones. He lied and people died. It's tough to forgive anyone, let alone a world leader for this. The fact that he got reelected instead of say, impeached or thrown in prison, is a sad statement about the American people and their media.
posted by drpynchon at 6:35 PM on April 18, 2005


I'd like to ask a simple, three-part question to dios and my other rightward-leaning MeFi brethren:

Confining ourselves to the FPP, and assuming the assertion of mass graves is true, and even potentially understated, how does confirmation that Saddam was a really, really bad person...

a. justify an invasion given any number of genocidal lunatics/situations we've ignored around the globe, presumably as the areas aren't oil producing ones?

b. prove that Saddam was a direct military threat to the US?

c. excuse the fact that this administration either deliberately lied or relied on deeply suspect intelligence (neither scenario is particularly comforting) in selling the invasion?

That I "hate america" will not be considered as a valid answer.

And a shout out to ParisP: Here's my liberal Mefi foreign policy starting on September 12th 2001:

We begin revamping intelligence agencies immediately, and begin coordinating more closely with European agencies and others in nations sympathetic to our cause - We attack the Taliban and stay until Bin Laden is captured - We demand that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia disclose their full involvement in 9/11 and cease funding of all terrorist activities or face sanctions and possible military action - We mobilize the active military and reserves and direct them to secure ports and other strategic targets in the US. We have a system in place that allows us to x-ray or inspect at least 75% all cargo coming into the US by the end of 2003 - We demand substantive diplomatic action with North Korea, and hint strongly that real cooperation will be materially lucrative, and continued recalcitrance may trigger a military response. We don't invade Iraq.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a peacenik English major - it makes much more sense to sell Pakistan F-16s as a reward for selling nuclear technology to other Axis of Evil nations...
posted by jalexei at 6:40 PM on April 18, 2005


First, WMDs were found in Iraq; not of the quantity expected, but nonetheless, found.

You, sir, are a liar.
posted by bshort at 6:57 PM on April 18, 2005


ParisParamus: your argument that presenting a rationalized, backed-up-with-links opinion on something is pointless because of MeFi's leftist slant is basically whining. I'm a hardcore liberal from a Red State and I never gave up arguing my beliefs because it was "useless" or "too hard." Call the f-ing waaahmbulance. Oh, and pointing users to Op-Ed pages is a JOKE. Those pages are made up of OPINIONS, not FACTS.

Sorry, but the "I can't participate in this discussion because I only participate when the forum is overwhelmingly on my side!" is the weakest argument everrrr.

As for Iraq, all my studying has basically led me to think that--whether or not we should have ever gone to war--we definitely did it the wrong way (remember the first gulf war? yeah, that one took like 13 days). Blah blah.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 7:01 PM on April 18, 2005


it makes much more sense to sell Pakistan F-16s as a reward for selling nuclear technology to other Axis of Evil nations

Thankyou. This was, IMHO, the most irresponsible and sickening thing the Bush administration has ever done. Another one of Bush's accidental pro-proliferation policies. Essentially, Bush rewarded Musharif for keeping us all on the brink. And it has gotten zero press. In the "liberal" press. That Pakistan, our ally of convenience, is, to this day, selling nuclear, rocket, and avionics technology to Iran is egregious and unfathomable. 1000 times more of a threat than Saddam EVER was. We handed this situation to Musharif.

The show trial of AQ Khan (broadcast in ENGLISH for fuck sake), the "house" arrest, and then the re-issue of Khans' passport. Musharif is essentially saying FUCK YOU to us.

And you know WHY he can? Because Musharif has been dangling Bin Laden as a carrot to Bush for three years. Bush needs Bin Laden. But Bush does not appreciate the situation.

Dead Bin Laden is a powerful martyr - Obi Wan Kenobi like - and the Pakistani's know Bin Laden won't be captured alive. So they just sit on him. The Pakistanis have bottled Bin Laden in the Peshawar, keeping US forces away from the area, channeling their own extremists into the area to contain them in the process. Eventually Bin Laden will get away - if he hasn't already.

To Pakistan it's worth the risk. Musharif will have taken Bin Laden's place as the the Islamic Big Wig who stood up to the US. He is positioning himself RIGHT now to tell us publicly to FUCK OFF. You wait and see. If we make ANY move against Iran you will see.

He has Indonesia, Iran and the fledgling Afghanistan ALL beholden to him. He soon will have that groovy new Central Asian (the myth that it is for western interests is false it will bring oil to India, Pakistan and MAYBE China) pipeline to hold India hostage over.

And he will have nukes. Nukes that Israel can't hit.

luckily, he will have one weakness Bin Laden does not have. Real estate. He is fixed on the planet earth and addicted to being king shit of his pathetic little country like Saddam was... but he has those darn nukes.

Bush has taught every tin-pot dictator on the planet that if you want to avoid the Neo-con shuffle you better get your nukes and FAST. Good job Duhbya! this guarantees that some future president will HAVE to use nukes on somebody to prove how fucking crazy the US really is - to show you cannot call our bluff. The Bluff that Duhbya has reinforced with his Axis of evil Rhetoric that evaporated the second NK (and soon Iran) showed they had nukes.

Little known fact: A by product of nukes is that you develop an invisibility cloak to Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Odd side effect.

Prediction: Pakistan will be an BIG, but brief, Islamic power player. There will be no invasion of Pakistan no matter how problematic they get. We will have to resort to non-conventional means - including nukes. India will be the proxy. And the Pentagon will see it as two birds with one stone.

PS. Aspect Ratio and Smedlyman: Thank you.
posted by tkchrist at 7:37 PM on April 18, 2005


gsb; Don't call it "benefits vs. the costs", that really clouds the issue. Call it, "neo-liberal utopia vs. dead people."

I often think of it in this way too, and it *cough* pains my fix the worldheart... but politics is necessarily short sighted, and geo-politics is even worse because you are assured of some sort of backlash (blowback) in the future...

As it goes I am convinced that the Iraq invasion will only be judged 20 years in the future, I think of it as one huge neo-con gamble, roll the fucking dice and hope for 7's...

point 2
I second loving jenleigh's posts... i don't always agree with her position but she WILL discuss it with you. Which is the basic premise of a rational discussion, which is what this community is about no? Intelligent people who read and know about a whole lot of things spreading and discussing a whole bunch of things?

I'm SICK of people bringing out one shot, "Knockdown arguments," those convince no one... and it's the problem with the state of discourse today...

Robert Nozick wrote about this kind of argument in this book
and an interesting blog post about how to argue to the other side presented by Barack Obama is here
posted by stratastar at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2005


Because Musharif has been dangling Bin Laden as a carrot to Bush for three years. Bush needs Bin Laden. But Bush does not appreciate the situation.

Dead Bin Laden is a powerful martyr...


I'd say he's far far more valuable to Bush alive, which is why he still is. Look at what Bush has gotten away with in the name of "fighting terror."
posted by amberglow at 7:57 PM on April 18, 2005


What is this, Genocide Day at MeFi or something?
posted by ScaryShrink at 8:12 PM on April 18, 2005


...since our past behavior was inappropriate in its support of Saddam, didn't that place a burden on America to go in there and remove him?

actually, i think that places a burden on America to stop propping up dictators (Haiti, anyone?), a trend which spans its history and crosses party lines.

BTW, it is possible to hate both bush and saddam. one can even toss kerry in there with little or no cognitive dissonance, if so inclined. likewise with hating the war without hating the poor buggers fighting it.
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:15 PM on April 18, 2005


Amberglow: [regarding Metafilter] "We don't have oil connections..."

Right... on second thought I'll sit this one out.
posted by tempest2i at 8:16 PM on April 18, 2005


You're right--I should have said "don't have oil or Halliburton connections..."
posted by amberglow at 9:01 PM on April 18, 2005


ParisParamus: [much earlier in the thread] "First, WMDs were found in Iraq; not of the quantity expected, but nonetheless, found."

Would you consider reading the CIA's comprehensive report on Iraq and WMDs?
Here's the link:



And the plaintext for the link since I've never done this before and the link function I inserted isn't showing up in the preview:

www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/Comp_Report_Key_Findings.pdf

The CIA doesn't agree with you, and I'm more inclined to believe them.

From the report:

"While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq
unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications
that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire
to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered."


Are the abandoned, unusable munitions your WMDs?

Also:

"ISG judges, based on available chemicals, infrastructure, and scientist debriefi ngs, that Iraq at OIF probably
had a capability to produce large quantities of sulfur mustard within three to six months."


And:

"With the economy at rock bottom in late 1995, ISG judges that Baghdad abandoned its existing BW program
in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut Baghdad’s ability
to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions."


If you read the report, the general assessment is that Iraq could have produced biological and chemical agents within a year, but that Saddam and his government were primarily concerned with lifting UN sanctions, and rightfully afraid of getting caught.

I would encourage everyone to read the report; I think it is full of information that can be used by both ends of the ideological spectrum to make cogent arguments regarding Iraq and US foreign policy, and all it took to find this one report was google and a minute of my time.

Finally:

I don't have time to read all this. Please post more pictures. Thanks.
posted by moonbird at 4:19 PM PST on April 18


LOL
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 9:08 PM on April 18, 2005




posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of...

You are officially my new favorite user.
posted by drpynchon at 10:30 PM on April 18, 2005


In response to Smedleyman, time difference and all that.

I think you've made some good points. I wanted to mention the legal argument for War because, generally, an international legal consensus is usually seen as a good barometer for a political action, in circles of power.

It seems quite arbitrary when one looks at the legality of some past actions. I was struck by this when it came to the case of Lord Goldsmith and his brief for Tony Blair. It's pretty clear that the head of armed forces in the UK wanted to have a clear legal basis for the invasion.

One could argue this was a selfish thing, to protect his men and women from the International Criminal Court, or some other legal body enshrined with International Law.

re: the pre-emptive strike argument; I think, even by U.S. standards, that "a clear and present danger" needs to be shown before it could be argued.

Personally, I find legal arguments and cases for War through the ages a tad suspect -- they need criticism. Normally, elites willing to use lethal force require a legal pillow for their actions, by hook or by crook -- they would like to retire gracefully without the need to flee at a moments notice.
posted by gsb at 11:46 PM on April 18, 2005


Great stuff, tkchrist, except for the offhanded inaccuracy (or gloss-over for the sake of cogency, or even woeful misunderstanding) about Japanese history. It doesn't really matter in the scheme of this thread, but it's weak support for a good argument.

I'm not interested in derailing this thread; I think what you have to say about Iraq is thought-provoking. Alas, I can't say the same for your words on Japan.
posted by breezeway at 8:54 AM on April 19, 2005


First, WMDs were found in Iraq; not of the quantity expected, but nonetheless, found. There is also growing evidence that much of the stuff is now in Syria.

This is incorrect. Links? try google.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 AM on April 19, 2005


MASS GRAVES + MILLIONS OF YEARS = PETROLEUM
posted by quonsar at 1:35 PM on April 19, 2005


Delmoi, I'll get you some links for the proposition. Which is beside the point really, because the US, and every reputable intelligence service in the West, including John Kerry, including France, Germany, and everyone else, believed Saddam had lots of the stuff; and Saddam acted like he did. And in absence of comparable evidence to the contrary, that's a reasonable basis on which to act. Indeed not going to war would have been the immoral thing to do.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:38 PM on April 19, 2005


::sigh::

Just stop replying to him. It'll work, I promise.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:03 PM on April 19, 2005


Indeed not going to war would have been the immoral thing to do.
That's some twisted morality there. The moral thing to do would have been to keep on inspecting and sanctioning them--not invading them based on faulty and skewed intelligence and lies, no matter who it came from. Unfortunately, we didn't do that--at a horrendous cost.
posted by amberglow at 4:03 PM on April 19, 2005


And in absence of comparable evidence to the contrary, that's a reasonable basis on which to act. Indeed not going to war would have been the immoral thing to do.

Many countries (like my own, Canada) and people inside and outside the U.S.A. felt that continued inspections and scrutiny were in order. In other words, proof was required. Take a look through history at people being accused of doing things they never did and being killed for it for what may be perhaps, a simpler example to understand and then talk to us about morals.

I'm expressing my views, which are factually based. Moreover, my opinions are based, often on the same facts as yours. I think Iraq is a huge, fantastic success; you think the opposite, despite the evidence.

Funniest PP statement ever. The comedy in this thread is golden. Dios doesn't come close to you... The genius of it is overwhelming. You even use the word opposite explicitly. Congratulations. It couldn't be more perfect. Faze is no longer the leader in the modern absurdist movement.
posted by juiceCake at 9:21 PM on April 19, 2005


But hey look, the US military can't be all bad... the Coast Guard, after all saves starving penguins currently discussed here
posted by AspectRatio at 2:54 PM on April 20, 2005


Why does it seem to escape people that

"Removing Saddam" != "Fighting the war stupidly and shortsightedly"

?

I'm marvelously happy about the former; I know a fair number of Iraqis and former Iraqis, and most of them are delighted about that, too. But with only one exception among them I can think of, every single one believes it was done poorly, shortsightedly, and for the wrong reasons on the part of the US.

The mass graves? Their existence is peripheral, at best, to the question of whether we should have done what we did the way we did it. It's possible both for Saddam to be a monster whose removal is positive and for the action taken to do so to be negative. These are not mutually exclusive, nor can they necessarily be combined to form an overall "net". Had we been able to build an international consensus (a definite possibility, though that would have required time) and put enough people on the ground to ensure rebuilding was done correctly, the action could have been positive, but we had another agenda that was not up for negotiation.

As for those graves, well, given the death tolls involved around Iraq since 1980, I'm actually surprised the number is so low. There are probably a million or more bodies in mass graves; the dead from the insurgencies, the first Gulf War, and the Iran-Iraq war didn't just evaporate, nor could you really expect them to be picked up at the local "lost and found" by families totally dislocated by war.

So, my reading: Saddam gone = good; our motivation for removing him = bad.
posted by trigonometry at 10:06 AM on April 21, 2005


Just a minor question that is stuck in the back of my mind - Isn't it a possibility that we are responsible for a fair few of these mass graves? We sold chemical weapons that Saddam used on his own people. We buried several hundred to several thousand Iraqi troops alive during the closing days of Desert Storm and Saddam killed another 10-100,000 rebels that were abandoned after we incited them to overthrow him.

We didn't have to sell him those weapons, we didn't have to murder those soldiers (and murder it was) and we certainly didn't need to abandon those we led on in an effort to avoid our responsibilities to free the people of Iraq from a tyrant.

How are we not culpable for those actions? Saddam was a vile fuckhead and his children were worse but I see nothing to gain in a black vs. white argument over whose fault it was. Just like Rwanda and Sudan - we were all responsible for failing to act in the right way at the right time.
posted by longbaugh at 11:23 AM on April 21, 2005


« Older Rwandan Genocide   |   Beautiful, Tsunami-Battered Nais Island Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments