Chatham House
July 18, 2005 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Pillion passenger to the United States. London based think tank Chatham House and the Economic & Social Research Council have issued a report concluding that there is "no doubt" that the invasion of Iraq has imposed difficulties for the UK and that that the UK is at "particular risk" because it is the closest ally of the US and has closely supported the deployment of British troops in the U.S. led military campaigns. A key problem for the UK in preventing terrorism in Britain is the government’s position as "pillion passenger" to the United States' war on terror. Formulating counter-terrorism policy in this way has left the "ally in the driving seat" to do the steering. Senior UK cabinet ministers are in denial.
posted by three blind mice (73 comments total)
 
So the UK's foreign policy decisions should be submitted for approval of terrorists?
posted by dios at 9:40 AM on July 18, 2005


You don't need the approval of the bees to stop kicking over beehives, dios. It's just not a good idea in the first place.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:49 AM on July 18, 2005


Well, that is an odd way to look at it.

How about looking at it this way: if the right thing to do is to remove a beehive, does one concern itself if it upsets the bees?
posted by dios at 9:53 AM on July 18, 2005


If you want to extend the metaphor, pretend the bees are humans.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2005


How about looking at it this way: if your blowhard hillbilly cousin Cletus walks in the room with a 2x4 and tells you the beehive needs to be knocked down because it's full of dynamite, you can expect to get stung if you stand next to him while he whacks it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:59 AM on July 18, 2005


Bingo
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2005


Well, if you only point is that you might get stung, then well done. Good job pointing out, although its rather obvious point not really worth discussing (unless your goal is to blame suicide attacks on Tony Blair).

The only question worth discussing is whether that knowledge should effect the decision to begin with.

On a side note, I find both your characterization of the United States as redneck and your characterization of UK as nothing more than a lap dog insulting to both countries as a whole. Both of the countries enjoyed popular support when the decision to go into Iraq happened. And I know enough Brits to know that they are not our lapdog. So perhaps control the vitriolic hyperbole, and focus on the argument at hand.
posted by dios at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2005


Senior Uk Cabinet Ministers are in denial the pockets of war profiteers and have no goal other than self enrichment.
posted by asok at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2005


The UK is very much the lapdog/bitch of the US in ecomomic and military terms. This is not something that many people see as similar to having an ignorant, rich bully as a 'friend'. Not something you can get out of easily, or to be proud of.
posted by asok at 10:26 AM on July 18, 2005


The UK is very much the lapdog/bitch of the US in ecomomic and military terms. This is something that many people see as similar to having an ignorant, rich bully as a 'friend'. Not something you can get out of easily, or to be proud of.
posted by asok at 10:26 AM on July 18, 2005


Prime Minister Tony Blair has consistently insisted linking the London attacks to British involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan was wrong.

Is this the same Tony Blair who told us Saddam had WMDs and could launch them within 40 minutes?
posted by PurpleJack at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2005


Pillion is just a polite way of saying the UK is riding bitch to the US's foreign policy. And it means anyone shooting at us from behind will hit them first.

I like the Cletus metaphor above, that works quite well for me.
posted by fenriq at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2005


if you only point is that you might get stung, then well done

Another is that this incredibly obvious conclusion is the very one being denied by Blair et al, showing them up to be either (1) incredibly bad liars; or (2) complete fucking idiots.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2005


I don't know what it's like in your country dios, but in mine I generally take umbrage at being treated by Dear Leader as if I was as thick as pig shit.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:55 AM on July 18, 2005


The Oklahoma City bombers were motivated by a lot of things, but previous crackdowns on far-right wackos was at the top of the list (they chose the anniversary of the Korresh/Wako burndown as they day to explode their bomb). So that means that the government's attempts to stop terrorists actually produced more terrorists.

So the right thing to do was to stop cracking down on right wing militia groups then, right?
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2005


Well, quidnunc kid beat me to it. So I'll just wait for Dios to attempt to explain why the governments of our two countries seem unable to grasp the obvious.

As an aside, Dios wrote: "Both of the countries enjoyed popular support when the decision to go into Iraq happened." This is at best disingenuous and you know it Dios. While the US did in fact have nearly universal support after 9/11 and wide support when the decision happened, the support was not for that decision. Standing united against terrorism was not at that time the same as standing united to invade Iraq. Coincidence does not equal connection.

Jos Bleau, ever hear of the fallacy of the excluded middle? Look it up.
posted by oddman at 11:07 AM on July 18, 2005


>So the right thing to do was to stop cracking down on right wing militia groups then, right?

Well, only if the crackdown methods were based upon fiction/myths and led to a lot of wasted resources.
posted by gsb at 11:08 AM on July 18, 2005


See also: Kaldor-Hicks efficiency.
posted by gsb at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2005


if you only point is that you might get stung, then well done

No, the point is that cletus should have been told not to whack the beehive with a 2x4, but instead to have used smoke to get rid of the bees prior to safely removing the beehive.

Now that the hive's already been whacked, cletus should be advised to cease the continued whacking and make preparation to more safely and more effectively remove the now angry bees.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:27 AM on July 18, 2005


So the UK's foreign policy decisions should be submitted for approval of terrorists?

Lest it get lost in the rest of the diosian nonsense, I'd just like to point out that the logical leap to this conclusion from the linked information was an extraordinary one even for a rhetorical gymnast of dios' calibre. I was surprised at the low score from the Chinese judge, but I guess they like their self-reinforcing propaganda a little more naked.
posted by gompa at 11:36 AM on July 18, 2005


Doubtless, you will say the same thing when Christian Fundamentalists start blowing up abortion clinics (again). Doubtless the needless waste could have been avoided if only the pro-choice people had been kinder and gentler with their rhetoric, more understanding of the fundamentalists' concerns, and less forceful with its imposing things on people who know how to build bombs.

The smarter of you will start to realize that if there were no abortion clinics, there wouldn't be any more anti-abortion clinic violence. After all, what did a women's right to choose ever do for you, anyway?
posted by Jos Bleau at 11:40 AM on July 18, 2005


Both of the countries enjoyed popular support when the decision to go into Iraq happened.

Before it was obvious that Cletus cooked the books, you mean? Great point.

So perhaps control the vitriolic hyperbole, and focus on the argument at hand.

Which argument? Your entirely specious attempt to derail with an idiotic straw man in the very first comment? That argument?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:49 AM on July 18, 2005


Damn that Cletus and his whacking. Is Cletus the only Bush brother who isn't in politics?

The only thing I'd add is that Cletus should, in addition to stop whacking the beehive, he should stop making fun of the bees as he whacks the hive. And he should definitely quite torturing bees he does capture though I am impressed with his ability to attach tiny electrodes to bee thorax's.

Jos Bleau, I know you're being facetious but I'll answer your question anyway. An abortion clinic actually gave me a chance and choice in life to not be a 20 year old father with a girl I barely knew as the mother of my child. But then, I'm sure there are the fundies that would say that that's the cost of pre-marital nookie. To which I'd tell them to take their religious malarkey and cram it as I'm a cynical agnostic.
posted by fenriq at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2005


I find it amusing that this discussion should take place the day after Ted Heath died. He was the only British Prime Minister of the pas few years who was not the USA's bitch.

And jos, your comparison of Iraq and Oklahoma seems quite apt. It's not the decision to fight terrorism which is the issue, it's the monumental incompetence when doing so which is strikingly similar.
posted by fullerine at 11:55 AM on July 18, 2005


"Doubtless the needless waste could have been avoided if only the pro-choice people had been kinder and gentler with their rhetoric, more understanding of the fundamentalists' concerns"

What I find odd is how prevelent argument projection is.
What I find disturbing is the inability to register honest feedback our government seems to be.

Why are straightforward reports consistiently distorted or ignored?

Our objective is (ostensibly) to "fight terrorism." Having experiance in this field is not required to take this meaning as "reduce the efficiency and number of attacks."
Much as going to war is understood to be "defending" in as much as it will ultimately create a more stable, safe situation for citizens.

As this report states that the administration's methodology in pursuit of this goal is having an opposite affect, I would think some explaination is in order beyond: "um...no it isn't." Or "Oh, so we should kowtow to the terrorists?"

Feedback is designed to help you. If Cletus receives a poor grade in Math class, it is not an idictment of mathematics, or Cletus, or the tools used (pencil and paper) in deriving an answer but Cletus' poor useage of his materials and the system in finding a solution.

From this we can conclude either Cletus does not want to succeed in math or he is not good at math. Either way we should not hire Cletus to engineer our bridges for us.It's not a policy matter, it's a matter of achieving the (albeit only stated) objective.

Is there something those opposed here are not understanding?

And lets avoid taking the metaphor too literally or projecting some sort of 'soft on terror' BS. I have no problem pulling the trigger on any of these idiots. Someone shows me I'm doing it all wrong and I could have achieved my objective in a more efficient way I listen to them.
(I'd love to see some of you in the field: "Taking cover? So we should let the terrorist's bullets dictate whether we can go somewhere?")

The report is either correct or not correct. If it is correct it should certainly be a factor in policy decision making (again, given that the stated purpose is itself on the level).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:14 PM on July 18, 2005


Heath on the events in Tiananmen Square: "There was a crisis after a month in which the civil authorities had been defied. They took action. Very well."

Just someone else's bitch, I guess.
posted by mania at 12:15 PM on July 18, 2005


Both of the countries enjoyed popular support when the decision to go into Iraq happened.
Wow. And there was I thinking there was that massive anti-war protest in London, possibly the biggest in the UK. Guess They all wrote "No war" when they meant to write "Pro war". Sheesh, some wacky Brits, eh?
posted by kaemaril at 1:26 PM on July 18, 2005


Check the polling.

Both had majority support at the time. Don't be revisionist.
posted by dios at 1:55 PM on July 18, 2005


Yes sir, dios, sir! URLs?
posted by kaemaril at 1:59 PM on July 18, 2005


I hesitate to respond to a troll, but dios should have a look at this Guardian article, which clearly shows that the US-led invasion did not have majority support in the UK.
posted by cbrody at 2:14 PM on July 18, 2005


I also found a couple more polls on the BBC site with a few seconds of searching - 1, 2.
posted by Edame at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2005


Another useful page.
posted by cbrody at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2005


How is it relevent whether there was support or not given the bulk of information was distorted, misrepresented or flat out wrong if not intentionally misleading? GIGO
posted by Smedleyman at 2:26 PM on July 18, 2005


Don't be revisionist.

Why are we in Iraq? Try to answer without being revisionist.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:35 PM on July 18, 2005


Check the polling.

Both had majority support at the time. Don't be revisionist.


You are wrong and right, dios. While there was a slim majority support, even those supporting the war desired three things: a more cautious process, international support, and validation of Bush's at-that-time unverifiable WMD claims.

Since Bush was not deliberate about procedure, did not garner international support for his war, and no WMDs were ever found, the domestic and international backlash against the invasion was inevitable.
posted by Rothko at 2:41 PM on July 18, 2005


Well, we went to war in March. In March, both countries enjoyed popular support.

Sorry for not linking, here is a link.

British public opinion polls in late January showed that the public support for the war had fallen to about 30%, although by March it had risen above 50%.

As Alex's link shows:

Most polls showed that support for the invasion, depending on how the question is phrased, was at between 55-65%

They had popular support.
posted by dios at 3:11 PM on July 18, 2005


The gung-ho war on terror fetishists refusal to examine the causes of terrorism because it's "appeasing the terrorists" is a bit dissapointing, but this polarization of viewpoints is derived from thinking that there are some well organized pre-destined "terrorists" running around - not that someone can experience events that will lead them to embrace terrorism.

And before anyone yells "Abortion Doctor!" keep in mind that the clinics aren't being blown up by fetuses.
posted by iamck at 3:14 PM on July 18, 2005


Sorry about the formatting. The line about British polling should be in italics.

I hesitate to respond to a troll, but dios should have a look at this Guardian article, which clearly shows that the US-led invasion did not have majority support in the UK.
posted by cbrody at 2:14 PM PST on July 18


You call me a troll when I post facts. Then you characterize the opinion poll in January, which was 2 months prior to the decision to go, as a refutation of my statement of fact. At the time the decision was made, both enjoyed popular support.
posted by dios at 3:17 PM on July 18, 2005


Popular Support.

/godwin
posted by iamck at 3:29 PM on July 18, 2005


At the time the decision was made, the majority didn't yet see how shitty the Bush Administration was going to be at removing beehives. Now they do.
posted by fleacircus at 3:29 PM on July 18, 2005


At the time the decision was enacted -- it was made several years prior to 9/11 -- both enjoyed popular support because people were duped by a campaign of lies.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:34 PM on July 18, 2005


I'm sorry dios, but wikipedia is not an authorative source. I defy you to link to an actual poll result that shows that more than 50% of UK citizens ever supported going to war without a further UN resolution. This despite all efforts to convince us that we would be nuked in 45 minutes.
posted by cbrody at 3:38 PM on July 18, 2005


Okay, so all of us Brits supported the war, which was about liberating Iraqis, and definitely not about WMDs which could have been launched within 45 minutes, WMDS that we knew exactly where they were (in the North, South, West, and East somewhat of Tikrit), among them chemical and biological agents and possibly a nuke in less than a year, because Saddam kicked out the inspectors and wouldn't let them back in, and, overall, the mission was successfully accomplished?

Thanks for clearing that up guys, I must have gone temporarily insane for the past few years, which has caused my bizarre alternate memories. Man, I can "remember" some wacky shit! Thank god none of it's true!
posted by ralphyk at 3:46 PM on July 18, 2005


Well cbrody, I am under no obligation to give you links to anything. And to be honest, given how completely rude you are to me, I am not inclinded to engage you any further. Not to mention, as has been shown in this very thread, that no matter what link I produce, the point won't be conceded. Either the source will not be authoritative, or the poll will be irrelevant because it was all based on lies! or what about the Nazis!

So really, cbrody, you can provide a link refuting that in March, when we went to war, there was popular support. Currently, I provided the only source of the relevant timeframe. Or you can just claim I'm giving up because I don't feel like engaging people who have done nothing in this thread but call me names and insult me when I state facts. Or, you can just do what you are going to do anyhow: insult me more and continue in your beliefs. Either way, I really don't have the inclination to waste my time providing an argument that will never be accepted as correct no matter the level of documentation.

Besides, its time for me to go home from work.
posted by dios at 3:46 PM on July 18, 2005


Take five, dios, I think I can do it from here.

Clearly a decision made with popular support is infallible for all time, and immune to any wavering of that popular support ever. No policies should ever shift because policies are never implemented poorly, nor are public perceptions ever wrong (except after the policy is formed of course, if they go against you, but they're not important then, probably it's the goddamn media anyway).

If any of you disagree in the slightest, you might as well invite terrorists over to dinner so they can kiss your sister.

Think back to those opinion polls way back when, you know right at the height of when we were really selling the war hard after the decision was made you know when the decision was made all pretty and official. Blame yourself, and please stop bothering your busy, competent and wise leaders. It's hard for them to be infallible over the sound of your yammering!

Now, if we could just find some bee paper.
posted by fleacircus at 3:57 PM on July 18, 2005


Islamofascists are not bees. They are far worse. They do not make honey. And never will.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:04 PM on July 18, 2005


Metafilter: Under no obligation to provide you links to anything

sorry, had to do it at least once
posted by Edame at 4:16 PM on July 18, 2005


Islamofascists are more like wasps than bees. Nonetheless, sales of Islamofascist Honey are as brisk as ever.

And I'll be damned before I provide a link for that.
posted by palinode at 4:33 PM on July 18, 2005


Cut the pie any way you want, it's still full of turds.

Even if every American and Englishperson supported the invasion, which is laughable, it was just such a clusterfuck of an operation. George Will, someone I always read but rarely agreed with, put it rather well a year ago.

It's funny and sad to watch the Republicans defend Rove right now--"Wilson is a liar! Plame is a coquette!" In the big picture, this invasion and occupation was and is based on lies. Dios-san will continue to remove himself when his facts are found wanting, and continue to wail about how librul skepticism is hurting the war effort, but the window of reality on making Iraq something of an operable quasi-democracy closed over a year ago. Game over, but for thousands more killed and mutilated.
posted by bardic at 4:41 PM on July 18, 2005


"Islamofascists are not bees. They are far worse. They do not make honey. And never will."
What do they pay you for posting this tripe ParisParamus?

Is someone going to actually engage the argument here or are dios & pp the best we have?

Given the terrorists want to change the policies, we should not change the policies based on their application of force.
- What then if our use of force is counterproductive?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:45 PM on July 18, 2005


bardic, very nicely summarized. And good tie-in to Rove's Turd Blossom pie.
posted by fenriq at 4:55 PM on July 18, 2005


Well cbrody, I am under no obligation to give you links to anything. And to be honest, given how completely rude you are to me, I am not inclinded to engage you any further.

Dios, where did cbrody (or anybody) act 'completely rude' to you? Was it this thread?

no matter what link I produce, the point won't be conceded. Either the source will not be authoritative, or the poll will be irrelevant because it was all based on lies! or what about the Nazis!

So instead you claim that you stated facts, but produce no links? And shouldn't be bothered to produce links, because you've already stated the facts, and the facts speak for themselves, etc, yadda-yadda?

Even if the 'popular support for the war was there at the time', do you think that that 51% or so deals the same 'political capital' begging to be spent that seems the rage these days?

You might think hard about you you weigh 51%, it might not always wobble in your direction, and I have a feeling you will be vocal about it when it wanes from your side of the boat. (you know the boat, the one we're all in together.)
posted by Balisong at 5:09 PM on July 18, 2005


Band of Bees. Insane retro rock or something, in Japanese partly. Neat. I don't think they make honey either. They must be terrorists.
posted by bardic at 5:27 PM on July 18, 2005


As an aside, these are the chaps who invented the Chatham House Rule.

If anyone sees America, do me a favour and ask her what happened to last year's Patterns of Global Terrorism report. I don't recall seeing it...
posted by blag at 5:48 PM on July 18, 2005


Dios- And to be honest, given how completely rude you are to me, I am not inclinded to engage you any further.

Is it where he was reluctant to respond to the troll?

Guess what? Being called a troll is not even being rude.
I'm a troll. So are about a third of the regular metafilter posters. We add to fill in the spaces in between the meaty chunks of a post. (we Trollfolk will never change to fit your non-trolling ways)
You should be able to shrug off being called a troll once or twice in a given thread, and still be able to back up your own claims with links.
Cause if you don't even do that, then your troll status sinks. You start being looked down on by the 'respectible' trolls, then well, you know.
posted by Balisong at 5:49 PM on July 18, 2005


Paris- Islamofascists are more like wasps than bees.

I have wasps living around my house, and they even get inside quite a bit. I leave them alone, and have never been stung. They make little 5-6 pod paper nests on the side of the house. But I have a feeling that they really have a big nest up in the roof, they might have found a spot to slip in under the eave or something. I leave them alone, and they don't bother me much, even entertain the cats.
Wasps are beneficial insects. They might not make honey, but they eat mosquitoes, caterpillars, flies, and other pests.

I'm not sure if that's really the anology you are looking for.
posted by Balisong at 6:02 PM on July 18, 2005


Analogy...
posted by Balisong at 6:03 PM on July 18, 2005


So the right thing to do was to stop cracking down on right wing militia groups then, right?

Right-wing American terrorists are as much motivated by "root causes" as foreign terrorists. If the Waco massacre had not happened, there's a good chance that the Oklahoma City bombing might not have happened either. (Lest we forget. The OKC bombing was on the anniversary of Waco.) For right-wing militias, it's Waco. For Islamist terrorists, it's U.S. occupation of Muslim countries or our putative pro-Israel tilt in our foreign policy. Either way, it's not a good idea to aggravate terrorists, if what you're doing to aggravate them isn't in your best interests anyway. Nothing about that truism is inconsistent with the need to root out and punish terrorists individuals as well.
posted by jonp72 at 8:18 PM on July 18, 2005


Both of the countries enjoyed popular support when the decision to go into Iraq happened.

Nice use of a semi-passive voice there.

My recollection is that even in the benighted US the "popular support" never exceeded 60% in the immediately pre-war time period (March), and that was INCLUDING those that wanted a full UN process follow-thru, ie NO intervention without that final "show yer cards" UN sign-off that Bush couldn't get through the UNSC.

Basically, the UK had 60% support for UN-sanctioned war, and only 23% for going in without such support. Opposition to any war was nearly 50%.

Ah, there's this:

A Newsweek Poll [in late January] found 31% support for a unilateral US attack on Iraq, 39% support for an attack with one or two major allies without UN support. This support jumped to 81%, however, if an attack were to be launched with allies and with the full support of the UNSC.

So the actual facts do not support dios' assertion above. Go figure. Then again I believe this polling was done before Powell's bullshit presentation to the UNSC. The pre-war polling showed the administration's fear-mongering had worked quite well: 55-80% polled that they believed Saddam had provided "direct support" or "had ties" to AQ, and a great number of people even believed the bullshit nuclear programs. Garbage-in garbage-out, so pointing at polls as justification for policy is just dishonest when the polls are driven by disinformation.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:30 PM on July 18, 2005


Islamofascists are not bees. They are far worse. They do not make honey. And never will.

ARE YOU EVER RIGHT ABOUT ANYTHING?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:33 PM on July 18, 2005


Touché!
posted by mr.marx at 8:57 PM on July 18, 2005


I need to backtrack a bit on the US side of war support. I found a pretty comprehensive AEI summary of the polling that in the simplest terms supports dios' assertion that the decision to go to war "enjoyed popular support", since the general tenor is that once we went in 60-70% of the populace did "support" the initiative.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:04 PM on July 18, 2005


This cracked me up from that link:

NOTE: When the 66 percent who approved of Bush’s decision were asked, “Which comes closer to your view: you
support going to war because you think it is the best thing for the U.S. or you are not sure if going to war is the best
thing to do, but you support Bush’s decision because he is president,” 44 percent said it was the right thing to do, 21
percent said they were supporting Bush because he is president, and 1 percent were unsure".


Ah, retards. Gotta love 'em.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:25 PM on July 18, 2005


Now Heywood, just because they vote like retards, doesn't mean they are all retards.
You're making the real retards look bad, and frankly, you're discriminating.

Maybe they're just acting like retards on purpose, did you ever think of that?
posted by Balisong at 9:51 PM on July 18, 2005


FWIW, here's how I remember the leadup to the invasion:

The Bush administration demanded that Iraq supply documents listing all their bad stuff.

Iraq supplied copious documents.

The Bush administration, while refusing to let anybody else see the documents, complained that there were all sorts of things wrong with them and that Iraq was obviously hiding something in all that fine print.

Hans Blix led inspection teams into Iraq.

The inspection teams encountered a certain degree of local non-cooperation, and Blix expressed some annoyance.

The Bush administration started making threats about invasion.

Blix reported that cooperation was much improved, that no sign of any WMDs had been found, and asked for more time.

The Bush administration claimed to be in posession of evidence that WMDs existed, while refusing to make that evidence public or even supply it to Blix and his team.

The Bush administration repeatedly argued that Blix's continued failure to find WMDs was clear evidence that (a) Iraq had them (b) Iraq was hiding them.

US, British and Australian media made repeated careless references to previous weapons inspectors having been "kicked out of Iraq", even though those inspectors had been withdrawn by their own leader (and only then because the imminent US invasion would have made their job both dangerous and ineffective).

The Australian Government sent ships to the Gulf, while denying that any decision to go to war had been made.

A "four legs good, two legs bad" sloganeering campaign convinced many in the US that Saddam Hussein's secular socialist regime was providing direct support to Al Qaeda, a zealously Wahabi Islamist organization.

The US continued to push the line that failure to find WMDs was strong evidence of their existence.

Tony Blair sexed up the Iraqi threat, claiming that Iraq could deploy biological weapons on 45 minutes' notice.

The largest popular anti-war protests in US, British and Australian history occured in all three of those countries.

Hans Blix asked for more time.

The US invaded Iraq.

If I have any of that substantially wrong, I'd love to have my mistakes pointed out - because so far, the only conclusion I can draw from it all is that the populations of the US, the UK and Australia have been taken for a deadly and expensive ride by their elected representatives; and it continues to boggle my mind that all three populations have seen fit to return the same confidence tricksters to power.

As an Australian, I certainly don't see my government as a pillion passenger on the US's foreign policy motorcycle. It's more like a rather dim dog that's fallen off the back of the US's foreign policy ute, and is currently being dragged along the road by its neck and getting its tail caught under the back wheel.
posted by flabdablet at 10:34 PM on July 18, 2005


nice summary of the WMD fiasco, flabdablet
posted by firemouth at 10:57 PM on July 18, 2005


* must read up on the US Foreign Policy Ute*
posted by Balisong at 11:19 PM on July 18, 2005


flab, some of the subtleties are missing, like:

I think going to the UN to get 1441 and that whole inspection rigamarole was something Blair insisted on.

Iraq made a "full" document dump to the UN but the US only allowed an expurgated version, since undoubtedly the Iraqis put a lot of stuff in it to tweak our noses about Reagan-Bush-era support for the ba'athist regime.

The spooky mini-summit at a military base at the Azores between Blair, Bush, and Aznar.

The high drama of the final UNSC show-down, where the US was trying to twist Chile's and Mexico's arms to get their votes.

Blix, perhaps after the fact, complained that the intelligence he was receiving from the US was garbage.

Blix did find that Iraq's Al Samoud rocket artillery project exceeded the 100km limit by 10% or something, so they attempted to seize all that stuff at had it destroyed.

Blix's final/interim (?) report to the UNSC was rather artful in talking out of both sides of their mouths wrt Iraqi compliance.

Blix in his interviews just seemed rather avuncularly bemused by the entire process.

Bush's robotic (he was on some sort of narcotic) late afternoon press conference immediately prior to the war, when he talked of having the UNSC "show their cards", only the US never brought the final vote on the war since we knew we didn't have the votes. AFAIK this meant the status quo as far as the UNSC was concerned was that they "remained seized" on the matter. The UNSC later that year finally signed off ex-post-facto on the intervention/occupation though.

Bush's "Feels Good!" fist pump at his desk, caught on tape minutes before announcing to the nation that we were going in.

Every air raid warning in Kuwait became a Scud Gas Attack on the cable TV coverage in the opening days of the war. In the opening weeks numerous WMD sites were reported to have been found, yet none of these actually panned out.

Bush, in Poland in the May-June timeframe, claimed the decrepit canvas-sided trailers were evidence of WMD programs, even though the best intelligence at the time indicated these were mobile hydrogen production facilities for sounding balloons.

In the end, the administration could cook up "evidence of WMD program-related activities".

Boy, they were sure wrong a lot, huh? Good thing peese and freefdom is taking bloom in Iraq now, so even though there was no actual present WMD threat, a great experiment in liberal democracy and nation-building is now flourishing in an ancient cradle of civilization. The cost: only ~$300B on the national charge card and several thousand US casualties.

If the Bushites had honestly sold the war as a nation-building exercise I don't think you'd hear much carping from me now. Democracy is an imperfect instrument. I don't believe "fixing the intelligence" to fit the policy is necessarily an impeachable offense, but if we had a more effective system of government the Congress would have been more independent of the executive and would have both investigated and castigated the administration's actions 2002-2003 prior to the administration's "accountability moment" Nov 2 last year.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:02 AM on July 19, 2005


Jack Straw has been a disastarous Foreign Secretary. Not one success for this vain and preening man. I've seen him running around Colin Powell like a lovestruck puppy and seen the sheer amateurishness of his inner circle on a Newsnight documentary.

Let's take a look at his latest statement on the Chatham House report. Here's what he said with my comments in italic:

I'm astonished if Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood shoulder to shoulder with our long standing allies in the United States. (They said no such thing, indeed they said the problem is not that we're standing shoulder to shoulder, but are meerly riding pillion with no imput into policy)

But let me also say this the time for excuses for terrorism are over (they are not making excuses buy analysing the effectiveness of UK policy), the terrorists have struck across the world in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq. They struck in Kenya (blowing up the US embassy) , in Tanzania (blowing up the US embassy), in Indonesia (attacking bars frequented by Australian tourists, whose govt is backing the US), in the Yemen (attacking a US warship). They struck this weekend in Turkey which was not supporting our action in Iraq (Untrue, Turkey is allowing the US to use it's airbases).

Not one true word in there. Steve Bell put's it well
posted by quarsan at 12:56 AM on July 19, 2005


Polls, Powell and the Iraq Campaign, CBS News, February 7, 2003:
A CBS News poll taken after Powell's U.N. uber-speech showed 70 percent now "approved" of military action against Iraq.

If that seems like overwhelming support, hold on.

First of all, the level of support really hasn't changed much for the past year. Support for military action was at 64 percent before Powell's speech, 70 percent in early November 2002, and up at 74 percent in February 2002, before the war drums were banging.

Americans have, in their guts, been up for nuking Saddam since 1991.

Countering this, however, is a feeling just as deep that the U.S. shouldn't go it alone. In this latest poll, 63 percent think the U.S. should wait for U.N. approval; 31 percent want to act now.
Poll Analysis: Americans Convinced by Powell U.N. Address Even If Member Nations Are Not, Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2003:
Americans see the evidence presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell during his address to the United Nations last Tuesday as convincing proof of Iraqi non-compliance, according to the latest Los Angeles Times poll in which previous poll respondents were contacted again. President Bush's job ratings took a jump upward in an atmosphere in which the U.S. has been put on heightened terror alert and Americans see war with Iraq as becoming ever more unavoidable. However, most continue to want the U.S. to take military action only in accord with the U.N. Security council.
Some additions to the timeline:

Summer 2002: The US and UK increased the bombing of Iraq to try to provoke Iraq into providing an excuse to attack. [discussed here]

October 2002: The Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq required Bush to certify that before using force:
reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
February 2003: France, Germany, and Russia submit a proposal "calling for expanded weapons inspections enforced by U.N. troops."

March 2003: The US rejected prewar Iraqi peace offers. "We'll see you in Baghdad." [discussed here]
posted by kirkaracha at 6:53 AM on July 19, 2005


And the postwar timeline:

* Saddam, knowing he has lost everything, fails to use his WMDs and instead chooses to hide out in a spiderhole. One can only conclude he's waiting for a real military threat, one worthy of his WMDs.

* soldiers inspect every large building and warehouse, looking for WMDs. They find none.

* ground radar sweeps the deserts, and utter fails to find WMDs.

* hundreds of Iraqis are tortured, and none leaks information that leads to WMDs.

But those WMDs, they're out there! George said so!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 AM on July 19, 2005


Well, he knows they're not in the Oval Office:
At a black-tie dinner for journalists, Mr Bush narrated a slide show poking fun at himself and other members of his administration.

One pictured Mr Bush looking under a piece of furniture in the Oval Office, at which the president remarked: "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere."

After another one, showing him scouring the corner of a room, Mr Bush said: "No, no weapons over there," he said.

And as a third picture, this time showing him leaning over, appeared on the screen the president was heard to say: "Maybe under here?"
Is the media still laughing?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:00 PM on July 19, 2005


805% too far!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:21 PM on July 19, 2005


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