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August 31, 2005

Comments

kim

So Saddam should still be there? Flying kites off the bridges instead of flying leaps? Give me a break. Remember the Iraqi poeple's purple-fingered majesty.

And I'm sorry for Sistani and his people, and their brothers and sisters.
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nittypig

The bridge collapse wouldn't have happened under Saddam because Shi'a "religious celebrations" were banned.

kim

Some week, huh? The God of the West reminds us of the folly of defying Mother Nature, and the God of the Mideast reminds them of the folly of embracing Nililism.
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kim

Is Nililism what's going on in Egypt. I meant Nihilism, duh.
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Steven J.

At least Fuksie Boy gets it.

kim

He doesn't get it. Does he want Saddam back, with him spouting and scheming about his WMD? Do you?
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Steven J.

KIM - "Does he want Saddam back, with him spouting and scheming about his WMD? Do you?"

LOL - as if that were the ONLY option. Remember, the inspectors were back on the ground.

Ranger

"There was nothing inevitable about this."

This statement is fundamentally false. Let's remember where we were in the 1990s. The decision to leave Saddam in power but contain him had produced a war of attrition with Iraq that was both actively killing a few and passively killing a lot of Iraqis. To conduct that war of attrition we were stationing large numbers of troops in SA. Both of these facts were the primary recruiting tool for AQ throughout the 90s. In the wake of 9/11 those conditions could no longer be maintained. No change would have been a boon to AQ by proving that a) the US was occupying SA with infidel troops and b) that the US was a paper tiger incapable of defeating a significant Arab state. "Making peace" (dropping sanctions without full compliance [which was a lot more than just verifiable disarmament])with Saddam would have allowed us to remove some of our troops from SA, but not all, and provided AQ with a sign of US weakness that would have further fueled their ambitions and recruiting. So, with three options, two of which were clearly unacceptable, only the third and least bad was left.

P.S. If Bush had done nothing or retreated the Dems would have used it against him just as relentlessly as they are now trying to use his decision to remove Saddam.

Syl

Too many people are stuck in early 2003 and are still arguing their pet reason for war.

And Fukayama is stuck at the end of history.His vision of the world ended on 9/11 and I'm not sure he even realizes it yet.

He sells the American people and Iraq supporters short. I'm an ordinary American. I'm not Scots/Irish (I'm Norwegian...my grandparents came here in the late 1800's) and I supported the war for four reasons:

(1)keep wmd out of the hands of terrorists
(2)free the Iraqi people from Saddam
(3)Give the Iraqi's consensual government so they can be an example to the rest of the Middle East. I believe it's necessary to give the Arab world a chance.
(4)Show al Qaeda we're not afraid to fight.

My reasons for supporting the war haven't changed, even though no wmd were found.

I'm neither a neo-con nor a conservative and voted Republican for the first time last November (and probably forever more), so unless Fukayama includes people like me in his calculation I assert he's got it wrong.

Syl

and Fukayama says: "our whole foreign policy seems destined to rise or fall on the outcome of a war only marginally related to the source of what befell us on that day"

which is a statement from someone who believes our response to 9/11 should only entail revenge for that specific act.

In other words, only hit al Qaeda, get bin laden, then wait for the next attack and do it all over again.

I reject this position as do most Americans when they sit down and think about it. Don't sell us short, mister.

OT...I've switched to Opera and am having some troubles here. Only been using it a few hours and I plan to stick it out for a month before giving up.

Reg Jones

What Syl said.

Question for the "no wmd crowd". Which scenario would you prefer:

1. Iraq has dispersed, hidden NBC stockpiles pre-OIF. During and post-OIF insurgents/terrorist use them against US forces and Iraqi civilians. Terrorist smuggle them to cells in other countries to be used against US and our allies.

or

2. Iraq has no NBC stockpiles pre-OIF but does have latent WMD programs. OIF occurs. When captured senior Iraqi security officials say that the WMD programs would have been restarted after sanctions were removed. Post-OIF insurgents/terrorist try to build their own crude WMD weapons. They fail. No WMD used on US forces. No WMD used on Iraqi civilians. No WMD smuggling to outside terror cells.

#2 is the Iraqi scenario the US is facing now. #1 is a scenario the US worried about pre-OIF. We very well may have had to face #1 if there had been no OIF in 2003 but OIF later in the decade after the sanctions were dropped and the WMD programs started again. Sometimes "prevention" works. It would be useful if we recognized that fact.

Of course one could hope for other scenarios: stockpiles found immedediately and in total post OIF, inspectors deter WMD programs w/o threat of force and sanctions, or regime change w/o force etc. But are these probable scenarios? More to the point are we willing to risk the consequences if they don't occur?

Didn't 9/11 teach us that "too early" is better than "too late"?

Steven J.

"To conduct that war of attrition we were stationing large numbers of troops in SA. Both of these facts were the primary recruiting tool for AQ throughout the 90s."

We were in the process of moving our troops out of SA.

Steven J.

"(1)keep wmd out of the hands of terrorists
(4)Show al Qaeda we're not afraid to fight."

There were no WMD and we showed Al-Queda we aren't afraid to fight in Afghanistan.

Steven J.

"When captured senior Iraqi security officials say that the WMD programs would have been restarted after sanctions were removed."

There is no reason the inspections could not have been maintained.

Steven J.

"Didn't 9/11 teach us that "too early" is better than "too late"?"

Saddam was not a threat to America. Bush lied to us.


Lurking Observer

Steven J:

While the US was gradually moving some forces and facilities out of Saudi Arabia, there were no finalized plans to remove US forces from Saudi Arabia prior to 2002-2003.

Indeed, US military plans (such as those for the 2000 QDR) were predicated in no small part on scenarios involving an Iraqi move against Saudi Arabia, one reason why US forces were still stationed there as of 2003.

The removal of US forces from Saudi occurred after the completion of the recent Iraq war, when it became clear that Saddam Hussein was not coming back.


As for inspections, which were part and parcel of the sanctions regime, it was clear in the 2000-2003 period that the sanctions regime was coming apart, in no small part courtesy of French and Russian (and Chinese) pressures, due in turn to the expectation that they would be paid for their military sales during the Iran-Iraq War. If the sanctions regime ended, exactly what would have kept the inspections going on? And as the Duelfer report made clear, the Iraqis were prepared and expecting to restart their WMD programs.

Nor is the Oil-for-Food programs' corruption process fully documented. We will see who else in the UN hierarchy (which of course both administered OFF and the Iraqi inspections) was benefiting.


Finally, I don't think the term "lied" means what you think it means. Otherwise, you'd have to presume that the various Democratic politicians and President also "lied" in the 1990s, when they determined that Iraq was sufficiently a threat as to justify regime change.

TexasToast

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks; they'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions; they could recruit more terrorists by claiming an historic victory over the United States and our coalition."

I guess “Mission Accomplished” is …. er ….inoperative – even to the Bush speechwriters, but its interesting that even George is saying “ Its about http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/08/20050830-1.html "> oil …..
and …er…“World Peace”.

How do we plan to keep the bases without defeating the insurgency? Do we actually have a plan? “Stay the course” is not a “plan.”

kim

SJ, you have very little appreciation for the way in which Saddam was corrupting certain members of the UN Security Council. Read Charles Duelfer and Claudia Rosett. Inspections were a poor answer. Do you want Saddam back? If not, what's your big plan for the region? If so, what's your plan for protecting yourself from his madness?
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Jim Rockford

We had and have two options:

1. Retreat wholesale, economically, diplomatically, militarily, and culturally from the Middle East as Saddam, bin Laden, and Teheran demanded. This means total isolation from the world in a fortress America; not a realistic option to cut ourselves off from the world like North Korea.

2. Stay as a presence in the Middle East and FIGHT.

That was it. I find it laughable that folks believe in the essential good nature and truthfulness, non-aggressive behavior of Saddam given that:

1. He'd tried in April 1993 to assassinate former President Bush in a visit to Kuwait, leading to cruise missile attacks ordered by Clinton months later on Baghdad.

2. Continued hostile targeting of US airplanes monitoring the no-fly zones in violation of cease-fire agreements.

3. Kicking inspectors out of the country resulting in Operation Desert Fox 1998-99 by Clinton.

4. Iraqi Intelligence Service support for a Malaysian meeting with two known 9/11 Hijackers and a 9/11 logistical conspirator (escorting them through customs and attending the meeting in Kuala Lumpur).

5. Arrests of IIS agents in Germany on conspiracy to bomb US military bases.

6. Expulsion of Iraqi diplomat in Prague for conspiracy to bomb Radio Free Europe.

7. Hosting Abu Nidal (architect of Achille Lauro and Leon Klinghoffer's murder; Navy Diver Robert Stethem's murder) in Baghdad complete with car, driver, stipend, Gov't Apartment, and same for the only 1993 WTC bomber still at large, Abdul Rahman Yassin (a cousin of 1993 and 2001 WTC architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed).

8. Refusal of Saddam to allow inspectors in and pledge basic non-hostility to the US post 9/11.

9. Hosting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, senior Al Qaeda leader, after fall of Taliban.

Sorry, 9/11 happened. It opened the eyes of most thinking people to the escalating nature of the terrorist attacks and the increased level of state support from Islamic regimes (including Saudi, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and other places) against the US. Past policy of ignoring terrorist attacks and hostile regimes could not be sustained (and rightly so). You could argue that Saudi Arabia (finance center) or Iran (nascent nuclear power) or Pakistan (controller of Taliban and nuclear armed) were more dangerous folks needing to be solved.

But all evidence suggests Saddam WAS our enemy, was continuing to be hostile and co-operating with our various enemies, including bin Laden, and posed a security threat to the US needing solving. The constant combat air patrols and corrupt sanctions regimes were falling apart and making America look weak while not addressing the fundamental problem which was making Iraq no longer a hostile regime aiding terrorists.

You could make a compelling case Saddam should have been down the priority list, but not that he was no problem or was some kite flying leader like the Prime Minister of Sweden

rls

SJ finally got around to the Lib mantra "Bush Lied". Anyone that posts with that asinine statement does not have enough knowledge, itellect or reason to even think about engaging in debate.

Slither back to whence you came, SJ and see if you can obtain some kind of intelligence transfusion. Posting outright falsehoods as true statements reveals that you are either intelectually dishonest or too stupid to know you are posting lies. Oh...by the way...there WERE WMD's located in Iraq. Just not in the quantity we expected. I for one am glad we didn't find them as they would have suredly been used against our troops.

Syl

"we showed Al-Queda we aren't afraid to fight in Afghanistan"

If we had NOT gone into Iraq, there would be an anti-war movement specifically aimed at getting us out of Afghanistan by now. Ted Koppel would be listing the names of our dead from Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

Bush would be saying 'stay the course' and the left would be whining and demand that our soldiers be brought home.

So you're down to one. That's all you've got and you've overplayed even that.

Etienne

There is a reason ALL the apologists for this war are wrong. Even if it could be justified by its consequences - which remains a quite difficult task - it would be wrong.

For one reason. The US Constitution.

War is evil. War should never be used the way one chooses the best possible tool from the box. War must always be a last resort. War causes human suffering. It is a pure evil. The only possible justification for war is as a last resort to prevent even greater human suffering.

The neocons have failed to prove that this war was in truth an act of last resort. That waiting some period of time - say, the amount of time needed to fully assess the requirements and logistics of completing a rational mission - would have resulted almost certainly in disaster.

Instead, we have significant evidence that the administration purposefully rushed the case for war, inhibited investigations into alternate approaches and fabricated the causus belli.

This is extremely meaningful, as any Constitution originalist should realize. (And I'm told that's the conservative position on the constitution.) If any one force could be said to dominate our Constitution, it is the force that prevents the emergence of a regal power - the power of one unaccountable man to impose war upon an unwilling populace.

I would like all conservatives on this board to answer honestly. HONESTLY. With supporting arguments: Was this war conducted with true integrity to the principle of warmaking powers being invested solely in an informed electorate (i.e. through their elected representives)? Was there transparency of government in representing the goals of the war to the public? Did the president act properly in making the leadership decision that there was not a minute to be wasted, that it was imperative that the nation go to war when it did, even if the resultant chaos was predicted by many advisors?

What we are seeing in America today is a dawning on the public that they are in the grip of an imperial presidency, that neither cares about their suffering nor their fate, but that is invested solely in its own power, glory and increase of wealth.

kim

So what do you tell the purple-fingered Iraqis, yearning to be free?
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Clint

Etienne-

Have you actually read the Constitution?

The sole Constitutional requirement for making war is this: "The Congress shall have the power... to declare War."

You can find the required Act of Congress authorizing military force in Iraq here.

That you believe Congress and the President made the wrong decision does not make their actions unconstitutional. Nor do unfounded assertions that Congress might have acted differently had it known things that some people might have known then. We aren't required to obey laws that Congress might have passed, nor are we permitted to disobey (without legal consequences) laws that they might not have passed had circumstances been different. Hypotheticals are for undergraduate history theses, and speculation over beer.

Steven J.

RLS - "Posting outright falsehoods as true statements reveals that you are either intelectually dishonest or too stupid to know you are posting lies."

You mean like this one:

"We know for a fact there are weapons there." - Ari Fleischer, Jan. 9, 2003

Steven J.

SYL - "In other words, only hit al Qaeda, get bin laden, then wait for the next attack and do it all over again."

No, that's not true at all.

Steven J.

SYL - "If we had NOT gone into Iraq, there would be an anti-war movement specifically aimed at getting us out of Afghanistan by now."

There are always a few people opposed to any war.

Steven J.

RLS - "there WERE WMD's located in Iraq."

Nope.

Steven J.

JIM ROCKFORD - "all evidence suggests Saddam WAS our enemy, was continuing to be hostile and co-operating with our various enemies, including bin Laden,"

There is no evidence for that.

Steven J.

JIM ROCKFORD - "8. Refusal of Saddam to allow inspectors in and pledge basic non-hostility to the US post 9/11."

The inspectors were kicked out by Saddam in 1998 and they returned in the Fall of 2002.
Bush kicked them out in 2003.

Steven J.

JIM ROCKFORD - "9. Hosting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, senior Al Qaeda leader, after fall of Taliban."

Saddam did not host Zarqawi.


Before the war, intelligence officials said, Zarqawi was operating with the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group Ansar Al Islam in Kurdish-held northern Iraq, not in territory under the control of Hussein's regime. Thus, questions have been raised about whether Zarqawi was working in concert with Hussein before the US invaded Iraq.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/06/16/bush_backs_cheney_on_assertion_linking_hussein_al_qaeda/

Steven J.

Iran (nascent nuclear power)

I don't care if Iran acquires nuclear weapons but I doubt they will. Certainly "nascent" is the wrong word.

Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb
U.S. Intelligence Review Contrasts With Administration Statements
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 2, 2005; A01
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/01/AR2005080101453_pf.html

A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.

Steven J.

We had and have two options:

This is unbelievably ignorant.

Etienne

The sole Constitutional requirement for making war is this: "The Congress shall have the power... to declare War."

Yes, Clint. Exactly. That's why I said "through their elected representatives".

What does that mean? It means the decision to go to war rests with Congress. Why? Because the decision should not rest with the President, one man, but with the people's representatives. (It is truly astonishing how many Bush supporters do not realize this, indeed they gladly consider Bush a kind of king - which should frighten all of us.)

What the Founding Fathers never envisioned was a presidency so devious and disrespectful of the people that it would fix intelligence, manufacture fake evidence, lie to the Congress, lie to the people, lie to the entire international community...to present a false, hysterical rationale that elected representatives would feel forced to accept, mainly due to a climate of national vulnerability and fear. 9/11 bestowed unusual latitude on Bush to manipulate human nature, and the record increasingly shows he indeed abused that unearned power to undermine the spirit, if not technicaly the law, of our Constitution.

kim, your "purple fingers" line would have an iota of meaning if it were in any way part of the reasons our elected representatives sent our youth off to die in this insanely unnecessary debacle. As you well know, it was not. For a reason. The US armed forces exist only to protect our national security, not for adventurism and utopianism.

kim

Speaking of ignorance, SJ, you still haven't read Claudia Rosett and Charles Duelfer, and absorbed their lessons. This is getting willful now. Their documentation has shown that we faced an ever a growing threat from Saddam. You can choose to disbelieve that, but unless you address their points you are just going to look foolish spouting Moorian propaganda.

That goes for you too, Etienne. How would you have proposed to rid the world of Saddam? Or would you prefer he still be there?
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kim

And Etienne, I do not know that Purple Fingers were not the reason that our elected representatives started this war. The Iraqis were even sicker of Saddam that we were. The aspiration to freedom is recognized by democrats everywhere. Why not by half of present day Democrats?

The left must address the issue of Saddam, and they must address the issue of the Iraqis' self-determination. Otherwise, they are chattering themselves into elitism and irrelevancy.
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kim

And just for the fun of it, if this were a war for oil, at what level would the price of gasoline have to reach for you to consider fighting for it?
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kim

You do admit, Etienne, that our armed forces exist to protect our national security. We differ over how they are used to accomplish that mission.

So I'll ask you the question that I asked SJ. His answer, inspections, has been shown to have failed, and what do inspections do for the Iraqi people. Address Saddam and address the Iraqi people. Then we can talk about oil.
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kim

Also, Etienne, please read Arthur Chrenkoff on your 'insanely unnecessary debacle'. He addresses the 'debacle' part, Duelfer and Rosett have addressed the 'unnecessary' part, and you've characterized it as insane.

You've make it clear you prefer Saddam in power. Hey, he's still alive. Go for it.
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Etienne

No offense, kim, but I'd prefer an answer that dealt with my question. I know the RNC talking points re: Saddam. If that were the true reason for this debacle, there are a dozen other dictators who deserve to be taken out and at least three other countries that pose far greater threats to our national security. Saddam and purple fingers make nice bludgeon points, but they do not address my question.

Are we a Constitutional democracy here in the US, where warmaking powers are vested in the representatives of the people? Or are we a de facto monarcy, with an unaccountable king who can use our citizens and our armed forces to reshape the international geopolitical landscape according to his own unilateral will?

If you don't want to address the question, fine, but your talking points have been outdated for a long time now. Peddle them to someone who hasn't heard them, if such a person exists.

kim

The people of these United States believe we are defending ourselves in Iraq and have directed our representatives to continue to do so.

Is that Constitutional enough for you?


And what about Saddam and the Iraqi people. You can't ignore those two questions and be considered seriously engaged in the question. The truth is that if we work together, communally, with the Iraqi people we can rid them of a domestic menace and us of an international terror. I do not understand why you do not see it that way.
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BumperStickerist


This is ‘reality’ in October, 2002.

Chief UN Inspector Warns Iraq CNN Article w/Blix dated November, 2002

The article is instructive in that the physical reality of the situation in Iraq is laid out by none other than Hans Blix.

For those in the reality-based community, please look at the picture that accompanies the article. The reality shown is the Thin Robin’s Egg Blue Line getting off the bus (yes, the bus - singular) as the onground weapons inspections resume.

The team of 17 inspectors — the first to go to Iraq since inspections ceased in 1998 (ed: note to the reality-based, that's four years or 1 Presidential term) — arrived in Baghdad backed by a tough new U.N. mandate that threatens war if Iraq fails to cooperate

So, the UN now has Tough! New! Mandates that Threaten war. Against Saddam.

That’s a lot of pressure for those 17 people. I mean, after all, those are just 17 people, that showed up in a bus.

For those in the reality based community, here is what the concept ‘17’ looks like as asterisks:

*****************

That sting of asterisks represent the total number of UN inspectors in Iraq in October 2002. Not a lot. Fortunately, though, there were plans for putting more boots on the ground.

Dozens more inspectors are expected, with 35 set to arrive in Baghdad on December 8.

The U.N. advance team also is bringing in several tons of equipment in preparation to look at more than 700 sites.

Here is a visual representation of the number of backups to help the initial seventeen.

******************
*****************

Fortunately, this less-than-company sized group of people has certain things going for it to help them know where to spend their time. I mean, there are 700 sites with a total of 53 people doing the inspecting. In a country the size of California. With a history of trying to hide bad, illegal stuff like nerve gas, which they had used before.

Fortunately, this hardy band of inspectors will be aided in their mission. The UN will make use, per Hans Blix, of the following:

Decisions about where to search in a country the size of Texas will be made based on what the Iraqis tell the inspectors, along with media reports, intelligence reports and information gleaned from Iraqi weapons workers, Blix said.

Blix said.

Indeed.

I've been reading JustoneMinute for a while now. But I'm inclined to have a fundamental problem with any inspection being based on what the Iraqis, the Press, Intelligence Reports, and Iraqi weapons workers say and that that will ensure that a thorough inspection takes place.

of 700 suspected sites.

by 53 people.

Feel better?

I don't.

Fortunately, given the nature of the operation, the criticality of the mission, and the United Nations 50+ year history in logistics, the United Nations is up to the task of moving inspectors in.

again - from 2002:

The logistics of gathering the inspectors from around the world into one place and ensuring they have the tools to do their job have been daunting, he {Blix} said.

"I think perhaps it’s underestimated how difficult it is to get 100 persons in place, 35 jeeps, eight helicopters,” he said.

Huh, wha?

So, per the guy in charge of the effort, Hans Blix, rounding up 100 people, 8 helicopters, and 35 jeeps is a daunting task?

And the reason for pulling this group together in the first place is to look for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction in a dictatorship that’s both attacked a neighboring nation and used WMDs on its own citizens.

And,by the by, the United Nations had four years to prepare some contingency plans for resuming inspections.

This was a ‘daunting' task’?

Fortunately, General Tommy Franks didn’t use the UN Event Planning Staff for his "Meet Me in Baghdad" get-together.

I guess the United Nations never heard of the American Express Business Gold Card. Maybe they could help the UN find a better way to get the things they need.

Reality concludes with :

Asked if the inspectors were under pressure from the United States to be more aggressive, he said, “We get recommendations and advice from all countries, including the United States.

We may not be the brightest in the world, but I can tell you, we’re in nobody’s pocket."

While not questioning Blix’s integrity, or the powers of mental acuity on the part the inspectors, the integrity of the United Nations and certain members of the Security Council is up for discussion.

Given the revelations of the Oil-For-Food and the appearances of impropriety, I have some questions about whether the United Nations was not ‘in the pocket’ of a certain mustachioed former head of state.

So, the reality is that there were 53 inspectors were on the ground in Iraq conducting physical inspections by December.

Fifty-three.

******************
******************
*****************

You can take 53 people to lunch at McDonalds and the restaurant won't be bothered.

For the UN-minded, you can fit 53 people in 11 Toyota SUVs.

Question for the Reality-based: just how confident would you be with any declaration like "Iraq Has No Weapons of Mass Destruction” made by a team of 50 people?


Lurking Observer

I'm always amused by those who claim that of course the Kurdish areas were outside the reach of Saddam Hussein, as though a no-fly zone meant that there was also control of the ground.

The bigger reality, however, is that not only did Saddam Hussein continue to exert presence and pressure on the ground, but he had support from local Kurds. (This is also a strike at the silly "analysis" of the Left where in enemies never cooperate, even against third parties. Witness the nonsense about secular and fundamentalist types not cooperating.)

In reality, one of the major Kurdish group, the KDP, not only received support from Saddam Hussein, but even launched an offensive against their rivals with the aid of thousands of Iraqi troops under Saddam Hussein's orders.

http://www.currenthistory.com/archivejan97/barkey.html

As contemporary reports noted, these combined forces were able to advance quite far, this all happening under the same "no-fly zone" that supposedly meant that an individual such as Zarqawi OF COURSE couldn't have been operating.

http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9609/08/iraq.pm/

Because it wasn't "under Saddam Hussein's control." Just the control of a few thousands of his troops, plus his political allies, the Kurdish Democratic Party.

Etienne

The people of these United States believe we are defending ourselves in Iraq and have directed our representatives to continue to do so.

Is that Constitutional enough for you?

It's impossible to have a conversation with someone who just pulls nonsense out of the air.

BumperStickerist, I appreciate your attempts to argue the facts. What do you make of the fact that those mere 53 inspectors were actually doing an excellent job of uncovering the REALITY. The reality that there were no existing WMDs posing a threat to our national security. The reality that they would have revealed to the world if Bush hadn't made Powell look like an ass in front of the UN, propping up cartoon intelligence to "explain" why the US was above international law.

And now we are seeing the result of all this wasting of our precious resources. Money spent in Iraq was money not spent on New Orleans levees, to name only the most tragic example. What a disgusting shame this entire thing is.

kim

Gad, I love your 'sting of asterisks'. Each one welted up.
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kim

It's impossible to have a conversation with someone who simply ignores what one says. What is the problem with my statement that you call 'nonsense'? Please be specific about what is nonsensical about my claim and what is sensical about your claim that this war is unconstitutional.
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Lurking Observer

Etienne:

You clearly missed Bumperstickerist's point.

In a country the size of California or Texas, 53 inspectors were not going to be able to certify that the country was, in fact, free of WMD.

Not w/o the cooperation of Saddam Hussein. Who was not cooperating.

The fact of the matter is that Saddam had WMD, as well as key precursor materials for both chemical and biological weapons. While we have not found WMD, we also have not found these chemicals.

Which therefore begs the question:

What happened to them??

What happened to the thousands of pounds of growth media, for example?

This is why the Duelfer report is of concern. As Duelfer notes, while no WMD were found, plenty of evidence was found that indicated that Saddam was waiting for inspections to end to restart his various WMD programs (which, btw, would have violated the various UNSC resolutions and provided us w/ a casus belli all over again, as though his violations of 1991-2003 were insufficient). So, the inspections were in no position to certify that Saddam was "clean," especially when the inspections were of sites that, at least in part, were being named by the Iraqi government itself.

kim

Etienne, I once believed that inspections would take any sting out of Saddam. Duelfer and Rosett have made it clear that they would not have neutralized him. And that still doesn't address the Iraqi people. You really can't just ignore all this and call it 'nonsense out of the air'. That air of which you speak is the air you will suck in once you get your head out of the sand.
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Lurking Observer

BTW, Etienne, very pretty words about Founding Fathers and the like, but more than a little ahistorical.

To begin with, consider that the Founding Fathers themselves fought what might be considered an "unnecessary war." Or, as the Tories almost certainly felt, surely there was a better way to address the grievances of the colonies than insurrection, rebellion, and war?

Then consider how many wars were actually fought by the Founding Fathers. Besides the Revolution, there was the undeclared war with France (over trade issues), war with the Barbary Pirates (over the payment of ransoms), the War of 1812 (over trade, impressment, and freedom of the seas), the various wars with the Indians (over land), and all this just through 1820.

One wonders how many of these wars would fit your definition of either "necessary" or "an informed electorate" (especially considering who could and could not vote at the time).


Then, consider that your implication that the electorate is "uninformed" flies in the face of the legislation debated in Congress and signed into law by a Democratic President. What was the basis for those debates and that law? The same intelligence conclusions that five years later led to the fulfillment of said law's aims.


All of which ignores your business about "lies." Intelligence is an art, not a science, and it involves trying to discern a pattern from a mass of conflicting, contradictory, and often incomplete signals. Further complicated by the fact that the enemy is usually trying to not only obscure his activities and intentions, but downright mislead you as to what's going on.

If every intelligence failure is a "lie," then obviously the military and FDR "lied" about Pearl Harbor and how we could be caught off-guard. The Israeli intelligence services "lied" about the Yom Kippur War.

And the CIA and DIA "lied" in not making suicide passenger aircraft their number one priority throughout the period the 9-11 plotters were plotting (which, of course, would also mean that Bill Clinton "lied" when he didn't take sufficient actions during his presidency, when the plotters were here).

Etienne

I was going to use a different word than "air", kim, but I wanted to be polite.

Why is your comment nonsense? Because it is nonsense for you to declare "what the American people have decided". If you're looking at every single recent poll, then they've clearly decided the opposite of what you're claiming. As for what they've "directed their representatives to do", I've missed that announcement also. It's true they re-elected this herd of self serving politicians. However, that doesn't diminish the fact that the Congress was manipulated and used by this president, and that representatives who would not have voted for this war in truthful circumstances - as well as representatives who did not vote for it -were reelected as well.

LO, I understand Bumperstickers point. My reply concerned the often neglected (by conservatives) awareness that as intelligent human beings we have the capacity to deal with difficult situations (such as presented by Saddam and the WMD suspicions) with methods that prevent war. The conservative bloodlust and enthusiasm for the shedding of other people's blood has become only one of the ways they are marching our nation backwards into a dark age of bad education, poor health care, religious superstition, social Darwinism and violence as the sacred right of the powerful.

My consolation is that reality does seem to be dawning on my fellow Americans. Seeing how our resources were squandered on foreign adventurism, rather than on emergency preparedness here at home - as we are now seeing in the tragic Gulf states - is only going to increase the number of eyes opening up every day.

kim

I see you did get in the word 'elected' there. The rest of what you have to say is disappointment that your opinions didn't prevail.

Could it be that you have so little appreciation of what free people do with a vote? Is that why you denigrate the aspirations of the Iraqis?

Address Saddam, and the Iraqi people. We've heard enough of your sorrows.
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kim

What good your flowery 'awareness' and 'capacity' to 'prevent war' when planes were flying into your metropolis. What if they had targetted your nearby nuclear plant? How did you have the capacity to prevent that?
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Etienne

kim, who made you the determinant of which argument "prevails"? It is very tiresome to constantly have simple common sense dismissed with propaganda. It is not the American charter to spread democracy throughout the world. As magical as that idea may be, it is not compatible with logistical reality. We can't afford it, we can't do it everywhere, we don't have the manpower, we don't have the international goodwill, we can't control all the cultural & social factors involved. We need to make our country strong and safe, here at home. It is OUR democracy that should be concerning us, and the health and security of OUR citizens.

The words "Saddam" is not an abracadabra word that makes you correct, kim. Neither is "9/11". It's long past time to stop using buzz words as bludgeons. This is serious business. Your president has weakened our country by any measure imaginable, and RNC talking points can not change this reality. Only an awakening citizenry can do that. Luckily that finally appears to be happening, long, long overdue.

kim

Why is it that you don't see that making the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis safe helps keep us safe in our daily lives? I understand that you don't see the connect, but it is there for you to see.
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Lurking Observer

Etienne:

Spoken like a true member of the America First! crowd.

Which is kinda ironic, since I suspect that FDR is at the pinnacle of the pantheon of great Presidents.

And the fact that he actually did many of the things you accuse Bush of doing is conveniently forgotten.

Like sending American boys in harms' way w/o benefit of a declaration of war (google "USS Kearny" and "USS Reuben James").

Or violating the laws that he himself had signed in order to render assistance to Great Britain (google "Neutrality Acts").

Or conspiring with the head of a foreign government on joint war plans, stripping much needed munitions from the US armed forces in order to support same said head of government, and covertly ordering US forces to intervene in aid of same said government (reference "Newfoundland, Roosevelt, Churchill"; ironically almost exactly 64 years ago).

All things that the Founding Fathers most certainly would have opposed, seeing as it was all conducted without benefit of any Congressional oversight or information.

Hindsight, of course, proved FDR correct---but let's not pretend that he was obeying the law or anything.

But it is hindsight that says that FDR was engaged in a necessary war, rather than indulging the "bloodlust and enthusiasm for the shedding of other people's blood [which] has become only one of the ways they are marching our nation backwards into a dark age." Words that were heard from the likes of the isolationists and the far Left in the period 1939-1941 here at home, then, too.

And since he also authorized the disbursement of billions of dollars w/o Congressional oversight into the Manhattan Project, in the belief that the Germans were about to develop the atomic bomb, which turned out not to be true, should we conclude that FDR "lied" about the need for the A-bomb, too?

kim

Goodness gracious, Etienne, I'm not the determinant of 'which argument prevails'. In our context, the argument was settled by voters electing representatives who are continuing to fund the war, constitutionally. Whatever made you think I was the determinant of which argument prevails? Perhaps, your brain just pulled a little Freudian slip over your observation and you've unwittingly admitted the prevalence of my argument.
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Lurking Observer

kim:

It seems clear that, in Etienne's view, the rejection of Etienne's beliefs are only possible due to a combination of ignorance (the people didn't know!) and conspiracy (the people were lied to!).

The idea that Etienne's actual ideas might have been rejected clearly is "inconceivable."

This has been a hallmark of the Left's beliefs for the longest time. Nationalized industries, socialized medicine, nuclear freeze policies, in each case, it's not that the people have rejected their ideas, it's that the people didn't recognize or didn't know just how wonderful those ideas really were.

That, or they're just a buncha ignorant, know-nothin' Christer rednecks who don't have enough sense to realize that they're voting against their own interests, and so need someone to point it out to them. A "vanguard party," if you will.

Etienne

LO, excellent observations about FDR. I'm not going to shout them down because I've considered them myself and they are indeed difficult.

Not being able to give it the response it deserves, I'll make two quick points as I must run:

1. It is impossible to compare WWII and our current situation.We are not fighting another state and never were. We are nation building - from the get go. Our goals are nebulous and ever changing, as opposed to WWII when they were concrete and fixed. We are making NO sacrifices as a people - indeed the very Republican Washington Times yesterday had an op ed by a retired Army stating that the volunteer nature of our forces has encouraged a very dangerous adventurism by unaccountable politicians.

2. I also think it is impossible to compare the competence of FDR with that of GWB. Even among Bush's supporters, it is impossible to find anyone who can point to any successes in the way this man has conducted either domestic or foreign policy. We have a debacle in Iraq much of our own making (due to gross incompetence)and now we see the results of his "starve the beast" domestic policies - LA and Miss. looking like Third World nations. How would any of it have been different if the area had been hit by a terrorist attack? No preparedness. No response procedures in place. Panic and devastation, and a president who played golf while the worst was unfolding.

None of this addresses the constitutionality question, I realize. However, the WWII/FDR comparisons are ones that all Bush apologists would do well to steer clear of.

Lurking Observer

Etienne:

Impossible to compare? Really?

What was the purported reason that FDR threw out there for fighting Germany and Italy? Remember the "Four Freedoms"? Is that really any more concrete, to say that you want to establish a world where everyone is free from want and fear, than to oppose terrorism?

Where was the "pressing threat" that you claim was absent viz. Iraq, in 1938, when FDR started pushing for a draft? Was there an imminent danger to the United States from a nation that could barely reach across the channel, and had no navy? Of course there wasn't any in 1936, so the idea of opposing any seizure of the Rhineland or the Sudetenland (1938) would've been out of the question, no?

As for competency, while I'm no great fan of Dubya's, let's consider:

In 1932, FDR was elected in the midst of a Great Depression and a national economic emergency, by a substantial margin. Even then, he threatened to overturn the Constitution by packing the Court, b/c he could not consistently get the Courts, or the legislature, to go along with everything he wanted. He lost seats in the 1934 mid-term elections.

In 2000, Dubya was elected in a time of relative peace and prosperity, beating out the incumbent Vice President.

Since then, he's passed most of the legislation that he said he would, not least of which was a tax cut.

In the 2002 mid-term elections, for the first time since I don't know when, his party gained seats in a mid-term election---a feat that even FDR never achieved.

In 2004, with a war that has received far less favorable coverage than WWII, he was reelected and his party gained still more seats in Congress.

And you consider this to be a sign of incompetence?? I don't think that word means what you think it means.


And to suggest that the President somehow bears responsibility for what happened on the Gulf Coast is simply ludicrous. I suppose somehow the President was supposed to make the hurricane go away?

Or he's supposed to be chained to his desk. You do know that FDR did not die in the White House, correct? That, when he died, he was having his portrait painted. This, in the midst of a war where thousands of American boys were dying every week.

And not just that, but he died IN GEORGIA. What in the world was he doing there? Why, he was on vacation, as he'd been for the previous three weeks. With thousands of boys dying.

Heh. "Incompetency" indeed.

kim

Ah yes, FDR, the emperor who presided over the extension of his organization into the lives of the American people soley to consolidate political support into an empire.
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kim

By the way, Etienne, Bush is CEO of the world and adding value for stakeholders daily.
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Lurking Observer

kim:

Now, this is where I wind up parting ways. I don't think of Bush as "CEO," and certainly not of "the world."

He was elected President of the United States, and that is his responsibility first and foremost. Not to add value for global stakeholders, whomever they may be.

But the fact of the matter is that the belief that somehow the American president can achieve this by solely focusing on issues at home went the way of the dodo by the era of Teddy Roosevelt (the other Roosevelt). Once we were a superpower (and we clearly were well on the way by 1912), the fate of other nations and peoples was going to affect us.

Withdrawing into a shell was no longer an option---but that still doesn't make the POTUS the CEO of the world.

kim

Well, you've caught me with my hyperbolic pants down. I claim poetic license to pee all over her arguments.

It is a metaphor. He is the executive of the most powerful organization in the world, and insofar as his administration is making the world safe for democracy(and commerce), he is adding value to the stakeholders. Those stakeholders are not 'global' interests, but all the members of the human race.
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Etienne

Gotcha, LO, for you Competence = Winning Elections. For some of us it means the ability to GOVERN. To work in the interest of his employers - We the People of These United States!

Christ, I think we can all see that domestic issues are not Republican priorities. Right now, here in this country, people are dying in the streets like animals in a third world country. Turn on your televisions and see for yourself. Their government can't even air drop bottled water! What if this had been the dreaded biohazard terrorist attack? Are we to assume our "COMPETENT" "GOVERNMENT" would have been able to handle that??????????

How horrifying that it took a national disaster of this magnitude to reveal just how incredibly deep is the incompetence of this "government". Anyone who persists in trusting this "government" to protect them in the case of any attack - natural OR manmade - is indeed a fool. There will be a lot fewer such fools in America in the days to come.

Lurking Observer

Gee, Etienne, your reading comprehension must be a reflection of that vaunted "competency," since one of the first things I noted was that Bush has gotten his legislative plans enacted, and without having to pack the Court.

As for the situation in the Gulf Coast, I won't even try to dignify your comment with a reply. I, for one, don't think the tragedies that we are seeing is fodder for scoring political points, no matter the party of the governor and mayor, or the President and the Congressional delegation.

Go play w/ yourself to your heart's content, and let your own vitriol and bile overwhelm you.

Etienne

Bush has the competence to pass legislation to make sure working Americans can't get debt relief (but rich ones and corporations can), i.e. the bankruptcy bill. He can pass the biggest pork filled bill in history, i.e. the highway bill. He got CAFTA passed, which should be very helpful to the average American looking for a living wage.

Bush's competence starts and ends with his elitist class.

Iraq is FUBAR. The economy is FUBAR for average people. The environment is fast approaching FUBAR. And our Gulf States? If you think this little prince is going to escape accountability for this CRIME of INCOMPETENCE, then you are will be giving delusion a new definition. The world is watching this. There is no external enemy to blame. This is the pure and utter incompetence of a political machine incapable of - and apathetic to - the business of governing. Disgusting.

kim

Bush spoke to God and requested this Gulf States mess. Sure, Etienne, sure. Rock a bye, baby.
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TexasToast

And to suggest that the President somehow bears responsibility for what happened on the Gulf Coast is simply ludicrous.

Really?

On his watch…….

Patronage appointments as head of FEMA.

The “privatization” of FEMA’s responsibility.

Change in FEMA’s focus to relief and recovery instead of preparedness and prevention.

No creation of Homeland Security entity to cover preparedness and prevention.

Defunding Army Corps of Engineers flood control and levee repair projects.

Playing the guitar while New Orleans floods – followed by a speech listing all of the things the beauracracy is doing after the fact

Pathetic. Where’s the leadership?

Etienne

The CEO of the world can't even get WATER airlifted to the citizens of his own country in the face of a disaster.

Texas Toast just listed a FEW of the things that this incompetent and unaccountable administration did to contribute to this disaster. Yet there will be lectures on "reading comprehension" (do you people ever rotate your insults?) from the Bush apologists who will only read those kind of facts with their eyes closed.

Don't politicize it though.It isn't 9.11 after all. We wouldn't want any politicians to whore the corpses of the innocent dead for political gain at every "town hall meeting" or convention or whenever they wanted to get a new pork bill passed, would we? Since we can't use this to start a war of choice or enrich corporate lobbyists, it falls into that "who coulda thunk it?" category. Except FEMA predicted it in 2001, and these negligent elitists cut the funding for levee repair and allowed developers to build up the buffering wetlands anyway.

We all know now EXACTLY what the "government" response would be to a terrorist attack. In four years they have done exactly NOTHING to protect us. Incompetent and negligent only begins to describe this disgusting mess.

kim

There was no preventing this. I'll credit the Democratic governor with calling the mayor and suggesting he call the Weather Bureau, after which he called for evacuation.

All your king's dykes, and all your guitars, can't put New Orleans together again. Who'll insure it?

And blaming Bush is worse than barking up the wrong tree. It's misplacing blame for whatever mess this will become.
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kim

Flooding of New Orleans has been predicted a lot longer than for the last four years. Your retrospectoscope is giving you myopia.
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TexasToast

Flooding of New Orleans has been predicted a lot longer than for the last four years.

Then why did GWB say on Good Morning America, “I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"?

The levees and flood control projects are one thing. What floors me is the utterly flatfooted response.

Kim is correct that this disaster was predictable. Lots of people have been predicting it as recently as the days before the storm. So why was our government so woefully unprepared?

The government has failed in its primary mission to its citizens. Etienne is right – imagine that this was an earthquake or terrorist attack in your hometown. Are you satisfied with the progress demonstrated by this government with respect to homeland security since 9/11?

We seem to have gone backwards as far as homeland security goes. Bring back Bill Clinton - or at least Bill Clinton's FEMA.

ATM

We have a federal form of government, because we believe that local and state governments are best prepared to take care of local issues because they have the most knowledge about those issues. Planning for disasters is a local task. The feds should provide resources, but local government has to be able to tell them what resources.

kim

Eight years of Clinton's FEMA didn't make those dykes strong enough.
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kim

Speaking of local authority and responsibility, the mayor has not managed to look good in this. In his defense, it is a catastrophe of many unmanagable dimensions. One wonders why the critics don't complain of Bush's lack of an exit plan.
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