Messina wrote:The onus is on the people who accuse them that they were. It is interesting that you expect some sort of evidence to prove a negative, but think a mere accusation requires some extensive and documented denial.
I just realized how funny this line is coming from you, Messina. While I totally agree with it, it goes completely against your stance on Iraq. There is no solid evidence to prove Iraq is currently manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, yet you support Bush's position that the onus is on Iraq to prove such. A full-scale invasion of a country is no minor thing and as such should require some serious justification. Usually, the motivations are either "bad" (i.e. selfish) in that the invading country attacks first (we have branded Germany, Japan, and the USSR evil for such acts) or "good" in that the invading country is responding to some overtly agressive act on the part of the invadee (is this even a word?). Before we attack, we should have some serious evidence of some serious wrong-doing.
Messina, you claim it is immaterial to judge Bush's personal motives while I suspect nearly all of your opinions on Iraq are weighed heavily by your notions of Saddam's "evil" motives. India has an active weapons of mass destruction program (we don't even need weapons inspectors to know this) and you're not advocating invading them. You would probably counter this by saying that Saddam has a record of hostility, but much of that record was US-sponsored hostility! Doesn't that make it justified aggression, or were we just flat-out wrong then (as opposed to completely right now in wanting new war in the region)? Anyway, I digress--I feel I'm hinting at something important here, but I'm not sure how to phrase it well so I will move on to what I really want to talk about.
When you are the leader of a country, "face" is a very important thing. All politicians are highly interested in saving face so that they can put a positive spin on events when they present them to their people. Iraq had weapons inspectors in their country for seven years (from 1991 to 1998), at which point Clinton pulled out all inspectors and bombed Iraq. Now we are demanding Iraq unconditionally accept ALL US demands on them. I admit, were there nothing to hide, logic dicates that Saddam should simply acquiesce. If he were to do so, however, he would look like a spineless coward to his people. There is absolutely no room for saving face, no way to put a positive spin on things to the Iraqi people. I don't know whether any politicians in his shoes would give in to such demands, but it especially clear that someone as power-hungry as Saddam cannot. The point I'm trying to make here is that we cannot view Saddam's refusal to US demands as proof that he's hiding something. International politics make it a far more complicated issue than that. Using war to force their hand is simply the tactic of a bully.
Wow, this is getting long, but I continue nonetheless. So let's assume that Saddam does have a few weapons of mass destruction hidden somewhere. What happens when we invade with the clear intention of killing/arresting him at all costs? Does he (a) say, "damnit guys, you got me. GG. I surrender now." or (b) use all weapons at his disposal to put up the largest resistance possible in what he knows is a losing battle? My vote would be for the latter.
Think about it like this:
You're playing starcraft. Your two allies are dead and your expansions have been destroyed. Your three opponents are on route to finish you off and all you have left is a ghost and a nuke silo...with a nuke in it! Assuming you can't be cheap and disconnect, you'd probably try to use the nuke to do some minor damage as your base is destroyed, right?
Since starcraft analogies always translate flawlessly into real life, I think it's clear that Saddam, if pushed into a corner, would unleash his arsenal. So now what is the US response? Do we nuke Baghdad or not? In my mind, nuking Baghdad would be one of the most horrific outcomes possible. Millions of innocent people would be killed and in my mind these people are not deserving of such a fate simply because they happen to be subjugated into serving a moronic dictator. Ok, so what if we don't nuke Baghdad? Then we come off looking like spineless cowards who have a giant arsenal of weapons we will never use. I tend to be of the opinion that Bush would be more averse to the latter than to the actual provoked use of nukes on civilians. I know this is just a "what if" scenario, but it is not an astronomically unlikely result of an armed conflict with Iraq. As such, it is an inevitablilty we should consider when weighing the pros and cons of this endeavor.