Some reasons we should go to war with Iraq

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Too-Much-Coffee Mistress
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Postby Too-Much-Coffee Mistress » Tue Sep 10, 2002 8:36 am

One of his interviews with CNN is archived here. It's not the same one I caught earlier today, but it carries basically the same feeling.

On a personal note, I think it's great that someone finally pointed out that there is little evidence (and what there is barely being substantiative) for these claims of Iraq's weapons readiness. As has been pointed out though, it certainly wouldn't be the first time a president has lied in order to garner support for military action.

If war with Iraq is able to be justified with solid evidence, fine. But for Dubya to send US soldiers to their potential deaths, not to mention Iraqi deaths resulting from any action over there simply to improve his re-election chances is detestable.
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Postby Bag of Ass » Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:45 am

There were some stupid people in front of the Federal Building in Westwood today burning Iraqi flags and picketting that we should assassinate Saddam Hussein and/or invade. Regardless of their cause, that's not the way to go about it.

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Postby Kauser » Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:52 am

Bag of Ass wrote:There were some stupid people in front of the Federal Building in Westwood today burning Iraqi flags and picketting that we should assassinate Saddam Hussein and/or invade. Regardless of their cause, that's not the way to go about it.



Prolly a bunch of fucktards who heard that some people burn the american flag in protest. I always wondered why myself. After all, the only proper way to destroy the american flag is to ceremonially burn it.
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Postby Lobstrosity » Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:55 am

Yeah, that amendment against burning flags would be so stupid. Thou shalt not burn the US flag...unless you love the US in which case you should burn the US flag (when it's old and to be destroyed.)

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Postby Messina » Fri Sep 13, 2002 1:26 am

Hey Dead Thredders:

Thought I would post some links. The first involves our old friend Mr. Ritter. I think I said something about Ritter above. Well, I was referring to before he changed his tune. But anyway, here is a recent interview with Richard Butler on Mr. Ritter:

http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/09/10/butler.cnna/index.html

Oh, and here is old school Ritter:

http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/meast/9808/27/iraq.ritter.01/index.html


And the other one is a link to the document given out at the UN with Bush's speech today (at least I think that's what it is: today's date, the word UN all over it) [note it is a pdf document]:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/iraqdecade.pdf

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Postby Lobstrosity » Fri Sep 13, 2002 2:09 am

OMG that pdf has a table of contents. Perhaps I will peruse it at a later date. The links you posted are quite intersting and certainly make it seem like something foul is afoot. I would be very curious to hear how Ritter explains his change of opinion regarding Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. As it is now, this flip-flop on Ritter's part makes me much more likely to trust his superior (Butler). Thanks for the articles.

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Postby Too-Much-Coffee Mistress » Fri Sep 13, 2002 7:16 am

Ok. First of all, Mr. Butler is certainly free to defend himself and his colleagues from these accusations, but that interview contains nothing of the like. The entirety of the interview is little more than a spin on what Ritter has already said combined with the almost-disgusting-to-see bias of Paula Zahn. "You shot down his accusation," indeed. Butler's reply to accusations that his inspectors were used as spies amounted to little more than "Nuh-uh!" and "Ritter's a poopy-face!"

"...and sometimes I rejected his proposals, because, quite frankly, they were a little off the wall." Indeed. How about providing copies of these 'off the wall' proposals rather than making yourself look like an obvious Dubya-stooge out to make an ass out of the only man to have the cajones so far to publicly say Hey, maybe, just maybe, war isn't a good idea.

Really, peeps. Please READ the interview. It's absolute crap. The only items of substance within it are Butler's parrotings of things that Ritter has already said, with the exception that Butler claims Ritter has changed positions on things he said when he was still an inspector.

To date, in all of Ritter's interviews that I've read, he has not claimed that Iraq did not possess weapons at the time that he was still a member of UNSCOM; in fact, he was the primary reason that Iraq has admitted weapons inspectors in the past. And he still encourages them to do so today.

As far as that 'old Ritter' article goes, again, he has yet to deny any of that. However, what he says NOW is that they no longer have the capability or the production facilites necessary for the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. The complete validity of that statement may be arguable, but I have yet to see anything solid from the Bush administration to the contrary.

Here's another article to read. This, at least to me, does not present the demonized image of Ritter that elements of the media and governement are attempting to portray; rather, he comes off as a level-headed individual who would rather see war used as a last resort than as a means for a ratings boost. Make no mistake on that note either; Dubya's main motivation in all this is to have a legacy other than 2,800 dead citizens under his watch.

My main fear in all of this is that 'getting Saddam outta there' has become such an election issue that regardless of any compromise reached on weapons inspectors, Bush is going to attack anyway.

To be honest though, one of the funniest things in all this is how an American media that is normally portrayed as liberal has been rushing to get in line for a turn at Dubya's privates post-9/11.

Another article, just for shits and giggles: 10 questions the media can't answer.

Of special interest in that article are the figures on civilian casualties the US has inflicted in its' War on Terror. Why is it they hate us again?

This thing is getting overlong, so I'm killing it here... christ, political discussions are like crack. Sweet, sweet cocaine...[/url]
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Postby Foo-Byte » Fri Sep 13, 2002 12:31 pm

Too-Much-Coffee-Man wrote:Another article, just for shits and giggles: 10 questions the media can't answer.

This is a link to an Ad... you must have copied the wrong one.

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Postby Lobstrosity » Fri Sep 13, 2002 4:27 pm

My main problem with Ritter right now is that I don't feel he's reliable. I trusted his opinion because he was a weapons inspector in Iraq and if anyone should know Iraq's weapons capabilities, it would be he. Right after he resigned from his post as weapons inspector, he is quoted as saying Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and we needed to do something about it. Now he says they don't. The view I'm more likely to trust is the former in that Ritter hasn't been privy to any intelligence information since he retired (as far as I know). I don't see how he would have current sensitive knowledge of Iraq's weapons capabilities. His flip-flopping has made him untrustworthy as a source and I will feel that way until I can hear him explain why he has changed his position and where he got the information that made him do so. This doesn't mean I want war with Iraq now, it just means I have far less faith in Ritter.

Oh, and I can't stand anyone who claims general media bias. It pisses me off to no end when conservatives refer to the "liberal media" as some vast left-wing conspiracy meant to keep them down. Maybe more people in the news and showbiz are liberals, but as far as I'm concerned the good journalists do a wonderful job of reporting the news objectively. The media often reports stupid, un-newsworthy things (e.g. Monica Lewinski, Chandra Levy, etc) but that doesn't make them biased (well, in the case of Fox News it hints at it in that they actually seemed proud to be the only ones still be talking about Gary Condit seven months after Levy disappeared)--it makes them sensationalistic and shallow. Just because the news isn't reporting stories you like doesn't mean they're conspiring against your party. It's just my position, but your arguments drop a whole bunch in credibility when they partially rely on media conspiracies against you or your side.

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Postby Messina » Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:27 am

Too-Much-Coffee-Man:

How else is Butler supposed to reply to accusations about the inspectors being spies, besides denial? One can't prove that the inspectors weren't spies. 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.

As far as Ritter as flip-flop: he resigned because he felt that the UNSCOM mission was not being effective because of political machinations and whatever. He seemed very concerned that they had not verified that all the weapons and the capabilities had been destroyed. Now he says that (I paraphrase of course)"hey most of it was gone including all of the infrastructure". He resigned because of the 5-10%? Also, he was concerned then about the capabilities, but now says they were all destroyed (unless you want to claim that he misspoke on that point).

The obstruction of the weapons inspections has been extensively documented. For instance, you can go straight to the horse's mouth http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/s/990125/index.html. Specifically look at annex D. I haven't found the independent confirmation of the report that Butler refers to because I don't know the agency that wrote it. So Ritter has changed stories on that as well. So in some ways it is actual contradiction, but also it is that he is casually dismissing things he had previously been worried about enough to resign to "wake people up". I think this does affect his credibility.

You have no idea what Bush's main motivation is, no matter how many times you want to state what you THINK it is. You bring up an article written by Ritter for common dreams, and say it makes him seem level-headed. Bush gives a speech to the UN and makes various overtures to the internationalist crowd, couching everything in terms of UN resolutions and urging the UN to act, but that is just a scam right? If someone agrees with you, they come off as level-headed and as having "cajones". If they don't, they are evil and must be up to something involving poll numbers. Bravo.

And as far as "solid evidence to the contrary": Yes, if you don't look for evidence, you aren't going to find it. Bush is not going to break down your door and force you to watch a Power Point presentation. Did you read the above pdf file? I would like to know what about that is not "solid". If you want something that would fly in a court of law, good luck (except in some cases). There haven't been inspections for a few years, right? In addition to that, I don't think that pdf refers anywhere to Khidir Hamzah, who was a nuclear scientist in Iraq until 1994. What about his statements aren't "solid"? I guess since you don't like what he says, you will question his integrity. Fine. I think what you are actually demanding is evidence that will make you change your mind. Well, if you aren't willing to change your mind, such evidence doesn't exist, so you are right.

Thanks.

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Postby The Real Red Menace » Sat Sep 14, 2002 12:36 am

I'm joining the discussion late, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

I'm sorry if I repeat anything that's already been said, I've tried to read through the whole thread but 5 pages is a lot to digest.

First, the UN. Someone somewhere was saying something about it eventually being a United Earth Gov't, but I can't see that institution evolving in such a way without drastic reforms. The UN is more of a mob rule situation. It has no means authority to enforce any legislation it enacts, and must therefore rely on individual nations to cooperate. When one doesn't, it must then be determined if the transgression is serious enough to warrant action, and THEN there must be enough countries willing to work together to take that action.

When you have a country like the US, which has the economic and military power to flaunt the UN whenever it wishes (and that seems rather often these days) no one is going to stand in their way unless they see the US and being a direct threat to their interests. The EU is flat out not supporting the US' bid to attack Iraq, but would they stop us? They'd never dream of it.

That's the problem with the UN. The countries can do whatever they please. The UN is basically a forum for discussion between the countries. Nothing they do is in any way binding, on a pragmatic level.

On to Iraq. Say what you want about whether Iraq has weapons. There's just no way Iraq poses a thread to ANY territory held by the US. Their neighboring states are as far as that country can reach. There's no threat. Furthermore, in Desert Storm, Bush the Elder warned Saddam that if he used chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, there would be dire consequences, and Saddam backed down. He may be a vicious despot, but he's not as crazy as the US would like us to think. He knows if he tries something, he'll be fucked. And right now especially, he knows that any act of aggression could immediately turn the tide of support to favor US action.

Saddamn is hiding in a little hole. He poses no threat to anyway because he knows he's under the screws.

An invasion but the US at this time would be a violation of both UN law (unenforceable) and Christian law (also unenforceable but one that I think Americans probably still care about at least). Iraq has not engaged in any aggression and an attack based on tenuous reports of weapons development is simply wrong, it's as wrong as if we decided to invade Mexico.

Bush wants to work up his popularity (which wars almost always do) and do his friends in big oil a favor at the same time. That's why every other country save the UK opposes this effort. Futhermore, British citizens are very angry with Blair over his support of Bush. Expect him to be on his way out come the next election over there. We have no friends abroad, and we're going to make a lot of people angry with this kind of bullying. As has been pointed out, there are many authoritarian and draconian regimes in the world. It is not the place of the US to decide which should be brought to their knees. The UN is there for precisely that reason.

If we wanted to help Iraqi citizens, we'd lift trade sanctions and let those people get some food and necessities.
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Postby Too-Much-Coffee Mistress » Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:14 am

Messina wrote:Too-Much-Coffee-Man:

How else is Butler supposed to reply to accusations about the inspectors being spies, besides denial? One can't prove that the inspectors weren't spies. 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.


That wasn't the point. You can't use a 'he said, he said' interview as part of your basis for the invalidity of Ritter's statements. Whether or not you believe Ritter is besides the point, but an interview that is nothing more than contradictory answers and a political spin-job doesn't prove Ritter wrong.

As far as Ritter as flip-flop: he resigned because he felt that the UNSCOM mission was not being effective because of political machinations and whatever. He seemed very concerned that they had not verified that all the weapons and the capabilities had been destroyed. Now he says that (I paraphrase of course)"hey most of it was gone including all of the infrastructure". He resigned because of the 5-10%? Also, he was concerned then about the capabilities, but now says they were all destroyed (unless you want to claim that he misspoke on that point).


"Most of it IS gone," not WAS. Past/present tense is important here. Again, Ritter has maintained that Iraq both had the weapons and the capability during his time as an inspector. And I'm not 'claiming' anything either way. Ritter is just as human as anyone else. I actually went out of my way to say that his statements on this matter may not be entirely valid; you might have noticed that.

Ritter has also spoken on the obstruction of weapons inspectors back then. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Iraq joined the UN in 1945, yes? Perhaps Hussein doesn't feel beholden to the rules of an orginazation his country joined under different leadership. But as it stands, his country is still subject to UN rulings. From what I understand, however, there have been overtures from Iraq in terms of allowing weapons inspectors back in, but these announcements haven't seen much press. I've seen the bits and pieces of the announcements on television, but haven't been able to find them archived on the internet anywhere.



I'm not even going to go into reasons as to why I distrust el Presidente, as those could fill up a book all on their own. IMO, politicians in general are not to be trusted and a healthy dose of skepticism is always good, especially towards most anyone with DC listed as their work address.


Thank god Bush isn't breaking down my door. I have allergies. Anyway, I am willing to change my mind, if the administration manages to do anything along those lines. As it is, I'm not willing to accept what little has been tossed out. Pictures of uranium enrichment tubes and statements of "These were on their way to Iraq" don't cut it.

If, messina, you can find internet based copies of the reports that Iraqi defector Adnan Ihsan Saeed al-Haideri (mentioned in the pdf document) apparently brought over with him (or if I can find them before you), it would go some ways towards convincing me of the need for more action towards Saddam. Meanwhile, I'm going to work my way through the remainder of it.

Lob, I didn't mean to say that all media is biased, although I can see how you might have taken it that way. But it should be acknowledged that pre and post 9/11 mainstream media support for Bush are at radically different levels.

As a disclaimer, I would rather see more efforts to get the inspectors in there before we turn Iraq and its' general citizenry into a parking lot. This is the main point I'm trying to make.

As one final side note, did you know that the Bush administration repealed the ban on using nuclear weapons on non-nuclear countries? As soon as I find a working link, I'll post it.

As for the 10 questions the media can't answer, this should be the proper link this time around. :?

edit: took out a misplace url tag.
2nd edit: VERY stupid mistake as to the UN membership of Iraq. I really should stop posting immediately after work...
Last edited by Too-Much-Coffee Mistress on Sat Sep 14, 2002 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Messina » Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:54 am

The interview with Butler is useful in that people who worked with him do not agree with his statements. If they did agree with him, then one wouldn't have as much question on his credibility. I posted that interview to go along with the interview you posted about Ritter. Under your rubric, both are "spin-jobs". Fine. The invalidity of Ritter's statements come from facts, not from Butler. But Butler's opinions should be heard, and taken into account, just like Ritter's. If you post one side, we need to hear the other. Also, my point may have not been THE point, but it was a point nonetheless in regards to your disparagement of Butler's comments.

And yes, tense is important:
Based upon my experience as a weapons inspector from 1991 to 1998, while we had serious concerns about unaccounted aspects of Iraq's weapons program, we did ascertain a 90 [percent] to 95 percent level of disarmament that included all of the production equipment and means of production used by Iraq to produce these weapons.


That is in the past tense. Ritter doesn't claim to have any knowledge about current capabilities, as he is not an inspector anymore. I am saying that not only are his facts wrong, but that his credibility on the issue is shot. I am not saying that you support everything Ritter says and are prepared to defend it. Yes, I did notice your statements. But you did bring up the interview, and questioned my questioning (heh) of that interview. I am focused on Ritter's statements, the facts, and statements made by those privy to the situation. Butler himself could be lying about Ritter's flip-flopping, but I see the evidence in the matter backing Butler up.

You say that Ritter has spoken about obstruction back then, but in the interview you cite, he says:

RITTER: No, absolutely false. The inspectors were able to do their task of disarming Iraq without any obstruction by Iraq.


These are the contradictions I am talking about. And yes, I do understand the idea of sovereignity.

As far as those papers, good luck trying to find them on the internet. I am not sure those are the kinds of things the government would want out there. But Google may just be powerful enough to find them.

As far as distrust of politicians, I agree that it is a healthy attitude. But I think it can be taken too far, especially when assigning motives to your political opponents, and is not very useful in a debate about issues of policy.

Thanks for the link update. I will get to it and almost inevitably respond later. Thanks.

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Postby Too-Much-Coffee Mistress » Sat Sep 14, 2002 6:38 am

I don't have political opponents, as A, I'm not a politician, and B, I didn't really like Clinton much, either. I simply consider Bush to be a darker version of what we already had.

And yes, he does say that in the interview, but he also says this:

RITTER: That's absolutely correct. Look, I'm not here as a weapons inspector. The only people that can make that kind of finding of disarmament are weapons inspectors mandated by the [U.N.] Security Council. Right now, these inspectors are not at work here in Iraq.

And one of the things I made absolutely clear to the Iraqi representatives [Sunday] -- and I will continue to do so with any government officials I have the opportunity to meet with -- is that Iraq must allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors and grant them unfettered access to sites designated by the weapons inspectors for inspection.


Iraqi compliance, or non-compliance, with UN weapons destruction orders can be found at http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/s/990125/dis-miss.htm It reads like bicycle assembly instructions, so beware.

Unfortunately, and what seems to be a mistake on Iraq's part, is their claims of unilateral destruction of much of these weapon supplies, which does not comply with the rules of the UN charter. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean they weren't destroyed, just that it wasn't properly verified. Take that as you will.

Another quote from the introduction to the report.

"As has been reported to the Council, over the years, and as has been widely recognized, notwithstanding the very considerable obstacles placed by Iraq in the way of the Commission's work, a great deal has been achieved in: verifying Iraq's frequently revised declarations; accounting for its proscribed weapons capabilities; and in destroying, removing or rendering harmless substantial portions of that capability. "

While I have yet to dig through the entire report, this seems to key with Ritter's 90% figure.

Gawd; I think that's enough heroin/politics for one night.
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Postby The Real Red Menace » Sat Sep 14, 2002 6:50 am

Another perspective, from a columnist at The Progressive
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Postby Too-Much-Coffee Mistress » Sat Sep 14, 2002 7:16 am

I'm just dissapointed that I didn't think to refer to Blair as 'our viceroy' first... :twisted:

Good article, menace.
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Postby The Real Red Menace » Sat Sep 14, 2002 7:19 am

Thanks, the Progressive is a great mag. The Nation is too. After that I start suggesting publications that are described by the main stream as 'lefty', 'tree hugger', 'commie', 'hippie', but actually my biggest preference is to get a non-US news source. Britan is nice and if I could find something from Canada, but I have to look at Indy Media if I want some of the harder to find news. Of course I have to take that mag with a grain of salt, because I think they're a little wacky, myself. Not propagandists, but just very biased, which makes for poor journalism.

NOTE: I do not read ad busters. Shut up K, THX.
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Postby Lobstrosity » Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:00 pm

The Real Red Menace wrote:Another perspective, from a columnist at The Progressive


I think this article states my views on this matter more eloquently and succinctly than I ever could. One could argue that war would be the simplest way to eliminate the Iraqi threat, but the simplest way is not always the right way. The simplest way for me to get rich would be through some embezzlement scheme (or perhaps I could rob a bank). I have read the president's arguments and they just do not hold water, in my opinion. War is just not called for in this situation.

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Postby Messina » Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:36 pm

Hey guys. Well that stinks. I had a long response written out in openoffice. And I went to spell check for typos, and it froze. It doesn't do autosave I guess. Shame on me. Anyway, here is a hopefully shorter, clearer version of what I just wrote:

Hmmmm, Lobstro. I think the arguments here have been better than the ones given in the article/speech. I haven't heard much about this magazine, but I will add it to my leftist list (which includes The Nation, Mother Jones, and Common Dreams, do you have any other recommendations?). Now, on to the speech.

This invasion would be unconstitutional.

He is right in that Congress has yielded responsibility to the President. This is their right. You may not agree that this is a good thing, but it is Constitutional. As far as the open-endedness of the Gulf War resolution, that is for Congress to decide. If they feel that Bush is overstepping his authority, they can pass a resolution clarifying their position. As far as the recent resolution, I agree that Bush has not made the case, as he has with weapons, connecting Iraq to terrorist attacks, whether WTC or elsewhere. Keep in mind that this invasion hasn't happened yet, and Bush will most likely consult Congress on the issue, whatever his lawyers say to the contrary (they are lawyers, they enjoy talking about technicalities like this).

It would be against international law.

International law is not immutable. Bush's doctrine of preemption is new, I agree. But keep in mind again that this invasion hasn't happened yet. The UN Security Council also has yet to take a vote on the issue.

It would violate the Christian doctrine of "just war."

I was surprised to see Christian doctrine used in a positive way in a leftist magazine, however unfair that may be. And of COURSE the Archbishop of Cantebury is against it, I would expect as much given what I have read about him. I haven't seen much on this doctrine. I would expect that there would be cases in which preemption would still be just, but I will defer to his judgment on this.
It would further damage U.S. relations with its allies, relations that are already frayed by Bush's mindless unilateralism.

Again, this invasion hasn't happened yet. We are gaining allies all the time. And not just Britain (Viceroy? Did it ever occur to you that Blair might actually believe that something needs to be done?) . The Dutch have voiced their support through legislation. The French are coming around, as the Canadians seem to be. It looks like Italy may support us. They may not end up supporting us, and then he would be right, but using this as an argument seems odd given present circumstances. Yes, Germany has explicitly said no, and I think it is the only European nation to do so. If our relations are so frayed, why isn't everyone against us explicitly? Even Egypt is voicing some support (and Kuwait, maybe Qatar).
It would wreak havoc in the Muslim world, where there's plenty of havoc already.

This is the same argument that was voiced before the first Gulf War. It was wrong then. I don't see why it would be different now. The havoc in the Middle East is caused by the people in power there, not current US “imperialism”. It is true that we helped bring some of these factions to power for various reasons, but mistakes in the past do not mean we should make more today, and I think leaving Hussein alone would be such a mistake.
It could shake the U.S. economy, which is trembling right now.

This is discussing the US's interests. I find this amazing. In deciding what is the right thing to do, we are supposed to decide if it will hurt our economy? If we attacked Iraq just to prop up our economy (i.e. Not doing anything would hurt our economy) that would be bad. I find this a argument very distressing. I also find it surprising that Bush, who is looking to elections, would do something that would ruin the economy. It kind of undermines that outlook. But I guess you could say that he is stupid and doesn't know any better. Sigh. Stop misunderestimating him.
And most importantly, it could result in the deaths of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of innocent people.

This is true. It could. We need to keep this in mind. I think tens of thousands is excessive, but yes, we do need to make sure that we being careful (as far as it goes in war) not to kill thousands of innocents while we are pursuing our objectives. Keep in mind that the reason Hussein hasn't been killing thousands of innocent people lately is because we have been operating a no-fly zone since the last war. It isn't because he has miraculously changed his ways. I am curious, does anyone here think that we should stop the no-fly zone over Iraq?
Worst case: It could end with the United States dropping a nuclear bomb on Baghdad

It COULD end in a lot of ways. That doesn't mean it will. I could say that Hussein COULD get a nuclear bomb and obliterate New York, so this argument goes both ways.

So, my main problem with the speech is that it is making predictions about the future that have no basis in present realities (I guess I could have just said that....). Hmmmm, it is still long. Sorry guys.

One person is a crank.

Shoot.

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The Real Red Menace
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Postby The Real Red Menace » Sat Sep 14, 2002 9:05 pm

Messina:

Ultimately my position on the matter is that no body of law we view in a positive light justifies an invasion of Iraq. When Iraq invaded its neighbor, the story was different, regardless of what reasons you ascribe for our intervention.

There has been no such invasion. There is tenuous evidence that Baghdad is pursuiing new developments in weapons. Thus anything going on in Baghdad has been taking place since before Bush came to power. Nothing new has happened, and if it did not previously warrant invasion, I do not see how it does now.

If we are speaking purely from a doctrine of self interest, which I do in the interest of playing devil's advocate, Saddam's weapons could never reach a US holding, and he would have to be downright stupid to use them on a neighbor given the political consequences of such an act. He has previously shown that he is not stupid, as shown by his heeding of Bush Sr's threat during Desert Storm of grave consequences for use of weapons of mass destruction.

One may choose to believe that we're all good friends with our Western allies. However, you can be certain that these allies do not forget every single time we do something to anger them, even if they acquiesce after a time. Alliances are forged on the basis of a common interest. For most of the 20th century, we have had a common enemy, first the Germans and Austrians, then the Germans themselves, and then Soviet Russia. Furthermore, Europe has depended on the U.S. ever since World War II to aid in rebuilding its devastated infrastructure. Now we are finding a united Europe which is easily seen becoming a competitor with the U.S. economically, with no common enemies, and in fact the U.S. is often dragging its allies into conflicts they would sooner remain apart from.

Whether or not we ultimately receive backing from our allies, one cannot say that we are not paying a price in good wille for it.

As has been pointed out, civilian deaths will mount into at least the thousands. This is often ignored, written off as collateral damage, but these are real lives that we are taking. These are innocent people who have for the last decade suffered in no small part due to sanctions we have mounted against their country, and now we propose to ignore the deaths we cause in pursuit of a goal which has no benefit worldwide than to flush a proverbial rat from its hole.

Finally, the popular consensus is that the people of the U.S. do not want a war. With that in mind, and given that this government is ultimately charged with representing those people and defending their interests, how can Bush in any way be justified in continuing to pursue this avenue of aggression? It has been said that Bush needs to make his case before the people. He has done so. We have heard him, and still we say 'no'. We do not want a war, even a one sided one were our casualties will be minimal.

The U.S. is not a global police force. The body which comes closest to this is the U.N. However, you and I both know that the U.S. has never had reservations about ignoring the U.N. and doing what it wants, even when it has signed treaties indicating otherwise. If and when the U.N. decides that intervention is required, then I will grudgingly accept that we are going to war, despite the weight that the U.S. manages to throw about that institution despite at the same time flaunting it.

Until then, I can only say no. Our safety will not in any way be enhanced by this change. It will serve to cause turmoil in a region in which we have continually interfered, leaving a vacuum of power and no clear government to take the place of Saddam. The suffering of Iraqis will only increase from this change. How can you lay the blame solely on these people, with implications of their inferiority, when our country has ceaselessly meddled in the affairs of the region to secure cheap access to their oil reserves? We have had a most marked impact on the region, and before us, the U.K., with the aim of maintaining our hegemony and exploitomg the resources of the region.

You might argue that such a postulate is absurd, and this goes beyond what any just government might do. And yet certainly if you know our history you know that on many occasions we have supported autocratic regimes, when the people of those respective countries themselves desired and fought for 'regime change'. In that context however, the people were outlaws, 'guerrillas', agents of terror, because they were fighting a government that the United States supported, despite the fact that many of these dictators were also butchers. These regimes have killed thousands, hundreds of thousands, around the world, in South America, Africa, and Asia, and we have supported these undemocratic regimes and continue to do so.

We have no business interfering in Iraq. Our aims are not at all philanthropic, and the cost is being paid in human lives, and is being paid every day already as a result of sanctions our country demands be maintained. I honestly cannot understand why any moral person would wish to exacerbate that suffering by endorsing a campaign of war against that state.
"Behold I am the Dragon, before me you rightly tremble!"


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