Posted by apperception (220.127.116.11) on March 18, 2003 at 13:31:57:
In Reply to: At least, not to some... posted by Ev (18.104.22.168) on March 14, 2003 at 15:56:49:
> You said: “If the resolution was passed by the UN, then it's for the UN to decide what methods should be used to enforce it. Not just the United States.”
> This is true up to a point. But here’s something you may have overlooked. The UN charter allows member nations the right to self -defense by any and all means. At least 2 of the permanent Security Council members have declared that the enforcement of this Resolution IS necessary to assure their nation’s safety. Should the UN deny them this right? Maybe you’d suggest that the UN be the final arbiter of whether or not a member nation’s security is in jeopardy. How well do you think that’d work?
Who is defending himself from Iraq? Iraq has not attacked anyone since 1990, nor has it threatened to attack anyone in that time. Your point does not have relevance here.
The only one planning to attack someone else is the United States.
> And while we’re on the subject of the UN deciding what methods are appropriate, I’d ask you to define precisely—since precision is what you demand of the US and its allies—what the UN roadmap for disarming Iraq looks like? Now there’s a plan I’ve failed to see! And appercepton, I, too, have read a lot. :)
You may have read a lot, but evidentally it has not included an in-depth examination of the successes of inspections over the years.
Inspections work, but war does not. The clearest proof of this is that Unscom was capable of disarming Iraq from 90-95%. This from the mouth of its own head inspector. On the other hand, war has so far been incapable destroying whatever WMD capacity Iraq has.
Sorry. I'm more likely to believe the inspectors, who are experts in the field, rather than the United States who has been proven to lie repeatedly regarding Iraq's military capabilities. In support of this I cite the supposed "satelite photos" of Iraqi troops amassed on the border of Saudi Arabia in 1991. I cite the testimony of the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador before Congress that year. I cite, more currently, the evidence which Powell gave to the UN SC last month which has now been proven to be a mere fabrication.
> You said: “Eh, I'm not a pacifist. I just don't think any of this is a big enough deal to overthrow a country. There's no proof that they have anything beyond the barest shell of a WMD program. It's not a big enough threat to sacrifice American or Iraqi lives, let alone do damage to the UN.”
> The last time I checked it was the duty of the President and the Congress to safeguard the security of the United States. I fail to find any mention of whether or not you “think any of this is a big enough deal to overthrow a country”. And don’t you think it’s possible—just possible--they may be privy to information you know nothing of?
I think the US has had fair chance to make some kind of case -- any kind of case -- that Saddam poses some threat to the US, and they have failed on every account.
To put it quite simply, this war does not serve the interests of the United States or its citizens. It's being done on behalf of a small clique of the religious right. It's entirely fringe.
> Apperception, there’s actually quite a bit of proof that the Iraqis possess much more than, “the barest shell of a WMD program”. If the former UN inspections team—UNSCOM—is to be believed, the Iraqis should have large amounts of both chemical and biological agents at their disposal. And if
You're bluffing now. I've read the accounts of the inspections, and I know that what you're saying is not true. Even the shortest glance at a mainstream newspaper over the past few months would demonstrate that the inspectors have found no proof that Iraq has anything like a WMD capability that poses any kind of serious threat.
> the last UN inspections team isn’t to be believed, then why are we subjecting ourselves to another farce? I guess the only way you’ll be satisfied that this ‘is’ the case is by seeing advancing troops hit with these WMD as they go in. And even then, curiously enough, there will still be a great many who’ll not admit it happened. Conspiracy theories will be popping up faster than baby rabbits. Just wait and see!
I think that if Saddam has WMD, the surest way to get him to use them against people is by attacking them. That's just another reason this war is idiotic.
Re: conspiracies, you're quick to believe that a group of people is meeting behind closed doors to do good things like protect the American people and bring democracy to the people of Iraq -- in effect a conspiracy to do good -- but it is beyond your ability to imagine they're meeting together to do harm? Hehehe.
> You said: “So what? And the United States doesn't have interests? Heh. Welcome to politics. :) There are no "disinterested" or "altruistic" actors here. It's a question of power.
> If it's so important to liberate the Iraqi people, why not also liberate the Saudi people? Their regime is just as repressive, but they're an ally.”
> Well, duh! Of course the US has interests in the region. But the US interests go much, much deeper than just oil contracts. Strangely enough, I seem to recall a great many placards hoisted high in the midst of ‘peace rallies’ stating that this was a US, ‘war for oil’. Do you recall any of those placards pointing out the French, German, or Russian interest in the very same thing? I also don’t recall any mention of the illicit weapons the French, Germans, Russians, and yes campers, the Chinese have been supplying in contradiction of UN mandate. What’s ‘that’ all about? Do you think those marchers were just ignorant of the facts or do you think they just don’t care? Btw, William Safire of the New York Times wrote an interesting article titled, “The Iraqi Missiles and the French Connection”, I think you might find interesting. Hmmm, now why would they need this advanced rocket fuel if they possess no advanced rockets?
The US interests in the region certainly go beyond oil, although oil is a very large force driving its actions there. Other interests include water. Iraq has two major fresh water rivers running through it, and any political divisions created in Iraq after a US invasion will have to take into account the presence of this valuable resource.
It is also important for the United States to have a larger political foot-hold in the region and to lend added support to Israel.
Finally I think those in power are interested in using Iraq to set an example for recalcitrant regimes.
None of these interests, in the final analysis, have to do with national security or with establishing democracy in the region. Therefore I do not believe that this war is either just or in the interests of the American people.
Re: french rockets, let us keep in mind that the WMD program the United States is supposedly so eager to get rid of was created, in large part, by American corporations with the permission of the upper echelon of the United States goverment. :)
> Also, to answer your second point:
> The American position from the outset has been that Iraq ‘will’ divest itself of WMD. In the beginning, had Saddam lived up to his obligations under the cease-fire agreement, regime change would not have been necessary. I’d even go so far as to say that support for removal of a regime that honored its obligation to disarm would have been non-existent. But that’s not the case. We’ve since come to understand, with more than ample proof, that Saddam would only reconstitute his WMD program the moment hostilities ceased. Right now, depending on how you ask the question, a very large percentage of the American public are of the opinion that Saddam must go. So, regime change will be the necessary by-product of a disarmed Iraq. Also, the liberation of the Iraqi people will be a by-product of a disarmed Iraq. And as to the matter of Saudi Arabia, I don’t remember the US stating, or the UN resolving, their intention to disarm Saudi Arabia. Did I miss something?
Ummm, the lack of intention of disarming Saudi Arabia, a country whose goverment is practically at war with its population, a country which is, objectively, the source of the TERRORISTS who attacked the US a few years ago -- Oh, I'm sorry, the WAR ON TERROR is soooo 2002. This year all the cool kids are worried about SADDAM! -- is exactly the little itsy bitsy contradiction I was trying to bring up. :)
> You said: “But the problem is that it IS going to involve a prolonged occupation, and there's no sign that the US has any definite plan of what they're going to replace Saddam with. I mean ... how do you propose they do it? What can they replace Saddam with such that there won't be a prolonged occupation? I haven't heard any answer to this.”
> OK, lets accept the hypothetical that we have a long occupation to deal with. We’ve had troops stationed in faraway places for almost 60 years. What say we move some of them from their present bases and reposition them in Iraq? How would that work for ya? Foreign nations, and believe me when I say there will be plenty and that the UN will ‘not’ want to be excluded, can pitch in manpower and assets as they see fit. At that point even the French will be amongst the forefront of those groveling for scraps. Hey, it’ll be almost like having them as an ally once again!
> Apperception, there has been much discussion of what a ‘liberated Iraq’ will look like. It’ll probably be necessary to establish some transitional military oversight comparable to what happened in Japan. This will eventually give way to some form of representative government, not necessarily one resembling the US or British system, that is made up of all the various factions represented in the population. The exact specifics are impossible to know ahead of time but I’d imagine that something along these lines is what you’ll see. All things must not be knowable prior to proceeding. Btw, do you reckon your parents knew what your college entrance exam scores would be before they decided to have a child? Should not knowing have caused them to remain childless? Well?
Gee wizz, thanks for taking the fate of the Iraqis so seriously that you compare the complete upheaval of their government to your parents trying to get into college!
Not only is there no clear plan about what to replace Iraq with -- representational democracy? what? and let the shia majority get in power? like the US is about to let THAT happen! -- there is no clear indication that whatever they decide to do there isn't going to be a complete failure.
Here's a basic moral argument for you. I'm not about to stand by idly while the United States gambles with the lives of the Iraqi people and with the lives of American soldiers when the outcome is so uncertain.
Now here's a little history lesson for you. When MacArthur reconstructed the goverment of Japan after WWII, he did so through the existing structures and the existing regime, ruling through the Emperor (who surrendered unconditionally) by proxy. The United States, on the contrary, proposes to get rid of the entire Baathist regime and to get rid of Saddam, and they have proposed no clear idea of how the new regime is supposed to replace the old one, how it's supposed to take current tribal structures into account, how it's supposed to take the KURDS into account.
But what do I know? I'm just a stupid peacenik, right? Why don't you tell me how the United States is going to install a representative democracy in Iraq via a military invasion of the country? You don't have to tell me all the specifics, but I'd like to hear in some sense how this is going to happen. I'd like to know what kind of ideology this new regime is supposed to have in a country that has been ruled for the past 30 years by the Iraqi equivalent of the Mafia.
These are people's lives we're talking about here. Half a million dead and two million refugees. Hundreds of thousands homeless. We're talking about invading a sprawling metropolis the size of LA, where an attack against the Iraqi military is indistinguishable from an attack on its people.
Someone has to take responsibility for those lives. And what are they dying for? So the United States can play an experiment with a country's goverment? So we can have an 'imperialist adventure'? So we can have a pro-American regime in Baghdad?
Anyone who mongers for war without an awareness of the horrors and consequences of war, without seriously addressing the COSTS of this war, is, in my opinion, reckless and without concern for the serious suffering the US plans to inflict on the Iraqi people for aims which are both uncertain and not guaranteed.
> You said: “Well of COURSE the inspectors are there because of the threat of force. Do you think any country -- hey, let's take the US for example! -- would open their doors to an inspection of their topic secret weapons program? "Oh, c'mon right in guys. Let me show you our national security secrets. Don't miss the 2 o'clock bus out to Area 51 now."
> That's not even the point. The point is that the inspectors are there now, and the inspections by most estimates seem to work.”
> You still haven’t addressed my concerns about leaving US and allied troops in harm’s way for an indefinite period of time. How long should we be willing to leave them subject to a WMD attack? How about your countrymen? Are they over there now? If so, how long should we be willing to leave them to satisfy the Cameroon’s dislike of military action or the Chilean's penchant for inaction? Well, how about giving me a hard date? That’d be more than the opposing UN members have deigned to do!
There's no threat now that wasn't there before.
> Also, there has been at least one country that has done exactly what you say no country would do. Check out the South African disarmament for an example of how it can be done if a nation so desires.
Yeah, and the South African goverment has called the United States and "expansionist and hostile regime."
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