"Something is Changing"

"The whole Mideast is changing," observed the anchorman for France 2's evening news Monday night. That's such a commonplace observation at this point that it wasn't a story; the assertion was a mere transition from one remarkable Mideast story to another.

Of course, the major Mideast story this week was the massive demonstration in Beirut by hundreds of thousands of Lebanese demanding that Syria's puppet government resign, and that Damascus withdraw its troops and intelligence operatives. Walid Jumblatt, the man at the center of this Lebanese intifada, has some ideas about Mideast change, too.

"[T]his process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," Jumblatt tells the WaPo's David Ignatius. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Writes Ignatius, "Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. 'The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it.'"

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    We'll see.

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    Jumblatt -- didn't the Syrians kill his dad?

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    True change will come when our "friendly" countries -- like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- abandon their dictatorships and adopt democracy. I don't see that happening in the next four years.

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    Nice job Gary. Way to take good news with a big ol' cynical swig of bitterness.

    When will you "see"? How many years down the line will you finally admit that some good is coming of it all?

    Do I like the money spent? Hell no. Do I discount reports like this, that are, as Freund copied, "commonplace"? Hell no.

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    Of course, the situation would be even better if Kerry were president.

  • Warren||

    Let's see...
    The Mid East is currently occupied by the dominant world power, who is steadily loosing blood and treasure to the local resistance. The locals are committed to their cause even unto death and every victory over them by the occupiers only strengthens their resolve and increases their numbers. They will continue to fight until the occupying forces withdraw, at which point they will begin killing each other.

    Oh yeah, much different.

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    Jesse, I really do think things are a-changing in the Middle East (more likely than not for good), but I think Gary's dose of skepticism is warranted here. Jumblatt is an opportunist and a politician, and I could see him lavishing on the rhetoric in order to align international opinion around his cause (and maybe his future premiership).

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    The Middle East may or may not be transformed positively by the Iraq war. Of course, Pakistan (btw: not Arab and not really in the "Middle East") and Saudi Arabia will resist change, perhaps more than any countries. But the skeptics have yet to tell us what we should do about them. Would declaring the country that has a significant leverage over the world's economy with its petroleum and contains the holiest sites of Islam, and the nuke-armed crypto-Islamist state to the east, enemies, would that help the United States' cause? You play the hand you are dealt, with imperfect choices. Libertarians should know that, less we all fall down the trapdoor into reductionism.

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    Clarification: Meant to say Jumblatt's choice for future prime minister...as a Druze, by custom, he wouldn't be eligible for the slot.

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    Imagine how much faster all of this would have happened if we would not invaded Iraq and instead put all of our efforts into finding Bin Laden in the remote mountains of Waziristan. I'm guessing at least 14 months earlier, maybe even more!

  • clarityiniowa||

    I find myself in unusual agreement with Gary G., also. I am happy that some positive commentary about Iraq is heard in Europe, and I am hopeful that ultimately a rose will grow out of this quagmire, but it is far too soon to say all will be well.

    I prefer never to set myself up for disappointment.

    BTW:The Mid East is currently occupied by the dominant world power, who is steadily loosing blood and treasure to the local resistance

    I am sure the writer meant "losing," rather than "loosing." I am seeing this popular misspelling and misusage a lot these days, even in major publications. I am starting a Crusade...

  • gaius marius||

    because walid jumblatt said it, it represents reality?

    realistically, jumblatt is a far more antisyrian voice than hariri was, and he knows he's playing to the washington crowd when he talks to wapo. he wants syria out of lebanon -- and if american armies of ideology can do that, then jumblatt will encourage them. that does not mean there is a new day dawning on the mideast; it only means that many americans want to believe that, and jumblatt knows it.

  • gaius marius||

    You play the hand you are dealt, with imperfect choices.

    do you think that was the logic behind creating a war with iraq, mr planethoth? or was it the manifestation of an ideology that creates its own hand, ex nihilo?

    The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

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    The Mid East is currently occupied by the dominant world power,

    Beats the former management.

    who is steadily loosing blood and treasure to the local resistance.

    But not as fast as the "local" resistance is losing blood and treasure to us.

    The locals are committed to their cause even unto death and every victory over them by the occupiers only strengthens their resolve and increases their numbers.

    Leave aside the significant fraction of the resistance that is not local at all, but is imported from neighboring tyrannies for the purpose of inflicting suffering and misery on the Iraqis. That leaves the Baathist bitter-enders, who I suppose are local in one region, and in fact have very little presence outside of that region. Calling Baathists "locals" is inaccurate in most of Iraq.

    As for whether they are expanding their base of support, you hear conflicting things. One thing they have shown no capacity for doing is winning any strategic victories, so I would say at this point that they are losing.

    They will continue to fight until the occupying forces withdraw, at which point they will begin killing each other.

    That's one scenario. Extrapolating current conditions and trends, though, does not lead you to that conclusion. The Baathists are not expanding their base of support, the Iraqi government continues on the road to legitimacy, and Iraqi security forces continue to build.

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    Interesting quote, GM. Apparently, Manifest Destiny did not end at the Pacific Ocean.

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    The Mideast changed when the Shah was deposed, and Islamic political movements became all the rage. If it would change back from that, it would great (just as it would be great if the influence of the Christers in our country could be returned back to 1970s levels). As many have said, we'll see....

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    gm, that is a fascinating quote, and a good article. But whenever I read it I wonder whether that was just some idiot aide shooting off his mouth, or it really is an accurate description of how things are up there. The fact is, we'll never know the answer to that question, no matter what our gut tells us about how good or bad a characterization of the president and his actions it is.

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    The reaction to the assassination in Lebanon appears to be a reaction to an assassination in Lebanon.

    It is happening against the backdrop of the U.S. occupation of Iraq nearby, and I certainly wouldn't argue that our occupation of Iraq couldn't possibly have pricked a comparison of occupiers in the minds of the Lebanese. When American occupies your nation, unlike the Syrians, some might think, at they don't do this sort of thing--I mean...in broad daylight..um...well...you know what I mean.

    Of course, the Lebanese desire to be free from Syrian occupation predates the invasion of Iraq--indeed--it predates 9/11 by a long shot. It may be entirely true, for all I know, that the American occupation of Iraq gave Lebanese liberals some impetus--a nudge if you will--that has helped their cause, but the forces that make the people of Lebanon want their country back were already gathering.

    ...Anyway, whether or not giving a nudge to the liberal movements in occupied Lebanon is sufficient justification for bombing Iraq, occupying it, killing thousands of civilians and sacrificing the lives of American troops is another question entirely.

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    Hello? Has anyone loked at a map lately? Lebanon looks ridiculous all surrounded by Syria like that. It would be much nicer if they would just be one country.

    Next, we deal with South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Now there's an arrangement of borders that truly makes me sick. Invade!

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    Jesse (Not Walker),

    Give me a reason not to be somewhat skeptical.

    __________________________________________

    BTW, what is changing in Egypt?

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    "BTW, what is changing in Egypt?"

    I don't know Gary, but whatever it is, it's because we bombed and occupied Iraq.

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    Ken Shultz,

    It seems to me that bombing and invading Afghanistan would have been enough of a demonstration project, if that indeed were the true rationale for the war against Iraq.

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    Gary Gunnels,

    Afghanistan would not have been a good enough demonstration project. First, Afghans are not Arabs and Afghanistan is not and has never been a player in middle-east power politics. Second, the Afghans were occupied and ruled not from within but by an alien group (the Taliban) composed primarily of fanatical Arabs. Invading Afghanistan while necessary was not going to change the middle-east. The fact remains that things do look to have changed for the better in a lot of places since the US invastion of Iraq. Does correlation automatically equal causaility? No. Does some positive developments gaurentee long term change? No. But, things like this are still a lot better than what has gone on before now.

    I also find it interesting how so many people on here support the invasion of Afganistan and reject the invasion of Iraq. A fair enough position except that I would really like to see what all of these people were saying in October 2001 when it wasn't so clear that Afghanistan was going to be a success. My guess would be that more than a fair number of them were saying the very same things they are saying now about Iraq (the Taliban is not so bad, who is the United States to invade and occupy a country, we are going to loose just like the Russians and the British did yada yada yada...). I don't know that you are in this group and I don't accuse you of being so. But a repost of Reason comments on Afganistan circe late 2001 would prove to be entertaining indeed.

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    I agree Gary.

    So much of the Muslim world hates us because of our foreign policy--that's why they all want to emulate our experiments in foreign policy.

    ...The mechanism by which Neoconservative Reverse Domino Theory works continues to elude me. When I hear someone describe the cause and effect relationship, it often sounds like what happens when someone pulls their uncle's finger.

  • clarityiniowa||

    John,

    My recall of the Afghan invasion was as a direct response to 9/11/01, and was primarily motivated by a desire to apprehend those responsible, whom we had strong reason to believe were headquartered in Afghanistan under the protection and sufferance of the Taliban. This all proved to be true.

    In a way, it is the mirror-opposite of Iraq, in that our motives and objectives were clear and universally agreed upon, but we largely failed our quest for bin Laden and Company even though the invasion, pacification, regime change and subsequent rebuild were largely successful and continue to proceed apace.

    In Iraq, the original motivation and objectives were faulty, yet we captured the primary actor, Saddam and most of his gang, yet the outcome is still far from clear and positive.

    There is still a large case to be made that our adventure in Iraq is a distraction from or even an exacerbation of, not an appropriate episode in, any supposed fight against global terrorism.

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    John,

    First, Afghans are not Arabs and Afghanistan is not and has never been a player in middle-east power politics.

    Well, while the former is true, the latter is not. Afghanistan has been at the center of middle-eastern politics since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

    Second, the Afghans were occupied and ruled not from within but by an alien group (the Taliban) composed primarily of fanatical Arabs.

    Actually, the Taliban were in large part home grown; they were ethnic Pashtuns from Afghanistan. Now, one of the groups they offered aid and comfort too - Al Qaeda - were Arabs. But the Taliban as a rule weren't foreign to Afghanistan.

    Any more factual errors you want to throw at me? :)

    Invading Afghanistan while necessary was not going to change the middle-east.

    Maybe or maybe not. Excuse my incredulity, but given your performance so far I am not inclined to just take you at your word.

    The fact remains that things do look to have changed for the better in a lot of places since the US invastion of Iraq.

    Can you name these places? If you say amongst the Palestinians, well, I'd say that is more a function of Arafat's death and the vicious war being fought over the past few years than anything.

    A fair enough position except that I would really like to see what all of these people were saying in October 2001 when it wasn't so clear that Afghanistan was going to be a success.

    I supported an attack on Afghanistan, but I was skepitical of a full-blown ground campaign in the weeks before the start of the attack. But then again, the U.S. never really fought a major ground campaign there, they let surrogates largely do the fighting, which was what I was hoping they would do.

    ...the Taliban is not so bad...

    I doubt anyone thought that. Shit, I knew they were vile when they tore down those Buddhist statues. But I note that this is a good way for you viciously smear people though without a shred of evidence to demonstrate your cause.

    BTW, in light of your attempted analogy, one wonders, who here has written that Saddam's regime wasn't that bad? I've clearly NEVER stated that.

    But a repost of Reason comments on Afganistan circe late 2001 would prove to be entertaining indeed.

    Hit n' Run didn't exist in 2001 as far as I know.

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    Mr. Gaius Marius, there are multiple, overlapping and also contradictory reasons and interests behind the Iraq war. Not doing ANYTHING at all is a choice, I suppose, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily, ipso facto, the best one. In this case, Bush did not have to "create" Saddam Hussein, he was there already, and refused to comply with the terms of the ceasefire reached after Gulf War I---a war which never ended until GWB decided, much belatedly, to finish it. France, Russia and a whole host of other nations helped ensure that Saddam's "containment" was wholly ineffective and only resulted in the strengthening of his tyranny in his own country while Iraqis got worse.

    Choices were abound--including doing nothing at all, which seemed to be the only one most anti-war people were proposing. Given the poor prospect of continuing the sanctions regime, which was a complete joke; the restriction of the oil supply which favoured "ally" Saudi Arabia and other unsavory accidental playboys; the unknown nature of Saddam's arsenal; and I could go on... is this a reality that GWB created??

    Nonetheless, to return to the point, the United States makes choices about Saudi and Pakistan. Just like choices about Iraq, these choices are one of a number of possiblilities, all imperfect. If people who oppose these policies have a better solution, it is welcome to hear them, and I would probably agree with some of them.

  • gaius marius||

    The fact is, we'll never know the answer to that question, no matter what our gut tells us about how good or bad a characterization of the president and his actions it is.

    i would say, mr c, when one is still getting ultraideological issuance from the white house on big stages (like the inaugural, maybe the most frightening speech ever given by a sitting president), the question isn't whether or not the leadership is in contempt of reality. they are. the question is to what extent they will find themselves able to act on that contempt.

    i would submit that they have vast latitude in this day and age in american politics when congress is unwilling, i suspect, to risk a confrontation with the presidency which, 72 years on from fdr, is so dominant and has usurped so much unilateral authority.

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    "I also find it interesting how so many people on here support the invasion of Afganistan and reject the invasion of Iraq.

    In addition to apprehending those responsible for 9/11, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan because we needed to deprive those who attacked us of the means by which to launch another attack. Defending the United States--that's why we have a military.

    Iraq was ostensibly a self-defense war as well. For instance, up until the 9/11 Commission report, a majority of Americans believed that Iraq was complacent in 9/11. The anthrax scare seems all but forgotten, but just after 9/11, word around the campfire had it that Iraq was probably involved in that too. The Bush Administration went so far as to present bogus evidence to the UN showing that Iraq had WMD.

    It is a great mystery to me why so many of the people who supported the invasion of Iraq on the basis of self-defense haven't turned their backs on the Bush Administration now that it's clear that the Iraq War wasn't really a war of self defense. Neither Nixon nor Clinton could have even dreamed of pulling such a fast one!

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    "We'll see..."?

    NO. We SAW.

    We saw Arabs voting, and choosing a government that will decide their future, and the world will never be the same again. You would have to be a racist to believe Arabs throuout the region wouldn't care.

  • gaius marius||

    wholly ineffective

    except that it seems self-evident that they were entirely effective, mr planethoth. there were no wmd. there was no nuclear program. there was little army to speak of, and certainly nothing capable of transgressing iraq's borders in a meaningful way. the kurds were living essentially autonomously. even where we suspected some things of being so, we had no evidence whatsoever. all this was the reason that such extensive fabrication and propaganda became necessary to justify the war. (which, i'm sure we agree, was obviously highly fabricated.)

    so i'm afraid that i'm hard pressed to recommend evidence for the statement

    sanctions regime, which was a complete joke

    perhaps you mean oil-for-food, which its true embezzled some billions to the ba'athists. but none of that threatened the united states in any way. i submit that we did not fight the war because we dislike rich and corrupt government officials. (indeed, we breed them at home. :) the pentagon "loses" a few billion every working day.)

  • clarityiniowa||

    g.m. and K.S - Amen, and amen.

  • gaius marius||

    choosing a government that will decide their future, and the world will never be the same again. You would have to be a racist to believe Arabs throuout the region wouldn't care.

    lmao! such myopic idealism makes my cheeks redden for you, mr andrew.

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    I really, really, really, really, really hope I'm wrong about the Democratic Domino Theory (hah! DDT! I inadvertently got a neat acronym! ;)

    I really, really, really, really, really hope that DDT works and the Iraqi election was the fall of the Berlin wall.

    I would love nothing more than to see DDT work and watch as sultans and emirs and kings and dictators hand over power to elected liberal regimes.

    I would cook a 5 course meal to celebrate:

    1) Crow soup
    2) Caesar salad with broiled crow strips
    3) Chinese dumplings stuffed with barbecued crow
    4) Roast crow marinaded in citrus and accompanied by couscous and spinach
    5) Humble pie

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    Hell, I'll cook that meal if the new Iraqi PM is neither Chalabi nor a stooge of the theocrats.

    I know a lot of people on this forum have guns. Go shoot a few crows and bring them to my house and I'll cook that meal!

  • gaius marius||

    i heard chalabi removed himself from the race -- is that so? perhaps to concentrate on his career in blackmail.... :)

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    "We saw Arabs voting, and choosing a government that will decide their future, and the world will never be the same again."

    Does this mean that the Untied States should withdraw its support for King Fahd, Hosny Mubarak and General Musharraf? Rather, does this mean that the United States should embrace whoever would replace these dictators assuming they have popular support? If popular leaders replaced all of those dictators, what makes you think that it would be the result of our actions in Iraq?

    "You would have to be a racist to believe Arabs throuout the region wouldn't care.

    Considering your use of the term in this context, I don't think you understand the meaning of the word "racist". ...Oh, and I don't think you can find anyone in this forum who thinks that Arabs throughout the region didn't care about Iraqis being able to vote.

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    Andrew,

    We've seen a few things; we haven't seen the "promised land" or the true end by any means. Indeed, if this is your end goal, then you aren't particularly ambitious or realistic.

    You would have to be a racist to believe Arabs throuout the region wouldn't care.

    (a) Races don't exist.

    (b) The issue isn't whether they care or not; the issue is whether things are changing. One is not a proxy for the other. Staying on topic will be helpful in the future.

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    I see that the hawks have trotted out their favorite ad hominems. :)

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    "I see that the hawks have trotted out their favorite ad hominems. :)"

    They do it when the antis trot out their "Changing justifications for the war" spiel. :-)

    http://www.yourcongress.com/ViewArticle.asp?article_id=2686

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    This is when people start saying, "well, of course that's what they said, but they didn't MEAN it. It was ONLY about WMD."

    J1

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    No I am sorry, I cannot endorse the idea that the evidence for the war was highly "fabricated", if you mean that this was just a conspiracy to lie our way into war. These were guesses of intelligence agents who, apparently, took guessing a little too liberally.

    I stand by what I wrote. The sanctions were not there exclusively to ensure the non-proliferation of WMD, they were to ensure the complete compliance with the ceasefire agreement reached at the end of Gulf War I. The sanctions regime may have worked in preventing WMD production, but we didn't KNOW that Saddam didn't have WMDs anymore than we knew he didn't. Now if this were just any state, one the U.S. did not have a history of conflict with and that wasn't in the Middle East and didn't have a wackload of petro, this uncertainty of course would not have been enough to justify the war on its own. But that just wasn't the case.

    At any rate, the justification for war aside, it is possible, inverting Milton Friedman et al, that bad policies also may produce good outcomes. The sanctions regime was still worse not b/c it failed to keep Saddam from having WMDs, but b/c it basically strengthened Saddam's position, and exposed the then-current American/British policy as bankrupt, weak, and as having immoral outcomes.

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    Ken Shultz, "the kurds were living essentially autonomously" because of the no fly zone, not because "the sanctions are working", no? Or does enforcement of a no-fly zone count as one of the sanctions? (As I recall it was basically a might-is-right rule the U.S. and U.K. imposed) Edward Said said the sanctions were "near-genocide".
    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1999/420/op2.htm

    Even if the sanctions were working, a moral country could not let them continue since they were killing 5,000 babies every 10 minutes (or month, whatever - no point in being accurate in quoting numbers someone pulled out of their ass in the first place). So if the same person was arguing for elimination of the sanctions, but later saying the sanctions were working...is there a conclusion to be drawn about said persons sanity, or political or other beliefs? Would that make the person an anarchist, deluded, compassionate, or just contrarian? (not that there's anything wrong with any of those)

  • gaius marius||

    i wouldn't, mr j1. a reasonable observer could see that the administration believed wholesale in the global democratic revolution. it was assumed before the invasion that we were going in for exaggerated empirical concerns secondly and ideological crusading primarily. now that the falsehood of the empirical side has been exposed, that leaves the ideology.

    but that doesn't mean that the empirical fraud did not happen, and that it wasn't instrumental in generating the popular passion that a plebiscitarian system works best with. i sincerely doubt if the project could have been sold on ideology; most americans don't care enough about such abstractions as iraqi democracy to piss in a pot for it. but wmd? that's theatrical and compelling.

    or do you perhaps refer specifically to the violations of unsc resolutions? that's not much of a reason, if you don't mind my saying so. we've never considered invading israel or morocco or turkey or indonesia, have we? and how many resolutions would we ourselves be in violation of if we did not have the veto?

    moreover, if one breaks the un charter and destroys the organization to implement its resolutions, what does that really say? i think it clearly says that the administration viewed the un itself was without any merit of principle beyond its role as an extension of american foreign policy, and disposable in opposition.

    isn't pretending, then, that those resolutions carry immutable moral weight for the administration simply disingenuous?

  • gaius marius||

    These were guesses of intelligence agents who, apparently, took guessing a little too liberally.

    i think, mr planethoth, that you might be intrigued to read about stovepiping. these were not in fact estimates run through the american intelligence apparatus -- but discreditable information intentionally routed around it by william luti and douglas feith to the presidency, thereby preventing the vetting process that ensures good guesses.

    this is why even blatant forgeries -- such as the yellowcake documents -- made it to the oval office.

    i submit that this process was likely undertaken not to get good intelligence to the president, but to get hearsay that could be portrayed as actionable intelligence in building -- fabricating -- a case for war.


    but we didn't KNOW that Saddam didn't have WMDs anymore than we knew he didn't. Now if this were just any state, one the U.S. did not have a history of conflict with and that wasn't in the Middle East and didn't have a wackload of petro, this uncertainty of course would not have been enough to justify the war on its own. But that just wasn't the case.

    in other words, for paranoia, antagonism and oil, we invaded iraq. and you've also just made the case for invading iran.

  • ||

    Ken

    Who needs an idiot who says the jury's still out on the internet, but he thinks rock and roll is (probably)here to stay? I mean, you don't respect, or listen, to a guy like that. He cleary doesn't have anything to say, on the issues of the day, worth listening to. It's a time-waster.

    The year the Berlin Wall fell, we didn't know Russia was even going to be post-Communist, less democratic. And although there was hope, there was no immediate reason to expect anything of China, Cuba and North Korea. But we knew East Europe was shaking off communism...we were SEEING it. You deny the parallel here, because it was the direct result of action by a Republican president who proved more visionary than four Democratic predecessors, and who up-ended umpteen "expert" nay-sayers.

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    GM, Are you positive there was no attempt by Saddam to procure yellowcake from West Africa? Seeings how Wilson lied about his wife's recomendation, why is any other part of the story accurate? And YES, the war is about oil, but our economy would be devastated had we openly annouced to the Saudis that we eventually won't need their product.

  • ||

    If Gamel Mubarak isn't the next president of Egypt, things are changing. Something tells me Gamel is following in his dad's footsteps.

    If Gamel isn't president, it is NOT because of the invasion of Iraq, but domestic pressure. However, it means that change is going

    The hawks that attribute any and all positive news out of the ME, improved Palestinian-Israeli relations, Lebanese wanting Syria out, are the conservative version on liberals that say that the New Deal ended the Great Depression.

  • ||

    "The year the Berlin Wall fell, we didn't know Russia was even going to be post-Communist, less democratic. And although there was hope, there was no immediate reason to expect anything of China, Cuba and North Korea. But we knew East Europe was shaking off communism...we were SEEING it. You deny the parallel here, because it was the direct result of action by a Republican president who proved more visionary than four Democratic predecessors, and who up-ended umpteen "expert" nay-sayers."

    I deny the parallel because the United Stated of America did not invade and occupy East Germany, Russia, China, Cuba or North Korea--and some of those countries actually posed a threat to the civilians of the Untied States.

    ...I lean America First on foreign policy--I'm willing to take American casualites in the defense of the United States, but I'm not willing to take American casualties for the sake of Iraqis or anybody else.

    Having said that, I think alliances are important. I'm quite sure that we wouldn't have won the Cold War as we did without winning German and French support for our missile program.

  • ||

    the conservative version on liberals that say that the New Deal ended the Great Depression

    Exactly!

    Just because good things are happening in the world that doesn't mean that it's all the doing of a President from your party. If you really believe that electing the right President will fix the world's ills I suggest you join the Democrats.

  • gaius marius||

    Are you positive there was no attempt by Saddam to procure yellowcake from West Africa?

    mr james, i'm positive that all the documentation associated with the incident (?) was forged -- meaning that there is no evidence that the incident happened. the rest is speculation. not exactly state of the union material.

  • gaius marius||

    You deny the parallel here, because it was the direct result of action by a Republican president who proved more visionary than four Democratic predecessors, and who up-ended umpteen "expert" nay-sayers.

    because it couldn't have been the internal decision of the liberalizing politburo to divest itself of an empire that had become expensive and onerous to maintain. indeed, this too is an assumptive fallacy analogous to liberals that say that the New Deal ended the Great Depression.


    reagan was president when communism collapsed most likely because someone had to be.

  • ||

    "reagan was president when communism collapsed most likely because someone had to be."

    Surely you realize that this means war?

    ...just kidding.

    I'm willing to entertain the idea, for the sake of argument, that Reagan made no difference personally, but I need evidence.

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    Ken Shultz,

    Well, actually Bush pere was President when the USSR & Comecon & the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

  • ||

    This Jumblatt?

    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments.php?id=P1841_0_1_0

  • Justin Raimondo||

    Walid Jumblatt on 9/11 (cited in National Review today, in "The Corner"):

    "The Lebanese MP is also known for espousing conspiracy theories against America. On April 28, 2004, he gave an interview to Al Arabiyya TV, in which he detailed how America was really behind September 11: 'Who invented Osama bin Laden?! The Americans, the CIA invented him so they could fight the Soviets in Afghanistan together with some of the Arab regimes. Osama bin Laden is like a ghost, popping up when needed. This is my opinion.'

    "Mr. Jumblatt was asked 'Even 9/11?' and answered: 'Even 9/11...Why didn't the sirens go off when the four hijacked planes took off?'"

    Oh, and Jumblatt's also a rabid anti-Semite and racist:

    "In addition to hating America, Mr. Jumblatt has also spoke against the countries that support America. Lebanon's Daily Star published a February 3, 2003, article quoting him as saying that the true axis of evil is one of 'oil and Jews.'"

    Hmmmmmmm.... So tell me again: why should we take anything Jumblatt says seriously? If this is Mr. Freund's idea of a credible source, then it only goes to show how low some people will go in ginning up another war.

  • ||

    More Jumblatt:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:fUCt-txNajIJ:memri.org/bin/articles.cgi%3FPage%3Darchives%26Area%3Dsd%26ID%3DSP46603+jumblatt+%22oil+and+jews%22&hl=en

    Wow, Michael Young and Charles Freund really did their homework on this guy!

  • ||

    Yes I'm sure that the Middle east will become a peaceful land of milk and honey now that Bush has shown us the light. Future generations will look back, smile and say this was the time when mankind learned that the way to spread democracy and freedom was not to lead by example but by unprovoked invasion, bombing and occupation.

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