So What's the Real Point?

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Click here to view the UN Security Council's responses to Colin Powell's presentation. To no one's surprise, there's a big round of thumbs down on the US call to immediate action; more time to let inspections work is the refrain.

The US certainly knew this would be the case. Which leads to a more important question: Will this actually slow down a US-led invasion of Iraq? Or does it give the US and its allies a freer hand to go it without UN authority?

NEXT: Got Live If You Want It: Powell's Pow-Wow

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  1. The UN is becoming increasingly irrelevant by the day. What value is an organization with Libya as head of the human rights commission, Syria in the security counsel, and Iraq poised to lead the disarmament conference. Hell, why don’t they just give al-Queda a seat now?

  2. Okay, guys. Settle down and get your bullshit antennae up.

    The last time we went into Iraq there were cooked photos of troop build-ups and bogus stories of atrocities. Most of the prez’s allegations over the last year have proven to be exagerrations at the very least. For months he has been groping for a hook to put this thing over the top.

    Everything I saw and heard today was out of context and unsubstantiated. Iraq is crawling with inspectors and reporters, they are surrounded and we control their airspace. They are no threat to anybody. There is no risk to letting the inspection process work. There is a bunch of risk to going in prematurely.

    Flame on.

  3. This isn’t a flame – “There is a bunch of risk to going in prematurely”

    Prematurely? After more than a decade of non-compliance?

  4. Okay, I may be anti-war, but I’m not gullible. “More time to let inspections work” — what on earth work do inspections do? The point of inspections isn’t to find materials that Baghdad “misplaced,” it’s to verify Iraq’s compliance with a dozen-odd UN resolutions. So if we have determined Iraq’s non-compliance by other means, what on earth work do the inspectors have to do?

    Surely we should just say, “Okay, everyone, Iraq has Weapons of Some Destruction,” and get on with the ius belli and national interest calculations from there? Pro- or anti-war, it’s hard to see what work the inspections need more time to do or what relevance such work could have.
    –G

  5. The inspections have worked. Their mandate was to determine whether Saddam Hussein had destroyed his WMD programs. They have proven to any serious person that he has not.

  6. Um, Lefty, no offense, but you are completely full of dung. The Iraqis (aided by Palestinian militia henchmen) committed atrocities on a shocking scale.

    I know because I fought in Gulf War I, and was involved in the war crimes investigation afterward. I saw evidence of atrocities, i.e. dead, mutilated bodies, on a scale that would curl your teeth. Nope, didn’t see any dead preemie babies who had been ripped out of ventilators. I did see a whole lot of ex-people who had been tortured to death with hatchets, glass bottles broken up bodily orifices, pliers, blow torches, high voltage and the like. I found out that one of the most popular methods amongst Saddam’s sick special police was to rape people — usually women but sometimes men — to death. I also dealt with a massive flow of Iraqi refugees, many of whom had been mutilated by the secret police, as a result of their fathers’ and brothers’ failure to defeat the U.S. on the battlefield.

    The two incidents freshest and most vivid in my mind include a brave eight year old boy whose forefinger had been shoved down a gun barrel and blown off, taking with it most of the thumb and the tendon, nearly up to the elbow. He was stitched up by hand with yarn. He never cried, just passing out several times instead as we scrubbed the gangrenous flesh off his forearm and three-fingered hand. The other nifty happening was when Saddam’s “commandos” blew up the massive AvGas tanks at deserted Talil air field, where thousands of marsh Arabs and other refugees had camped. This had the effect of napalming a few tens of thousands of people, many mildly and some extensively. Yup, nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning… smells like… a pork barbecue at a NASCAR event gone horribly wrong.

    So get off your high horse about atrocities. In all likeliehood, a successful invasion will result in the discovery of crimes so horrid that uncomprehending fools like you and me, sitting comfortably stateside, will not be able to understand them fully.

  7. Iraq is crawling with inspectors and reporters, they are surrounded and we control their airspace. They are no threat to anybody.

    Except, you know, other Iraqis. At least that’s what those well-known right-wing organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say. Not that that is or should be the deal-breaker for invasion; I just thought you’d want to know.

  8. Bill. We killed 100,000 Iraquis the last time around. 160,000, half the deployed force, of the Desert Storm veterans are now drawing disability.

    Right or wrong, without the UN’s blessing, our upcoming turkey shoot will remind the world of Guernica. There is a Picasso rendition of it hanging in the room where Powell gave his presentation. It was covered up.

    Oh well. Let’s get on with it. My attention span’s lagging and I can’t wait for North Korea.

  9. Lefty, you are so full of shit you’ve got kentucky bluegrass instead of hair.

  10. Remind the world of Guernica? Do you know what happened in Guernica? The Germans, on behalf of the Spanish Nationalist government systematically bombed Guernica because it was the cultural capital of the Basque people. The approaching war in Iraq has many causes, but one of them is not to destroy the culture of the Iraqi people. If we want to talk about reminding the world of Guernica, we should look at the Kurds not the Iraqis.

  11. Another reason they bombed it was to try out their fancy new planes.

  12. “Prematurely? After more than a decade of non-compliance?”

    Non-compliance is a bullshit reason neocons use to justify intervention. Hell, US was in “non-compliance” with regard to its financial obligations it owed the UN. And Israel has been in non-compliance with regard to settlements forever. So non-compliance with UN mandates is routine and ridiculous. If you want to argue that Saddam Hussein is a real threat to U.S. national security – more bullshit, but at least the real issue – then do so. Otherwise take your “non-compliance” and stick it.

  13. Sure, DC:
    I suppose you missed the part where Powell revealed: that Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zarqawi (the man linked with the assassination of a US citizen, diplomat Laurence Foley, in Jordan and the ricin plot in London) has been in Iraq for over 8 months; that Zarqawi has established an al Qaeda training camp in northeastern Iraq; that two dozen Zarqawi associates are living in Baghdad, despite the fact that the US has repeatedly provided information to Iraq on the man’s whereabouts; oh, and the fact that we are at war with al Qaeda.

    In other words, Hussein has provided aid & comfort to enemies of the United States.

    Or do you want to wait and see? Let’s wait until another three thousand people are murdered, just to be _really_ sure this time.

  14. Oh, hell. Give ’em austria and the Sudeten. we’ll stop ’em when they attack Poland.

    Friggin’ cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

  15. Casey Tomkins:

    Of course, it would be foolhardy to balk at any of Glorious Leader’s proposed wars. After all, when he gets around to invading Micronesia, he can ask, “Do you really want to take a chance on another 9-11?”

    It being so hard to prove a negative and all, I guess we should just take the government’s word on every allegation about a foreign threat. After all, it’s worked so well in the past. There’s FDR’s “day of deceit” at Pearl Harbor. There’s the Tonkin Gulf incident. There’s the incubator babies and all the Iraqi troops massed on the Saudi border in 1990….

  16. I suppose you’re right — I shouldn’t analogize Iraq to 1939 Germany. Aside from the fascism, the weak army relative to its neighbors, the propensity for fast armor strikes against those neighbors, the ethnic genocide, the goofy mustache, the flouting of an internationally imposed peace treaties, our desire to appease at any cost, and the magical leader’s obsession with miracle weapons, Saddam’s regime has nothing in common w/t 1939 Germany. Nothing in common at all.

    Try this then. Powell says to Bush, “No need to revisit the Oslo peace process and the PLO / Israel situation. We settled that in 1992. We could have gone in militarily and crushed either Israel, or the PLO, but we didn’t. So case closed.”

    If you don’t get that, then I’d guess you’re the kind of guy who, because he cut his toenails once in 1992, doesn’t feel he needs to readdress the situation today.

    The point being politics is dynamic. It is irrelevant that we addressed the Iraqi problem in 1992, and failed to resolve it at that time. The problem still exists and our past failure to fix the Saddam problem neither forecloses, nor mandates, any future course of action.

  17. Point taken. Bill, I’m starting to like you.

  18. “there’s a difference between “non-compliance” in paying your credit card bill, and “non-compliance” with the law if you amble over to your neighbor’s house and kick his butt. It is the same between nations; paying 20% of the UN’s bill late is different from breaching”

    It’s funny to watch conservatives now embrace the UN after years of – correctly – dismissing it as a joke when the UN demanded we pay “our bill.”

    But, you haven’t gotten to the nub of the issue which is why is “non-compliance” trotted out when it suits our needs. Powell isn’t up there demanding the Security Council approval to wage war against Tel Aviv. Why not? It’s because “non-compliance” as I eloquently argued earlier is bullshit. Now, if you want to argue that Hussein is a direct threat to American security, then do it. But stop yammering about non-compliance. Or if you want to yammer about non-compliance, suit up and head to N.Korea to get them in compliance with the Clinton-era agreement to stop building nukes.

  19. Let’s see.

    A. We aren’t at “war” with anybody. Congress hasn’t had the balls to declare war since WWII.

    B. Hussein doesn’t control northeast Iraq. We do.

    C. Two dozen Zarqawi “associates” could be the doctors and nurses that amputated his leg.

    D. I’m trying to think of a president in the last 40 years who has NOT lied to me.

    E. We were on Saddam’s doorstep 12 years ago, debated taking him out and decided not to, for whatever reason. This issue has already been settled.

  20. Casey:

    Delray, Florida provided “aid and comfort” to enemies of America. Bush has more control over Delray than Hussein has over northern Iraq, which is controlled by our friends, the Kurds. Zarqawi was there not in Baghdad. There are enemies of America all over the place, most notably in Pyongyang. Now, no one disputes that Saddam wishes ill upon us. That’s not the point. And neither is the point that Saddam was in “non-compliance” which was the original post I made and you’ve conceded that point with your “non-response.” The point for the hawks is to explain how Saddam Hussein directly affects American security proper. The Constitution provides for Federal Gov’t to see to our “common defense” not to ensure that countries – including Israel – remain in “compliance with UN mandates.”

  21. Lefty, you say:
    “We were on Saddam’s doorstep 12 years ago, debated taking him out and decided not to, for whatever reason. This issue has already been settled.”

    That’s great reasoning. I can imagine George Marshall telling Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, “well sir, we were in the Rhineland 22 years ago. We debated taking out Germany, but decided not to, for whatever reason. This issue has already been settled.”

    And D.C. – there’s a difference between “non-compliance” in paying your credit card bill, and “non-compliance” with the law if you amble over to your neighbor’s house and kick his butt. It is the same between nations; paying 20% of the UN’s bill late is different from breaching (as opposed to abrogating) disarmament treaties, chemical warfare treaties and so forth. And please get your facts straight next time. The U.S. is currently paid up with regard to UN dues. The whole amount wasn’t withheld, rather a portion ranging from 20 – 33% was withheld, in an effort to force the bloated UN bureaucracy make at least some attempt at fiscal responsibility. Surely, you aren’t in favor of bloated government waste?

  22. Puh-leeze. Comparing Iraq to Germany in 1939 is beyond silly. Iraq is militarily the weakest country in the Middle East. A better illustration would be that we are Germany and Iraq is Poland.

    Yes, the issue was settled 12 years ago and nothing’s changed since then but the election of Shrub and 9/11. Sadam had nothing to do with either one of them.

    BTW thanks for not calling me names this time. My feelings were getting hurt.

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