Blaring All

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London?s The Observer has a story today anticipating a Vanity Fair piece that shows, among other things, that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a discussion in Washington with George W. Bush a few days after the September 11 attacks, learned of the U.S. intention to attack Iraq.

The paper remarks:

But the implications for Blair may be still more explosive. The discussion implies that, even before the bombing of Afghanistan, Blair already knew that the US intended to attack Saddam next, although he continued to insist in public that ?no decisions had been taken? until almost the moment that the invasion began in March 2003. His critics are likely to seize on the report of the two leaders? exchange and demand to know when Blair resolved to provide the backing that Bush sought.

But the real news is buried at the bottom of the story. It is that the French told the Bush administration in January 2003 that they would not use the U.N. to block a war in Iraq, on condition Washington ?not seek a second resolution, [since] the previous autumn?s Resolution 1441 arguably provided sufficient legal cover…?

Why did the U.S. go ahead with a second resolution anyway? Because Blair needed it to substantiate his claims made domestically that the Bush administration would seek a second resolution on war. So, in effect, a U.N. fight became inevitable (though the French could perhaps have abstained on a war resolution) because of American promises to Blair, despite the fact that the administration, like the French, felt they had enough of a mandate in resolution 1441 to go to war.

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  1. BBCNews reports that as of today the number of US dead in Iraq has reached 600. Nobody knows how many Iraqis have died, since they aparently don’t matter.

    I don’t know if the 600 refers exclusively to military, or includes the Fallujah four. It’s sickening either way.

  2. “apparently”

  3. “apparently”

  4. Threadjack much, Jennifer? Apparently!

  5. “Threadjack?” If that means double-post I blame the software, not myself.

  6. “Regime change was already US police.”

    Duuuuuh, regime change in Iraq was official US policy since the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) passed by the House (360-38) and unanimous consent of the Senate. Clinton sawed the bill into law Oct 31 1998.

    I think we can safely let Bush off the hook on that one.

    This article big revelation appears to be based wholly on semantics and spin. None of the facts presented in the article contradicts what Blair said. They merely creatively interpret American planning to neutralize Saddam immediately after 9/11 as an irrevocable decision to go to war no matter what and then imply that Blair knew that. They present no concrete evidence this was actually the case.

    Saddam had long been in the US crosshairs. 9/11 simply intensified the effort. To pretend to suddenly discover that US planned to remove Saddam post-9/11 reveals either dishonesty or ignorance.

  7. http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,9186249%255E1702,00.html

    I’d prefer waiting for more conformation to avoid another “Jenin Massacre”.

    back on topic:
    Let’s see, if the article is correct,
    1) Blair needed a UN vote authorizing invasion for political cover.
    2) France would go along with an invasion only if there was no vote.

    so, how did France find out about #1 so they could trot out #2?

  8. The problem with saying that 9-11 merely intensified the desire to go to Iraq is that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11! If anything, 9-11 should have made Bush and company put Iraq on the back burner, in order to hunt for Osama and Al Qaeda (a.k.a. the REAL threats to America).

  9. In other shocking news, there’s evidence that FDR was eager to fight Hitler even before Pearl Harbor, which Hitler had nothing to do with! Oh, the scandal of it all!

  10. Jennifer,

    Al Qaeda is merely the symptom of a much larger problem. Terrorism does not begin and end with Al Qaeda. If on 9/12 every active member of Al Qaeda dropped dead it would have bought us nothing but a little time. There is a functionally infinite supply of terrorist personal throughout the islamic world. Neutralizing this or that terrorist cell or network merely buys time. It does not prevent new cells from forming or impel hostile nation states to combat terrorism within their own borders.

    To use Rumsfield’s metaphor, Al Qaeda represents the alligators while Iraq and other rouge states are the swamp in which they breed. You can spend your time shooting individual alligators or you can shoot alligators while working to drain the swamp. Only the latter strategy will give you any long term security.

    What 9/11 changed was the apprehension of risk associated with mass-casualty terrorism both within government and the general electorate. Waiting for the next gator to come out of the swamp was no longer an option.

  11. Shannon-
    To continue your swamp metaphor, Iraq was, at best, a mud puddle with mosquito eggs in it. Saudi Arabia is the real terrorist swamp, but Bush is buddies with that country’s leaders, so we invaded Iraq whilst Bush ordered the State Department to remove all mention of Arabia from its 9-11 report. For all of Iraq’s evils, it was a secularized country, not a militant Islamic one.

  12. Number of Iraqi 9-11 hijackers: 0
    Amount of Iraqi money used to support 9-11 hijackers: 0
    Number of Iraqis implicated in helping 9-11 hijackers:0

    Now change ‘Iraqi’ to ‘Saudi’ and see how the numbers change.

  13. “In other shocking news, there’s evidence that FDR was eager to fight Hitler even before Pearl Harbor, which Hitler had nothing to do with! Oh, the scandal of it all!”

    When was the last time Saddam occupied all of his neighbors?

  14. Jennifier,

    number of surviving 9-11 hijackers: 0

    honestly, why put forward an argument that you wouldn’t support if everybody agreed with you? If Bush had come out January 2002, stating that the US would be attacking Saudi Arabia after Afghanistan, you’d have been against that.

    Also, arguably, the Saudi government is not supporting Al Qaeda. They have all their diplomatic ducks in a row, quacking in a deniable fashion.

    besides, sometimes there’s other ways than troops: screws are being turned

  15. Codebang-
    Actually, I supported the war in Afghanistan, and I would have supported war against Arabia, Pakistan, and possibly Iran. But not Iraq. What’s the difference, you might ask? Iraq was not a hotbed of militant Islamic fundamentalism and the others were or are.

    And what does the fact that the hijackers all died have to do with anything? It must be weird to think in non sequiturs.

  16. Jennifer, threadjacking means taking a thread, much like this one, and changing the subject/going off on a tangent. It’s like hijacking.

    They way I read Mssr. Young’s post, the news was that “the French told the Bush administration in January 2003 that they would not use the U.N. to block a war in Iraq..” if they did not go back for a second UN resolution. The obvious topic of discussion would center around this. Not who got run over by tanks or reindeer, or goddamned haiku, or whether Saudi Arabia is the real swampy swamp or whatever. This “why didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia” thing really well-trod ground, by the way. So if by threadjacking, I mean you decided to just go off about whatever the hell is bugging you wherever was convenient, then I blame you, not the software.

  17. And what does the fact that the hijackers all died have to do with anything? It must be weird to think in non sequiturs.

    uhh, you brought up the 9-11 hijackers? Since you were starting to give statistics on them, I thought I’d chime in.

    as for non-sequiturs, I think Screamapiller answers you quite nicely.

    ciao.

  18. Codebang-
    Yes, but my hijacker statistics actually had something to do with the topic under discussion.

    Screaming individual-
    No apologies coming your way from me; as far as I’m concerned all of the Iraq debacle is one gigantic uber-story resulting in countless unnecessary deaths AND the diversion of American resources from places where it can help us to places where it can only cause more damage. And here today is one more little detail of the story–the French would not have stopped us via the UN, or something. So? Perhaps this will change Freedom Fries back into the French variety, but otherwise. . .what?

  19. I’m going to do a little line-by-line analogy with a hawkish post, comparing it to domestic social reform projects that most people on this forum oppose. Shannon Love’s post is a perfect example of the “social engineering” approach to terrorism, so that post will be my guineau pig. It’s nothing personal.

    Al Qaeda is merely the symptom of a much larger problem. Terrorism does not begin and end with Al Qaeda. If on 9/12 every active member of Al Qaeda dropped dead it would have bought us nothing but a little time.

    The Crips and Bloods are merely the symptom of a much larger problem. Crime does not begin and end with the Crips and the Bloods. If tomorrow every Crip and Blood were to drop dead it would buy us nothing but a little time.

    There is a functionally infinite supply of terrorist personal throughout the islamic world. Neutralizing this or that terrorist cell or network merely buys time. It does not prevent new cells from forming or impel hostile nation states to combat terrorism within their own borders.

    There is a functionally infinite supply of gangbangers in urban areas. Neutralizing this or that gang merely buys time. It does not prevent new gangs from forming or impel dysfunctional communities to combat the gang problem in their own neighborhoods.

    To use Rumsfield’s metaphor, Al Qaeda represents the alligators while Iraq and other rouge states are the swamp in which they breed. You can spend your time shooting individual alligators or you can shoot alligators while working to drain the swamp. Only the latter strategy will give you any long term security.

    To use a common liberal methaphor, gangsters are the alligators while blighted urban areas are the swamp in which they breed. You can spend your time shooting individual alligators or you can shoot alligators while working to drain the swamp. Only the latter strategy will give you any long term security.

    This argument would usually be used by liberals to argue for some massive spending proposals to “fix” a blighted urban area. More spending on public education, more spending on social welfare programs, more spending on Head Start, more spending on “community policing”, more spending on “midnight basketball”, more spending on health care for the poor (after all, without free health care people will turn to crime to earn money…) and more spending on all sorts of other programs that the lefties are 100% confident will turn around a blighted area.

    Conservatives, meanwhile, would argue for more aggressive policing. Forget the nonsense of trying to “understand” the criminals, forget the nonsense that somehow we can prevent gangs from forming, the solution is to incarcerate the actual culprits. Conservatives also point out that failed a failed welfare experiment has created blowback by removing fathers from the picture in many inner city areas.

    However, when it comes to terrorism the positions suddenly swap. Liberals want to keep our focus on the immediate culprits, while conservatives say that we need to bring about a massive social transformation of a region. And conservatives are quite confident that with enough government spending we can do it, and that the blowback won’t be a problem.

    I’d be interested to hear one side explain how social engineering will work brilliantly in the US (if we just spend a little more money…) while failing abroad, and I’d like the other side to explain how federal intervention abroad will transform societies even though federal intervention at home has failed.

  20. Okay, I just got a delivery of cynicism this morning. Two barrels full.

    But the “London Observer” and “Vanity Fair” as credible news sources?

    What does “People” magazine say on this topic?

    Doesn’t mean the stories are wrong; it’s just that I tend to read the above publications with a snark (def.: to be snarky).

    SMG

  21. Thoreau-
    No sarcasm here, dude: that was fucking brilliant.

    And now back to sarcasm: so I guess Al Qaeda just needs love and understanding, huh?

  22. And BBC just posted news of the newest Iraqi attack. Seven more US soldiers dead; 24 more wounded.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3599381.stm

  23. Jennifer-

    No doubt I’ll be accused of sarcasm, but my point wasn’t to mock Shannon. My point was that nearly identical arguments can be made for other things that most people here would oppose.

    On a completely different note, right now I’m slightly annoyed at my brother-in-law. On Friday his wife had a baby, and he still hasn’t e-mailed us any pictures πŸ˜‰ Hey, I don’t care how busy he is, it’s cruel and inhumane to make me and my wife wait to see cute baby pictures. I think I speak for the entire family when I say that we want some cute baby pictures now!!! πŸ™‚

  24. thoreau

    There is absolutely nothing clever about your argument.

    Our constitution DOES require the federal government to integrate all parts of our society into the national market (preventing most restraints on trade between jurisdictions, and providing for the enforcemant of contracts and free movement of individuals across state lines)

    AND requires all jurisdictions in the US to have a republican form of government– a commitment strengthened by every subsequent constitutional development.

    If you are such a skeptic thoreau, what would you have done with Germany, Japan and war-ravaged Europe in 1945?

  25. Thoreau-
    I know you weren’t being sarcastic; that’s why I emphasized that I wasn’t either. That really WAS brilliant. I have always admired anything that finds similarities in otherwise unrelated things; that is why I think the greatest piece of Western art or literature in the past fifty years was created by Weird Al Yankovic when he figured out that you could put the Beverly Hillbillies theme song to the tune of “Money for Nothing.”

    (Call ME a threadjack, will he? By God, I’ll jack this thread to the point of *orgasm* if I damned well feel like it. Hmmph. Snort.)

  26. Andrew-

    In WWII we invaded Japan and Germany because a war was already raging and we needed to invade them to end it. Rebuilding was simply the moral imperative of a humane nation in the aftermath of war.

    On the other hand, there was no ongoing war between the US and Iraq that required an invasion to protect US security from the Iraqi regime (well, unless you count the skirmishes over the no-fly zones, but those don’t really compare to WWII). However, many people on this forum have suggested that the purpose of invading Iraq was precisely so that we could rebuild it, and hope that the rebuilding will have positive effects on other situations pertinent to our ongoing struggle against terrorism.

    Since some people on this forum seem to view the rebuilding of Iraq as a purpose for the war rather than an imperative after the war, I figured the analogy was relevant.

  27. Jennifer-

    Sorry, but Amish Paradise was better. “Think you’re really righteous? Think you’re pure at heart? Well I know I’m a MILLION times as humble as thou art! I’m the pious guy the little omeletes wanna be like on my knees day and night scoring points for the afterlife! So don’t be vain, and don’t be whiny, or else my brother I might have to get medieval on your hiny!”

  28. The proper US response to 911 would have been to put a mushroom cloud over Baghdad before midnite Eastern time 911.
    The next day, the US should have begun getting every solder out of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East.
    The day following, the US should have halted aid of any sort to Israel and Egypt.
    The day following, the US should have halted aid of any sort to any country.

  29. Jeez, Ruthless, why must you dedicate your every waking minute to living up to your name?

    Thoreau-
    I disagree. Of course, as I said before, the thing that attracts me is making connections nobody else made. By the same token, my favorite Dali painting is “Swans Reflecting Elephants” because it takes such utter genius to look at two things as disparate as an elephant and a swan and find similarities ‘twixt the two.

  30. But thoreau

    What are you saying? Are you a sceptic about re-building Iraq…but NOT about re-building Germany/Japan or war-ravaged Europe? We ARE in Iraq now.

    BTW I DO think that slum areas in America’s cities require basic government services and safe streets– exactly what we are striving for in Iraq. Is that “gasp”…social engineering?

  31. Andrew,

    The commerce clause is a grant of power, not a mandate. It allows Congress to regulate commerce–it does not require it.

    The commerce power only extends to the regulation of movement of goods and services across state borders, not within a state.

    And Article I section 10 only forbids the states specifically to pass trade duties; as explained by federalist propaganda during the ratification debates, other trade regulations are only prohibited to the extent they are directly repugnant to regulations of commerce actually passed by Congress.

    Where did you get your interpretation of the Constitution from, Harry Jaffa?

  32. Andrew-

    It’s one thing to invade because you have to and then try to rebuild because you have to, and hope that it works. It’s another thing to invade for the express purpose of building a different society. In the first case the prospects for a successful rebuilding are secondary to the primary purpose of the war, so a failed rebuilding effort is an acceptable risk. In the second case, where rebuilding is one of the primary purposes of the war (as some people here have suggested), one should be pretty damn sure that a successful transformation is achievable.

    Second, the goal for Iraq articulated by many people here goes much further than basic gov’t services and safe streets. They’re talking about overall social, cultural, political, and economic transformation. Those things cannot be imposed externally.

    Third, the goal articulated by many people here goes far beyond the borders of Iraq. The belief is that Iraq will be a domino in the Middle East. Even the most lefty urban planner would never believe that transforming Brooklyn will make DC safer. Yet it is believed by some that building a better society in Iraq will lead to a transformation in Saudi Arabia.

    It is often said that many of the more influential and ambitious foreign policy thinkers on the right started off on the left. Perhaps it makes sense that talk of large-scale social transformation via gov’t action would come from former lefties.

  33. Kevin

    I’ll take your word for it on all that…I am no lawyer, and not really even awake just now.
    Can’t see as it takes much away form my argument conceptually– is it too much “social engineering” for Carson and thoreau, if the US tried to see that an American city had fundamental services, democratic government, and safe streets?

    Thoreau’s “irony” is cheap and dumb…and as he is so entranced of it, I expect we’ll hear it replayed about a hundred more times in related threads.

  34. thoreau

    I RATHER think that making a model of one American city would have a saluatory effect on others. I was a big advocate of “enterprise zones”– in effect a Federal initiative to “liberate” portions of American cities from couter-productive local government.

  35. Number of Iraqi 9-11 hijackers: 0
    Amount of Iraqi money used to support 9-11 hijackers: 0
    Number of Iraqis implicated in helping 9-11 hijackers:0

    Getting jacked to orgasm by Jennifer: priceless

  36. Andrew-

    Maybe I’ll pre-emptively do ironic rewording of my own posts with my wedding story and excerpts from 24 mixed in, just to do the “ultimate thoreau post”! πŸ™‚

    And no, I was not serious in that suggestion.

  37. It’s a sleepy day.

    To take the thread in another direction…

    I saw a story about England saying that come what may, Blair will likely get a huge majority in 2005. Bush will (Ibelieve) get handily re-elected. Berlesconi seems OK and the Poles will weather their political crisis.

    Meanwhile, I don’t give Zapatero a year, Shroeder even less time, and Chirac would BE out if France had a handy election to toss him with.

    In a year, Putin may be the only weasel left standing.

    Maybe in a fog of ignorance and emotion…voters yet have a way of sensing things?

  38. I don’t know about Zapatero’s prospects.

    Chirac and Schroeder may be unpopular for many reasons, but I don’t think that the war in Iraq is one of them. And thus, even if they do leave power, I doubt that their replacements will be any more amicable toward Bush’s foreign policy.

  39. Re-building Germany and Japan made Americans safer than they would otherwise have been. Re-building, or whatever the hell it is we’re doing, in Iraq has made Americans less safe than we would have been. Vive la difference!

  40. thoreau

    Almost every Europaen government that came in (or stayed in) the early years of the new century were faced with the task of ongoing Market Reform…there simply isn’t any choice.

    SOME of those governments seized on foreign-policy “opportunities” to play the anti-American card, and some didn’t.

    Thoreau…I am of a “certain age”, and single. When a guy my age hits a bar, a coffee-shop, or some kind of social event dressed and coiffed in a style appropriate to that age I have SOME chance with the girls I want…and rather more chances than I care about with my contemporaries.

    How do you think I would do with a pony-tail, and a silk shirt unbuttoned to my bulging gut.

    Actually– I still have my hair and it ain’t grey– I am naturally slim– my wrinkles aren’t nair as bad as Kerry’s. But my point is the same– and I preach it to my “brother”. Gravity doesn’t care, and you can’t win a fight with reality.

    Arabs can’t. Europeans can’t. WE can’t.

    (Sometimes it isn’t so glamorous– my friend Charley says: “Women my age looked fucked up! What am I supposed to like about her…her painted toenails?”)

  41. I’ve posted this a few times already, and I was against the war, but Saddam Hussein was most certainly (and most openly) supporting terrorism.

    He was giving safe harbor to Abu Nidal, for instance, and, in April of 2002, he upped from $10,000 to $25,000 the amount of money he gave to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, be they from Hezbollah, Hamas, or the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (GDP per capita in Palestine is a little over $4,000 US last time I looked; under those circumstances, having one of your kids blow themselves up is like hitting the lotto.)

    Toward the beginging of the intafada, I remember people arguing that Bush couldn’t take any action in Iraq until things calmed down in Palestine, and it seemed to me at the time that the suicide bombers of Palestine were Iraq’s first line of defense.

    Not that the Administration made such direct support for terror a pretext for the War, or, at least, that’s not the drum they pounded the loudest in front of the UN.

    But just because there weren’t any WMD in Iraq (Who knew?), and just because Saddam didn’t have any definitive ties to al Qaeda, and just because the war was wrong on other grounds, doesn’t mean that Saddam Hussein didn’t directly support terrorism.

    He did.

  42. Jennifer-

    The problem with your argument is that it is based on the premise that the war in Iraq has not made America safer. That would be fine if the point were uncontested, but that point is in fact sharply contested, and in fact is the central point in most war-related discussions on this forum. Even when the initial topic is some peripheral question, that fundamental question remains on the table.

  43. Thoreau-
    With only a tiny bit of online research, I could get the names of over 600 Americans who are significantly less safe due to the Iraq war. No photographs of their coffins returning home, though–that is illegal.

    Granted, whether we are more safe, less safe or equally safe cannot be proven, unless we could somehow look at a parallel universe where we didn’t invade, and then compare the two. But it is known that every excuse we’ve used to justify our presence there has been a lie. Al Qaeda didn’t have much of a foothold there beforehand, but now every dead or injured Iraqi civilian creates more anti-US hatred, and likely another terrorist or two.

  44. Jennifer-

    First, remember that I too think it was a bad idea to invade Iraq. But the deaths of soldiers do not prove that our country is less safe. For instance, suppose that (hypothetically) terrorists were preparing to use WMD on a US city, and a number of cops, soldiers, or agents were killed in the course of thwarting the plot. The US would be demonstrably safer despite those deaths.

    Now, granted, Iraq didn’t pose such an obvious and instantaneous threat as we see on 24. The hawks conveniently claim that the threat was much more subtle but equally significant: They claim that the existence of Hussein’s totalitarian regime was a huge (but, conveniently, indirect) impediment to US efforts to combat terrorism.

    So to really establish that we are less safe after the war, one would have to demolish the argument that invading Iraq was necessary to our overall effort against terrorism.

    Of course, as I think of it, one could always take the radical stance that the burden of proof should be on those who support a war, not on those who oppose it. Once upon a time that would have been a respectable notion, especially in libertarian circles. However, the terms of the debate have been defined by the hawks. How they did it, I’m not exactly sure, but they did. And any time I mock them I just get flamed on this forum. So I won’t mock them. Instead, I will salute the way that they have defined the terms of the debate. Nice work, guys!

  45. The war in Iraq is so fully justified I don’t feel any need to repeat the arguments (since I don’t take the arguments against it I’ve heard here seriously). You’d be making the same arguments if we took out Osama Bin Laden before 9/11–and oh man, would the blowback from that make you condemn Bush.

    Luckily for the anti-war side, the immense continued damage that Saddam Hussein and his issue would have inflicted on Iraq, the US and the world is finished, so you can smugly pretend nothing has been gained.

  46. Ron-

    I would have supported capturing or killing Bin Laden even before 9/11. He was responsible for the embassy bombings, among other things. That alone justified action against him prior to 9/11. And I’m willing to accept blowback from direct and justified action against enemies of the US. It is tragic when it happens, but the alternative is to remain passive against very real threats, which would make us even more vulnerable in the long-run.

    The blowback that gets me upset is blowback from unncessary actions, or from decions made by government employees who couldn’t be bothered to look for better ways to achieve a necessary goal.

    To be specific, I could accept blowback in the form of revenge for killing a terrorist leader who had already attacked the US. However, I blame the government employees when blowback comes from, say, arming a brutal dictator who is (at that moment, at least) fighting against some other brutal dictator whom we like even less.

    For instance, did it really make any sense to go to Afghanistan in the 1980’s and say “OK, any religious fanatic who’s willing to die fighting against a decadent superpower can get free weapons, no questions asked!”? Did it really make any sense in early 2001 to give tens of millions of dollars in aid to the Taliban because their enemies were opium dealers? (Especially when you consider that some of the warlords affiliated with the Taliban were also opium dealers…)

  47. Uh, Ken, Hussein’s support for Palestinian terrorists in Israel/Palestine was an *Israeli* problem, not an American one. I would have had no problem with the Israelis assassinating Hussein for that, but I’m sorry, it is not the responsibility of American taxpayers and the American military to solve all of Israel’s problems for it, no matter how much the neocons and fundies think so.

  48. It can be argued that it was Blair who caused the rift between the US and it’s allies – France and Germany – by dragging Bush to the UN.

  49. And today, the news is covered with stories about how our tanks have crushed some Iraqi protestors beneath their treads. But please, no Tianenmen Square comparisons.

  50. Jennifer-

    I checked my paper and cnn.com. Nothing. Can you provide a link?

  51. Thoreau-
    I saw the first headline on Fark.com, linked to a story on ABCNews online, but that link keeps “timing out,” as they say. I did a Google News search (as opposed to a Web search) and it looks like the Australian papers have the most articles on this topic.

    On a related note, the UK paper The Guardian has a weekly contest: write a haiku about a major news story, for the chance to win 20 British pounds’ worth of Penguin Classic books. Last night, on a lark, I wrote a haiku and submitted it:

    Bush said “bring ’em on”
    and over in Fallujah
    some Iraqis did.

    I don’t think I’m going to win.

  52. “Saudi Arabia is the real terrorist swamp, but Bush is buddies with that country’s leaders, so we invaded Iraq . . .”

    Well, let’s see.

    We had no leagal justification for invading SA. We did for Iraq.

    Iraq was Saddam’s shithole. Most people, while perhaps not supporting us, sure didn’t support Saddam even while under US attack. In SA, the vast majority of males would have opposed us.

    Iraq is a much better place to “drain the swamp”. We have a much better chance to start something good in Iraq.

  53. To return to the original topic:

    Whatever one might think of France or the war, it seems disingenuous to say “We’ll oppose any effort to get a second resolution supporting this action, but we think the first resolution already supports it and we won’t complain if you use that resolution to go ahead.”

    I suppose that some people here can find enough subtleties and loopholes to explain why France’s (alleged) position would make perfect sense. But if you step back from the legalese and just look at the basic facts of it, we’re left with a puzzle: Why would they promise to not cause any trouble if the war goes ahead without a second UN resolution, but oppose the war if the US tried to get a second resolution?

    A few possibilities:

    1) The reports are wrong.
    2) I’m misinterpreting the reports.
    3) The French knew that a second resolution would be sought anyway, so it was a way to offer some sort of truce, knowing the US couldn’t accept the terms (due to the British situation).
    4) The French were being irrational.

    I firmly reject #4. Many people on this forum will no doubt claim that French foreign policy is immoral, unjust, short-sighted, the root of all evil, a grave threat to the US, etc. etc. But morality and rationality are not the same thing.

    Any thoughts?

  54. Iraq is a much better place to “drain the swamp”. We have a much better chance to start something good in Iraq.

    Perhaps, but the ostensible point here is to get rid of terrorism, not “start something good.”

    As a prelude to starting something good, I notice that we’ve walled off the city of Fallujah. I have a feeling the few remaining Fallujans with pro-American sympathies will lose them very, very soon.

  55. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&ncid=716&e=1&u=/ap/20040405/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_fallujah

    I like the part that tells them, “If Americans come into your house you must stay in one room and don’t talk unless your hands are in the air.” If that don’t make ’em love us, nothin’ will.

  56. BTW, it appears that in this instance that it was the Anglo-Saxons who were perfidious.

  57. Not that I have any hatred for Britons
    or Americans as a nation, people, etc.; but Bush and Blair – the blood boils now.
    Which is unfortunate on the hundred year anniversary of the “Entente Cordiale.” I have been told that Queen Elizabeth’s stroll down the Champs-Elysees and visit to the Arc de Triomphe and the tomb of the unknown soldier were moving.

  58. I like Ruthless’s plan, it is simple and makes sense at first look. We were already at war with Iraq from 1991, and that war with Iraq was the root of the 911 attacks.

    However, then I thought about it. It would be simple and nice to sit back in our powerfull nation that no one can invade, and let the rest of the world sort itself out on their own. But with nuclear bombs its a small world.

    If we responded to 911 with a nuke in Bagdad, Riyadh, or Kabul, or anywhere, it would tell everybody else in the world “we need nukes, more than anything else in the world”.

    Therefore, we need to be involved in the affairs of foreign countries, we need a CIA, and we need to resolve all our problems without using nukes.

  59. thoreau,

    Not to be difficult, but I think your analogy stretches the hawkish position into unrecognizability to make it fit.

    The thesis is, in part, that hostile dictatorships create a nice environment in which terrorists can function. Terrorists can train in these areas and can receive funding from the local tin pot without fear of retribution because they feel protected by the ‘sovereignity’ of the tin pot dom.

    To compare this to the liberal position that gang members, all of whom can vote, are only symptoms of a lack of social spending, is to deny that there is anything fundamentally different between Saddam’s regime and Compton.

    Just looking at the nature of the societal transformations in question, how odd it is to see someone on H&R argue that spending on midnight basketball is worthless, and therefore so is spending on giving someone the right to vote.

    More broadly, you continue the fallacy that fighting terrorists abroad is just like putting away criminals at home. Conservatives are not overly concerned with the environment that fosters gangs largely because gang members kill each other. They don’t launch raids from Compton to kill thousands of people at a time, and Compton doesn’t act to fund and cover up all available evidence of such actions. If this were the case, you can bet that hawks would be very interested in shaking things up in Compton.

    A position of the doves I don’t understand is, okay, making a statement to any would be tyrant supporters of terrorism is a completely worthless act, and it does not enhance our safety one bit. We have dedicated troops to Afghanistan. The only thing left, according to the doves, is to withdraw from the region. In summary, we hit one terrorist organization, then do exactly what they want us to do. Everyone feel comfortable with that message?

  60. “To be specific, I could accept blowback in the form of revenge for killing a terrorist leader who had already attacked the US. However, I blame the government employees when blowback comes from, say, arming a brutal dictator who is (at that moment, at least) fighting against some other brutal dictator whom we like even less.”

    Hindsight imbues us all with brilliance, but there are infinite hypotheticals here. What if we do nothing to interfere in the dictator vs. dictator conflict and the one we like less prevails, consolidates the land mass and oil of both countries, and dedicates himself to getting rid of infidels? Is the ‘blowback’ of inaction better than the blowback of action, even if the outcomes are worse?

    I am not suggesting that we walk all over the globe and meddle at a whim, but I think it is important that we recognize that inaction is not necessarily more prudent or more moral in all cases.

  61. thoreau,

    Chirac isn’t unpopular (Bush likely envies his ~64% approval rating); Raffarin is unpopular. This is typical; Prime Ministers get the scorching, and Presidents get the “love.” πŸ™‚

    As to why we would not support a second resolution (keeping in mind that I have not read the article), well it is perfectly simple. France did not want a resolution which specifically called for war against Iraq. This concern is perfectly understandable. BTW, it might be recalled that about six months ago I made a similar argument on this blog or another one, and I was laughed at.

    And so the real war on terrorism continues.
    __________________________

    French arrest 13 in Morocco bombings

    PARIS – French police launched a dawn raid outside Paris on Monday, detaining 13 suspected militants in connection with a deadly terrorist attack in Morocco last year, authorities said.

    The DST, France?s domestic security agency, conducted the roundup of suspects in the suburbs of Paris on orders of two French anti-terrorism judges, Jean-Louis Bruguiere and Jean-Francois Ricard.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4667807/

  62. URL is broken.

  63. I am not suggesting that we walk all over the globe and meddle at a whim …

    But that’s what we do. That’s what we’ve been doing since 1945. And every time we meddle, we create a mess that comes back to bite us, which leads us to meddle some more, and so on. World War II and the Cold War put us in this mindset that we must take care of the world, and we can’t seem to shake it.

    .. but I think it is important that we recognize that inaction is not necessarily more prudent or more moral in all cases.

    I’m an isolationist. I don’t believe we should have troops in Iraq, Germany, Japan, Korea or anywhere else, other than defending our own borders. I believe it’s a waste of lives and money.

    I don’t believe the dangers of the world should be ignored. But I’d prefer to see an international organization, such as the UN, take responsibility for it. We contribute our allotment of troops to the UN and let them worry about it.

    But the UN is inefficient and doesn’t work, you say? Well, perhaps we should put our energy into making it work, rather than into occupying and rebuilding other nations.

    But I think it’s foolish for one nation to go running around the world keeping everybody else safe and getting a target painted on its back in the process.

  64. Thoreau,

    Exactly! There are probably no reasons – but your position is such, that there are conditions for which war is just, but the thresh-hold must be attained. You have a test and those who wish to wage the war must prove it. And you have a yes/no criterion. Many Hawks on this forum just have a “yes”. It makes me wonder, whether so many people were so staunchly for the Iraq war if 1) Clinton were President (February 1998) or 2) pre 11. Sept. If there were, it is another case of our press missing a giant story. πŸ™

    The difficulty is with those who are unquestionably for the war. Were they always clamouring for war? If so, why was this not a theme of the election? Why did 11. September, where there were definite evil-doers identified, cause the focus to be elsewhere, when this other place (Iraq) had apparently nothing to do with 11. Sept.

    The Hawks on this forum have ad hoc explanation after ad hoc explanation, while the skeptics have need for specific reasons and proof. Assuming that other Doves are against just because it is George Bush, what a dumb reason, are there Hawks out there who are openly questioning this?

    Champions League beckons. Good night!

    Karl

  65. How much support was there pre 11. September for the forcible removal of SH? In the US, UK, so on?

    Were the people led so astray by 11.9. that Iraq needed more immediate attention than Afghanistan/Pakistan? Or was Iraq always in the forefront of US policy?

    And it seems that the Hawk side, the side at least on this Forum that never would change its opinions on the decision taken to go to war, changes its tune whenever WMDs don’t turn up or the fact that there was no threat to any of us from Iraq. Reading Thoreau and others, it seems that had the WMD or the Terror link been true, they would support the action (is that correct?). But however Hawks provide us with many ad hoc reasons to support the war.

    Considering from the staunch, devout position of the Hawks, can it be therefore correctly assumed that there was widespread calls for attacking Iraq? Would President Clinton to the same extent have received support for such an action? Did President Bush talk about Iraq in the last campaign?

    Champions League in three hours!

    Regards,
    Karl

  66. Karl-

    Show me evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 or a similar attack, and I would not hesitate to change my stance on the war. On WMD, however, my stance is different:

    My stance, however right or wrong it might be (no doubt the hawks will jump all over it) is that Iraqi WMD never posed a credible threat to the US. Hussein’s primary concern has always been Hussein. By using WMD to attack the US (either directly via his own agents, or indirectly via collaboration with terrorists) Hussein would be taking a huge risk. He’d get the intangible benefit of satisfaction at watching a bunch of Americans die, but he’d run the very tangible risk of being linked to the attack and then being removed from power.

    Some here question the “rational Saddam” theory, but most dictators are eminently rational people. Not in the sense of reasonable or easy to deal with, but in the sense of being keenly aware of their own self-interest and acting accordingly.

    So WMD would not change my mind, but links to Al Qaeda or other groups that have attacked the US would.

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