The Unnecessary War

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The Unnecessary War

Postby shostakovich » Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:44 pm

Here's part 2 of Why Not Bush.

Let's look back to early 2003, just before the war, and disregard what has happened since. That way we can look at the decision from the time of the decision. The UN inspectors were in Iraq. While they were looking, Saddam was under scrutiny, and could not have pulled off any horrors. That was just fine with me. But Bush couldn't wait for them to find WMD. I never understood why not (although I do now). Keep in mind, Saddam was violating UN prohibitions, not US prohibitions. It was not for the US to take action.

Back in Sept 2002, Bush made his "That's the guy who tried to kill my dad" comment. The drumbeat for war started shortly after. It was clear the Bush administration wanted the war. I won't speculate on reasons. But the case was made with nebulous (at the time) information (even without knowing it was faulty, as we do now). Every time Bush referred to the need to attack Iraq, there was a hollow "only as a last resort". I could tell by then what he meant (go to war) from what he didn't (last resort). Even now I've heard Bush say that in spite of the bad information about WMD and the lack of a clear Saddam-Al Qaeda connection (and, by the way, I remember a tape in which bin Laden referred to Saddam as an infidel --- there was no love lost there), he still thinks attacking Iraq was the right thing to do.
[By the way, the congressional majority that voted the president the power to declare war, and that supported his efforts are equally responsible for the war to my mind].


This is truly Bush's war, an unnecessary war, driven by a man (and his clique) who are only now understanding that "democratizing Iraq" is extremely unlikely, although they can not openly say so in an election year (I hope somebody does before Nov 2). I suspect some of the administration had the brains to realize that. SOME of them HAD to know 20th C Mideast history. However, the plan to "make Iraq a democracy" played very well in this country. It was to be the start of a new domino theory to make the middle-east into democracies. There is no history of democracy in the region. And a major stumbling block to it is that there is little or no separation of church and state. (And, by the way, this country seems to be losing precious separation since that _____ got into the White House.)

Since 2000 this country has lost allies, self-respect, unity, hundreds of lives (not to mention the thousands of non-Americans that died), and billions of dollars. So what have we gained since 2000? A gigantic national debt, and more terrorists out to get us. Athough the president says we are safer now than 3 years ago, the Dept of Homeland Security seems to think otherwise. Frankly, I don't even know how to test whether or not we're safer. Another "attack" of some sort would only show we are not.

I do know there is something very different about freedom of expression. My wife and I were talking to a couple of our friends, who work for the government in DC. We asked, "Are you planning to see Fahrenheit/911?" They said "No" because they are concerned about having trouble at work if anybody should see them coming out of the theater. (They are not Bush fans.) Has anybody heard or felt anything similar?

One more little anecdote before I quit. A friend has family in Italy. He has been asked not to send any gifts from America any more. What do you suppose that means?
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby dai bread » Thu Aug 05, 2004 5:08 pm

Good question Shos.

My local paper ran an article a few days ago by a staff reporter who'd spent 3 weeks in the U.S. The gist of the article was that Americans now live in fear and have lost their sense of humour, at least about topics related to terrorism.

A man in Seattle responded, saying that was garbage, and closed his letter saying "it's o.k. to hate us but please get it right".

This surprised me. Are we really supposed to hate Americans because we disagree on one or two subjects?

Then you write the anecdote above. Maybe we are. Apparently some people do.

Personally, I'm inclined to agree with the man from Seattle. In my surfing of the net, the attitude I have found to terrorism is probably best summed up by a quote from "Tora Tora Tora", where a Japanese officer (Admiral Yamamoto I think) says "We have awakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve".

I just wish the resolve was better directed.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:42 am

In this case, Shos, you and I agree almost right down the line. I cannot help but consider our invasion of Iraq as the most shameful act this country has committed in my lifetime (and there have been some pretty bad ones - Gulf of Tonkin, letting the Iranian thugs hold hostages, Waco, you get the idea).

I believe that the reason Saddam was cooperating with the weapons inspectors was because of our threat to use force if he didn't. But he did, and so did we.

I noted a lot of world-wide concern for the US after 9/11, from what I've been able to see, that's all gone with the invasion of Iraq, and our rather embarrassing inability to flush out bin laden (especially after all the promises that he would be dead for halloween).

I know I don't feel particularly safe. I ride the Washington, DC Metro daily, and while I don't feel it's the best target in town, it certainly is a visible one.

I believe we've squandered a lot of our military might in Iraq, when our enemies were elsewhere. This adventure was guided not by faulty intelligence, but by emotion.

Dai, I have to admit I don't see much humor in terrorism (although The Onion ran a pretty funny piece about the hijackers in hell a week or two later). When it comes to foreign opinions about Americans, I know our feelings run the gamut. Many people couldn't give a rat about how anybody else feels - we're right and to hell with other opinions. I personally feel we live in a constantly shrinking world and, like everyone, we need all the friends we can get.

To continue with your Tora, Tora, Tora analogy, it appears the sleeping giant has decided to attack the equivalent of Tuvalu after being attacked by Japan.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Aug 06, 2004 10:10 pm

Originally posted by barfle:
To continue with your Tora, Tora, Tora analogy, it appears the sleeping giant has decided to attack the equivalent of Tuvalu after being attacked by Japan.
Dynamite illustration. The only thing to make it a perfect parallel would be if Tuvalu had oil we wanted.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Tue Aug 10, 2004 3:47 pm

In that case, it wouldn't be an illustration. It would be fact.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby haggis » Tue Aug 10, 2004 3:57 pm

Myway

"Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found.

Taking up a challenge from President Bush, whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: "I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."
Stars & Stripes

"Stripes: The charge is out there that Republicans are much better suited to handle defense issues. How do you counter that?

Kerry: My record counters that, and my friends counter that. . . .

They went into Iraq in a brilliant military strategy, which we all adopted and supported, but they didn’t have a plan to win the peace. They didn’t bring other [countries] to our side. They didn’t give our troops all the equipment — the body armor and the armored Humvees and things they need and deserve.

There’s a great tradition of Democratic presidents who’ve led us in war."
Will this be the new Kerry position -- the war was justified, but the peace was bungled? And I'll handle the wars I start better?

Is it a return to the 2001/2002 pro-war Kerry?
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby haggis » Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:16 am

Washington Post

""If Iran were to go nuclear, it would... place nuclear materials in the hands of a radical regime that has ties to unsavory groups. It would signal to other countries that it's possible to break the nuclear taboo. And it would revolutionize the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would feel threatened by Iran's bomb and would start their own search for nuclear technology"

Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria.
Time for more regime change?

At least we now have two areas on opposite Iranian borders to stage from...
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:29 am

I have felt from the days of the hostages that Iran was a more dangerous outfit than Iraq. I thought Carter wanted to avoid war so much that he allowed Iran to rub our noses in their mess. At the time of the hostage taking, I would have felt an invasion (even a declared war) may have been justified as a retaliation for their acts in taking the hostages.

But that was then, and this is now. While I don't recommend appeasement, I would recommend exerting what peaceful influence we could drum up to keep Iran (and North Korea) from being able to use nuclear weapons. Or maybe to get the Israelis to do the dirty work, like they did on the Iraqi reactor way back when.

I have already noted my position on those members of congress who voted to abdicate their authority to declare war once again to the executive branch, which means that I think Kerry has little to distinguish himself from Bush in this topic.

Or just perhaps, Haggis, you've found the REAL reason for invading Iraq?
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby haggis » Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:30 am

Cynically I guess I could say that of all the potential countries in the Middle East that we could have picked to invade, Iraq was probably the best.

It has enough religious diversity to reduce the problems a purely Muslin country would have faced in trying to prepare a constitution. It has a proper middle class and a very high ratio of trained professionals, doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc.

And, of course, It has an abundance of oil to sale ;) .

Before the “it’s all about ooiilll” section of the choir gets going, hands up everyone - but Shos – who are willing to pay $5.00 - $12.00 for a gallon gas and I’ll send you the “Martyr-on-the-sacrificial-altar-of-big-oil” award, Sheesh! Until we can get reliable fusion or hydrogen fuels working it will stay “all about oil.”

Of course we have 4 – 5 centuries of coal laying near the surface in the U.S., want to go back to coal burners?

I believe that Iraq has at least a 40-50% chance of shaking off the old mantle of dictatorial dependence and become a democracy. It’s not a sure thing but I think they deserve a chance.

And, yes, it doesn’t hurt in our future negotiations when (if) we decide to talk to Iran if we have “friendly” logistic bases on Iran’s borders.

I personally prefer an outcome arranged by the U.S.

depending on the Israelis try to knock out the Iranian nuclear capability is not something I would want to rely on. What it they got the timing wrong and attack after Iran gets the bomb?

The idea of a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran is not only imaginable, it is almost unavoidable unless things change in the next two or three years.

What's our other options?

Pull out of the region and hope by the time the Fallout gets to California it isn't too bad or we've implemented adequate Civil Defense measures?
Haggis

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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:25 am

As you might guess, I'm a lot less optimistic about Iraq's chances for a democracy. I fully expect a civil war within a year of our withdrawal, and if we decide to have bases there like we did in Europe when I was serving, they would have to be defended by a lot more than a gate guard.

I realize this is a fortune-telling exercise, and I've done poorly at that in the past, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Iraq broken into three or four parts in the next ten years. That, of course, would include a Kurdish part, which would upset the Turks no end, and a Shiite part which would annex itself to Iran.

I don't really know if I was being facetious when I suggested having Israel do the reactor bombing or not. They were effective against Iraq's, but as you note, Iran is further along, and busting their reactors would undoubtedly spread radiation.

As far as out other options are concerned, I admit to not having the answers. But we've had a nuclear war already (Hiroshima and Nagasaki), and although those weapons were puny and primitive by today's standards, the world survived it. If we and the Russians got into it, the outcome could be a lot different than if Israel and Iran decided to lob a few dozen nukes over a fairly small area. The trick would be insuring that the other powers (like us and the Russians) kept our big guns with the safety on.

Then watch the price of gasoline go through the roof.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby dai bread » Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:27 pm

Apropos the price of petrol (gasoline to some of you), we pay NZD 1.20 per litre, or near enough to $4.80 per U.S. gallon. At the present exchange rate, that's about USD 3.00 per gallon. European & Japanese prices are higher, I believe.

It doesn't stop any of us from using our cars.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby haggis » Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:51 pm

The Public Hanging of a Sixteen Year Old Girl in Iran

More news is emerging of the sad public hanging of the 16-year old girl in Iran. I’d seen the original one or two lines announcements published by Reuters and AP, here’s more details (if you have the stomach for it)

Summarized:
On Sunday August 15, 2004, a 16 year old girl by the name of Atefe Rajabi, daughter of Ghassem Rajabi, was executed in the town of Neka, located in the province of Mazandaran, for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity".

The execution was carried out by the order of Neka's "judicial administrator" and was approved by both the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic and the chief of the nation's "judiciary branch."

Although according to her birth certificate she was only 16 years old, the local court falsely claimed that she was 22.

Three months ago, during her appearance before the local court, fiercely angry the young girl hurled insults at the local judge, Haji Reza, who is also the chief judicial administrator of the city, and it is said as another expression of protest took off some of her clothes in the courtroom. This act by the young girl made the administrator so furious that he evaluated her file personally and in less than three months received a go-ahead from the Islamic Republic's Supreme Court for her execution.

The animosity and anger of Haji Reza was so strong that he personally put the rope around the girl's delicate neck and personally gave the signal to the crane operator, by raising his hand, to begin pulling the rope...

… The 16 year old girl’s male companion, who had been arrested as well, received 100 lashes and, after the Islamic punishment was carried out, released.


A country without “rule of law” allows tyrants to rule with no checks.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby haggis » Mon Aug 30, 2004 1:11 pm

Peace is breaking out around the world: reports


"International peace researchers report that worldwide conflict is on the decline as are the number of casualties.

Their research shows that the number of people killed in battle has fallen to 20,000 per year–the lowest number in the post-Second World War period."

Haggis

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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby Mike Sofka » Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:07 pm

Barfle, I do agree with you...I can also see civil war within Iraq upon our withdrawal. The trouble is, is that there is so much division in Iraq. Kurds, Turks, Shiites...on and on...they all want control, yet it doesn't seem like they understand what they could have if they would just cooperate. If they could take a step back and see that they've been corrupted for literally their entire existance...since the days of Babylon, they might understand that they need to overcome differences, and see that it's okay to disagree. Hell, look at us Americans, we disagree about stuff on a daily basis, but we don't go to war over it. That's the beauty of our and any democracy. I pray that Iraq will someday see a functioning democratic society. I've heard from many friends overseas that the Michael Moore movie Farenheit 9/11 is actually having a reverse effect from that thought. People who see that movie overseas are seeing that we Americans can make movies that make fun of our leader, call him out and put him on the stand. Where as if someone in a foreign country under a dictatorship would do that, they'd be killed. So some people are seeing that democracy is a good thing...hopefully it will spread....I'm not talking about a one world government...that would be bad...not to mention the beginning of the Tribulation!! But peace...we all want that. I think people like Saddam Hussein are kind of people who were super un-popular in high school with the braces and pimply face, over weight and got made fun of daily and his way of making up for it was to govern with an iron fist so everyone had to like him..or else they'd die! I know...I'm just rambling now...I've had lot of blood loss from an injury over the weekend..sometimes I get delirious!!
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby mmichaelson » Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:24 pm

I tend to agree. Those people who run truly oppressive societies/dictatorships (Hitler, Hussein, etc) usually have very painful childhoods. They also happen to be quite brilliant in a psychotic way. Hitler was an amazing orator. In fact, most modern people would like a lot of his earlier speeches. He had a way of speaking to the masses. He just took it too far.

And yes, we all want peace. But even though I'm an eternal optimist, I know that there will never truly be peace all over the world. It is not possible for all of humankind to do this. We can only hope to be the best that we can be to those around us, and live our lives to the best of our ability.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby RC » Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:41 pm

Winston Churchill: Bi-Polar and unpopular.
First one that came to mind.
A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby mmichaelson » Mon Aug 30, 2004 3:17 pm

Ha! Poor Churchill. I didn't think he was all that bad though. . .
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby RC » Mon Aug 30, 2004 3:30 pm

I personally thought he was brilliant.
Many psychological disorders accompany genius and/or exaggerated creativity, which frequently accounts for malcontentment as well.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Mon Aug 30, 2004 5:09 pm

It's very difficult to force freedom on a people who have been opressed for generations. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see Iraq as being peaceful and democratic in the fifty or so years I've got left. They might surprise me, and I hope they do, but my money's agin' it.

Iraq, like much of the middle east, is a construct of colonial times. That doesn't necessarily make it wrong, but it doesn't add stability.
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Re: The Unnecessary War

Postby barfle » Wed Sep 08, 2004 4:27 pm

Here's a report by the Cato Institute giving several reasons why the war in Iraq was a terrible idea.
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