Iraq: Moving forward after the 'Three Week's War'.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Red-Seven, Apr 24, 2003.

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  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    No, I mean pre-invasion.

    What was the point of the dozens of resolutions and the decade+ of enforcing the no-fly zones if none of it mattered?

    It's my main point of contention. The US didn't become involved in Iraq when it invaded in 2003, the invasion was simply a continuation of 12 years of policy.

    If everything you are saying was a foregone conclusion all along, the US should have pulled out of Iraq a year or two at most after 1991 was complete.
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I'm talking about the will of the American people, who were fundamentally disinterested in UN resolutions. The pre invasion Iraq policy was containment of Saddam, and it worked. We've argued all this before. The American people were not moved to support the war because of discontent over flaunting of UN resolutions. They were not moved to support the war because of a humanitarian concern for Iraqi democracy. They were moved to support the war because

    "PROOF [of Saddam's nuclear weapons program] COULD COME IN THE FORM OF A MUSHROOM CLOUD."

    It's a gross mischaracterization of the invasion to call it a "simple continuation" of preexisting policy. It was a dramatic departure. A 180 degree turnaround. We all remember Dick Cheney's 1991-ish remarks about not invading Iraq to avoid a "quagmire."

    "For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire." ~Dick Cheney, 1991
  3. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    I agree. However, despite the fact that we should fix it, I don't think we can, and I don't think anyone else can until we're out of the picture.

    Iraq is a shameful debt we can never, ever really repay.

    I don't know, what was the point?

    The US and the UK were really the only ones who supported the continuing embargo and the no-fly zones to begin with. Most of the rest of the world was in favor of normalizing relations with Iraq even as early as the mid-90s, and, frankly, so was I. There was only one reason for all those resolutions and the (illegal) no-fly zones after that point, the same reason the US embargo of Cuba persists today: stupidity. The kind of pig-headed stupidity that leads people to stay with failed policies for too long when it's obvious to everyone else that they don't work.

    12 years of failed policy, each year more ludicrous and criminal than the last.

    Yes, Clinton shares a big chunk of the blame for this, but it's worth noting that any substantial changes he would have tried to make would never have flown with the Republican-controlled Congress.

    Ummm....yeah. People have only been saying that for over a decade now...

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    If everything you are saying was a foregone conclusion all along, the US should have pulled out of Iraq a year or two at most after 1991 was complete.

    Also, to that point: we weren't in Iraq. We were in Kuwait. We were in the Gulf. We were in Saudi Arabia, etc. And we had, have and continue to have strategic regions for maintaining a scary military presence in the region, if only to assert the critical strategic importance of the unhindered flow of oil to our economy.

    I wouldn't call it 12 years of failed policy. It was 12 years of messy policy that had mixed results: terrible for the Iraqi people, kept Saddam Hussein localized as a threat only to his own population, successfully shut down his WMD programs.

    The policy was also the result of 12 years of sober assessment that almost any messy solution was better than invading Iraq - that regime change as a policy was only valid up to but definitely not including invasion for precisely the reasons so succinctly offered by Dick Cheney in 1991.

    Iraq is a shameful debt we can never, ever really repay

    That much is true. We've earned perhaps generations worth of Iraqi hatred.

  5. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    We were in Iraq. We controlled a huge chunk of its airspace and periodically went on bombing runs.

    Hundreds of thousands of whom died.

    But also, arguably, kept him in power. He was only able to drum up support for his basically failed regime because we were the bigger boogeyman, and we obviously wanted him out, so ousting him would be capitulating to us. We were the rallying point he used to shore up support among his own people.

    If it weren't for us and the sanctions, it's likely he would have been overthrown before the end of the 90s.

    Obviously, if the only two choices were sanctions and invasion, sanctions were the way to go. But the best option of all, constructive engagement, was never even on the table, which was an oversight of unbelievable proportions which has led to the deaths of at least a million people, probably more, and the total destabilization of a crucially important part of the Middle East. We're talking about a decade and a half of bad decisions followed by worse decisions, leading to a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe on every level. We could not have screwed this up more if we were trying.

    Yep.
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    also, to that point: we weren't in Iraq. We were in Kuwait.

    Jabba, see Diz's answers. Dizfactor and I disagree a lot of the time, but let's not be so coy. Even if were "in Iraq" only to go on bombing runs, does that mitigate any consequences? As you say, we were in Saudi Arabia, we were in other Gulf nations for no other reason to enforce UN resolutions regarding Iraq.

    Yes, we have had this discussion before, but you are also glossing over key portions. The purpose of the sanctions weren't to contain Iraq as a regional power, they were to force Iraq to comply with the UN mandates. "Containment" became a justification in and of itself, as the sanctions/resolutions became a means to and end.

    Regardless of how one views the actual invasion, you're illustrating a mindset that has always concerned me. Many powers had a mentality that anything goes in Iraq, as long as invasion wasn't one of them.

    It's something no one has ever answered, but how many years of cruise missile strikes equate to a resolution? How many Iraqi factories, radar sites, etc.. have to be bombed for it to equal a conclusion? How many years should Iraq be kept in the dark ages, as long it was "contained" before they were allowed to move on? If Bush hadn't invaded, and instead simply continued to bomb Iraq on a weekly basis, I suppose no one would have cared, and he would be hailed as a policy master.

    It's clear that the invasion hasn't brought about a solution either, but there were certainly valid reasons why the chance was taken.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think we can agree, and the last four years have taught us, that there is a significant practical difference between invading a country's airspace and putting troops on the ground, if only that one invites insurgent attacks and the other was carried out with relative impugnity.

    The purpose of the sanctions weren't to contain Iraq as a regional power, they were to force Iraq to comply with the UN mandates. "Containment" became a justification in and of itself, as the sanctions/resolutions became a means to and end.

    UN mandates should always be a means to an end. Of course they were intended to serve strategic policy goals, including containment and neutralization of Saddam as a regional military threat.

    It's something no one has ever answered, but how many years of cruise missile strikes equate to a resolution? How many Iraqi factories, radar sites, etc.. have to be bombed for it to equal a conclusion? How many years should Iraq be kept in the dark ages, as long it was "contained" before they were allowed to move on? If Bush hadn't invaded, and instead simply continued to bomb Iraq on a weekly basis, I suppose no one would have cared, and he would be hailed as a policy master.

    diz already answered that. International interest in sanctions and enforcement had all but disappeared. From 1995 onward, it had almost exclusively been about humoring America. When Bush jr. began his sabor-rattling, the international response became even more about that.

    It's clear that the invasion hasn't brought about a solution either, but there were certainly valid reasons why the chance was taken.

    Enforcing UN resolutions wasn't one of them. Not invading served the broader policy goals better than any kind of wrote, empty-headed insistence on carrying out a UN mandate that the UN itself and 99% of its constituent nations did not want carried out.

    WMD wasn't one of them. The threat of terorism wasn't one of them.

    Establishing democracy in Iraq wasn't one of them.

    For humanitarian reasons? The more effective route would have been to end the sanction regime.

    Dick Cheney's 1991 calculus about why Iraq would spell quagmire for the U.S. had not changed by 2003 except for one thing: irrelevant fearmongering about terrorism.
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Dick Cheney's 1991 calculus about why Iraq would spell quagmire for the U.S. had not changed by 2003 except for one thing: irrelevant fearmongering about terrorism.

    which has resulted in maybe the blackest irony of all: iraq is now a hotbed of terrorism and terrorists, which it wasn't beforehand.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    A hotbed, a motivating cause, a recruitment center, a graduate school.
  10. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I don't know Jabba, that seems to be a pretty serious case of retconning you've got going on there.

    From the time Bush took over to 2003, when the US invaded, there were no fewer than 11 UN resolutions that were passed, the majority of those were not initiated by the US.

    From 1995, the year you mentioned that the world lost interest, there were 34 UN resolutions passed that dealt with Iraq. Clearly, the UN hadn't lost interest in legislating Iraq, even if it fell to the US/UK to enforce those very same resolutions.

    986(95)governed the escrow account/defined exports to Turkey
    1051(96)restricted "dual use" technology to Iraq
    1060(96)Condemned Iraq's refusal to allow inspections
    1111(97)clarified oilforfood guidelines
    1115(97)again condemns Iraqi refusal for the inspections
    1129(97)restricted oilforfood based on above non-compliance
    1134(97)expanded sanctions because of non-compliance
    1137(97)imposed travel ban on Iraqi officials because of 1134
    1143(97)details improvement for oilforfood
    1153(98)increases oilforfood because of humanitarian crisis
    1154(98)gives Iraq "one last chance" for compliance
    1158(98)enhances oilforfood
    1175(98)allows Iraq to purchase spare parts
    1194(98)condemns Iraq for noncompliance of inspections
    1205(98)gives Iraq "one last chance" for compliance
    1210(98)restricts oilforfood

    *Due to Iraqi non-compliance, US carries out Operation Desert Fox, and Clinton signs the Iraqi Liberation Act into law.*

    1242(99)again defines oilforfood
    1266(99)increases oilforfood to offset Iraqi shortfall
    1275(99)limits oilforfood due to noncomliance
    1280(99)limits oilforfood due to noncompliance
    1281(99)redefines oilforfood
    1284(99)admonishes Iraq for not settling debt w/Kuwait
    1293(00)again increases spare parts b/c of Iraq deterioration
    1302(00)redefines oilforfood/concerned over activity in NFzones
    1330(00)seizes Iraq's UN dues from oilforfood revenue
    1352(01)commissions study to increase sanctions
    1360(01)extends oilforfood
    1382(01)modifies Iraq's humanitarian needs
    1409(02)tightens sanctions because of noncompliance
    1441(02)offers "one last chance" for Iraq to comply
    1443(02)extends oilforfood
    1447(02)extends oilforfood
    1454(02)tightens export list
    1472(03)tightens oilforfood
    *this is where the US/UK and Spain submit "military action" against Iraq, although invasion is not specified.*

    All UN resolutions after this one deal with the military action (there are 7 total) and the above list doesn't include the 31 resolutions that covered Iraq before 1995. (known as the "foundation resolutions") All total, the UN passed 74 resolutions dealing with Iraq, including no fewer than 8 resolutions that dealt with Iraq's non-compliance, or offered Iraq "one last chance" before military action

    Now, I know I didn't have to go through and detail every resolution that the UN passed in this timeframe, because it is probably overkill, but I question your statement that the UN/rest of world had lost interest in dealing with Iraq, or that all other reasons besides "fear" had fallen by the wayside.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    That looks more than anything else like a laundry list of resolutions relating to the maintenance of the oil for food program. I don't see how that addresses the larger point of waning international support for the sanctions regime and international distress over the humanitarian crisis caused by it.

    In the absence of real reasons for invading Iraq, I understand why some people have desperately latched on to a formalistic argument for the legitimacy of the invasion (one that remains to this day hotly disputed). But give it a rest, Mr44. We need legitimate strategic and policy reasons to support a war of this magnitude. Not legalistic excuses.
  12. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Now wait a minute. You're changing course here midstream.

    Your original assertion was that: "International interest in sanctions and enforcement had all but disappeared. From 1995 onward, it had almost exclusively been about humoring America."

    That is a major mischaracterization. From "1995 onward," there most certainly was active debate and concern, at least at the official level.

    I didn't just pick and choose the resolutions that authorized military action against Iraq, I provided them all to address that specific point. There were even more than I knew about.

    Out of all of the resolutions, there were only 1 or 2 that had anything to do with specific US concerns. As you noticed, most of them revolve around the UN, as a body, trying to tweak the program to fit the goals it wanted..

    You have to read the actual texts, but the bulk of them represent the fact that the UN recognized the humanitarian crisis that was caused by the sanctions, but that it was powerless to stop it as long as Saddam kept violating the mandates it laid forth.

    To repeat the buzzword, once the international community became involved, the UN didn't have an "exit strategy" to bring the situation in Iraq to a conclusion either, so it lumbered on for 12 years. Except the US was bearing the brunt of the perception caused by the UN's paralyzation. This is an important point, and the basis for the claim that the invasion was a continuation of larger policy.

    It's what I keep pointing out, but when you repeatedly use the sanitized term that Iraq was "contained," it really means that hundreds of thousands of people were perishing. I do agree that this in itself doesn't justify the costs that ultimately developed because of the invasion, but it was no solution in lieu of any other action either.

    I'm not latching on to anything, but rather reinforcing the picture of how Iraq was before 2003, and why there most certainly were "real" reasons to invade Iraq. Even as you accuse some of latching onto a formula, I'd counter that you yourself are ignoring the fundamental situation that Iraq represented.
  13. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I didn't just pick and choose the resolutions that authorized military action against Iraq, I provided them all to address that specific point. There were even more than I knew about.

    The very nature of the international dispute over the UN role is the very fundamental disagreement over whether there were any UN resolutions that "authorized military action against Iraq" subsequent to the first Gulf war and more specifically authorized the U.S. to undertake military action on the UN's behalf. You're not going to be able to sweep that dispute under the rug.

    Part of what was going on was U.S. policy trying to prop up UN interest in the sanctions regime, which makes this statement:

    You have to read the actual texts, but the bulk of them represent the fact that the UN recognized the humanitarian crisis that was caused by the sanctions, but that it was powerless to stop it as long as Saddam kept violating the mandates it laid forth.

    more than a bit disingenuous, as were Clinton's 1998 military initiatives in the region. Calling Bush's policies a continuation of Clinton's misbegotten wag the dog military action is probably the worst insult you can hurl at the Bush administration. The only part Clinton got right was refraining from taking meaningful action toward regime change -- making regime change part of our official policy was not nearly as stupid as acting on it.
  14. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    The very nature of the international dispute over the UN role is the very fundamental disagreement over whether there were any UN resolutions that "authorized military action against Iraq" subsequent to the first Gulf war and more specifically authorized the U.S. to undertake military action on the UN's behalf. You're not going to be able to sweep that dispute under the rug.

    Right, and I'm not sweeping anything under the rug, it is the basis for all my illustrations.

    What you are claiming would make more sense if the last time the UN passed resolutions regarding Iraq was 91/92, and no further debate occured. If I provided a list, and the last UN resolution on that list was over 14 years old, I would completely agree with you. But this is not what happened. It's not that the resolutions decrease in authority because of age, but I could see the point about perception. But again, as late as 2002, Iraq was being warned by the UN when it authorized military action to force compliance.(after 8 or so such warnings/actions) Perhaps some nations envisioned that the response would be nothing but more missile strikes, while others were gearing up for a full scale regime change. The authorization didn't specify either one.

    Out of that 30+ list, I don't see any where the US was trying to "prop up UN interest," although I see many where the UN extends the authority of the sanctions/no-fly zones/resolutions.

    If the UN had really lost interest in Iraq, then the UN should have ended its mission, issued a resolution concluding the sanctions, and removed the authority for force. But no country seemed ready to cut Iraq completely loose, even as the debate was raging on, and even as it fell to the US(with the UK) to enforce that authority.

    So again, what to do? UNICEF's estimate puts sanction related starvations at 500,000, and other estimate between 250,000-800,000. US warplanes patrolling the no-fly zones are increasingly coming under fire and have to react with force, causing more casualties. The mere presense of US troops on Saudi soil was given as the main reason why the WTC was bombed. In fact, the Saudi barracks were those troops stay has already been attacked. Simply packing up and going home isn't an option, because Iraq has never completed the mandated inspections, everyone believes Iraq has weapons, and it would break containment.

    The last alternative suggestion anyone made in this thread was that the sanctions should simply be allowed to continue until they work...

    more than a bit disingenuous, as were Clinton's 1998 military initiatives in the region. Calling Bush's policies a continuation of Clinton's misbegotten wag the dog military action is probably the worst insult you can hurl at the Bush administration. The only part Clinton got right was refraining from taking meaningful action toward regime change -- making regime change part of our official policy was not nearly as stupid as acting on it.

    Except I'm less interested in casting blame on either, and more interested in discussing the situation that was presented to them. Clinton was savy from a political standpoint. Bush wasn't. Bush is suffering the consequences. But neither really impact the actual situation that existed.
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Iraq has never completed the mandated inspections, everyone believes Iraq has weapons

    First, I think it's clear in the leadup to war that not everyone believed Iraq had WMD, that many if not most of the real experts believed that the inspections had done their job and that Hussein has no programs capable of posing a threat.

    George Bush senior adopted regime change at least as a stated goal for political reasons, and so resolution 661 was largely adopted at the insistence of the U.S. This was a mistake, since few guessed the human toll would be so high without weakening Saddam's hold on Iraq.

    The oil for food program instituted under resolution 986 was important precisely because it was a response, if a tepid and ineffectual one, to the humanitarian crisis. I don't see how this counters the contention, widely reported in the news in the mid-to-late 90s, (oil for food launched in 1997) that international support for sanctions was weakening. Indeed, the oil for food program proves my case, since to a large extent it was a stopgap solution in lieu of simply ending sanctions which was impossible due to U.S. opposition.

    By the time Saddam demanded unconditional lifting of the sanctions, a large swath of the rest of the world agreed with him, with the exception of course of the U.S. which had extraordinary success imposing its policy will on the UN regarding Iraq, even up to and including the leadup to the invasion.
  16. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think the Oil for Food program could be the proof in a multitude of cases. I agree with you that it was a stopgap. The UN policy toward Iraq was a series of stopgap measures that over the course of 12 years became a substitute for a permanent solution. This has been my point.

    Your other characterizations just don't match up to what was occuring within the UN. If so many countries wanted to end the sanctions, why did those same countries keep passing resolutions? Why wasn't the mandate simply lifted and the authority removed? You're actually suggesting that it was all because the US objected? In a lot of the cases that I looked through, the votes were unanimous. Typically, the votes were more likely 13 in favor with a couple of countries like China or Peru abstaining, or similiar breakdown. I don't know any that were 14 vs 1 votes against the US.

    Hypothetical UNSC debate:

    "The honorable delegate from Germany believes everything is fine in Iraq, but since the US likes to bomb it, we vote to extend the sanctions."

    Sure the above is a joke, but hypocracy, thy name is "sanction.."

    The collected body of the UN didn't want to end the sanctions, even though the same body recognized the effects they were having. There was certainly debate that occured with the SC, but at no time was it all or nothing. Again, this didn't take place over the course of a couple of years, it represented 12 years of one stopgap after the other. In fact, mere months before the invasion, the UN was again tightening sanctions against Iraq precisely because of Iraqi non-compliance.

    Maybe more than anything, you personally want to believe that it was only the US, and thus, it is easier to view policy in isolation?
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I admit personally that I made a mistake in my support of the intervention initally, and that I didn't see the underlying sectarian tensions that would lead to such a disaster along with propping up Iran's influence in the region.

    This is a quote from DM on the previous page, but it applies just as much to JF, and indeed anyone who was originally in favor of the invasion.

    I think there is something to what has happened that bears attention to, but I think the best way of getting to it is to say what does NOT need paying attention to because it's not really important. DM names his ignorance of the underlying sectarian tensions in Iraq -- no doubt many were. But I don't see how this precisely matters. There's always going to be too many nations to pay attention to when you're not exactly a professional diplomat. DM, you got stuff to do... you got medical work to do and JF you got pilot work to do (I think).

    One could say "yeah, but I should have read up on the country before we went in". Well yes, maybe, but knowing about the sectarian strife beforehand was no GURANTEE that it was going to blow over. Just as communism disappearing in Yugoslavia was no guarentee that war was going to occur in the vaccum that followed. If you're conducting the invasion yes, it's your job to know that stuff and to ensure that it doesn't happen. But by the time the invasion was ready to go you and anyone else probably knew enough Iraq to know the risks -- we knew at least as much as your average Victorian when the British first went into India, and probably more.

    What is important is the fact that there were arguments against the war at the start, and why they were not listened to by the war supporters.

    Some say they were "fooled" by the intelligence. For some reason I don't buy that: largely because where I hear it most often are people who were anti-war for a long time saying something to the effect of "pro-war people are being fooled by the intelligence". That feels to me something of underestimating a person's intelligence, and thus too easy an explanation.

    What is more important is, I think, despite all the things said by veterans who have seen wars of incerdibly terrible cost, the will of people to go to war. I think there is, despite everything that we have in the media on war, a complete misunderstanding of when to go to war and when not to. That the situation in WWII is, as DM pointed out, an aberrition where morality and politics conveniently correlated.

    There's a misunderstanding of several things, including:

    1) When the nation's future is absolutely at risk of annihilation

    2) When the nation's security will be helped by war

    3) When war will improve situations abroad for America and/or other parties

    The main Republican argument was always situated in a small kernal of truth, even from the beginning. That being there is a time when war is a necessity. Thier falsehood -- and it just as much the fault of the people who accepted it than those doing the claiming -- was in establishing that fact and constantly saying or implying the situation in WWII was sufficiently like this one, which it was clearly not.

    I was involved in another conversation with someone who disagreed with Rememberance (Veteran's) Day because they said it "glorified war". I began disagreeing with them, but realized at some point they are actually, to a degree, RIGHT. They were not right at any point to suggest that the Vetrans glorify war, but that their decendants pay attention to thier service rather than what they said after thier service was complete -- and this glorifies war on the one hand even as they say war is horrible on the other. The veterans came back say they were proud of thier service, but also that such things should never happen again -- at least unless absolutely necessary. And if I'm not mistaken, they say the latter far more often than the former.

    What's happened is that, I think, we see these war movies and these messages of what these veterans did for us -- and we say "I want to do something so self
  18. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    In fact, mere months before the invasion, the UN was again tightening sanctions against Iraq precisely because of Iraqi non-compliance.

    You're turning around the issue again. The UN was tightening the sanctions not because of Iraqi non-compliance mere months before the invasion but precisely because the Bush administration was making a stink about non compliance in order to lay its case for invasion. It was part of the international appeasement effort to try to buy time and perhaps slow the Bush administration down in its relentless march to war.

    But again you devote a lot more time to the argument for the invasion as solution to non compliance with UN resolutions than the Bush administration devoted to selling that reason as a cause for the war. The Bush administration sold the war to the American people on the basis of imminent threat to the security of the U.S.

    If you had listened as I did to the nation by nation response at the UN after Powell gave his "ironclad case for war," you would understand the extent to which the UN member nations were casting about for a way to defuse the U.S. push for an invasion.

    As I have always said, the Bush administration correctly calculated that Saddam was an easy target, that it would be politically difficult for other nations to defend his regime, and so the UN would be neutralized as a body capable of blocking the invasion and indeed would provide the U.S. with some legal cover. But not even the Bush adminsitration is doing as you are doing and retroactively trying to pretend that its invasion was about enforcing compliance with UN resolutions.
  19. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Exactly.

    I think a lot of people don't realize the degree to which terms like "appeasement" and "containment" more readily described the rest of the world's approach to dealing with the US during this time period than Iraq. Yes, the UNSC passed all sorts of resolutions against Iraq and made all sorts of noise about the issue, but that's largely because they were trying to throw the warmongering US a bone. Pass a few meaningless resolutions, keep the sanctions going, do whatever it takes to keep the dog on its leash.

    The resolutions weren't about containing the threat represented by Iraq, but rather the threat represented by the US.
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    The Bush administration sold the war to the American people on the basis of imminent threat to the security of the U.S.

    Yeah, and I've already said long ago that the job of selling the war was botched. It's certainly not my job to personally defend Bush, unless of course he wants to start paying me a Press Secretary's salary. There's where I see the main difference between Bush and his father as it relates to policy. I would again add in the disclaimer of who was selling what.

    But this fact alone doesn't (or maybe I think it shouldn't) trump the fact that the invasion was a continuation of larger policy. No one had a problem when 25,000 Iraqis a year were starving under the sanctions. No one had any problem when the US would pre-emptively attack Iraq with cruise missiles all under authority of the UN. No one had a problem when US pilots were bombing Iraqi AAA sites on a weekly, if not daily basis, and no one had a problem when Khobar Towers was attacked, and the same was given as a primary reason for 9/11.

    Basically, no one had a problem when the US, the UN, and Iraq were all stuck between a rock and a hard place for 12 years.

    Now, with the benefit of wonderful 20/20 hindsight, all sorts of experts are coming out of the woodwork proudly proclaiming that they knew that the dreaded "I" word was the wrong move all along. The thing is, just don't ask them to go into any detail about what the right move was as an alternative.

    EDIT: The resolutions weren't about containing the threat represented by Iraq, but rather the threat represented by the US.

    Which doesn't give the rest of the countries on the UNSC very much credit, and would result in exchanges like the intentionally absurd example from above:

    The honorable delegate from Germany realizes that people are suffering in Iraq, but since the US likes to bomb it, we vote to extend the sanctions..."

    And of course, that doesn't explain all of the views of the following people:

    "What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

    "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet."-- Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

    "The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton 1998

    "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members" -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

    "Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons."-- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

    "As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction tech
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I've explained all this before. Democrats were, except for the noteworthy exceptions, cowed by Bush's popularity and the post 9/11 mood of the American people. There was a tremendous fear of failure to adopt the stern tone of the president, particularly in the face of midterm elections. There was a huge amount of political cowardice and diplomatic weakness, domestically and across the globe.

    I also wonder to some extent if there wasn't some sense among nations like France, Russia and China that they shouldn't push too hard, expend too much political muscle trying to fight the invasion, because, at the end of the day, the U.S. would get stuck in a hopeless war in Iraq and the rest of the world could then dance a jig on the grave of America's geopolitical and military dominance.

    "The U.S. is going to push a bad policy to its absurdist conclusion, and then everyone will get a clear understanding of the real limits of American military hegemony."

    I do know what you mean by continuation of the policy of regime change and continuation of the policy of viewing UN sanctions and resolutions as an end in themselves rather than as part of a solution to a broader geopolitical strategic problem. But neither Bush senior nor Clinton was foolhardy enough to see the policy as more important than the results. Not even "regime change" was an end in itself, except for Bush the younger.

    The absurdist extreme of U.S. policy, was, indeed, an invasion and occupation of Iraq. I'm happy to concede your point on this because I think dizfactor was right on this and had a better take on the situation. The problem is that everyone but George Bush knew that Iraq was such an untenable conglomeration of disparate peoples that although Saddam could be deposed, it would take someone with the brutality and absolutist zeal of Saddam to govern and administer Iraq.

    And of course our isolationist buddy Pat Buchanan had it right too, that the U.S. doesn't have a taste for empire and consequently was fundamentally unable to administer Iraq.

    So, there are really three choices moving forward

    1)flood Iraq with another 250,000 (or so) soldiers and ruthlessly crack down on the civilian population,

    2) partition Iraq and maintain a troop presence (perhaps based in Kurdish Iraq) to help enforce the separation and oil revenue sharing or

    3) withdrawal from Iraq and wait to see which warlord will emerge as the new Saddam Hussein.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I've explained all this before. Democrats were, except for the noteworthy exceptions, cowed by Bush's popularity and the post 9/11 mood of the American people.

    But that's why I picked a variety of quotes, from different time frames. It's difficult to argue that Pelosi was cowed By Bush, post 9/11, when she made her statements back in 1998, when a different President was on top.

    At any rate, the quotes are only illustrations, character rebuttals if you will, to the assertion it was only the "neocons" who thought this way. It was the current administration who acted on those concerns, but they certainly weren't limited to it. As we both have pointed out, the policy continuation line is easy to see. I mean come on, I might not have included it, but Teddy Kennedy was claiming that Iraq was a threat....what does that say right there?

    The buck stops with Bush regarding how the invasion is unfolding, but it is not fair to rewrite history and claim that only Bush thought this way, and everyone else knew what a folley it would represent all along.

    What if Gore was elected in 2000 (and re-elected) or Kerry in 2004? At what point would this conclusion of US policy have to manifest itself no matter who was President? I'm not so convinced that Gore or Kerry wouldn't have invaded, or taken some sort of substantially similiar action. (Gore was VP when Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act into law, for example)

    I'd imagine Gore would have engineered a Bay of Pigs type of internal revolt with US support, which probably would have thrown Iraq into more civil turmoil, but it wouldn't have involved large amounts of US troops. We'll never really know.

    Of course, with Kerry, he would have the special ability to uninvade before he invaded... ;)

  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I don't mind talking about continuation of Clinton policy as long as we recognize the clear demarcation line between rhetoric and taking action, between talking about the desire to end Saddam's regime and taking the physical steps necessary to do it.

    I singled out the 2002 pre-midterm election rhetoric for comment because it was most obvious. And Pelosi is easy to explain because of Clinton's sway in 1998. I think you might agree with me that much of this was about political maneuvering. It's certainly unlikely that Clinton had any deep feelings about regime change in Iraq whereas he had very deep feelings about not being impeached. The Pelosi comment coincides with that.

    For someone who pays so much lip service to context, you don't seem to pay much attention to the context in which this stuff was happening.
  24. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    No, I'm completely basing the role of the quotes in the context there were made in. If all of these quotes are to be considered nothing but rhetoric, they certainly don't represent a positive aspect about the people making them. Or maybe all of those people did believe in the quotes when they made them, and the maneuvering didn't start until Iraq started to go downhill?

    Again, opposition to something after it has already started isn't much of an opposition at all.

    Is the demarcation line between rhetoric and taking action that clear though? Clinton did sign the ILA into law. What did he expect to do with it? Even if he, himself, hadn't planned on doing anything with the authority it granted, he left it open that someone else might, be it Gore, or Bush, or whoever was elected after him. He certainly didn't have it repealed when he left office.

    Why did Clinton engage in the Desert Fox strikes, which were certainly based on the same principle of pre-emptive security, if they only represented rhetoric? Even if it wasn't used, the invasion force was organized as well under the same doctrine at that time.

    I understand the line you're illustrating. There is a difference between troops on the ground and a series of organized airstrikes. But I question this mentality that suggested "anything goes" in dealing with Iraq, as long as it wasn't invasion. I don't see that's were the line conclusively fell.

  25. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    If all of these quotes are to be considered nothing but rhetoric, they certainly don't represent a positive aspect about the people making them.

    No, they don't. I think a lot of the democrats knew where Iraq would lead us but went along anyway out of fear of the president's popularity and America's mood vis a vis terrorism, which seemed to preclude rational analysis.

    Why did Clinton engage in the Desert Fox strikes, which were certainly based on the same principle of pre-emptive security, if they only represented rhetoric? Even if it wasn't used, the invasion force was organized as well under the same doctrine at that time.

    I thought I made that clear: impeachment.
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