What makes a justified/morally correct war? Now discussing the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by saturn5, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Remember, 678 granted the authority to use "all necessary means" to enforce 660 and subsequent relevant resolutions. Those subsequent relevant resolutions included 687 (as well as the later ones up to and including 1441, which stated that Iraq was in material breach of 687).

    As far as who gets to decide what constitutes "all necessary means", that determination has historically been left to those who are actually executing the military operations. Under established international law, authorizing "all necessary means" covers the use of force up to and including nuclear weapons. Essentially, it was a blank check of authority to coalition forces cooperating with Kuwait to do whatever they felt they had to do to enforce 660, 687, and later resolutions.


    And the actions of the administration circa August 2002 - March 20, 2003 does not strike you as violating the spirit and intent of those resolutions?

    Blank checks of authority cashed 12 years afterward to undertake actions not necessary at any point in the original conflict -- and done with a retroactive claim that acts of previous administrations were enough and so few to no preliminary measures were required, including eventually the newly ongoing efforts of weapons inspectors -- strikes me as using the law to one's own purposes.

    If this was the law itself within a given nation it would be enough grounds for a legal argument for a Supreme Court case up until the point the UN offered its additional authorization for the 2003 invasion... after said invasion was completed.
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I am saying nothing about the spirit or intent of those resolutions. I am simply point out that in a strictly legal sense, Bush's actions do not meet the legal criteria for treason, war crimes, or crimes against peace. Under international law, they were legal, and you can't just go back and retroactively change the law because you want to try to get him for something.

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT: Strictly speaking, it wasn't a 12-year-old blank check either. Under international law, it was effectively renewed with each UNSCR that specified that they were recalling resolution 678. That would mean that the authority to use "all necessary means" was renewed in UNSCR 1441 on 8 Nov 2002.
  3. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I am saying nothing about the spirit or intent of those resolutions. I am simply point out that in a strictly legal sense, Bush's actions do not meet the legal criteria for treason, war crimes, or crimes against peace. Under international law, they were legal, and you can't just go back and retroactively change the law because you want to try to get him for something.

    Isn't that what was done for many defendants at Neuremburg? I was under the impression that they were charged with certain statues (not all, but a certain number) that did not exist at the time many of the actions they were convicted of were done.
  4. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I've always had some strong ethical reservations about how the Nuremberg trials were handled. Much of it appears to me to have been nothing more than trying to find excuses to execute leaders from the losing side. While historically the losing side's leaders were allowed to be executed, Nuremberg changed things by inventing legal excuses after the fact. Ex post facto laws are pretty much always a bad idea, and they open the doors to all manner of abuses.

    It's essentially as Ben Franklin said in the musical 1776: "Treason is a charge invented by winners as an excuse for hanging the losers." (This line is from the play, but was never historically said by Franklin.)

    Kimball Kinnison
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I agree. He was no traitor; he was a fool, and a liar.
  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    If that's your position, KK, that the Nuremberg trials are not to be considered a proper application of international law, then your position, IMO, would be consistent.

    I agree. He was no traitor; he was a fool, and a liar.

    For the record, at least as far as I was arguing, a conspiracy to wage war wouldn't equate to treason either.
  7. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I would say that Nuremberg is a proper application of historical tradition (execute or imprison the losing side's leaders) wrapped in an abominable legal veneer (instituting ex post facto laws).

    They are now considered precedent, but they are a very poor precedent to use (at least as far as they imposed ex post facto criminal definitions on actions). However, I would say that the definitions that the Nuremberg Charter put forward were good definitions of the categories of crimes under international law. It is only their retroactive application of those definitions that I find severely troubling.

    Ex post facto laws and crimes are a very dangerous door to open. Once you make it appropriate to retroactively declare something illegal and punish someone for it, you make it virtually impossible for someone to obey the law in good faith. A law that can be changed after the fact destroys the principle of intent as a necessary element of a crime. That applies on the national level, and the same principle applies on the international level.

    Kimball Kinnison
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    And Gonk, you raise an interesting point, but I'm not sure the Nuremberg Trials were all that "ex post facto" in nature to begin with.

    Remember, Nuremberg was a military trial, and used basic ideas that were created after WWI. I believe Turkey was censured for its own military actions during the 1st world war, although admittedly not to the scale that the Nazis were after WWII. The Nuremberg authority itself spelled out its own limitations. For example, the actions of the Nazis were only covered during the defined period of open hostility-which was from 1939 to German surrender in 1945. The anti-Jewish activity of the Nazis prior to 1939 were not covered at all under Nuremberg. I think it would be fair to say that the overall authority was expanded, but it wasn't created by the Nuremberg Trials.

    If one wanted to make a hypothetical comparison between it and the UN resolutions which covered Iraq, I think you would have to say that Nuremberg granted the allies the ability to investigate and punish all crimes against humanity and any war crimes, but then when sentences of death by hanging were handed out, some of the participants objected due to non-support of capital punishment. Any objections to capital punishment would have to be raised when the authority was being drafted, not after it's carried out.

    In Iraq, the fault for the all-inclusive and outright ambiguous nature for the UN resolutions fall squarely at the feet of the UN. You can't draft and then pass a resolution which authorizes "any means necessary," without restrictions, but then balk when one of the authorized powers invokes it. At least from a legal standpoint, that is.
  9. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    So you would be all right with the non-legally binding statement that "Bush is an immoral man for instigating an unnecessary war, for pushing the military option rather than showing all possible restraint"? I don't mind if Bush never goes on trial (in fact I don't want to see him on trial), but I do mind if history lets him off the hook.

    So was there a particular part of the resolution or its renewals that explicitly delegated to the U.S. the authority to disarm Iraq by force? When it says "all necessary means" does it not imply that smaller transgressions should be met with less severe responses? And who is to determine when a transgression has occurred? If I recall, we outright refused to provide any evidence to the U.N. when we declared that Saddam has WMD's, we basically told them they had to take our word for it.
  10. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    In UNSCR 678 it specified that the authority was given to "Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait".

    I'm posting from my phone, but I'll add more later. I strongly recommend reading the relevant resolutions. They really help clarify the legal aspects.

    Kimball Kinnison
  11. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Ok, in no particular order;

    1. The point is not the Nazis/Japanese were already a threat to world security when the US entered WW2 but that they wouldn't have been had the US intervened sooner? The issue of the U-boats is not that the US Navy might sink a few but that by cutting the US support for the UK/USSR Hitler could finish them before the US could gear up to intervene

    2. Iraq gave just as much propaganda against the West as Iran/NK but due to sanctions it was more limited in it's distribution. NK does not have the same potential for destruction as it has no oil so is impoverished, Iraq had vast oil supplies to fund WMDs, the world's 4 largest army and god knows what else. We know Saddam could hit Israel with scuds but Saddam could also open a suitcase of anthrax in Times Square and no one would know anything about it until way too late. 9/11 finally woke people up to such threats.

    3. Saddam had killed 100,000s in the past and would sometimes kill up to 100 people a day in casual repression BEFORE we take into account those dying due to sanctions imposed by WMDs he knew he no longer possessed but pretended he did. And before he launched his latest crazy war. Millions is an exaggeration for those killed in the insurgency 100,000-150,000 is the generally agreed on figure and that includes thousands of insurgents. Those who claim they opposed the liberation because they cared for the Iraqi people actually couldn't care less about them and would have let the rot under Saddam as long as they didn't have to watch it on their TV every night (much like the anti-Vietnam protesters after the fall of Saigon)

    4. I don't think even the most rabid, head in the sand conspiracy theorist can say that Bush knew there were no WMDs, he didn't, no one but Saddam and co could do that, you could say you disagree with him but he didn't lie and is certainly not a traitor. History will judge the liberation, if in 5 years time Iraq is still a democracy and the violence has abated we might all think differently?

    5. As for the presidential finding I was asked if I thought the president was above the law. Don't be too hard on LBJ, when he was in power not only did North Vietnam expand it's arming and supply of the VC but started sending regular NVA troops down the Ho Chin Minh trail. That's why the allies intervened directly, the VC were never going to take Saigon (and never did)but the NVA might. Probably why LBJ said what he did to McNamara. As for Nixon he was a strong proponent of US intervention in Vietnam when he was in the legislature, in was only when he took power that he began to advocate Vietnamization.

    I've reported Darth Yathura to the mods for flaming me, he/she just doesn't seem to be able to stomach anyone challenging their cherished conspiracy theories (or as Leo put it in Miller's Crossing "Twist a pigs ear watch'em squeal"). Happy to discuss but for people to start swearing at and calling you inept and ignorant just for disagreeing with you isn't on. This week the US withdrew combat troops from Iraq. Iraq now is a free and open society with a free press, free travel, free speech, freedom of conscience, unfettered internet access (4,500-1.6 million since liberation), unrestricted mobile phones (80,000-20million), no sanctions, able to compete normally in sports etc and have ordinary relations with other nations etc. Violence is stil terrible but down 90% from 2007 and far below what the Iraqis suffered under Saddam. Even amongst the Sunnis you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would like Saddam back although they wish the occupation had gone better (don't we all!). And certainly, Kuwait, Saudi and Iran feel the same way. What would it have been like if Iraq was still under the rule of Saddam or his odious sons?

    Maybe we should all meet up in 5 years time, see where Iraq is and decide?
  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    You're not discussing, you're lecturing.
    And you didn't pick the most balanced course book to lecture from.
  13. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Look, you have to respect the sovereignty of other countries, at least up to a certain point. Should Britain and France have invaded Germany the moment that the madman author of Mein Kampf took over? They didn't know at the time that Hitler would do what he did. When Hitler got around to annexing Czechoslovakia, that might have been grounds for war....but you can't pre-empt threats THAT far in advance.

    Sigh....okay if you can find any evidence, any accurate CIA reports or whatnot, that Saddam had the means or the intention to deliver anthrax to Time Square, then post them here and maybe I'll change my mind. As far as I know, there were reports stating that Saddam probably did not have WMD's nor did he have the desire to attack the U.S. with terrorist infiltrators, but these were ignored. This is what is meant when Bush is accused of cherry-picking the intelligence.

    Not to mention, what motive does Saddam have in attacking America? He of all people had to know that if he tried to **** with us then he's a dead man. I guess it doesn't matter, because he ended up dead anyway....

    I'm going to have to accuse you of using the world "liberation" as a euphemism. You do realize that this war is still controversial do you not? Anybody can claim that they're "liberating" the people of another country, the Chinese Communists claimed to be "liberating" their people, the North Vietnamese claimed to be liberating the South, and the Soviets claimed to be liberating Afghanistan. Americans also claimed to be liberating the Cubans when we started the Spanish-American War....but isn't that incredibly dishonest considering that the country was already bent on war?

  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I haven't been certain on how to respond to Mr44's assertion on Nuremburg becuase he seems to suggest that the Nazis were guilty of a conspiracy to wage war on existing rules whereas the Bush administration was not. I am operating under the presumption that there was no such crime in international law until WWII. Is that incorrect?


    1. The point is not the Nazis/Japanese were already a threat to world security when the US entered WW2 but that they wouldn't have been had the US intervened sooner? The issue of the U-boats is not that the US Navy might sink a few but that by cutting the US support for the UK/USSR Hitler could finish them before the US could gear up to intervene

    There is, you know, a difference between starting hostilities with potential occupying forces in a conflict that had not seen them in 12 years (and when they had it was only for a certain number of months) and a constant ongoing massive conflict involving a number of the greatest powers on Earth that has not really let up (minus 'SitsKrieg') over two and a half. At the time the US was "not getting involved" in WWII, the Nazis had in the meantime taken over France, Belgium, Norway and a smattering of other nations, and were conducting the Battle of Britain. They weren't just sitting there within thier own borders like Saddam was in 2003. At some point there I think the US can be forgiven for any moves in WWII that might look a little "pre-emptive": they're looking at two sides in a conflict which are actively blowing the crap out of one another. At the time just before US entry, the question of world peace vs world war had been decided for over 2 years. Something like 4 if you're counting from the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.

    There's little to nothing in that analogy which applies to Iraq other than they both deal with international armed conflict.


    2. Iraq gave just as much propaganda against the West as Iran/NK but due to sanctions it was more limited in it's distribution. NK does not have the same potential for destruction as it has no oil so is impoverished, Iraq had vast oil supplies to fund WMDs, the world's 4 largest army and god knows what else. We know Saddam could hit Israel with scuds but Saddam could also open a suitcase of anthrax in Times Square and no one would know anything about it until way too late. 9/11 finally woke people up to such threats.

    Yeah, and Fidel Castro could do all the same things. Any country in the world that doesn't like the US could do these things. The days of Iraq's 4th largest army in the world -- which btw was merely a count of numbers of men mobilized, not an account of how effective it was, and it was so large because it had not so very long ago wrapped up a protrated conflict with Iran -- were gone at the end of the first Gulf War and getting up to that point again was not coming anytime soon.


    3. Saddam had killed 100,000s in the past and would sometimes kill up to 100 people a day in casual repression BEFORE we take into account those dying due to sanctions imposed by WMDs he knew he no longer possessed but pretended he did. And before he launched his latest crazy war. Millions is an exaggeration for those killed in the insurgency 100,000-150,000 is the generally agreed on figure and that includes thousands of insurgents. Those who claim they opposed the liberation because they cared for the Iraqi people actually couldn't care less about them and would have let the rot under Saddam as long as they didn't have to watch it on their TV every night (much like the anti-Vietnam protesters after the fall of Saigon)

    Well first of all why do you think I mentioned how those past progroms were OVER and that no new ones had begun? Yes, he COULD have started another one but there's no way of knowing that since there was no sign of it happening. And if it had happened, there were forces at hand to stop it if so desired. And since the invasion wasn't going to bring back anyone already dead, it wasn't helping with deaths that had already taken place.

    As for the S
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I haven't been certain on how to respond to Mr44's assertion on Nuremberg becuase he seems to suggest that the Nazis were guilty of a conspiracy to wage war on existing rules whereas the Bush administration was not. I am operating under the presumption that there was no such crime in international law until WWII. Is that incorrect?

    I don't think anything prepared the world for what the Nazis did. The scope of the crime was increased after WWII, the actual framework was already in place. Things like the Hague treaty (which was adopted in 1899), and the initial rounds of what would become the Geneva Conventions (1907, 1912, 1918) already spelled out the conduct of military personnel. But these things revolved around behaviors like an officer summarily executing a civilian, or condemning the (then) Imperial British practice of "notching" their soft lead bullets to take down advancing tribesmen.

    The best analogy I can give, and it's not a perfect one, is how the specific crime of "mass terrorism" was added to the US legal code after the WTC attacks. There was already a crime of "murder" on the books, but how do you compare the act of stabbing a single person to death, to the intentional act of killing 3,000 people? The framework is the same. And since the US has the death penalty, you can only execute someone once, but the moral response is different.

    If the Nazis hadn't invaded Poland and started WWII, and instead simply engaged in a systematic but internal cleansing of the Jews within Germany, there would have been no Nuremberg trials, because there would have been no military standard to hold them to.
  16. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    This is a discussion, I am replying to people point by point although it's difficult to address everyone

    I certainly stick by the term 'liberation', again even the most head in the sand conspiracy theorist couldn't claim that Iraq is not freer now than it was under Saddam (and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia freer under their various US backed autocratic Presidents than under Communism).

    And again saying South Vietnam should have been able to fight off the North itself is like saying South Korea should have been able to stand on it's own 2 feet (North Vietnam an utter tyranny backed with limitless resources from China and the USSR, Ho Chi Minh saying he was prepared sacrifice millions to invade the south and reunite the country) or that we shouldn't aid Pakistan in fighting the Taliban on their home turf.

    And certainly China, North Korea, East Germany, Cuba and the USSR DID embed their troops with the South East Asian communists (especially as Mig pilots). And the Pathet Lao and Kyhmer Rouge both relied on Vietnamese Communist forces to overthrow their respective pro-Western goverments just as the domino theory predicted.

    But we're getting off topic and almost seem to be going in circles. I want to ask a very fundamental question. I've just given you a magic wand. With it I give you the power to turn back time so that the liberation never happened.

    So what do you do? Stop it happening, bringing back to life 100,000-150,000 people including over 5000 allied troops? But you would destroy Iraqi democracy, leave Saddam (or his sons) in power with all the evil and suffering that carries with it, very possibly kill many more than were lost on the liberation, have the Iraqi people oppressed and impoverished and still have the threat of WMDs, still have Saddam sponsoring terrorism and threatening his neighbours. A nightmare with no end in sight.

    For my part, I'd go with the liberation. What's your opinion?
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I certainly stick by the term 'liberation', again even the most head in the sand conspiracy theorist couldn't claim that Iraq is not freer now than it was under Saddam (and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia freer under their various US backed autocratic Presidents than under Communism).

    With the exception of Cambodia, which I will grant for obvious reasons, I don't see how this is the case. And in the case of Cambodia, other Communists threw out the insanely maniacal communist (Pol Pot) only for the US (thrugh Thailand) to then use Pol Pot against said other communists.

    And again saying South Vietnam should have been able to fight off the North itself is like saying South Korea should have been able to stand on it's own 2 feet (North Vietnam an utter tyranny backed with limitless resources from China and the USSR, Ho Chi Minh saying he was prepared sacrifice millions to invade the south and reunite the country) or that we shouldn't aid Pakistan in fighting the Taliban on their home turf.

    Why couldn't the US have supplied South Vietnam with such "limitless resources" as these other powers were doing? I don't understand why that wouldn't have been sufficient.

    And certainly China, North Korea, East Germany, Cuba and the USSR DID embed their troops with the South East Asian communists (especially as Mig pilots). And the Pathet Lao and Kyhmer Rouge both relied on Vietnamese Communist forces to overthrow their respective pro-Western goverments just as the domino theory predicted.

    As I recall it wasn't so clean as all that -- and those respective communist forces promptly turned on one another before spreading any further. In fact they turned on one another extremely early -- what was going on was not so much a play of Communist world takeover, but a power play between Vietnam and China. The pimary reason Vietnam itself was Communist was that it was only able to get major power backing from the USSR in its war with France. Who then also backed Vietnam against China, who they were long foes against.

    The Domino theory worked very well in predicting the attitude of the USSR and the Kremlin. It failed miserably to recognize the factor local issues overrode the entire issue of Communism and how important that was. In th eDomino Theory, there wasn't a lot of room for what led to the destruction of the Iron Curtain: it presumed all Communists were in solidarity with one another, which they really weren't.



    So what do you do? Stop it happening, bringing back to life 100,000-150,000 people including over 5000 allied troops? But you would destroy Iraqi democracy, leave Saddam (or his sons) in power with all the evil and suffering that carries with it, very possibly kill many more than were lost on the liberation, have the Iraqi people oppressed and impoverished and still have the threat of WMDs, still have Saddam sponsoring terrorism and threatening his neighbours. A nightmare with no end in sight.

    For my part, I'd go with the liberation. What's your opinion?


    Possible, but not all that likely. First of all if another progrom started than an invasion COULD be mounted to stop it, and then it would demonstratively save lives. It would have also been a lot easier to put through the UN and provide a lot less movement on the nuclear clock since the world would be viewed to moving more in concert as it did in 1991.

    Secondly it also presupposed nothing would happen over the next 24 years to mitigate the number of Iraqis dying of sanctions.
  18. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4

    You can't argue that South Vietnam wasn't freer than Communist unified Vietnam. At very least South Vietnam had freedom of movement and a free press (do you think the North would have allowed those pictures of monks burning themselves to death or General Loan executing the captured VC during Tet?)

    When Ho Chi Minh faced internal opposition from within the communist party over the Tet offensive he simply had 200 opponents arrested and executed. That's the difference between the admittedly autocratic South and the tyrannical North. Had South Vietnam survived it would be like South Korea today (also a dictatorship during the Korean war but developing into a democracy later)

    Actually the much maligned Marvin Arvin managed to hold out against the communists for 3 years after the allies ceased large scale operations. But congress cut support for them (by the end they were down to 50 bullets a day per man) whilst the USSR and China never stopped massive support for the NVA and VC. The allies intervened directly in order to buy time to build up the ARVN and allow it to stand on it's own 2 feet. Remember the North is the aggressor here, South Vietnam isn't invading the North.

    And yes, Vietnam fights wars with Cambodia and China after the fall of Saigon, the USSR switched it's efforts to Angola and Nicuragua etc and the US aids The Philipines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand against their own communist insurgencies.
    As for Iraq, by the time Saddam had staged another invasion or used WMDs it might all be too late. And again this ignores the steady drip, drip of deaths through the daily terror and sanctions. Could you look the Iraqi people in the eye and tell them that if you had the power you would bring Saddam back?
  19. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    You can't argue that South Vietnam wasn't freer than Communist unified Vietnam. At very least South Vietnam had freedom of movement and a free press (do you think the North would have allowed those pictures of monks burning themselves to death or General Loan executing the captured VC during Tet?)

    I'm not arguing that that North or South was freer afterwards, I'm arguing that it was not really freer before. If it was freer, why the heck would you have the Viet Cong in the first place? One would assume you'd only have the NVA to contend with.

    Although I would ask how many of those pictures coming back were from American newsmen rather than those native to South Vietnam.

    When Ho Chi Minh faced internal opposition from within the communist party over the Tet offensive he simply had 200 opponents arrested and executed. That's the difference between the admittedly autocratic South and the tyrannical North. Had South Vietnam survived it would be like South Korea today (also a dictatorship during the Korean war but developing into a democracy later)

    And you're saying what, the officals of South Vietnam did not kill thier own as well? That was the same fate for men in South Vietnam, as the corpse of Diem would attest to (Diem himself hardly being a worthy figure in his own right, what with his literally Nazi-idolizing brother running the secret police).

    Actually the much maligned Marvin Arvin managed to hold out against the communists for 3 years after the allies ceased large scale operations. But congress cut support for them (by the end they were down to 50 bullets a day per man) whilst the USSR and China never stopped massive support for the NVA and VC. The allies intervened directly in order to buy time to build up the ARVN and allow it to stand on it's own 2 feet. Remember the North is the aggressor here, South Vietnam isn't invading the North.

    Firstly I'm aware of the issue with Congress. My statements were attributed to why the US had not just gone that route to begin with: the reason Congress pulled funding was because of the US's horrendous experience in Vietnam in the 60s and early 70s. I was asking why LBJ had to commit much in the way of actual US soldiers at all and not just send limited men and materiel as Kennedy had done and as the Russians were doing.

    As for North Vietnam invading the South, the issue was that it was an artificial creation, and the North considered the south to be a contrivance based around rich colonials that had conspired with the French against thier own people. I would be persuaded more by your argument except for the presence of the Viet Cong. Vietnam was not the only nation that endured such division -- yet why does Korea not have it's own version of the Viet Cong? These were people living ni SOUTH VIETNAM who were against thier own government. Clearly something is going on here or you'd have something closer to the Korean scenario.

    As for Iraq, by the time Saddam had staged another invasion or used WMDs it might all be too late. And again this ignores the steady drip, drip of deaths through the daily terror and sanctions. Could you look the Iraqi people in the eye and tell them that if you had the power you would bring Saddam back?

    As for your first argument, that's totally unrealistic. You had the troops right there. You would have to wait DECADES before such a thing would be true, at the same time releasing them from anctions. Saddam would probably have been dead by the time Iraq would be ready to do the things you claim, it would take that long.

    As for looking the IRaqi people in the eye, I'd say this: YOU choose. You can have a million or more people back and 2 million returned to your country... maybe your father, sister or brother... and you can trade in the years of chos in the occupation to what was there under Saddam in 2003. But in return you have to live under Saddam's regime in returnand wait to see what happens in the next 24 years.

    Then I'd see what they said. I'm not so certain the verdict of Iraq's own people
  20. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    You can have terrorists in a free and democratic society as ETA, the IRA, Red Brigades, Baader Meinhoff etc prove. South Vietnam wasn't perfect by any means but you did have foreign correspondents free to report from the South and you didn't have that in the North. Certainly Diem was killed in the coup but that was exceptional whilst Ho Chi Minh slaughterting his opponents was the norm.

    The difference between Vietnam and Korea was that Korea was a penninsula. It lacked the long porous border with Laos and Cambodia through which the VC/NVA infiltrated. If the South had only had to fight along the DMZ it would still be here today.

    Certainly the VC had sizeable support in the South but not overwhelming. The Tet offensive was supposed to start as national popular uprising against the Saigon goverment. It didn't happen and once the shock wore off the Allies slaughtered the VC in a straight battle. Or I should say VC supplemented by the NVA as the US pacification programme was seriously beginning to bite. The people of the South didn't support communism but they didn't support the various US supported dictatorships either. After the fall of Saigon they changed their minds but much like Czechoslovakia, by then it was too late.

    Why did the South require foreign soldiers to prop it up? Because the North was a tyranical nation under arms with mass conscription and endless resources. By 1965 the US and her allies either intervened directly to stem the tide or see the South fall, it needed time to let the ARVN build up.

    But we seem to be talking Vietnam and not Iraq.

    The Times/The Economist puts the death toll in Iraq at between 100,000-150,000 and I'm sticking with that. I'd also say to those who fled Iraq, well you could after the liberation, previously you were a prisoner in your own country. I'm sure the people of Kuwait, Iran, Syria and Saudi are plenty happy that he's gone. Amongst Iraqis themselves I'm sure the Kurds and Marsh Arabs would be unanimous as would the Shi'ite majority in the centre of the country. Even amongst the Sunnis who benefitted from a special position under Saddam I think you'd find most are glad he's gone.

    To sum up I would compare the liberation with D-day and the Battle of Normandy which followed. The initial was a great success 'mission accomplished' but the follow up was bungled badly. Which is not to say it wasn't a good idea in the first place.


  21. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Ridiculous. That says more about your unfettered patriotism than about the actual situation. You can't compare the liberation of a number of occupied countries with the invasion of a sovereign one. Well, you can, but like I said... it's ridiculous.

    EDIT: by your argument, we should invade Israel ASAP.
  22. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    No I was making the analogy that whilst the D-day landings themselves were a great success no one had taken into account the fighting in the Normandy bocage that followed and was disasterous until the allies were finally able to overcome (sound familar?)

    Israel is a free and democratic society, the best in the middle east by a wide margin. The list of countries more deserving of intervention is endless. For you to single out Israel smacks of anti-semnitism?

    And you haven't answered my question, I just gave you the magic wand, do you bring Saddam back?
  23. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Israel is a state. Anti-semitism is prejudice or hostility towards Jews.
    If what you say were true, I'd be hostile against some of my clients, and prejudiced towards some of my idols.

    Nothing smacks of nothing. Your dirty little distortion of my observation speaks volumes about your single-sided stance in Middle-East politics.
  24. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    Dirty? Don't start getting personal! Israel is a Jewish state, if you say you're not anti-semitic fine, I'll take your word for it but why did you choose free and democratic Israel to bash rather countless other worse states? Because it's the trendy dog for people to kick because they are free and democratic and care what the world thinks? Perhaps I'm not the one who's 'single minded'?

    Don't get me wrong, I see Israel's faults, you can't ask the Palestinians to negotiate with the Israelis whilst they're still improving the balance of power in their favour by building new settlements. Obama should put pressure on the Israelis to act in good faith but I'm not sure any Democrat president could do that?

    Still haven't answered my question. You have the magic wand, do you bring saddam back?
  25. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    If I had say in keeping the US from fulfilling Al Qeada's goals by engaging in a pointless war to bleed itself to death, I'd certainly stop the 2003 invasion from happening. It doesn't mean I like Saddam anymore, but it certainly would have been in the best interests of the US to focus on real threats and not go after made-up 'terrorist allies' with alleged weapons of mass destruction.

    That's what I would stop from happening.
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