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October 17, 2004

Comments

Even though he might be more fiscally responsible, get our allies back on our side, help working class families get through these tough times, etc. etc...

Right! Also, don't forget - he'll cure paralysis!

Right! Also, don't forget - he'll cure paralysis!

non sequitor...come on Stan, I know it's Sunday, but you can do better than that... ;-)

What do they fear he'd do? Seriously, I just don't get it.

Oh, he's either just going to be a weak waffler or a ideological leftist, I guess. Or the contradictory conclusion that you've mentioned that he'll somehow be both.

People are projecting, on both sides, as to what Kerry will do. I don't know what Kerry would do at all - given that what he says he will do doesn't make any sense to me. Critiques and support of Bush at least have the ability to ignore contridictory rhetorical statements and examine only what he's actually done.

I am beginning to think the best of the election's probable outcomes is a Bush landslide in both popular vote and electoral college. A Kerry administration will be crippled from the beginning by a probable increase in the GOP majority in Congress. A Bush landslide, on the other hand, will lead to a worst-of-all-possible policy world. Things will get really, really bad on pretty much every front.

If the result by 2008 is not a rational president with strong majorities for change in both houses of Congress, then the writing will be on the wall. I have a passport from a EU country. Granted, this works out to "so long, suckers," but a fellow has to look out for number one.

Edward, Stan is snarking in reference to a suck-up by the next vp about stem cells and Kerry curing whatever.

I'm not sure what your audience for this post is - the barn door's open and it's too late to catch the decideds and the undecideds aren't coming out of their stalls however many carrots you've got.

rilke,

I agree. I think this election was pretty much decided before the debates.

I'm not sure what your audience for this post is

the undecideds have to choose if they vote, rilkefan...neither side will care about them after the election...their value and relevance expires Nov 2.

But I'm still optimistic. My point is that it seems to me the decideds have blinders on. Yes, they may prefer to leave them on even up until they enter the voting booth, but until the PATRIOT ACT III (which I predict will outlaw all criticism of the Bush administration) is enacted, I'll keep preaching the truth...some future archeologist needs to know we weren't all so bamboozled. ;-)

Edward,

Speaking of truth, you still haven't updated your post about Germany supposedly sending troops if Kerry wins.. I know Nov 2 is coming up, but come on :)

Speaking of truth, you still haven't updated your post about Germany supposedly sending troops if Kerry wins.. I know Nov 2 is coming up, but come on :)

Not true, I conceded in the comments that the article you cited suggested there was still a way to go to bring German troops into Iraq. But this thread is still waiting for anyone to answer it's central question...what would Kerry supposedly do that will more incompetent, making us less safe, than the nonsense Bush has already done?

Four more years of the same, blended subtlely with what Bush keeps stealing from Kerry's plans, is all the present administration is offering...no new hope, no clean slate...more of the same...I mean if Bush would at least offer Kerry the SecDef position, then I could perhaps see why folks think the US can withstand four more years of Bush...

Not true, I conceded in the comments that the article you cited suggested there was still a way to go to bring German troops into Iraq.

Yea, but the post itself makes no mention. Ofcourse, I am merely making a suggestion, but one would imagine that Schroeder's smack down of the minister would be a big part of the story. You already got a trackback, so your credibility is on the line... :]

Declassify all the secret Meetings this administratipon has had over the last 4 years, & release Poppy's presidential papers.

Chicago Tribune endorses George W.Bush.

Use "slashdot" as name and password.

Just a personal opinion, as opposed to the objective truth I speak all other times:

If Kerry is elected (you know, if the election wasn't already over before the debates - in which case, my polling place locked me out and we're all gonna fight) he will fail miserably because the fiscal and international problems have been deliberately enlarged and worsened to the point where all so-called solutions will lead to enormous disruptions and lots of dead people.

If Bush wins (you know, ...etc), the deliberate enlarging and worsening of our problems will continue for awhile until catastrophe, which looks like something biblical because that's what it's been created to look like, strikes.

Of course, I could be wrong. But it's a good thing the election was held in secret before the debates, so idiots like me couldn't vote.

You already got a trackback, so your credibility is on the line... :]

Glad to hear I have some credibility.

But your point is fair enough...the post has been updated...now if you'll be so kind as to answer the question this thread poses...or do you have a pocket full of other distractions?

thanks for the ChigacoTrib link, by the way...

I honestly have no idea what Mr. Kerry will or won't do. But I do agree with the notion that the first great challenge of a future Kerry administration will be when he realizes that he's not going to get much help from France or Germany.

John Thullen,

What I meant is that voters had their minds made up prior to the debates. Hence, it was already decided. Don't worry, idiots like you will still get to vote.

Edward,

Kerry voted against Gulf 1. That speaks volumes in itself.

Kerry voted against Gulf 1. That speaks volumes in itself.

Only if you believe the only way to defend the US against global terrorism is an endless campaign of invading other nations.

Edward,

What was the rationale behind his vote?

Ah yes, but being an idiot, whom will I vote for?

What was the rationale behind his vote?

When I returned from Vietnam, I wrote then I was willing personally, in the future, to fight and possibly die for my country. But I said then it must be when the Nation as a whole has decided that there is a real threat and that the Nation as a whole has decided that we all must go.

I do not believe this test has been met. There is no consensus in America for war and, therefore, the Congress should not vote to authorize war.

If we go to war in the next few days, it will not be because our immediate vital interests are so threatened and we have no other choice. It is not because of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons when, after all, Saddam Hussein had all those abilities or was working toward them for years--even while we armed him and refused to hold him accountable for using some of them. It will be because we set an artificial deadline. As we know, those who have been in war, there is no artificial wound, no artificial consequence of war.

Just because the coalition won in the Gulf War doesn't mean war was the last viable option. Kerry surely knew then, as we do now, that Saddam had only invaded Kuwait believing he was doing so with the US's blessing or at least ambivalence.

I prefer a president who will chose war only as the last resort. Like Ike before him, Kerry knows firsthand what sending our young men and women into battle really means.

You wrote: Kerry voted against Gulf 1. That speaks volumes in itself.

Indeed it does. It tells me Kerry is the man for president. He'll fight when there's a clear theat and no other option. He won't risk American lives if he can find another solution. He's the sort of Commander-in-Chief we need.


If we go to war in the next few days, it will not be because our immediate vital interests are so threatened and we have no other choice.

It is hard to make the case outside of a completely delusional mindset that Saddam Hussein invading countries in the Middle East does not threaten our vital interests.

It is not because of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons when, after all, Saddam Hussein had all those abilities or was working toward them for years--even while we armed him and refused to hold him accountable for using some of them.

Again, the sin of indulging Saddam in the past now somehow demands we continue that indulgence. That makes no sense.

Meanwhile, Saddam turned out to be a year away from developing a nuclear weapon after the war - again, our intelligence estimates were completely wrong. Kerry being this casual about WMD is not reassuring.

It will be because we set an artificial deadline.

How else does one compel action by hostile regimes, if not with deadlines? The lack thereof goes a long way to explaining why Saddam was able to violate UN resolutions for over a decade. It's a shame we didn't have more "artifical deadlines."

Now, I'm not convinced Kerry still feels this way; Edward seems to think so and likes it. All of these arguments could be used to argue against any war undertaken by the United States since at least the end of the cold war - including Afghanistan. As I recall, an "artifical deadline" brought that one on as well. War as a last resort sounds nice, but it is lacking in a tangible, specific definition.

Edward,

Indeed it does. It tells me Kerry is the man for president. He'll fight when there's a clear theat and no other option. He won't risk American lives if he can find another solution. He's the sort of Commander-in-Chief we need.

Wow, sounds like this Kerry guy is a man of principles... Except:

Kerry Took BOTH Sides In First Gulf War In Separate Letters To Same Constituent. “Rather than take a side--albeit the one he thought was most expedient--Kerry actually stood on both sides of the first Gulf war, much like he did this time around. Consider this ‘Notebook’ item from TNR’s March 25, 1991 issue, which ran under the headline ‘Same Senator, Same Constituent’: ‘Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the US against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war.’ --letter from Senator John Kerry to Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, dated January 22 [1991] ‘Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush’s response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf.’ --Senator Kerry to Wallace Carter, January 31 [1991]” (Noam Scheiber, “Noam Scheiber’s Daily Journal of Politics, The New Republic Online, 1/28/04)

Ah yes, but being an idiot, whom will I vote for?

I guess if I was an idiot I could make an educated guess, but since I am not... I give up.

For whom will you vote?

Now, I'm not convinced Kerry still feels this way; Edward seems to think so and likes it.

-10 points for projecting violation.

The question was what rationale did Kerry use for not voting to authroize the Gulf War. I supplied his stated rationale for that vote in context.

It is hard to make the case outside of a completely delusional mindset that Saddam Hussein invading countries in the Middle East does not threaten our vital interests.

-10 points for poor reading comprehension. Kerry had two criteria there, you totally ignore one of them...the one I applaud...

our immediate vital interests are so threatened and we have no other choice.

Again, the sin of indulging Saddam in the past now somehow demands we continue that indulgence.

-20 points for embracing blatant hypocrisy.

Kerry being this casual about WMD is not reassuring.

-15 points for being cheap and unsupported.

How else does one compel action by hostile regimes, if not with deadlines? The lack thereof goes a long way to explaining why Saddam was able to violate UN resolutions for over a decade.

Er...I'm not sure what to deduct points here for...making shit up, I guess...Hussein was NOT able to violate UN resolutions for over a decade...the sanctions worked...he had no WMD...

War as a last resort sounds nice, but it is lacking in a tangible, specific definition.

Hmmm...-50 points for inadvertently arguing against one's self...Bush also says we should only fight a war as a last resort.

The use of force has been and remains our last resort.

Only difference is, nothing in his record suggests he truly believes that.

Edward,

On what scale is this global test being graded, anyway? You just took off 105 points.

The presidential endorsements from the nation's newspapers are pouring in and, just like the electorate, the opinionmakers of the op-ed pages seem rather evenly divided.

Um, no.

NEW YORK Senator John Kerry picked up a raft of newspaper endorsements on Sunday, widening his lead over President George W. Bush in this area.

Kerry gained the editorial backing of at least 28 papers, with Bush winning the support of 12 that we know of, giving Kerry the lead by 43-25 in E&P's exclusive tally. He has many more large papers on his side, maintaining his "circulation edge" at better than 3-1: approximately 8 million to 2.5 million

-Editor and Publisher

By no existing definition of "rather evenly divided" is the endorsement situation "rather evenly divided".

Good news felixrayman...I stand corrected... ;-)

On what scale is this global test being graded, anyway? You just took off 105 points.

I stand corrected thrice. Good to know your calculator's working though, Stan.

It is hard to make the case outside of a completely delusional mindset that Saddam Hussein invading countries in the Middle East does not threaten our vital interests.

Would've been nice if someone had informed April Glaspie of that fact. Or, for that matter, the Reagan Administration.

-10 points for projecting violation.

I did qualify that "seems" to be your position, at least it did to me when I read this:

You wrote: Kerry voted against Gulf 1. That speaks volumes in itself.

Indeed it does. It tells me Kerry is the man for president. He'll fight when there's a clear theat and no other option. He won't risk American lives if he can find another solution. He's the sort of Commander-in-Chief we need.

I guess I conflated your support of Kerry's position in the first Gulf War with an endorsement of the principles outlined in the letter Kerry wrote saying why he opposed it. I apologize.

-20 points for embracing blatant hypocrisy.

What hypocrisy am I endorsing? Seems to me that if the government of the United States supports an immoral dictator, and he goes completely out of control, remedying that situation would be a moral obligation.

-15 points for being cheap and unsupported.

Good lord. Demands were made of Iraq by the UN in Resolution 660. This demand was to withdraw from Kuwait and negotiate further issues. He did not comply with this demand, which by the way, is last resort enough for me.

Given that he was demonstrably unwilling to comply with demands, nothing short of war would have prevented Saddam Hussein from having both possession of Kuwait and WMDs. Unless there is a bizarro-world form of diplomacy whereby one can compel hostile dictators into doing what you want them to while allowing them to ignore your demands.

Hussein was NOT able to violate UN resolutions for over a decade.

He was and he did. I guess the Security Council was lying when they passed resolutions that said exactly that. For instance:

Recognizing the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

How many points off for implying I'm making shit up?

Hmmm...-50 points for inadvertently arguing against one's self...Bush also says we should only fight a war as a last resort.

How many points was it again for a projecting violation? 50 points?

Define last resort. I'm comfortable with making a demand with a threat of force within a reasonable and somewhat generous timeframe; the demand not being met, and force ensuing. That seems completely reasonable for the first Gulf War, the second, Afghanistan, and even Bosnia. What is your standard?

By the way Stan, I'm still waiting for some indication of what Kerry would do that would be worse than what Bush has done. You imply that Bush isn't afraid to rush to war, but that hardly strikes me as a reason to endorse him.

Would've been nice if someone had informed April Glaspie of that fact. Or, for that matter, the Reagan Administration.

Anarch, I agree completely.

Edward,

(in Dr.Evil's voice) - "Minus gazillion bazillion shmizzilion points!"

Heh.

Seems to me that if the government of the United States supports an immoral dictator, and he goes completely out of control, remedying that situation would be a moral obligation.

Indeed: pity Ronald Reagan didn't think like you. Or Donald Rumsfeld, for that matter.

Indeed: pity Ronald Reagan didn't think like you. Or Donald Rumsfeld, for that matter

I appreciate your support, Jesurgislac, and hope you'll show that support at the polls this November :-)

Jonas

The hypocrisy it endorses is this: even while we armed him and refused to hold him accountable for using some of them.

We armed him and then suggest we have to stop him because he has arms.

Good lord. Demands were made of Iraq by the UN in Resolution 660.

You wrote: "Saddam was able to violate UN resolutions for over a decade." That implies you mean the resolutions created to eliminate his WMD, which, as the inspector have confirmed, worked, NOT resolution 660.

I guess the Security Council was lying when they passed resolutions that said exactly that. For instance:

Recognizing the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to international peace and security,

Again, the inspectors have confirmed that Iraq did comply with the resolutions created to eliminate his weapons.

Define last resort. I'm comfortable with making a demand with a threat of force within a reasonable and somewhat generous timeframe; the demand not being met, and force ensuing. That seems completely reasonable for the first Gulf War, the second, Afghanistan, and even Bosnia. What is your standard?

Let's limit it to Iraq for the time being. A good determination that we were invading as a last resort would be evidence that Iraq still possessed WMD confirmed by inspections. Another good determiniation would have been some indication that Iraq had any intention whatsoever of using those imaginary weapons against the United States. Neither of these were met.

What's really telling about your questions, however, is the implication that Bush wasn't going to invade anyway. If you believe the ultimate goal was to spread democracy through the Middle East, he had to invade, irregardless of WMD, UN resolutions or any of the other red herrings thrown up by the war's apologists.


The lesser of two idiots, not counting Nader.

For whom will you vote?


P.S. So far, we've got one admitted idiot, two non-admitted idiots (not counting Nader) running for office, and one putative non-idiot.

The hypocrisy it endorses is this: even while we armed him and refused to hold him accountable for using some of them.

We armed him and then suggest we have to stop him because he has arms.

Unless there is a time machine involved here, there's nothing one can do circa 1991 about immorally arming Saddam Hussein previously. Meanwhile, I can't come up for a reason why Kuwait should have had to suffer even more as a result of the immoral arming of Iraq by the United States, Brazil and others... with Russian, France and Germany responsible for the bulk of that arming.

If we assume that we would take action with the UN against a nation conquering another who we did not arm; it does not follow that we would not do the same with one that we did arm.

That implies you mean the resolutions created to eliminate his WMD, which, as the inspector have confirmed, worked, NOT resolution 660.

Argh, I got confused and was still arguing about the first Gulf War. Resolution 687 will do just nicely. Apologies for the error.

The only way one could have declared that the resolutions "worked" is if Iraq was pressured into the kinds of inspections, investigations, and audits that we have currently with Libya. That, thanks to not remaining "siezed of the matter" under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, never happened.

Again, the inspectors have confirmed that Iraq did comply with the resolutions created to eliminate his weapons.

No. You will find inspectors who will tell you now that he destroyed the weapons. You will not find inspectors who will tell you that Saddam was therefore in compliance with the resolutions - because no one believes that.

Much of the demand in the resolution had to do with verification of elimination of these weapons - which makes perfect sense. Those demands were not met.

A good determination that we were invading as a last resort would be evidence that Iraq still possessed WMD confirmed by inspections.

The issue, for me, was compliance with the demands made. There is no way that we can expect the Security Council to function if demands made binding by force are completely ignored. Moreover, if we all hope to use the UN to work against terrorism then we want countries to take resolutions seriously and we have to hold violators accountable.

What's really telling about your questions, however, is the implication that Bush wasn't going to invade anyway. If you believe the ultimate goal was to spread democracy through the Middle East, he had to invade, irregardless of WMD, UN resolutions or any of the other red herrings thrown up by the war's apologists.

Maybe he was going to invade anyways, I have no idea. Had Saddam Hussein complied fully with 1441, and Bush invaded anyway, I would be on your side. It didn't turn out that way.

My stubbornness in this issue has little to do with the Bush administration and their variety show of reasons to go to war. Most of what I'm outlining here were things I believed during the 1998 crisis under Clinton. Which means if I'm being honest with myself, I don't get to abandon it just because Bush winds up being involved. It also does not follow that I think Bush has done it right.

"Maybe he was going to invade anyways, I have no idea. Had Saddam Hussein complied fully with 1441, and Bush invaded anyway, I would be on your side. It didn't turn out that way.

My stubbornness in this issue has little to do with the Bush administration and their variety show of reasons to go to war. Most of what I'm outlining here were things I believed during the 1998 crisis under Clinton. Which means if I'm being honest with myself, I don't get to abandon it just because Bush winds up being involved. It also does not follow that I think Bush has done it right."


Jonas:

Can you now describe exactly what Iraq substantive violation of 1441 was?

I certainly agree that UN resolutions need to be backed up, but cannot agree that any member of the UN has a right to assume for itself the enforcement of those resolutions. That's vigilantism, and we would never support it on the part of someone else. (Eg, we wouldn't back a Syrian invasion designed to enforce UN resolutions regarding Palestine). That's a consequence of trying to have a system based on the rule of law, rather than on "might makes right." (Or faith makes right).

We will unfortunately never know how events would have unfolded on the ground had we decided to take Canada and Mexico up on their offer to delay invasion, briefly, while the inspectors continued inspecting. We do know, now, that the inspectors would never have found the smoking gun proving that Iraq had hidden stockpiles of WMD. How that would have played internally, and amongst our allies, no one can know.

We'll also never know how Iraq would have played out had we really been interested in being liberators rather than occupiers. And don't tell me that the insurgents forced this: as he was arriving in Iraq, Bremer and his crew were talking about changing the tax laws and privatizing state owned enterprises. Liberators do not change tax laws. They do not sell state owned property to investors, including foreigners. Even occupiers aren't supposed to do this sort of thing, which belongs more properly to colonialists.

I will, however, take a shot at Edward's frequently asked question: how will Kerry do worse in the War on Terror? That's easy -- he'll be impeached if we are attacked, and his opponents can point to warnings he should have heeded. He'll be investigated to death over trivia -- can anyone tell me why a single dime of taxpayer money was spent of the travel office business -- and if any force is used while any of these investigations is pending, the cry of "wag the dog" will be heard far and wide.

This brings me to Jonas' last point. It's a position I respect, but ultimately cannot agree with, because while it recognizes the Iraqi context in each time period, it does not recognize the American context. A Clinton action in 1998, had it been remotely possible given our situation, have been a lot like the Kosovo: American power removing bad guys, international consensus struggling, not all that effectively, to deal with the wreckage. It would not have been pretty, especially compared to the "reality" the current Admin believes it is creating on the ground. Compared to the actual reality on the ground, however, a Kosovo-like intervention would have looked pretty good. Saddam out, Iraq no worse than it is now, 800 American kids still alive, 100,000 American soldiers available for tasks other than protecting our clients in Baghdad.

Put simpler, last month I thought it a fine idea for my 18 year old daughter to drive to the store to pick up a gallon of milk. She's off to college, but today I'm not that excited to send my 10 year old son on the same errand. Our need for milk is unchanged, as are prices, the location of the store, and the make and model of the car. I guess I'm just too reality-based to let him try driving the car . . .

CharleyCapr,

we wouldn't back a Syrian invasion designed to enforce UN resolutions regarding Palestine

For the record, Israel has never violated a Security Council resolution.

You will find inspectors who will tell you now that he destroyed the weapons. You will not find inspectors who will tell you that Saddam was therefore in compliance with the resolutions - because no one believes that.

Much of the demand in the resolution had to do with verification of elimination of these weapons - which makes perfect sense.

I don't know Jonas...were the UN resolutions creators really so schoolmarmish and anal retentive that only if Hussein followed them to the letter they'd be satisfied? Wasn't the point more to ensure his inability to invade another nation or murder his neighbors with WMD?

I mean to assert otherwise would be to suggest we invaded another nation because they didn't cross each T and dot each I?

Edward,

Yea, really. I mean, we should've just taken Saddam's word for it. I mean, why would he lie? He says he doesn't have them, that means he doesn't. Why verify?

Let's have some context here. How long did it take for Belarus to give up its nuclear weapons and get certified ( that would include dotting i's and crossing t's) by UN? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? 10 years? 12 years? Any idea?

Maybe I'm an idiot too, but I'm having a hard time seeing Belarus as context by any stretch of the imagination. Can you connect the dots on that one so I can see how you think it provides context?

liberal,

Sure, Edward is talking as if the impossible (crossing t's, dotting i's, etc) was required of Saddam. Belarus elimnated its weapons and got certified by the inspectors in, I believe, under 1 year. Saddam had 12 years.

There's your context.

I think the difference between Belarus and Saddam is the difference of a regular witness and a hostile witness (come on you lawyer types, help me out on the nomenclature)

I would point out that the impossible _was_ required of Saddam, in that he had to apparently had to prove a negative and say "Yes, I have no WMD". Unless you want to go by his intentions, which really would have been impossible to prove. (which reminds me of the 'did you think she was pretty' question. Just pray your significant other never throws that one on you)

Another big difference w/Belarus is the lack of a neighbor spoiling to mess with them, ditto a hyperpower.

For the record, Israel has never violated a Security Council resolution.

More precisely, Israel has never been subject to a Chapter VII resolution, which carries the threat of force in case of non-compliance. Israel has been subject to any number of Chapter VI resolutions, but these are merely recommendations and generally require conciliatory action from other parties as well. Whether Israel could be said to have "violated" any of these is a matter of interpretation.

kenB,

Same difference.

'Whether Israel could be said to have "violated" any of these is a matter of interpretation.'

Exactly. And we would never, not in a million years, agree to the proposition that Syria gets to decide whether or not Israel has discharged it's obligations, and take upon itself the authority to mete out punishment, should it find some failure (as understood by Syria) to do so.

This points up just one of the problems when you ditch law for faith. Another is the neo-colonial project of spreading one own ideology. The President seems to be saying that the US has some kind of divine mandate to spread liberty, as we understand it, in the ME. I have no doubt that the mullahs in Iran believe that they have a divine mandate to spread the proper idea of the relationship between religion and state, as they understand it, throughout the ME. Should they refrain from helping to create a Shi'ite theocracy in Iraq? Why, if their diety commands it?

Charley,

Should they refrain from helping to create a Shi'ite theocracy in Iraq? Why, if their diety commands it?

Excellent point. That's why we shouldn't fall for any hudnas.

Edward, you write:

I don't know Jonas...were the UN resolutions creators really so schoolmarmish and anal retentive that only if Hussein followed them to the letter they'd be satisfied? Wasn't the point more to ensure his inability to invade another nation or murder his neighbors with WMD?

Saddam had a history. He has used banned weapons in the past against other countries and his own people. Before 1991 he played UN investigators for fools, as they found out that his nuclear program was within 6 months of completion rather than the 5-10 years they had previously believed. Because of that previously successful deception the UN required that Saddam's programs be subject to much tighter controls than other countries. It is these controls that he resisted for 11 years. In 1998 he confined the inspectors to their hotel rooms for months. This prompted Clinton to bomb Iraq, though the bombing did not compel Saddam to allow the inspectors back to resume their inspections. Iraq kept the inspectors out for 4 years after that. As a result, the UN continued sanctions. During that time Saddam allowed the Western media to show how these sanctions were causing pain to the poor innocent people of Iraq, and by 2002 there were multiple attempts to remove sanctions--without requiring the inspections to resume.

Yet you characterize as 'schoolmarmish' the requirement that he either produce his banned weapons so that the UN could destroy them, or definetly account for their earlier destruction.

That kind of thinking troubles me.

You also seem heartened by Kerry's vote against the First Gulf War. Apparently allowing a dictator to take over a neighboring country and Finlandize Saudi Arabia isn't a problem worthy of a military response?

That kind of thinking troubles me.


The discussion of Kerry's vote against gulf War I is an important one, and I hope it'll keep coming up in discussion forums where people are willing to sit down and write rationally. Here are some scattered thoughts on this question.

1) It's important to distinguish between the war's aims and its success.

2) Were the "vital interests" of the US in this war really distinguishable from protecting Saudi Arabia and its oil? (This is an honest question...)

3) The first gulf war marked the first time that average Americans paid any attention to the realpoliticking that had been going on in the Arab Middle East. How exactly did Bush sr. sell this idea to the American mainstream?

4) Is it just an inevitable consequence of the european great powers balance that the nation-state, no matter how irrationally drawn or new, has become the new inviolate? The Middle East, like much of Africa, is so clearly divided into new, artificial protectorates that it is difficult not to wonder how fervently the borders should be patroled.

Gulf War I and its rationales take on a new importance now that Gulf War II has so utterly transformed the stakes. I seems like a very geopolitical war; II may have had similarly realpolitik motives, yet it was cloaked in much more immediate, intimate terms.

Jonas Cord: I appreciate your support, Jesurgislac, and hope you'll show that support at the polls this November :-)

If you're running for election anywhere I can vote for you, I'll think about it.

kenB: Whether Israel could be said to have "violated" any of these is a matter of interpretation.

Israel has certainly been in extreme violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention for many years.

That kind of thinking troubles me.

But rushing into war on bad intelligence and no plan for peace comforts you...shoot first and ask questions later...got it.

Yet you characterize as 'schoolmarmish' the requirement that he either produce his banned weapons so that the UN could destroy them, or definetly account for their earlier destruction.

I characterize as 'schoolmarmish' the idea that it was just as important that Hussein obey the resolutions' more bureaucratic aspects as it was he not invade another nation or use WMD. That's ludicrous. I know our intelligence sucks, but the fact that what turned out to be the truth (that Hussein was merely trying to project an image of strength as protection against his enemies like Iran) didn't occur to any of our agencies is unforgiveable.

Remember, we're talking about a moral justification for military actions that led the to deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the justification the war's apologists are clinging to is so wonkish (Hussein didn't comply with the inspections requirements to the letter) it totally destroys whatever validation the Bush Doctrine may have once had.

To expand on what Edward just said: we could have seen the inspections in a number of lights, but one of them surely ought to have been an opportunity to test the accuracy of our intelligence. Given what has been made public since the war, it is not credible to me that people in the administration did not know that our evidence was shaky. We had very few sources in Iraq; those that we had might well have had an agenda; the evidence we seem to have had that was not from sources -- including things like satellite images and the famous tubes -- was inconclusive and known by the administration to be so. Therefore, before we went to war, you'd think that the opportunity to actually check some of our intelligence would be a godsend.

The inspections gave us just such an opportunity. We send the inspectors to some place where we think we have really good reason to think there are WMD. They go in and check. If they find WMD, our case for war is advanced. If not, we get to reassess the sources that made us think they'd be there. One way or another, it's extremely useful information for us, or would have been had this administration been interested in determining whether or not there was in fact a case for war.

As I have said before, as of (say) November 2002, I thought that in all likelihood Saddam did have chemical and/or biological weapons. As of, say, February 2003, I was not so sure, and this was why. If this administration had been genuinely asking itself whether or not war was necessary, they might have wondered too. But as best I can tell, they weren't.

If this administration had been genuinely asking itself whether or not war was necessary, they might have wondered too.

And they should have. This, in a nutshell, is what scares me most about how the thinking on this is heading. We don't need no stinkin' global test. We don't need no stinkin' confirmation of our intelligence. We don't need no stinkin' debate among our legislators deliberately and intentionally slowing others' rush into war. We don't need nothing but George W. Bush's gut instinct and signs from God that he's right to kill those people.

I know the popular meme on this is that since 9/11 we can't wait for, let alone respect, the harder, slower parts of diplomacy...if someone is even suspected of being a gathering threat we have to go after them, Now (exit strategies, adequate supplies, and plans for peace be damned). What this says in the end though is we authorize the President to kill as many innocent civilians as he deems necessary to chase whatever shadow he fears poses danger.

Oh I know, that seems hyperbolic to some who actually trust this President (based on what, I've yet to figure out), but put yourselves in the shoes of those who, like myself, believe he was going to invade Iraq no matter what Hussein did. His domino theory plans depended on an invasion. All the rest of this about WMD or whatever is merely for public consumption. And it's scary as hell that they got away with it.

I may be misremembering, but wasn't Colin Powell's position in the first weeks of January 1991 closer to Kerry's than the GHWB's?

It's important to keep in mind -- especially for those of you who weren't fully up to speed at the time -- that the 1991 vote was not a simple up-or-down vote between (a) invasion and (b) doing nothing at all. There were folks (and I think Powell was among them) who thought a diplomatic solution still possible.

What Kerry was really wrong about in 1991 was the belief that the Gulf War would result in significant American casualties. Part of why this didn't happen, though, is that we stopped well short of Baghdad -- a decision that many people who supported war in 2002 thought a serious mistake. Had GHWB decided to use the 1991 vote to go to Baghdad, the situation would have been materially different, and, as we can see from how his 2002 vote is spun, Kerry, had he voted for the 1991 resolution, would have been said to have authorized it.

(I supported the 1991 resolution and did not think opponents were right about the availability of a diplomatic solution. That doesn't mean, though, that I thought it fair at the time to accuse those who wanted to exhaust the diplomatic alternatives for another 4 to 6 weeks before sending kids to their deaths were either weak or cowards.)

"I characterize as 'schoolmarmish' the idea that it was just as important that Hussein obey the resolutions' more bureaucratic aspects as it was he not invade another nation or use WMD."

Yes, I understand that you want to wait for invasion or actual use.

And that is exactly what disturbs me.

Waiting for use of nuclear or biological weapons is foolish. When someone has shown their willingness to use banned weapons, as Saddam had, and their willingness to hide their programs as Saddam had, you don't wait for them to fool you a third time. He also showed an 11-year willingness to obstruct efforts to verify that he was complying. 11 years is not a rush to war.

Sebastian: had our only options been (a) invade or (b) trust Saddam Hussein, you might have a point. But as I said above, we also had the option of allowing the inspections to continue, and using them to test the intelligence we were using to guide our decisions. Why we didn't continue along that route is a much more interesting question than why we didn't just decide to take Saddam's word for it.

When did inspections resume after 1998?

I think that she's referring to the last-minute inspections done just prior to the liberation, Sebastian.

Sebastian,

Waiting for use of nuclear or biological weapons is foolish.

First, that's not what I wrote. I wrote that there were two main components of the resolutions. One was designed to ensure Hussein didn't use WMD or invade another country again. The other was designed to give the world proof he had complied. Now I can see the argument that he was good at fooling folks and not to be trusted with regard to the second component, but to suggest that that componenet, in and of itself, justified killing tens of thousands of innocent civlians is something I can't see.

This is the bizarro place we find ourselves now. Justifying the invasion because Hussein was stupid enough to try and fool the world about his nonexistent weapons. Thousands have died because of this.

Secondly,

Yes, I understand that you want to wait for invasion or actual use.

And that is exactly what disturbs me.

That's a ludicrous leap.

You're willfully ignoring the reality here, letting boogeyman stories get the best of you.

With regard to Iraq as a state, there are always indications that a nation state is preparing to attack if they have any intention of withstanding the counterattack, so it's not like any mere suspicion justifies invasion. Good Lord, if that were the standard, we'd never stop invading other countries. Think about it, part of the unspoken, but promoted rationale for invading was that Hussein himself might attack the US. That's asinine. He may have been mad, but he was not suicidal.

With regards to the suspected WMD falling into terrorists hands, we've been sold a bill of goods here on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin debunking it.

First, Huseein was very carefully watched. Second, he didn't have any weapons, and even if we believed he did, they were clearly so few, it's foolish to suggest he had any to spare. Third, WMD are more likely to end up on US shores from Pakistan or the former Soviet Union countries, but we're not invading them (and of course, the response is "they're not run by madmen," but it doesn't require their leaders to authorize the sale of weapons to terrrorists). Fourth, there are no siginificant ties between Hussein and terrorists trying to attack the US. Fifth, there's still the deterent that prevents any of our enemies from supplying weapons to those who might attack us...our military and nuclear arsenal. Sixth, terrorists conducted the worst attacks on our mainland with box cutters...they may want WMD, but they're not going to be stopped if they don't get them, so the idea that we have to put all our eggs in that basket is again foolish. And as far as we know, they had no state sponsorship.

I know there are those who'd let Bush kill millions of foreigners to help them sleep better at night, but it isn't balanced or moral.

In the end, we invaded Iraq because Wolfowitz saw an opportunity to sell his domino theory to the President, and the President bought it. He didn't do the planning it required. He didn't listen to anyone who didn't agree with what he wanted to hear. He threw out fake deadlines and ultimatums he was going to find some way to ignore even if Hussein complied. He rushed to war.

I know there are those who'd let Bush kill millions of foreigners to help them sleep better at night, but it isn't balanced or moral.

Millions? How about gazzilion-shmizzilion-bizzilions?. I take off 105 points on that one alone.

"I think that she's referring to the last-minute inspections done just prior to the liberation, Sebastian."

Sure but that isn't context-free. Saddam engaged in 11 years of obstruction after the first Gulf War (that isn't counting the years of obstruction which lead to the scary failure which wasn't discovered until right after that war). In 1998 he restricted the inspections so severely that they were essentially confined to their hotel rooms. This caused Clinton to bomb Iraq. Clinton could not get support from the international community to force inspections, so no inspections occurred. In early 2002 no inspections had taken place for more than 3 years. At that time, France, Germany and Russia pushed for an end to containment sanctions--signaling that they were done with containing Saddam since no inspections had taken place to verify compliance. By the middle of 2002 we spent hundreds of millions of dollars shifting our armed forces into Gulf Area. Saddam still did not allow inspections. He did not allow inspections until the very eve of war. Then he continued obstruction (suspending visits if more than one U-2 flight were aloft for instance or by making scientist interviews difficult). Blix reported that Saddam was not fully cooperating, though Blix believed that further neogtiation would be successful. But this belief was in the face of 11 years of obstruction and in the face of the fact that Saddam had only let the inspectors in under direct threat of force, and even then wasn't fully cooperating.

That wasn't a 3 month history of Bush pushing. That is an 11 year history of Saddam playing games. We couldn't afford the games any more.

Therefore, "Why we didn't continue along that route is a much more interesting question than why we didn't just decide to take Saddam's word for it." isn't that interesting. We didn't continue along the 11 year failure route, because it was an 11 year route of obstruction with a man who had successfully played the game into a nearly functioning nuclear program 12 years before.

Edward, I quoted you exactly: "Wasn't the point more to ensure his inability to invade another nation or murder his neighbors with WMD?"

You you 'ensure' very poorly in that sentence. You use it to describe a situation where a tyrant had fooled the international community before on the issue of nuclear weapons, had locked out the inspectors for years, and continued playing obstruction games even with the Marines at his doorstep.

It is decidely non-crazy to think that was a situation which could not continue.

In 1998 he restricted the inspections so severely that they were essentially confined to their hotel rooms. This caused Clinton to bomb Iraq. Clinton could not get support from the international community to force inspections, so no inspections occurred.

Quote from an interview with Scott Ritter:" Then why did the United States pick up the phone in December 1998 and order the inspectors out -- let's remember Saddam Hussein didn't kick the inspectors out. The U.S. ordered the inspectors out 48 hours before they initiated Operation Desert Fox -- military action that didn't have the support of the U.N. Security Council and which used information gathered by the inspectors, to target Iraq." (emphasis mine; but the statement has been made by other inspectors too)

In early 2002 no inspections had taken place for more than 3 years. At that time, France, Germany and Russia pushed for an end to containment sanctions--signaling that they were done with containing Saddam since no inspections had taken place to verify compliance.

February 2001: " In what would be a major policy change, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that the United States was seriously considering supporting the lifting of all non-military U.N. sanctions against Iraq."

dutch,

Quote from an interview with Scott Ritter:" Then why did the United States pick up the phone in December 1998 and order the inspectors out -- let's remember Saddam Hussein didn't kick the inspectors out. The U.S. ordered the inspectors out 48 hours before they initiated Operation Desert Fox

Interesting

Twice during the year, the United States -- with varying degrees of support from its former Gulf War allies -- had been poised to launch air strikes at Iraqi targets in response to Baghdad's defiant stand regarding cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

Both times, at the 11th hour, the strikes were called off. In February, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan personally intervened by visiting Baghdad and hammering out a tentative deal to allow U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM) inspectors full access to suspected weapons sites. Washington praised Annan's efforts but warned Iraq that if it did not comply, retribution would be swift.

Then, on October 31, the familiar cycle emerged once again after Iraq announced it was suspending all cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors and monitors. The U.N. Security Council soon condemned the move, and UNSCOM began withdrawing its personnel from Baghdad. The U.S. and Britain prepared for a military attack against Iraq, moving thousands of troops to the region.

As half-hearted diplomacy occurred in Baghdad, with Russia and a handful of Arab nations trying to intervene, it became clear to Iraq that it did not have widespread support in its latest showdown with the United Nations. Even traditional allies warned President Saddam Hussein that he alone was responsible for any military conflict that might occur unless his government backed down.

Then, an about face. With air strikes just minutes away from being launched, Iraq issued a letter indicating it would allow UNSCOM unfettered access. After consulting with its allies and the United Nations and receiving subsequent clarifying letters from Baghdad, Washington called off military strikes with a warning that, at the first sign of further trouble, it would not hesitate in acting without any advance notice.

UNSCOM personnel returned to Iraq and began their inspections. Just days later, however, another flap ensued, this one over documents demanded by Richard Butler, the chief U.N. weapons inspector -- documents that the Iraqi government says either do not exist or have been destroyed. In a letter to Butler, the Hussein administration called the request for documents "provocative rather than professional."

By mid-December, Butler issued a report saying Baghdad was continuing to hamper inspections and pulled his inspectors out of the country. The United States and Britain then launched their attack without warning, saying they had lost patience with Hussein.

As for Ritter:

Saddam turned Oil-for-Food into the best oil lobby since Prince Bandar arrived in Washington. Money skimmed off of U.N.-supervised oil sales ended up with men like Shakir al-Khafaji, an Iraqi American in Michigan. Al-Khafaji provided former U.N. arms inspector Scott Ritter with $400,000 to make the anti-sanctions film In Shifting Sands.

Interview with Ritter from Time:


You've spoke about having seen the children's prisons in Iraq. Can you describe what you saw there?

The prison in question is at the General Security Services headquarters, which was inspected by my team in Jan. 1998. It appeared to be a prison for children — toddlers up to pre-adolescents — whose only crime was to be the offspring of those who have spoken out politically against the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a horrific scene. Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.

That speaks for itself, I think.

Also, they mention that Scott Ritter was the UN's top weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998, when he resigned claiming President Clinton was too easy on Saddam.

Stan: But it is still true that Iraq did not kick the inspectors out, though many sources seem to have a bad memory about that.

I was less politically engaged in those days, but AFAIK Iraq did not want the US and UK inspectors in because those were spying on behalf of their government. (ouch. Reading old reports by Daniel Pearl leaves a bitter taste).

And the inspectors themselves, even those that perceived Iraq as a hugh threat, seemed to think that inspections were much more efficient than invading.

Stan: your link to the article from National Review is unusable. That piece is so filled with false information en unproven accusations that I cannot seriously respond to it.

The Time interview with Scott Ritter is much more credible, but I have difficulty understanding why you bring it up to prove your point?? He agrees that inspections are the best option, he agrees that the inspectors were 'under considerable US pressure' to spy, and there are numerous interviews with Scott where he explains why Saddam was no imminent threat.

The bit you quote is I think what you call a 'strawmen' since childrens prisons are not considered serious threats to other countries (and you may notice that Scott, in his reply, does not use the plural and *does* use 'alledged'. The last kidsprison in Iraq I read about turned out to be an orphanage).

Dutch,

But it is still true that Iraq did not kick the inspectors out, though many sources seem to have a bad memory about that.

Right, US suggested inspectors leave, because we were about to bomb. Did you read the article at all, though? Regarding the familiar cycle? I even pasted it here for your convenience.

As for Rolf Ekeus' claim of spying, it's worth mentioning that, according to Butler, Saddam threatened his life and the life of his children. You decide.

The bit you quote is I think what you call a 'strawmen' since childrens prisons are not considered serious threats to other countries

I was making a different point. The interview speaks volumes of Ritter's credibility. His agenda is clear cut, again:

Actually I'm not going to describe what I saw there because what I saw was so horrible that it can be used by those who would want to promote war with Iraq, and right now I'm waging peace.

and you may notice that Scott, in his reply, does not use the plural and *does* use 'alledged'

I don't see the word "alledged" in that quote. In fact, he claims that he have seen the horrors he speaks of with his own eyes.


Dutch,

Don't like National Review? No biggie. How about Slate?

That leaves us to consider ulterior motives. One popular theory, recently advanced by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard, holds that Ritter has essentially been bought off. By his own admission, Ritter accepted $400,000 in funding two years ago from an Iraqi-American businessman named Shakir al-Khafaji. Ritter used the money to visit Baghdad and film a documentary purporting to tell the true story of the weapons inspections (which in his telling were corrupted by sinister American manipulation). As Hayes has reported, al-Khafaji is openly sympathetic to Saddam and regularly sponsors anti-American conferences in Baghdad. Al-Khafaji seems to have gotten his money's worth: The documentary was so anti-U.S., says one of Ritter's former U.N. colleagues, that Iraqi officials were passing out copies of it on CD-ROM at a recent international conference.

The whole Scott Ritter thing leads me to raise a point. We saw the sex offender allegations, followed by the Khafaji thing. Do I think Scott Ritter's credibility is questionable? Yes, but if you look at the timeline, it appears that his credibility started to sputter when he got slammed for questioning the common wisdom. In another thread, there is discussion of Wilson, who can't, by any stretch of the imagination, be called pro-Hussein (remember the press conference with the rope around his neck?) Yet someone went out of their way to not just smear him, but put his wife in danger. I link these to note that the MO seems to take someone who disagrees with the admin and make continuous attacks until the person lashes back. Call it doing the McCain . You might say that $400,000 isn't lashing out, but it's clear that Ritter was(is?) willing to accept help wherever he can find it to make his point. This is then used to refute his point. But, as Stan says, no biggie, right?

liberal,

his credibility started to sputter when he got slammed for questioning the common wisdom.

Did he not do a complete 180?

t, but it's clear that Ritter was(is?) willing to accept help wherever he can find it to make his point.

Or to stuff his pockets.

One asks, the blogosphere responds (via Eric Muller's blog

fromarticle by Edward Olshaker
"lthough much of the public might have forgotten by now, it was Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, not Bill Clinton, who was originally the senior Bush’s most formidable challenger in 1992. At mid-year, Perot led Bush in the polls, with Clinton in third place. Vowing to “do whatever it takes” to be re-elected, President Bush desperately needed the Perot threat removed, and his wish was conveniently fulfilled when the Texas billionaire shocked the world by dropping out of the campaign. (He would later re-enter, but as a weakened candidate who trailed both his rivals.) Perot alleged that Bush operatives had threatened to besmirch the reputation of his family by disseminating a fake, computer-generated photograph of his daughter and even disrupting her wedding.


Perot claimed to have “received multiple reports,” while admitting he lacked solid evidence. But the alleged reports, combined with his belief that the Bush machine was indeed capable of dirty tricks, led Perot to conclude that staying in the race “was a risk I could not take.” It now appears that Perot was not alone in considering it a “risk” to cross the Bushes.


When he warned that the Bush team had threatened to “smear” and “sabotage” his family, Perot was widely derided as “kooky” and “delusional,” and the labels stuck, to the point where the Perot-as-lunatic storyline is now accepted history. Perot’s allegations were regarded as simply too outrageous to be true. Yet, was Perot’s “delusional” allegation of threats against his family any more outrageous than what was done in reality to Joe Wilson’s wife by a vindictive Bush White House? (And are Perot’s allegations of a threatened physical “disruption” still unthinkable, in light of the well-orchestrated Republican violence that shut down a lawful vote recount in a Florida precinct in 2000?)"

I realise that this doesn't have anything to do with Scott Ritter, but why exactly does a UN Weapons inspector who aggressively pursued Hussein's programs do a 180? Is it simply fronting up the money for a movie? Or is it that he feels that he has to choose sides, and do whatever is necessary? You really don't need to drag out tons of cites about how Ritter was whatever you want to imply, I already feel very icky questioning the commitment of an ex-Marine, but that might be due to being raised in the South. Also, when he a href="http://www.counterpunch.org/lebowitz02152003.html">spoke last year in Tokyo (I wasn't there, a friend went) he apparently spoke not like a turncoat, but like someone who felt that one did what had to be done.

liberal,

Let me get this straight - a guy makes evidenceless allegations against his opponent during election year... Heh!

Perot was widely derided as “kooky” and “delusional,”

Bush/Cheney have been called worse.

Or is it that he [Ritter] feels that he has to choose sides, and do whatever is necessary?

You decide...

he apparently spoke not like a turncoat, but like someone who felt that one did what had to be done

Yes - "apparently". Bush speaks with conviction, too - are you going to vote for him?

Stan LS: Let me get this straight - a guy makes evidenceless allegations against his opponent during election year... Heh!

Shades of the Swifties, mmmm?

Cambodia?

Precisely - an excellent example of one of the Swifties "evidenceless allegations".

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