Saturday, March 24, 2007

In Hindsight 4 Years Later, Were We Wrong?

For any reader of Flopping Aces, this is nothing really new; just go through Curt's categories on "Saddam Documents", "Iraq/Al Qaeda Connection", or even "The Plame Affair" (those infamous 16 words...). You'll find a wealth of information that supports that especially knowing what we do know now, going into Iraq was the right thing to do; the irresponsible course of action, would have been to do nothing but perpetuate the status quo.

Christopher Hitchens sums it all up so well, here it is in its entirety:

So, Mr. Hitchens, Weren't You Wrong About Iraq? Hard questions, four years later.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, March 19, 2007, at 1:53 PM ET

Four years after the first coalition soldiers crossed the Iraqi border, one can attract pitying looks (at best) if one does not take the view that the whole engagement could have been and should have been avoided. Those who were opposed to the operation from the beginning now claim vindication, and many of those who supported it say that if they had known then what they know now, they would have spoken or voted differently.

What exactly does it mean to take the latter position? At what point, in other words, ought the putative supporter to have stepped off the train? The question isn't as easy to answer as some people would have you believe. Suppose we run through the actual timeline:

Was the president right or wrong to go to the United Nations in September 2002 and to say that body could no longer tolerate Saddam Hussein's open flouting of its every significant resolution, from weaponry to human rights to terrorism?

A majority of the member states thought he was right and had to admit that the credibility of the United Nations was at stake. It was scandalous that such a regime could for more than a decade have violated the spirit and the letter of the resolutions that had allowed a cease-fire after the liberation of Kuwait. The Security Council, including Syria, voted by nine votes to zero that Iraq must come into full compliance or face serious consequences.

Was it then correct to send military forces to the Gulf, in case Saddam continued his long policy of defiance, concealment, and expulsion or obstruction of U.N. inspectors?

If you understand the history of the inspection process at all, you must concede that Saddam would never have agreed to readmit the inspectors if coalition forces had not made their appearance on his borders and in the waters of the Gulf. It was never a choice between inspection and intervention: It was only the believable threat of an intervention that enabled even limited inspections to resume.

Should it not have been known by Western intelligence that Iraq had no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction?

The entire record of UNSCOM until that date had shown a determination on the part of the Iraqi dictatorship to build dummy facilities to deceive inspectors, to refuse to allow scientists to be interviewed without coercion, to conceal chemical and biological deposits, and to search the black market for materiel that would breach the sanctions. The defection of Saddam Hussein's sons-in-law, the Kamel brothers, had shown that this policy was even more systematic than had even been suspected. Moreover, Iraq did not account for—has in fact never accounted for—a number of the items that it admitted under pressure to possessing after the Kamel defection. We still do not know what happened to this weaponry. This is partly why all Western intelligence agencies, including French and German ones quite uninfluenced by Ahmad Chalabi, believed that Iraq had actual or latent programs for the production of WMD. Would it have been preferable to accept Saddam Hussein's word for it and to allow him the chance to re-equip once more once the sanctions had further decayed?

Could Iraq have been believably "inspected" while the Baath Party remained in power?

No. The word inspector is misleading here. The small number of U.N. personnel were not supposed to comb the countryside. They were supposed to monitor the handover of the items on Iraq's list, to check them, and then to supervise their destruction. (If Iraq disposed of the items in any other way—by burying or destroying or neutralizing them, as now seems possible—that would have been an additional grave breach of the resolutions.) To call for serious and unimpeachable inspections was to call, in effect, for a change of regime in Iraq. Thus, we can now say that Iraq is in compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty. Moreover, the subsequent hasty compliance of Col. Muammar Qaddafi's Libya and the examination of his WMD stockpile (which proved to be much larger and more sophisticated than had been thought) allowed us to trace the origin of much materiel to Pakistan and thus belatedly to shut down the A.Q. Khan secret black market.

Wasn't Colin Powell's performance at the United Nations a bit of a disgrace?

Yes, it was, as was the supporting role played by George Tenet and the CIA (which has been reliably wrong on Iraq since 1963). Some good legal experts—Ruth Wedgwood most notably—have argued that the previous resolutions were self-enforcing and that there was no need for a second resolution or for Powell's dog-and-pony show. Some say that the whole thing was done in order to save Tony Blair's political skin. A few points of interest did emerge from Powell's presentation: The Iraqi authorities were caught on air trying to mislead U.N inspectors (nothing new there), and the presence in Iraq of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a very dangerous al-Qaida refugee from newly liberated Afghanistan, was established. The full significance of this was only to become evident later on.

Was the terror connection not exaggerated?

Not by much. The Bush administration never claimed that Iraq had any hand in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But it did point out, at different times, that Saddam had acted as a host and patron to every other terrorist gang in the region, most recently including the most militant Islamist ones. And this has never been contested by anybody. The action was undertaken not to punish the last attack—that had been done in Afghanistan—but to forestall the next one.

Was a civil war not predictable?

Only to the extent that there was pre-existing unease and mistrust between the different population groups in Iraq. Since it was the policy of Saddam Hussein to govern by divide-and-rule and precisely to exacerbate these differences, it is unlikely that civil peace would have been the result of prolonging his regime. Indeed, so ghastly was his system in this respect that one-fifth of Iraq's inhabitants—the Kurds—had already left Iraq and were living under Western protection.

So, you seriously mean to say that we would not be living in a better or safer world if the coalition forces had turned around and sailed or flown home in the spring of 2003?

That's exactly what I mean to say.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Mike's America said...

I know you put this in bold, but it is worth repeating:

"The action was undertaken not to punish the last attack—that had been done in Afghanistan—but to forestall the next one."

Imagine how much more difficult the international situation would be if Saddam was STILL in power?

Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:59:00 AM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

P.S. And I cannot tell you how nice it was to have that comment publish on the first try!!!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:59:00 AM  
Blogger Indigo Red said...

It's just amazing to me how consistantly wrong Liberals have been since they've taken on the socialist trappings.

Progress is being made in Iraq and the War on Terror, even terror communiques say so. The Mahdi Army is fracturing into smaller violent factions killing each other, Anbar sheiks are joining the Coalition troops in eradicating al-Qaida. The bad guy leaders have fled to safety. And the BBC poll reports the majority of the people they asked do believe life is getting better, dispite what ABC polling says (BBC polling sample was 10 times larger.)

Al Gore's appearance on Capital Hill has signalled the beginning of the end for the Global Warming stupidity. The Channel 4 program 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' has been seen by millions across the planet and earned not one single penny for anyone and people are seeing the Goresters as money-grubbers.

It always comes back to something Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, " ...all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." It really is easier to go with what you know and what someone you know is telling you than to do the hard work of finding out for yourself what is and isn't so.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 4:37:00 PM  
Blogger MonicaR said...

I agree with everything Christopher Hitchens says here. I really like this guy..

Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I supported President Bush's excursion into Iraq for no other reason that it was brutal, excessive, uncalled-for and unanticipated. Islamists understand nought but power, brute force and death. I supported this move not because there were WMDs (yeah, right!) but because we were making a STATEMENT in the Middle East, and that was this: do NOT fuck with the United States.

For those ignorant asses who think it's about the oil: grow the fuck up. Life is not a constant replay of 3 Days of the Condor.

Hey folks, if oil was flowing like wine into American tankers from Iraq, then why haven't we HEARD about this from the DEM: the Defeatist, Elitist Media?

Could that possibly be because it ISN'T HAPPENING?

Oh but, migosh, that would dash the hopes and thrills of the. . .

Oh, never mind.

BZ

Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:47:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

mike,

Thanks for repeating it. There are a great many points in Hitchen's piece; but I emboldened that because so many of the critics still say "9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq" and so on.

I'm glad you are enjoying the non-alphabet commenting.

indigo,

I keep wanting to splash water on my face and try seeing things outside of my conservative-colored lens...to question my politics because it's just so incredulous to me, that liberals can be so wrong on pretty much EVERYTHING! I still consider myself a moderate, right of center chap. Yet I see nothing being brought forth to the table of reason by left-of-center moderate democrats.

monica,

Hitchen's is not too bad a guy for a leftie.

zeppelin,

You sound like you just got out of the theaters, watching "300". (^_^)

Saturday, March 24, 2007 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

This is cross-posted over at Flopping Aces where Curt's skewering a "Republican" if anyone is interested in checking it out.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 8:42:00 AM  
Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

CentFla hit me too, he is wacked beyond belief.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous the other guy said...

liberals and conservatives blah blah blah. liberals are stupid, right is right waffle waffle. why is there this constant need to engage in conservative apologetics?

it is in the interest of the current administration to find justification for going to war in Iraq. it is not difficult to create a set of hypothetical "worst-case" scenarios to an alternate future we will never experience as a means to justify ones current actions. so the fact that the author of the article presents evidence to support his HYPOTHESIS based on uncited evidence and a presupposition that things would have been much worse if we hadn't gone to war is hardly authoritative.

people like blovating zeppelin give the "right" a bad name. his opening statement says it all so clearly. it's not about oil, it is actually just plain revenge because someone fucked with the US? don't hurt us, because we'll invade your ass? how ignorant is a statement such as, "Islamists understand nought but power, brute force and death"? how does he know? from all the Islamists he's ever met and known? somehow i highly doubt that.

look - i understand that we want to feel right, that we want to be on the winning team, the one that kicks ass and is righteous. but the last i checked no human being was perfect. so how often is a person always right every time? never, or he would suddenly be God.

why don't we just drop the demagoguery and figure out how to stabilize the middle east and end the war? should we really use brutal, excessive, uncalled-for and unanticipated force? can that really end a war, or can that create a situation where the war continues? are there other less belligerent methods? let's talk and think about it and then act with reason instead of anger based on narrow minded invective.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 4:34:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

liberals and conservatives blah blah blah. liberals are stupid, right is right waffle waffle. why is there this constant need to engage in conservative apologetics?

Do you have a point to make, or are you just lost? Are you addressing the post, or some comment you read?

it is in the interest of the current administration to find justification for going to war in Iraq.

They don't need any new justification. The case was laid out in 2003; even this piece from the New Yorker prior to the war "got it":

In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular.

Yet another argument for war, which has emerged during the last few months, is that removing Saddam could help bring about a wholesale change for the better in the political, cultural, and economic climate of the Arab Middle East.

Even those suffering from justification fatigue ought to pay special attention to this one, because it goes beyond the category of reasons offered in support of a course of action that has already been decided upon and set in motion. Unlike the other justifications, it is both a reason for war and a plan for the future. It also cries out for elaboration. Democracy is a wonderful idea, but none of the countries in the Middle East, except Israel and Turkey, resemble anything that would look like a democracy to Americans. Some Middle Eastern countries are now and have always been ruled by monarchs. Some are under the control of an ethnic or religious group that represents a minority of the population. Saudi Arabia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are the world's only major nations named after a single family, and in Saudi Arabia the royal family functions as, in effect, the country's owner. Most Middle Eastern countries don't even make the pretense of having freely elected parliaments; in Iran, for example, candidates have to be approved by the mullahs. And the very problem that democracy in the Middle East is meant to solve—rising Islamic radicalism, encouraged or tolerated by governments that see it as a way to propitiate their increasingly poorer and younger populations—makes the prospect of elections dangerous, because anti-American Islamists might win.
People in the Administration are quick to explain that, where the Middle East is concerned, they don't mean immediate, American-style electoral democracy but, rather, a deliberate building of "civil society" or "democratic institutions," like a free press, political parties, open markets, and a system of written laws and courts that administer them, with national parliamentary elections as the final, and somewhat distant, step.



What we are engaged in now, is somewhat different from the Iraq War; but it is related to the overall War on Terror. In fact, it's become a central front.



it is not difficult to create a set of hypothetical "worst-case" scenarios to an alternate future we will never experience as a means to justify ones current actions.


You totally miss the point. Pointing out 20/20 hindsight vision from armchair generals such as yourself isn't to create/fabricate new justifications for why we went to war.


so the fact that the author of the article presents evidence to support his HYPOTHESIS based on uncited evidence and a presupposition that things would have been much worse if we hadn't gone to war is hardly authoritative.

Obviously you did not bother to click on the links I provided, as part of your education. Hitchens didn't cite his sources, but he makes references to FACTS; facts largely ignored or under-reported by the mainstream media, which would rather focus on such non-stories as PlameGate.

people like blovating zeppelin give the "right" a bad name. his opening statement says it all so clearly. it's not about oil, it is actually just plain revenge because someone fucked with the US? don't hurt us, because we'll invade your ass? how ignorant is a statement such as, "Islamists understand nought but power, brute force and death"? how does he know? from all the Islamists he's ever met and known? somehow i highly doubt that.

I doubt Zeppelin will be defending himself, as you took the time to post in an old thread. But you being new here, I find it laughable that you are so quick to judge and assume without really knowing either of us.

You are reading into his post, suppositions, based upon the colored lenses through which reality filters itself to your brain.

look - i understand that we want to feel right, that we want to be on the winning team, the one that kicks ass and is righteous. but the last i checked no human being was perfect. so how often is a person always right every time? never, or he would suddenly be God.

Well, that was pointless pontificating....

why don't we just drop the demagoguery and figure out how to stabilize the middle east and end the war? should we really use brutal, excessive, uncalled-for and unanticipated force? can that really end a war, or can that create a situation where the war continues? are there other less belligerent methods? let's talk and think about it and then act with reason instead of anger based on narrow minded invective.

Yes, let's give Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden therapy, and laugh it off, that it was all just a pleasant misunderstanding. What al Qaeda needs is more understanding and sympathy for their point of view.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:09:00 PM  
Blogger TheOtherGuy said...

hi wordsmith,

obviously you are an intelligent man with reasoned arguments. thanks for explaining your point of view.

the point i was trying to make in my opening statement is that all i seem to read in these "conservative" and "right-wing" websites is how the "right" is right and the liberals are stupid and wrong, an elementary school argument if i ever heard one. i believe the right has some good ideas as does the left, but to buy wholesale into one party's set of beliefs is foolish because neither one is always going to be right no matter what the name of political leanings are

sure Bush presented justifications for going to war, otherwise we would not have done so. he's not that stupid. the pretense for war has to be clearly established before Congress will authorize any action. That's US Government 101.

however, the person writing the article essentially was saying that going to war was the correct course of action and offered his opinion about what the hypothetical alternate reality would have been had we not gone to war. in his opinion, the alternative would have been worse than our current reality. that is not necessary a new justification, but an additional re-enforcement of an old justification, a reassurance that, "yes we are better off now than we were four years ago. we did the right thing." four years ago, In 2003 though, the course of action was theoretical, and any person/government/corporation who engages in a difficult endeavor is bound to re-examine decisions made in the past to either say, "yes, i made the right decision," or "no, that was a bad idea." and for a country under the burden of huge war expenditures, an army of thousands of our countrymen in a foreign country facing possible death and bodily harm every day, there is going to need to be some reassurance to the effect that we were right in our actions.

Here’s the thing: Saddam's poor human rights record was well known even in the 1980s. lets look at 1988 when Saddam gassed the Kurds in the town of Hajaba and killed 5000, more than we lost in 9/11. did we make the argument then to remove his regime from Iraq? no, the US lent him 1 billion more dollars a mere 6 months after the fact. from 1974 to 1989 he waged a war against the Kurdish population which resulted in the death of 400,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more. did the US or the international community do anything except issue enigmatic communiqués and statements? no, because Iraq was a friend of the West, a bulwark against the fanatic Islamic forces the West was keen to counteract. how about when Bush senior called for an uprising of the Iraqi people against Saddam and then had the troops stand idly by as the Republican guard brutally suppressed the uprising?

it's almost funny how most pro-victory people conveniently ignore the pre 1991 facts.

The truth is that the US kept Saddam on because he was useful and turned a blind eye to his "proclivities" until he actually disobeyed the US by invading Kuwait, suddenly becoming the bogeyman that we see him today.

the justifications from 2003 are true, but they are laughably late folded in with an overdose of irony. Israel flouts treaties and UN resolutions with regards to keeping settlers in the West Bank, but do we do anything about it? no, we just keep giving them $3 Billion a year. the military threat Iraq poses to it's neighbors? it was at war with Iran for 8 years, the longest and most destructive war of the 20th century, with the death toll at possibly 1 million people. but did the US do anything to discourage that war? to the contrary, it gave Saddam money, weapons and training. ties to al Qaeda? In 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported there had been contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but NO COOPERATION. These findings were checked a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst who concurred with the findings. They stated with authority that that there was "no credible evidence that Iraq and la Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

So much for justifications. Thus there is the need, A REQUIREMENT, for reassurance that we are doing the right thing because our justifications are poorly timed premises with nothing but hot air to support them. if you want to have a true discussion, lets look at the US foreign policy for the middle east in the 20th century, then maybe we can see the roots of the war we are involved with today, and perhaps then decide if the premise is REALLY just or just trumped up.

i'm no armchair general, just a concerned citizen of this country, and i am dismayed by belligerent war mongering. perhaps zeppelin was just joking. i mean, people can joke, right? (i know a few redneck jokes, myself, but they might not go over well here.) perhaps in person he feels differently. i don't care. when someone makes broad statement in support of actions that have detrimental consequences for millions of people, that person will be held responsible for his words, even if he says he was joking. true i don't know him, but i can say that he comes off as ignorant and pretty careless (read: total asshole). let him defend himself if feels the need.

i'm also not a pacifist, nor am i stupid, so assuming that i want everyone to put down their arms, do therapy and sing kumbaya together is totally incorrect. the US acted unilaterally (well, with the coalition of the "willing" to be accurate - and interesting list of countries if you care to look), and i don't believe it was the right thing to do. however, maintaining the status quo was not the right thing to do either. but i have a feeling if i suggested an alternative reality with a better outcome than what is happening today, i would be told it was simplistic, idealistic, unrealistic and other istics that would essentially shoot it down as un-doable. but if my alternate reality is unrealistic and simplistic, why is not the alternate reality of Christopher Hitchens the same? just because he happens to write for Slate, does that mean he has more authority than me? maybe i should get a newspaper column.

so your website is called "sparks from the anvil". i hope i'm not disappointing you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


the point i was trying to make in my opening statement is that all i seem to read in these "conservative" and "right-wing" websites is how the "right" is right and the liberals are stupid and wrong, an elementary school argument if i ever heard one.


Hey, haven't you heard: All you ever needed to know, you learned in kindergarten.

Just be careful of generalities, when you're new here. You end up putting words in my mouth I never typed. It'd be helpful if you just stuck to the topic, instead of leaping to assumptions, or lumping me with preconceived notions about how "the right" thinks. Because my interpretation of your views is that you have a caricaturized impression of what right-wingers are all about.


i believe the right has some good ideas as does the left, but to buy wholesale into one party's set of beliefs is foolish because neither one is always going to be right no matter what the name of political leanings are

You are right; but you're also stating something that is so obvious, it is rather moot. Based upon what you've written thus far, you seem to have a certain fixation with the notion of "common ground" and straddling the fence, and trying to "remain above the fray".

Frankly, on all the issues that matter to me today, the right is right. And I say this as a moderate Republican. I think the Democrats on the war issue are just way out there, and have lost their way.

sure Bush presented justifications for going to war, otherwise we would not have done so. he's not that stupid. the pretense for war has to be clearly established before Congress will authorize any action. That's US Government 101.

Yes, but it's justification that most people who share your anti-Iraq War position choose to ignore or forget about. They can only harp about "no wmds" or "Bush lied". Violation of the original cease-fire agreement let alone 17 UN Resolutions and 12 years was not enough time? Let's not forget about Clinton's signing of the Iraq Liberation Act.

however, the person writing the article essentially was saying that going to war was the correct course of action and offered his opinion about what the hypothetical alternate reality would have been had we not gone to war.

Are you talking about Hitchens, or another article?

in his opinion, the alternative would have been worse than our current reality. that is not necessary a new justification, but an additional re-enforcement of an old justification, a reassurance that, "yes we are better off now than we were four years ago. we did the right thing."

And knowing what we do now, I say the irresponsible course of action would have been to do nothing.

It amazes me that the perception is "Iraq is a disaster". It is not. The fact that it hasn't been a cakewalk doesn't invalidate the justifications for war. War is hell. It is hard work. We have had successes as well as setbacks. It has not been the absolute quagmire it's been portrayed to be.

It's insanity given how low our casualty rate has been, that all those on the left of the war can see is the glass half empty. Every step of the way, the anti-war din has made mountains out of molehills, and has made our job in Iraq all the more difficult.

four years ago, In 2003 though, the course of action was theoretical, and any person/government/corporation who engages in a difficult endeavor is bound to re-examine decisions made in the past to either say, "yes, i made the right decision," or "no, that was a bad idea." and for a country under the burden of huge war expenditures, an army of thousands of our countrymen in a foreign country facing possible death and bodily harm every day, there is going to need to be some reassurance to the effect that we were right in our actions.

Tell that to the tragedy-tv, if it bleeds it leads brand of journalism and an anti-war, agenda-driven news media. The manner in which news events are reported and the good news under-reported, it's amazing we've lasted this long in the war.

Citing war expenditures and body counts aren't arguments to invalidate a war's moral justifications. Just what financial amount and level of losses were you willing to incur? What is the price for freedom?

Here’s the thing: Saddam's poor human rights record was well known even in the 1980s.

So was the Shah's....so? We were right in supporting him. Carter was wrong not to.

lets look at 1988 when Saddam gassed the Kurds in the town of Hajaba and killed 5000, more than we lost in 9/11. did we make the argument then to remove his regime from Iraq? no, the US lent him 1 billion more dollars a mere 6 months after the fact. from 1974 to 1989 he waged a war against the Kurdish population which resulted in the death of 400,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more. did the US or the international community do anything except issue enigmatic communiqués and statements? no, because Iraq was a friend of the West, a bulwark against the fanatic Islamic forces the West was keen to counteract.

And at the time we were fighting a greater war than Islamic fanaticism; and the Ayatollah's Iran was backed by the Soviets.

how about when Bush senior called for an uprising of the Iraqi people against Saddam and then had the troops stand idly by as the Republican guard brutally suppressed the uprising?

Yes, that was shameful; but unfortunately, we did not have the approval of Congress or the UN for removing Saddam from power.


it's almost funny how most pro-victory people conveniently ignore the pre 1991 facts.

What's not funny is how seriously skewed the pro-surrender people's Howard Zinn version of events is so black-and-white blame America first and give moral equivalence to her enemies.

The truth is that the US kept Saddam on because he was useful and turned a blind eye to his "proclivities" until he actually disobeyed the US by invading Kuwait, suddenly becoming the bogeyman that we see him today.

So what? America's interests should always be first and foremost. We are not in Iraq for humanitarian reasons. We are there to make America safer; and the noble attempt to help the Iraqi people and make life better for them is part of that. If it weren't, we shouldn't be over there, as there are many places we could otherwise be, based solely on humanitarian grounds.

the justifications from 2003 are true, but they are laughably late folded in with an overdose of irony. Israel flouts treaties and UN resolutions with regards to keeping settlers in the West Bank, but do we do anything about it? no, we just keep giving them $3 Billion a year.


Gee, and can you tell me how much we give to Egypt as well as countless other foreign governments, with rather hostile attitudes toward the US? And how utterly one-sided of you to point out Israel as the violator of UN Resolutions.

The UN has become a haven for dictatorships and terrorist-sponsoring states. Let's note the following:

Percentage of U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolutions condemning an Arab country for human rights violations: 0

Percentage of U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolutions condemning Israel for human rights violations: 26

Number of U.N. Security Council resolutions on the Middle East between 1948 and 1991: 175

Number of these resolutions against Israel: 97

Number of these resolutions against an Arab state: 4

Number of Arab countries that have been members of the U.N. Security Council: 16

Number of times Israel has been a member of the U.N. Security Council: 0

Number of U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel: 322

Number of U.N. General Assembly resolutions condemning an Arab country: 0

Percentage of U.N. votes in which Arab countries voted with the United States in 2002: 16.6

Percentage of U.N. votes in which Israel voted with the United States in 2002: 92.6

Percentage of Middle East Studies professors who defend Zionism and Israel: approximately 1.

Percentage of Middle East Studies professors who believe in diversity on college campuses: 100

Percentage of people who argue that the Jewish state has no right to exist who also believe some other country has no right to exist: 0

Percentage of people who argue that of all the countries in the world, only the Jewish state has no right to exist and yet deny they are anti-Jewish: approximately 100




the military threat Iraq poses to it's neighbors? it was at war with Iran for 8 years, the longest and most destructive war of the 20th century, with the death toll at possibly 1 million people. but did the US do anything to discourage that war? to the contrary, it gave Saddam money, weapons and training.

I'll reprint for you what I responded with when you brought this up over at Mike's America:

theotherguy,


Mike penned you correctly about the "moral equivalence". It seems to be prevalent in all the comments you've been leaving (here and at my blog). It is moral relativism that neuters us from taking decisive action, and recognizing evil when we're confronted by it.


we have also been waging a war on iran. what was that little war in the 1980s? oh yeah, the iran-iraq war, the longest war of the 20th century with casualties close to 1 million people. we didn't participate directly, of course, but supported our good friend saddam hussein with weapons and training and money...

Do you know why we had to align ourselves with Saddam? It's for the same reason we found ourselves aligning with Stalin in WWII. And if it weren't for a certain peanut president, we would probably still have Iran as a pro-America ally.

Furthermore, which countries supplied the majority of Saddam's weapons? Name one missile in Saddam's arsenal that was made by the U.S.

His Air Force was comprised of Soviet MIGS and other fighters of Chinese and French make and model.

There was a Swedish study that indicated only something ridiculously low- like 1%-2% total- of Saddam's weapons were supplied by the U.S. and UK. The majority came from Germany, France, Russia, and China (things that make you go "hmmmm...." when you think about which countries opposed us in the UN during the run-up to war).

Mostly what the U.S. supplied was intelligence information, in the form of satellite photos. And this was during the height of the cold war, when the Soviets were backing the Ayatollah.

EU countries, along with Russia and China, were the primary suppliers of materials and technologies that Saddam used to create chemical/biological weapons, and which he relied upon in his attempt to create nuclear weapons.

And this:

A Pentagon report on weapons found in Iraq after the war revealed a staggering amount of armaments, almost all foreign-made.

The report, first disclosed in a new book by one of this column's writers, Bill Gertz, reached this stark conclusion: "Foreign munitions were used against coalition forces during the war and continue to be a potential source of explosives for improvised explosive devices still being used to kill U.S. soldiers."

According to the report cited in "Treachery: How America's Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming Our Enemies," 24 nations supplied armaments to Saddam Hussein. The total amount was between 650,000 tons and 1 million tons. By contrast, the entire U.S. military arsenal is between 1.6 million and 1.8 million tons.

The big three arms suppliers were Russia (and the Soviet Union), China and France: Russia supplied 122 different types of arms and a total of nearly 13 million items; China had provided 19 different types of arms and almost 380,000 items; France had supplied 12 different armaments and more than 115,000 items.



oh and lets not forget who set up the iranian revolution? okay sure, the US didn't actually directly cause it, but they put in Reza Shah in who bungled things so badly that the country had a revolution. the iranians could still be a little upset by that too.


Why don't you go ask Jimmy Carter about Iran and why they are what they are today.


Or go pick up Mark Bowden's "Guests of the Ayatollah". It might be an interesting read for you.


ties to al Qaeda? In 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported there had been contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but NO COOPERATION. These findings were checked a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst who concurred with the findings. They stated with authority that that there was "no credible evidence that Iraq and la Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

I think you're behind on this. Click on the links to Flopping Aces' categories that I linked to in the post, for starters. Also, consider this:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 Douglas Feith On The CIA, The WMD, And The Information War...Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 8:30 PM

Here is the transcript of my interview with former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. The audio will be posted here later. Some key excerpts:

HH: Do you believe, as opposed to your staff, that the CIA was filtering its own intelligence, Mr. Feith?

DF: Yes, I think that there were people, there were people in the CIA who had a theory that the Baathist secularists would not cooperate with the religious extremists in al Qaeda. And because they had that theory, when they looked at information that was, that showed, or that suggested that there was cooperation, they were inclined not to believe that information. And so what they were doing is they were preparing reports about the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship in the year 2002, that were either excluding altogether, or downplaying older intelligence reports that suggested that there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda.

HH: Are those people still in the CIA?

DF: One of the main people who was propounding that theory about…that the Baathists wouldn’t deal with the jihadists is now out in the private sector, and he’s actually been quite vocal, and has written articles, and his name is Paul Pillar. He’s also at Georgetown with me, in fact. But there are other people, I assume, I don’t know all the personnel at the CIA, but I’m sure there are other people who retained that view.

****

HH: Now there has been for some time speculation that there is a war against the war inside of the CIA. Is that fair?

DF: Well, we know now quite clearly from people who were in the CIA at the time, and who have since left, and have written books and articles, and given interviews, that there were a substantial number of people, including some analysts at very high levels, who were fundamentally at odds with the President’s policy. And that’s…I mean, that’s okay in principle, as long as they are doing professional work. The problem is that some of these people, I think very unprofessionally, were leaking stories, making allegations, one of the standard techniques is using former intelligence officials as a vehicle for leaking stories about what’s going on within the administration, and a lot of those stories that came out were very harmful, very false, and have had a lasting effect in hurting the President.

HH: Is Joseph Wilson’s trip to Niger one of those instances of the CIA using off the chart tactics to undermine the case for the war and the case for seriousness concerning Saddam?

DF: I’m not an expert on all the facts of that, but it sounds right.

****

HH: And Mr. Feith, looking back, knowing what we know now, do you still believe the decision to invade Iraq was a good one?

DF: Well, I think that the President made a completely responsible decision when he evaluated the dangers that Saddam posed to the United States. And the whole history of Iraq’s hostility and aggression and working with various terrorist groups, and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and use of weapons of mass destruction over the years, and he looked at all the risks of leaving Saddam in power, I think he made the right decision that while it was obviously, and as Secretary Rumsfeld helped point out, very risky to remove Saddam from power, it was enormously risky to leave him in power. And I think the President made a sound judgment in deciding to remove him.

HH: And knowing what we know now, would you still recommend that he make that same decision looking back?

DF: Yes, I would. I think that, you know, you’re always wiser in retrospect. There are things in the process that could have been done better, and we’ve learned a lot, one always learns a lot when one has a major activity of this kind.

****

HH: Professor Feith, do you believe he had WMD and got rid of them?

DF: Well, we know he had WMD, because he used WMD.

HH: No, I mean prior to the invasion, say 2001-2003.

DF: I don’t know, I don’t know precisely what he did, or when…nobody’s ever ascertained that. What we do know is he had the WMD at one point. We know that we didn’t find it. We don’t know how we got from the one place to the other. I think nobody knows that yet. It’s never been ascertained. Nobody has ever established that he destroyed it. Nobody has ever established whether he transferred it or hid it. All we know is that we couldn’t find the stockpiles that the CIA thought he had. By the way, the fact that the CIA got that wrong is a sign of why it makes sense for policy officials to do the kind of challenging of intelligence that my office did, for which the Inspector General, I think completely wrong-headedly, criticized us.

****

HH: All right. I understand that completely. In conclusion, Mr. Feith, when I had the Secretary on, Secretary Rumsfeld, I asked him, oh, a year ago, how come the American government is so flat-footed in the information war, in using new media. A) do you share my assessment that we are flat-footed, and B) why is that? Did you ever sit around with Dr. Wolfowitz and Secretary Rumsfeld, and say we’ve got to figure out how to teach the world and our people about what this war’s about, because I didn’t see that happening.

DF: Well, the answer is yes, we did sit around on many occasions, raising that question almost in the very same words that you just raised it in. And it is, it is…it’s a mystery to me, to tell you the truth, that this administration has been as ineffective as it has been in its so-called strategic communications, or public diplomacy. It’s…I can’t quite figure it out, because it has a lot of very talented people who managed to run an extremely successful presidential reelection campaign, and yet when it comes to, as you say, getting the story out, explaining its strategy, explaining what it’s doing and why, it’s been, I think, far inferior to its critics.

HH: My last question, really last question. Is there, in your opinion, do the American people understand the level of threat posed to us by our double enemy, Shia radicalism and Sunni radicalism? Do they really get the threat?

DF: I think that the answer is no, and I think that there’s a paradox working here, and that is after the 9/11 attack, I think there was a very…an obviously heightened sense of risk throughout the country. And at that point, I think a lot of people were focused on the threats that you’re talking about of jihadist violence, Sunni and Shia. And what happened was the administration responded very vigorously, in a completely new way, saying that we’re going to fight this not as a law enforcement matter but as a war. And I think at least in part because of that, I think the administration deserves some credit here. There has not been another 9/11 scale attack in the United States for the last five and a half years. Now I think most serious people believe we’re going to get hit again at some point, but I think it is to the credit of the administration’s strategy that we’ve managed to get five and a half years after 9/11 without another major attack of that kind. And the paradox is that the success that the administration has had in helping prevent the additional attack has led a lot of people to say maybe the whole threat isn’t that serious. And I mean, it’s kind of just in the nature of things that if you succeed in fighting the threat, you’ll have people who deny that it existed to begin with.




So much for justifications. Thus there is the need, A REQUIREMENT, for reassurance that we are doing the right thing because our justifications are poorly timed premises with nothing but hot air to support them.


Yes...your opinion, and interpretation of facts.


if you want to have a true discussion, lets look at the US foreign policy for the middle east in the 20th century, then maybe we can see the roots of the war we are involved with today, and perhaps then decide if the premise is REALLY just or just trumped up.

Well, gee, why don't you create your own blog and make a post on it?

i'm no armchair general, just a concerned citizen of this country, and i am dismayed by belligerent war mongering.

And I am mortified by the mischaracterization of this war we are in, and by the peace fascists and surrender-mongerers who do not recognize the threat- or refuse to. They will get us killed.


perhaps zeppelin was just joking. i mean, people can joke, right? (i know a few redneck jokes, myself, but they might not go over well here.)

Yes, because we're all nothing but redneck hillbillies and white flag-waving racists. [/sarcasm]

perhaps in person he feels differently. i don't care. when someone makes broad statement in support of actions that have detrimental consequences for millions of people, that person will be held responsible for his words, even if he says he was joking. true i don't know him, but i can say that he comes off as ignorant and pretty careless (read: total asshole). let him defend himself if feels the need.

Like I said, you posted in an "old" thread. My traffic here has been light; and being caught up in other things, I have not done much to expand my own readership.

i'm also not a pacifist, nor am i stupid, so assuming that i want everyone to put down their arms, do therapy and sing kumbaya together is totally incorrect.

It was a way to characterize you the way I think you've been characterizing those who visit here and who share my political views, without really knowing any of us; unless you've been lurking for a while.

the US acted unilaterally (well, with the coalition of the "willing" to be accurate - and interesting list of countries if you care to look),

This is something else that always mystifies me, when there are new readers: The condescending "education"....as if anything you've presented in any of your comments is anything new that I haven't heard before. You seem to fancy yourself as "down the middle"; yet, you've successfully touted points that, at some time or other, I've heard repeatedly from liberals.

Nothing you've said is news to me.

and i don't believe it was the right thing to do. however, maintaining the status quo was not the right thing to do either. but i have a feeling if i suggested an alternative reality with a better outcome than what is happening today, i would be told it was simplistic, idealistic, unrealistic and other istics that would essentially shoot it down as un-doable. but if my alternate reality is unrealistic and simplistic, why is not the alternate reality of Christopher Hitchens the same? just because he happens to write for Slate, does that mean he has more authority than me? maybe i should get a newspaper column.

That's kind of a weird bit of reasoning; I'm not sure how to even approach that. Are you unfamiliar with Christopher Hitchens? He's actually a lefty who understands the war; and Slate is pretty much a liberal site, overall.

so your website is called "sparks from the anvil". i hope i'm not disappointing you.


Other than long-winded points that come across as pent up thoughts needing an outlet....welcome to my blog.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 1:04:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Also in regards to foreign assistance, I read this recently:

Palestinian handouts
By Linda Chavez
Friday, March 23, 2007

One year ago, the United States and the European Union decided to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority after Palestinians elected Hamas, a U.S. and E.U.-designated terrorist organization, to lead their government. Now, it turns out, Western sources, including the U.S. government, have actually put more money into the West Bank and Gaza since Hamas took over than in previous years.

What happened to Western resolve not to legitimate a bloodthirsty gang of pseudo-politicians who are committed to wiping Israel off the map?

In 2005, the U.S. gave about $400 million in aid to Palestinians directly and indirectly through United Nations refugee agencies, according to recent press reports. In 2006, that amount went up to $468 million. And the E.U. and its member countries gave Palestinians about $916 million in 2006, not counting what they gave through U.N. agencies, up from $711 million in 2005.

U.S. and European officials claim that the increases don't constitute support for the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority since the aid goes directly to individuals or is distributed by international organizations and aid groups.

The idea behind the Western embargo of the P.A. was that Hamas' support among Palestinians would fall if the Islamist political party couldn't deliver services. Some Western governments also hoped that a cut-off in aid -- without which the P.A. cannot effectively operate -- would pressure Hamas leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

But some cautioned that an aid embargo would backfire if the suffering of the Palestinian people increased -- so the U.S. and the E.U. began funneling money through international agencies and private aid groups.

The policy hasn't worked. Hamas is no less militant or violent than ever. Much of the violence recently has been aimed at fighting the rival Fatah movement, which has resulted in more than 100 Palestinian deaths in Gaza since December.

And despite the recent agreement on a unity government between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas leaders remain committed to eliminating the state of Israel, which the group not only doesn't recognize but can't even bear to name.

In a speech to Palestinian lawmakers last weekend, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas prime minister, reiterated that "resistance in all its forms, including popular resistance against the occupation, is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people." In the past, Haniya has talked about the importance of "confronting the occupation," which is just another way of saying that Hamas believes in killing Israelis, including civilians.

But what about the Palestinian people? Have they been helped by the estimated $1.2 billion in aid that the U.N. and International Monetary Fund say they received in 2006? Are they more likely to embrace peace and renounce violence? Are their lives better with more aid flowing in from international organizations?

In fact, the evidence suggests that all our millions have done is to further impoverish Palestinians, turning them into ever more helpless dependents, whose likely response to our largesse will be to despise us further. Palestinian gross domestic product went down by 6.6 percent in 2006, while poverty rose by 30 percent and more than one in three Palestinians were unemployed.

When have handouts ever worked? In the United States, we learned that welfare for our own citizens not only turned into a debilitating crutch, it created a more or less permanent underclass.

At least American welfare recipients weren't using the cash and their free time to build bombs to blow up their neighbors. The same can't be said for the Palestinians who have received Western aid. Israelis found a bomb-making factory in the West Bank town of Nablus just last month.

The Palestinians will never have a better life if they continue their destructive, self-defeating hatred of the Jewish state and its people. Palestinians have developed a culture built on hate. Until they learn to devote their energies into helping themselves rather than tearing down each other and their neighbors, we should not spend one more dime on aid.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 1:25:00 AM  

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