WAR IN IRAQ
Posted 26 March 2003 - 04:10 PM
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Posted 26 March 2003 - 04:18 PM
U.S. House of Representatives
September 10, 2002
QUESTIONS THAT WON'T BE ASKED ABOUT IRAQ
Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won’t be asked- and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.
1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?
2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate- which just confirms that there is no real threat?
3. Is it not true that those who argue that even with inspections we cannot be sure that Hussein might be hiding weapons, at the same time imply that we can be more sure that weapons exist in the absence of inspections?
4. Is it not true that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was able to complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year with Iraqi cooperation?
5. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?
6. Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq’s links to terrorism?
7. Is it not true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?
8. Is it not true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al-Qaeda were hiding out, is in the control of our "allies," the Kurds?
9. Is it not true that the vast majority of al-Qaeda leaders who escaped appear to have safely made their way to Pakistan, another of our so-called allies?
10. Has anyone noticed that Afghanistan is rapidly sinking into total chaos, with bombings and assassinations becoming daily occurrences; and that according to a recent UN report the al-Qaeda "is, by all accounts, alive and well and poised to strike again, how, when, and where it chooses"?
11. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States- and who may again attack the United States- and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?
12. Would an attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world's worst suspicions about the US, and isn't this what bin Laden wanted?
13. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?
14. Is it not true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively that of the Congress? Should presidents, contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when pressured by public opinion? Are presidents permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?
15. Are you aware of a Pentagon report studying charges that thousands of Kurds in one village were gassed by the Iraqis, which found no conclusive evidence that Iraq was responsible, that Iran occupied the very city involved, and that evidence indicated the type of gas used was more likely controlled by Iran not Iraq?
16. Is it not true that anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 US soldiers have suffered from Persian Gulf War syndrome from the first Gulf War, and that thousands may have died?
17. Are we prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the United States?
18. Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a 100 billion dollar war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to "build democracy" there?
19. Iraq’s alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have been ignored by various countries without penalty?
20. Did former President Bush not cite the UN Resolution of 1990 as the reason he could not march into Baghdad, while supporters of a new attack assert that it is the very reason we can march into Baghdad?
21. Is it not true that, contrary to current claims, the no-fly zones were set up by Britain and the United States without specific approval from the United Nations?
22. If we claim membership in the international community and conform to its rules only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position, directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?
23. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharaf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?
24. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992- including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?
25. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein’s rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran? Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?
26. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?
27. Why do the oil company executives strongly support this war if oil is not the real reason we plan to take over Iraq?
28. Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won’t have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?
29. What is the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?
30. Where does the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason other than self-defense?
31. Is it not true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should never go into another for the purpose of regime change?
32. Is it not true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements will be settled by war?
33. Is it not true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and- not coincidentally- we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?
34. Is it not true that Pakistan, especially through its intelligence services, was an active supporter and key organizer of the Taliban?
35. Why don't those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution to the floor of Congress?
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Posted 26 March 2003 - 05:05 PM
During WW2, use by Hitler of Sarin or a more advanced nerve agent on the D-Day beaches could have turned the tide. But he DIDN'T. The reason is simple - we'd "leaked" the misinformation that we had vast stockpiles of the same weapons, and were ready willing and able to retaliate by dropping the gas on German towns. Due to an already-existing misunderstanding (Imperial Chemicals (Canada) Ltd has researched nerve agents in the 1930's, decided they were unsuitable as pesticides, and resulatingly stopped publishing their research papers (OR doing research!) at the same time as the Germans realised the wapons potential, and stopped publishing because the information was classified "secret") Hitler beleved the threat. "Being able to retaliate" isn't required. All you need is that the enemy BELIEVES you're able to retaliate.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 12:17 PM
Personally, I don't believe the reasons given to us for why we are at war. Bush & Blair LTD do not care about the Iraqi people and they certainly don't care if Saddam uses chemical weapons on them. I'd be surprised if he even has any just like I'd be surprised if it was really Bin Laden who had anything to do with 911 - oops did I really say that? :wink:
I do believe however, that now we are engaged in war we should support the men and women that are endangering, and have already given their lives for this unnecessary exercise.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 12:28 PM
There is virtually NO ONE in America (talk radio nutters and Fox News aside) who is gung-ho to go to war. Trust me on this one. Walk out of the White House and on to any street in America and try to find five people who are PASSIONATE about wanting to kill Iraqis. YOU WON'T FIND THEM! Why? 'Cause NO Iraqis have ever come here and killed any of us! No Iraqi has even threatened to do that. You see, this is how we average Americans think: If a certain so-and-so is not perceived as a threat to our lives, then, believe it or not, we don't want to kill him! Funny how that works!
Ah, so you admit that the avarage american doesnt give a damn what happens outside his own coutry, something we suspected for a long time, hell, even the news is screwed up, local news = news in that town, possibly state at the most... world news = news in the rest of america, not a mention about the rest of the world :wink:
Posted 27 March 2003 - 01:08 PM
Posted 27 March 2003 - 01:25 PM
Q: When does Saddam Hussein have his dinner?
A: When Tariq Aziz
Sorry for the bad humour, but i just had to
The idea of time is a convention of thought and language, a social agreement.
Here is the deeper truth......We only have this moment.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 02:19 PM
-Sarah, just interested to know what more time and more consensus on the Security Council would have done to the Iraqi regime? More time may have brought more international consensus, which is certainly important, but would it have removed Saddam? Most likely is that that time would have been spent in negotiations, and with negotiations come compromise:
Yes, Saddam and his regime should be removed, but given more time and the support of the Security Council perhaps there was an alternative to war and the death of innocent people.
-One of the most odious compromise I can think of that could have happened is that Saddam would be given amnesty and indemnity internationally, in return for volutarily leaving the country, and no doubt going loco down in Acapulco.
-Similarly, had Saddam been more open to the inspectors, (Blix himself criticised them for this) had he allowed his scientists to speak to the inspectors and say "this is what we had here here and here, but now we just have this here and here”, no doubt the regime would have been allowed to stay, albeit in a weakerned form.
-At this stage of the war, (in the hope that it all seems so far to be OK, and no horrendous civillian casulaties) it seems that war is the right result, but pursued for the wrong reasons.
-Reconciling the conflict between the ideal scenario and the limited reality of the situation is inevitably a hard thing for all but those without any pretence to principles.
BTW.Just found this- quite interesting site, might be worth keeping an eye on.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 03:11 PM
One of the less impressive aspects of US foreign policy is the demand for "instant gratification", plus a sad inability to think more than one move ahead. "Saddam's BAD... let's GET him" is an achieveable objective. Problem is... if the process of "getting Saddam" involves alienating most of the world, then when you've done the job and move on to the next one, you find that it's ten times harder. Foreign policy, like chess, isn't a game in which you deal with one move at a time - it's a game where he (or she) who thinks the most moves ahead usually wins. It's an area in which "brute force" counts for very little. Over the decades since WW2, the US has concentrated on self-admiration; they've done whatever they liked - because "who is gonna stop us?" and have, as a result, manged to p*ss in a lot of people's beer - and gained an unenviable reputation as the world's first hyper-hypocrites. There's been a deeply worrying undertone in US policy for years that equates somewhat to racism - a willingness to trade civilian casualties (provided they're NOT Americans) for decreased risk to US servicemen. The US claims to "love democracy" because they have it at home... while proping up some of the most ghastly regimes in the world. Saddam is berated as a monster for murdering c5,000 Kurds... yet the Indonesians kill civilians in their millions, and get HELPED to do so. Civilian casualties in SE Asia ran to over 2,000,000 people dureing the Viet Nam era. But that's OK - because propping up a succession of crooks and wannabe tyrants can be psuhed as "defending democracy". The ONE aspect of chess that DOES seem to have reached the American political psyche is "sacrificing pawns". The US (natch!) doesn't see itself as a pawn. That's a job for South American or Asian or Middle Eastern Peasants, whose conscripted contribution to "making the world a safer place for democracy" is to endure brutal dictatorships which act as a convenient buffer against whatever bogey the US is frightening itself with this year. The underlying CAUSE that necessitated the "War against terrorism" (at least necessitated it from a US viewpoint!) is the USA's deep worldwide unpopularity. The rush to "get Saddam" is likely , if anything, to have made the US even less popular than hitherto. Not immediately after the war... but when it's discovered that the new "liberated" Iraq is another clone of Egypt, where "democracy" is a bloodless battle between the peoples' choice of candiates... and the candidates that are approved by their US-supported rulers. The rulers ALWAYS win - because any serious competition is in gaol.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 03:28 PM
The collatlition's attempts to knock out the Iraqi TV is disgraceful, a downright kick in the face to "democracy" and "freedom". Freedom is not about censorship. OK, so perhaps Saddam is using it for propaganda, but has anyone seen CNN lately? Hello?
If they knock out Iraqi's media, we will never know what happened. We'll never know how many are dead. History has proven that it's very easy to put a false spin on this kind of thing, the Cuban Missile Crisis is proof of that. Only in recent years has the truth came out, and it is vastly different to what the US regime said at the time.
For the record, there have already been thousands of Iraqi deaths. Thousands. And they've barely started. In '91 it is estimated that there were 400,000 casualties, and that was repelling Iraq from Kuwait. Now it's an invasion of their homeland, it's gonna be much worse. They've not had any real street fighting yet, give it a week until the battle of Bagdad starts. It's going to be very messy.
This war is going to turn into guerilla warfare that'll make Vietnam look like Disney world. You think Northern Irelands had a bad time from internal terrorism? Well, Iraq's going to have it in spades, for many years to come. There will always be anti-US/UK sentiment, especially amoung the children who's parents are being killed as I type this, in my nice little safe office.
Half the problem is that American's have never seen war. The population there has never had to do a blackout. They've never sat up all night listening to bombs rain down around them, more terrified than anything you have ever experienced. They've never had to phone family and friends every day just to see if they are still alive. The perception of war on our media is very false.
Hopefully the truth will out, but I'm not holding my breath...
Posted 27 March 2003 - 04:50 PM
Absolutely, considering the conflict fought at the moment with ex enemy's enemy Iraq, spurred by the actions of ex enemy's enemy Bin Laden, no further discussions are needed on how damaging short term US foreign policy has been over the last half of the twentieth century.
One of the less impressive aspects of US foreign policy is the demand for "instant gratification", plus a sad inability to think more than one move ahead.
But you misunderstand me, mainly I think because of my paragraph spacing Ron. The point I was making is that had- as Sarah suggested- the US spent more time negociating with Saddam, the compromises that may have been reached would have come at a price as well, whether Saddam's government staying on but with increased cooperation with the inspectors (and no doubt some deal on oil), or Saddam's regime staying on, but without him and his sons. Neither options would reassure me any less about the failing of international justice than the situation we are actually in.
Re: Pictures of the dead on TV.
You are incorrect. The furore is not about the dead, but about showing POWs on TV, and gratuitously showing dead Allied soldiers face up. I find their outcry is somewhat hypocritical and naive, but believe that as a matter of decency both side should refrain. Incidentally, I think you will find they are being directed not at Iraqi TV, but at Al-Jazeera, the station who actually broadcast them around the world.
Re: knocking out Iraqi TV.
Yes, against the Geneva Convention, but obviously a key strategy in loosening Saddam’s influence from the more distance peripheries of Iraq. Perhaps you would find it hard to justify your statement If they knock out Iraqi's media, we will never know what happened. Right...
As posted in my last post see http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ They estimate 227-307, and checkout their methodology for more details. We are obviously going to have difficulties establishing this until after the war, but until then this counter seems one of the more reliable reporting aids. Forgive me Fraiser, if I do not take your unsubstanciated claims of thousands 'For the record'.
For the record, there have already been thousands of Iraqi deaths
Well, Lets just hope not. I am not sure that Iraq has a binding anti-American faith or pro Saddam faith that would bind the country together at a popular level like communism did in Vietnam.
guerilla warfare that'll make Vietnam look like Disney world
Not quite sure what the problem is that you refer to in your last paragraph. Are you saying that popular understanding of what Baghdad would suffer these nights would have affected the governments actions? Does the UK qualify because of the war in the 1940s? - not sure.
Finally, Fraiser you manage to follow 'If they knock out Iraqi's media, we will never know what happened.' with 'Hopefully the truth will out, but I'm not holding my breath...'
hmmm... right. Maybe you are confusing truth with anti American hyperbole.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 05:32 PM
What price for a human life lost in this war? Surely that's more?
the compromises that may have been reached would have come at a price as well
The furore is not about the dead, but about showing POWs on TV, and gratuitously showing dead Allied soldiers face up.
Oh, like the ones in Camp X-Ray, Cuba? Who are being treated worse. Who are being tortured. Who are not limited by the Geneva convention, due to clever legal wrangling. I'm totally agreed on your point about hypocracy, I'm not arguing that "it's good" that they are showing the soldiers.
Oh, and the media seems to have forgotten about the Iraq soldier POWs shown being searched and marched down roads on our TV three days before. Short memory I guess.
It's not as if this is new thing. The reports out of Iraq are tightly controlled by the collalition. War reporters were specially choosen for their views, and told that if they don't toe the party line, they get sent home. CNN reporter Kevin Sites was told to suspend his blog on the war. Everything you see on TV has been vetted by the editors of the networks, who have close business ties with the US administration.
Perhaps you would find it hard to justify your statement "If they knock out Iraqi's media, we will never know what happened."
It's an information war. Surely you can spot the clever wording used in the reports? Not quite untruths, but being very flexible with the facts. For example, they suggest that Iraq is "ready to use WMD". Eh, no. They found some gas masks in a bunker. American troops carry MOPP chemical weapons gear, does that mean they plan on going nuclear?
I just find it shocking that they berate the Iraqi's for using propaganda, and see the media as a valid target. Meanwhile, I swear I heard CNN say "War is peace" the other day...
They estimate 227-307
I don't care about civilian casualties. A life is a life, whatever way you look at it. And yes, there are thousands of Iraqi troops dead. These people are just defending themselves from a foreign agresor. An enemy they have been brainwashed in hating. They are no different to the US soldiers who took up arms in Afganistan. They believe they have an enemy, and they want to destroy that enemy.
What riles me is that there is such a big deal made about every collalition loss.
The source was BBC news, and that's just from one single tank battle. The only time I've heard them talk about Iraqi losses.
your unsubstanciated claims of thousands 'For the record'.
pro Saddam faith that would bind the country together at a popular level like communism did in Vietnam
Communism didn't have much to do with it really. They were attacking a foreign agressor. No different to the Americans who were angry about 9/11. No one wants a foreign army in their country, especially when that army has the human rights record the USA has. (Talking about historical fact, not the popular media image that they present to the world)
Besides, all it would take is a couple hundred of disgrunted Iraqi's, and you'd have a situation very similar to Northern Ireland. Remember, there are thousands of kids who are about to loose their parents. There's a lot of hate and anger brewing.
To a certain degree, yes. When we think of bombing, we think of the Blitz. I'm in Glasgow, and you can still see the signs from the damage done. New buildings in the middle of old etc. Plus, it's in our culture, who didn't read books like "The Machine Gunners" etc in school? When you say war to us, it means blackouts and hiding in bunkers. When you say war to an American, they can only relate to movies, which rarely show the consquences of the real thing.
Does the UK qualify because of the war in the 1940s? - not sure.
"Hopefully the truth will out, but I'm not holding my breath..."
hmmm... right. Maybe you are confusing truth with anti American hyperbole.
First off, I'm not anti-American. Everything that America used to stand for is great. It changed in the 1950s into some sort of scary nightmare. Check out this short clip, taken from Bowling for Columbine.
That's what I hate. I've nothing against the US population, and the country itself. They have used their media facade to promote an image of "just" America, which doesn't relate in any way to the real world.
Now that that's out of the way, can you see that the historical events in the past don't relate much to the common conceptions by most people. What makes you think this war is going to be any different?
Posted 27 March 2003 - 05:49 PM
The media has no respect for fact, hence all of the sensationalism.
For the record, there have already been thousands of Iraqi deaths.
The source was BBC news, and that's just from one single tank battle. The only time I've heard them talk about Iraqi losses.
All quotes from Fraser! Why is it that people complain about the unreliable
media yet seize upon anything that supports their argument :?:
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Posted 27 March 2003 - 06:05 PM
Mind you, there is one alternate source; Dear Raed. It's a blog from a guy in Bagdad. I'd recommend reading it if you have the time.
Posted 28 March 2003 - 10:58 AM
Now either keep noise down or ill have you chucked out!
Posted 28 March 2003 - 11:27 AM
You simply cannot compare the two that way!
Meanwhile, seeing as we are drudging up Nazi references, consider these similarities between pre-war Germany and the current USA:
- Both spend ridiculous amounts on the military. 50% of global military spending is by the USA.
- Both believe that they are fighting evil
- Both believe that they are "God's chosen ones"
- The enemy is made out to be a threat to their liberty and way of life
- Fear is used to get public support. Orange alert, duct tape etc.
- Leadership speaches inspire all of the above, using carefully crafted words that aren't quite lying, but sure as hell ain't the truth
- Both leaderships cafefully control what the public see of them. From the words they speak to the physical mannerisms used. Hitler was a pioneer with this sort of thing...he was the first politician to have photo ops
- Racial hatred and fear rule the day, the Nazi's had the Jews, the USA has the Arabs
- Localised attacks and resentment towards these groups. The USA has always had a bad record with non-whites, more so recently with the anti-arab attacks in the USA that didn't quite get covered in the media. Pretty much the same happened to the Jews.
- It's OK to disappear someone to a special camp, with no legal representation, no respect for the Geneva convention and torture them at your lesure. As long as they are of your chosen "hate race"
- People of that "hate race" are begining to move away. Actually, many whites are also terrified and are getting out of the USA.
Hence my sig...I could go on and on on this stuff, but I have work to do...
Posted 28 March 2003 - 02:50 PM
Fraser, you seem to have a few different themes mixed around in your last couple of posts, and it might be easier if we can deal with them separately- (I am trying to stop this discussion sliding in to the situation in which you are either for war, or for Saddam and other generalisations). Much of what you say in your last post I am broadly in agreement with, but still come to different conclusions about the situation we are in now.
Broadly speaking these seem to be:
1. Media coverage of the war.
----a. Censorship, and unfair reporting.
----b. Double standards of reporting- i.e. POWs treatment, bombing casualties.
2. Long term after-effects of the invasion. – repercussions in Iraq and for the US internationally.
3. US foreign policy in general.
-1a Media coverage in this war, any war, and indeed peace has to be taken with a pinch of salt. These are only reports of humans on the ground, albeit with "scientific" style analysis through the use of computer graphics. Obviously take no one report at face value, and be aware of the filters that the reports have passed through to get to you. Lets not get into arguments about what is, and what is not happening, but it is only courtesy to cite your sources where you are making otherwise unsubstantiated claims.
That said, you seem to be succumbing to the conspiracy theorist logic that the influences on our media are all uniformly directed to supporting the US administration- no doubt by some vast impersonal omnipotent power which is close to the US admin. Simply saying "Everything you see on TV has been vetted by the editors of the networks, who have close business ties with the US administration" convinces me of nothing more than your ability to over generalise and misinform. If you could substantiate this with reference not just to TV but also other media, and make the case that all our info is tempered by the wishes of the white house, then it would be interesting.
There are still anti coalition voices in Iraq Fisk for one and here you will find examples of bias and double standards but in the other direction.
1b. Double standards of reporting. The POWs was a brilliant example of how little introspection the US media is capable of, becoming incensed over this violation. In fairness, this response is probably uniform in whatever country you are in. And incidentally, there were some questions asked if showing the Iraqi troops was breaking the convention. Apparently it is not illegal to show them, but it is when they are held up to "public curiosity" (article 13) that it breaks it. Fair enough I suppose, but a very thin line drawn by our media if that is the distinction- if not I accept blatant double standards. However I hope you accept that the two images are of very different natures, and hardly on par.
RE: Guantanamo Bay. Couldn’t agree with you more- it should be the spirit of the convention followed as well as the letter. Presumably Fraser, as “Everything you see on TV has been vetted by the editors of the networks, who have close business ties with the US administration” then that was precisely the image that Bush et al wanted to project?
2. Long term after effects of the war
In Iraq- There will presumably be a generation of war orphans, who will be disinclined towards the US. Whether this will manifest itself as terrorism depends on our record after the conflict. It is not simply cause and effect as you suggest.
For the US/UK. War in Iraq must be a powerful symbol of US power, and can easily be projected as imperialism, as such it will no doubt help towards the next generation of little Osamas. Not an argument for stopping the war, as they will be there for as long as the US continues to exert its influence as it does in the Middle East.
3. Foreign policy. Its pretty clear that the record is not good. Short termism, disregard for non American human rights, and business interests are inescapable. The argument partly against this runs that the Cold War was a serious and sincere event, and the change at 89/91 is paradigmatic. No doubt the events should be viewed as part of the larger picture. This should not make the individuals involved in the policies any less culpable.
For all that, I would be interested in what you would have the Bush/ Blair if you suddenly had the choice. It seems we are too far in the quagmire of war to do any but pursue this war and make sure that we then take this opportunity afterwards to demonstrate than the west can use its role as world hegemon responsibly.
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