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#756443 - 04/09/03 09:47 PM Thoughts on the Aftermath
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
An interesting editorial today in the Chicago Sun-Times (for those of you not familiar, Chicago's more "liberal" newspaper). Not a byline editorial, mind you, an official position editorial.

 Quote:

Even smoking gun won't make difference to some[/b]

April 9, 2003

Unlike the Republican Guard, which proved to be not very elite when it came to running just like the rest of the Iraqi military, the homefront opponents of the war are falling back, taking up defensive positions, and carrying on the fight with a singular determination.

The same voices who predicted a Vietnam-like quagmire, who seized upon a single day's delay in progress to pronounce Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's war plan fundamentally flawed, who were quick to predict massive U.S. casualties or civilian deaths, now find the stamina to contemplate what seems to be a lightning American victory and vindication of our war plans with a single, united cry: Where are the weapons of mass destruction?

The obvious answer--we just got there, give our forces a moment to sit down on one of the ornate sofas in one of Saddam Hussein's many palaces, light up a cigar, and enjoy a celebratory puff before we go hunting for nerve gas--don't hold much water with people who, by nature, doubt the integrity of the United States and cast aspersions on practically everything it does.

We are confident that those weapons will be found, for the simple reason that Saddam Hussein once had them and never got rid of them--or at least never showed the West he got rid of them. Maybe he did destroy his arsenal, but, being a modest type, wanted to avoid receiving credit for disarming. But we doubt it.

Not that the discovery will change the view of those against the war. No cache of deadly weapons, no horrible revelations about Saddam's cruel regime, will change the minds of some. They will merely shrug, take a giant step back, and start harping on the difficulty of establishing a viable government and a lasting peace. Time is their ally. If 10 years from now, a leader hostile to America is elected in Iraq, some here will say: "Yes, we won the war, found weapons of mass destruction and helped form a democratic government. But now this! We told you so."
Comments, rebuttals welcome.
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#756444 - 04/09/03 11:38 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Many predicate their entire opposition to this war on the foundation of Bush-hate, or America-hate.

Deep down, they do not wish to see this President succeed, nor do they wish for the country to succeed.

An old phrase, "the nattering nabobs of negativity", certainly applies to a certain segment of American society today.

I agree with the article, whole-heartedly.
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#756445 - 04/09/03 11:44 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
 Quote:

Originally posted by Jolly:


Many predicate their entire opposition to this war on the foundation of Bush-hate, or America-hate.

Deep down, they do not wish to see this President succeed, nor do they wish for the country to succeed.

An old phrase, "the nattering nabobs of negativity", certainly applies to a certain segment of American society today.
[/b]
Or maybe there are those(myself included)who see real perils and pitfalls in an administration governed by a unilaterist, "Cowboy" style and vision perhaps having short term successes but fraught with long term dangers.

Mark Mandell

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#756446 - 04/10/03 12:16 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
American foreign policy is not built for most long term goals, except for when those goals are almost universally agreed upon as assuring the country's survival.

Presidents serve 8 years at most, and then another team takes over. Very hard to have long term continuity using that process.

That's why you try to win what you can short-term, and try your best to shape the country's perception of the long term.

One of Reagan's greatest strengths was not-overcomplicating his foreign policy. Pick a few battles, and try to win them. If you win, then perhaps you shape the battle for years to come.

Faint heart never won fair maiden. Faint foreign policy is no protection against future danger.

Or as one person said of pacifists, "They think that if one fed enough human flesh to Jeffery Dahlmer, he would have become a vegetarian."

No, sometimes proactive is the best route, even if only short-term.
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#756447 - 04/10/03 12:25 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by reblder:
Or maybe there are those(myself included)who see real perils and pitfalls in an administration governed by a unilaterist, "Cowboy" style and vision perhaps having short term successes but fraught with long term dangers.

Mark Mandell[/b]
Since when is an effort supported by 36+ nations, unilaterist?

Derick
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#756448 - 04/10/03 01:03 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Larry Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Since the extreme Left told them it was unilateralist, that's when!!! And by gum, facts be damned, that's just the way it is!! ;\) ;\) \:D
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#756449 - 04/10/03 01:57 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
 Quote:

Originally posted by Derick:
Since when is an effort supported by 36+ nations, unilaterist?

[/b]
When the very country leading the effort is directed by someone who expresses, then takes it upon himself to lead such a unilaterist vision.

Mark@pianosource.com

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#756450 - 04/10/03 03:22 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Tony Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/24/02
Posts: 151
Loc: Houston
"American foreign policy is not built for most long term goals, except for when those goals are almost universally agreed upon as assuring the country's survival."

In your own words. Does this imply that there is neither concern for, nor understanding of the long term goals of American foreign policy? Or that American foreign policy is only concerned with the well being of the United States? I'm certain I've missunderstood what you've said. Perhaps you can help me understand.

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#756451 - 04/10/03 09:51 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Lazy Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 973
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
American foreign policy is not built for most long term goals, except for when those goals are almost universally agreed upon as assuring the country's survival.

Presidents serve 8 years at most, and then another team takes over. Very hard to have long term continuity using that process.

That's why you try to win what you can short-term, and try your best to shape the country's perception of the long term.

One of Reagan's greatest strengths was not-overcomplicating his foreign policy. Pick a few battles, and try to win them. If you win, then perhaps you shape the battle for years to come.
[/b]
I disagree with your analysis, Jolly.

Ronald Reagan's foreign policy was based almost solely on long term foreign policy goals which had been developed over close to 40 years before he became President -- opposition to communism and the Soviet Union in particular.

Indeed, virutally all of America's foreign policy is based on long-term goals. It is, for the most part, amazingly consistent from one Administration to the next.

The difference each President makes is not the development of short term goals that replace the goals of a previous Administration, but rather a reshaping of how these on-going long terms goals will be pursued under his tenure.

What Mr. Bush's Administration is doing, however, is a major change in our foreign policy goals. Never in our history have we sought to dominate the world, to act unilaterally without support from our allies, to force an aggressive and expansionist policy on the world whether it wants it or not.

And yet, these are the tenets enunciated by the Bush Administration officials in their Project for a New American Century and we can see them unfolding in our foreign policy, our military invasions, the weapons systems they are funding, the size and nature of the defense budget, the manner in which they deal with foreign nations.

America has led the world since WWII because of the basic goals of our foreign policy. Now the Bush Administration seeks to dominate it. Some of us are more conservative than others, I guess -- and like the old way better.
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#756452 - 04/10/03 11:49 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Jolly Offline
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Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
In defense of my position:

The long term goal of the United States, in regards to survival of the nation against the old U.S.S.R., was fighting, and winning the Cold War.

But it was the direct foreign policy shift by Ronald Reagan, that caused the Soviet system's demise.

Can anyone remember the absolute shock that enveloped the media when Mr. Reagan called the Soviet Union, "an evil empire"?

President Reagan, instead of trying to appease the Soviets, threw down the gauntlet in terms of military spending, proactive military actions, and the much erroneously maligned "Star Wars" missle shield.

"Foggy Bottom" does not define U.S. foreign policy, just ask Colin Powell. Only POTUS does that, and the maximum amount of time one can serve is 8 years. Cannot you see the differences in Reagan's or Clinton's foreign policies? Or any other two presidents, from any era you'd care to mention?
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#756453 - 04/10/03 11:58 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Lazy Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 973
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
Cannot you see the differences in Reagan's or Clinton's foreign policies? Or any other two presidents, from any era you'd care to mention?[/b]
I can see a difference in how the two presidents carried out American foreign policy -- but not in the basic goals themselves.

I can however, see a major difference between the basic goals of American foreign policy since WWII and the foreign policy of this President. Up until this President, we never sought to dominate the world, we never sought to go it alone and we never chose to preemptively attack a nation for something it "might" do "sometime" in the future which "might" effect our security.
_________________________
WMD = W[/b]ords of M[/b]ass D[/b]istortion
----------------------
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Avoid those who have found it.

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#756454 - 04/10/03 12:01 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
And we still have not.
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#756455 - 04/10/03 12:01 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Can you offer even one shred of evidence that the United States is out to "dominate the world"?
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#756456 - 04/10/03 12:31 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Matt G. Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/01
Posts: 3789
Loc: Plainfield, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
Can you offer even one shred of evidence that the United States is out to "dominate the world"?[/b]
I think what's more important is the definition of "dominate" being used. Domination takes many forms. If we can agree upon which form is being argued, that would help.
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#756457 - 04/10/03 02:13 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I think the modernization of the Middle East is inevitable. Once the information age reaches our arabic brothers through exposure to cyberspace, and the free market they will want what the free world has. The U.S. will be merely a facilitator in that process which has begun. It's naive to think our intentions in the current war are self serving from a bi-partisan perspective. Wait and see what other Arab nations will want when the wheels of progress turn in Israel and Iraq.

And,, I for one think the current administration's goals are long term. Think century.
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#756458 - 04/10/03 02:25 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
gryphon Offline
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Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
The US goals are long term. France's, Russia's, and Germany's appear to be short term. Even CNN is reporting disatisfaction with them is emerging. One thing they noted was that Italy's La Repubblica criticized the anti-war grouping, saying in an editorial: "The battle lines are drawn and this time the countries that opposed the coalition war are ready to muscle in and demand a piece of the Iraqi pie."
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#756459 - 04/10/03 02:47 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
 Quote:
Matt G:
I think what's more important is the definition of "dominate" being used. Domination takes many forms. If we can agree upon which form is being argued, that would help. [/b]
I think that's a very good point. How do each of us define "dominate?"

I would start by saying it's more like "dominating" a smoldering forest fire before it flashes, while others might say it's establishing the next best thing to a colony: a puppet regime (we've certainly done that enough!). Others might mean economic domination, i.e., we always end up on top with the biggest cut of the pie.

Personally, I don't see that we are trying to dominate Iraq. It's in our best interest to make this country a success, as viewed by the world.

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#756460 - 04/10/03 02:50 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
To some, domination involves leather and chains.

[not me, of course] \:D
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#756461 - 04/10/03 03:16 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by reblder:
 Quote:

Originally posted by Derick:
Since when is an effort supported by 36+ nations, unilaterist?

[/b]
When the very country leading the effort is directed by someone who expresses, then takes it upon himself to lead such a unilaterist vision.

Mark@pianosource.com[/b]
Let me see if I have this right...

Bush II, for God only knows what reason, wants the original, Gulf war, resolution, enforced, the same resolution that the entire UN agreed to. Is this what you are calling unilateralistic?

Or did you think it was unilateralistic when Bush II approached the UN which resulted in the passage of resolution 1441?

Or perhaps you believe it's unilateralistic when 36+ countries support Bush and the war?

According to my dictionary, the definition of unilateralism is:

A tendency of nations to conduct their foreign affairs individualistically, characterized by minimal consultation and involvement with other nations, even their allies.[/b]

It seems to me that your only quibble with Bush is that he the courage to lead a coalition of nations to enforce the multilateral resolution the UN arrived at, but never bothered to enforce, in 12 years.

Derick
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#756462 - 04/10/03 05:11 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Renauda Offline
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Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 5066
Although I would agree that the Foreign policy of the Reagan Administration played a major role in influencing the younger generation of Soviet technocrats under Gorbachev, it was not solely responsible for the demise of the USSR. The Soviets themselves brought about that on their own.

The USSR was unsustainable in a world dependent on global trade and the advent of unrestricted mass communications. The totalitarian nature of Soviet communism could not cope with the flow of information that occurred during the 1980's with advent of the modem and PC technology. The population was too well educated for the system to continue its practise of restricting information. Also, the Soviet economic system could not continue to provide resources at below cost to either its own population or export markets dependent on its resources in exchange for inferior barter goods. The high oil prices of the 1970's followed by the collapse of world oil prices in the early eighties devastated the USSR'S balance of payments. It simply did not have the hard currency earnings from exports that would allow it to import goods from abroad. That is why one of Gorbachev's first priorities under Glasnost and perestroika was to initiate economic reforms in the sphere of foreign trade and attract foreign investments in the form of limited joint ventures in the energy and mining sectors. This proved too little too late and the system essentially imploded on itself.

I do not wish to belittle the effects of the US policy in this. Clearly the USSR could not compete in an arms race on the scale that the Reagan administration could. Had the Stalinist generation of Soviet leaders not died off with Chernenko in 1984, then the prospects for the Reagan Gorbachev summit and an arms agreement would have been pretty slim. Until Gorbachev and his generation came along, we lived under a grave danger that the Soviet gerontocracy could have taken the decision to challenge the US militarily in Europe for no reason other than they knew that US would gain an absolute technical military advantage by the early 1990's tha USSR would have no chance of stalemating through traditional deterrence.

US policy therefore may have only brought to an earlier than expected end to what was already falling apart owing to global economics and a technological revolution which no one could control. Adam Smith and Marshall McLuhan have more to do with demise of the USSR than the foreign policy of any one government.

Forgive any typos and spelling errors- I can't seem to figure how to spell and gramm check when writing these replies.
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#756463 - 04/10/03 06:26 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I agree
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accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#756464 - 04/10/03 10:59 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
 Quote:

Originally posted by Derick:
It seems to me that your only quibble with Bush is that he the courage to lead a coalition of nations to enforce the multilateral resolution the UN arrived at, but never bothered to enforce, in 12 years.[/b]
Not quite. I certainly wouldn't call it "courage". More like an impatient dismissal of other key Security Council members who were simply asking for more time to determine IF IN FACT Iraq REALLY possessed the WMD's that he insisted they did. But it was pretty much clear all along that his real agenda was to effect a "regime change" there anyway, the results of which remain to be seen.

Why then didn't he have the "courage" to lay his cards on the table with those other Security Council members(or the rest of the world for that matter)and simply ask them to support this goal of regime change? Because he knew they'd reject it outright, and that it would be a clear violation of international law to invade a sovereign country unless it clearly invaded another nation(something Bush I, in contrast BTW, managed to accomplish because of the invasion of Kuwait).

Mark@pianosource.com

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#756465 - 04/10/03 11:06 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
 Quote:
Originally posted by reblder:
More like an impatient dismissal of other key Security Council members who were simply asking for more time to determine IF IN FACT Iraq REALLY possessed the WMD's that he insisted they did. [/b]
Why would they need to do that? They all signed on to Resolution 1441. Maybe you need to read it. It stipulated that Saddam Hussein had such weapons and required that he prove (to the inspectors) that they had been destroyed. When are people going to realize that the inspectors were not in Iraq to find anything.

By the way, this nuclear facility they are talking about with the off-scale radiation readings is an area where these inspectors had been recently. It appears that, even if they were supposed to look for this stuff, they weren't really very good at discovering it.
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#756466 - 04/11/03 12:32 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
 Quote:
Originally posted by reblder:

Not quite. I certainly wouldn't call it "courage". More like an impatient dismissal of other key Security Council members who were simply asking for more time to determine IF IN FACT Iraq REALLY possessed the WMD's that he insisted they did.
[/b]

I agree. Bush and his "ilk" are being cowards. A *real* man would have ignored his oath of office, understood that our country is a subject of the UN and subordinated our interests to that body, had the good sense to know that 12 years is just simply not long enough a period of time to expect anyone to do anything, and would have done what the American taxpayer was paying him to do and gone and gotten himself a Lewinski.

 Quote:

But it was pretty much clear all along that his real agenda was to effect a "regime change" there anyway, the results of which remain to be seen.
[/b]

Is it dark in there, Mark? ;\)

 Quote:

Why then didn't he have the "courage" to lay his cards on the table with those other Security Council members(or the rest of the world for that matter)and simply ask them to support this goal of regime change? Because he knew they'd reject it outright, and that it would be a clear violation of international law to invade a sovereign country unless it clearly invaded another nation(something Bush I, in contrast BTW, managed to accomplish because of the invasion of Kuwait).

Mark@pianosource.com[/b]
Again, I agree with you, Mark! And we should go back and punish those who had the audacity to attack Hitler.

The *nerve* of that George Bush to have the gall to actually uphold his oath of office and put our national security ahead of what's *really* important - worrying about what other nations who hate us think?.....

:rolleyes:
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#756467 - 04/11/03 01:55 AM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Derick Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 3290
Loc: New York
Gee Mark, after 12 years and 17 UN resolutions that Saddam blatantly defied, the ever impatient, unilateralist, Bush sought out yet *ANOTHER* UN resolution (1441).

Yep, Bush really should have given Iraq more time to comply, and he should have sought additional UN resolutions (1442, 1443, 1444, 1445, etc...) until the UN approved a final resolution, resolution 1679, which would claim support of the enforcement for all 238 prior resolutions concerning Iraq. Pending, of course, a vote on resolution 1680 authorizing such enforcement as outlined in resolution 1681 using vague and esoteric language as to what is considered proper enforcement, which will later be drawn up in resolution 1682.

Derick
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#756468 - 04/11/03 05:57 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
[/qb][/QUOTE]Since when is an effort supported by 36+ nations, unilaterist?

Derick[/QB][/QUOTE]

I was truly reassured when I saw that Angola was replaced by Palau! (maybe it should have been called the "coalition of the very small" ;\) )

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#756469 - 04/11/03 07:05 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
I see, and all of the coalition partners were very small like Palau? Do you really want to go there? We could just as easily say that the coalition of the unwilling included many of the nastiest dictatorships on earth. What does that make France and Germany?
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#756470 - 04/11/03 07:29 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
MichaelP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 69
Loc: San Diego
"Even smoking gun won't make difference to some"

That's right, it won't. That's because I assume that chemical and bio weapons will in due course be found in Iraq. If Saddam didn't have anything to hide, why did he kick the UN inspectors out five or so years ago?

And not because I think there is anything particularly bad about our invading a sovereign state with only the flimsiest of excuses. The world would be a better place if we were simply to march into most of the middle east capitals, kick out the incumbents and then nurture a democratic political system.

The reason I thought (and still think) that our Iraqi adventure is probably a bad idea is that I don't think we have the staying power necessary to really rebuild the Iraqi social polity. We won't want to spend the money and we won't want to commit the human resources necessary to do so. As a result, unless we are lucky as hell, and stumble onto the George Washington of Iraq, we stand a very good chance of falling flat on our faces and looking to an increasingly hostile Arab world like imperialists and bungling imperialists to boot.

The military victory is the easy part. Finding the WMD will be easy, too. But the long-term commitment of treasure and people needed to carry our policy to a successful conclusion will be very hard to find and sustain. And it will all be done (or not done) on the unblinking eye of TV cameras beaming into every household in the middle east.

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#756471 - 04/11/03 07:43 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
Q: What is the numerical difference between the number of nations that supported the first Gulf War, vs the second?

A: 5 (41 vs 36)

Bunch of difference, isn't it? ;\)
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#756472 - 04/11/03 08:17 PM Re: Thoughts on the Aftermath
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/01
Posts: 4271
Loc: Olympia, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by JBryan:
I see, and all of the coalition partners were very small like Palau? Do you really want to go there? We could just as easily say that the coalition of the unwilling included many of the nastiest dictatorships on earth. What does that make France and Germany?[/b]
On the contrary -- you're making my point for me. The entire conversation about coalitions is irrelevant. This was a war between the U.S. and Iraq, period. Some countries lined up behind the U.S. because they thought they had something to gain from the U.S. by doing so (I'm sure Palau did not feel threatened by the Iraqis!), some few (like Syria) lined up behind Iraq because they thought they had something to gain (in this case, in the eyes of Arabs) by doing so, and some governments stayed away because they thought they had something to gain by doing so.

The military outcome of the war was decided even before it started, although given the propaganda war, there were some surprises. Contrary to what Rumsfeld said, Iraq had no SCUD missiles, and contrary to what Rumsfeld suggested, no missiles of any kind were fired at Israel. Contrary to what Rumsfeld and military planners publicly stated, Iraq used neither biological nor chemical weapons against U.S. soldiers. We do know that at some point, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; we know this because the U.S. gave them to him. But, if they haven't been destroyed, they sure have been few and far between, and certainly not a threat to the U.S., as they weren't even used against invading soldiers!

The chemical weapons plant that Powell showed on tv turned out to be a military headquarters of a small Kurdish political party, in U.S. controlled territory. The citation Powell gave to the United Nations regarding WMD turned out to be cribbed from an English graduate students' paper, about conditions that existed in 1991. I believe he did this honestly -- I think he tends toward being a little dense rather than Machievellian, but I know there are others who think otherwise. No links to 9/11 have ever been found.

I think Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. I don't think the fact that he was a very bad man had much if anything to do with the military attack -- after all, there are LOTS of bad leaders in the world who go about their business doing their wicked deeds every day.

Oddly enough, as a pacifist, I did NOT find the war particularly upsetting -- even during the war, more people likely died from the results of the sanctions -- results of poor water systems, and lack of medical supplies -- than did from U.S. military action. We can blame Hussein for this or the U.S. -- and I don't particularly care one way or the other (the 500,000+ children who died don't care either.) Maybe more will now live as a result, or maybe not -- we'll see, won't we?

I do think the U.S. is now significantly less safe than before the war. Honestly, I really do. I think we have more enemies, and even where we have not made enemies, I think we are less trusted. My country has closed a lot of doors that I wish might have remained open, and I hope we work as hard to reopen them as we did in closing them through, yes, I say it, in the unilateral military effort.

I remain hopeful because I know there are lots of good people in the world, and some of them (you!) even play pianos.

And, JBryan, you are looking better as Presidential material every day!
\:\)

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