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A golden opportunity in Iraq

What seems to be developing into an open revolt in Iraq by Shi’a Islamists could be a Godsend to the coalition and secular elements of Iraqi society in the long run… in openly taking up arms against the coalition and its Iraqi supporters, radical leader Muqtadar al-Sadr has changed the equation: what could have been a long term intractable political problem has been turned onto a military problem with a fairly obvious and direct solution.

103 comments to A golden opportunity in Iraq

  • Charles Copeland

    Perry writes:

    “.. what could have been a long term intractable political problem has been turned into a military problem with a fairly obvious and direct solution.”

    Like what? Like nuking Bagdad after quick withdrawal of the US troops?

    And where are those “secular elements of Iraqi society” you refer to? I’ll tell you where they are: they have either — quite sensibly — emigrated to the West or they are planning to do so ASAP. Can’t say I blame them.

    There are simply NO “secular elements” worth talking about left in the country.

    And Iraq is doomed to a murderous civil war — a war so terrible that many Iraqis who welcomed their liberation from Saddam will begin to look back on the Baathist regime as ‘the good old days’.

    Wanna bet?

  • Shirin

    Charles,

    I have a news flash for you. Iraqis who welcomed their “liberation” from Saddam started months and months ago looking back at his years in power as the good old days.

  • tex

    Why don’t you elaborate on thie “fairly obvious and direct solution” to the “military problem” in Iraq, for those of us too dense to get it?

  • Pete Sandel

    Chucky, you sound like you’re wishing or maybe speculating.

    What worries me is that given the current political climate in the US, Bush might be reluctant to take the obvious military action.

    I look forward to the turnover of Iraq to the new government there. It’s likely they’ll have less reluctance to kill their enemies than we do.

  • I wish you were right, Perry. If you are, then the military solution should take days, weeks tops. As much as I have supported the allied invasion, I’m afraid this problem (=islamofascists trying to seize power) will last years instead. Guess who’ll withdraw first: Bush or the ayatollahs?

    Sad.

  • Scott Cattanach

    And here I thought the one and only justification of Perry’s War was saving the Iraqis we’re about to kill. BTW, the “secular elements” in Iraq are the Baathists – Saddam was a fairly secular tyrant (who used Islamic rhetoric when it suited his purposes).

    Perry, as your war in Iraq falls apart, will you post pics of the Iraqis you and your ilk are responsible for killing? This is your war, Perry, and you are responsible for the results.

  • Charles Copeland

    Pete Sandel writes about my comment: “you sound like you’re wishing or maybe speculating.”

    I’m not ‘wishing’ but I’m certainly ‘speculating’. I’m speculating that — if the history of the human race over the past few thousand years is any guide — Iraq is heading for an orgy of reciprocal ethnico-religious cleansing between the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds. There is virtually nothing the US can do about it except postpone the day of reckoning for a couple of months … or until such time as Black Hawk Down, Mark II, settles matters for once and for all.

    Recommended reading – Justin Raimondo’s brilliant critique at Antiwar.com:

    (Link)

  • Shirin

    For anyone who believes this “handover” and the so-called “new government” is anything but an election year political ploy using smoke and mirrors, I have some ocean front property in Baghdad to sell you.

  • Scott Cattanach

    You don’t understand, Charles. If you’re dealing w/ economic socialists (like your average liberal) or military socialists (like the Samizdatists), when you point to a govt program’s failure, you are gloating over the misfortunes of others and are therefore evil. Only good news about govt actions may be discussed, as that involves wishing others well. It is immoral to tell a socialist (economic or military) “I told you so”, because that implies you are happy people are being hurt/killed/starved/whatever.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “military socialists”..eh? Scott, just because some libertarians — unlike isolationists and pacifists — occasionally support military action, does not make them military socialists, any more than your opposition to the Iraq war makes you a pacifists. Labels come cheap.

    I am less sanguine than Perry is on the Iraq situation, but at times like this I never forget that the Justin Raimondo types would have been quite content to leave Saddam, one of the worst dictators of the past 50 years, in power. I notice that some commentors on this thread have come close to saying that. Go on guysk, why don’t you launch a petition to reinstate the poor bugger?

  • Scott Cattanach

    “I am less sanguine than Perry is on the Iraq situation, but at times like this I never forget that the Justin Raimondo types would have been quite content to leave Saddam, one of the worst dictators of the past 50 years, in power. ”

    If you want moral brownie points for removing Saddam, then take responsibility for whatever replaces him (a democracy, another tyrant, a bloody civil war, etc.) Put up or shut up.

  • Charles Copeland

    Nicely put, Scott — though I’m not sure I would call the Samizdatists “military socialists”. Like many libertarians, they were in favour of the Iraq war more because both the non-loony and loony left was against it than for any other reason. They thought that simply because there were a variety of bad reasons for being against the invasion there could be no good ones. Ekshelly I must admit that I myself thought that ‘it was a good idea at the time’ — I even believed Iraq had WMD, honest.

    But what no sensible person ever believed was that a multiethnic artifice like Iraq could be turned into a rule of law democracy under any conceivable circumstances.

    Now it’s back I go to Antiwar. com [sarcasm on] so as to continue gloating for the rest of the evening as people like us do all the time, crying nya-nya-nya-nya-nya-nya …. sure, as you say Scott, we anti-govt types really do get a kick out of human suffering and what I’d like this evening is breaking news that, say, over 200 US soldiers have been killed and a thousand maimed in a massive multi-suicide bomb attack on the Green Zone, ideally Paul Bremer should be topped as well and indeed what would add icing to the cake would be a colossal natural earthquake that would wipe out 100000 Iraqi peasants but I suppose one can’t expect all one’s dreams to come true at once [sarcasm off] ….

  • Scott Cattanach

    Perry, how many Iraqis should we kill before concluding that we aren’t saving them from being killed by Saddam? What body count would it take to convince you that Iraqis in general don’t want us there (thus invalidating your claim the war is justified because it saves Iraqis), as opposed to a handful of evil Islamofacists? Care to commit to a figure?

    I’ll check back tomorrow on that – I gotta run for now.

  • Zardoz

    Perry, as your war in Iraq falls apart, will you post pics of the Iraqis you and your ilk are responsible for killing? This is your war, Perry, and you are responsible for the results.

    And by this line of reasoning (?) I suppose then that people like you are responsible for the “peace” that endured during Saddam’s rule. How many died? How thick is the layer of dried blood on your hands?

    If you want moral brownie points for removing Saddam, then take responsibility for whatever replaces him (a democracy, another tyrant, a bloody civil war, etc.) Put up or shut up.

    Time will tell. And why should anyone “shut up?” Weren’t you one of the people who proclaimed that the original Iraqi war would produce mounds of refugees and civilian casualties in the hundreds of thousands? If so, you were wrong. Take your own advice and own up to the fact that your ability to predict the future is substandard indeed. You could also follow that with your own admonition to “shut up.” Why haven’t you?

  • Scott Cattanach

    And by this line of reasoning (?) I suppose then that people like you are responsible for the “peace” that endured during Saddam’s rule. How many died? How thick is the layer of dried blood on your hands?

    That’s not my line of reasoning; its Perry’s. The War Party likes to claim that those who opposed the war would be responsible for anything Saddam did from now on, and I’m calling for them to be consistent and accept responsibility for what happens after they removed him. I don’t have to accept your premise to point out that you’re not consistently holding to it.

    Time will tell. And why should anyone “shut up?” Weren’t you one of the people who proclaimed that the original Iraqi war would produce mounds of refugees and civilian casualties in the hundreds of thousands? If so, you were wrong. Take your own advice and own up to the fact that your ability to predict the future is substandard indeed. You could also follow that with your own admonition to “shut up.” Why haven’t you?

    Looks like I drew some blood. You assume everyone who opposed your war figured the Marines would be all cut down at the Iraqi border, that didn’t happen, therefore we were all wrong and you are always and forever right no matter what happens now. Sorry, but that’s BS.

  • Woody

    Cryogenicists employ many useful techniques to cool a material down to very low tempertures. One method uses the fact that at any given temperature there is a well-defined distribution of kinetic energies of the constituent atoms/molecules. Hold the chosen material in the centre of an evacuated chamber with a magnetic field. The most energetic molecules will fly out further than the rest, sticking their heads above the parapet, so to speak. Then if one continually skims off these hotheads, the rest will equilibriate to a lower temperature. It’s a tricky thing to get right. This is the analog of the military option. The alternative is to sing the little things lullabies, and wait in the hope that the laws of physics will change.

  • Brock

    Woody – bravo, and nice analogy. I doubt that Scott or Charles have the emotional maturity to follow it, but it’s a nice image.

    For those who hang out at Antiwar.com, I will happily take responsibility for all that occurs since the fall of Saddam. I voted for the war, and I support it still.

    In Afghanistan the number of boys enrolled in school went from about 1 Million to 3 million, and the number of girls went from 0 (that’s a zero, FYI) to 1.4 Million. I will take responsibility for that.

    In Iraq it used to be the case that innocent political dissidents (much that Charles and Scott – so you two pay attention!) would get fed into plastic shredders. If Uday was feeling generous you’d go in head first so you would die quickly.

    Instead what we have in Iraq are violent fascists being captured and killed. As long as those violent fascists continue to make war upon us and their neighbors, some of us and some of their neighbors will continue to die. That is a tragedy, but it is better than the alternative.

    As anyone who have followed the Marine Corps. plans for Urban Combat with some detail will tell you, the “military solution” Perry mentioned is quite plain. Please see Belmont Club for details. Excessive casualties are not in the plan.

  • D Anghelone

    How has Perry, an individual, become a collective, “The War Party?” What exactly has he said to be so accused?

  • Zardoz

    Looks like I drew some blood. You assume everyone who opposed your war figured the Marines would be all cut down at the Iraqi border, that didn’t happen, therefore we were all wrong and you are always and forever right no matter what happens now. Sorry, but that’s BS.

    That’s an interesting attempt at deflecting an argument, but it really doesn’t hold water. The concensus among the anti-war crowd before the war was that various scenarios of doom would come to pass, and actually none of them did. If failure to accurately predict the future is a moral failing, then the anti-war crowd’s moral index must hover somewhere around absolute zero.

    And is it unreasonable to doubt someone’s abilities of analysis when they have a proven track record of being consistently wrong? I don’t think so, but then again when given the choice between ideology and theory I tend to prefer the lessons of reality. Obviously you don’t.

    Let me know when one of your predictions comes true. I’ll be waiting.

  • Ral

    I forget who it was (but I suspect it was Milner) who suggested the solution to the Boer War was to arm the blacks against the Boers and watch what happened.

    We could have a go with the Shia and Sunnis or is letting them kill each other naughty?

  • Jacob

    Establishing a peaceful, democratic, liberal, secular regime in Iraq is an overambitious goal, clearly unrealistic. Posting this as a goal of the war (by the war’s advocates or opponents) is an error, because, when it is not acheived the war will be deemed a failure.
    The Saddam regime wasn’t only terribly nasty and murderous, it was a menace to (at least) it’s neighbors, and the stability of the region. It was responsible for one or two million deaths in wars of aggresion it started and for systematic extermination of part of it’s own population.

    That regime had to go, that was the first goal of the war and it has been acheived.

    Scott Cattanach: don’t worry so much. Whatever happens now – whatever regimes takes hold there – it won’t be worse than Saddam – that’s almost impossible. Iraq may break up into several statelets. So what ? It may reemerge under a new dictator. It may submerge in civil war. Whatever the outcome – I don’t think it will become again a menace to the region in the foreseable future.

    It is also possible (though not probable) that the US will stay there, and manage, in the course of several years, to create some tolerable regime there.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Instead what we have in Iraq are violent fascists being captured and killed. As long as those violent fascists continue to make war upon us and their neighbors, some of us and some of their neighbors will continue to die. That is a tragedy, but it is better than the alternative.

    “Some of their neighbors” means that instead of people being killed for their political beliefs, they are being killed randomly. Big improvement.

    How many do we have to kill before you have to conclude its more than just a few violent facists terrorizing the mass of Iraqis who love us?

    That’s an interesting attempt at deflecting an argument, but it really doesn’t hold water. The concensus among the anti-war crowd before the war was that various scenarios of doom would come to pass, and actually none of them did.

    Actually, one of the scenarios of doom looks like its right on schedule.

    The Saddam regime wasn’t only terribly nasty and murderous, it was a menace to (at least) it’s neighbors, and the stability of the region. …
    Scott Cattanach: don’t worry so much. Whatever happens now – whatever regimes takes hold there – it won’t be worse than Saddam – that’s almost impossible. Iraq may break up into several statelets. So what ? It may reemerge under a new dictator. It may submerge in civil war. Whatever the outcome – I don’t think it will become again a menace to the region in the foreseable future.

    Unrest and instability can spread. What happens if Turkey and Iran get involved? You sound like you think the violence and mayhem that might occur will be hermetically sealed within Iraq’s borders, and I don’t buy that as a given.

    And is it unreasonable to doubt someone’s abilities of analysis when they have a proven track record of being consistently wrong? I don’t think so, but then again when given the choice between ideology and theory I tend to prefer the lessons of reality. Obviously you don’t.

    Let me know when one of your predictions comes true. I’ll be waiting.

    You mean predictions like Iraqi WMD and our being welcomed as liberators?

  • antiwar whiner

    Oh dear, oh dear. It’s all sooo hopelessss. Waaaahhhhhh! We can’t do anything right. Awwww… We have no hope of accomplishing anything. We should all just go home and stick our heads in the oven. Oh, why was I ever born? Ohhhh… they’re stonger than we are. We can’t win. Can’t you see that? Ohhh…. you’re just making them mad!

  • Charles Copeland

    Zardoz writes:

    “The concensus among the anti-war crowd before the war was that various scenarios of doom would come to pass, and actually none of them did. If failure to accurately predict the future is a moral failing, then the anti-war crowd’s moral index must hover somewhere around absolute zero. ”

    It’s true that there is a large proportion of what you call the ‘anti-war crowd’ who belong to the knee-jerk brigade. But there are also observers — like myself — who simply changed their minds in the course of events. The anti-war brigade got it wrong when they predicted that the US troops would be massacred before they got near the centre of Bagdad. They got lots of things wrong. But one thing they got right was that Iraq would become a non-stop hellhole rather than a model Arab democracy.

    There were both good and bad arguments for invading Iraq; there were also good and bad ones for not doing so. It’s just that it now seems that the good arguments for not doing so were the best ones of all. Isn’t it possible for those of us who were more or less ‘prowar’ a year ago to admit that we made a mistake?

    And – as Scott argued — how bad do things have to get before the prowar side admit failure? I switched sides once I realised that the US army was no longer defending Iraqis: it was defending itself against Iraqi attack.

    How many Iraqis have to die before we say: even under Saddam, things weren’t as bad as this? Would you prowar guys even let me know under what hypothetical circumstances you might admit defeat?

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Did any of the war supporters say anything about Iraq turning into a modern democracy within a year of liberation?

    No, everybody(perhaps especially the antiwar folks) knew it would be a long and ardous task, comparable, and in some ways, even more difficult than the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after WW2.

    I wonder if any of the paleo-libertarians regretted staying on in Germany and Japan to help them rebuild…

    One thing to remember: The things worth struggling for are rarely easy.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Scott asks me to “put up or shut up”. Okay, I’ll spell it out for you. I am willing to accept that by supporting the overthrow of Saddam and the Baathist regime, that the aftermath would not be pretty. No-one who supported the overthrow of said regime that I respect ever pretended it would be an easy or cost-free affair.

    I fully accept that the overthrow of Saddam’s regime had its costs. I still – just – believe that various issues (WMDs, failure to honour dozens of internationa resolutions, breach of 1991 ceasefire, probably support for certain terror groups, as demonstrated even in Richard Clarke’s book, BTW), justified the war.

    Actually Scott, you have admitted that doing nothing re Saddam would have had costs. At least you admit that the risks are not asymetric. There are risks on both sides.

    And in any event, consider the alternative of just going on for years with sanctions, no-fly zones, etc. That policy also came at a cost.

    Like I said, I am prepared to take the consequences of supporting the war.

  • Zeyad, the person who is misleadingly described as wanting Saddam back, only asks the question rhetorically, if you read his post. He wants the US to crack down harder on the Sadr, to take off the gloves, unlike some of the people who want to sell beachfront property in Baghdad. Sadr lost in the local elections, though that won’t stop the Left from cheering him on. They will claim he has the support of the Iraqi people. What will they say when his forces are crushed and he is incarcerated like Saddam? They will say he was defeated by brute force. The same helpless force that is portrayed as doomed? One and the same.

    The only unanswerable argument is victory. Not even International Answer can bring back the Soviet Union. These issues will be resolved on the battlefield.

  • Marcus Lindroos

    Samizdatista = “military socialist?” Great label and a fairly accurate one too. Clearly, those who like Pearce, Dale Amon & R C Dean are enthusiastically endorsing the Big Government project of “democratic imperialism” in the Middle East have little to do with traditional leave-me-alone libertarianism.

    > I am less sanguine than Perry is on the Iraq
    > situation, but at times like this I never forget that the
    > Justin Raimondo types would have been quite
    > content to leave Saddam, one of the worst dictators
    > of the past 50 years, in power.

    And why, oh why, is this supposed to be our problem as Western taxpayers…? This Administration could not answer this question honestly, so it had to hype the WMD threat for all it’s worth, because it knew the American public would never authorize spending $200 billion+ on a nebulous concept like “democratic imperialism”.

    : I suppose then that people like you are responsible
    : for the “peace” that endured during Saddam’s rule.
    : How many died? How thick is the layer of dried blood
    : on your hands?

    On the other hand, if Western involvement in a totally unnecessary, unrelated conflict such as Iraq actually increases the likelihood of 190 people getting blown to pieces in Madrid or London…

    : That’s an interesting attempt at deflecting an
    : argument, but it really doesn’t hold water. The
    : concensus among the anti-war crowd before the war
    : was that various scenarios of doom would come to
    : pass, and actually none of them did. If failure to
    : accurately predict the future is a moral failing, then
    : the anti-war crowd’s moral index must hover
    : somewhere around absolute zero.

    *Laugh* What a ridiculous load of BS … why not discuss the rosy predictions of the Neocons before the war started for a change? Like, Iraq could be pacified with a small number of soldiers, the total cost to U.S. taxpayers would be a few billion dollars, Americans would be greeted as liberators everywhere, caches of deadly WMDs would be found in no time immediately vindicating the pre-war policies of Blair, Aznar & co..

    At best, the result to date is mixed. But it seems time is not on the side of the pro-war crowd. We can already be virtually 100% sure the main rationale for going to war (=WMDs) was bogus and that’s not going to change. On the other hand, the predictions of the anti-war side (=civil war, increased unrest in the Middle East, increased acrimony between the United States and other nations, increased likelihood of terrorist attacks by enraged Islamic radicals) may yet come true. Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. Examine the history of “liberated” multiethnic societies and you will notice the arrival of freedom / a power vacuum typically does not create civil unrest right away. It takes a year or more for it to happen.

    MARCU$

  • H.

    As far as I can see, the only real question is whether invasion of Iraq is likely in the mid- to long-term to increase national, regional and international stability. And I think the answer is no. It’s hopelessly optimistic to imagine that an Arab country could go from genocidal dictatorship to invasion and chaotic occupation by American forces without provoking massive and enduring instability and unrest. The neocons were enamoured of a quick-fix solution where none existed. They understand that this is the case for North Korea, somehow they thought it would be different for Iraq.

  • Johnathan

    Marcus Lindroos asks why the travails of Iraq and the Middle East region are the problem of the western taxpayer. Answer: if we let a murderous dictator continue to flout international law, invade neighbours, seek to get WMDS (and no-one outside the tinfoil hat crew denied he intended this), then the Middle East’s problems would become our problems too.

    It would be so nice to be an isolationist, really. I feel no “altruistic” desire to liberate Iraq or anywhere else. I just disagree with folk in this thread and outside who imagine we can seal ourselves off from the problems in that region or rely on a policy of pure deterrence with no backup policy options.

  • H.

    You’re question-begging, Johnathan. On balance, I was opposed to the war but I don’t for a minute imagine we can “seal ourselves off from the problems in that region.” I just don’t believe the answer was an Anglo-American invasion.

  • Scott Cattanach

    No, everybody (perhaps especially the antiwar folks) knew it would be a long and ardous task, comparable, and in some ways, even more difficult than the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after WW2.

    Post-WWII isn’t comparable – was what we’re seeing in Iraq now happening in occupied Germany in 1946-47?

  • Scott Cattanach

    seek to get WMDS (and no-one outside the tinfoil hat crew denied he intended this

    I intend to make more money than Bill Gates. Will you loan me a few billion in advance of that?

  • David Beatty

    Steven Den Beste has an interesting post up at USS Clueless regarding the recent events in Falluja. If it’s not at the top, scroll to log entry 20040405.1728.

    He argues (correctly, IMO) that the active resistance in Falluja is a major blunder.

  • Theodopoulos Pherecydes

    The geniuses I listen to say – 1) capturing Sadr will make him a martyr; 2) killing Sadr will make him even more of a martyr; 3) regardless, there will be leaders willing to take his place.

    So I say “Yassin” him then “Yassin” his successors. What’s the point of occupying a country if you don’t impose your will on the populace?

    This is not tiddly-winks.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Scott, former weapons inspector Richard Kay made it clear that Saddam clearly wanted to get weapons. Hans Blix said it was clear Saddam had not come clean about weapons.

    Of course Scott, commodity futures have been very strong of late. Must be a lot of demand for tin.

  • Larry Ruane

    Brock said: In Iraq it used to be the case that innocent political dissidents (much that Charles and Scott – so you two pay attention!) would get fed into plastic shredders. If Uday was feeling generous you’d go in head first so you would die quickly.

    There is not a “shred” of evidence for this tall tale.

  • Larry Ruane

    Johnathan Pearce at April 6, 2004 09:09 AM: Like I said, I am prepared to take the consequences of supporting the war.

    That’s so magnanimous of you. What exactly are those consequences? Getting both your arms blown off?

  • pro-war whiner

    The ends justify the means.

  • Scott Cattanach

    How many Iraqis have to die before we say: even under Saddam, things weren’t as bad as this? Would you prowar guys even let me know under what hypothetical circumstances you might admit defeat?

    They never will. Like economic socialists, military socialists will blame the failure of their Big Government Adventure on their political opponents. “Our healthcare program would have worked if you cheapskate conservatives had fully funded it” will be replaced with “our attempt to remake Iraq would have worked if you anti-war peaceniks hadn’t undercut it w/ your opposition.” If Big Govt succeeds, they were right. If it fails, its the fault of their opponents and so they were right to argue against their opponents. Socialists are therefore always right, succeed or fail.

    I just want to see if we stabbed them in the back (the claim of right wing socialists) or if we are “wreckers” (the claim of left wing socialists).

    Scott, former weapons inspector Richard Kay made it clear that Saddam clearly wanted to get weapons. Hans Blix said it was clear Saddam had not come clean about weapons.

    Repeat after me, Saddam had no WMD. Our War President (or War PM, depending on where you live) knew the evidence was sketchy but hid that fact to lie us into a war. Wanting ‘WMD’ and being a threat to set one off in the NY subway system are two entirely different things, and basing your case for war on what we now know to be false (Saddam’s tons of anthrax) isn’t helping your cause.

  • woof

    i imagine perry would be delighted to ‘take responsibility’ for the islamist shot dead in the last 48 hrs. i would! anyway leave scott to his labels, anything that differatiates sane liberty supporters (i think “it is rarely wrong to shoot at tyrants” was the quote) from the loony ostrich liberty supporters (liberty for tyrants to be tyrants just as long as it aint in my town) should be welcomed

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Scott, Bush’s rationale, if i recall, was that it was not merely the possession of X or Y tonnes of WMDs that mattered, but the infrastructure and clearly-stated desire of Saddam’s regime to get those weapons. Hence all the stuff about pre-emption. If he had had those weapons in place, it would have been too late for us to do anything about it. That is why Bush made such a big deal of pre-emption.

    You make a perfectly sensible point, though, in saying that there has to be a point where an intervention has to be judged a failure or not. My problem with the anti-interventionists in this case is that they apply a sort of unworkable utopian test against which intervention should be judged.

    And in any event, I do not support the neo-con “let’s remake the Mideast” agenda. I supported it on fairly routine pro-active self defence grounds based on Saddam’s past behaviour. But if we were going to knock Saddam off his perch, we had a moral duty to try to leave something reasonable in place for the domestic population. Even a strict adherent of isolationism who supports self-defence has to accept that, surely.

    And by the way, the recent book by Richard Kay, widely blasted by the Right, contains lots of bits of info. about Saddam’s links to terror. Funnily enough, none of the usual anti-war crowd seems to mention that.

  • Johnathan

    Doh, I meant Richard Clarke, not Kay, in my last comment.

  • Scott Cattanach

    And by the way, the recent book by Richard Kay, widely blasted by the Right, contains lots of bits of info. about Saddam’s links to terror. Funnily enough, none of the usual anti-war crowd seems to mention that.

    Our War President was perfectly willing to negotiate w/ the Libyans, who admitted to a WMD program and have pretty clear ties to terrorists. Bush lied about the WMD, Bush lied by implying Saddam was involved in 9/11 – you aren’t helping your case by constantly bringing those government lies up in defending your war.

    That’s so magnanimous of you. What exactly are those consequences? Getting both your arms blown off?

    Johnathan Pearce, not being a chickenhawk, is going to enlist. Right?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Scott, are you implying that only folk who are able and willing to serve in the military are entitled to hold hawkish views? That’s not very democratic of you, is it? The chickenhawk smear is old hat. It is soooo 2002.

    Why do you think the Libyans came around to being open about their weapons, Scott. The goodness of their hearts? Their desire to win a Nobel Prize?

    No. It was partly economic self-interest on Libya’s part (the country is in a serious mess), and partly the sight of Saddam being dragged out of a hole. Has a way of focussing minds.

    As for links between 9/11 and OBL, the jury is out on that. I personally doubt a clear link, but there were training grounds for such folk in Iraq. That has to count in weighing up the facts.

    As usual, Scott, we are charmed by your presence. Have a nice evening.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Scott, are you implying that only folk who are able and willing to serve in the military are entitled to hold hawkish views? That’s not very democratic of you, is it? The chickenhawk smear is old hat. It is soooo 2002.

    How old are you, Johnathan? Are you unable or unwilling to serve in your war?

    Why do you think the Libyans came around to being open about their weapons, Scott. … It was partly economic self-interest on Libya’s part (the country is in a serious mess), and partly the sight of Saddam being dragged out of a hole. Has a way of focussing minds.

    Our occupation of Iraq meant we didn’t have the forces to occupy Libya, and Blair probably couldn’t have sold another war. Libya knew that, and that meant we really couldn’t threaten them the way the keyboard warriors think we could. Saddam being dragged out a a hole didn’t scare the world into obedience.

  • Jon Juz.ak

    I have read Richard Clarke’s book and I don’t see any “lots of bits of info” about Saddam’s links to terror. I have seen a fairly unambiguous statement by him ‘Iraq was not involved in any anti-American terror after 1993″.

    And for your comment:

    “As for links between 9/11 and OBL, the jury is out on that. I personally doubt a clear link, but there were training grounds for such folk in Iraq. That has to count in weighing up the facts.”

    Lets be clear on this

    – We’ve captured practically all of the top officials including Saddam from the prior government
    — We’ve access to most of their documents While some were destroyed, it defies comprehension that a disorganized Iraqi government which couldn’t even defend Baghdad could efficiently destroy all ties of these links.

    – What training grounds ? Ansar-I-Islam was in Turkish territory. The so-called plane mockup — that was meant to DEFEND against plane hijackers.

    We have Al Qaeda operatives like Khalid Sheikh MOhammed and Iraq secret service in our custody. The jury is not out any more — if there were any significant operational link between UBL and Saddam, it would be completely obvious by now.

  • Charles Copeland

    Scott, Johnathan,

    Chickenhawk: one who is willing to lay down other people’s lives for the sake of other people’s lives.

    I’m an ex-chickenhawk myself – until about July last year, I had the moral courage to state that I was willing to allow, say, 1000 US soldiers’ lives to be laid down for the sake of saving 100000 Iraqis’ lives. Like La Rochefoucauld, I’m quite a dab hand at bearing the misfortunes of others.

    But I drew the line when it became clear that, while US lives are being lost, Iraqi lives are not being saved – that this occupation is clearly a negative sum game all round, yet another giant step in the march of folly. Even from the chickenhawk perspective, the invasion of Iraq has turned out to be a miserable failure. And note the real anti-Americans in this debate are not the ‘anti-war brigade’, but those on the pro-war side who lack the intellectual honesty to concede that the other side not only had a lot of bad arguments – but that it had all the best ones as well.

  • Larry Ruane

    Why do you think the Libyans came around to being open about their weapons, Scott. … It was … partly the sight of Saddam being dragged out of a hole. Has a way of focussing minds.

    It seems the Libyans were ready and willing to negotiate the U.S. about their weapons long before the Iraq War (as far back as 1992), but the U.S. ignored their overtures. The Bush administration may have purposely waited until after the Iraq War, so that it would appear that Libya was influenced by the outcome of the war.

    Read this fascinating article: My Secret Talks With Libya, And Why They Went Nowhere

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, I don’t know know about intellectual honesty, Charles. Seems to me, not enough time has passed for either side to declare I-told-you-so.

    I can’t properly break in a new pair of leather boots in a single year.

  • Larry R

    Chickenhawk: one who is willing to lay down other people’s lives for the sake of other people’s lives.

    I like that. Reminds me of a line in the movie Shrek. Lord Farquaad addresses the knights who are about to go fight the dragon to save the princess: Some of you may die, but its a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  • Scott Cattanach

    I have given two cousins to war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife’s brother.
    – Artemus Ward (1834 – 1867)

  • Ken

    “But what no sensible person ever believed was that a multiethnic artifice like Iraq could be turned into a rule of law democracy under any conceivable circumstances. ”

    I believe it. I was born and raised in a formerly multiethnic artifice (once known as the late, unlamented Confederate States of America) which was indeed turned into a rule of law democracy by the United States. It took about a hundred years, but that’s only because the US sat on its hands for about 80 of them.

  • Johnathan

    Scott, as usuall, you fail to answer my question – are you seriously suggesting that anyone who is either unable or unwilling to join the armed forces must hold an antiwar opinion? If so, that is nothing more than a form of personal abuse, not an argument. As I said, it is also undemocratic. In a free society, we do not expect that only those able or willing to serve in the military are allowed to have an opinion about war.

    For what it is worth, I am now too old to serve in the British armed forces though I tried, and was rejected, due to health problems, to join the Royal Air Force when I left university. Perhaps Mr Cattanach feels that means I have lost the right to vote.

    .

  • Shawn

    Justin Raimondo is not “anti-war”, he is anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Jewish. One of his primary sources of articles about the Middle East was arrested in the U.S. for carrying illegal weapons in his car. He claimed he was off to fight the “Zionists”. Justin has never met a Serbian fascist warmonger or an Arab Jew hater he didint like.

  • Scott Cattanach

    are you seriously suggesting that anyone who is either unable or unwilling to join the armed forces must hold an antiwar opinion?

    No, I’m merely suggesting that you’d be less likely to support your war if it was your ass on the line, just like George aWol Bush. This comes from your chest-thumping “I’ll accept the consequences of this war” when its really other people who will suffer the consequences, while you stay home safe.

  • Scott, I’ve sat idly by and watched your crowing – if indeed a rooster crows and preens that many times a day, and not gotten involved. But you are going a bit over the line on Johnathan Pierce here and I feel compelled to speak up.

    First off, I wonder where you get off with the basic premise that you seem to follow, that nobody has the right to tell anybody what to do, ever. While that is a wonderful Rothbardian analysis of life and it supports a duty-free isolationist foreign policy, it doesn’t work in the real world if your country cares to do business outside its own borders. Does a policeman have the right to tell a bully to stop stamping a weaker man’s face into the dirt? How ’bout if the bully is encouraging every punk in the neighborhood to throw stones at the weak man, and molotov cocktails at the local policeman and shopkeeper? If you agree that the answer to any of these questions is yes, then the rest of the exercise is mere line drawing, and your notions of absolutes on this issue are out the window.

    Second, I could go into the litany of reasons Saddam Hussein deserved to go. I won’t.

    The hell I won’t.

    1. He bore the burden to prove he was rid of WMD under various treaties and did not live up to the agreements, was intentionally evasive, used his intel services to penetrate and manipulate the UN inspection teams thereby corrupting the verification process, and as the Kay Report indicated was attempting to buy off-the-shelf nukes from North Korea as recently as March 2004.

    2. He was subject to those treaties thanks to his invasions of two out of his five neighbors, resulting in millions dead in Iran, and an environmental disaster and barely averted genocide in Kuwait. The U.S. troop presence in Saudi, oft-cited by Osama as his main reason for hating the U.S., was to protect the feckless Sauds from Saddam.
    3. Millions of dead Iranians, at least 400,000 dead Iraqis. Need I mention the rape rooms, the human shredders, or the kiddie dungeon? Really, the kiddie dungeon tells you all you need to know. Oh I know, a real Libertarian would turn a blind eye. Liberty for me, good luck to you, mate.
    4. Food for oil fraud/the failure of the sanctions – he was defrauding the food-for-oil agreements, siphoning off money to buy influence and weapons around the world, while his people starved. Remember the starving kids? Robert Fisk sure was hot about those starving kids before the U.S. decided to attack.
    5. There were substantial links to terrorist networks. Baghdad served as a pensioners home for the likes of Abu Abbas, and many lesser known thugs. Ansar Al Islam, an Al Qaida affiliate, had a large training camp in Northern Iraq, in Kurdish territory controlled by Saddam, which had among other things wide body jet mockups. For defending aircraft? Who the hell defends aircraft from armed attackers other than El Al? You figure out what they were up to. Iraqi intel had dedicated liason men to Osama, including a undercover operative posing as a diplomat in the embassy to Pakistan. If 9/11 taught us anything in the U.S., it was to be not quite as picky and surgical when it comes to terrorists. Hit them where you can find them, the people standing near them, their banker, their arms dealer. The law enforcement approach, while fine for burglars, doesn’t work for terrorism.
    6. Saddam provided approximately $40,000 in indemnity funds to the families of each suicide bomber sponsored by the PLO, thus encouraging the ongoing violence and rendering the slim possibility of a peaceful solution an impossibility.
    7. It was low hanging fruit in an effort to reform the entire region – a region that the U.S. and Western Europe bear at least part of the ethical burden for cleaning up. We messed it up, or at least messed up what the Ottoman Empire didn’t botch. Whether or not you agree with the approach, it is working. Reports around the region indicate that it has emboldened pro-democracy pro-west reformers, and we know that tyrants like Ghadaffi and Assad are re-evaluating their tactics in light of U.S. and allies’ actions.

    Finally, on a more personal note, who the hell are you to be sitting here calling Jonathan Pearce a chickenhawk and a coward? You turd, in addition to being thoroughly illogical, that stance is pathetic. I suppose if you aren’t a cardiac surgeon, you shouldn’t have any opinions on whether heart transplants are a good thing.

    I happen to have served in two combat zones with the U.S. Army including in Iraq with a line unit during the first go-round, and if you haven’t done the equivalent, then I’m going to trump you here with your own argument and tell you that by your own terms, you need to shut up and not argue with me.

    Your point is absolutely wrongheaded, because given the tiny western armies, if you really want to limit debates over the use of military force to people with military service, you will effectively eliminate any debate inside of any government body comprised of a broad cross section of society – most of which never serves in the military. In other words, you would sacrifice civilian control of the military because not enough civilians would serve to have a “legitimate” (i.e. non-”chickenhawk” by your definition) opinion on whether military action is necessary.

    Pathetic.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Finally, on a more personal note, who the hell are you to be sitting here calling Jonathan Pearce a chickenhawk and a coward? You turd,

    The logic of warmonger thinking is just too overwhelming for me. To take the rest of your post:

    1. Saddam didn’t have WMD, and it turns out that, although we weren’t told this, our govt had excellent reason to know he didn’t.

    2-3. We supported him during the invasion of one of his neighbors and the height of his killing.

    4. OK, then overthrow every dictator who squanders money for his own personal ends (i.e. all of them).

    5. “Northern Iraq” was Kurd-controlled, thanks to the no fly zone. The Kurds you claim (among others) we are fighting to protect evidently had the ties to terrorists.

    6. Then let Israel invade and occupy Iraq.

    7. Considering what is going on today, this isn’t a good time for you to base an argument on how gloriously well the occupation is going.

    And my point was that its really easy for Jonathan Pearce to strut around saying he’ll take the consequences for his war, when we all know he won’t.

    Do you have an argument, or just name calling? BTW, “turd” went out of style in the 3rd grade for most of us.

  • Reid

    I love seeing people who usually disparage the military maunder on like they actually care about them, calling everyone who supports the troops without actually being there “chickenhawks” and such.

    Firstly, I’d rather be a chickenhawk than a chicken.

    Secondly, the troops overwhelmingly support the action in Iraq. US reenlistments are at an all time high. So, when you presume to speak for someone, don’t you think you should check first with them to see if they want you to speak for them?

  • Scott Cattanach

    I love seeing people who usually disparage the military maunder on like they actually care about them, calling everyone who supports the troops without actually being there “chickenhawks” and such.

    Don’t confuse supporting the troops w/ supporting your war. Your basic argument, such that it is, boils down to “if you don’t support the war then you don’t support the troops and if you don’t support the troops you have no business opposing the war.” Cute. Pathetic, but cute.

    Secondly, the troops overwhelmingly support the action in Iraq. US reenlistments are at an all time high. So, when you presume to speak for someone, don’t you think you should check first with them to see if they want you to speak for them?

    Then why the stop-loss orders to keep people from leaving the military when their terms are up?

  • Reid

    Scott the Chicken:

    1. Saddam didn’t have WMD, and it turns out that, although we weren’t told this, our govt had excellent reason to know he didn’t.

    Wrong. The gov’t had many reasons to believe it likely that he had them. Prior to 9-11, nobody worried about it because he had no means of delivery. After 9-11, it was clear he had a cadre of fighters living nearby with whom he could easily make common cause and deliver a weapon of unimaginable devastation while leaving no fingerprints. We could not afford to take that chance, no matter how slim (it was not slim, btw).

    Moreover, the sanctions were bin Laden’s best recruiting tool which he claimed, and it was widely believed, had killed over 1 million innocent Iraqis. Recruits were flocking to AQ because of them. They had to end but, it was unacceptable to end them while leaving Saddam in power.

    2-3. We supported him during the invasion of one of his neighbors and the height of his killing.

    Wrong. Our support was negligible compared to the overwhelming support he got from France, Germany, Russia and China. Utterly negligible.

    Oh, and Iran is also a member of the AOE, ya’ know?

    4. OK, then overthrow every dictator who squanders money for his own personal ends (i.e. all of them).

    All right. Now you’re talking sense. Let’s do it!

    5. “Northern Iraq” was Kurd-controlled, thanks to the no fly zone. The Kurds you claim (among others) we are fighting to protect evidently had the ties to terrorists.

    Wrong. The Kurds we are friendly with had no ties to Ansar.

    6. Then let Israel invade and occupy Iraq.

    WTF?

    7. Considering what is going on today, this isn’t a good time for you to base an argument on how gloriously well the occupation is going.

    What’s going on today is that we are removing a pain in the ass in the form of Al Sadr who has been making life difficult for too long and has now stuck his nose out too far. This is the end game for Al Sadr and he knows it. By June 30, his time would have been over for good. It’s going to be sooner now.

    You don’t really know what’s going on over there, do you, Scotty boy?

  • Shawn

    “No, I’m merely suggesting that you’d be less likely to support your war if it was your ass on the line, just like George aWol Bush. This comes from your chest-thumping “I’ll accept the consequences of this war” when its really other people who will suffer the consequences, while you stay home safe.”

    So what are YOU doing to keep America safe from Islamic terrorists and Arab Fascists? Let me see. Hmmmm. Got it. Sitting on your lazy ass spitting on your country in a public forum while real Americans are dying to keep your lazy ass safe and to preserve your right to hold and express amazingly stupid opinions.

    Ive done my bit for my country. So did my father and grandftaher and so right now are two of my cousins and my sister in law. So dont pontificate about what other people are or are not doing. Thousands of Americans support the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq who are either in the military, have been in the military, or have family who are. Unlike you, we ARE putting our asses on the line.

    Three of my family members are involved in Iraq, two in the military and one as a civilian. They and I support this war 100%. We do so because we know that leaving fascists like Saddam in place endangers all freedom loving countries. Sooner or later Saddam would have had his trigger finger on a nuke. You would leave him alone until it was too late. After what happened on Sept.11 that is a position of such monumental stupidity that only the anti-American scum in the Cowards Party could be brainless enough to support it.

  • Reid

    Don’t confuse supporting the troops w/ supporting your war. Your basic argument, such that it is, boils down to “if you don’t support the war then you don’t support the troops and if you don’t support the troops you have no business opposing the war.” Cute. Pathetic, but cute.

    You are confused. It is you who are claiming that by opposing the war, you are supporting the troops. So, you care about them when it suits your objectives. Not at all cute, Scott.

    Then why the stop-loss orders to keep people from leaving the military when their terms are up?

    I guess you are behind on the news there, too, Scotty. I suggest you google it. I don’t have time to enlighten every shallow youth.

  • Scott Cattanach

    The gov’t had many reasons to believe it likely that he had them.

    You can claim “likely”, but your govt knowingly lied and said certainly.

    Wrong. Our support was negligible compared to the overwhelming support he got from France, Germany, Russia and China. Utterly negligible.

    We shared intelligence w/ him against the Iranians. Just try to buy that with cash.

    Wrong. The Kurds we are friendly with had no ties to Ansar.

    A. Saddam still wasn’t involved, and you just admitted that.

    B. So we aren’t friendly w/ all the Kurds? So much for the white hat/black hat imagery of evil Sunnis and good Kurds.

    What’s going on today is that we are removing a pain in the ass in the form of Al Sadr who has been making life difficult for too long and has now stuck his nose out too far. This is the end game for Al Sadr and he knows it. By June 30, his time would have been over for good. It’s going to be sooner now.

    What color is the sky in your world?

    So what are YOU doing to keep America safe from Islamic terrorists and Arab Fascists? Let me see. Hmmmm. Got it. Sitting on your lazy ass spitting on your country in a public forum while real Americans are dying to keep your lazy ass safe and to preserve your right to hold and express amazingly stupid opinions.

    There is absolutely no relationship between Iraq and our safety. We were attacked by Saudi terrorists operating out of Afghanistan on 9/11, not Iraqis.

    I guess you are behind on the news there, too, Scotty. I suggest you google it.

    Google this.

  • Reid

    You can claim “likely”, but your govt knowingly lied and said certainly.

    Nope. The claims were bipartisan and spanned two administrations. They were acting on the best information available and interpreting it in the way most likely to save American lives, including your own miserable one.

    We shared intelligence w/ him against the Iranians. Just try to buy that with cash.

    The other guys provided him with billions of dollars of weapons. I say it again: our contribution was negligible by comparison and, furthermore, was valuable for defensive, not offensive, purposes.

    A. Saddam still wasn’t involved, and you just admitted that.

    I said nothing of the kind.

    B. So we aren’t friendly w/ all the Kurds? So much for the white hat/black hat imagery of evil Sunnis and good Kurds.

    Maybe in the little gotcha’ game you made up for yourself, this means something. I have no idea what.

    What color is the sky in your world?

    Blue, most days. What about yours?

    There is absolutely no relationship between Iraq and our safety. We were attacked by Saudi terrorists operating out of Afghanistan on 9/11, not Iraqis.

    Please see my previous post regarding Saddam and the potential for collusion. Maybe you are willing to roll the dice with the lives of perhaps hundreds of thousands of your fellow citizens. We grownups have to make sober decisions to safeguard those lives.

    Check out your google sources for dates. The latest news is that the military has exceeded its recruiting goals. Keep searching.

  • Reid

    By the way, Scott, Saddam was a danger not just because of what he might do. Iraq figured prominently in OBL’s 1998 fatwah urging jihad against the US. OBL’s first and foremost charge against the US was the presence of western troops on sacred Muslim soil in Saudi Arabia, necessary for keeping Saddam in check. His second charge, and the one that drew recruits to him in droves, was that the sanctions he claimed (and, it was widely believed in the Arab world) had killed over 1 million innocent Iraqis. As this source relates:

    The Clinton gang’s little genocide in Iraq–nearly a million put to death in order to “contain” a tin-pot dictator–was a recruitment bonanza for terrorists like Al-Qaeda.

    Muslim men were angrily pouring into Al-Qaeda’s training resorts from all over the globe to partake in a jihad against the Americans for what we were doing to the Iraqis.

    Even before 9/11, Bin Laden routinely invoked the suffering of the Iraqis (more so than he did the Palestinian cause) to justify his attacks against the United States.

    So, there really were no choices that would have left us without a headache in Iraq. Indeed, we were in the worst of all possible positions. The sanctions were crumbling and Saddam had attained the aura of a leader who had faced down the rest of the world. At the same time, we were seen as mercilessly trying to extend the sanctions ad infinitum without any care for the suffering they were believed to have caused.

    We did not “have Saddam in a box” and, his ability to rearm and restart his WMD programs (nobody argues that he did not retain the infrastructure and the scientists to do it) in the wake of the end of sanctions was a menace that we could not abide.

  • Larry Ruane

    Hawk writer: After 9-11, it was clear [Hussein] had a cadre of fighters living nearby with whom he could easily make common cause and deliver a weapon of unimaginable devastation while leaving no fingerprints.

    This argument is illogical. The only way there could have been no fingerprints is if multiple states (not just Iraq) could have provided the weapons. But in that case, why were we constantly told that Iraq constituted a unique and immediate threat?

    I am amazed that anyone can defend this stupid war after all that has happened and is still happening. I understand that attitude among those with relatives fighting or dying in Iraq; it’s natural to want to believe that their cause was just and their sacrifice was not in vain. But for everyone else — get a grip on reality! Anyone with eyes to see understands that this war has been a disaster!

    Does a policeman have the right to tell a bully to stop stamping a weaker man’s face into the dirt?

    Sure, but our governments are not analogous to the policeman. Who died and made us policeman of the world? What part of the U.S. Constitution (I live in the U.S.) authorizes the President or Congress to send troops to other parts of the world to act as a policemen? Answer: none!

    But I will make a compromise with you. If you, Bush, Rumsfeld and the rest want to go over there personally and police Iraq, or use your own resources to help groups of people fight off oppression, be my guest! Good luck! (I’m absolutely serious in wishing you good luck; we have a moral, though not legal, duty to help victims of oppression.) But it is immoral (and unconstitutional) to force people (through taxes) to fund humanitarian efforts. Defense is a different matter. But not to liberate people in other parts of the world (if that’s what’s really intended, but I’m a bit too cynical to believe even that).

    Now, is everyone happy? Glad to have cleared up this argument.

  • Johnthan

    Scott says I would be less likely to support the war if my ass was on the line. That is a slur. If you stick to the arguments then you will have my respect no matter how much one can disagree.

    My support for the war — which is by no means 100 pct, by the way — is based on conviction about the dangers we face. I may be wrong about that, but to suggest my opinions are somehow affected by living outside a war zone is contemptible. In any case it hardly affects the arguments one way or the other. If the war is wrong, it is wrong, period. I happen to have plenty of reasons for supporting the war, not least losing dozens of my colleagues in the WTC.

    Try and be civil, Scott. Feel free to disagree as much as you like but leave out the personal stuff if you don’t mind.

  • Johnathan

    BTW, for anyone who still signs up the idea there was no link of any consequence between Saddam and terror groups, check out the following link:

    http://slate.msn.com/id/2097901/#ContinueArticle

  • Scott Cattanach

    Nope. The claims were bipartisan and spanned two administrations.

    The claims were shakey, bipartisan, and spanned two admins (but only one thought it worth an invasion – the other one, correctly, did not).

    By the way, Scott, Saddam was a danger not just because of what he might do. Iraq figured prominently in OBL’s 1998 fatwah urging jihad against the US. OBL’s first and foremost charge against the US was the presence of western troops on sacred Muslim soil in Saudi Arabia, necessary for keeping Saddam in check. His second charge, and the one that drew recruits to him in droves, was that the sanctions he claimed (and, it was widely believed in the Arab world) had killed over 1 million innocent Iraqis.

    Saddam is a threat because OBL uses what we do in Iraq for propoganda purposes? That makes no sense whatsoever. “We punish Iraq, OBL objects, that links OBL and Iraq, therefore we must punish Iraq.”

    BTW, for anyone who still signs up the idea there was no link of any consequence between Saddam and terror groups,

    OK, Clarke thought the aspirin factory we bombed in Sudan was an OBL/Iraqi joint weapons plant. Considering what a mistake that was, you’re not helping your case by alluding to it.

  • Charles Copeland

    Anybody remember Dale Amon’s casualty statistics showing the trend from March thru September 2003?

    If you’ve forgotten, you’ll find them here: (Link)

  • Scott Cattanach

    Anybody remember Dale Amon’s casualty statistics showing the trend from March thru September 2003?

    You America and freedom hating bastard, only good news must be posted!!! Pointing out that they claimed we were winning months ago, on a thread where they now say its too soon to tell (after something bad happened), is immoral!!!! Why aren’t you talking about the Iraqi schools we painted last month, you terrorist-appeasing threat to the lives of everyone here!!!!!! Mommy!!!!!!!!!!

  • Charles Copeland

    Apologies, Scott — I also forgot to mention the US-funded ‘Heartland of Iraq Women’s Conference’ held on October 4 – 7 2003 at the University of Babylon (I kid you not). One of the conference’s goals was to promote “access to day care centers near places of employment to assist working moms.”

    If there’s one thing that can be said about the US when going about the business of spreading democracy throughout the Arab world, it’s that they’ve certainly got their priorities right.

    A shortage of day-care centers for working moms — now THAT’S what Saddam bequeathed to his people.

  • Scott Cattanach

    A shortage of day-care centers for working moms — now THAT’S what Saddam bequeathed to his people.

    Military socialists and economic socialists are identical political cousins, both played by Patty Duke.

  • Johnthan

    Scott, hitting the asprin factory certainly helped no-one’s case. But bear in mind that long before Bush entered the White House, there seemed to be a lot of chatter about links between Iraq and terror groups. We shall see in time, I guess. I would not be so bold as to bet the farm either way.

    Gotta agree about the childcare centres line from Charles. This stuff is close to self-parody.

  • Charles Copeland

    Sorry to bang on about this, but here’s self-parody in action last November, when (according to the Daily Telegraph) ‘Iraq’ appointed a US citizen as its ambassador to … the US.
    I wrote the following comment published in the European Commission’s Intranet. Here it is for your entertainment:

    What’s in a name?
    Today (Monday 24/11/2003) I read in the Daily Telegraph that the Iraqi Governing Council has appointed an ambassador to the United States. The lucky appointee is, in fact, an American citizen who was educated in Britain and France and spent some years in Iraq, where presumably she was born, or at least where her parents were born. She became a US citizen in 1987. Her name is Rend Rahim Francke.

    In other words, the first Iraqi ambassador to the United States is:
    (a) an American
    (b) Jewish
    (c) a woman.

    Have the Americans who manage the Iraqi Governing Council totally — I mean madly, truly, deeply — lost their marbles? And how many marbles can you lose when you’ve none left anyhow? Is this self-sabotage? Just imagine if some venom-spewing enemy of the US were trying to provoke Iraqis into joining the anti-US resistance en masse. Whom would he appoint as ‘Iraqi’ ambassador in order to ginger them up in a big way? I reckon he would appoint somebody who is:

    (a) an American
    (b) Jewish
    (c) a woman.

    This is nothing personal. There is no doubt about it but Ms Rend Rahim Francke — judging by what I can find on the Internet — is a highly articulate, knowledgeable and intelligent woman. She has, inter alia, written for the prestigious ‘Middle East Quarterly’, attached to the ‘Middle East Forum’, an excellent Israeli-based website which I often consult for objective and impartial information on Arab affairs.

    Apparently she is also aware that her Ashkenasi surname is unlikely to escape the attention of the Arab community, whose ‘Jewdar’ (as in radar, gaydar) is notorious — when they hear the word ‘Francke’, they reach for their suicide bomb. At the ‘Heartland of Iraq Women’s Conference’ held on October 4 – 7 this year at the University of Babylon (I kid you not), she transmogrified into ‘Rend Rahim’ and — later on in the preliminary report on the same conference — into ‘Rend al-Rahim’. May I add — completely beside the point — that one of the conference’s goals was to promote “access to day care centers near places of employment to assist working moms.” Again, I kid you not.

    Sometimes, everything’s in a name. I think that if Ms Rend Rahim Francke wishes to have the slightest chance of winning the hearts and minds of Iraqi citizens, she may even have to make another adjustment to her name. ‘Rend al-Rahim’ just isn’t enough.

    What about ‘Rend al-Rahim Bin Laden’?”

    OK, so I cannibalised some of the above in my reply to Scott’s accusation of my failing to mention all the wonderful things the US has done for the Iraqi people. Whatever — everybody’s store of things to say is finite.

  • Scott Cattanach

    OK, so I cannibalised some of the above in my reply to Scott’s accusation of my failing to mention all the wonderful things the US has done for the Iraqi people.

    Just to be clear, I was mocking those who want to count the number of schools repainted and ignore the number of civilians killed – I wasn’t going after Charles.

  • Reid

    Scott sez: “We punish Iraq, OBL objects, that links OBL and Iraq, therefore we must punish Iraq.”

    I think Orwell made your point better:

    “Freedom is Slavery!”

    In your skewed view, we haven’t liberated Iraqis from Saddam’s terror. Oh, no! We’ve “punished” them.
    Funny how poll after poll shows the majority of Iraqis themselves prefer their freedom and believe the costs were worth it.

    So, Scott, you presume to speak for soldiers who do not agree with you. Then you presume to speak for Iraqis, who do not agree with you. What kind of self-absorbed dreamworld do you live in, anyway?

  • Reid

    The claims were shakey, bipartisan, and spanned two admins (but only one thought it worth an invasion – the other one, correctly, did not).

    The other one, spinelessly, wimped out, emboldening the terrorists to ever more brazen acts of mayhem, culminating in the 9-11 atrocity. Just like Chicken Scott would have us do again.

  • Scott Cattanach

    In your skewed view, we haven’t liberated Iraqis from Saddam’s terror. Oh, no! We’ve “punished” them.
    Funny how poll after poll shows the majority of Iraqis themselves prefer their freedom and believe the costs were worth it.

    So, Scott, you presume to speak for soldiers who do not agree with you. Then you presume to speak for Iraqis, who do not agree with you. What kind of self-absorbed dreamworld do you live in, anyway?

    Have you not been following the news (like your idiotvangelical president who brags he doesn’t read the papers)? Does Iraq look like a place where people are happy to have us around (whether we crush the current uprisings or not)? What warmonger dreamworld are you living in, Reid? The War Party likes WWII analogies – compare how we’re being treated in ‘liberated’ Iraq vs. how we were treated in France after they were liberated from the Nazis.

  • ed

    Hmmm.

    Some of you people are seriously amusing. In a country that has a population of around 25 million any sort of popular uprising would have a truly substantial amount of people involved. That there doesn’t seem to be a substantial number of “rebels” tends to show that this isn’t a popular uprising. Instead what we have is a case of “yellow journalism” whereby the media is attempting to create a result instead of simply reporting the facts. As an example the term ‘tet offensive” is being thrown around along with Ted Kennedy’s “George Bush’s Vietnam”.

    Funny stuff.

    Frankly this “uprising” is nothing much. I doubt it’ll last more than a couple days at most. Even then the primary reason why it’ll last as long as that is due to the care being taken in not hurting civilians.

  • ed

    Hmmm.

    “A shortage of day-care centers for working moms — now THAT’S what Saddam bequeathed to his people.”

    I suppose that it didn’t occur to you that Iraq has a huge population of single parent mothers right? Without the ability to work widows have to rely on family or state charity, something that I wouldn’t want to have to rely on. Additionally this was just a conference, i.e. an attempt at getting a concensus of opinions from Iraqi citizens. So I’d rather people go and find out what solutions would work from native citizens, who should know, rather than the ridiculous alternative.

    go figure eh?

  • Scott Cattanach

    I suppose that it didn’t occur to you that Iraq has a huge population of single parent mothers right?

    How many more will you warmongers make this week?

  • ed

    Hmmm.

    “How many more will you warmongers make this week?”

    Perhaps a few hundred thousand less than Saddam would have?

  • Scott Cattanach

    Perhaps a few hundred thousand less than Saddam would have?

    That assumes there would have been an uprising against Saddam this week. Besides, don’t you lose your Moral High Ground if the best you can say is that you’re killing fewer people (probably) that Saddam?

  • Shawn

    Personally I don’t give a shit about any “moral highground”, nor am I a military socialist. I simply believe in defending the American people. You dont. You would wait till thousands and even millions of Americans were already dead befire doing anything, if anything at all about a threat to them. After Sept.11, this is a position of monumental stupidity. It shows a total lack of any concern for the saftey of the American people. Claiming that because the last attack from from Saudies not Iraq, therefore we need not worry about Islamic fundies and Arab fascists unless they are Saudies is utterly illogical. There are Muslims who hate us and are prepared to harm us all over the world. We must be prepared to deal with threats regardless of where they came from. It is clear that Saddam was trying to gain nukes and biological weapons. The David Kay report made this point without reservation. Sooner or later do you not think an American hater would have used them against us? Even if we cant be sure that he would have, again, after Sept.11 we cannot take the risk of leaving those who promote hate against the U.S. alone.

    This does not make us chickenhawks, or military socialists, or imperialists or Likudite Zionists, or any of the other psuedo-intellectaul crap the Coawrds Party spouts.

    It makes us people who give a damn (unlike you and Charles) about the safety and survival of our fellow citizens.

    And if this means killing more Iraqis this year than Saddam would have? Fine by me. Arabs and Muslims in general have wanted this war since they bombed the Marines barracks in Lebanon. Now they have got it. You want to cry for them? Go do it on the WTC site.

  • Reid

    Chicken Scott: Apparently you rely only on television news and anecdotal evidence for information. I suppose it is likely you are some dumbsh** social sciences major who has little understanding of statistical inference but, briefly stated, you need to sample the opinions of a great many people before you get a clear idea of what the majority really think. That is why pollsters ask more than ten or twelve people (more like thousands) when they conduct polls.

    And, in the polls conducted in Iraq, fully 70% or more of the people consistently support the invasion and believe that their lives are better without Saddam.

    Iraq has > 25 million people and is geographically as large as California. I know it is easy for your tiny brain to get overwhelmed but, the fact is that the unrest you are hearing about really affects only a small minority of the country.

    I’m done with you now. You have nothing to offer in the way of informed debate and are just regurgitating the latest talking points (how many times have I heard the “France” analogy lately?). If you can’t even think for yourself and come up with your own arguments, I might as well be arguing with a tape recorder.

  • Aral Simbon

    Shawn wrote:

    Personally I don’t give a shit about any “moral highground”,

    In which case you lose all claim to have a valid argument. Morals are not luxuries, but truths about the world.

  • Shawn

    “In which case you lose all claim to have a valid argument. Morals are not luxuries, but truths about the world.”

    My point was not that my views are not based on a moral view of the issue, which they are, but that Scott’s notions of what constitutes the moral highground do not concern me.

    My bad for a lack of clarity in my post.

  • Shawn

    Scott reveals his reliance on the myths and lies of the anti-American left with statements like “idiotvangelical”, a reference to Bush’s supposed evangelical Christianity. In fact Bush’s family is Episcopalian, a liberal middle of the road denomination, and he now attends his wife’s church, which is Methodist, and also liberal middle of the road. Bush is not, and never has been, an evangelical Christian.

    The myth about Bush being an evangelical is closely related to the other myth about him being unintelligent, which he clearly is not, and of course the fact that he is a southerner and Texan. All of these myths and lies are really just the standard bigotry that liberal elites both in the U.S. and Europe have towards conservative and Southern Americans. Being from the South myself, and currently living in New Zealand, I am very familiar with this bigotry. That Scott resorts to it is just more proof that he does not have an intelligent argument to present.

  • Scott Cattanach

    And, in the polls conducted in Iraq, fully 70% or more of the people consistently support the invasion and believe that their lives are better without Saddam.

    There were no census data available to create an accurate sampling of Iraqi public opinion. Polls showed the Sandinastas would win the election they wound up losing, because people didn’t feel comfortable telling pollsters the truth, and the same thing could have been going on in Iraq. Your poll is meaningless.

    That, and there’s a difference between being happy Saddam is gone and wanting us to stay indefinitely.

    In fact Bush’s family is Episcopalian, a liberal middle of the road denomination, and he now attends his wife’s church, which is Methodist, and also liberal middle of the road. Bush is not, and never has been, an evangelical Christian.

    Evangelicals can be found in every Protestant denomination (and some are even Roman Catholic) – it isn’t just another word for Southern Baptist. That, and I’m a Presbyterian (a liberal-middle of the road denomination) and can’t swing a dead cat at church w/o hitting an evangelical. Do you have any idea what you are talking about here?

    The funny part of your “Scott is engaging in anti-Southern and anti-Texan bigotry” is that I was born, raised, and currently live in TX.

    That makes Shawn zero for two in just that post. Try again.

  • Scott Cattanach

    U.S. Terrorism Policy Spawns Steady Staff Exodus

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq (news – web sites) they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism.

    Former counterterrorism officials said at least half a dozen have left the White House Office for Combating Terrorism or related agencies in frustration in the 2 1/2 years since the attacks.

    Some also left because they felt President Bush had sidelined his counterterrorism experts and paid almost exclusive heed to the vice president, the defense secretary and other Cabinet members in planning the “war on terror,” former counterterrorism officials said.

    “I’m kind of hoping for regime change,” one official who quit told Reuters…

  • M. Simon

    Charles Copeland,

    If the history of the human race is any guide republican democracy is impossible and at minimum quite unlikely.

    On that basis please explain US, Britain, Oz, etc.

    Please explain what happened to Germany, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Nicuragua, Italy, etc.

    The siren song of “wash your hands and go home” is always there. I believe we owe the Iraqis more. One the one hand because we promised. On the other because if our move into Iraq was mistaken we even more owe the Iraqis the prevention of a post war blood bath ala Vietnam.

  • M. Simon

    Scott,

    So at least 6 people have left the current administration over policy disagreements.

    It is a fookin deluge. The rats are leaving a sinking ship. And hoping for regime change.

    And this huge exodus of possibly six counter terror “experts” leaves a huge gap in a counter terror organization consisting of how many thousands of experts?

    Ya convinced me. The sky is falling. The center cannot hold. Bush will have to come crawling to these experts, ask for their forgiveness, and change policy so they will again feel welcome without the need for regime change.

    Uh. Could you run that by me again. I think I missed the significance or something.

  • Frank P

    Al Maviva, in a characteristic epic post on April 7th, put his foot on Cattanach’s oxygen tube, stopping all his gobshite in one fell swoop (other than a little post mortem mewling). Why anybody should have set up other oxygen supplies for this twerp defeats me. Recognize an expert whacking when you see one and leave the corpse to dangle on its self-made noose. It is demeaning to peck at it, like shite hawks, because its orfices are still emitting a mixture of methane and the other noxious gases of decomposing flesh. Leave him to the maggots of his own twisted mind.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Frank, what an amazingly content-free post. Thank you for showing how intellectually bankrupt the warmonger crowd is. Maybe you should stop breaking the pills in half.

  • ed

    Hmmm.

    1. “That assumes there would have been an uprising against Saddam this week. Besides, don’t you lose your Moral High Ground if the best you can say is that you’re killing fewer people (probably) that Saddam?”

    Considering that Saddam tortured and executed hundreds of thousands of Shia for their attempt at a coup makes your statement look pretty idiotic frankly. As for that last sentence, don’t be a bigger fool than your words have made you.

    2. “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has faced a steady exodus of counterterrorism officials, many disappointed by a preoccupation with Iraq (news – web sites) they said undermined the U.S. fight against terrorism. ”

    Here’s a clue. The Bush administration kept the counter-terrorism teams from the Clinton administration in order to maintain a cohesive approach. This is due to the vast amount of chaos that erupts every time a new administration takes over and has to have people appointed, approved by the Senate, etc. It takes time to replace people so these people weren’t replaced, this more than anything else speaks volumes about how serious Bush was on terrorism.

    So, being that this is an *election year*, these people are now taking the time to leave.

    So big whoop.

    Frankly I don’t know why anyone is bothering to discuss this with Scott. What a waste of time.

  • Larry Ruane

    Considering that Saddam tortured and executed hundreds of thousands of Shia for their attempt at a coup makes your statement look pretty idiotic frankly.

    Those executions are yet another reminder of the moral bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy: Moral Responsiblity for Iraqi Graves

  • Jamisia

    Why o why can’t you stop about the origin of the Iraqi War? It’s been nearly a year and who the hell cares why Bush started it? Who cares if some people think Bush is unintelligent? Personally, I don’t approve of him or the Iraqi War, but I also believe by now it doesn’t matter. The only question is: can this situation be brought to a good end? To which the answer is: why yes, sure. It is not running away or any other do nothing / bumbling along. The pov that says the wouldbe-martyr miscalculated (he could’ve had the country in his pocket with a terrorcampaign after June 30th.), I find the most credible so far…

  • Scott Cattanach

    Considering that Saddam tortured and executed hundreds of thousands of Shia for their attempt at a coup makes your statement look pretty idiotic frankly.

    No, Larry, it doesn’t. If all you have is the fact that fewer people are dying because of your war than would have died under a hypothetical uprising against Saddam this week, then your justification for your war is shot.

    Here’s a clue. The Bush administration kept the counter-terrorism teams from the Clinton administration in order to maintain a cohesive approach. This is due to the vast amount of chaos that erupts every time a new administration takes over and has to have people appointed, approved by the Senate, etc. It takes time to replace people so these people weren’t replaced, this more than anything else speaks volumes about how serious Bush was on terrorism.

    They say they’re leaving because of Iraq, yet you claim to know better and say they are leaving for some other reason. Sorry, I’ll take their word for why they’re leaving over yours.

    Why o why can’t you stop about the origin of the Iraqi War?

    Holding the bastards who demanded this war accountable might help stop them next time.

  • Larry Ruane

    Scott: No, Larry, it doesn’t.

    Scott, I was quoting (and criticizing) the posting by Ed, which is immediately before my posting. (I am on your side, Scott!)

  • Scott Cattanach

    Sorry about that, Larry. I caught whose side you were on. I switched from replying to you to replying directly to Ed, but still had your name on my mind when I typed. My fault.

  • nhop

    “Secular elements”???

    Do you mean the remnants of the Ba’ath party?

    They can be found in Falluja and Ramadi.