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give war a chance

give war a chance

I used to be an idealist. I used to think that peace was the answer to everything and that if we worked hard enough, world peace could at last be found.

I watched my older cousins protest the Vietnam war. I admired them at the time. I was only in grade school, I didn't know any better.

In high school I was a hippie-wannabe, attracted more by the music and the culture than anything else. I thought it would be cool to relive the 60's. I thought it would be neat to live in a peaceful commune and promote world togetherness. I thought we could change the world.

In the latter years of high school and after, I became a student of the counter culture. I read as much as I could find on the subject: activism, peace rallies, sit ins and anti-war sentiments.

I realized how futile the peace movement was. I realized how living in this pretend world of utopian dreams and idealism was nowhere near the reality of the existing world. I realized that the protesters of the Vietnam war did more harm than good.

Give peace a chance is a nice sentiment, but it's not based in reality. I would like to know what the anti-war faction suggests to do as an alternative to getting into a war with Iraq. How do they propose we negotiate with a madman?

Sure, you have the right to protest, but what I would like to see, rather than just shouts and name-calling, is for the protesters to come up with viable alternatives.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are any. My days of longing for peaceful solutions are over. There is no way, at least in my mind, that all these nations, all these different groups and factions and religions and levels of craziness among leaders can ever co-exist together without threats of war or hostile takeovers.

I don't want to sit around and wait for concrete proof that Iraq intends to use their weapons of mass destructions on us, because the only proof we are going to get is when it's too late to do anything about it.

The time is getting closer. The war will be brief, too brief for the anti-war activists to even get any momentum going. Soon there will be war, soon Saddam will be gone, and hopefully Arafat will follow in his wake.

It won't be world peace, but it will bring us closer to getting the cloud of imminent terrorism that hangs over us to go away.


Agreed, agreed, agreed. Saddam has openly and repeatedly threatened the lives of US citizens. He is a clear and present danger.

Let's Roll.

so the US gets to hang the cloud of war, terrorism, government subversion and overthrows, political inteference and oturight blackmail over the other countries, in order to prvent its citizens from the same thing? Strange logic.
I'm not anti war - well, actually most times I am, but more in terms of preventative strategy - Sadam, Ossama, Noreiga were all products of US foreign ploicy, they were all funded and supported by Dubya's Dad and friends, and they all have caused insane, intolerable amounts of problems once the money turned into weapons turned into ego.
SO what lessons do we learn, how do we try not to fuck things up again - well, funding some middle eastern guy who the US installs against a regime it doesn't like, that to me does not sound like it's going to work, because it hasn't before.
And I don't want to have this shadow hang over the heads of people and their children in those countries. More than 50 thousand kids alone have died as a result of US depleted Uranium weapons in Iraq, and sanctions that have stopped them getting the medication they need. How is the war going to help them?
The war hasn't got Ossama. Will it get Sadam? How many Iraqi kids and moms have to be murdered by foreign attacks before we decide enough? How many kids willw atch htis isn thier adobe huts and wonder why a foreign power would choose to reign terror on their heads?

It's cool M, I'm not having a go at you, and as always it's your blog but you do have comments, so I'm leaving mine in the interest of healthy discussions.

Two things: 1. Comparing Vietnam-era protest with today's is classic apples and oranges. The government tried to sell us on the "Domino Theory," and it worked for awhile, given the Cold War and all. Careful reading of any good history of Vietnam reveals that we were just another in a long line of imperialist interlopers - and plenty of keen political observers on the left knew it, and provided the spark for, in my opinion, one of the most moral and profoundly important protest movements in our country's history. The recently released LBJ White House tapes make this tragically clear. 2. "Hippie" does not equal peace activist. Many of us were the actual foot soldiers of the anti-war movement, and the beads and bell bottoms weren't weekend affectations. Many hippies were just your garden-variety lazy-ass losers, who adopted the look and thought taking drugs was "political". Every generation has its sheep. "Free Love" was just misogyny tied with a groovy, tie-dyed ribbon.
I think Saddam Hussein is mad too, but not for a minute do I think the Bush administration is giving the American public any more than an insultingly dumbed-down call-to-arms, a willfully incomplete explanation of our other goals in the region, (yes, oil), and a shiny lollipop to suck on, so maybe we won't notice how they've crippled the economy.

Maybe Give truth a chance is an idea whose time has come.

I agree that this might be the last resort, but I want to know where all these "Sadam is a madman," and "Look, he's gassing his own people" voices were when he actually WAS gassing them (i.e., back in the Reagan/Bush era when he was our BUDDY).

I'm too cynical to believe that he's suddenly become this horrible threat, just because Bush Jr. says so. Let the inspectors inspect. Then, if THEY say "he's got nukes" or "he won't let us in", go ahead and blast the hell out of him!

I think you know where I stand, Michele. I'm anti-war, but not from a Sixties perspective. This is all wrong at this juncture. A year ago, the Shrub was calling out, "Wanted: Dead or Alive" whenever bin Laden was mentioned.

Now? What about the fact that Taliban forces are back in Afghanistan? The people there are fearful, knowing that there is nothing they can do.

Sure, Hussein's a bad boy; he deserves to come down, but now? Why now?

1.) Economy sucks. Whatever happened to Kenny-boy Lay? How come he's not being carted off in shackles? Could it be because the Shrub flew on Enron-supplied planes during campaign 2000?

2.) Oil. The neo-cons want to control all the oil in the Middle East. Read the "Bush Doctrine" from a few days ago; we're going in and never leaving. This is what happens when oil men are Pres. and Vice. Pres.

3.) The War on Terra, which Iraq is only peripherally involved in. Why not Iran? Why not Saudi Arabia?

Let's do some math:

Number of Iraqi nationals who were part of 9/11: 0/19. Result? Let's march on Baghdad!

Number of Saudi nationals who were part of 9/11: 15/19. Result? Let's have the Prince down to Crawford for lunch.

I hate the Administration for how it's spinning Goebbels-like propaganda.

I can go on . . . :)

... and of course, "it's" should be "its" . . .

All I know is that the greatest threat of anti-US terrorism comes from pissed off Arabs and Muslims. Bombing Iraq seems to be a good way to increase the number of pissed off Arabs and Muslims in the world, leading to an increased chance that one of them is going to try to blow my ass up.

Note: Saddam Hussein is not a madman, and it's dangerous to think he is. Nearly all of his actions are quite reasonable, within the limited frame of amorally maintaining his own power. That's why I don't see him as a threat to the U.S. If he attacked us in any way, nuclear fire would rain down on Baghdad, and violent death has a tendency to decrease one's power.

If you have an hour or so, go read this; it's a neo-con manifesto, which the administration appears to be following to the letter.

Linkmeister -- I've been linking that site since I first caught wind of it a couple of weeks ago. Try this link to read their mission. Folks should note that this thinktank wrote this back in Sept. 2000. Look at the names at the bottom of the link above (it's a quick read) and then see how the inclusion of Iraq was a fait accompili before Election 2000.

This Administration has been pulling a fast one on this country, and it's time we all woke up.

Anyone who reads this site on a regular basis knows how I feel about the current administration.

Just because I agree on this one issue does not mean I trust them implicitly or that I suddenly think that they are telling us the truth about everything.

I still think Saddam should have bought the farm the last time around. I also think Arafat should be dragged out of his little concrete castle and shot on sight.

But that's just me.

Loads of peaceful protesting here, but still no viable alternatives. Which is, quite frankly, typical. I can't stand complaining unless it's accompanied by solutions. Realistic, viable solutions.

I'm no war-monger, and quite frankly, the hypocrisy and arrogance of our admin makes me ill, but I don't see any way but war for Saddam. I wish we (or someone/anyone) had killed him long ago.

I should think that anyone who reads michele's stuff regularly - and is therefore familiar with her rather low opinion of the President - would find her decision to support his proposals for Iraq worthy of deep and reflective consideration. Obviously no-one who dislikes and distrusts him as much as she does would take his side on such an important and controversial issue without good reason. If anything, michele's support speaks to the credible job Bush has done making the case that Saddam is too great a threat to put off any longer.

As responses, hackneyed ad hominem attacks on Bush and specious conspiracy theories about oil just don't cut it. Trying to answer what cannot have been any easy decision to arrive at or announce with such silliness is really rather disrespectful. Myself, I understand thee skeptics' position, even though I disagree with it. I'm sure michele does, too, since she's far less predisposed to taking Bush at his word than am I.

Others have done the heavy lifing of summarizing the case for removing Saddam. Anyone who feels competent to comment on it is presumed to be at least passingly familiar with the pros and cons and the facts. Suggesting such things as that we are morally proscribed from acting because we once supported him not only ignores our obligation to clean up a mess to which we contributed but also demonstrates profound ignorance of geopolitics (to whit, assisting Saddam in his efforts against an Iranian government that had recently stormed our embassy and held our citizens hostage for 444 days hardly constitutes proof he was "our buddy"; rather, it suggests that our interests were best served if both dictatorships were too wrapped up in fighting each other to cause us trouble).

Inspections are no longer an answer, they're a delaying tactic - both for Saddam and for the anti-war crowd. His conduct in previous rounds made it clear that co-operate only as much as is absolutely required to prevent more forceful consequences. Nothing now suggests he will behave differently in the future.

At some point, force is always a necessary underpinning for any policy - from a teenager's curfew to preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons. Absent a credible threat of force, neither Saddam nor any other tinpot dictator will ever conform to the expectations of the world community. We accept this in our daily lives without comment: If we are robbed we bloody well expect the perpetrators to be forcefully deprived of their liberty (or be shot if they try to escape). Yet when it comes to criminals of truly epic scope, we hesitate because they have somehow managed to back up their villainy with the apparatus of some nation-state. Pol Pot killed millions because the world refused to act against him. Stalin and company were the most effective killing machine in the history of mankind, yet we saw fit to ally ourselves with him to defeat Nazi Germany. Holding our noses to co-operate with the Sauds is hardly a greater moral fault - especially since replacing Saddam's regime with a functioning secular government by and for the citizens of Iraq will do much, all by itself, to encourage structural change in the entire region.

It was the lack of any ability to resort to force that made the League of Nations an impotent failure. If the UN refuses to enforce its own resolutions, it will follow the League into ir-relevancy. The fundamentally odd thing about it all is that it took a US President who is somewhat skeptical of the UN itself to point that out.

It is possible to love peace yet see the necessity for war. Sometimes one really must fight to ensure peace, as Churchill proved over Chamberlain's dead political body. To believe, OTOH, that if we all just give one another a big hug, the world will be a happy, loving, non-violent place is so naive as to suggest mental illness.

I'm not going to turn Michele's comments into a repeat of what was done to N.Z. Bear's. If you want to duke it out over Iraq, please go to the special BBS that the Bear set up.

My point is basic: Don't jump up and down for war until you have all the facts. There is not one PROVEN fact that Saddam has nuclear weapons. Anything else poses no more threat to us than radicals in any place from Saudi Arabia to whacko's in Idaho.

And I would NEVER voice disrespect for Michele's or anyone else's opinions. Disagreement does not equal disrespect. That's how I am. Call me crazy...

First off, E is full of him/herself, since they can't post a valid email address.

Dodd -- If you'd bothered to actually read comments, you'd see that most folks do agree that something should be done -- it's just a matter of when. No one here is saying Hussein shouldn't be taken down; I suggest you read back through the comments again.

Hussein has stayed within his boundaries for 11 years. He knows that if his weapons ended up in, say, Osama's hands (they won't, since they're as far apart as can be, considering Saddam is not religious, and that's all bin Laden is about), there's a way to trace things. If he sold nuclear weapons, we'd know from whence they came when they exploded. He knows Baghdad would be next.

I am not worried about him at the moment. I'm more concerned about the fact that Taliban-like forces are on the move again outside of the city-state of Kabul. I wonder where all of the rhetoric about Dead or Alive disappeared to; certainly we haven't forgotten that it was AQ that flew planes into buildings a couple of miles downtown from where I work? It certainly wasn't Hussein.

The Shrub needs victories; the ephemeral War on Terra is not producing huge results, and people are starting to notice. I don't think the Shrub has made his case regarding taking on Hussein while so many other issues are more pressing.

I do suggest you read the PDF that Linkmeister posted the link to; this Sept 2000 document details exactly what this administration has planned all along, and it shames me that this is our government doing this.

Maybe you're pleased to live under the police state instituted by John Ashcroft. Maybe you should read about the clamp down on our guaranteed rights, all the name of "the War on Terra." Did you know children -- including a 10 month old baby -- have been pepper-sprayed in Oregon, simply because their parents took them to their Constitutionally guaranteed Right to Protest at a fund-raiser Bush was going to be at? It was a peaceful demonstration.

The so-called USA PATRIOT Act is a disgrace and Congress should be ashamed that it passed this Constitutional travesty.

What about the economy? Do some research on the massive ties to big business ALL of the members of this Administration happen to have.

And then note this: if you think it's such a grand idea that we go into Iraq, why are the Joint Chiefs of Staff opposed, and most Generals worried about it? The only military man in the Administration happens to be Colin Powell -- remember him? -- and he has opposed much of what's happening.

The soldiers fret while the trigger-happy civilians giggle with glee over the thought of tracers over Baghdad.

It's Pax Americana, with Augustus Shrub as its Caesar.

Bowing before the greatness that is Dodd.

E, you say you can't stand complaining without viable solutions yet you complain and offer none yourself. I'm just sayin'...

Jake, I think you're correct, Saddam is not mad. But he's ambitious, powerful and completely ruthless...and his sandbox will not contain him for long, don't you think?

Peggy, "give truth a chance" is a nice thought, but how much of the general population do you trust to tie their own shoes, much less make an informed decision on foreign policy?

g, your naivete would be sort of cute if it weren't so frightening.

sniff Sekimori doesn't think MY naivete is cute. :(

Oh, and I lied. I do disrespect some people I disagree with, but they are usually elected to take such abuse and don't give a rat's posterior about me anyway.

Sekimori's got me blushing - a difficult thing to do.

Scott's just got me irritated, though. He castigates me for allegedly not answering the previous comments and then turns around and - in lieu of making an argument - repeats the same hackneyed ad hominem attacks on Bush I was complaining about (blah blah Shrub blah blah police state blah blah John Ashcroft blah blah Shrub blah blah Administration ties to business blah blah genuflect to Colin Powell). It's all so insipid - and so drearily predictable - one wonders why they even bother. They could just as easily assign them numbers then post the words: "Standard Ted Rall Screed #5" and we'd all know which particular concatenation of bilious libel and knee-jerk conspiracy theory they wished to highlight at any particular juncture.

As for the rest, well, it's one thing to say "I don't think Bush has made the case." That's an intellectually defensible position - if you defend it. But that would require saying why it hasn't been made, indicating what additional proof would persuade you, and establishing just how the proof offered fails. The fact that almost none of these things is ever offered up leads me to believe that there is no level of proof that would suffice and that the demands for it are simply misdirection.

Scott's one concession to this necessity of the debate is to say that if Saddam sold nuclear weapons to terrorists, we could trace them back to him (an extraordinarily optimistic assessment considering that there are currently scores of pounds of fissile material unaccounted for). But michele was quite direct on this point: She doesn't want to wait until he "proves" he has them by nuking an American or Israeli city. This, too, is a position well within the bounds of reasonableness. We've already gone over the deference her change of heart on pre-emption deserves; you slap her in the face a second time by serving up the same reheated slop without even the courtesy of at least pretending to put some additional spices in it.

michele has indicated that she has decided (as have I and about 70% of the American public including Dick Gephardt and, by all current appearances, Tom Daschle), that the case has in fact been made that the risks of inaction outweigh the risks of action. If you dissent, well, that's your right. But to persuade anyone you need to make a compelling case that there is no credible danger that michele's fears will be realized. You have manifestly failed to do this your uncritical repetition of such tropes as that the Joint Chiefs are opposed (they are not) and that Powell is against most of it (when he's actually running 'round Europe persuading our allies to help). As for the alleged fretting of soldiers, well, this veteran finds that downright insulting.

As for Saddam not handing weapons over to Osama (who is almost assuredly dead now, BTW - or did you miss it when that slipped out of the Arab media?) and his ilk, you really are naive. Neither Osama or Saddam gives a damn about religion, except insofar as it can serve their own purposes. Bin Laden's concerns were/are largely secular - US troops in Mecca was a recruiting poster complaint. And as for us turning Baghdad into glass if a terrorist nuke hit a city, do you really believe we would? I don't - and I'm the hawk in this argument.

If the administration can show me some aspect of Saddam's behavior which is more dangerous than any he's exhibited for the past 11 years, I'll support action to get rid of him. But they haven't; they trot out the same "gassing his own people" argument which was one of the reasons for going into the Gulf War in the first place. Is it any wonder that I suspect their motives? The party to which they belong was forever accusing Clinton of a "Wag the Dog" scenario when he got into domestic trouble; why shouldn't I trot out the same argument? Have you looked at the economic numbers lately?

Well said, Dodd. Saddam has repeatedly shown his willingness to use whatever weaponry he can muster. He's launched Scud missiles against Israel, he's used mustard gas and biological weapons on Kurdish civilians, so you can bet your sweet ass that he wouldn't hesitate a New York second before pulling the pin on the first nuke he can scrape together. It's going to be real tough for anyone to convince me that all the diplomacy, promises and heartfelt apologies in the world will ever change Saddam's modus operandi.

OK, I really need to finish my left-wing Banned Books project tonight. So, here's the quick run down:

1. Yes, I suspect the motives of the current administration enough to want proof before risking thousands of American and non-American lives. Skepticism: It's the American Way.

2. It's EASY to prove the Administration's case. They have these newfangled things called "satellites" that can look down and see if Dodd's dog is taking a leak on a neighbor's tree. Show me a picture of an Iraqi nuke-ew-lar installation (not ones from before the Gulf War, please). And don't tell me you can hide them. Nuclear physicist, James Prather: "Since the Gulf War, could the Iraqis have secretly built 400 calutrons, disguised as farmhouses? Well, perhaps, but they would be easy for the IAEA inspectors to spot. You see, each farm would also have on it a one to two megawatt oil-fired power plant, complete with oil storage tanks, a cooling pond and/or cooling towers."

3. If it is so all-fired positive and easy to prove (per the Administration), why are they dragging their feet doing so? And why are they so opposed to inspectors trying?

4. If I can't make ad hominem attacks against George Bush (i.e., "he's got a stake in this, so his argument must be false"), then you can't make the same argument against Saddam (i.e., he's a liar, so he must be lying this time"). Fair is fair.

Thanks, I'll go back to my commune now.

Stupid html tags.

Solonor said it better than I could.

Sure, the Joint Chiefs have prepared war plans, etc, but gee, isn't that their jobs? Several weeks ago, you had a number of them making comments off the record regarding concerns. Ditto with Powell, who is on board now because he's the Sec. of State. Word is he will serve out this term, and would resign for a (gods forfend) second term.

Familiar with General Zinni? Former commander in chief of Centcom? Special Envoy to the Middle East? He thinks it's a very bad idea. So do a number of other generals (active officers speak off the record; retired on the record). Here's one of the links I've been looking for that show exactly what I'm feeling. It's a short article, so do go and read it and then come back.

Done? Good, let's motor forth.

Let's see: Generals Scowcroft, Zinni, Powell and Schwarzkopf all likely are in this mindset.

Why do I have to defend my case? Your case has not been made. For every pro-article you link, I can find one opposed. As this very linked-article states, along with this one, note a differing set of agendas that should be dealt with, in order:

"the Middle East peace process; the war on terrorism; stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout Central Asia; and engagement with moderate elements in Iran must all take precedence over military action against Iraq. 9 Zinni sees his position as being closer to his fellow retired generals Scowcroft, Powell and Schwarzkopf rather than their civilian counterparts."

Methinks General Zinni is in more of a position to know of what he speaks than you are, Dodd.

Hmm. I didn't mean for that all to be italicized. Sorry -- I turned them off with this post (I hope).

Oh, and the old canard about Saddam having no compunction about using his WMD? That was in the 80's now, wasn't it? He hasn't used those since he was warned against it but us. He knows if he does anything, Baghdad IS a glass parking lot.

I'm not being naive here; I happen to read quite a lot, thank you very much. Hussein would not have used these weapons on anyone again until this Administration began banging its war-drums from the get-go. Now? He'll use them if we attack. We've already said he's going down, so why not use them anyway? Then he WILL give them to terrorists, since he's not going to be around, anyway.

That is a reason to despise this illegal Administration. They've lit fuses all over the place that are going to continue to burn despite attempts to undo them.

The One True b!X brings us a site he put up in the aftermath of 9/11. If this isn't relevant today, I don't know what is:

THE WAR PRAYER by Mark Twain

I think everyone who wants a war should pack their bags and put their lives where their mouths are. Go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. Ya, I didn't think so.

Well, person who hasn't the courage to leave their name, if you are so against war, why don't you put your money where your mouth is, and go to Baghdad to be a human shield? Answer the challenge! In case you've forgotten, there is no need for every civilian in favor of war to actually join the military -- remember all those unwitting civilians killed on 09-11-01? War has already been brought to us; every man, woman and child in America is still in danger right here at home. Stick that in your anonymous pipe and smoke it.

Yes, but was 9/11 brought to us by Hussein?


"Go ahead and stand up for what you believe in."

Said by someone who couldn't even make up a name to attach to that belief, nevermind use a real one, or an e-mail addy, etc.

Sorry, but if you're going to be strident, have the balls (or ovaries) to stand up behind your words.

And, by the way, has anyone else noticed that Iraq has moved from an offer of "unrestricted inspections" to "unrestricted inspections, except within the 20-odd Presidential Palaces"?

It only took a week.

I will support holding off on war against Iraq when there is clear evidence inspectors are being allowed to go whereever they want, whenever they want, as dictated by the cease fire agreement Iraq signed 11 years ago, and has violated like a cheap whore ever since.

And while others seem concerned about nukes, and use that as the standard for preemptive action, that's icing on the cake to me. "The cake" is the chemical and biological weapons there is little doubt are in Saddam's hands. Anthrax. Sarin. Smallpox.

When 50 Al Qaeda suicide attackers hit the US, not with planes, but with their own smallpox infected bodies, trooping through whatever high population areas they can find in their contagious state, then we'll know the nukes mean nothing.

They are not the threat, nor the reason for preemption.

Saddam has smallpox? Wow. Where'd you hear that?

Us. We sold him lots of fun little germs and chemicals, up through 1992, after the Gulf War.

Meaning, it's easy to find out that information.