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what would it take?

(note to self: If you do not save from"draft" to "publish" your entry will go...unpublished!)


How could anyone doubt the need to go to war after Powell's speech yesterday? I'm dumbstruck by the cries of "give it more time" and "more weapons inspectors." The proof lies in front of you. And the only reason Powell can't produce physical evidence of that proof is because there is none.

See, the proof is nothing. No anthrax, no VX. Just blanks spaces and dead air. The goods have been evacuated. Not destroyed. Evacuated, as Powell emphasized several times yesterday. That means that nerve agents - enough to kill thousands upon thousands of people - are stashed away somewhere, ready for use at a moment's notice.

The proof is also intangible. You can't touch it or see it, but it's there. The denials, the refusal to cooperate, the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Powell's speech played out like a an episode of Dictators Caught on Tape.

There was no smoke, no mirrors. This was no magicianís trick. It was real. Powell's words should have chilled you. They should have made you want to lock your doors and hide under your bed until you get the word that Saddam is gone. You should have stood in front of the tv, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, all the while the wheels in your head spinning until the words must.use.force. flashed before your eyes.

If you still think there was no smoking gun, I ask you this; what would it take? What more do you need to be convinced that sooner rather than later is the safest bet? Do you still have any doubt that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless man hell bent on destruction?

Give them more time, you say. If that litany of Saddam's offenses, together with his outright refusal to come clean or show any tiny fraction of honesty does not scare you into war mode, I don't know what will. Time is not our ally. The more minutes that tick away on the clock, the more time the scientists in their underground bunkers have to mix just the right chemicals in just the right amount to kill us all.

Wait for France and Germany, you say. We must not act unilaterally. that word - unilaterally - means alone. We are not alone. Just because France and Germany will not step over that line does not mean we are just walking into Iraq like lone soldiers on a personal quest. Ten nations here. And the eight nations here. That turns the uni to multi.

What about North Korea, you say. Do you see where North Korea is now? Their hatred for the United States plus their nuclear capabilities equals a dangerous, lethal combination. Iraq already has the hatred for the U.S. How much closer do you want them to get to having the nuclear capability to wipe the rest of the free world out? Do we wait until Iraq is equal to that of North Korea in weaponry and then we have those weapons facing us from both countries?

Saddam is not a threat, you say. He has tortured and killed his own people. He has developed biological and chemical weapons. He is a ruthless leader with no heart and a blackened soul. He considers democracy a threat. He considers the prosperity of the United States and our freedom a threat. You know what he is capable of. Just ask any of these people what Saddam is capable of.

I do not call for war with joy. The casualties of war are great. But I fear that the casualties of not going to war will be greater. Our relative safety, our lives, the lives of our children are at stake. What would it take to open your eyes to see this? What would it take to get you to protect our future? If Powell did not convince you that Hussein is a man who will not be reasoned with, not be negotiated with and cannot be trusted, I don't know what will.

Perhaps the moment when you see that Hussein is a threat will come too late. Perhaps it will come when the nerve gas first hits you, or when you are glued to your tv, watching coverage of an attack in another U.S. city. Perhaps it will never come.

This is what I believe in my heart of hearts. This is not a decision I came to lightly or overnight. I honestly and truly believe that Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi regime are a dangerous, immediate threat to our nation and our security. Powell's demonstration of Iraqi's subversiveness and deception only strengthen my beliefs.

You can call it war about oil. You can call the United States an empire and our armed forces mercenaries. You can deny the proof until the nukes start coming and you can justify the absence of Saddam's proof of disarmament until you're shaking white powder out of your mail. That is your belief, your rights.

But still, I ask you. What would it take? What would it take for you to agree that our future, our security and our very land is at stake?

War is not a party, it is not a joke. It is a necessary step to insure that we survive to see the next turn of the seasons. The next Super Bowl. Your child's next birthday. It is to insure that we survive intact and whole.

What more do you need?

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Comments

Michele, for some no amount of evidence will ever be enough. Its as if the anti-war crowd is chanting "No war! No war!" with their fingers in their ears. They're not interested in evidence. They don't even want to entertain the idea of a legitimate reason for action in Iraq. And after all is said and done, and the adults have delt with the situation, they will go look for something else to protest.

Ask any you will recieve: The Iraq will not bomb "another" city, because the hit on New York was Al Quaida and not the Iraq. The white powder attacs came, as far as the media told, from american people living in the USA. So, no point, michele.
With your explanation of the first paragraphs and with your proof one could also proove the existence of little pink people living in a parallel-universe to us. They have to be there, because there is no hint on them. You see the weak point?
What would I need? The absolute knowledge, that there is no other chance. No chance in diplomatic work, no chance in economically boycotting Iraq (and this time do it real and not like it was done the years before), no chance in any other possibility. To me, this point is far in the future. It would need more credibility for the american politics and for people who're in charge in the US now. I could imagine that a better president would be able to be much more trustworthy for Europe and for the UN. What more? No chance for war without UN! It is not just germany and maybe france! It is the european majority, it is the UN-majority, or what would you call China, Russia and most of Europe? The US should beware not to make the same fault, the Russians made for many years - they didn't care what the other thought about them.
You're right - Saddam is a bad guy - no question. But the world is full of them and Bush is not a completely good guy himself for many Europeans (Death-sentence, to just give on example), so he of course is not the right one to holler for action. And where is a program for what should happen to Iraq afterwards?

To quote very wise person (namely, me), "I've decided that some people are just so dead set against war that we could release a picture of Saddam and Osama together, straddling a nuclear missile that says 'Made in North Korea' and some people would still say, 'Well, gosh... there's no smoking gun here...'"

Lilli, the gun may not be smoking but it sure as hell is loaded.

I never tried to make any ties to al Quaida in my post. Saying "another" city just means do you want to see that happen again? Not by al Quaida, but by Saddam, whose weapons are more lethal than boxcutters and an envelope filled with anthrax.

As for the pink people theory - if you read carefully, I make the point that we know his biological and chemical ingredients exist. He has shown no proof that he got rid of them. The pink people you speak of have never been seen - the ingredients for VX and anthrax have.

Trusting the UN to disarm Iraq will be a futile effort. We have been waiting twelve years for him to this. What makes anyone think he will comply now?

I have read the comment by Lilli and I think that in that kind of comments we can see all the bad faith of the typical leftist pro Saddam and anti American : they want the absolute knowledge that there is no other way...And since when the facts of history , or of science, are an 'absolute knowledge'? Let's say that, the next time I help someone that is being attacked in a road I will wait until he or she has been killed to help him or her, because I want absolute knowledge that the attackers were going to kill... This is not reasoning, this is the old way of the left to play with words. Hey...Bush is not so good, so let Saddam give sarin to Bin Laden and let him bring it to my home to kill me...then you will have your smoking gun.
I am getting angry.

I think the evidence is fairly compelling. I think pretty much everyone agrees that Saddam is an evil man. The problem I have is with America going against the UN. Regardless of whether or not the US would be right to wipe out Saddam, doing so when so many of its allies are opposed to it (not to mention the many countries who are already anti-American) is a very scary notion.

If the UN decides "Yes, lets get rid of this threat" then there's not really a way to fight back. If America and Britain says "Yes, lets get rid of this threat" and alienates its allies, I fear it will be easier for countries/organizatons like Iraq/N.Korea/Al Queda to ally themselves against US interests.

There's so much anti-Americanism out there right now (its even increasing here in Canada and in Brittain) if it got much worse I think it could be just as much a threat as Iraq is right now. When people feel bullied, they team up and fight back. Many countries out there very much feel like the States is being said bully.

I'm not sure people have looked at the economic sanctions angle from a particular historic perspective: The League of Nations.
Before the UN was formed, the LoN was around, and their only tool for 'persuasion' was economic sanctions. They didn't work very well against Mussolini, when he started acquiring African nations.
I'm not saying that this is a comparable situation in any way. I'm just not familiar enough with situations where economic sanctions have been effective deterrents. Can someone can point me to some examples of successful sanction efforts?

The fact that Powell compromised intelligence sources means the time is near. When all the horror is uncovered, the appeasers will have to shut up, at least for a while.

One of the national news anchors interviewed one of our troops in Turkey this a m. When she asked him what it will take to get them ready for war, he said, "we're ready." When she asked him if he thought we should go to war, he said that was not his decision and told her he and the others had sworn an oath to protect the USA against all enemies. Reminded me of this, from Tennyson:

"......
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred...."

Say a prayer for our troops. We anticipate a quick and easy war, but war is hell, chaos, death, maiming, life-changing for the survivors. Even if it's a quick and "easy" war.

Mr Tatsikio: ".....The problem I have is with America going against the UN." On the contrary, sir. America has done everything possible to insure the UN remains relevant. The 17 resolutions Iraq continuously violates are UN resolutions. The US wants the UN to enforce its resolutions. If the UN fail to do so, the UN is no longer relevant.

Aaaarrrggghhh. *fails

Lilli, we don't get this done, W's stance on the death penalty won't mean squat. We'll be judged according to some iman w/a 4th grade "education" steeped in the Koran. Stonings and beheadings all around. That's an issue Americans decide, for America, not the world decides for us. Which it always comes back to. I will not give up my rights to appease Europe/world to get along. Non-negotiable. As is submitting to the "will of Allah" determined by said iman w/a4th grade education.

P.S. Before you think I'm brainwashed, I don't need my government to tell me what's in store. I have the worldwide web to tell me, along w/a translation program.

Lilli, I don't want to be offensive, but the level of ignorance in your post is palpable. Your first not point. There is as much evidence that the anthrax came from Iraq as from American people, i.e., none that we know of. I'll ask you a question: Why does Saddam have all that anthrax?
Absolute knowledge is too late in a post 911 world. I doubt the janitors in the WTC thought Al Qaeda was a threat. An effective economical boycott would only thoroughly starve Iraqi children, you don't think Saddam will cut back his police state to feed them do you? How many more innocent Iraqis have to die for your qualms? There will never be a more trustworthy president for a UN with feet of clay. We have the support now of 18 of 20 European countries, it is France and German that are alone not us. Your point about the moral authority of GWB is just as poorly thought. Under your logic a policeman who drinks can't arrest drug-pushers. The office supercedes the man, and I profoundly disagree with your assessment of GWB. To paraphrase your "the world is full of bad men" arguement, yup that's true, should we attack all of them at once? The arguement that we have no post Saddam plan is lamentable since there have been many stories about the framework for charitable rebuilding of Iraq out there for months.

My whole problem with Powell's speech yesterday was that it was set up all wrong. Powell was there to offer proof, but there were no mechanisms in place to qualify that proof. It was just too easy for the Iraqi diplomat to counter the evidence by saying that it could all be faked. I don't believe for one second that it was. In fact, I think Powell could have gone on for hours and hoours showing satellite photo after satellite photo and playing tape till all hours of the night. But ultimately, if you are not inclined to believe the source of the evidence, and the source has no way of proving the evidence legit then it doesn't pass the "shadow of a doubt" test. The Iraqis didn't have to prove a thing in that "court". There weren't even basic rules of debate set up there where Powell would have a chance to respond to the Iraqi response. Instead, the Iraqis had the last word where they said the evidence could be faked and Powell was a liar. The whole thing was a kangaroo court set up in Saddam Hussein's favor and I say we should just ignore them and do what has to be done.

Michele, I titled my post on the subject the same thing. Seems to be a theme as I start blog reading this morning.

But your post was much better! Thanks for writing what so many of us are thinking.

Michelle,

Yes Saddam is a bad person..Saddam is a very bad person. But taking him down just because of this doesn't solve anything. For one, we don't know if the people replacing him will be any better. For instance, Powell made references to an Al Qaeda operative who received medical treatment in Baghdad. What's been lost in all of this is that the camp he was operating was in the Kurdish controlled areas. The Kurds remember are supposed to be part of a coalition that would govern Iraq afterwards. The other example is Afghanistan..back in the 80s, America helped the mujahadeen fight back the Soviets..ultimately, the regime that Afghanistan got (i.e. the Taliban) were probably worse than what America helped defend against. There is no guarantee that the same mistake won't be made this time.

Next, the CIA itself has stated that the likelihood of Saddam using his WMD is low UNLESS he feels threatened. If he has nothing to lose, he'll use them. If America goes in and tries to take out his regime, he'll see little to be gained in showing restraint. Remember that Saddam DID NOT use WMD in the first Gulf War..he could have very easily but chemical weapons in the Scuds he launched into Israel, but didn't.

In terms of links to Al Qaeda and Iraq, there was a leaked British report that talked of ideological differences. Iraq is a secular society..women can hold jobs, rape is a crime against the man which is unusual in Muslim countries, and Sharia law is NOT the law of the land. This is not exactly paradise for a Muslim phanatic. I don't doubt that there are some low-level contacts or even higher-level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but this a far stretch from Saddam giving them WMD. The U.S. has been sympathetic to a variety of groups over the years (the mujahadeen for one) but has certainly never given any of them WMD, there is no reason to think Iraq would gain anything from giving Al Qaeda WMD.

The problem that a lot of the anti-war lobby (I ain't one of them; I'm not sure about the motives for this particular war, but Saddam does need to be dealt with, and force is the only language he understands) is that this came out of nowhere. Iraq did nothing to help al-Quaeda before 9/11, and - boom- it's now on the axis of evil. And hlaf the British army (and about 4 times as many US troops) are poised to invade.

And I don't think that America cutting itself off from world opinion is ever going to help; even though US forces are undeniably the best in the world, they need to stage from somewhere. A second UN resolution would make life a lot easier for everyone. Mainly because Saudi and Turkey would complain a lot less about troops and aircraft staging from their soil.

Ed...... whe have a broad coalition including 20 of the 36 European states including Turkey. Those are the declared support. I suspect we will have about 16 European states jumping on the bandwagon about D-day + 5 hours

I see someone has sewn the seeds of mistrust on this blog. I agree with several view points stated above, Powell provided evidence but didn't provide any verification, not to say the evidence isn't real, but someone should verify it. Turning your back on the world would be a mistake, Europe isn't the only area that is feeling a little put out by America at the moment, even Mexico isn't backing this war. Another thing, why would Saddam attack America? He's never made any sort of aggressive movement before. He invaded Kuwait over a territorial issue. If he hates the U.S. it's because the U.S. has given him good reason to do so. They continue to cause him to lose face. He is powerless and he knows it, but he won't admit it, yet the U.S. flaunts this every chance it gets. No, there is no reason to go to war with Iraq. There is no proof that they have the weapons, just a lack of proof that they don't. There are no real links to terrorism, just speculation and accusation, fighting for humanitarian issues is noble, but why wait so long, and why ignore other countries as well? Bush isn't going to war with Iraq for any noble reason, it's for oil, and to cast a shadow on his pathetic reign as the worst President in U.S. history. Bottom line!

Also Ed, what intelligence do you have that Iraq had nothing to do with 911?

Chip, you missed "what about the children?"

...with all due respect to the very well stated points made by the charming host of this blog and others...

First of all let's acknowledge that the US has gone to war with other countries for reasons far less then Saddam is currently giving us. I mean what was Panama all about? I am willing to concede that there are compelling reasons to want to get rid of Saddam Hussein, no argument. The stakes are high and it has to be demonstrated that the result of war in Iraq will be a substiantial increase in the security of the US. Not the Iraqi people, not the kurds, not the people of the region, but for the USA.

In the wake of an invasion how much more difficult will it be for Al-Qaida to obtain Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons from a source other then Iraq?

Here are a few of the countries that have chemical weapons capabilities Syria, Iran, Egypt and Libya. With the exception of Egypt they all have biological weapons programs. Iran has a nuclear program that is in many ways more sophisticated then Iraq.

I would argue that chemical weapons are available to Al-Qaida now, have been and will be after Saddam is removed. Biological agents such as anthrax are certainly available to Al-Qaida and will be after Saddam is removed, more high tech Bio weapons I would think are not readily available with out direct cooperation from a government.

The availability of Nuclear weapons is a huge question mark, I have read stories that make it sound like you can get Nukes at any corner black market. I tend to think this is not the case. But it is also not the case that Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons to give away.

So here is the bottom line, the case I want to see made is that an invasion of Iraq in the next few months will result in a huge, wholesale reduction in the possibility that Islamic terrorists will be able to obtain a nuclear weapon (or a highly sophisticated bio weapon), because right now I'm not so sure that Saddam is the exclusive scource for such capibility.

What I see is a planned course of action that will involve a huge expenditure of life, political capital, money and resources that will not make a significant difference in the ability of terrorists to obtain capabilities beyond which they currently posses given the expenditures and risks of the action.

As for what we should do with Saddam I can think of at least three courses of action short of invading that have not been explored. Some, like a complete blockade of all oil coming out of Iraq (thus cutting off the money supply to finance all of this crap.) have been rejected because it would cause Americans too much at the pump (the argument that innocent Iraqis will starve is kind of moot since many will die in an invasion, and N. Koreans are starving, but that blood is on the hands of the respective dictators not ours). I'll bet if I thought about it for more then a few hours I could come up with more then three which I won't enumorate here because I talk too much.

Chip, have you know shame! Quoting Helen Thomas and not providing proper documentation, what nerve!

Damn, I need to lower my dosage.

What they want is dead people, Michele.

I should qualify that a bit. They want dead people that are not Iraqis, because they don't give a rat's ass about the people Saddam has killed inside his own borders.

They could also probably ignore deaths of American servicemembers. Traditionally, deaths of Americans overseas isn't enough to justify any action.

And if Iraq at some point down the road nuked Israel, they also probably couldn't be bothered about that either.

Bluntly, the anti-war people don't care how much proof you have, they would much rather feel good about themselves by trading the security of people outside Iraq for the people within it.

Peace kills.

I tend to not get involved with these debates because my knowledge base is generally inferior to others, but i did want to point something out.

. . . like a complete blockade of all oil coming out of Iraq (thus cutting off the money supply to finance all of this crap.) have been rejected because it would cause Americans too much at the pump.

According to OPEC's web site they're not currently counting on Iraq exporting oil. (You'll notice Iraq is not listed and it looks as if the other 10 participating nations have all increased their output to make up for Iraq's absence.) Since I seriously doubt we're importing from Iraq directly, that means we already have a "blockade" of oil coming out of Iraq.

Lilli: "It is not just germany and maybe france! It is the european majority". Maybe, maybe not. Some twelve have now signed the non-EU western Europe letter, and eastern Europe also has some ten or more on their version. It's all about the oil: Russia was with F and G stonewalling resolution 1441 until Iraq cancelled contracts, then immediately signed 1441, but is back to the stall tactics as Iraq has made new contracts. F+G fear current contracts will be voided if Sod'em falls. Jordan gets all its oil from Iraq and does not want it stopped. And on, and on...

Rick DeMent - US does not need the less-than-four-percent of imported oil, which is less than one-half of the oil we use (ie, less than 2%) of Iraq. Note that we were still buying oil from Iraq under the UN program. But Sod'em decided how to spend it, UN or no...

I wrote this about 4:30PM Feb 5: 'So far I've been to three somewhat left sites, and of nine comments left five were "There can't be a terrorist training site in Northern Iraq or we would have bombed/attacked it by now." Bloodthirsty little devils, aren't they?'
======
History repeats -
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1044420009718
Feb. 5, 2003 How Truman won over the UN Security Council, By MAX ABRAHMS - "The UN discovered its backbone only after the US created a fait accompli."
=====
On France, a parallel:
Peace for our time - Alistair Cooke
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/2720441.stm

And so many of the arguments mounted against each other today, in the last fortnight, are exactly what we heard in the House of Commons debates and read in the French press.

The French especially urged, after every Hitler invasion, "negotiation, negotiation".

They negotiated so successfully as to have their whole country defeated and occupied.
=======

I keep posting to blogs and Americans just don't seem to understand the concept...

The countries of the world will vote for war in Iraq only if it's in their best interest to do so.

They are not against HAVING a war against Iraq, they are against PARTICIPATING in a war against Iraq and having their names on it.

They all know perfectly well that the war will take place without them.

Look they ARE convinced - they're just lying. Where the hell did all you idiots get the idea that politicians and DIPLOMATS, for God's sake, tell the truth???!!!

They're all for THE US fighting a war on terror, as long as they don't have to stand up and support us. If they thought that kissing Osama Bin Ladin publically would make their people feel safer and vote for them, they'd all invite him for tea and a blow job, ok?

Welcome to the real world people, where the hell have you been living?

OFF TOPIC but too good to miss, PETA has contacted Arafat!

From
we find

PETA's Peace Plan

ē Our friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have outdone themselves this time, sending a deferential letter to Yasser Arafat about a Jan. 26 Jerusalem bombing in which a donkey -- but no human beings -- died after being strapped with explosives and detonated.

Please go look!

Chip said

"He's(Saddam) never made any sort of aggressive movement before."

And that should say it all for us folks.

John and Mist,

Everything you said about the oil is true but you still don't get the bigger picture. It's not how much we get from Iraq, it's how much total gets put in the market relative to demand. I doubt if you really want to be convinced of the reality of the situation but if you do there are a few things you really need to get acquainted with regarding the world oil situation. A good place to start is the Baker CFR energy report that came out shortly before 9/11. It's hardly unbiased but its biases are solidly conservative so it should not offend the hawk sensibilities. Given both your comments its easy to see why you are dismissive of the Iraqi oil has on the entire issue.

Directly importing or not the price and supply is still affected in a big way. It's not like you can just get it from someplace else, physically you can, but from a market prospective its like everyone in the world drinks out of one big cup! Look at the spot prince now with Venezuela not exporting, shut off what's coming out of Iraq and unless Saudi Arabia and Kuwait increase production (and think about it, it's in their interest to do so only to the extent they can convince Bush that their pitching in to help). Then the price goes up fast and the longer it stays off line, the higher it goes as inventories get depleted.

But if what you say it true that a total blockade should have been a no brainier, cut off the cash. No oil for food nonsense. Problem is you will have a hard time getting other countries to go along with it becuase it affectes their economy as well, so your right I shouldn't pick on the US. When I say blockade I mean the US prevents and Iraqi oil from leaving port (which would be an act of war).

BTW if you want a historical parallel WWII is a not really analogous, Hitler had an army and was invading countries, as far as I know Saddam has never invaded a invaded a country that we didnít kick him out of. What we are going through with Iraq now is going to repeat itself many times over in the next 10 to 20 years as the ability of dictators to acquire sophisticated weapons increases. So what we do now has a big impact, and if you comfortable with never ending war great! But war is expensive, it takes a lot of oil, so Iraq is as good a place to start as any.

A better historical parallel is WWI in Central Europe with several separate yet geographically concentrated conflicts going on at the same time dominated by one hegemonic state.

no, I understand the bigger picture. I took an economics class, too. My point (which I know I didn't really communicate) is that while we can have some kind of control over what we do as a country, how on earth are we supposed to stop other countries from purchasing oil from Iraq? I just don't see how a blockade would be enforcable without pissing off every other country in the world. You're suggesting a blockade as sanctions against Iraq in place of a war, but since (as you yourself have said) that in itself would be an act or war, the end result would be the same. So, what would be the point of jumping through the "blockade" hoops?

Actually mist, we do get oil from Iraq (imagine that, it's all about the oil we already import).

Top ten crude oil importers to the US (2001):
Saudi Arabia; 588,075
Mexico; 508,715
Canada; 494,796
Venezuela; 471,273
Nigeria; 307,173
Iraq; 289,998
Angola; 117,254
Norway; 102,724
Columbia; 94,844
United Kingdom; 89,142

Total imported crude into the US was 3,404,894.

Total crude from the top ten countries I've listed here is 3,063,994.

Iraqi crude made up for 8.5% of the total crude imports in 2001.

Estimated amount of crude oil produced by the US during 2002 is 2,993,000.

Numbers are given in the thousands of barrels and are from the EPA.

"...far as I know Saddam has never invaded a invaded a country that we didnít kick him out of"

We kicked Iraq out of Iran? Whoa -- news to me there.

Chad, I'm not saying we never received oil from Iraq. The numbers you're quoting are from 2001. The numbers I linked to at OPEC (which I'm not going to copy here because I am a convenience enthusiast [read: lazy]) were for 2003. I suppose it's possible we'll still import oil from Iraq if they go around OPEC, but I just don't think it likely at this time which means current imports will be right around zero.

FYI - Further info on the Oil for food program is here. This outlines what is supposed to happen, but whether the aid is actually distributed is questionable.

Actually, Iraq has the ability to sell everything it can produce at this time. I think that maybe those sales are technically under the auspices of the UN and not OPEC which could be why OPEC isn't claiming them.

"Manish" writes:
"Remember that Saddam DID NOT use WMD in the first Gulf War..he could have very easily but chemical weapons in the Scuds he launched into Israel, but didn't."

Actually, Daily Pundit had links back in December to declassified Marine documents that indicate that sarin, mustard gas, and anthrax were ALL detected on the battlefield:

http://www.dailypundit.com/archives/006871.php

I don't know why I bother to post this; I agree with those who say that the current "anti-war" movement will not be swayed by ANY evidence.

OILLLLLLLLL!!!!

1) If we want more Iraqi oil, all we have to do is get the existing sanctions lifted.

2) If Iraq pumps more oil, the price will go down, assuming all other oil producers' production stays the same. Lower prices=less profit. How does Bush's "secret cabal" gain?

This canard has been beaten into the ground so much, I'm surprised anyone still has the nerve to utter the word oil.

Did none of you antis hear Powell say there is an Al Qaida cell operating openly in Bagdad? Or that in December of 2002, Iraq attempted to buy rocket engines suitable only for missiles forbidden to them? When the horror is exposed, I hope you will admit you were wrong.

Larry, Seriously you should educate yourself about the world oil market and it's importance to our economy. You clearly don't know what you talking about, you donít know what is at stake and you donít want to know. I have heard this "lift the sanctions" line and guess what, that is just another bad idea. Saddam Hussein has the money to develop weapons because of oil, he has the means to purchase equipment and expertise because of oil, if it weren't for the fact that he is sitting on the world third largest reserve he would be Castro and we would have 40 year old sanctions against him and basically ignore him.

If it werenít for oil Arabs wouldn't know we existed and would have never have had a chance to give a rat's ass about us one why or another. If it weren't for oil would not have been so keen to support a western style democracy in the Middle East so would could have a staunch ally in a strategic location. If it wasn't for oil the term "Rich Arab" would be and oxy moron.

I canít educate you on this issue in a comments section of a blog but your simplistic analysis leaves a lot to critique. If you like I would be happy to end anyone how asks, for relevant links. There is no Secret Cabal, there doesn't need to be. Over all the arithmetic is not really that complex. If you want to dismiss the role of oil in all this be my guest, but if you cannot articulate the position of your opposition accurately then you are simply not in a position to offer any serious commentary to the discussion.

Chad,

Did Saddam actually make it to Iran? If he did I stand humbly corrected, but if he did, for however brief and the Iranians needed our assistance I'm sure we would ofÖoh wait, that's when he was our ally so we wanted him to invade. Never mind.

Paliden,

I have read this and other similar dispatches but the fact it that a few mines filled with nerve agents that never went off is pretty weak. We have pundits talking about mass destruction not a couple duds. These reports do not constitute a full scale nerve agent attack and if they do then we can scratch Chemicals off the list of thinks we should be afraid of because obviously they didnít really work.

It's interesting though that other then these military and some intelligences dispatches the Bush administration is largely silent on the issue, have you ever heard an administration official say that we were attacked with gas on the Gulf war? If so why not? I not disputing the authenticity of the dispatches other then to comment that they really donít amount to some isolated incidents.

What I want to know is why didnít he pull out all the stops? If he is "such a madman" you would think that he would have used anything he could have gotten his hands on to repel the US? Remember at the time he had the biggest stock pile of weapons he ever had, what do you suppose he was saving them for? The only logical conclusion you can come to is that he is not as crazy as people would have us believe, he is incompetent, or his capability in this area is overstated. If you have another explanation lets hear it.

For all,

Whether we get oil directly from Iraq from not is completely irrelevant it's all from the same market. Remember econ 101? The amount of oil that get to market from Iraq affects not only pricing but the ability of people like Saudi Arabia to control prices on the world market. Actually truth be told, Saudi Arabia would be happy if Iraqi oil never got to market, it makes their share that much more. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq are the only countries that have the reserves to significantly boost production, every other oil producing country in the world is declining each year. And the over all share of production the rest of the world Vs. the big three is declining each year and will continue to do so. We could shut off the Alaska pipeline completely and it wouldn't cause a blip on the world market. Actually this happened last November and prices actually went up for the few days it was down.

Mist,

Buy going to war we piss off everyone else, as well. Well we only piss off all those who would be pissed off by a blockade By doing things like blockades, and surgical strikes, and a laundry list of other measures short of war, we address the problem, contain Saddam, limit American troops exposure to danger, and neutralize the criticism that we are on some kind of imperialistic adventure.

Rick:

To clarify my earlier post: I was referring to the "It's all about oil crowd". Oil is an important consideration, but way down the list of more important factors for disarming Iraq.

" I have heard this "lift the sanctions" line and guess what, that is just another bad idea. Saddam Hussein has the money
to develop weapons because of oil...."

Just another bad idea because you say it is?
He is already developing weapons because of oil. If this is your logic regarding suspenion of the law of supply and demand...... See if I got what you're saying...He has the money to develop weapons because he has oil. The price of oil won't come down if we lift the sanctions because he'll develop weapons. Is that it?

Iraq invaded Iran on Sept 22, 1980.

And you bring up a great point, we did support him in that war, because we liked Iran a whole lot less (gee, I wonder why that was...)

I guess you stand humbly corrected then.

Out of the twenty-four years of Saddam's regime, all but three of them have been in armed conflict rising out of wars Iraq has started.

And regarding oil, remember history? For nigh on six years the world market was devoid of Iraqi oil. This had an overall effect of nothing on the world oil price. Why? Becuase worldwide suppy exceeds demand. Mayhaps you should retake Econ 101 yourself.

And regarding the bit about containment, let me remind you that we did your laundry list for a dozen years -- and it got us to exactly the same point to where people the world over were pissed at us. Because we wanted to continue the sanctions, the embargoes and the containment of Iraq precisely to the criticism that we were on an imperialistic adventure. We've already been down that road, it leads nowhere.

After all, Usama bin Laden repeatedly said in his writings that the thing that really turned him towards a fight with the US was that we didn't leave Saudi Arabia after the our battle with Iraq. Why were we in Saudi Arabia, Rick? To prosecute that self-same policy of containment of Iraq.

Geez, Rick, where to start.

The fact that Hussein has lost the wars he started doesn't make him less dangerous, because it indicates overconfidence and risk-prone behaviour, both of which make him more dangerous than normal.

We're talking about a man whose reaction to getting gutstomped in the Gulf War was to try and assassinate the president who held off from taking him out while he was down; he cannot be counted on to act rationally.

As for the rest... I'm sorry, but if the choice is to go in now, or to sit back and starve Saddam out, I'm picking option A.

Sitting back and watching the Iraqi people starve to death isn't any cheaper in lives than going in, it's probably more expensive in lives, especially if it gives Saddam time to develop a delivery system to hit Tel Aviv with something nasty.

Blockades can't work. The US government can't keep smugglers from bringing drugs in to the U.S., how're they going to keep things out of Iraq? Especially when some of the counries that border Iraq (Syria, Iran) are hostile to the US?

ARE.WE.THERE.YET?

I want an abject apology from all the folks who are supporting Saddam (that is what they are doing when they demand "perfect, absolute proof") when our soldiers go into Iraq and find the death camps, the poison factories, the Al Queda training camps.

I want to hear all of them say:

"F*CK! I don't know what the hell I was thinking! How could I have been so naive and stupid? Please hurt me if I ever do anything like that again. Yeah, just smack me up aside the head. I'm gonna shut up now because I've proved that I am incapable of good judgement."

FAT.FREAKING.CHANCE.

No, we will have to listen to a revised version of how these peace loving folks would have found a better way to deal with Saddam if they had been given just a few more months of inspections.

Ignorance can be cured by education but stupidity is a terminal condition.

Mike S = Yeah when the U.S. goes in, bombs some Iraqis piles the bodies, claims it's a death camp, rips the Made in the U.S.A. stickers off some missles, or uses old ones captured in 1991, and says "here are those weapons we talked about", opens some containers with Walmart price stickers and says "Oh and here's the anthrax we told you about". Yeah, we're supposed to believe that. Please, the Bush administration is the equivalent of a bunch of crooked cops raiding an apartment where a group of kids are getting stoned on pot, and dropping a kilo of heroin on the floor and yelling "whoa kids, whatcha got there?"

As far as war with Iraq is concerned...what war? There will be NO war. A war requires some sort of counter offensive, this will just be an invasion force, kind of like the Empire invading the planet of Endor. Storm troopers vs Ewoks, that's not much of a war.

Interesting comments thats going on here. first off CHAD if you would actually look at another point of view AKA anti war people you would noticed that most of us DO care about other things besides proof. i(against war) agree with alot of things people have said, like sadamm needs to get his ass whipped. Agreeable to a point. Yea i know all about how he treats his people n its shitty but why should WE have anything to do with it? do you see other countries coming to the u.s. wanting to go to war with us cuz of how the u.s. treats their ppl? the death penalty, aboration , many many homeless ppl in the u.s. What gives the u.s. right to go and tell sadam how he can treat his ppl though it is shitty? as for the oil stuff, bush wants it more than anything n hes gunna try for war whether half of the ppl in America want it. CHIP i completely agree with you. MIKE S the ppl against this war DO have sympathy for those who have been called to war and MOST do pray for them EVERYDAY and if you want to get into talking about how we dont know what we're talking about maybe yuo should look into what you've said and re word urself. I believe that we need proof that stuff is being done over it iraq in order for us to invade them. yes we have pictures n stuff but that isnt proof enough that its being done. i dont want SOLID proof just better proof. Michelle good post though i dont agree with some of it

Craig,

An oil tanker is just a bit bigger then a lid of pot.

And look this is not a comprehensive list of all the initiatives that could be undertaken. It the comments section of a bolg for god sake. I was trying to make the point that the sanctions were practically meaningless anyway. We can't cut the flow of money going in without cutting the flow of oil going out. For crying out loud, we are getting our panties in a wad over Iraq when two of our so called "allies" Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were supporting the Taliban outright and China has been not so covertly sending military aid to Iraq, Iran and Syria. If you honestly think that the occupation of Iraq will reduce the ability of terrorists to acquire so called WMD's an any significant way I would love to get more information on that.

This sense of urgancy regarding Iraqi capability that is being created is not even backed up by the Powell evidance.

Chad,

Come again? Not even for six weeks. Oil never stoped comeing out of Iraq, not even during their war with Iran.

Yes Iraq was the aggressor, against Iran, we supported him. But does that really count as appeasement? Did we appease Saddam by allowing him to go in? Remember the point we were discussing was about the appeasement of Iraq.

And no we haven't done anything like a laundry list. The current diplomatic initiative is from last September before that there was nothing since the inspectors left after the first round. Even then the diplomatic front against Iraq was not aggressively perused by Clinton or Bush pre 9/11. The 2000 election campaign hardly mentioned Iraq.

But listen I have taken up a lot of space, and I would like to thank you all for a stimulating and informative exchange. There were a number of very good points made by many and I have enjoyed the discussion.

The idea there has been an ongoing intensive, comprehensive, diplomatic initiative since the gulf war is nonsense. Bush was ready to go in last January using 9/11 for political cover, but the Gulf States balked at the idea. Bush painted himself into a corner. The UN idea was not undertaken with the idea of resolving the issue without war, the UN initiative was undertaken specifically to provide political cover for war. We knew full well Saddam was not going to comply with the UN, who does? The UN can only be a piece of a larger diplomatic initiative, not the focus.

Chip,

Ultimately, it comes down to the weight of the evidence and the credibility you assign to it. If you choose to believe that the US's credibility is so low that any evidence we present shouldn't be considered, then quite frankly, there's nothing that will convince you.

Second, you characterize any action we take as not being a war, and would have us be the Stormtroopers to the Iraqi Ewoks. Moral relativity aside, your statement sounds like you'd rather have a more equal correlation of forces. Are you implying that we're immoral for assembling an overwhelming force? The cost of a level playing field are a longer war and more American dead. That's simply not a price worth paying for.

And since when did a war require a counter offensive? War isn't a sport. And if Saddam doesn't have a chance to mount a counter-offensive, he SHOULD HAVE FUCKING THOUGHT ABOUT THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Chip, I've tried to address your objections in a rational manner. At this point, if you're still not willing to seriously listen, then I'm not going to waste my time explaining this any more.

-Tony

Most people are missing the point that the big boss was making and that the US govt is making: Not having proof that they destroyed the weapons is case in point. They have found more weapons, but that is not the point. When they left in 1998 the UN had knowledge that they were armed to the teeth. Do you think Saddam disarmed on his own terms for the sake of goodwill? He had it in 1998 says the UN -Where is it now?

Crystal, I think there is a vast difference between the way Saddam treats his people and the way the American people are treated. Believe it or not, the fact that you can post a dissenting opinion is proof that America is nowhere near as repressive as Iraq. I know you're probably just trying to make a point, but I honestly don't think anyone (right, left, center, upsidedown, whatever) honestly thinks the USA and their human rights policys/violations (because yes, they do happen on occasion) are comparable to Iraq's.

If Saddam's only crime was terrorizing and torturing his own people, I would also be anti-war. However, that is not the case. He is in material breach of the UN resolution. This is a fact. The weapons inspectors agree with this. That resolution said there would be consequences if he continued in this manner, and he has chosen to do so. The only appropriate response is for someone to inflict the consequences and it looks as if we'll be the ones to do it.

You may think "we need proof that stuff is being done over it Iraq in order for us to invade them", but that is not the UN's opinion. Believe it or not, everything I've read has all the nations agreeing that Iraq has materially breached the resolution. I've yet to see one nation say "Hey, Saddam is a good guy and those Iraqi's are nice people. They haven't done anything wrong!" They sticking point right now is with the time limit. Personally, I think time has run out. I think they've had long enough to comply and their continued refusal to do so is their way of thumbing their nose at us.

'scuse my spellin errors..abortion*

billhedrick,

to be fair, Turkey has agreed since I posted.

Aside from that, yes, the US has gotten support from the majority of European governments. The people of those nations are apparently not as supportive. If these governments do not change their public attitudes (which I think they will do; it's self-preservation) they could be in trouble.

Also, two of the bggest European powers are against. France probably because of oil, Germany because it is becomming increasingly pacifist. This is why America really needs Blair at the minute; one thing the British are very good at is diplomacy. If the French come along, it will probably be because of a combination of oil contracts and Blair's legwork.

And I'm guessing that Saddam didn't support Al-Quaeda before 9/11 because he is a secular dictator. Al-Quaeda is a fundementalist Islamic organisation, which would have as many problems with Saddam as it would have with the US. Oh, and because there hasn't been any proof put forward that there were links before 9/11. And because, even now, the training camps that Powell pointed out are in Kurdish-controlled areas of Iraq.

Ed: The source for the Al Qaida cell operating openly in Bagdad (admittedly only 8 months, but it's there NOW) is Zarqawi's( the dude in Kurdish-controlled Iraq) deputy. That seems to complete that particular circle. Powell brought this up not for the UN, but for the general public, some of whom think Iraq/Al Qaida link is nonexistent.

Doubters of this evidence: You can take it to the bank that: 1) What Powell showed was checked, rechecked, then double rechecked. It's FACT. 2)What he didn't show is a haystack that dwarfs this needle.

So. The United States is in a stste of "high alert", is it? And what about the poor Iraqis, no "alert" for them, with the thousands of US and Brit soldiers and guns trained on them?

Anthrax? Who's got the largest PROVEN stockpile of chemical weapons? The US. Who's got the largest stockpile of ANY kind of weapon - nuclear or not? The US. Where did the anthrax that killed the postal workers come from? Not Iraq, but labs in the US.

Who has assasinated world leaders, deposed elected government heads in the last 50 years? The US.

Not Iraq, not Iran, Not North Korea - the US is the country to be scared of. So watch out, world - be scared, be very, very scared.

Hokay, this time, I'm not siding on pro or anti. But will say this: Ya'll American types are making one wee little mistake. You already showed Saddam your basic moves in Gulf War1, so whaddya do? Little Georgie Porgie Junior gotta go in and do the exact same thing. Right, and Saddam hasn't learned from this. Mark my words: Saddam will still be playing street shinny with all the rest of the big kids after this thing is over. You guys can't fight a war anymore. All that overkill and high tech has softened your fat asses.
By the by, Iraq and Venezuela (among other oil producing countries) have been thinking of shifting their oil pricing over to the euro. I would research this, any of you, because that spells some lovely, shakey economic nasty ahead for the States, should more and more oil producing countries shift over to the euro. Already, in terms of basic economic power, and fiat currency, the euro is standing head to head with the American dolar. It's already worth more-equivalent to 80 cents to the US dollar, whereas the ol' buck is a bit below that. Essentially, look for America to pronounce attacks on any country considering shifting to the euro, especially as regards oil. Am I anti-war, or pro-war? Actually, I much more interested in the reasons that any action might be taken. Then again, I am canadian, and we think different (for general interest, the Canadian born Scottish troops in both world wars, were considered the best fighters anywhere, and instilled fear in the germans. These beepin' suckers fought in their damn kilts! Oh yeah, and they had those demented bagpipes.). Let's just say I'm pro-war, only if you can prove the enemy can bear down on you, and of course, let us not forget that a sure fire way to get said enemy to act, is to point a gun at him and make threatening noises. "See? Look! I had to police him! He was gonna attack me!" Look through history, and you'll find that this is quite a popular tactic. Make the enemy, if you can't find one.

Why are we still arguing this "it's about the oil" point? Of course it is about the oil. It began with oil and it will end with it. Saddam invaded Kuwait BECAUSE OF OIL, he was at war with Iran BECAUSE OF OIL. Further, the single source of revenue for the middle east is OIL. They cannot buy arms or manufacture them without the revenue FROM OIL.

The Middle East countries know it's about the oil. That's their leverage. They know it, we know it.

Imagine this, say that the only source of the world's antibiotics came from the Middle East, assume it was their only revenue source. They became rich (and funded their militaries) because of the sale of antibiotics in the world markets.

Then we assume they start to play reindeer games with the distribution of those life saving drugs. They decide to form cartels, control the prices, invade other regions to take their shares, or punish for not complying with the price fixing.

Knowing that the world would suffer (and many would die) without these drugs, would anyone have any hesitation to go to war with a lunatic at the healm of one of these countries?

That is what oil is to the world's economy. There is nothing wrong with going to war over oil. Oil is the grease that keeps the world economy moving.

And if you think money and the threat of blackmail of the world oil markets isn't serious (or life threatening), or that economic impacts should not be a reason to consider war, you must have slept through history class, specifically the part about the root causes of WWII were a world wide economic crisis.

The fact that the war with Iraq will liberate a country from an evil dictator is secondary. Hussein has no qualms about destroying the world and screwing up the oil market as his Burn Paris last stand (remember that he set the Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze). The terrorists also want to achieve the same ends--to destroy the world economy. Without a robust economy, the world will be at war (again). That is the goal of the terrorists, to set off a domino crash of the world economy to bring the world's economy to their sand and cave level. The bombing of the WTC was symbolic. It was the World Trade Center--the symbolic target one for the world's economy and oil markets.

The argument isn't over "it's because of oil"--that's a deflection argument. Agree to it and move on. Yes, it is about the oil, and the resources and weaponry acquired through the sale of that oil, and the blackmail to the world's economy by attempting to take over the region to control that resource. Stop the flow of oil and the world economy crumbles. THAT is what Saddam wants weapons to control and THAT is why he must be disarmed.

Which Countries fought in the World War 1?

Just wanna say hi after reading your blog.

i think that all of you are full of it we have 100times more power than ant opsing country you are all fools worriying about nothing you spook to easy all of you make me sick