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Q and A

I have a few questions.

After seeing everything happening in Iraq right now, why would you still insist we should not be using force to take that regime out?

And why would you say that George Bush is the greatest threat to the world after seeing what Saddam is capable of?

Why would you protest against Bush and his administration for liberating the Iraqi people and not protest against the Iraq regime itself?

Even if, for argument sake, it was all about the oil, wouldn't the fact that we are bringing aid and liberation to the people of Iraq make this a good thing we are doing?

Do you think that the Bush, or any past president for that matter, would hide his cohorts in day care centers, hospitals and residential homes?

Do you think they would store ammunition in a hospital?

Do you think they would gleefully kill prisoners of war and put the tape on tv?

Do you think they would use women and children as shields?

Did you answer no to any of those questions?

Then why? Why would you protest so hard against this when it is obvious that the conditions the Iraqi people were living under are conditions you would not survive ten minutes in?

If you were living under that kind of vile, murderous dictatorship, would you not want someone to come in and save you?

How would you feel if this country were run like Iraq, if Saddam was your leader and when other countries came in to help you - even if it was with force - you heard that people from that country were protesting that action?

Do you honestly think - after seeing what is happening in Iraq right now - that the people of Iraq could really have staged their own uprising?

Do you really believe that everything the American media is showing you is a lie and everything you see on al Jazeera is the truth?

Do you not think the Iraqi regime is capable of propaganda?

What, to you, is the price of freedom? Or do you think freedom comes with no price at all?

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Michele is okay, most of the time, but she is going the wrong direction with a recent post. She asks: [Read More]

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Excellent questions, now if only they were graded ie a test with a cluebat to whap the peaceniks over the head if they fail.

After seeing everything happening in Iraq right now, why would you still insist we should not be using force to take that regime out?

What's happening that is so unusual? They're fighting back...which is to be expected.

And why would you say that George Bush is the greatest threat to the world after seeing what Saddam is capable of?

I wouldn't say that Dubya is "the greatest threat to the world" -- just an embarassment to the United States.

Why would you protest against Bush and his administration for liberating the Iraqi people and not protest against the Iraq regime itself?

The Bush administration isn't "liberating" anyone, they're going to replace Saddam with someone who's probably nearly as bad who just happens to be more friendly to American business interests. Look at Afghanistan...we haven't exactly done a stellar job of rebuilding there, and things aren't much better now than they were with the Taliban.

Why not protest against the Iraqi regime? I'm not in the habit of protesting the actions of other governments. I won't say that the Iraqi regime is wonderful by any stretch of the imagination. But the same can be said of the Saudis, Kuwait, Libya, North Korea, China...need I go on? Are we going to "liberate" all of those countries as well, or do we just care about the conditions of people who happen to live in oil-rich countries?

Even if, for argument sake, it was all about the oil, wouldn't the fact that we are bringing aid and liberation to the people of Iraq make this a good thing we are doing?

It IS about the oil, so no it isn't a good thing we're doing.

Do you think that the Bush, or any past president for that matter, would hide his cohorts in day care centers, hospitals and residential homes?

I dunno -- where are they hiding Cheney? I won't argue that Saddam's actions aren't loathesome...they are. That doesn't equate with justification for the U.S. to invade the country. If it does, we've got a lot of countries to invade, and I don't think we can take on all of 'em.

Do you think they would store ammunition in a hospital?

Possibly.

Do you think they would gleefully kill prisoners of war and put the tape on tv?

Maybe. They haven't yet. I hope that they don't, for the sake of the POWs.

Do you think they would use women and children as shields?

Quite possibly. Of course, they wouldn't have the opportunity if we weren't conducting an illegal war.

That doesn't make them any less evil, but again -- we have no business invading Iraq in the first place. They posed no clear and present danger to the U.S.

Did you answer no to any of those questions?

Nope.

Then why? Why would you protest so hard against this when it is obvious that the conditions the Iraqi people were living under are conditions you would not survive ten minutes in?

I'll say it again: it isn't our job to liberate the Iraqi people just because we've decided the regime is a bad one. If we're taking that task on our shoulders, we have a lot of wars ahead of us. I will say this, the Iraqi regime is not the worst one on the face of the globe. They're very, very, very, very, very bad...but not the worst.

If you were living under that kind of vile, murderous dictatorship, would you not want someone to come in and save you?

I probably would, if I didn't stand a good chance of being killed by the invading force in the first place.

We still haven't established that the next regime will be any better - look at Afghanistan - the country is no better off than it was before. Instead of the Taliban you have a bunch of tribal warlords who are no better than the Taliban when it comes to human rights and so on -- just different. Replacing one bad situation for another isn't what I'd call being saved.

How would you feel if this country were run like Iraq, if Saddam was your leader and when other countries came in to help you - even if it was with force - you heard that people from that country were protesting that action?

I sincerely doubt that the average Iraqi sees it this way. They've never heard anything but bad things about the U.S. through Iraqi media and they're probably scared to death right now.

If I heard that people were protesting it, I'd say "gee, I guess they have more freedom than we do to protest and get away with it."

Do you honestly think - after seeing what is happening in Iraq right now - that the people of Iraq could really have staged their own uprising?

Loaded question. The "people of Iraq" could have -- Hussein is only one man. However, there are enough people who like him being in power to keep him there. Not saying that's right, but it's a fact of life.

Could they have staged an uprising? Maybe, but to be fair probably not. Again, that's not the issue.

Do you really believe that everything the American media is showing you is a lie and everything you see on al Jazeera is the truth?

Hell no. But I do believe that the majority of American media outlets are skewing things in favor of the Bush administration and not asking the hard questions. I also doubt that the media is getting access to much that the military doesn't want them to see right now.

Do you not think the Iraqi regime is capable of propaganda?

What a silly question. Of course they are. So is the Bush administration.

What, to you, is the price of freedom? Or do you think freedom comes with no price at all?

One of the requirements of freedom, on behalf of those who live in free countries, is informed dissent. Get used to it.

The right and duty to question the actions of your government, and to speak out when you do not believe that they are acting in your best interests or that they are being ethical - that is one cost of freedom. Dutifully supporting anything the government does is a sure way to wind up with a country where you have no freedoms at all.

The bottom line is this: This war is all about oil. All about the friends of the Bush administration getting their hands on Iraqi oil and possibly planting an American military presence in the Middle East.

Does Saddam Hussein deserve to die? Yeah, absolutely. But the American government doesn't get to make those decisions by itself - but yet we have decided with no clear and present threat to the United States, we've decided to attack another nation that was not threatening anyone else but its own people. This is a bad precedent and one that's likely to backfire on us in many ways in the near future.

I hope, now that the war is on, that it will be short and that Hussein is put out of the Iraqi people's misery. I hope that the administration lives up to its promises to allow the Iraqis to govern themselves and to keep American hands off of Iraqi oil.

However, I don't see this as likely. We'll install a puppet government that we can control. If they're just as bad as Saddam, that's okay with the Bushies so long as they're friendly to American business.

I have a question for you: When it becomes clear that the Bush administration has lied to you and it really is only about the oil, will you admit it?

Much applause to Zonkers. You're a better man (or woman) than I am for endeavoring to answer all of those well-posed, but presumably rhetorical, questions.

Even if, for argument sake, it was all about the oil, wouldn't the fact that we are bringing aid and liberation to the people of Iraq make this a good thing we are doing? That one's easy: NO. If, as you permit for the sake of argument, a war for oil was a possibility, then NO, not one life- American or otherwise- is worth it. And if you have to ask, then you've likely been so desensitized that any humanity left in you couldn't be tapped into to answer even your own question.

Great site, by the way, I don't remember how I stumbled into. I look forward to scrolling through to see if you take such a proactive stance against Saudi Arabia and North Korea. More relavently, if "for the sake of argument", as you contend, this is about liberation... then why aren't we in Swaziland? Haiti? Uganda? Now, I am NOT being rhetorical, tell me, tell me!, if it's about freeing people suffering under oppressive dictatorial regimes, why oh why aren't we doing it elsewhere? Surely the oil connection is just a coincidence. Surely...

"I'll say it again: it isn't our job to liberate the Iraqi people just because we've decided the regime is a bad one. If we're taking that task on our shoulders, we have a lot of wars ahead of us. I will say this, the Iraqi regime is not the worst one on the face of the globe. They're very, very, very, very, very bad...but not the worst." SO TRUE. Response? I've yet to hear this argument rebuffed, I can't wait to.

One last thing, I have to quote the last poster one more time b/c I am SO frustrated with Americans who in one second babble on about the freedoms of our democracy (well, our republic, and most of those don't exercise the most basic right in that republic- to vote- anyway, but that's another story)-- but in the next breath say those who disagree with them are unpatriotic and suggest the laughable propositions you posed in your post:

"One of the requirements of freedom, on behalf of those who live in free countries, is informed dissent. Get used to it. The right and duty to question the actions of your government, and to speak out when you do not believe that they are acting in your best interests or that they are being ethical - that is one cost of freedom. Dutifully supporting anything the government does is a sure way to wind up with a country where you have no freedoms at all."

HERE HERE.

And great site, really. Keep writing, and lots of us will keep reading!

I never called all dissenters or anti-war protesters unpatriotic.

Only some of them.

fair enough ;-)

Dimwits. If we go anywhere we're accused of ulterior motives. If we aren't EVERYWHERE we're accused of ulterior motives.

If these idiots are so concerned about what is going on in other places, why aren't they writing to the U.N. and asking them why they are sitting on their hands, doing nothing but discussing these atrocities.

Woke up in a bad mood. These nimwits are making me nuts. Their stupidity, callousness, and outright deceit is just too much some days.

There have been people tortured in Iraq for decades. Thousands upon thousands of people died at the hand of an evil regime. When the U.S. takes action, when we sacrifice for this, we're criticized?

Dissent is stating opinion, not contorting or spining the facts. Conspiring to give aid and comfort to our enemies is not "dissent". Fueling the propaganda mill that keeps the Iraqi regime from surrendering IS aid and comfort.

Sorry, Michele, if I rambled. It just gets overwhelming. These "dissenters" are getting people killed--our soldiers, Iraqi civilians, and the countless regimes that feel legitimized by these idiots unwillingness to take a stand against them.

After seeing everything happening in Iraq right now, why would you still insist we should not be using force to take that regime out?

I'm no cultural reletivist, but if abuse of civilians (terrorism) was a reason to take out a regime, we'd have to take out every regime in the middle east.

Or much worse. The problem isn't that the REGIMES support terrorism (though of course they all pay for and create it) the problem is that they've successfully indoctrinated their population into supporting terrorism. Support for the Palestinians' terrorism is VERY high among the populace in the ME.

Hi,

A reader from here wanted to know my views. Well, I have them on my blog. I am still not sure how to get the commentary thing working.

Thanks,
AKB

Hi,

Re; Last note,

I am so new that I forgot my address. It is:
http://12oclock.blogspot.com

AKB

Well, hell, several posts showed up while I was writing this, so at the risk of repeating:

Gee, Zonker, you make it too easy.

They’re fighting back…which is to be expected

They’re deliberately putting civilians in the line of fire

Dubya…is just an embarrassment to the United States

Yet somehow, he has a majority of the public behind him and outmaneuvers the Democrats at every turn

Afghanistan: So we failed because we were not yet able to overcome 30 years of war and repression and thousands of years of tribal conflict.

Are we going to “liberate” all those countries as well, or do we just care about the conditions of people who happen to live in oil-rich countries?

And yet, three of the five you listed are oil rich countries. At the risk of restating the obvious, if all we wanted was oil we would just lift the sanctions, turn on the taps, and do business with a murdering despot. Just like France.

Oh, and BTW, those countries you list really are enemies. Different enemies with different powers and capabilities require different handling. That's not a justification for doing nothing and refusing to recognize the costs of doing nothing.

[Long stupid section demonstrating the incoherence of the left, which assumes that Dubya kills children and eats kittens]

They pose no clear and present danger to the U.S.

Saddam has already invaded two countries, slaughtered thousands of his countrymen, and attempted to assassinate a former U.S. President (I know, for you that’s a feature, not a bug). All indications are that he would use the weapons if he had them. The U.N. has already determined that Iraq has violated the all the resolutions, so the U.S. is implementing the “serious consequences”.

Now Iraq has apparently authorized the use of chemical weapons, which they claimed not to have.

We still haven’t established that the next regime would be any better

WE DON’T HAVE TO. We are acting to remove a serious threat and a corrupt, murderous regime. We will help them set up a new government, and if that government also turns into a corrupt dictatorship that threatens us, WE WILL COME BACK AND DO IT AGAIN UNTIL THEY GET IT RIGHT.

I sincerely doubt the average Iraqi sees it this way

Ferchrissake!

Open your fucking eyes, man.

One of the requirements of freedom…is informed dissent

I’m waiting to see it. Nearly everything I have seen so far has been grossly uninformed (see above to inform yourself).

with no clear and present threat to the United States, we’ve decided to attack another nation

At the risk of violating Godwin’s Law, I must point out that using this kind of reasoning, the U.S. had no right whatsoever to fight Germany in WWII. Only the Japanese attacked us, and Germany could not touch us.

One more thing:

Are we going to “liberate” all those countries as well

China acts fairly rationally, and is therefore deterrable.

Kuwait is not a threat (but we should push for democratic reforms - or let the example of Iraq speak for us).

Libya has been contained (so far), but it is a potential target until the current regime is replaced.

Saudi Arabia (15 of the 19) funds worldwide terrorism and is therefore a direct threat to us no matter what they say. Quite frankly, they should be next on the list.

North Korea: So far, containable but how long that will last is unknown, especially with a psychotic freak in charge trying to acquire nukes. It may well come to war. (And as for "liberation", we had NK all but liberated until the Chinese crossed the Yalu. if we have to do it again, it should be made clear that Chinese intervention will not be tolerated. Take that any way you want to.)

The Bush administration isn't "liberating" anyone, they're going to replace Saddam with someone who's probably nearly as bad who just happens to be more friendly to American business interests.

When the successor to Saddam starts gassing his own people and running dissenters through plastic shredders, call me.

Look at Afghanistan...we haven't exactly done a stellar job of rebuilding there, and things aren't much better now than they were with the Taliban. [...] the country is no better off than it was before. Instead of the Taliban you have a bunch of tribal warlords who are no better than the Taliban when it comes to human rights and so on -- just different.

Is Afghanistan a heaven-on-earth, a realm of milk and honey and bonhomie? Of course not. It's been through the meat grinder for decades.

To turn around and say that things aren't better now than they were a couple of years ago, though, is just silly. I'm not aware of folks being beaten in the streets for watching cable TV or playing music on the radio. I haven't heard of anyone being shot to death in ad hoc executions on the Kabul soccer field for adultery. I haven't seen any recurrence of folks getting walls pushed over onto them because they are gay.

The US continues to assist the Kabul government, and participate in humanitarian and rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan -- and will continue to do so. For more on what the US is doing in Afghanistan right now, see here.

Dissent isn't getting people killed. The war is. As a veteran, I can say that if somebody at home was saying, "I support our troops--get them home and out of harm's way now and stop this stupid war," I'd have considered that support. I've seen this "liberation" thing before, and it's never as pretty for those being liberated as they make it on television.

Saddam disgusts me. Nothing we have done is equal to what Saddam has done. However, that's a distinction of shades of gray.

On with the quiz:

After seeing everything happening in Iraq right now, why would you still insist we should not be using force to take that regime out?

Because it's a violation of the same international laws that we are trying to hold Saddam accountable to; because innocent people we're theoretically trying to help are getting killed by the hundreds; because it wasn't a necessary course of action in the first place, and the reasons given to start it off were faulty.

The way you phrase the question is like saying, happening upon a rape, where the victim has managed to claw the eyes of the rapist, tha the resistance of the victim justifies the rape.

And why would you say that George Bush is the greatest threat to the world after seeing what Saddam is capable of?

Because Bush is attacking other countries now. There was no evidence that suggested Saddam, no matter how bad he is, was on the verge of attacking anyone. Yes, Saddam is bad. Yes, I personally will not cry a tear for him when he's gone. Yes, I know he's a thug and criminal. So were Pinochet, Batista, the Argentine generals, some previous Turkish governments, the Shah, the Coumintang, the death squad regimes in El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala...and a bunch of other regimes that this country tacitly supported or directly placed in power. Noriega didn't become a problem until his crimes spread to drug trafficking. Why did we wait so long to depose him?

Why would you protest against Bush and his administration for liberating the Iraqi people and not protest against the Iraq regime itself?

That's a strawman. I don't like Saddam. I would gladly protest against Saddam. But Saddam didn't start the current war.

Even if, for argument sake, it was all about the oil, wouldn't the fact that we are bringing aid and liberation to the people of Iraq make this a good thing we are doing?

Uh, no. The aid doesn't make up for the loss of life and limb. Even the most anti-Saddam people in Iraq didn't want a war (let me emphasize in Iraq--the expatriates don't count). And if it is about oil, than everything else the war is allegedly about is a lie.

Do you think that the Bush, or any past president for that matter, would hide his cohorts in day care centers, hospitals and residential homes? Do you think they would store ammunition in a hospital?

You betcha. I know that George Washington did; I believe Abraham Lincoln did; I know Richard Nixon did.

If the US were invaded today, I suspect we'd do the same.

Do you think they would gleefully kill prisoners of war and put the tape on tv?
Well, they have--ask the Taliban troops at Camp X-Ray. And we have let our allies do the same (in Vietnam, the South Vietnamese regularly threw North Vietnamese and Vietcong prisoners out of flying helicopters, executed them in the streets in front of reporters, and tortured them. In Afghanistan, POWs were thrown en masse into crowded prisons. The US paraded POWs before television cameras, and humiliated them by shackling them, shaving them, and putting them in individual cages with no cover from weather.

Do you think they would use women and children as shields?
The use of civilian hostages is disgusting. I think that if George Bush was facing being deposed by an invading force from, say, China, and the Chinese had said they were doing so to liberate the US from an opressive leader, and there was some advantage to be gotten out of using civilians as a human shield, he would use them. Remember, every US citizen is a member of the "general militia" in wartime, and as such would be a legal military asset.

Why would you protest so hard against this when it is obvious that the conditions the Iraqi people were living under are conditions you would not survive ten minutes in?
Because our country is partially responsible for creating those conditions, and because the war was justified with fraud--no evidence presented indicated a clear and present danger to the US that couldn't have been handled through less violent means.

If you were living under that kind of vile, murderous dictatorship, would you not want someone to come in and save you?

Ask me in 2004.

How would you feel if this country were run like Iraq, if Saddam was your leader and when other countries came in to help you - even if it was with force - you heard that people from that country were protesting that action?

I'd have hope for humanity that someone didn't want to see me splattered like a bug by a JDAM.

Do you honestly think - after seeing what is happening in Iraq right now - that the people of Iraq could really have staged their own uprising?

They did a while back, and George Bush Sr. fed them to the wolves.

Do you really believe that everything the American media is showing you is a lie and everything you see on al Jazeera is the truth?

No. Nor do I believe everything CNN and Fox say is the truth and Al Jazeera lies with every word. Neither tells the whole truth; only what they see, tainted by how they feel.

Do you not think the Iraqi regime is capable of propaganda?

Obviously, it's nearly on par with the US government.

What, to you, is the price of freedom? Or do you think freedom comes with no price at all?

As a veteran, I know what the price of freedom is. I also know what the price of global economic empire is--and that price is somewhat higher than the price of freedom (and it doesn't necessarily guarantee freedom comes included).

I don't confuse jingoism with patriotism. I don't confuse invading other countries with defending the Constitution. And I don't confuse what the White House is selling me with the truth.

I think one of the points that wasn't really addressed here is that Bush started this war under the pre-tense of disarming Iraq. Of going in and taking away the WMD that the US believes Iraq is hiding.
Bush may claim that this war is about liberation, he may say it's about oil, he may say it's about proving that he's bigger and badder than anyone on the block. But that isn't how he justified his actions. He used Iraqs failure to disarm as justification. And the reason this war is unjustified, is because there has been no sign of WMD, and for all intents and purposes the weapons inspections were working. There was no threat posed to the US, and Iraq hasn't done anything to any other nation in over 10 years.
As far as the Iraqi regime fighting the way they're fighting, well it's war. It's an unlawful invasion, the Iraqis are doing whatever they can to repel the invaders that are dropping bombs in their front yards. I'm sure you'd be fighting pretty hard if someone tried to take over your land.
Is Iraq capable of propaganda. Yeah, so is Bush and so is Pepsi, big deal, figure it out, take it all with a grain of salt and try to create your own picture.
In the end, the invasion of Iraq is wrong.

I'm curious: where are the articles describing the prisoners at Guatanamo being killed? I'm seeing that as a given assumption by some parties lately, and I have not seen any proof.

Hey Chip,
Tell that to the Kurds.

The whole 'peace' argument seems to be based on the idea that if things cannot be perfect, there's no justification for trying to make things better.
Things aren't perfect in Afghanistan, they claim failure. The reality is that things ARE better for the average Afghani, even if it were not, at least the AlQ training camps and infastructure are in tatters and forced into hiding. That alone is worth it.
The fallacy of the 'peace' movement is proven by their utter and absolute silence in 1998 when the US Administration was not only attacking Iraq but vowing 'regime change'. The only difference between then and now is that this administration means it, There was no way to know that, in 1998 it was all a cynical lie, Every 'peace' activist older than, say 25, who was silent in 1998, which is all of them, stands before the world with their absolute hypocracy exposed.
You claim Amrerikkka should listen to you now, we have. We've listened to you, we've seen you. We recognize you as the tawdry moral frauds you are. We know the difference between informed dissent and childish tantrums. You can lay in the streets, kicking and screaming, you can hold your breath until you turn red, you can insult us all you want, sorry kids, the adults have work to do. Brace yourselves, we've only barely begun, there's more after Iraq.

I don't have time right now to read all the above "enlightened" posts, but I found this funny as hell:

Zonker: One of the requirements of freedom, on behalf of those who live in free countries, is informed dissent. Get used to it.

Um... I think the operative word here is "informed." Judging from some of your responses to the questions (you don't think Iraq killed POW's? Are you crazy? Have you even seen the pictures from al Jazeera? You know - the one showing the bodies of American soldiers with bullets in their foreheads? Sheesh.

And dissent is alright. Nobody's crushing your dissent here, man. Wish the same could be said for the Iraqis.

Doh. Should proofread before posting. I really meant to finish that sentence and close those parentheses. Really I did.

Must dash!

IIRC, last night I heard they found a tank in one of the hospitals. A tank! Now if a tank in a hospital does not convince you that there's something seriously wrong with the regime in charge there, then probably nothing will.

Keep up the good work Michele. You're a braver person than I.

You know, I considered a detailed fisking of a lot of the comments above, and there's just no point.

People who can't see the moral difference between George Bush (and no, he's no saint) and Saddam Hussein (which so many of you are willing to admit is a bad man) can't be reasoned with.

Over and over I hear how the war isn't justified, but I never see specific responses to the evidence provided.

Over and over I hear "yeah, he's bad, but the Iraqi's would rather have him than Americans"

Over and over I hear "We did bad things in other places, so that means we should never try to correct them."

And then I see that the Iraqi people are fighting against us, because they hate and fear the US. That explains Basra perfectly. And the reason it took 24 hours for the Fedayeen to goad the forces in Umm Kasr (sp?) into resisting.

There's no point in trying though. MIchele asks "Do you think that the Bush, or any past president for that matter, would hide his cohorts in day care centers, hospitals and residential homes?" What's the response? The semantic equivalent of "Do you jump on the furniture at home? "Yeah!"

This is why I don't have this discussion any more. If you can't agree on common points of reference there's no ground to argue. Any evidence I produce is ignored without being refuted, so there's no amount of evidence that is sufficient.

I'm amazed that Michele is attracting so many anti-war apologists. Who's sending you?

It's difficult for me to understand the mindset of anyone who can call George W. Bush, a democratically elected president -- sorry, Gore supporters, but the Constitution says what it says, and had the totals been reversed it would be you talking about the soundness of the Electoral College design -- who:
-- has majorities behind him in both houses of Congress,
-- commands public approval of over 60%,
-- has achieved the destruction of the brutal Taliban regime in Afghanistan,
-- has led a coalition of 50 nations into a humanitarian war aimed at deposing the most bloody-handed, utterly ruthless tyrant in the world today,
-- has kept every campaign promise he made,
-- and hasn't done one single thing to embarrass himself, in vast contradistinction to his immediate predecessors,
..."an embarrassment to the United States."

That statement alone is enough for me to dismiss everything else such a person might say. His agenda is plainly not aligned with my idea of rights or the common defense, His working definitions of good and evil are too bizarre for me to talk to him in any case. He can dissent all he likes, but I'd be as likely to find sound reasons behind his dissents as I'd be to find the English Crown Jewels in a midden.

Chip:

So which is it? Did Bush start this war “under the pretense of disarming Iraq” or does he “claim that this war is about liberation”? You don’t seem to even know yourself. The correct answer of course is the first reason given. The “liberation” of Iraq is a side-effect of the more important goal of acting in our own national interests. It is also the reason that gives us legitimacy under international law. A little history lesson for some of our challenged dissenters: Iraq invaded our ally. We went to war with Iraq to liberate our ally. We won. Iraq lost. Saddam signed agreements allowing him to remain in power. Saddam has not honored those agreements. Not even close. These facts are not open for debate.

So… what to do about it? Let the inspections work? Please. We’ve tried inspections. ANY recent “progress” made has been a calculated strategy to throw the UN a bone, and give fuel to Anti-American useful-idiots the world over. There would be NO inspections and NO revelations had there not been 250,000 troops poised on Iraq’s border.

1441 was quite clear. Inspections and sanctions have been given a chance. If the UN cannot enforce 17 flaunted resolutions,; if the US cannot enforce ignored cease-fire agreements, then those institutions and agreements are rendered meaningless. 1441 was a last-chance effort to save the UN from irrelevancy. It failed. Thank goodness we now have a president that won’t allow the same to happen to this nation.

People projecting their own little issues onto others in public,in print.You have a special knack.Michele,for letting us see these curious little squid for who they are.It isn't pretty.but it must see the light.Thanks again

I love how this all comes down to Bush vs. Gore, and pointing fingers at liberals. Especially since I'm (1)not a liberal, and (2) I certainly didn't vote for Gore.

While we're at it--Peter, I screamed about the crap Clinton did too, as did many "whiners" as you call the antiwar community, I've been to "war" twice, which I think at least gives me an informed perspective on the process, I have friends still in the military, and many of them had major misgivings about this show before it began.

Somebody said the "a" word, as in "apologist". I don't recall ever apologizing for anybody, least of all the Iraqi regime. I think it's going too far to call Bush an embarrasment--to be embarrased, you have to first have a sense of some sort of standard of behavior, and this country hasn't had anything resembling that for some time. Bush is just more open about it. He doesn't put a whole lot of work into l ying about his reasons for war; he just changes the reasons as the setting dictates.

I seem to recall a lot of you saying similar things about Clinton when he was shooting cruise missiles at the Sudan and Afghanistan; the whole "wag the dog" thing, right?

To those of you so certain about the correctness of this war, I admire all of your dedication to the cause; can I drive any of you to your local recruiter and sign you up?

anyone?

Sean: Been there, done that. Eight years.

Bush has been consistent with his reasoning behind this war. We are there to remove a dangerous enemy from power and enforce the provisions of a cease-fire agreement. "Liberation" and any other reasons floating around have NEVER been provided as the primary motiviation behind our actions. You wishing it were so doesn't make it so.

You claim to have "screamed" about what Clinton was doing too. Yeah, right. I'll at least give you credit for realizing the hypocrisy of denouncing this president's willingness to act upon the policy of regime-change which it inherited from the previous administration.

Why are these liberals so blind?

Saddam attacked Iran and Kuwait. We made a peace treaty. We gave him 12 years to live up to his end of the treaty. He refused and lied. So the treaty is null and void and that leaves us back where we were when we made the treaty. We are taking him out. You idiots who keep saysing 'Saddam hasn't attacked anyone lately' are ignorant idiots.

I would like to address some points that the anti-war trolls keep making.

Several people have stated in one way or another: "Saddam was not attacking anyone", or "Saddam does pose an imminent danger to the U.S.". How the fuck do you know? Do you really think this is a conventional conflict? It hasn't been conventional for more than a decade. Saddam Hussein has known ties to various terrorist organizations. These ties include contact with Al-Qaeda and funding of palestinian terror groups. These groups, which receive aid and support from Hussein's regime, don't display the conventional warning signs of a nation preparing to strike. They work in secret and when the threat is finally known, it is too late. It's called Asymmetrical Warfare. With this global terrorist organization and their state sponsors, such as Hussein's Iraq, the threat is always imminent. Hussein can (and has a proven willingness to) support and supply terrorists with finances, materials, intelligence, and comfort. As long as he draws breath he is a threat (as is the ruling tyrannies of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea). If you take away the terrorists' state sponsors then they will have nowhere to go for help.

Another point trolls keep making is, more or less: "Regardless of the motivation behind the war, and regardless of Hussein's brutal oppression of the Iraqi people, the deaths that will result from the war make it unacceptable". What's worse? Is three decades or rape, torture, mutilation, summary execution, and overall brutal oppression better than several weeks of war followed by the restoration of order, massive rebuilding, and humanitarian redevelopment? Really. Just answer the question. No hemming and hawing. No qualitifcation. Is it better to leave the Iraqi people to suffer under the brutal oppression where their lives are essentially worthless or is it better to subject them to a brief period of war and then deliver peace and order where they won't have to worry that they'll be murdered for dissent?

Another "argument" is "How can we believe that the U.S. is going to pacify and rebuild Iraq? Just look at Afghanistan!" Yes, do take a look at Afghanistan. Life there is immeasurably better for the Afghans. Yes, it isn't great and there are still a mountain of problems they (and us) have to climb. You don't transform a devastated (long before we got there) country into a thriving democracy in a year. It takes time. Iraq will take time.

I have to admit that I am now coming here for the anti-war posts more than to satisfy my need to rage at the pro-war posts. Keep it coming, trolls. You are actually raising the intelligence quotient of this site a significant amount.

Zymurgist-

Let me make at least where I stand perfectly clear:
The inspections/sanctions thing was flawed from the start. It killed twice as many Iraqi kids (at least) as the war did, and just allowed Saddam to solidify his power base further. We screwed the Shiites; the Kurds ended up better off because of their organization and our air cover, but the rest of the country got pretty bloody from 91-93.

We (the US and the UN) decided to ignore the Shiites, who we had encouraged to rebel, and they got crushed,

Keeping the status quo (playing "hide the Scud" with Saddam) was not a valid option; while it would have kept him somewhat contained, and unable to use the weapons he did have quickly, it would have further screwed the people of Iraq and increased resentment of the international community there.

But bombing them is a better option? By going to war, we have lost any control of the situation on the ground in Iraq; if there were weapons of mass destruction, there are several borders over which they may already have been moved in part to those we sought to keep them away from. There's more incentive for Iraq to putll them out and use them--both against our troops and their own people.

If you've done time in the service, you know (1) that the chemical weapons Iraq is accused of having work only under ideal weather conditions, (2)are effective mostly in denying the easy use of an area to someone. Bioweapons are even more difficult to deliver against a large number of targets (the most effective delivery vehicle for anthrax, for example, is the US Mail, as we found out here). So, in summary, the chances of the "WMD" in Saddam's hands being effectively used for anything but combat was low. We have actually raised the threat to America from these weapons by placing our military "in theatre" with them.

(As an aside--if the President had said, "We have conclusively traced the anthrax used in the terrorist letters from 2001 to Iraq," we wouldn't be having this discussion. But notice how the FBI is still focused on a domestic source...)

If the violation of the armistice in '91 is what this is all about, why haven't we gone to war with North Korea? Obviously, the terms of that cease-fire have been broken a number of times, and they seem more intent on starting something than Saddam was.

Instead of pushing for an all-out war, the US and UK could have proposed direct UN intervention into the distribution of food, and a UN peacekeeping force and additional feet on the ground to enforce compliance. There are several other options that we could have persued. I'll be happy to detail some of them if you want; but they're moot at this point.

Regardless of the political reasons for and against this war, I think that moral opposition to the war is legitimate. It's my personal beilief that no matter how noble our intentions going into Iraq, we'll only make a bigger mess of it by using force. If we had been attacked, I would have no qualms about this war.

I think any discussion of this being "good" for the Iraqis is hypocritical. This is about getting rid of a regime the US government marked as a threat 12 years ago. It is not about liberating Iraqis who have suffered under Saddam's boot--did we "liberate" Germany from Hitler? Did we "liberate" the Japanese from Tojo? Despite the advertising slogan they've put on this war, it is and will be a war on Iraq as a whole , and that's the onl y way it will be won. Limited rules of engagement won't work, and I anybody who acts surprised about Iraq's failure to play by the rules is either naive or being hypocritical.

I was in Panama for our last big dictator-deposing iberation party; even without dropping bombs, we managed to kill a few hundred of the people we intended to save when we attacked the Commendancia. They didn't fight us--they just got in the way. Was that helping them? No. Is Panama significantly better off as a whole? That's open to debate, But Panama is a much smaller place than Iraq, and it was already very dependent on the US before Operation Restore Freedom, or whatever we called it.

By the most conservative estimates, the Iraqi civilian casualty rate is already over 200. That's not counting the infants and small children who will die of "natural causes" as the result of a lack of clean water and adequate nutrition (Iraqis for some reason choose to predominantly bottle-feed their kids, and that's not something you can just switch from once you've started). How does that improve the situation with Iraq? Sure, there may not be any more chem/bio/nuke weapons (we'll never be sure), but we've just given a whole new generation of mujahadeen a target to go after.

How is destroying Iraq good for Iraq? I don't see any way for the US and UK to hold their pledge of protecting civilians when it's already obvious that the original plan of bypassing urban areas is going out the window....

dru, once again falling back on the liberal bullshit that anyone who doesn't agree with your side is unintelligent just brought it right back down.

Chris is my new hero. He said what I've been thinking all along.

War is bad, but it's a necessary thing. We went to war to forge this very country we live in...to ensure the basic liberties these little trolls abuse daily. Is that a bad thing? Were those deaths in vain, too? Suck it up, people. Do the right thing for a change...not the fashionable thing.

I've sat here today and followed the comments.
I have only one comment to make and this one is to Sean.
I believe that this war is correct. I will not be taking you up on that ride though.
you see..
not only do I support our troops..I happen to sleep with one of them..and he's leaving next week.
thanks anyway.

As a veteran, I'm often suspicious of those who use the phrase "As a veteran" to back up their argument.

I love how when someone offers an opposing opinion here, they're a "little troll." Just because I fail to see how killing Iraqis "ensure the basic liberties" that ms. tart says I'm abusing...

Is the Pope a troll? Are the 36 denominations represented by the Natonal Council of Churches trolls?

Like Teddy Roosevelt said, ""To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

I'm a little late on this response to sean g, but here goes:

"Dissent isn't getting people killed."

Uh, it is in Iraq.

"Saddam disgusts me. Nothing we have done is equal to what Saddam has done. However, that's a distinction of shades of gray."

How is that? There a huge distinction between our actions and motivations and those of Hussein's Iraq. It's such a big distinction that it's like ... black and white.

"Because it's a violation of the same international laws that we are trying to hold Saddam accountable to; because innocent people we're theoretically trying to help are getting killed by the hundreds; because it wasn't a necessary course of action in the first place, and the reasons given to start it off were faulty."

As for your fist statement - The U.N. was unwilling to live up to the responsibilites it granted itself. The language was clear. Disarm or face serious consequences. Given that there's really only one consequence more serious than a decade of sanctions, that meant war. Second statement - We're going to extraordinary means to prevent civilian casualties. Some are inevitable. It is war. But the it is nothing like they have experienced under Hussein. The torture, rape, and murder they have endured will end.

"The way you phrase the question is like saying, happening upon a rape, where the victim has managed to claw the eyes of the rapist, tha the resistance of the victim justifies the rape."

That doesn't make any logical sense. It seems as if you are placing the U.S. in the role of the rapist and Saddam in the role of rape victim. If indeed that is the case then make no mistake. You are anti-American, your service notwithstanding. You should be ashamed of yourself.

"Because Bush is attacking other countries now. There was no evidence that suggested Saddam, no matter how bad he is, was on the verge of attacking anyone."

I refer back to the nature of asymmetrical warfare. As long as terrorists groups can find aid and comfort from illegitimate states, those states present an imminent danger to the U.S.

"Yes, Saddam is bad."
Yes, he is very, very bad. Also know as "evil".

"Yes, I personally will not cry a tear for him when he's gone. Yes, I know he's a thug and criminal. So were Pinochet, Batista, the Argentine generals, some previous Turkish governments, the Shah, the Coumintang, the death squad regimes in El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala...and a bunch of other regimes that this country tacitly supported or directly placed in power. Noriega didn't become a problem until his crimes spread to drug trafficking. Why did we wait so long to depose him?"

Did you ever make a grave mistake and then try and make up for it?

"Uh, no. The aid doesn't make up for the loss of life and limb."

Nothing will ever make up for what the Iraqi people have been through under Saddam. But you would have it continue?

"Even the most anti-Saddam people in Iraq didn't want a war (let me emphasize in Iraq--the expatriates don't count)."

How do you know? You presently know a lot of Iraqi civilians? I've read a number stories and reports about Iraqis just waiting, hoping the Americans will come. They're afraid of war but not as afraid as they are of Saddam.

"And if it is about oil, than everything else the war is allegedly about is a lie."

It's not about oil, at least not in the sense that most people who think it's about oil mean. At most, the oil component is thus: Hussein presents a threat to his neighbors, from whom we purchase part of our oil. Oil, being the lifeblood of an industrialized country, is in fact vital to America's national security. Oil is worth going to war over all on its own. If it is germaine to this war at all though, it is only one component. There are other components, including reducing terrorist threats to America and ending a brutal tyranny. These are not lies.

"Well, they have--ask the Taliban troops at Camp X-Ray."

If you really believe that (and "belief" is what is must be, as there's no evidence in the world that the U.S. has murdered Taliban prisoners) then you're ready to believe anything, aren't you?

"In Afghanistan, POWs were thrown en masse into crowded prisons. The US paraded POWs before television cameras, and humiliated them by shackling them, shaving them, and putting them in individual cages with no cover from weather."

So they were thrown into crowded prisons. So what. We had a lot of prisoners. Not much we could do about that. And we didn't "parade" them in front of the media. We simply didn't hide them. They're prisoners. Prisoners get shackled. And when they're covered in fur and most likely riddled with lice and other parasites they get shaved. Individual cages, huh? We put all kinds of prisoners in individual "cages" - they're called cells. And given that it's pretty damn temperate in Gitmo and we were building a more permanent structure to house all of the prisoners, open "cages" wasn't so bad, given that they had been living in friggin' caves.

"Remember, every US citizen is a member of the "general militia" in wartime, and as such would be a legal military asset."

No, every able-bodied adult is a member of the militia. Children are not. Read the U.S. Code. Your assertion that a democratically-elected American President would use children as shields is beyond the pale. You know that's not true. Perhaps you wish it were.

"They did a while back, and George Bush Sr. fed them to the wolves."

Er, the fact that they could not continue an uprising without massive support from the U.S. kind proves Michelle's point.

"Obviously, it's nearly on par with the US government."

Qualify, qualify. You just can't make blanket assertions and not back it up. How is American "propaganda" on par with Iraqi propaganda?

"I don't confuse jingoism with patriotism. I don't confuse invading other countries with defending the Constitution. And I don't confuse what the White House is selling me with the truth."

No, you're just confused.

I don't think the Pope's a troll, but he does bear a striking resemblance to Gollum.

...and in other Catholic news, I think the authorities in Boston are currently trying to determine if several priests are, indeed, trolls.

Joe-

Same here. I only pulled it out because I'm tired of people giving me this crap about being a "whiner." It makes me want to watch them sit in Mopp gear for a couple of hours.

Connie-
God bless, then.

One more - sean (and anyone else who gets defensive when they get slammed for criticizing the President). No one is claiming that criticsm is bad. But if you're going to criticize, at least be informed, thoughful, and truthful.

Very few people have made intelligent, reasoned anti-war arguments concerning the present situation. I suspect this is because for the majority of those opposed it is not about the war but about their hatred of President Bush.

"Is the Pope a troll? Are the 36 denominations represented by the Natonal Council of Churches trolls?"

LOL. Liberals can't bash Christians hard enough or fast enough until a few church leaders happen to agree with you on something...now suddenly we should be listening to what these churches are saying? LOL.

I tell you what...go out into the heartland of this country and talk to the CONGREGATIONS of those churches and see what THEY have to say about the President and the war.

As for the Pope being a troll...well if I answered that one, I'd probably offend a lot of people, and it's way off topic anyway. :)

Sean, thanks for taking the time to clarify your position. I’ve addressed your comments as best I can below:

The inspections/sanctions thing was flawed from the start. It killed twice as many Iraqi kids (at least) as the war did, and just allowed Saddam to solidify his power base further.

-You see, we differ already. In your world, the “inspections/sanctions” are responsible for the deaths of innocent Iraqi lives. In my world, that responsibility is laid at the feet of a fascist dictator.

We screwed the Shiites; the Kurds ended up better off because of their organization and our air cover, but the rest of the country got pretty bloody from 91-93. We (the US and the UN) decided to ignore the Shiites, who we had encouraged to rebel, and they got crushed…

-Agreed.

Keeping the status quo (playing "hide the Scud" with Saddam) was not a valid option; while it would have kept him somewhat contained, and unable to use the weapons he did have quickly, it would have further screwed the people of Iraq and increased resentment of the international community there.

-Agreed.

But bombing them is a better option? By going to war, we have lost any control of the situation on the ground in Iraq; if there were weapons of mass destruction, there are several borders over which they may already have been moved in part to those we sought to keep them away from. There's more incentive for Iraq to putll them out and use them--both against our troops and their own people.

-Disagree. We have more “control of the situation on the ground in Iraq” than ever before, and that control increases daily. Sneaking weapons outside of his borders and using them via terrorist proxies is EXACTLY why we are acting now, rather than later when Saddam has been given enough time to do so on his terms. What is the probability he would have done so? Don’t take my word for it:   What if [Saddam] fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? ... Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal." -Bill Clinton 1998.

If you've done time in the service, you know (1) that the chemical weapons Iraq is accused of having work only under ideal weather conditions, (2)are effective mostly in denying the easy use of an area to someone.

-Which is why the agents acting on Saddam’s behelf will probably not release these things in the middle of Montana during a rainstorm. Probably a bright, sunny day, in a major metropolis, no? I remember day just like that…

Bioweapons are even more difficult to deliver against a large number of targets (the most effective delivery vehicle for anthrax, for example, is the US Mail, as we found out here). So, in summary, the chances of the "WMD" in Saddam's hands being effectively used for anything but combat was low.

-Agreed. Which is why they will be used as devices of terror and blackmail, and not in conventional combat scenarios.

We have actually raised the threat to America from these weapons by placing our military "in theatre" with them.

-Agree in the short term, disagree in the long term.

If the violation of the armistice in '91 is what this is all about, why haven't we gone to war with North Korea? Obviously, the terms of that cease-fire have been broken a number of times, and they seem more intent on starting something than Saddam was.

-Apples and oranges. I won’t waste space here with all the reasons, but rather suggest an article that addresses this topic: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson011003.asp

Instead of pushing for an all-out war, the US and UK could have proposed direct UN intervention into the distribution of food, and a UN peacekeeping force and additional feet on the ground to enforce compliance. There are several other options that we could have persued. I'll be happy to detail some of them if you want; but they're moot at this point.

-The Same UN that passed the following resolution: “[Iraq will be given] a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the Council… and will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations.” And then 4 months later could only suggest yet more inspections even as the inspectors were reporting non-compliance? That UN? No thanks.

Let me ask you one question: What amount of terror financing is admissible in your book, before we are morally justified in using force against it? It is well documented that Saddam pays $25,000 to any terrorist willing to strap on a bomb and kill as many Jews as possible. Is it the dollar amount, or the fact that Jews are the targets the reason why you don’t consider this significant in our war against terror?

Sean-
FYI a troll is a common term for folks who post annoying comments. Quit yer' whining!

Chris-

On the POW thing:
I understand what you're saying. Unfortunately, the Geneva Convention has been read very literally in regards to the US's treatment of the Taliban in some quarters--including by folks at the Pentagon, who resisted the approach taken with the Taliban POWs specifically because they were concerned about the Geneva Convention impact of the treatment.

On the "general militia":
No, I don't suspect that the situation would ever emerge where an elected president would use children as shields. But then again, we haven't been invaded by someone who would care whether there were children in the way since 1814.

On propaganda:

Specifically, I am talking about the way that the White House has used the media to establish the debate-- you're either pro-war or anti-american. The news conference just before the war is an example of this; the President took questions from "safe" media outlets, and ignored the more agressive ones. Weekly talk shows have been used as direct media outlets for different members of the administraton.

Saddam only got Dan Rather.

The "embedded" journalist thing is a masterstroke of propaganda--journalists embedded with fighting units, as the military has already openly said, are tools of propaganda against the enemy, and part of the psy-ops campaign. Iraq tried to do the same thing, and had to kick CNN out of country because the images from Baghdad no longer helped their message.

The US has successfully used e-mail to reach thousands of Iraqi civilians (and if you've been reading http://dear_raed.blogspot.com, you'd have at least one anectdotal piece of evidence on this) to tell them where to tune for "instructional radio" messages. And the US is starting to broadcast pro-American radio in Arabic mixed with pop music to the Arab world through the auspices of Radio Sawa.

Iraq doesn't have control of any worldwide outlets. Al Jazeera's message has been relatively balanced, no matter what you say about their broadcast of the POW tape from Iraqi TV.

That's all I have time for right now. I'll get back to you with more later.

Let me ask you one question: What amount of terror financing is admissible in your book, before we are morally justified in using force against it? It is well documented that Saddam pays $25,000 to any terrorist willing to strap on a bomb and kill as many Jews as possible. Is it the dollar amount, or the fact that Jews are the targets the reason why you don’t consider this significant in our war against terror?

If we were using that as the determining point for this, I'd say we need to go after Saudi Arabia first. (And based on my personal experience, that's one I might re-up for, if I thought it would do any good.)

I think that the appropriate avenue for dealing with terror against Israel is to deal with the Israeli/Palestine issue directly. Remove the reason for terror, and the financing is moot.

Oh, and by the way...the US has never financed terror? I guess that's why Admiral Poindexter got immunity.

Zymurgist
I think you misread what I was saying..
"So which is it? Did Bush start this war “under the pretense of disarming Iraq” or does he “claim that this war is about liberation”? You don’t seem to even know yourself."
I'm not asking which reason he used, I'm saying that any reason he has is a bad reason.
You cannot, YOU CANNOT, bring about peace through war. It doesn't work.
Saddam is a vile, evil, unnaturally cruel madman. But how is bombing his cities going to change that? Killing civilians, destroying buildings? How does that help? If the US wanted to help liberate Iraq they could have invested that $75 billion into relief acts. They could have petitioned the UN to force Saddam to hold a democratic election, and the US could have used some of that money to help mold and maintain the integrity of said election. That way Bush gets his puppet government withoug killing. And if someone says there's no guarantee of a better government taking power as a result of the election, well lets just say that elections seem to be Bush's strong point.
Some people may say this is about anti-Bush, or anti-Americanism, but for me it's about anti-war.
I just don't see the benefit of putting human life on the line. A truly civilized nation would find another way. Humanity should find another way.
How can anyone justify war? How? There is always a better way.

Why did I expect more? If all else fails, just drag out the old "Why not North Korea" or "Why not Saudi Arabia" cop-out.

Each is a different situation, and neither have anything to do with the question posed, but I guess It serves as a last-ditch effort to change the subject when substance proves elusive.

Remove the reason for terror, and the financing is moot.
What specifically do you mean by this? Remove Israel? Remove the Palestinians? Or let me guess: Give the Palestinians a state and all will be solved? Never mind that the majority of Palestinians are jew-haters that make Hitler look mild, and that polls clearly show their goal is the removal of Israel from ALL of historical palestine. Yeah. Never mind any of that. Let's just "remove the reason". Whatever the hell that means.

Last gasp for now:
Dave-

like I said, I'm not a liberal. How do you define liberal--anybody who has their own opinion? If you mean someone who supports big government, centralized national control of policy, heavy taxation and all that, that's not me. If you mean someone who is a strict Constitutionalist, in support of minimal government and the defense of the Bill of Rights, and bordering on Libertarian is a liberal, then I guess I am.

Being anti-war is a family value.

You cannot, YOU CANNOT, bring about peace through war. It doesn't work.

I actually laughed out loud at this. You know how lots of people type LOL, but you suspect they really didn't actually laugh out loud. Well, I did. Really.

But then again, we haven't been invaded by someone who would care whether there were children in the way since 1814.

Excuse me, Sean? Have you so quickly forgotten 9/11? The 3000+ civilian deaths and the children and babies who were killed?

Not much to add here, so I won't bother aswering all the rhetorical, loaded quesitions (Zonker opened it up by answering most of them) save one...

Do you think they would gleefully kill prisoners of war and put the tape on tv?

No. It's bad PR. In America, you still have to worry about PR (at least the portion of it that can't be spun or manipulated).

However, do you remember george's the state of the union address? The lengthy passage about emprisoned terrorists and so forth? Particularly, this part:
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way [sly grin]-- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.)

Sure, that could mean a lot of things. (and I'm sure the usual suspects will kindly bring their readings to my attention). But it came off as a sly Bruce-Willis-esque allusion to summary execution. In the context that george so often speaks in, a context as informed by old 50s Westerns and contemporary Bruckheimer blow-ups as anything else, it means they were "rubbed out," "taken care of." Sure executions and the like weren't shown on television (yet I'm sure it would have done well as a pay-per-view event), but it was the butt of a joke by the supposed president of the U.S. in his yearly address to Congress. It was an odd, disconcerting moment.

Chip-
"They could have petitioned the UN to force Saddam to hold a democratic election, and the US could have used some of that money to help mold and maintain the integrity of said election. ".

How do you propose the UN would have forced Saddam to do anything? I can never read anything you write with a straight face again after reading that line.

I was getting sucked into typing another long post in response to Zymurgist, but I don't want to waste any more of Michele's bandwidth. I'd be happy to discuss this all over a beer with any of you, or offline via e-mail or elsewhere. So here's my parting shot.

Zymurgist said:Excuse me, Sean? Have you so quickly forgotten 9/11? The 3000+ civilian deaths and the children and babies who were killed?

If you read what I posted, I said specifically "anyone who cares about children being in the way." That would not include Al Qaeda, which has shown no regard for any human life. Specifically, what I meant was no one who would have been swayed by children being in the way of shooting at someone toward not shooting has invaded us since 1814...and I'm not sure that the Brits would have cared that much if Madison had surrounded himself with children, either.

Sean, we don't agree, but I respect the civil manner in which you debate. No big deal, but I didn't make the statement you quote above; that was someone else.

Sorry. it was Faith. Your name was above, not below. My error.

Silly closed minded conservative war hawks. What are the benefits of this current war at this point? Uh, the moronic US troops shooting down British planes? The idiotic american soldiers chucking grenades into each others tents? The dead Iraqi children? The fatherless children of coalition and Iraqi military casualties? The POWs facing certain death and torture in Iraq?
Where are the good points here?
Zymurgist - you can revel in the bloodshed this war brings about. I'm sure you won't really be impacted by it anyway, that is until some Muslim extremeist flies a plane into the building you work at.
Joe - Maybe the UN wouldn't have been able to force Saddam to hold elections, but we'll never know now. Of course Bush would have never gone for that idea, I mean, if he did Haliburton couldn't have gotten the contract to clean up after the war. Right?

Forgive him, he's Canadian. :-)

No one has any thoughts about Chip's comment about Haliburton? I do....

I'm not Canadian, and even I think it's interesting that Cheney's old company is getting the deal for cleanup.

Raises some questions, at least in my circle. Does anyone else think that something stinks?

yes, it does raise questions. and i trust that the media, and the left in general, will apply an amazing amount of scrutiny to the whole thing, and will let us know if there's a single hair out of place.

i dont know that much about that industry...can you suggest a more qualified company to handle the project?

I wasn't being dismissive of Chip's comment. Yes, it is intriguing. They're complaining about that on BBC right now.

A more qualified company? How about Freyssinet et Cie?

They appear to have the right credentials:http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/press_releases/1999/3673.htm

Michele: I'm impressed by the intelligent questions. I really hope that you did not mean them to be rhetorical as you have generated a thoughtful and (in most cases) civilized discussion. I have a question... Does anyone have any info or links related to the current treatment of citizens in Afghanistan? I would like to learn more about that. Also, for those people who resort to name-calling.. This tactic only diminishes your credibility. Any argument about US foreign policy and this war, no matter how reasoned or logical, sounds childish when the author resorts to personal attacks. Please try to maintain some perspective. Just because you can be hateful, doesn't mean that you should be. Please try to show respect for all viewpoints and demonstrate that you are a person who can reach compromise on the tough issues.

uh... so when we decide someone is a bad guy we get to violate international law?

and yeah, i AM ignorant of many things... foreign policy, spelling, all of international law, what my next meal will be...

but i still have the right to the opinion that we should have waited for the UN to make a decision. even if the UN is a bunch of namby pamby diplomats.
now i gather that wether or not we DID violate international law is in question.

but well... we are charter members of the UN. surely we helped form that body for a reason.

in response to Bruce, "Why are these liberals so blind?

Saddam attacked Iran and Kuwait. We made a peace treaty.
"

wasnt that treaty with the UN and not just with US?

that is NOT a sarcastic question. i really dont know.

Sean,
I'm one of the war protesters, and I appreciate your comments very much.
It's true what someone said, I for one don't like and don't trust Bush.

I have read some interesting analyses about the 'oil' aspect of this war by students of geopolitics. For instance:
The Federal Reserve's greatest nightmare is that OPEC will switch its international transactions from a dollar standard to a euro standard. Iraq actually made this switch in Nov. 2000 (when the euro was worth around 82 cents), and has actually made off like a bandit considering the dollar's steady depreciation against the euro. (Note: the dollar declined 17% against the euro in 2002.) The real reason the Bush administration wants a puppet government in Iraq -- or more importantly, the reason why the corporate-military-industrial network conglomerate wants a puppet government in Iraq -- is so that it will revert back to a dollar standard and stay that way. (While also hoping to veto any wider OPEC momentum towards the euro, especially from Iran -- the 2nd largest OPEC producer who is actively discussing a switch to euros for its oil exports)
--quoted in "A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth" by W. Clark

To me, the geopolitical argument is compelling. This war has not much to do with liberation (as some writers here claimed), nor with ridding the country of WMD, nor even oil, per se.

But the oillmen and the bankers are running the show, and they are using our soldiers to do their dirty work and they are becoming enriched at the expense of all of us.

The president is running the show. He is using the military to do the people's dirty work (over 70% approve of military action in Iraq.)

I suppose you would prefer that the president disregarded the will of the majority just to make the loudmouthed minority happy?

Sorry, doesn't work that way.

How do these ridiculous allegations about a "dollar standard" explain the support of dozens of other countries (many of whom use the Euro as currency) for this action? It doesn't. Just more feeble attempts to slander this administration, logic be damned.

Sorry, no sale. Go back to peddling your tin-foil hats at Indymedia, Democratic Undergound, or whatever else liberal sess-pool you crawled out from.

Minnie - We're NOT violating international law. We're upholding the resolutions that the UN made, and have been for 12 years unlike the rest of the UN members.

Chip - Where to start? Every single sentence has an insult in it. Usually, I see that sort of behavior when someone's losing an argument as a tactic to change the subject. I find it interesting that you mention things like British planes being accidentally shot down by Kuwaiti manned Patriot batteries.

In the best case that's a mistake, certainly not on a par with the Iraqi forces in Basra firing mortars at the townspeople?

American soldier fragging an officer? Like that bunker of dead Iraqi officers that was found after the Iraqi military deserted?

I suppose you're right. We should betray the Iraqis a second time and pull out. And since the Arab world will then believe that we were defeated they'll never bother us again.

THINK!!!

I don't think I used any of those points to say that Iraq was better than the US. I was simply pointing them out as examples of why war is bad. Yep, that's about it. I was asking people what good has been accomplished so far. And don't tell me what good will be accomplished once it's over, just tell me what's happened so far.
One way or the other, every possible positive result of this war, few as those will be, could have been achieved through diplomacy. Yeah, the UN is basically a paper lion. But the US isn't. The US didn't have to resort to war.
I hope you're not so blind as to not see that the ultimate force behind all this is money. Money is the driving force behind EVERYTHING, this is no different. GW, Cheney, they're going to get rich. The US public, Iraq, they're going to suffer.
Oh, and 70% support for this action my ass. Don't mistake support of troops, with support of the campaign in general.
Oh, and stop watching stations like CNN where they scrub things like GW saying "this is scripted" from transcripts of press confrences.

Some thoughts.
1. The questions are great.
2. The Afghans are much better off, just not perfect yet. We are building water supplies, schools, medical facilities. There is just a lot to be done. Remember the joke, let's bomb them into the Stone Age, oh, too late.
3. It's not about oil. We could conquer Mexico cheaper and quicker and transport the oil more cheaply.
4. No one seriously believes GWB would do the things Saddam is doing. It makes good rhetoric, though.
5. There are many bad regimes, but doing one good act is not nullified because many other good acts need to be done.
6. The questions are great.

@minnie

We formed the UN so we could fight the Soviet Union without incinerating the planet. That cold war is over and a new one has begun. An alliance or international body that accurately reflects the players in the contemporary conflict would serve our nation, and the world, better than the UN does in its current state. And it is much easier to create a new bureaucracy than change an existing one.

At the risk of repeating something in the comments I haven't read yet:

From Chip: "You cannot, YOU CANNOT, bring about peace through war. It doesn't work."

A whole lot of dead Nazis, Confederates, and Fascists would disagree.

Ken -as far as your comparisson to WWII is concerned, it was Germany that began those wars, it is the US that began this war. There's your comparison for you. If Germany hadn't started invading countries there would have been peace. Had the US not invaded Iraq, there would have been peace.
As to another point by someone else about who else is qualified for the oil wells thing...well Safety Boss and Alberta Company took part in the first Gulf War clean up and they extinguished 180 oil well fires in less than 200 days, more than any of their US counter parts. After which Kuwait retained their services to clean up spills in the desert.
It's just a big money grab.

Chip, if Germany hadn't invaded those countries, and there had remained "peace", there would also have been a lot more dead Jews.

If, on the other hand, the U.S., Britain, and France had stopped Germany at the first "material breach" of the Versailles Treaty, WWII would not have happened. That's the right lesson.

And please explain "money grab" - we're spending money. If all we wanted was cheap oil, we'd lift the sanctions and continue to buy oil from a murdering despot. And then we'd be France. (And if it really was just a money grab, we'd have done it years ago in Saudi Arabia)

It's not a money grab for the US government, it's a money grab for their friends. Haliburton and all the other companies getting rich off the American people. Bush could care less about the governments funds, otherwise you wouldn't have a 300 billion dollar deficiet.
Yeah, you're right, if Germany hadn't started those wars there would have been peace and a whole lot more dead Jews. But no one was trying to stop them from killing the Jews, and no one cared a lick about the breaches of the Versailles treaty until they invaded a few countries, and even then it wasn't until Poland, and that was after a few others.
But it doesn't justify the point of a pre-emptive attack, enforcing a treaty is one thing, carpet bombing a nation over suspected WMD that havent' even been found and were based on forged documents is another.

Chip: carpet bombing ?
Come on. Carpet bombing would produce a few more casualties than even the Iraqis are claiming, don't you think?
--or don't you?

Chip:You cannot, YOU CANNOT, bring about peace through war. It doesn't work.

Um... I believe every period of peace in the history of the world came after a period of war. War is what happens when diplomacy fails (Sun Tzu, I believe).

Diplomacy failed. It tends to do that when all sides refuse to compromise on an issue. The promise of a French veto NO MATTER WHAT did more to cause the war than any other diplomatic action in this fiasco.

After this long war, and its repercussions, are finished peace will reign till the next great failure of diplomacy.

Diplomacy didn't just fail; it was dead on arrival. Diplomacy infers finding common ground and compromise. There was no effort to compromise, just a rearranging of deck chairs to make the sinking of the Titanic more symantically appealing.

They had pulled the rug out from under Colin Powell's feet before he even had a chance by taking very public, very extreme positions and not budging from them.

Bush never read Sun Tzu, or Clausewitz, whom I believe you're thinking of with your "when democracy fails" comment:

"The war of a community—of whole nations and particularly of civilised nations—always starts from a political condition, and is called forth by a political motive. It is therefore a political act...We see, therefore, that war is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce(i.e. diplomacy), a carrying out of the same by other means. "

If Bush had read Clauswitz, he would know:
"Lastly, even the final decision of a whole war is not always to be regarded as absolute. The conquered state often sees in it only a passing evil, which may be repaired in after times by means of political combinations. How much this also must modify the degree of tension and the vigour of the efforts made is evident in itself. "

Clauswitz didn't believe in "limited war"; he knew there was no such thing as a "surgical strike". War is intended to disarm and subjugate the opponent to your political will, and you don't do that by pussy-footing around. To say that we're "liberating the Iraqi people" is a lie; we're placing them under our political will, a foriegn will, one they are bound to resist and strike back at.

Props to Zymurgist and Sean g for some of the most insightful and reasoned debate I have heard on this topic. I for one am at a loss as to what is going on, I don't really trust what we are being told by the media. I just hope that this can become an opportunity for us to show the Muslim world that the US and the UK are not their enemies,

By the way, is that 70% support for war figure legit? Does anyone have a link?

Hi all, better writers all by far than me.
It occurs to me that realistically speaking the only bedrock reason for the war is self defense. I was really miserable about the whole picture until I sorted that out. The other good effects of the war, improved conditions for the Iraqis, death of Saddam and so on are additional benefits.
The people who just HATE the President need to examine their hearts. Its not possible to be full of love for mankind and truth and hate GWB at the same time. He's just a man, doing a nearly impossible job. He can't possibly make you all happy at the same time.
I suspect that the administration knows more about how much danger we are in from the whole terrorist network than your average anti-war type.

Truth is not determined by majority vote