« I'll have a sarin sandwich, with mustard | Main | survey says »

getting on the same page

On December 8th of 2002 Saddam was supposed to provide a "currently accurate, full, and complete declaration" of any weapons of mass destruction The U.N. resolution read, in part: bq. Any failure on the part of Iraq to comply fully as required by the established dates would justify the United States and its allies to use military force in order to enforce the U.N. resolution. Iraq did not comply, as evidenced by the discovery of sarin and mustard gas, both of which Iraq claimed to not have. Still with me? We just did what the U.N. said we could, which is all you ever wanted in the first place, right? Annika has more

Comments

"We just did what the U.N. said we could"
No no, you went way beyond that: you allowed for the Secretary of defense to wipe his ass with the Geneva Convention; you tortured POW's in a way that would outrage you if it were American soldiers and in the process, you told every single other nation that it is okay not to apply that same Geneva Convention to American soldiers. Thumbs up. You Are Doing A Great Job.

Hmmm...we are talking about the original invasion of Iraq and the reason for doing so. Tying the torture story in to this story is disingenous at best.

Nice try.

uh huh - like the US soldiers that were POW's and executed? That type of outrage? And as far as the Geneva Convention is concerned 1) The detainees at the Abu G prison are not covered by same due to their being enemy combatants, not POW's and 2) the day the rest of the world treats captured Western soldiers as well as we treat their terrorists it will be a great day indeed.

Not that anyone should take that bait... but...

When was the last time a country treated American soldiers under the terms of the Geneva Convention? Those are the POW stories that I've heard.

(That doesn't justify the POW mistreatment, of course, I'm just sayin')

We all know that legally and morally we were correct in concluding that inspections should be about verification more than detective work, but it's still embarrassing we couldn't find WMD. There's no way around that fact. You're just trying to lessen the embarrassment with posts like this.

Am I missing something here? Is there actually a moron out there trying to say that Iraq was in compliance with the UN resolutions, or are you just punching a straw man for fun?

We didn't even need to find sarin gas shells to show non-compliance. Saddam had missiles over the specified range and unmanned drones. He was still jerking the inspectors around and wouldn't let us interview his scientists without a government "minder." These are all matters of factual record, with no "it was planted" (however moronic the case) argument at all.

Thanks for trying to read my mind, Dellis, but you missed the mark.

I don't find it embarassing because I still think we will find a ton of WMDs. Perhaps we'll even find them in some other country, but we will.

Every so often, I do my laundry. I usually do it when I'm in a rush and I desperately need to. I'm under the gun, on a deadline, and it's rush rush rush.

I load up the laundry basket and rush to the laundry room. When I'm coming back from the laundry room with an empty basket, I usually come across a dropped sock or underwear or towel that fell from the load.

The Sarin-gas artillery shell was found on the side of the soad between Baghdad and Syria.

Make the parallel, and imagine what kind of laundry list of goddies Saddam delivered to Bashar Assad.

Pete: I hate to say it, but the last time, and perhps just about only time, any American soldier was treated according to the Geneva Conventions was by the damn Germans, of all people, in WWII. Few people harping on the current scandal like to point this out, but the conventions are agreements between Western nations. The Japanese certainly didn't abide by them, the N. Koreans and Chinese didn't, and you know the Vietnamese sure as hell didn't.

Even then, the Germans were not following the conventions to the letter of the law. U.S. POW's were often underfed, and Red Cross packages were often "lost" on the way to POW camps. Nevertheless, I'll give them credit for at least paying lip service to them.

I think what happened in Abu Gharib was deplorable, and those U.S. troops that were guilty (especially their officers) should do time. But the entire issue of the Geneva Conventions is a red herring, since Iraq was never a signatory, and no-one besides Western nations gives a damn about them anyway.

See, Gregory gets it. Why can't the rest of you?

Why don't we wait and see what Clarles Duelfer has to say aboutthe origin of the gas? Since it could have come from outside Iraq.

But even if it belonged to Saddam: look Michele, the point of the Iraq debate is not that Iraq was in violation of UN resolutions. The point is what should we have done about it? We now know with certainty that Iraq was not an imminent or even a "grave and gathering danger" to the U.S. because they did not even have active WMD programs, let alone active weapons. Did we have to invade and occupy the country to prove this? Was it worth the 760 American lives and over $100 billion to prove what could have been proven with rigidly enforced inspections? And if you want to argue that the inspections didn't work, please, I beg you, to read this Fred Kaplan summary of the David Kay report:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2089471/

We all knew Saddam was a liar. But George Bush is a liar too.

Brad: it does not make any sense to argue this point. By even thinking it came from outside Iraq is simply trying to "push the goal post back".

Just accept that we all need to "get it" and understand our role in this conflict. We are the sheep and President Bush is our shepard. He will tell us what is okay to believe. Go against it and you may be considered by some to be giving aid to our enemies.

"Am I missing something here? Is there actually a moron out there trying to say that Iraq was in compliance with the UN resolutions, or are you just punching a straw man for fun"

Soli...I think you find plenty of people who will ignore the UN resolutions demanding instead that the Security Council formally declare war on Iraq or the war is illegal.

And Drew.....you're not here to discuss anything, you're just trolling. Stop playing victim and help create a conversation beyond the snarky one liners.

Ryan it seems any serious attempt at starting a conversation that differs from your views seems to get dismiss out of hand.

Lets run the tests on the chemicals to confirm they originated from IRAQ and werent brought into the country after the fact.

But of course I hear the opposite. Raising any questions or concerns is taken as an attempt to push the "goal post back".
Hell I didnt even relize we had to since up into this point, since nothing up into this point had been found.

Brad, would "rigidly enforced inspections" have killed Al-Zarqawi, others in Ansar-Al-Islam, or Abu Nidal, or countless other Islamic fascists hiding in Iraq? Would they have discovered the mass graves of 300k+ bodies, or prevented new ones? Would they have stopped Uday, Qusay, and Saddam from dumping innocents into acid tanks and woodchippers? Would they have prevented the Husseins from continuing the Oil-For-Palaces gang rape? Would they have stopped the French, Germans, and Russians from continuing to insist on profit in that gang rape, as well as dual-use precursors of WMD?

How long would you have paid to continue "rigidly enforced inspections"? Until no innocent Iraqis were left alive? Until the next 9/11? Until when?

Hell I didnt even relize we had to since up into this point, since nothing up into this point had been found.
Don't read much news on the web do you?
No, we have not found fully operational nukes with their targeting systems pointed at preschools in the Washington DC area. But what we have found are plenty of plans and peices just ready to go as soon as they could. Hence why this was referred to as a 'gathering' threat and not an 'immenent' threat.

Has anyone read a mainstream liberal blogger's take on this yet? All of the ones I read are silent on this issue. Like they're waiting for their talking points. Tumbleweed. If you have read some reactions other than DU, please email me a link! Thanks guys. --s

We now know with certainty that Iraq was not an imminent or even a "grave and gathering danger" to the U.S. because they did not even have active WMD programs, let alone active weapons.

The point was not to wait for Saddam to become an imminent threat.

"Raising any questions or concerns is taken as an attempt to push the "goal post back"."

Basically your posts have been a quick snarky one liners or playing victim that your comments aren't being treated in the respectful manner that you see fit. The best you manage is to cheerlead Brad(who actually made an argument).

Stop playing victim, actually make arguments instead of pre-emptively stating those arguments will be censored or you will be called names(certainly a possibility)....

We now know with certainty that Iraq was not an imminent or even a "grave and gathering danger" to the U.S. because they did not even have active WMD programs, let alone active weapons.

By your standards, al Queada wasn't an "imminent or even a "grave and gathering danger" to the U.S." on 9/10/2001 either. I guess we whould have waited for the missle with the I heart Iraq sticker to arrive in Washington before invading.

Meanwhile, North Korea is very much an imminent threat. I mean, they've got nukes. If Bush were consistent with his policies, shouldn't we invade and occupy that nation straightaway?

Too many of you folks think that "plans" means that Saddam was actively looking to hurt us. Did any of you read the David Kay report of any of his later remarks--or are you just recycling neocon talking points?

Saying that we can't wait for Saddam to be an imminent threat and that our only option is to invade and indefinitely occupy a nation is like saying that since you caught your kid smoking pot, you must put him in jail, because you can't wait for the day you catch him smoking crack.

Bush's use of the term "grave and gathering danger" was itself deceptive, since he had already made up his mind to invade Iraq and was just looking for the cart to put the horse in front of.

My standards for al Qaeda being an imminent threat are the standards of the August 6 PDB, which we-all-know-who ignored.

Heh heh. The anti-war types posting here are in FULL meltdown, and this isn't even a sure thing yet.

Oh, and Brad, let's hear your options for dealing with Hussein without invasion.

All I know is that we'd better find the rest of that stuff before it finds us.
I have a newsflash! Some significant percentage of the world's one point two BILLION Muslims want us all dead. Not just the Eeeeeevillll Right Wingers like me but all of us. The majority of the dead in the Bali bombings were against Australian involvement in the WOT. The Twin Towers, being in NYC contained mostly Democrats.
Our choice is a simple and stark one. We either take the fight to them, one or two countries at a time until we finsih it in a couple of generations or we wait for them to bring the fight to us.
We don't get to choose whether to fight, we only get to choose where to fight. Ask those who were only wounded in Bali. They chose not to fight. Worked real well, didn't it?

Look, we all knew that the legal argument for invading Iraq was, in some sense, distinct from (among others) the security argument, the strategic argument, the tactical argument and the moral argument (although there was some overlap in the justifications). But for the sake of the people who insisted before the war that the legal arguments about UN resolutions were the sine qua non of international legitimacy for this war, the Bush Administration put enormous political capital into proving that the war was justified under standards of international law, and that it was necessary to avoid letting threats issued under UN resolutions, and the conditions of the 1991 ceasefire, become dead letters.

These goals, the Bush Administration took seriously. Its opponents, who professed to find them determinative, did not.

It is now clear beyond dispute that the Saddam Hussein regime was not in compliance with the terms of the cease fire, which were the conditions for ending the last war. It is now clear beyond dispute that the Saddam Hussein regime was not in compliance with UN resolutions with which the regime was told to comply under penalty of the use of force.

Sad Brad and other lefties, if you want to whack away at the other justifications for war, go ahead, and we'll meet you on those terms. But don't insult our intelligence by ignoring the fact that the war was, in fact, justified under the international law precepts that we were told were the most important standard to satisfy.

Crank,

Can you list one person who doesn't think Saddam was in violation of the UN resolutions? (No, Brad did not say that.)

Saddam was proven beyond any doubt, before the war, to be in violation of the UN resolutions. Everyone agrees with that. Hans Blix agrees. John Kerry agrees. France agrees (they just wouldn't authorize the use of force). I bet you could even get Ted "the dumbest sot on the planet" Rall to agree. So don't insult our intelligence by suggesting that this sarin attack just proved something new in that regard.

Also, no one (serious) is arguing that the United States is legally obligated under internation law to follow the Geneva convention in treatment of Iraqi prisoners. They aren't a signatory, so it's completely irrelevant from a legal perspective. The issue people have is that if we were treating prisoners correctly, we would be more likely to win. Torture, in particular the violation of cultural taboos, is not the way to win hearts and minds.

Brad:
Not sure if North Korea is the example you want to use to prove your point. Had the US followed the doctrine of pre-emption some years age, we woudln't be challenged with how to deal with a nuclear-armed rogue nation headed by one of world's all-time leading nut-bags. The point was to keep tools like Saddam from becoming North Korea. I'm still waiting for the left to present a workable case for dealing with Iraq. Continue to contain Saddam with sanctions and inspections (that he seems to have been circumventing quite nicely at the expense of the Iraqi populace)? Give inspections more time? How much more time? And if Saddam did finally comply, do you trust him not to go back and re-constitute his weapons program (see North Korea)? His past actions make that seem unlikely. Continue diplomacy to get France, Germany, and Russia on board to form a "real" coalition? As the UN Oil-for-Fraud program is unwound, it seems that prominent players and Saddam apologists in these countries were profiting quite nicely by keeping Saddam right where he was. The situation in Iraq was untenable, and change from inside (coup, revolt, whatever) wasn't going to happen anytime soon. Please, somebody tell me, given our post 9/11 world, how else was Iraqi regime change to be effected short of military action (as was USA policy since 1998)?

Brad-

You keep bringing up David Kay. Try reading this:

In an interview with National Public Radio, Mr. Kay echoed the Bush administration's claim that "in the shadowing effect of September 11," the president was right to "recalculate what risk [Saddam posed] based on the intelligence that existed."
††††"I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat," Mr. Kay said, adding that "what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place potentially than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war."

As far as North Korea:

Yes, they have Nukes (thanks to our previous stupid policy toward them). Unless you want to turn the entire country, north and south, into a parking lot- you don't invade as a first option. You do that BEFORE they get them. Like Iraq.

And before you ask- yeah, I'm looking at Iran. And it's a lot easier from right next door.

Does anyone else see the sheer lunacy of Peter's proposal:
"We either take the fight to them, one or two countries at a time until we finsih it in a couple of generations or we wait for them to bring the fight to us."??

This of course rides on two ridiculous assumptions, (1) that there is a fixed number of radical Muslims out there and (2) that we alone have inexhaustible resources soldiers and money to get the job done. Why not just nuke the whole Middle East and Indonesia, let God sort it out, eh?

And Crank, excuse me, but you're full of shit when you say that "the war was, in fact, justified under the international law precepts."
The UN Charter does recognize the use of unilateral military force by a member state, but only for purposes of self defense and only when an "armed attack" has occured against that state, as stated in Chapter 7, Article 51.
Let's not kid ourselves: The Bushies decided to introduce, for the first time in modern history, pre-emptive war as a legitimate method of defense, and then tried to justify it by obtaining the imprimatur of the U.N.
Remember, there was never a second vote on the use of force after Resolution 1441 was passed (which France and Russia voted for only because they assumed that threatening Iraq with "serious consequences" did not mean using armed force without a second resolution).
You can criticize the ineffectiveness of the UN governing body all you want, and I won't debate you there, but you can't pretend that Bush had full U.N. security council support and that he exhausted all diplomatic avenues.

I don't actually think the sarin gas thing is a huge data point in this argument, but it is additional support for what we already knew. (The Geneva Convention's a separate issue.)

Does anyone here think that Brad knows what not to do but doesn't have a clue what to do? I mean, I'm still waiting on his helpful comments about what the US should do, as opposed to the tiresome complains about what we are doing. But, hey, criticism is easy... coming up with actual answers, that's hard.

This of course rides on two ridiculous assumptions, (1) that there is a fixed number of radical Muslims out there

Oh, right, this is the "we can't fight them 'cause we'll just make more of them" argument. Thanks.

Brad, the same argument could apply to any group. There is not a fixed number of republicans, or firemen, or left-handed-Swedish-porn-stars, or radical Muslims.

That doesn't mean there is an infinite number of them.

and (2) that we alone have inexhaustible resources soldiers and money to get the job done. Why not just nuke the whole Middle East and Indonesia, let God sort it out, eh?

First, you have not seen this country on full war footing, as in WW2, with a huge percentage of its GDP turned towards the destruction of the enemy, with an extremely high percentage of its citizens in the armed forces, with its resources rationed and its industry turned towards producing arms. The resources of the US are not inexaustible, but they are sufficient to conquer the ENTIRE middle east should we decide to do so.

Most likely, though, it would never come to that, because your sneering comment about nukes might just come true. If nuclear weapons start going off in American cities, then that's it for the middle east. All bets are off.

but you can't pretend that Bush had full U.N. security council support and that he exhausted all diplomatic avenues

And what ARE "all diplomatic avenues?!?" I mean, after twelve years of games with Hussein, of lies and threats and violations, somehow diplomacy was going to work?

Bill Whittle wrote about this in his essay "Magic"

(http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000051.html)

Look around. In the months leading up to the Iraq war, how many people were saying we should hold out and let diplomacy work to remove Saddam? Had diplomacy worked in the previous 12 years? No. Had anything changed since then? It had not. So how will it work this time? Magic! Thatís how. And so to believe that diplomacy, and not force, would remove Saddam from power was a case of deeply magical thinking. Plus, you get to come out against killing people! That feels good! Letís do it!

Brad, I've argued with literally dozens of people like you, and they will NEVER admit there's a point when the US should have said "enough."

TWELVE YEARS. In the meantime, while you're waiting for diplomacy to begin its wonderful work, the people of Iraq were dying, being killed by Hussein at an average rate of ten thousand every month. Not to mention the thousands dying due to starvation due to sanctions, a fact which the left before the war never failed to mention. How many more months should we have waited, Brad? How long was the US supposed to keep an invasion level military force on the border of Iraq? I'd love to hear your answers.

Brad - Just . . . for the sake of my blood pressure, I beg of you . . . stop using "unilateral" to mean "a bunch of nations but not all of them." Just find a word that actually means what you say it means. Please.

Either you supported treating violations of those UN resolutions and the terms of the cease-fire as leading to actual serious consequences or you did not.

y'all are really grasping at straws now. come on. some roadside bomb explodes that might have sarin nerve gas in it and you think that proves what gwb said about iraq was true?

the man argued that Iraq was a grave and gathering danger. hell, it wasn't then, but it sure is now, after we f-ed it up.

sorry. war supporters are grasping at straws at this point. bush is toast, and rumsfeld will be impeached if he doesn't resign.

Christopher A - If Bush is toast how does that explain Kerry being unable to stretch out a large lead in any of the polls taken so far? Just a thought.

And Chris I assume you believe Rumsfeld should resign due any responsibility you feel he should accept for being in charge. Then can we assume you also favored Clintons and Kofi'e resignations over a millon of so Rwandans that died while he and the UN played patty cake. You can probably add democratic hack Richard Clarke to that list as well considering its now proven he also blew off the importence of the same Rwandans.

I just asking Chris, and wondering if your moral compass's needle is stuck on the Democratic side, or faceing the middle where everyones should be in matters such as these.

A quick note to Brad. Under the rules of war a violation of a ceasefire (in this case from the Gulf war in 1991)is all the legal cover Bush needed to resume hostilities.

Otto, I can't believe you're ignoring that we could have left sanctions in place. Killing another 60-70 thousand Iraqis a year (mostly children under the age of 10).

Why, that's a good Brad option. Until we finally backed down from that too, from the sheer inhumanity of it.

And once we took the last bit of Hussein leverage away, I'm sure he would have just poseyed up to the rest of the world all cozy and friendly like.

Honestly, what does it take folks? We are arguing about politics. Not the war.

Here's what Juan Cole, who knows a hell of a lot more about Iraq than any of you, has to say about the "chemical weapons" attack in Iraq.

"Another bombing in Baghdad near US troops on Saturday had involved the use of sarin gas. Two US soldiers suffered slight reactions to the gas. This was probably just an old 1980s shell of the sort used against the Kurds and Iranians, and nothing suggests many of these remain or are still operative. The insurgents who used it may not even have known what it was. (It was not marked). A couple left-over stray such shells does not prove that there were WMD in Iraq in any signifcant sense. No doubt it will set off a frenzy among the latter-day Juan Ponce de Leones looking vainly for the Fountain of WMDs. It is virtually a non-story.

"US aircraft bombed Karbala overnight. Now that is a story.

"I can't believe I just wrote the words above. I would not be writing them if Bush had any idea whatsoever what he was doing in Iraq. Bombing Karbala. It must be being seen by Shiites as like a sci-fi Terminator sort of Yazid."

All you modern Ponce DeLeon's would do well to read that blog, actually. You might learn something.

And yes, Marc, Clinton should have been impeached for Rawanda. I'm no DNC schill.

who knows a hell of a lot more about Iraq than any of you

Translation: he agrees with Christopher.

Hey guys,

You are debating with someone (Chris A) from indymedia. Might as well talk to someone from Democratic Undergorund or the Ministry of Silly Walks for all the point in it.

Translation: he agrees with Christopher.

um, no. Translation: He is a world famous scholar in Iraq history.

Translation: He is a world famous scholar in Iraq history.

...who agrees with you.

Chris A:

Maybe Juan Cole does know a thing or two about Iraq, but he needs to get his story straight on the sarin shell. It was a binary shell that was found, something Iraq did not develop until the 90's. That this is a "left-over" from artillery used against the Kurds or Iranians is highly unlikely. I do agree with his assertion, "A couple left-over stray such shells does not prove that there were WMD in Iraq in any signifcant sense." I believe the jury is still out on that. But for Juan Cole to claim that "It is virtually a non-story" is a load of crap. It is most definitely a "story", whether the mainstream media (LATimes buried it on page A8)or the left wants to admit it or not. Sarin is very serious stuff, and just because the terrorists may not have known what they had, or that it didn't fire properly doesn't make it any less dangerous. If this is a new tactic to be used against coalition forces, God help our troops if the terrorists figure out how to properly detonate a sarin shell, or any other chem/bio artillery they may have gotten their hands on.