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US media spin on Iraq in preparation for war(28 posts)

US media spin on Iraq in preparation for warMJ
Dec 16, 2002 8:11 AM,7792,861126,00.html

remember no one's making you read it
How DARE you! nmEager Beagle
Dec 16, 2002 8:17 AM
Thanks for the well-reasoned explanation, Beagle (nm)cory
Dec 16, 2002 11:52 AM
I take it that you haven'tEager Beagle
Dec 17, 2002 1:16 AM
been following the "you Limeys posting Guardian articles in a cynical attempt to bring down the US government" war then eh?
re: US media spin on Iraq in preparation for warBikeViking
Dec 16, 2002 11:21 AM
My take on this is that after 9/11, we, the US, are not going to let problems (like terrorism) fester and get worse. Every President since Kennedy (or earlier) is guilty of not TRULY addressing it. It came back to bite us squarely on the a$$ on 9/11. That being said, our telerance of letting anything fester is at ZERO right now. Iraq has been a problem since Aug '90 and it's time to fish or cut bait. It is also the low hanging fruit as far as the other "Axis of Evil" nations (easiest of the three to deal with right now). We are dealing with NK in the diplomatic arena (notice we didn't BOMB them first!!) Iran may implode on its own, so a waiting game is in order as they don't IMMEDIATELY threaten anyone.

Will someone please provide an example of when vanquishmentbill
Dec 16, 2002 11:36 AM
actually worked? WWII you say? How about this -- that the real victory in WWII was with the Marshall plan, not with military victory. We had victory in WWI, the war to end all wars, but without a Marshall plan, the seeds of resentment sown then are what came back to bite us in the a**. In a really, really big way.
War is stupid and cruel. It is also sometimes necessary to be so stupid and cruel, but only when the end game is not some version of "they'll love us when we get them to lick our boots." Hasn't history taught us anything?
The equation between Iraq and terrorism so far is fantasy. Through stupid cruelty, we certainly can turn it into a reality.
Bush doesn't have the vision to be a "Nation Builder".czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 11:56 AM
Which is why he shouldn't be allowed to destroy any.

The Bush/Neocon strategy so far seems like recipe for creating the next Afghanistan. If Iraq has no ties to terrorism now, it will soon if Bush is allowed to go in without making any commitment to long-term rehabilitation of the country.

Given the dearth of reliable allies in the region, it seems odd that there is no plan to do with Iraq what we did with Japan after WWII. Scratch that. It doesn't seem odd, it seems dense and short-sighted, which is not odd at all for Bush policy.
No Bush bashing, pleaseCaptain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 1:31 PM
You could have made your argument without bashing Bush. Even so, your argument has numerous holes:

1. Bush did not "create Afghanistan." Afghanistan really began flourishing as an AQ haven under a prior, more liberal administration.

2. The "dearth of reliable allies in the region" is the result of an anti-American/pro-Muslim sentiment in the region, and is not based on any reconstruction plan (or lack thereof) by Bush.

3. It seems to me that Bush's national security policy has been well thought out, and with long-term vision. As you might recall, the initial public reaction to 9/11 was to bomb the hell out of Iraq and invade Afghanistan with a large force. Bush did not succumb to these pressures and has been very methodical, which was unlike Clinton's half-hearted response of bombing a vacant AQ camp.
You're right. George W. Bush didn't create the mess inbill
Dec 16, 2002 1:56 PM
Afghanistan, George H.W. Bush did. Or, more properly Ronald Reagan did. Those guys friggin created the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. They armed them, they supported them, and they cemented their resentment by abandoning them when it was no longer convenient.
I'm not sure what all that means, in terms of a problem is a problem is a problem, but let's get our facts straight.
But that's because the Soviets took over the country, right?Sintesi
Dec 17, 2002 6:00 AM
The Mujahadin (sp?) was a cold war tool for the US and freedom fighters for the Afghanis. After the Soviets left the Taliban took over and the US could have cared less. This is probably no different than the Soviets providing arms to the Viet Cong back in the 60's.

Those people were manipulated and used but the upshot is that Afghanistan became a huge albatross around the Soviet's neck and contributed to their downfall. Good right? We know the bad news about what happened but then again maybe none of this would have happened if the Soviets didn't invade in the first place. So who caused the mess? I imagine one could follow antecedents until they puked.
Insofar as Bush specifically disavowed "nation building". . .czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 1:58 PM
. . .the argument hinges on him personally. I find it interesting that you are opposed to the notion of holding the freaking president responsible for his own policy. Of course, as Bush himself would probably say, his policy doesn't hinge on any single person.

I never said that Bush created Afghanistan, nor did I say that our dearth of allies was a result of Bush policy.

As far as succumbing to initial public reaction: Bush simply did a half-a$$ version of the former and has proposed an equally half-a$$ed version of the later. Half-a$$ed foregn policy, as Clinton demonstrated, has a way of biting us full on our own a$$es.
Nation building in IraqTJeanloz
Dec 16, 2002 3:02 PM
A lot of people say that Iraq without Saddam will be a lawless region with little or no solid government and will create a real problem. There is one very good argument about why building Iraq will be easier than building Afghanistan: oil. Billions and billions of dollars of oil. It benefits nobody to have all of that oil controlled by warring factions, and, in fact, it would be almost impossible to export any of it without a strong centralized government to manage the process. A democratic government could use proceeds from oil investment to do more than build Presidential Palaces and research nuclear bombs.

Personally, what I find most distressing about the Middle East (primarily Saudi Arabia, actually), is the disparity between the rich and poor. If you think the income gap in the U.S. is bad (and Czardonic, I know you do), the Middle Eastern countries take it to a whole new level. Nobody in the United States has either as much money as the rich in Saudi Arabia, or as little money as the poor. How does Saddam justify living as he does when his people are suffering as they are? The money from oil proceeds could be used to build a better, peaceful Iraq, under a democratic regime. Very few countries have the resources that Iraq/S.A./Iran/Kuwait do, and this group needs to do more for its citizens, instead of its rulers.
I'm not <i>quite</i> one of those people.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 3:35 PM
Did you happen to see Rumsfeld on 60 minutes claiming that our policy in Iraq had nothing to do with oil? Of course, that is a bald faced lie, but if it were true then the oil wouldn't be a guarunter of security.

I noticed that you used Iraq and Saudi Arabia almost interchangebly in your description of the wealth disparity in the region. Despite the fact that one is our mortal enemy and the other is our ally, they are both opressive (albeit to different degrees, favoring S.A.) dictatorships that support (to different degrees, favoring Iraq) an ideological war against the U.S. Yet, as long as S.A. is willing to play economic ball, we do business with them.

So, while I agree that in the hands of a democratic government Iraq's resources could do a lot of good for the Iraqi people, in the hands of an amenable dictator they could do a lot of good for the American people. Cynical as it may be, I don't think any American administration is going to pass up that opportunity.

I agree that it is in everyone's interest to establish a stable Iraq that can begin to export oil. However, I suspect that whoever sets up and backs that government will be in it for reasons other than economic egalitarianism in the region. Either the country will devolve into infighting among ethnic factions as in Afghanistan, or we could end up with another Saudi Arabia, where the rich get richer and deflect the rage of the poor towards the U.S.
What does oil have to do with it...TJeanloz
Dec 17, 2002 5:48 AM
I think the Administration is right in that our desire for Iraq's oil has little to do with the current conflict. We get very little oil from Iraq, and the fact is that sooner or later, we're going to get it. There is no oil shortage right now, and opening Iraq's oil fields would only drive down the price of oil- which the left somehow believes will help Bush's 'cronies'. The last time I checked, if you're in a commodity business, you want prices to remain high and supplies to remain tight. So I think oil is ancillary to U.S. policy, it has nothing directly to do with it, but it is an unavoidable issue in that region.

In terms of using Iraq and Saudi Arabia interchangably, I see little difference between their regimes, and I don't see why I should personally support Saudi Arabia simply because they're an "ally"- I have similar feelings for any number of "allies", including Qatar, Israel, and Pakistan. Just because their our friends doesn't make what they're doing right.
Doesn't Iraq have the larges proven reserves in the world?czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:12 AM
I thought I heard something to that effect on the 60 mins. segment.

By keeping the oil under US control, we would be able to make sure that the oil comes onto the market under conditions that favor us, and the profits from that sale will directly benfit us.

I do agree that the countries you list do not deserve our support.
ResentmentLO McDuff
Dec 16, 2002 12:17 PM
I agree with you - sort of. While it is true that the Marshall Plan was a stroke of genius, we never would have been able to implement Marshall's plan without a resounding victory. The two went hand-in-hand and were equally important.

I don't think the US is looking at a post-war Iraq the way the French (for example) looked at a vanquished Kaiser. Check out the US' activities in post-"war" Afghanistan; schools are being reopened, women are participating in government, the infrastructure is being rebuilt. I see the same things happening in Iraq.

Now as far as a connection between Iraq and terrorism: I haven't been briefed by anyone from the CIA, NSA, or the Pentagon. So it is impossible to me (or any commentator) to say. One thing about this administration, they are incredibly tight-lipped. I'll wager that there is substantial information and it will be released after Hussein has sufficiently hung himself.
Lets ask the question a bit differently thoughKristin
Dec 16, 2002 12:10 PM
Instead of asking DID Iraq sell al-Qaida a chem-weapon, ask IF Iraq would sell them such a weapon. I think the answer is simple. Yes, as long as it would bring Iraq more benefit than harm. Would Iraq sell al-Qaida a bomb right now? I'm not so sure. It could stand to bring them much harm if they were caught. Even friends of al-Qaida tred lightly these days; but that won't last forever.
Al Queda is a sworm enemy of Saddam.czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 12:21 PM
They hate his secular regime, and a paranoid control-freak like Saddam would never give AQ weapons that they would just as soon use against him as us.
Sworn?Captain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 1:12 PM
Hmmm. Don't really know how one goes from being just an enemy to a "sworn" enemy, but it sounds pretty impressive.

I think there is a natural bond between Saddam and AQ due to their mutual hatred of America. I think Saddam would be more than willing to provide weapons to AQ, since they most likely would be used against us, not him. Also, Saddam would love nothing more than a shift in U.S. attention from him back to AQ.
Dec 16, 2002 2:08 PM
I'm, glad you are impressed.

But for that matter, how do two parties go from a bond to a "natural" bond? Especially when Saddam is a secular dictator who despises and oppresses religious fundamentalists, and Bin Laden is a religious fundamentalist who despises and seeks to destroy secular regimes?
Natural?Captain Morgan
Dec 16, 2002 2:21 PM
I don't mean to correct your vocabulary, because your diction is much superior than mine (that is a sincere compliment). I was just commenting ("sworn") on your exaggeration.

I think they are "natural" allies, again due to their common enemy (us). How do two opposite parties create a "natural" bond? Look at the U.S. and the Soviet Union back during WWII.
By "sworn". . .czardonic
Dec 16, 2002 2:43 PM
. . .I think that Bin Laden has specifically denounced Saddam as some kind of satanic figure. But, I could be mixing up his denunciations. Anyway, its not just that they dislike each other. Each poses a threat to each other.

As much as he hates the US, Bin Laden draws his power from pitting people against dictators like Saddam. And as much as Saddam hates the US, Bin Ladens twisted populism poses a threat to his totalitarian regime. Additionally, a man who rules as his own god gains nothing by enabling religion.
How about any terrorist?Sintesi
Dec 17, 2002 6:09 AM
It doesn't have to be Al Qaida. Could be Hammas (sp? How about hummous?) could be another Abu Nidal who was given safe haven in Iraq until they decided to assasinate him. If you don't agree with the specifics of the Kristin's assertion, how about conceding the spirit of it as a real possibility?
What is maddening about this argument is that anything isbill
Dec 17, 2002 9:01 AM
possible. Smacks of what McCarthy did -- "I have information!!" It turns out that he didn't, of course. But people thought he did, and that was enough to ruin lives.
If there was information that would stand the light of day, what earthly reason at this point is there to hide it?
The whole thing baffles me other than at the most cynical, disturbing level.
Dec 17, 2002 12:12 PM
We do know he harbored Abu Nidal, an infamous terrorist. He also pays the families of suicide bombers in Palestine. One could claim that the scud attacks on Israel were "terrorist acts" since they were not combatants. I don't really know more than that off the top of my head.

Just saying they support terrorists or "might" support terrorists against the US is a problem I agree, especially w/out hard evidence. It is insufficient. But by the same token the potential evil that Iraq (again) "might" be capable of doing isn't exactly a "far fetched" characterization either.

A piece of the argument for war presented for your consideration. It's a judgement call,no?
Point conceded.czardonic
Dec 17, 2002 11:27 AM
But that just gets us back to the issue of the many other countries that harbor terrorists (and don't do us the courtesy of assassinating them). Why go after Iraq first? Why not Pakistan? They really do harbor terrorists and they already have nuclear weapons. If our security was really the reason for the move against Iraq, those same security concerns would push Iraq a fair ways down our list of priorities.

So, what is the reason? I think the "low hanging fruit" theory makes the most sense. I'll see two legitimate ways to regard this. Some might say that it makes sense to take care of the problems that are easiest, even if they don't pose the greatest danger. I think that this campaign is a cynical attempt to create a false sense that we are acting against terrorism, while conveniently acting on long standing strategic goals. Even the second would be (almost) fine with me if I thought there was any chance that attacking Iraq would make us (or the Iraqi people) any safer.
Point conceded.Sintesi
Dec 18, 2002 6:19 AM
You're probably right (Wow! Look at us will you?) that Iraq is the easiest and therefore the most attractive. Since Vietnam the US has gravitated towards small winnable wars. But the terrorism angle is really just a side to the main dish(es). The Bush admin thinks (as do I) that Iraq is a serious threat to Israel, and the US' (and the rest of the world's) interest in oil, oil, oil. While I don't think this is purely about oil, Tjean made a good case about how independent we are of Mid-East oil, i.e. it wasn't as bad as we thought, it is clearly one of the strongest motivating factors. Coinkadinkally, it turns out Russia's and France's real objections against the war were actually based on oil contracts with Saddam Hussein. Apparently everyone is cynical and avaricious in this respect. They'll make deals with the devil as easy as we ever did.

If Pakistan had some product we desperately coveted you can bet we'd be taking a different tack with them, yes? There are a ton of factors at work here: Bush's personal vendetta against the man who tried t assasinate his dad, post 9/11 need to kick some ass, Saddam Hussein notariety (He has been the poster child of evil mid-easterners for years, if you can't get Osama then Saddam will do in a pinch), Iraq's failure to comply with peace accords, his attempts to get products that can be made into WMDs, his known desire to have WMDs, Israel, oil, etc... All necessary (well almost) but none of them sufficient reasons for war in of themselves. Iraq has the lottery ticket for US wrath.

Right now, I'm hoping nothing is found and Saddam Hussein dies of a stroke.
If the equation is not what they did but what they would do,bill
Dec 16, 2002 12:41 PM
then we'd be taking on the whole damn world. Hell, even if the question is just what they did, we'd still be taking on half the world. We would be at war with North Korea, we would have gone to war with France any number of times for selling arms to Libya and other Arab nations, we would be crushing Saudi Arabia for sure, and Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon would be indicted war criminals as well as Ronald Reagan. Throw in Bill Clinton, too, if it makes you feel better.
Nope. This whole Iraq thing makes very little sense as anything but a show of muscle. Is Iraq dangerous? Sure. Is Iraq posing an immediate threat? No more than any number of other countries.