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Are we going to fight two wars at once? And who's to blame?(22 posts)

Are we going to fight two wars at once? And who's to blame?Silverback
Dec 24, 2002 11:09 AM
Anybody catch Donald (The Hawk Who's Never Flown) Rumsfeld bloviating this morning about how ready we are to fight two wars at once? Are you ready to register for the draft, or register your firstborn sons (and daughters, too; why not?)? Are we really threatened, or is the W. admin just covering its @ss so if something DOES happen, it can say, "We tried to warn you, but the tax-and-spend Democrats wouldn't listen"?
Or--a conspiracy theory for the few of us at work today to argue about--is the whole thing just a scam to justify spending billions of dollars with Bush's friends in industry, serendipitously leaving nothing for Social Security, health care and other programs they don't believe in?
Get a clueAlpedhuez55
Dec 24, 2002 11:31 AM
I did not know Rumsfeld was the masternind behind the trade center bombings. Maybe the draft would be a good thing if it sent some of these doves who thinks each dollar used to make a bomb comes out of Grand Ma's Social Security into exile in Canada.

I had friends killed in the terrorist attacks. For a morons like you and your friends to even think it was a conspiracy is idiotic. I suppose Monica Lewinsky was a Republican Mole in the vast right wing conspiricy trying to bring down Clinton.

THe government is bloated and should be run to the same standards as a business would be expected to do. It is not either a war or health care. THere is enough money for both if goverment would run efficiantly. WHy do liberals always try to make such a silly argument that people will starve if we drop a few bombs on Iraqi Militay sites and terroist training camps and hideouts.

The war is one for stability in the civilized world. There are people on the otherside of the world protecting your right to rant like an Idiot. Try making your statements in Iraq a or Iran and I am sure you will have your nuts served to your camel for dinner.

Mike Y.
So that would be a "Yes," then?Silverback
Dec 24, 2002 12:09 PM
Lighten up, man--I'm just throwing this out for conversation. You may have heard of the First Amendment, which gives me the right to do that.
I don't want to get into a personal argument, so I won't pick at your individual statements. For the record, though, I'm a Vietnam vet with scars and some minor medals to prove it. I say that gives me a right to an opinion about sending my sons to fight in Iraq. At least I have an idea what they'd face there, which isn't true of most of the hawks in the Bush administration. In any case, have a nice Christmas once your blood pressure comes down.
why is it that the alot of people who seem suspiciousMJ
Dec 24, 2002 1:41 PM
about military action are combat vets? why is it they are termed 'doves' and 'liberals'?

your points about Rumsfeld et al are on the mark - no one - except for oil company $$ - is being protected on the other side of the world

Alpedehuez really needs to calm down and think about priorities
MJ, you're a smart guy,TJeanloz
Dec 25, 2002 9:21 AM
How does a war in the Middle East help oil companies? Oh yeah, it disrupts their supply chain, destroys infrastructure they've spent billions of dollars on, and throws into doubt contracts they have with current regimes, all for the possibility of a short term spike in prices (which didn't happen in 1991). Yeah, if I'm an oil company CEO I think all of that is grand.

If I'm an oil company CEO, I want sanctions to continue on Iraq, restricting what could be the second largest exporter of oil in the world from dumping supply into my marketplace. Except that I don't even really care that much about that, because I have a staff of traders working diligently to hedge my positions, and the price that I'm going to pay for oil for the next five years is already contracted out.

The problem is that it's so easy to target big oil, that anti-war groups can't help but say it's all about the oil. This has little to do with oil (at least oil for American consumption), and I for one, can't wait for the planet to run out of oil so we won't need to hear this bellyaching about how every war is over oil. If I wanted to blame the war on something other than the Adminstration line, I'd say that Bush is timing a wag-the-dog scenario to get himself re-elected in 2004, or that he's avenging his father's failure. But oil? It just doesn't make business sense.
thanks TJMJ
Dec 25, 2002 10:47 AM
the point is IMO that it's a long term game plan

contract for oil concessions in Iraq have already been doled out accoring to a number of news sources (Guardian included :-) ) - maybe even listed on the Hunt Oil home page

they're the ones who control it - and they're the ones who'll be administering post-war control in Iraq - I'm sure they won't let any glut on the marlet ruin they're plans - they're smart guys too

as you know prices for oil (and most other things) have options when prices hit certain defined rates - hedges are protected - you can be sure the oil guys and their advisers have been looking after their profit bottom line

at the moment - if I was big oil I'd be far more worried about the Venezuelan crisis - that wasn't scripted and may therefore not be covered in the hedge contingency plan - we've seen the CIA has already bungled their influence there in the past 6 months during the last Chavez coup

I don't think oil is the only reason - but it's in the list for sure - dovetails nicely - I like the wag the dog scenario too

anyways - I'm not such a dove as you may think - but it's nice to point out the pack of lies that Bush & Co trot out in respect of Iraq - they're (he's) not a direct threat to the US or western interests - they're not linked with terrorists (funding or otherwise) - we can't find any WMD's despite NSA satellite's presumably keeping a close eye on things - N Korea on the other hand are far more worrying - Iraq is a known quantity which has been effectively managed for some time - N Korea (with an adjacent 37,000 US personnel and a large (sometimes friendly?) civilian population) is far less stable - theyre starving and desparate for some old fashioned attention - they're the dark horse (along with the ususal Hezbollah and Al Qaeda remnants athough it's difficult to fight them on TV and win)

you're in finance right? have you read Joseph Stieglitz's recent book 'Globalization and its Disconents'? - it's a good read - would be interested in your views - he considerably raises the game abve Naomi Klein's 'No Logo'
Oil concessionsTJeanloz
Dec 25, 2002 11:29 AM
The oil situation in Iraq is actually pretty interesting. Currently, American oil companies aren't allowed to do business with Iraq, even under the Oil for Food program, so most of the current sales are by French and Russian oil companies. And, as I understand it, to get France and Russia on-board at the Security Council, Bush had to promise that foreign oil concessions granted under Saddam would be honored in a post-Saddam environment, giving French and Russian companies the clear advantage.

Is access to Iraqi oil a long term goal? Probably. More oil is better than less, and Iraq has a lot of oil, so eventually, it will go to the industrialized nations. Will this be good for American oil companies? Probably. But does anybody really think that Dick Cheney walks into the Oval Office and says: "Mr. President, I just got off the phone with my boys Lee Raymond and Steven Percy, and they would really appreciate it if we got rid of Saddam and let them drill oil in Iraq; so, I think we should do it."

Another question. If this is about oil, why not just lift the sanctions, and let American companies drill in Iraq? Or keep the sanctions, and let them participate in the food-for-oil programs? Wouldn't that be better than a war? Or is it not really about the oil?

On the Stieglitz book, I have read reviews, but not actually the book. I have to assume it's better than Naomi Klein's book, given that noLogo didn't really make any economic argument or sense. Of course, I probably won't agree with Stieglitz at all, as I'm generally a callous free-trade-at-all-costs advocate. The real challenge for economists is defining what we call "better off". Historically, GDP is the measure of "utility", but now people want to somehow account for suffering or pain, which is very difficult to value, and skews the analysis entirely. I agree that suffering should be part of the equation, but not without some real value. So, while the book is probably interesting, I doubt it would change my mind at all.
So that would be a "Yes," then?Alpedhuez55
Dec 24, 2002 4:43 PM
Yes, the first amendmant does give you the rigth to make a your statements, just as it gives me the right to call your arguments foolish. The implication that Republicans are behind the terrorism in an effort to help the Defense industry is just silly.

The last gulf war may have been as much about oil as it was about liberating Kuait. This one is not. It is about terrorism that is going on in the US, Africa, Europe, & Asia. These acts have cause a lot of instability in the world financial makets already. Iraq is a major funder of terrorist activities. The biggest mistake the US can make is not being vigilant enough and giving these groups a chance to rebuild.

Maybe you would realize terrorism is a real threat if you would read the news. In the last few months there have been attacks in Bali, Nigeria, Phillipines & Isreal to name a few. Or am I suppose to beleive the Republicans are behind all of these attacks too? The Terrorists are attacking tourist areas and financial markets to try do disrupt the world economy. They have done so in addition to taking several thousand lives.

This is a different war, much different than Vietnam. Vietnam was not a threat to US Soil. Right now, there are terrorists among us. Technology has also changed a lot in the last 30 years. There are drone spy planes, smart bombs, more accurate missles that would eliminate most of the infrastructure that is already weakened from the last war. If ground troops are sent in, it will be mostly to take soldiers waving white flags.

While I respect you ar a Vietnam Vet, that does not mean I have to respect your opinions on the current state of world affairs. It takes a lot more than a couple of people spewing their illogical views to raise my blood pressure. You are giving yourself way too much credit. Merry Christmas!!!
I wouldn't bet on the next Iraq war being like the last one.Spoke Wrench
Dec 25, 2002 11:31 AM
Last time we quit while we were still in the desert. We were able to substitute superior technology for people in the desert.

All of the stuff that I've read says that to affect a regime change in Iraq will require urban fighting. That's going to be much more messy and chew up a lot of our infantry. Our superior technology is going to be less helpful than last time. If we find it necessary to send infantry into the cities, we will be sending a lot more coffins home.

Assuming we do prevail, what are we going to accomplish? To my knowledge, the connection between Al Kaida and Saddam Hussain is flimsy. I'd suspect that we will further destablize the mid-east and actually make it easier for the Al Kaida leadership to find other havens to drift into.

Honestly, this is looking more and more to me like Viet Nam without the jungle. I'm not optimistic. I'm also not comfortable with the idea that the people who appear to be calling the shots have direct, close connections with the people who will profit by rebuilding the oil infrastructure in Iraq after the fighting.
I wouldn't bet on the next Iraq war being like the last one.Alpedhuez55
Dec 25, 2002 8:09 PM
I think the number of hardliners is not too large in Iraq. The people would rather have a new leadership but do not have a means to do so. It would be a simular situation to that in Afganistan. The links are not the strongest between Al Queida and Hussain, but they are there. One of the ringleaders, who flew a plane with a friend of mine on it into the WTC, met Iraqi officials prior to the 9/11 attacks.

If there is a last battle, it will be with a small group of harliners. I think the bigger fear is they use of chemical or bilological weapons against US forces or attempt to deliver them against Israel to try to gain support of radical muslims. Remember he has used chemical wepons against the Kurds. This will not be a 10 year battle in an urban jungle. Though there will likely be UN involvement in any new regime.

It is funny how some people try to make an agrument and not realize that the world changed on 9/11. Or even implying that Republicans are behind 9/11. Where were these "doves" when clinton tried to "wag the dog" during the Lewinsky Scandal? They now are already saying Bush is doing this to engineer his re-election and to bost profits of oil companies and defense contractors, who by the way donate to both parties.

You cannot take terrorism out of this debate. You are ignoring an attack against the US and its economy and the loss of 5000 lives. Doing so just exposes the ignorance of the liberal argument.
A coupla' of thoughts.Spoke Wrench
Dec 26, 2002 8:26 AM
You said you think the number of hard liners in Iraq is relatively small. I'm old enough to remember Viet Nam and that's what they told us back then too. I used to be able to tell the exact year when I changed my mind about Viet Nam. It was when I came to the conclusion that the South Vietnamese were less zealous in fighting for their country than we were. There was also the problem of sorting out the good Vietnamese from the bad Vietnamese. Why do you think Iraq will be different?

Frankly, it looks to me like the link between the 9/11 terrorists and Sauda Arabia is quite a bit stronger than with Iraq. If we are going to war because of 9/11, are we attacking the right country?

Finally, you made mention of a "liberal argument." It looks to me like people have taken to using the terms "Liberal" and "Conservative" when they run out of facts to argue. Would you mind defining those terms for me?
There are a lot of issues relating to liberal and conservative that I'm confused about.

What's the right thing to do about 9/11? Do we intern all of the Arabs who are in the US the way that the Nazis did the Jews? Would a uniform national ID system make sense, or would that only inconvenience the innocent people while the truely bad guys freely move about with counterfit documents? Our intelligence people have more data coming in than they can classify and analyze in a timely manner. Would increasing the amount of money we spend on that decrease the likelihood of a 9/11 repeat?

Fortunately for me, I'm just an average dumb guy who isn't expected to have the answers because all I've got is questions. We reduced Afganistan to rubble because that was supposed to make us safer. We left a garrison force in place which is under constant gorilla attack just like in Viet Nam. Do you feel any safer? How do you think Iraq will be any different?
Dec 26, 2002 9:00 AM
Having been a Viet Nam era veteran (I wasn't sent to Nam but was in the Army when Cambodia and VN fell), it became clear that we weren't going to "win" the war when it was obvious we were not going to use all the weapons at our disposal for total war and victory. The result is that we fought the war via the Viet Cong and NVA's rules..not a good idea. As the History Channel noted one time, had the U.S. fought Viet Nam as the Romans fought, we would have won as all the Vietnamese would have been dead. Ugly and unacceptable but true. (One should note that Robert McNamara, I think former Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy, in his confessions of mea culpa a few years ago, acknowledged that he "knew" early in Viet Nam that we were not going to do what it took to win the war and still went forward recommending our sending troops there...50+thousand dead on his and other's heads)

I am not aware of any Afghanistani city reduced to rubble. Rather, the country was already a mess and any "rubble" created by the U.S. was just more blown up rock in the country side. They have very little in the way of infrastructure to destroy.

The U.S. will not intern all Muslims in the U.S. and yes, Saudi Wahabist funding of terrorists and madrassahs around the world looks very real. Therefore we are faced with having to implement methods to stop further terrorist actions and monetary support at the same time that terrorists take advantage of our freedoms to funnel terrorist support funds to and fro and plan their next big blast here.

Small thing but did you note that Muslims pitched a hand grenade in a Christian church, killing 3 girls, this past week in Pakistan? Just one more example of the kind of thing Islamic terrorists are perpetrating through-out the world. And be assured they have more plans for the U.S. and western Europe.

Iraq may not have a direct connection to Al Qaeda terrorism, but it does have a connection in anonimosity to the West. Combine that with willingness to oppress whomever he wants with utmost brutality, then either as a source or channel for funding or weaponry, then he is a prime candidate for an Al Qaeda ally. You could also add Syria, Iran, and Pakistan among others to the fold. With any luck, it appears that Iran might teeter toward a revolution that would overturn the Islamic Republic and take them somewhat out of the mix. The others will remain. And the reason that Afghanistan is still problematical? Support and assistance to Al Qaeda from the Iranian government to the west and Islamists supporters in Pakistan to the east.
Questions and AnswersJon Billheimer
Dec 26, 2002 12:58 PM
I think Spoke asks excellent questions and Steve makes some equally excellent observations. The issue is not whether we have to attack terrorists and terrorism at its roots, but how best to do it. As others on this board have observed it's very hard to go after a covert, diverse, and widely scattered enemy that only uses nation-states to hide in. Bush originally said that he'd go after any government that aided and sponsored terrorists. So far his response has been pretty selective and Iraq's connections with Al Qaeda appear tenuous at best. It appears that the terrorists' main sponsor governments so far have gone unscathed. It'll be interesting to see how his agenda unfolds in the next few years.
A coupla' of thoughts.Alpedhuez55
Dec 26, 2002 9:23 AM
If you look at my first reply to this origingal post, you will see I mention Saudi Arabia and their failure to crack down on extreimists. Nobody is suggesting we intern Arabs in the us. I would compare that action more to the treatment of Japanese americans during WW2 than Nazi Germany though. Sadam slaughtering Kurds is a better comparison to the Nazis. Arab Community in the US should to try to cooperate a little more. I also think the US should tighten up the immigration and Student Visa Programs as well. THat would be a good start.

When I was pointing ont the flaws in the liberal argument made by some posters here, it is that they are ignoring important facts. The liberal argument is generally stating this is just about oil. If you look at the posts, they ignore ethnic cleansing in Iraq, violations of the weapons agreement and global terrorism when trying to prove their point. There are plenty of other points that can be made for action aginst Iraq.

Look at what happenned the last time. THese Elite Republican Guards were pretty quick to surrender when the ground forces moved in. The mistake was not going into Bahgdad because of the UN policy 10 years ago. THere is also no China or Russia backing Saddam. I am no expert, but I know enough to realize situation is very different than Nam.

I do feel safer than I did a year ago. The type of attack completed on 9/11 will not happen again. The airports are more secure. The removal of the Taliban from power makes if harder for terroist groups to operate there. I feel the whole free world would sleep easier if Saddam is removed from power. I think the people there would respond positively to a change. And if the Gorillas are fighting UN Peacekeepers in Iraq after the regime is changed, it is one less possible terrorist attacking the US soil.

Mike Y.
"read the news"empacher6seat
Dec 27, 2002 7:03 PM
Your comment about reading the news to get the latest on wordly terrorist attacks is a bit concerning.

Terrorism was not born on Sept 11th. It's been going on for ages, but no one cared before it happened on such a large scale in the US. I wonder how many people in America are killed by fellow americans by guns compared to how many are killed by terrorist attacks in other countires? Would that warrant other countries bombing the US to get rid of these dangerous murders?

The news only plays these events up because they know it's what gets peoples attention. To think that since Sept 11 there has been a huge increase in terrorism around thew world, and that now America and democracy is at a much larger risk then it was at a year ago is foolish.
"read the news"Alpedhuez55
Dec 29, 2002 10:42 AM
The read the news comment was directed at some of the posters to make them aware that attacks are ongoing still. They only seem to be concerned with oil companies and ignoring the continued threat of globa terrorism. You hear of a new attack almost every day. One of my first memories from my youth is the 1972 Olympics. I know it went on before then and ever since.

Also, comparing terrorism to gun control is like comparing apples and oranges. You may as well put guns against elderly drivers or cigarettes. It is a topic for another thread. Gun viloence in inner cities is not a threat to any foreign state. Terrorism is. If you want to ignore it and let the terrorist grops rebuild and expand, all I can say is I am glad you are not making the decisions in Washington.

Anyone who watches the morning news during a 2" New England snowfall knows how much the news pays up certain events. Maybe they are just covering events that they never made much mention of before 9/11. The last few months have seen major attacks directed at tourists. Yes, of course I know there were attacks like these before 9/11.

9/11 was much like Pearl Harbor since the threat reached US Soil. It made the US look at global terrorism as a domestic issue. Maybe 9/11 could have been avirted if attacks against US Military and Embassies abroud were treated as an attack on the US Soil. Now homeland Security is a big issue. If you do not thinkso, access soom to be former Senator Cleeland in Georgia.

If we learn anything from these attacks it is that the US & UN should remain vigilant against groups and states that support terrorists. A pre-emptive strike is better than a reactionalry one if it can save lives.
RE: Registering for the draftTJeanloz
Dec 25, 2002 9:37 AM
You ask if we are ready to register for the draft? Let's hope so, considering that all men aged 18-25 are required by law to register for the draft. And if you don't, you are ineligible for student aid, a drivers license (in many states), federal jobs, citizenship if you are a resident alien, as well as state or federal aid, and admission to public colleges, not to mention 5 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

So I am not only ready to register for the draft, but I already am registered, as are 92% of my cohorts (men age 20-25).
to be fairMJ
Dec 25, 2002 10:51 AM
I believe even most doves would rally round the cause (even if it's this one) if the situation required - lots of people did in Vietnam - everyone has a duty even if they disagree and it is unpalatable - the questions is where is the line between the duty being to join military proceedings or protest a war when you legitimately disagree?
If it were about oil, we'd just take KuwaitDougSloan
Dec 26, 2002 10:00 AM
This "oil" conspiracy theory is sort of ludicrous. If all we really wanted was oil, we could likely take Kuwait with one tank; we are already there. For that matter, even Saudi Arabia would be about a thousand times easier than Iraq. Why would we pick the most difficult country, rather than an easy target? To have any credibility, the conspiracy theories at least need to make a little sense.

We have Kuwait. Plus, Kuwait is no Iraq.czardonic
Dec 26, 2002 10:30 AM
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are already our allies (at least as far as oil is concerned). Iraq has something like the largest untapped reserve in the region, all of which could go to the Russians and French if left to Saddam to dole out.

Anyway, the real conspiracy starts with us taking out Iraq, which is unpopular in the region, and then using it (and its oil reserves) as a base to take on Saudi Arabia.
what do you mean by "have"?DougSloan
Dec 26, 2002 11:04 AM
>Anyway, the real conspiracy starts with us taking out Iraq, which is unpopular in the region, and then using it (and its oil reserves) as a base to take on Saudi Arabia.

Why? We could take SA in about a day.

Also, being "allies" is not exactly the same as controlling the country, which people are alleging are the intentions with Iraq. I think we could have plenty of oil with Kuwait and/or SA and never even bother with Iraq -- so, why take on Iraq if this is just about oil?

"Have", as in we have an amicable trade relationship.czardonic
Dec 26, 2002 11:49 AM
We could take out SA in a day, but any action against them would likely throw OPEC into turmoil. While, we may not depend on M.E. oil, it does play a vital part in the world economy. By taking Iraq, we would have a hedge against any drop in production among other Gulf states.

I can think of three reasons for looking beyond SA and Kuwait. The first is that we can't trust any of them. By securing Iraqi oil for ourselves, we would be able to crack down on their support for anti-Israeli and anti-Western activity. Second, while SA and Kuwait are fine for now, we are talking about a finite resource. Eventually, we will need other sources, so why not secure them for ourselves now, rather than leaving them to our rivals? Third, if we do leave Iraqi oil to our rivals, they would have the means to seriously manipulate oil prices.