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If our goal is to disarm Iraq.(21 posts)

If our goal is to disarm Iraq.Spoke Wrench
Jan 10, 2003 11:13 AM
I heard again today that our goal was to remove from Iraq weapons of mass destruction. That came from Colin Powell.

Here's my question: If the UN inspectors in Iraq can't find any weapons of mass destruction or production facilities, even while using intelligence provided by the United States, so where do you drop your bombs?
Jan 10, 2003 12:39 PM
My solution to this is simple. If they are allowed 100% free access to everything in country and don't find anything, no war. If they are denied free access to any building, we bomb that building. Very simple.

re: If our goal is to disarm Iraq.Alpedhuez55
Jan 10, 2003 3:58 PM
How many times have they played there games in the last ten years? "We do not have the key to that door come back tomorrow" "The scientist you want to speak to has a cold" It is obvious they are playing a shell game moving things from site to site. I think the US will release a report to the UN showing their intelligence sources before any bombs are dropped. You should have a little faith in your leaders. I would hope you would trust the President more than you would Saddam.

I would say drop bombs on radar & air defense sights first. After that buildings that say things like "Baby Milk Factory" in English would work. That does not fool anyone other than CNN. Then the places where they stalled or turned away the inspectors. Also Chemical plants and nuclear manufacturing facilities. I would also bomb the Presidential Palaces. Those are a few to start with.

Mike Y.
what about a good old-fashioned seige?DougSloan
Jan 10, 2003 4:14 PM
What if we did a blockade of their borders; no oil out; nothing but humanitarian food in? Bomb the most suspicious targets.

Where do we get the troops to do it with, Doug?sn69
Jan 11, 2003 8:01 AM
I don't have a lot of time now, but perhaps I'll tyr to explain later how atrophied the past 12 years have left your military. In spite of the gleeful predicitons by the talking heads inside the beltway, the momentum gained from 9-11 has ended, and our folks are returning from grueling 7-9 month deployments with thoroughly wrecked gear/planes/ships/tanks only to have to turn around to do it again in far less than the standard 15 month inter-deployment cycle. That's no way to live, not even for the military. If you propose a full-on siege to supplement the naval blockade that we've been busting our humps to maintain for the past 13 years, then you might be curious to know how many people that would take and the specifics that it would entail.

In the end, I think you and everyone else here might be shocked and/or horrified to learn just how few clothes the emperor has remaining. We're still the strongest, rest assured, but we ain't healthy.
Yeah, right!Spoke Wrench
Jan 11, 2003 5:58 AM
It looks to me like there are only two possibilties. Either Iraq has the weapons we are talking about or they don't.

From what I have heard in the news media, our theory that they do is based upon the concept that Iraq couldn't have completely divested themselves of those weapons without our knowing about it. That makes sense to me. So the UN inspectors are going around looking for those missing materials pretty much unimpeded. It also fits in with Sadam's claim that the UN inspectors are spies feeding other military intelligence to our military.

The question, however remains. If Iraq has done a thorough job of hiding the weapons so that they can't be found, another bombing campaign doesn't look to me like it's going to get the job done any better than the last one did. You have to have a specific target to aim at. The type of attack Alpe and Doug are refering to is just warmed over WWII tactics that basically failed then. Ultimately, like it or not, it was the mass destruction terror bombing that won the day in both theaters. That's the exact thing we say we that are trying to prevent.

The other possibility is that our intelligence people know where the stuff is, but don't want to tell anybody. Possible, but I don't think so. We are trying to build an alliance of nations to support our action against Iraq. Frankly, with the absence of information from the UN inspectors to support our position, I see that support rapidly fadeing. It looks to me like our intelligence people would be highly motivated to feed the UN inspectors with specific information about bogus "Baby Milk" factories if they had it.

I'm not necessarily totally anti-war, but if we are going to make an open ended commitment of resources, I want a better likelihood of success. I don't want to give up our technological advantages and revert to a fair fight with our infantry fighting door to door looking for targets.

Another possibility is that there is an alternate agenda that our government isn't publicizing for some reason.

Trust our leaders? I kind'a thought that the whole purpose of democracy was so that we didn't have to do that. It's their job to convince us that they are right. I'm not convinced today and as time goes by, I think more and more people are unconvinced that they are right.
What I don't understand is. . .Sintesio
Jan 11, 2003 9:10 AM
why does our government not share their intelligence? They are about to commit this big war but they're afraid to reveal intelligence sources? That doesn't add up. I don't understand who they might be protecting.

Any insights sn69?

I don't see this country commiting w/out the so called "smoking gun." The way I see it is: no strong evidence - no war. A "trust us" isn't going to cut it no how.
Losing allies too.Spoke Wrench
Jan 11, 2003 10:13 AM
It looks to me like the lack of a "smoking gun" is losing us allies. Saudi Arabia is out. Great Britain is iffy. Turkey is still in, to a degree, but we've got their arm firmly twisted because they want our support to help get them included in the European Union.

Meanwhile, all of our blustering is making it more difficult for us to back away from a land invasion. I do not see any clearly definable and attainable objectives for our military. This is beginning to look real bad to me.
All Valid ConcernsJon Billheimer
Jan 11, 2003 10:44 AM
The above are all valid concerns and certainly are affecting international support for a pre-emptive war, including Britain's previously unwavering support.

I may be wrong, but I think that the weapons of mass destruction justification is there to buttress support for the administration's real objective, which is regime change. This was probably a policy commitment of the Bush team prior to his even being sworn in as President. It's difficult to simply say we want to remove a nation's government without some sort of justification, so the WMD argument has been put forward. If the UN inspectors don't find anything Bush's "go it alone" rhetoric is going to be sorely tested. I'm betting at that point that the whole enterprise will fall apart because the political fallout both domestically and internationally would be too damaging to U.S. credibility and alliances. Hubris has its limits, and even the "New Rome" can't rule the world singlehandedly.
Exactly!Spoke Wrench
Jan 11, 2003 2:19 PM
If our real objective is regime change, then lets say so up front and start argueing the merits of whether the US should be dictating the governments of the other countries of the world. People who are proud of what they are doing don't need to invent excuses for wanting to do it.
Jan 11, 2003 2:41 PM
From our cultural viewpoint that's true, but not necessarily so in other, vastly different cultures. Thus the selection of wording. I think the very important distinction to keep in mind here is the difference between the "war on terror" versus the low-grade war we've been waging in Iraq since Desert Storm. The latter is a reactionary event to the 9-11 attacks and, to a lesser extent, the Cole and embassy bombings. It's not only vengeful in nature but also intended to mitigate a threatening NGO who has stated that they want to harm us and who has done so.

The Iraqi situation is a different critter. The words I use to describe Hussien--a secular totalitarian dictator--are meant to characterize a conflict between us and a force bent on regional domination. His is not an aggression born from ideological theocracy (like our friens in Al Qaeda). Rather, his is a megalomaniacal/dcitatorial power trip more closely related to that of Pol Pot, Hitler, Idi Amin, etc. While they all cloaked themselves in the sanctity of some form of esoteric ideology, their psychoses ultimately came down to harsh, brutal disctatorship.

Thus, with Saddam, the issue is controlling that before he has a fully stocked arsenal of WMDs. Regime change in that context is acceptable to the Western culture, but in large portions of the Arab Islamic world, that still equates to the infidel trying to cast out one of theirs (even though he holds little loveloss for his Islamic neighbors). Interestingly, the Iranians are apparently bellying-up to the table to discuss what shall be done once he's gone.

As for whether or not the US should dictate anything to other nations, I think that most of us would find that concept disturbing at best and reprehensible at worst. Still, global dynamics are changing at breakneck pace, and the REALITY of nuclear/biological/chemical proliferation is upon us. Whether or not we started this mess is inconsequential. The question is what are we going to do about it? It's scary, and the future is really frightening in that context, dontcha think?!

Break break--different question, good Sir Wrench. I'm about to cut a steer tube down that already has a star nut in it. I've got the Park star nut tool and a good tube cutter, but I'm wondering about how to sequence the event. Starting with accurate measurements, should I cut a bit of the tube off above the eventual height in order to progressively reset the nut to 1.5cm, and then continue until I get to the level I want? I'm worried about knocking the nut down too far if I try to do it all at once. FWIW, the steerer is alloy, not carbon. This is my virgin outing....
Off topic answer.Spoke Wrench
Jan 11, 2003 5:47 PM
How much do you need to cut off of the steerer tube?

If it's more than a few millimeters, I think that I'd try to push the star nut down the steerer tube below the cut with a wooden dowell or something. My second choice would be to drill iit out and install a new one after I had cut the fork to the right height.

Two things to watch out for. The first you already know - cutting the fork too short. The real trick is to make sure you are accounting for all of the spacers etc. when you measure the fork. I don't think there are very many bike wrenches who don't have at least one too short fork in their background. I know I do. Second, if you don't have a star fangled nut setter, it's kind of hard to drive the nut down the steerer tube nice and straight.
Off topic answer.sn69
Jan 11, 2003 6:14 PM
Thanks, I'm going to take 1cm off. I've got the setter, which is why I was going to very carefuly measure and mark with the new height set first. Then my plan was to cut away the excess a little at a time, resetting the star nut as straight as possible with the Park tool until I get the steerer to the desired length and the star nut set 15mm below. I figure it should take two cuts to get it there.
Yup, this is a tough onesn69
Jan 11, 2003 11:28 AM
I think Jon summed it up pretty well. Here are some of my thoughts.

The term "smoking gun" is obtuse at best and largely a construct of a media machine that's looking to sell copy. With regards to nuclear weapons, short of finding an actual bomb or warhead, the reasoning behind finding said smoking gun is more esoteric. The parts and components for these weapons, particularly for the relatively unsophisticated weapons that He's trying to produce, can easily be mistaken for other stuff or can easily be hidden. I've only seen one "special weapon" in my career (a British one at that), and it was fairly innoculous looking. In terms of the technology, one would look for things like shielding, detonation technology and so on. The problem is that much of that stuff is generally similar to other weaponry. Thus, you are forced to make conclusions based upon what you find, short of actually unearthing a nuke or a chunk of weapon's grade plutonium. With chemical or biological weapons, the equations gets even more murky, as a great many of the products used to manufacture them are commonly used in the petrochemical, cosmetic, plastics, sugar (!) and agricultural industries. Again, one has to find enough stuff in such quantity that, combined with inaccurate materiel accounting, suggest beyond doubt that the weapons are being developed, researched or even produced. Also, given the constant stall tactic that the Iraqis use, it entirely probably that as the UN teams make their way from Point A to Point B, the Iraqis call ahead and have the materials removed before the UN dudes arrive. In that case, the investigation really comes down to an issue of accounting. The UN is building a case not unlike a court case. Rarely is the murderer caught in the act or does he confess; rather, the investigators have to build a case beyond reasonable doubt.

And that's where the arcane art/alchemy of international diplomacy comes in. One country's "beyond reasonable doubt" is another nations "nope, not enough evidence." Also, some of our so-called "allies" are that in formal name only. I won't name names, but suffice it to say that we have supposed allies that I'd no sooner trust that Saddam--Saudi, Yemen, Pakistan. Again...NOT to name names (tee hee).

Our administration's concern is two-fold. First, there's a concern that Mr. Wacko already has the weapons. Remember, it only takes one nuke, no matter how small or how unsophisticated, that if used against Tel Aviv, Bahrain, Riyahd, etc, would cast the region into massive chaos and probably collapse the global economy. Once that friggin' genie is freed from the bottle, all hell will break loose (it's DOD's biggest nightmare). The second concern is that if he doesn't have them yet, he will soon. Thus the greater sense of urgency to do something now. We can deal with him on our terms now or do it later, and while later doesn't mean any less success on our part, it's entirely probably that he'd use what he has ammassed as a vengance tool, not unlike Hitler's use of the V-1s and 2s.

Some of the intelligence simply cannot be shared without placing American or allied lives at risk. I am revealing nothing here (because I'm not privvy to such info), but I'd wager to guess that we've got SEAL teams, British and Aussie SAS squads, Mossad teams and Spetnatz units all over Iraqi territory at present. It makes too much tactical sense not to. To reveal our intel would place those folks in grave peril and would sacrifice the integrity of the covert ops that we have going on (ops, by the way, that are quite possibly known to the UN Sec. General).

You are right, however, that "trust us" won't work. Lacking a major hegemonic enemy upon which the rest of the world relies on us for protection from, America looses a great deal of its perceived righteousness. Also, our concerns are not necessarily shared by others, and Hussien has skillfully used anti-Western sentiment as a reaso
Part 2 (I HATE truncation)sn69
Jan 11, 2003 11:29 AM
You are right, however, that "trust us" won't work. Lacking a major hegemonic enemy upon which the rest of the world relies on us for protection from, America looses a great deal of its perceived righteousness. Also, our concerns are not necessarily shared by others, and Hussien has skillfully used anti-Western sentiment as a reasonable stalling tactic among our so-called parochial thoecratic allies. He's being smarter and more savvy this time. If he was massing troops along Saudi's or Jordan's border, there would be no hesistation on the part of our allies.

The nebulous intricacies of international diplomacy trascend our understanding of most of this. There is so much going on behind the scenes and so much scripted good cop/bad cop stuff, that we too get sucked into the information manipulation. Even in DOD, we're looking towards the end of the month wondering what the hell is going to happen--at least at the "working squid's" level we do.
Part 2 (I HATE truncation)Jon Billheimer
Jan 11, 2003 11:46 AM
Good explanation. It would help if the administration would be this explicit and candid rather than just strutting around and sloganeering. The problem with information management and outright misinformation is that this state of affairs undermines democracy. For democracy to work there has to be "informed consent" by the people and accountability of the government to the people. The present state of affairs amounts to oligarchy. You're right that "trust us" just doesn't work.
Part 2 (I HATE truncation)sn69
Jan 11, 2003 11:55 AM
That's why I'm just a tiny tadpole in a big ocean...I've come to believe more and more that, once elevated to a position of power within our Federal gov't--beit as an elected official, a high level appointee or even a flag/general officer--one sacrifices a certain amount of candid freedom to simply tell things like they are. Harry Truman-esque forthrightness is a rare gift, and rarer still when also accompanied by the moral courage to speak one's mind. Inside the beltway lies and X-rated world, but the rest of us live in the PG version. During my brief, limited glimpses inside, I haven't much liked what I've seen.
Part 2 (I HATE truncation)Jon Billheimer
Jan 11, 2003 12:34 PM
That's to your credit!
Thanks. (nm)sn69
Jan 11, 2003 1:04 PM
Intelligence SourcesAlpedhuez55
Jan 11, 2003 6:38 PM
I do not think they would reveal their sources until they can get them out of the country. I am sure the US has "assets" in Iraq. They do not want to risk them by giving full disclosure. I am sure they are feeding some information to the UN Security Council, but they would have to hold some things back to protect their sources.

I think the Inspection Teams are due to issue a report on January 27. We do know there has been some stalling at some inspection sites, inaccuate information given to the inspectors such as the list of scientists, plus shooting at planes in the no fly zone. I think there is a pretty strong case already without the smoking gun just like murderers have been convicted without the murder weapon.

Iraq is still playing the same games they have been playing for the past decade. The dynamics of have change since 9/11. How long do we let him get away with it?

When I brought up trust, it was meant as a comment against Saddam. Sure I did not trust Clinton on some issues, but I had a lot more trust in him than I did against Saddam. I would hope most people on this board would have that same trust in Bush. That was the point I was trying to make, I hope that clarified it.

Before any attack is made, President Bush will make his case to the UN and to the American People. Right now, I feel action is probably justified. Saddam is an evil man, who has used chemical weapons on his own people. I do not want to see him in power. I just hope he will do the right thing and go into exile before it costs any lives, Iraqi or American.

Mike Y.
A good link to learn moresn69
Jan 11, 2003 2:58 PM

This is from the Federation of American Scientists' website. While they are left-leaning, I nonetheless find their treatment of the subject matter to be generally quantifiable, blunt and analytic. They are still missing a couple pieces of the puzzle, but I won't (read: can't) get into that in detail.

Still, FAS is a good resource if you want to learn more or scare the poo out of yourself.

Incidentally, they also have some great links within their intelligence section to black project aircraft for any of you flying saucer/Groom Lake geeks out there.