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War appears imminent. Short & long term safer?...(45 posts)

War appears imminent. Short & long term safer?...rwbadley
Mar 17, 2003 7:47 AM
A reply to the post below brought up the question of whether war at this time with Iraq will make the world (or US) safer and/or less likely to suffer further disastrous attacks.

What do ya'll think? If we remove Saddam will that be enough? Not enough? Will it quell further terrorist activity? Or instigate them further?

What plan would you follow to achieve a more secure future?

Bottom line is... will it be a final ( or nearly final) blow to terrorism? or will we have to fear increasing chance of reprisal...

just makes things worse (IMO of course)ColnagoFE
Mar 17, 2003 8:02 AM
Saddam is a Hydra. You cut off his head and 3 others grow back in it's place. It seems that Bush is determined to push this war for whatever reason. I think we are in for a wild ride from here on out.
It depends on the outcome...TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 8:08 AM
In the short run, there may well be some minor terrorist attacks that are nominally related to a war in Iraq.

I'm optimistic about a long-run scenario that includes a free and democratic Iraq, acting as an economic beacon to the entire Middle East, and encouraging Middle Eastern stability. Having stable, prosperous countries in the region should quell the international terrorism that has originated there.
The big problem...Dwayne Barry
Mar 17, 2003 9:08 AM
isn't going to be the war probably. Although I'm not so sure that a die-hard core might make life hard for our troops in Baghdad and civilian casualties might give us another black-eye on the international stage.

It's going to be maintaining that prosperous, free and democratic Iraq. Don't forget the Shiites and Kurds are both going to want a pound of flesh from the Sunni's. And the Kurds want a independent country. I don't know what we promised them, but they are certainly towing the the line for now. Will that last, or could we end up with a civil war with us as the referee?

As pundits have pointed out we only like democracies when they like us. What if a radical islamacist party gets into power? Nevermind I'm sure the puppet regime will outlaw those in the free and democratic Iraq. We have no problem propping up an oppressive dictator in Pakistan, when clearly a free and democratic Pakistan would oppose us.

I'm not doubting that the goal (in part) is as you say a free and democratic Iraq, I doubt if it's do-able and if the international fall-out won't end up biting us in the ass in the long run.
The big problem...Alpedhuez55
Mar 17, 2003 10:07 AM
I think the US has learned its lesson on replacing one dictator with another. I think there will be a move to democracy. Iraq is an educated and wealthy country that is being oppressed by Saddam. THere is a good chance democracy will work there. A lot of the immigrants have expressed interest in returning and the situation will improve there.

I think short term, there may be some threats and attacks tried in the US. But can you say we would not have the attacks without the war? I think in the long term, things will improve in the Mideast.

Mike Y.
and getting rid of Hussein is going to do all that?ColnagoFE
Mar 17, 2003 9:37 AM
Sorry if I seem cynical, but I think your idea of the long term outcome is too idealistic. These countries have been at each others throats since Biblical times. What is to say that putting another puppet government in place is going to fare any better than Hussein in 209 years?
and getting rid of Hussein is going to do all that?purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:54 AM
So, should we not even try?
sure we should try, but why is pre-emptive war the only option?ColnagoFE
Mar 17, 2003 10:39 AM
reminds me of the saying..."killing for peace is like f'ing for virginity".
The only option? There have been peaceful options for 12 yrs (nmTJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 10:45 AM
It all comes back to this for meColnagoFE
Mar 17, 2003 10:48 AM
Is Hussein really a threat? I haven't seen the proof. Now North Korea makes me a little more nervous, but you don't hear Bush saying anything about war with them.
Hey, that's a 'regional' problem! How stupid can you be?OldEdScott
Mar 17, 2003 11:03 AM
A threat to who?TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 11:08 AM
Is Hussein really a direct threat to the United States, I highly doubt it. Is he even a regional threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East? Given the history of U.S. intervention, I highly doubt it. Is he a nasty dictator who has systematically destroyed a culture and eliminated ethnic minorities? I think he is.

Then the question becomes: does this merit U.S. military intervention?

The cynical answer is that the U.S. put Saddam into the position he's in, so it's the U.S.'s fault. Which, from my perspective, is all the more reason that the burden is on the U.S. to fix its mistakes.

Another group says that we support a lot of nasty dictators, so we should also support Saddam. I fail to see any merit to this argument.

The question boils down to whether the U.S. should fight for basic human rights and justice all over the world, or if we should be self-serving isolationists, blind to the human condition everywhere else.
TJ, you sound like a bleeding heart!OldEdScott
Mar 17, 2003 11:12 AM
Stark contrast to your Darwinian economics!
That's what people don't understand...TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 11:49 AM
The interesting thing that many people on the Left don't seem to understand is that people on the other side of the economic spectrum want the same outcomes that they do -- we just believe that the path to those outcomes is different. If I had it my way, everybody in the world would have the same standards of living and freedom that I do in Boston. The key difference between my position and the position of the "bleeding hearts" is that I believe that helping others should be a natural function of you own desire; not thrust upon you by force. I serve lunch three times a week at a homeless shelter, but I'm completely opposed to using tax money to pay for the meals.
Admirable and defensible position. SoOldEdScott
Mar 17, 2003 11:58 AM
let's carry this another step: If it's NOT OK to use tax money for food for the American homeless, why is it OK to use tax money to liberate an oppressed foreign population? What's the difference?
Market failure is the difference,TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 12:04 PM
There is no reasonable, or credible way to liberate an oppressed foreign population without Government intervention. Raising a private army to fight these battles would be legally impossible, even if financially feasible (which it would probably not be either). I would be all for a defense assessment of $XX on your taxes, and then a line-item voluntary contribution for funding the military's humanitarian missions abroad.

Or you could take the approach that making people around the world better off is a national defense priority. Making people better off at home is not (unless things get very out of whack).
Maybe we could just draft the homeless intoOldEdScott
Mar 17, 2003 12:15 PM
the military. That way they get fed, and we can liberate oppressed populations with them.

Basically, I think I and most people would have a problem with your last sentence. The 'national defense' qualifier is probably where you have at least a fingernail clutched on a legitimate argument, but I suspect even conservatives would prefer that tax dollars be spent, if they're going to be spent, at home rather than abroad.

Myself, I don't accept the dichotomy. I believe you can feed people here and liberate oppressed people abroad AND make money and be prosperous in the process. But that's just my liberalism showing.
I'm all for it...well, not all...TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 12:44 PM
I'm all for a WPA-style program that pays anybody willing to work (actual work), and provides housing, food, and a stipend. If they want to volunteer for military service, and they're qualified, I'm all for that too. I too believe that you can feed and house everybody, I just don't believe that these benefits should come without costs. Furthermore, if we're going to use tax dollars to help people, I'd prefer to use them to help those with greatest potential in greatest need, who I think we're more likely to find in sub-Saharan Africa than on the streets of Boston.
Maybe we could just draft the homeless intoDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 2:49 PM
>Maybe we could just draft the homeless into
the military

Then we'd be Korea...

Why didn't the US invade Serbia/Yugoslavia then? (nm)ColnagoFE
Mar 17, 2003 11:24 AM
Didn't we? Milosovic is standing trial at the Hague (nm)TJeanloz
Mar 17, 2003 11:53 AM
no way to tellDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 8:17 AM
But about 10,000 Iraqi citizens a year might live who would otherwise be murdered by Saddam. That's not exactly immaterial.

Our altruistic compassion for the Iraqi people...Me Dot Org
Mar 17, 2003 8:48 AM
...seems to have come a little late in the game. Where was our compassion when the Kurds were gassed in '88?

If war comes, I hope its conclusion will bring a better life for the people of Iraq. But the welfare of the Iraqi people is not the primary objective of the U.S. in this conflict.

The suffering of the Iraqi people may not be immaterial, but if there weren't WOMD in Iraq you wouldn't hear George Will or George Bush talking about it.
Please, whatever the reason...Dwayne Barry
Mar 17, 2003 8:57 AM
the administration has for going to war, it is not the well-being of the Iraqi people. There may be legitimate reasons for regime change in Iraq but you're naive if you think it has anything whatsoever to do with improving the lives of Iraqi citizens.

Making moral arguements to justify international policy is the way governments get their people to go along, it is not the reason for making the policy in the first place.
Please, whatever the reason...purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:14 AM
Right, it was so strategically important to invade Bosnia, wasn't it?

Plus, if the policy leads to a better life for a large group of people, why would you complain? I can assure you, people who are suffering just want relief. You have the luxury of examining people's hearts and protesting "impure" motives. But that doesn't do anyone any good but yourself. How humanitarian of you.
You don't think...Dwayne Barry
Mar 17, 2003 9:28 AM
having stability in eastern Europe was strategically important?

Why didn't we do anything about Rwanda or why have we propped up numerous oppressive and brutal regimes? You are kidding yourself if you really think this has anything at all to do with easing the suffering of the Iraqi people.

When did I say it wasn't a desirable thing to improve the life of people. It is. That doesn't mean that has anything to do with why we are invading Iraq (which was my point). And the president saying it does, is simply dishonest. Take Afghanistan, I thinks its wonderful that the people, particularly the women now have better lives in some parts of the country. Do you really think that had anything at all to do with why invaded Afghanistan?

I never said the motives were "impure", just that some of the motives given to the US people are lies.

The point is that in this case I don't think the ends justify the means. And the end, although it may be in part a free and democratic Iraq, is not improving the lives of Iraqis.
You don't think...purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:35 AM
Although the main reason for going into Iraq is not to relieve the suffering of its people, the US has in the past gone into countries when there was no other justification (without support from the UN, I might add).

We're no angels, but we're not the devils some make us out to be.
There is Somalia...Dwayne Barry
Mar 17, 2003 9:46 AM
which started out with good intentions and then turned ugly when we decided to "help" the people by removing the oppressive warlords which apparently a great number of people were perfectly fine with.

I fear something similar will happen in Iraq. It may be all roses in the Kurdish and Shiite areas, and even to some extent in the central Sunni areas initially. But how long will it last?

No one knows what will happen, but this has the potential to become one of the biggest blights in US history in a long time (and that doesn't mean it wasn't well intentioned at some levels). I really wonder how much this has been thought out, and if it didn't just snow-ball from a good distraction to the failing economy/lack of success (at the time) in the war on terror when this whole situation started so many months ago.
There is Somalia...purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:53 AM
There, I will agree with you. It is beyond my comprehension why we would not help more in Afghanistan, or with those who tried to overthrow Saddam after the first Gulf War. There is tremendous potential to screw this up royally. But I believe it is just to try. If we blow it, I'll be the first to admit it, not that my sorrow is going to help those affected.
re: War appears imminent. Short & long term safer?...purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 8:27 AM
I don't think there's any question that simply eliminating Sadam will be enough to ensure the safety of the Western world. However, bin Laden believes that we're a bunch of scared little girls who will run at the first punch. As we prove him wrong, his following should collapse or, at least, start to distrust him.

The Western world believes in rational discussion as a means to solving problems. Islamists believe the winner is chosen by God. So, every win for them is proof that they are doing God's work. As we destroy them, it will be clear that they're just a bunch of crazy hoodlums wacked out on their own religion.

The best way to ensure our long term safety, IMO, is to invest heavily in education in Muslim countries (I was going to say "poor Muslim countries" but that would be redundant).
Osama wants this war even more than Tony Blairtorquer
Mar 17, 2003 8:52 AM
Front page article in yesterday's New York Times detailed how Al Quaeda expected to reap new recruits from among Iraqis once this thing goes down. Besides threats to American interests overeas, suicide bombing in USA is seen as inevitable.

The attacks of 9/11 were meant as provocations; the evil West was expected to indiscriminately retaliate against Muslims, further alienating and radicalizing those populations.

Our actions in Afghanastan were remarkably effective because of their restraint and precision; having a significant number of allies, including some Islamic countries, was also important.

Even under the most optimistic scenarios, Iraq is going to provide plenty of footage of civilian casualties to keep those TV viewers glued to Al Jazira. GWB is back to following OBL's playbook page by page.
Osama wants this war even more than Tony Blairpurplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:24 AM
Be serious. bin Laden has miscalculated so badly and you ascribe to him the wisdom of Solomon.

Only a fool could consider bin Laden as having furthered his cause by his crazy actions. If he wants a war in Iraq, which is so clearly against his own interests, he's a bigger nut than anyone has given him credit for, thus far.

If you weren't so dense, you'd already have seen more than enough civilian casualties in Iraq caused by Sadam. Only those who already hate the US are going to see collateral damage as worse than what's already happening there.
I think you're mostly right...Dwayne Barry
Mar 17, 2003 9:33 AM
about the miscalculations bin Laden has made, but how is a war in Iraq against his own interests? It seems perfect to me. What am I missing?
I think you're mostly right...purplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 9:48 AM
The first reason is that bin Laden is backing an almost certain loser (by opposing the US, the almost certain winner). In that culture, God smiles on the winner. It is humiliating to be forced out of power and a sign that their cause is not endorsed by God.

Secondly, with Iraq in allied hands, or at least with a transparent government (let's hope), living conditions should improve dramatically. A better life leads to fewer extremists and could set a happy example for other suffering peoples in the region.

Also, there will be one less country available to funnel support (including WMD) and provide bases for training. Yes, I know the two are supposed to be diametrically opposed. But this wouldn't be the first time that two enemies have set aside their differences to fight a common enemy.
Osama wants this war even more than Tony Blairtorquer
Mar 17, 2003 10:39 AM
I'll try to answer your post without reacting in kind to your personal attack.

1. I don't ascribe any more wisdom to Osama than I do to Bush (which isn't much). What I do recognize is a zealot, intent on fullfilling a task of Biblical (or should I say Koranic) importance: the establishment of the Caliphate, or rule by God's represetative on earth.

To this end, human life and suffering is meaningless; the hijackers, their victims, Afghans, Iraquis; all are offered up to the "higher" purpose of this religious vision. It is therefore in his best interests to maximize the chaos and recruit new followers out of the resultant misery. Whether or not he is a "nut" (a charactarization most everyone not sharing his millennial vision would agree with), he does see the developing situation working to his benefit.

2. I wish I had a reply to your second point, the "more than enough civilian casualties in Iraq caused by Sadam", but I don't have a satisfactory one. Saddam needs to be removed from power, I agree. It's just that when I look at the US record on "regime change" (Iran in reinstalling the Shah, Chile under Pinnochet) I'm not encouraged. The two recent examples of tyrannies ending (South Africa and East Germany) came about to our indifference or surprise, not due to intervention. And in the Balkans, we were part of a broad-based coalition.

My reference to prospective civilian casualties were not made to say they are worse than the current reality, only that it would make gripping reality television for our enemies.

And the "collateral damage" I'm worried about is when those newly recruited suicide bombers, with access to the WMD dispersed by our attacks, find their way to the NY Stock Exchange, two blocks up the street from where I'm writing this.
Osama wants this war even more than Tony Blairpurplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 11:03 AM
Feel free to attack me personally. I can take it.

If you truly put Bush on an equal footing as bin Laden, you aren't a very critical thinker, nor are you an honest one. Bush may be buffoonish in some ways but he has done more things right for the world than bin Laden. That takes judgement and wisdom (not that I'm arguing that he's rolling in either).

Of all the reasons not to go to war in Iraq, pictures on TV of suffering civilians is not one of them. Those who hate us already ascribe their suffering to us. The only thing a war will do will make them a little more afraid that we're going to kill them.

In the Balkans, we had allies, as we do now. But the UN stayed out.

As for bombers hitting the stock exchange, hey, I'm in NYC too. I'm worried. But I feel my fear comes second to what's right. And what's right, to me, is eliminating Saddam without undue concern for what that might do to a few loonies who already hate us.
OK, I'll be a critical thinker if you promise to be a criticaltorquer
Mar 17, 2003 12:07 PM

Sorry you missed my scarcsam in comparing Bush's wisdom to Osama's. I need to remember to add the appropriate emoticon the next time.

But maybe you were able to read an even more subtle sub-text in my comparison: "End-of-days" Christian millennialism has disturbing resonances with the developing events in the Mideast, and Bush is an outspoken born-again fundamentalist. And then there is that author of the book claiming current events are foretold in the Torah giving presentations at the Pentagon... But I've never been comfortable reconciling critical thinking with religion, so I'll drop it.

When you write "Those who hate us already ascribe their suffering to us" I'm down with that. But we're talking suicide bombers here, hardly a group that will be "a little more afraid that we're going to kill them." Ask the Isrealis about how successful overwhelming force is in stamping out such behavior.
OK, I'll be a critical thinker if you promise to be a criticalpurplepaul
Mar 17, 2003 12:56 PM
Since the media is awash with people wearing T-shirts of Bush with "The world's biggest terrorist" on them, I thought you were thoroughly serious. Sorry I got that wrong.

I wholeheartedly agree with you about the religion thing. Why Christian fundamentalists think they're a breed apart from Islamic fundamentalists is just beyond me.

As for the failure of the Israelis, well, they're playing by very different rules than their enemy. That's no way to win. The Israelis COULD win very easily (militarily). In my view, if our many allies would be more consistent with their criticism of Palestinian violence as they are with Israel's heavy hand, a peaceful settlement would be possible. But the Palestinians are being encouraged to fight this way. If it was unacceptable, they wouldn't do it. Then if Israel continued to target (peaceful) activists, I believe our support would evaporate.
news -- diplomacy doneDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 9:48 AM
UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its allies on Monday abandoned efforts to win U.N. backing for war with Iraq (news - web sites) and prepared to deliver a final ultimatum to President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) to go into exile immediately or face annihilation
I just heard an NPR interview in that...rwbadley
Mar 17, 2003 10:19 AM
The power vacuum created with Saddams overthrow will leave George W as basically 'monarch' of Iraq.

How about that-- King George!!

just like Afghanistan? nmDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 10:43 AM
Nothing for the American Empire to rule overOldEdScott
Mar 17, 2003 11:08 AM
in Afghanistan. Messy, thankless work with no strategic payoff. Get a local to deal with it. Iraq's a much different story. Lots of oil, lots of money, strategic location ...

(Don't lump me with the 'this war's about oil' folks. I don't believe that. But what to do about Iraqi oil will be a huge part of the post-war equation).
And the next step is IranContinental
Mar 17, 2003 2:20 PM
One way or another Iran will have a new government, more to our liking, within the decade. Iraq is a first step, not the end.
a democratic, free world; sends chills up my spine. nmDougSloan
Mar 17, 2003 2:32 PM
Under American rule. Chills me too. nmOldEdScott
Mar 18, 2003 6:20 AM