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Please educate me...(22 posts)

Please educate me...moneyman
Mar 26, 2003 9:08 AM
I would bet that there are a few of you looking to do just that on every subject under the stars. While I would consider myself at least well-read on the subject of politics, I would not consider myself to be an expert by any means. I am sure you will agree with my asessment.

I am having trouble reconciling what I see as the primary reasons for war with Iraq with the views held by those opposed to war, in particular the motivation of Bush/Cheney. Those opposed are all about the war being fought for oil, revenge on a death threat to Bush #41, and large contracts to Haliburton. My take is the war is all about dramatically reducing the threat of terrorism on a grand scale in the US, Great Britain, and much of the rest of the world. I believe that Bush and Cheney actually ran for office out of altruism and patriotism. They certainly didn't/don't need the money. I also believe that they are running the administration with the idea that they are doing the best for the US, and not out of lining the pockets of their rich constituents. I believe they are honest, sincere and patriotic men who put their country above themselves. Lord knows Cheney had a nice gig at Haliburton, as well as a very nice place to live and flyfish in Jackson, Wyoming.

Cheney no longer owns Haliburton stock or options on same. Bush has everything in a blind trust and doesn't have any knowledge about what he owns. How will they stand to benefit, directly or indirectly, from victory in the Gulf?

I really do have an open mind on this and would appreciate any insight you have. Thanks

$$
Easy.Spoke Wrench
Mar 26, 2003 9:49 AM
The hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and the anthrax came from Ames, Iowa.
I don't believe...Jon Billheimer
Mar 26, 2003 10:02 AM
...that these men sought office in order to enrich themselves or their former employers, etc. Maybe I'm naive, but as much as I disagree with their policies I don't think the motives are that petty and personal. I think their motives are ideological and strategic.

Perhaps the opposition in the States is different than here in Canada. But the principal reasons for opposing this war that I hear and read about have to do with long range foreign policy objectives being hidden behind a smokescreen of justifications such as the moral reasons for the war (very valid if previous U.S. behaviour didn't belie these justifications), lack of explicit international sanction, Iraq's extremely tenuous connection with Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S., etc.

I do believe that companies such as Halliburton who have excellent political connections are given contracts as a result of the war. But I really don't think that in itself had anything to do with war motivations.
I NEVER trusted Iowa. nmsn69
Mar 26, 2003 10:10 AM
Just a clarificationSpoiler
Mar 26, 2003 10:03 AM
"Those opposed are all about the war being fought for oil, revenge on a death threat to Bush #41, and large contracts to Haliburton."

Only some of the anti-war people list these as their primary reasons.
I think many more believe it's not morally justifiable to attack a country unless you've been attacked first. A mere threat is too vague and isn't enough reason.
They are made skeptical because the US failed to provide the public with solid credible proof of chemical weapons and terrorist ties. I'm not saying the US definitely didn't have the proof, I'm just saying that if they did have proof, they just failed to make it widely public.
I don't buy the war for oil argument...PdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 10:06 AM
revenge, or Halliburton either. I agree that GWB is doing what he thinks is best for the country. I also agree that Saddam is a murderous menace and the world will likely be a better place without him (that depends on whether Iraq can be stabilized after he's gone). My opposition to this Iraq war relates to the adoption of preventive war as a policy of the US.

There seem to be 4 types of war... self-defense (you've already been attacked), preemptive (you're on the verge of being attacked), aggressive (you attack because you want something someone else has), or preventive (you attack because someone could be a problem later, and you don't want to deal with it then). A nice example of an atempt at preventive war was the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

This is a preventive war. As you said, the purpose is to reduce the threat of Iraqi WMD being used against the US. GWB said it in the state or the union. I really appreciate that you see that. The war is not to liberate Iraqis, punish Saddam for using chem weapons in the past, because Saddam is an evil guy, etc., as so many war supporters chirp. Those "reasons" are window dressing to preventing Iraqi WMD from threatening the US.

For me, the distinction is between preemptive and preventive war. If there were verifiable information about imminent Iraqi threats to use WMD agaisnt the US, then I'd say, we'd have every justification to launch this war. The administration has never made this argument.

My problem with preventive war is that is has no moral boundaries. If attacking someone because of a possible threat is justified for us, isn't it also justified for every other nation (or group - at least in their minds) to attack us for the same reason? Why is preventive war by the US just, and preventive war by North Korea not? Or, a year ago , a preventive chemical attack by Iraq against US cities as a warning not to threaten Iraq any more? That wouldn't have worked, of course, but the justification would be the same as we're using.

As maybe a secondary reason for my opposition, or maybe just something that doesn't look right to me, containment and deterrence worked fairly well during the Cold War and for 12 years with Iraq, without open war. I think for alot of people, GWB seemed hell-bent on war with Iraq and really had no intention of not going to war. This is bolstered by reading writings by Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. In this case, war was not the last resort, but rather part of a plan (vendetta?) reaching back almost to the end of GW1. Pre-dating 9/11, these plans relate to a vision for a new American World order that is essentially hegemonic. I have problems with the United States imposing its will on other nations as a global aggressor.

Of course, no-one can stop us, but that doesn't mean it's right for us to militarily re-shape nuisance states who are not threatening the US.

Some folks are sincerely opposed to war under any circumstances. I can't agree with them. Afghanistan was right and just. Likewise GW1.

Thanks for asking the question.
With that logic,TJeanloz
Mar 26, 2003 10:24 AM
Though I agree with 99% of what you said, I wonder why a war with Afghanistan is "right and just" -- the government of Afghanistan didn't attack the US; a group of thugs based in Afghanistan did. It seems to me that attacking Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was perfectly legit, but removing the government was maybe not so much.

This War has also made me wonder if we need to have a unified reason to have a war. It seems that some people don't support the War because they feel that it is being fought for the wrong reasons -- but they would support it for other, present reasons. Personally, I think SH should be removed by whatever means necessary, for humanitarian reasons, and I really couldn't care less about the potential WMD he may or may not have.
Well, if you remember back...Dwayne Barry
Mar 26, 2003 10:37 AM
the Taliban was given the chance to stop protecting Al Qaeda and turn them over (or at least give us permission to go and get them). They refused, thus the war. I don't think anyone would argue it was a national security necessity to dismantle Al Qaeda. We are no more invading Iraq now to remove a repressive regime than when we invaded Afghanistan. It's probably fair to say that if the Taliban would have cooperated they'd still be in power, much like we don't mind the dictator in Pakistan because he supports us.

The adminstration views Iraq as a national security problem, problem is, a lot of people just don't by it. So you have to also go with the "benevolent invaders" arguement and draw links between Iraq to 9/11 no matter how tenuous they may be to sway public opinion.
With that logic,PdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 10:45 AM
If I remember correctly, the Taliban (stupidly) allied themselves with Al Qaeda. They moved from being a government with a rogue faction in their territory to a government allied with an organization that attacked the United States. I think we would have left the Taliban to continue terrorizing Afghanistan if they had turned over Al Qaeda.

I suppose it could be said that the Taliban were simply defending the integrity of Afghan territory. But my recollection of the lead-up to the Afghan war was that the Taliban were defending Al Qaeda, not territory. Straining my memory, one supposed reason was that Al Qaeda had given alot of support to the Taliban in its conquest or consolidation of the country. For that reason, the Taliban maybe felt that it had to ally itself with Al Qaeda.

In any case, our right to self-defense allowed us to attack the 9/11 perpetrators - in my opinion - under international norms of behavior and the UN charter.

PS. I seem to use random spellings for Al Qaeda and Afghanistan since I can't remember how to spell either.
I don't buy the war for oil argument...gtx
Mar 26, 2003 10:27 AM
I too believe that this war has more to do with GW1 than with 9/11. However, I do think oil is a big factor. Former US atty general Ramsey Clarke makes a pretty strong case that the US basically duped Iraq into invading Kuwait--a pretty heavy accusation to be sure. He argues that we got Kuwait to mess with oil pricing in a way that was detrimental to Iraq and would be sure to piss Iraq off, then we told Iraq that we didn't care if they invaded--that we didn't care about "border disputes." Not sure I believe this argument, but it is plausible... For more of this kind of reasoning, check out The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf from the library--it's out of print (and selling for big bucks used on Amazon).
Mr. Clark doesn't have an axe to grind, does he? (nm)TJeanloz
Mar 26, 2003 10:35 AM
sure, and it's a big axegtx
Mar 26, 2003 10:37 AM
but doesn't everyone?
I don't know; I don't own an axe (nm)TJeanloz
Mar 26, 2003 10:47 AM
I don't buy the war for oil argument...Alpedhuez55
Mar 26, 2003 11:49 AM
But is the war entirely preemptive? You can make a very strong argument that it is a continuation of GW1. Saddam agreed to disarm and the UN failed to call him on it. We would not be in the war if Saddam disarmed after GW1.

Iraq'a first response to US bomgings included lobbing Scuds, a banned weapon, at Kuwait. He obviously did not disarm. The chem and bio weapons may be used in coming days. There is little doubt he has them.

THe way the US looks at the Midlle Eat changed on 9/11 as well. Saddam is connected to terrorist groups such as Hamas. If 9/11 had not maybe we would not be there sither, but it did add an urgency since can you rule out weapons from Iraq getting into the hands of terrorists. He has provided weapons and financial support to Hamas. They are threatening to attack the US.

The US & UN made many mistakes after GW1. THey had encouraged opposition groups willing to try to overthrough Saddam and then left them for slaughter. They did not force the issue when he expelled inspectors in 1998. Members of the security counsel waffled over the last 6 months. He has received weapons or weapons parts from France, Russia & Germany who all opposed the war. This is a clear violation of the food for oil program. Though Germany is going proscecute arms dealers there.

Though part of the war is preemptive, it is just as much a continuation of GW1. If it were just preemptive, I would oppose it. Saddam has refused to disarm as he agreed to 12 years ago. WHen you lok at all the factors which include: failure to disarm; terrorist threat; human rights violations; genocide; oil; stability in the region; I think the war is justified. It is not a purely preemptive war.

Mike Y.
I don't buy the war for oil argument...PdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 1:10 PM
I think you're right that that argument could be made, but in the muddle of rationalizations that have been tossed out, what I've heard from GWB is that Iraq has WMD that could be used against the US (eg, via terrorists). That was why we were set to attack last Fall when the war was postponed so that Colin Powell could get UN support.

One problem I have with that argument, though, is that I don't believe that the war is really about Iraq's breach of the cease-fire terms reached with the Security Council after GW1. This war is about the possible threat to the US. The difference is subtle, I see now as I type this, but important.

If it were the breach of cease-fire terms, it seems that the Security Council would have been the place to address the breach initially - before we had decided that we needed to attack last Fall. There would be time to build the case, build the consensus, that the cease-fire terms were being breached and that compliance needed to be enforced "by any possible means." What we saw instead was a last minute swing to the UN after war had already been decided upon - an attempt to get global support for a war we were set to launch.

Of course, the breach (material breach) gives rise to the possible threat against the US, which is why the distinction is kinda subtle. But taking GWB at his word, such as in the State of the Union, it sounded to me that it was the Iraqi WMD threat, not the UN breach, that was the real reason why war was neccesary. I don't believe for a second that GWB gives a Texas Rat's A$$ for the sanctity of UN resolutions.

I suppose one other thought about the cease-fire breach idea is that the cease-fire was authorized by the UN, not us. Breach of the cease-fire, and the consequences to follow, should have then fallen to the UN.

A few minor things.

One thing I've learned through trying to sort through this is that there is apparently a difference between preemptive war and preventive war. Preemptive war is when one attacks when under imminent threat of being attacked, like when Israel attacked Egypt in '67 or '73 while Egypt & others were massing troops to attack Israel. (Dang I gotta look that up to get is straight.)

Preventive war occurs when there is no threat of imminent attack. GWB never made any case of Iraq being on the verge of attacking the US. The threat was prospective, which I think makes this a preventive war rather than preemptive. This matters to me because I think we'd be justified to attack preemptively in the face of a threat of imminent attack. I make this distinction only because you had referred to this as being preemptive in your post and I wanted to explain my terms.

I've not heard that any missle launched against Kuwait in this war are Scuds. Scuds aren't the only surface-to-surface missiles Iraq has. Maybe they were Al Sammouds (which are also banned). I don't know, but I haven't heard that they were Scuds. Can you post a link that says that?

I know Saddam sends money to families of Hamas suicide bombers, and likely gives Hamas direct support too. Other than a likely hatred of the US, I haven't heard of Hamas posing an imminent threat to the US. I don't think Hamas has attacked the US. Again, it may someday, but I haven't heard that there's an imminent threat of a Hamas attack in the US. So for me, an Iraq-Hamas connection at this point does not justify the US launching a war.

Saddam is a murderous tyrant and deserves to be eliminated. Human rights abuses and genocide are two fine reasons, among others. But I'm not sure that even my knee-jerk, bleeding heart could support a policy of the US goverment militarily enforcing human rights world-wide. It would mean invading Zimbabwe, Myanmar, maybe Cuba, who knows where else in Africa, and a few other countries. While I think there are some situtaions that we can and should get involved in for humanitarin reasons (basically ones that are reas
Overflow: I don't buy the war for oil argument...PdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 1:12 PM
While I think there are some situtaions that we can and should get involved in for humanitarin reasons (basically ones that are reasonably managable/egregious), I don't think I'd support sending 300,000 troops off to shallack murderous regimes in Zimbabwe, Myanmar, maybe Cuba. But that's a different issue, I think.

I really don't think though that GWB sent 300,000 troops to the Iraq theater to punish Saddam for his murder of thousands of Iraqis. As I said in another post, I'm sure we would have left the evil Taliban in power in Afghanistan if they had handed over Al Qaeda. I really don't think we are there to defend Iraqi minorities. I think we are there to defend the US from the possibility of a bio-chem attack.

I agree that the world will be a better place without Saddam. That Iraq will likely be so too, if it doesn't fracture and collapse into civil war. My issue is really pretty narrow... If this is a preventive war, and I haven't heard anything to think it isn't, then I think we are setting a bad precedent for the threshold for **anyone** to launch war. Even if we are successful and Iraq is a better place, as is very possible, I think the precedent is bad.

Thanks for your thoughts
I don't buy the war for oil argument...PdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 1:11 PM
I think you're right that that argument could be made, but in the muddle of rationalizations that have been tossed out, what I've heard from GWB is that Iraq has WMD that could be used against the US (eg, via terrorists). That was why we were set to attack last Fall when the war was postponed so that Colin Powell could get UN support.

One problem I have with that argument, though, is that I don't believe that the war is really about Iraq's breach of the cease-fire terms reached with the Security Council after GW1. This war is about the possible threat to the US. The difference is subtle, I see now as I type this, but important.

If it were the breach of cease-fire terms, it seems that the Security Council would have been the place to address the breach initially - before we had decided that we needed to attack last Fall. There would be time to build the case, build the consensus, that the cease-fire terms were being breached and that compliance needed to be enforced "by any possible means." What we saw instead was a last minute swing to the UN after war had already been decided upon - an attempt to get global support for a war we were set to launch.

Of course, the breach (material breach) gives rise to the possible threat against the US, which is why the distinction is kinda subtle. But taking GWB at his word, such as in the State of the Union, it sounded to me that it was the Iraqi WMD threat, not the UN breach, that was the real reason why war was neccesary. I don't believe for a second that GWB gives a Texas Rat's A$$ for the sanctity of UN resolutions.

I suppose one other thought about the cease-fire breach idea is that the cease-fire was authorized by the UN, not us. Breach of the cease-fire, and the consequences to follow, should have then fallen to the UN.

A few minor things.

One thing I've learned through trying to sort through this is that there is apparently a difference between preemptive war and preventive war. Preemptive war is when one attacks when under imminent threat of being attacked, like when Israel attacked Egypt in '67 or '73 while Egypt & others were massing troops to attack Israel. (Dang I gotta look that up to get is straight.)

Preventive war occurs when there is no threat of imminent attack. GWB never made any case of Iraq being on the verge of attacking the US. The threat was prospective, which I think makes this a preventive war rather than preemptive. This matters to me because I think we'd be justified to attack preemptively in the face of a threat of imminent attack. I make this distinction only because you had referred to this as being preemptive in your post and I wanted to explain my terms.

I've not heard that any missle launched against Kuwait in this war are Scuds. Scuds aren't the only surface-to-surface missiles Iraq has. Maybe they were Al Sammouds (which are also banned). I don't know, but I haven't heard that they were Scuds. Can you post a link that says that?

I know Saddam sends money to families of Hamas suicide bombers, and likely gives Hamas direct support too. Other than a likely hatred of the US, I haven't heard of Hamas posing an imminent threat to the US. I don't think Hamas has attacked the US. Again, it may someday, but I haven't heard that there's an imminent threat of a Hamas attack in the US. So for me, an Iraq-Hamas connection at this point does not justify the US launching a war.

Saddam is a murderous tyrant and deserves to be eliminated. Human rights abuses and genocide are two fine reasons, among others. But I'm not sure that even my knee-jerk, bleeding heart could support a policy of the US goverment militarily enforcing human rights world-wide. It would mean invading Zimbabwe, Myanmar, maybe Cuba, who knows where else in Africa, and a few other countries. While I think there are some situtaions that we can and should get involved in for humanitarin reasons (basically ones that are reas
Duplicate post - sorry nmPdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 1:12 PM
My Oponion, as one who opposes the war.Len J
Mar 26, 2003 10:20 AM
First of all, please don't generalize the views of a few with "all who oppose the war". ( "Those opposed are all about the war being fought for oil, revenge on a death threat to Bush #41, and large contracts to Haliburton.")

I do think that Cheyney/Bush ran for ideological reasons as well as for the Power of the office to implement those ideologies. I agree that they genuinly think that their world view is correct & semmingly will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. This worldview is a U.S. centric view that starts with the premise that the rest of the world would be much better off if they only had our values and our brand of democracy (no matter what the people of the rest of the world think). The Iraq invasion was nothing more than an attempt to establish a U.S colony in a strategiclly located place in the world. SH's human rights violations & historical attempts to develop WMD are only excuses for the real endgame here.

Looking at the situitation objectively, SH has not been linked with Bin Laden (other than the fact that a few AlQuida members live in Northern Iraq. If that were a criteria, maybe we should invade England.), he has neither threatened us with his alleged WMD nor has it been demonstrated that he has offered them to terrorists (if he had, I am sure it would have been on page 1, the administration has been looking for a compling justification for this invasion after all.) and (other than playing with the UN (which is exactly what we do)) for the last 12 years, he has done nothing to increase the threat he is to the US. Consequently, I can not find one supportable reason for this invasion of a foreign soverign nation. So I ask myself, why is the Bush Administration so gung ho on this? Why aleinate most of the world? The answer can be found in the ideological bent that comes out of listening to Cheney & Rumsfeld about the role of the US in the world.

In terms of how they stand to benefit.......IMO, this is about leaving a legacy, this is about Bush's place in history.

My oponion.

Len

Fire away
I agree! Not much education needed. Good stuff. nmNo_sprint
Mar 26, 2003 11:01 AM
Short-term fix; long-term problemDale Brigham
Mar 26, 2003 11:02 AM
To me, the key question is whether the war on Iraq will decrease the risk of future terroristic attacks on the U.S. or not. In the short term, perhaps. In the long term, my opinion (and man, I do hope I am proven wrong!) is that this war will feed the resentment and hatred for the U.S., given that the great majority of that was irrational and misguided, that brought us 9-11. In other words, we will get rid of one enemy, to be replaced by many. My thesis is that it did not have to be that way; that we could have gotten rid of Saddam without alienating many of our friends and further hardening the resolve of our enemies.

My principal beef is that we (the U.S.) had time on our side (i.e., what was the hurry?) to build nearly world-wide consensus and backing for deposing Saddam, and we blew it by short-circuiting that process and going it (almost) alone. If you compare the great care and hard work that GHW Bush (41) took in getting everybody to play together in the same sandbox in '90-91 to the current administration's approach, it is apparent (at least to me) that there was not enough time and effort put into building the support of other governments, particularly those in the Middle East. Even with the best of intentions (which I believe the Administration has, in the most part, at heart), our actions are perceived as arrogant, bullying, and illegal by many governments who could have been persuaded to join us.

I really am sympathetic to the Administration in this matter. In my line of work, I convene and facilitate with groups of citizens, policy makers, and other stakeholders to develop strategic and action plans for public health issues. Most of the time, it is truly a huge pain in the behind for me. The term "herding cats" comes to mind, although my three cats seem to much more amenable to instruction and task-attentive than many members of the work teams I "lead." My guess is that the United Nations is way worse than even I can imagine. Nevertheless, Bush 41 got all of those "cats" to line up behind him, and Bush 43 has not. I fear we will suffer the consequences of that for a long time (hope I'm wrong!).

Dale

P.S. Now that it's going, my prayers and best wishes to the troops for a rapid and successful completion of their mission.
Oops! Addendum neededDale Brigham
Mar 26, 2003 11:12 AM
Forgot to link this to the original question; my apologies.

The Bush administration, I believe, sees this war as a necessary step in protecting the U.S. from future attacks. I don't doubt the sincerity of their convictions. As stated above, I respectfully submit that the long-term problems that the war as conducted will foster will largely offset the short-term (albeit significant) benefit of changing the regime in Iraq.

Dale