Five years of hell

Written By: - Date published: 3:10 pm, March 20th, 2008 - 93 comments
Categories: iraq - Tags:

It is five years since the US and allies invaded Iraq, and the war is far from over. Every day, there is fighting and people continue to die. Four million Iraqi children have lived their whole lives during war. World-famous economist Joseph Sitglitz estimates the war has cost the world US$6 trillion – the annual average economic output of 600 million people that could have been used to enrich human existence, wasted by war.

But the biggest cost is in human lives. Iraq Body Count’s cross-referenced count says at least 82,249 Iraqi civilians have died from direct military action since Iraq was invaded. That doesn’t count civilian deaths from direct military action that were not reported, deaths that occur because of the war but not from direct military action (reduced healthcare, increased poverty and disease, increased crime etc), and the Iraqis who have died as combatants, either with the Iraqi army during the invasion itself or in one of the many armed groups in the subsequent war. A Lancet survey concluded 655,000 more Iraqis had died between the invasion and October 2006 than would have died at pre-war mortality levels. Other studies estimate Iraqi deaths at 150,000 to 1.3 million. The studies are now months out of date and don’t include foreigners who have died in Iraq, including journalists, pilgrims, and combatants.

The only figure we can be sure of is that 4300 US and coalition soldiers have died in the war. The graphic below links to flash-based animation that maps these deaths over time (to October 2007). It is a moving experience. Remember, each dot represents one coalition soldier but, for each, up to another 250 people also died.

iraq.gif

93 comments on “Five years of hell”

  1. andy 1

    ggrrrrrrr. Was a good until you mentioned Mrs Key.

    Please leave spouses out of politics.

    cheers
    Andy

  2. andy 2

    double ggggrrrrr. wrong thread.

    oops sorry!

  3. Jameson 3

    Yeah, Iraq would be a much better place today if the allies hadn’t invaded. Those bastard Yanks should’ve minded their own goddamn business and left Saddam and his bros to mind theirs. I mean, what’s a little rape, torture, murder and genocide between mates?

  4. Jameson – So that’s what you’ve been drinking!

  5. Gooner 5

    Just to show you that stereotyping ‘righties’ is not a good idea, the ‘war’ in Iraq is a bloody disgrace and totally unjustified.

    There we go.

    Captchsa Mrs Wartsila. Heh.

  6. r0b 6

    Yeah, Iraq would be a much better place today if the allies hadn’t invaded. Those bastard Yanks should’ve minded their own goddamn business and left Saddam and his bros to mind theirs. I mean, what’s a little rape, torture, murder and genocide between mates?

    Do you have any idea at all what you’re talking about Jameson? Yes Saddam was a vicious little dictator that the world could have done without. But Iraq is substantially worse off since the Americans invaded for the oil. Since then:

    – Over 1 million Iraqis killed
    – 20% of the population displaced homeless or refugees
    – most civilian infrastructure destroyed
    – religious civil war started
    – oil resources annexed by foreigners
    – country poisoned for 100 years by depleted uranium

    You can find any number of reports from Iraqis stating that life was much better under Saddam.

  7. Vic 7

    Jameson – let’s not forget that American supported and/or chose not to interfere with Saddam’s rule in Iraq for a long time, partly due to the fact that his “leadership” kept any conflict between the different ethnic and religous factions within Iraq shut down. He promoted stability” in the region which made it easier to get oil out. When America invaded, inadequate attention was given to how to manage potential sectarian conflict, and even Colin Powell at the time of the invasion was advising against getting into a ground war that would never be finished. He viewed Iraq as another Vietnam. History has proven him right.

    There were SO many other ways the human rights issues in Iraq could have been addressed – but that wasn’t the core issue for America. No country has a sovereign right to invade another country to support dubious political and economic interests of its own.

  8. infused 8

    Your depleted uranium comment is total bullshit. Please do some research.

    Btw, I can barely read the captcha, you guys should really work on that for people with fucked eyes.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    Jameson, you need to update your apologetics. Torture is ok now. Other than that, doubleplusgood duckspeak

  10. r0b 10

    infused: Your depleted uranium comment is total bullshit. Please do some research

    You need to take your own advice infused.

    http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/37/11023

    American use of DU is “A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time.” US Iraq Military Vets “are on DU death row, waiting to die.”
    “I’m horrified. The people out there – the Iraqis, the media and the troops – risk the most appalling ill health. […]

    …the radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukemia, brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects – killing millions of every age for centuries to come. A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time.

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/021907G.shtml

    If the government ever admitted what it has done in Iraq-between 1,000 and 2,000 tons of DU ordnance expended according to most estimates-the financial consequences, not to mention the moral outrage engendered, is almost beyond imagination. […]

    We must also consider the real possibility of Iraq as an uninhabitable wasteland, with the residue of the DU aerosol blowing in the wind and flowing in the waters to adjacent lands, a residue with a half-life of 4.5 billion years. […] After Gulf War I, the United Kingdom’s Atomic Energy Authority estimated that DU contamination could kill half a million Iraqis.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article12903.htm

    Doug Rokke, U.S. Army contractor who headed a clean-up of depleted uranium after the first Gulf War states:, “Depleted uranium is a crime against God and humanity.”

    Rokke’s own crew, a hundred employees, was devastated by exposure to the fine dust. He stated: “When we went to the Gulf, we were all really healthy,” After performing clean-up operations in the desert (mistakenly without protective gear), 30 members of his staff died, and most others”including Rokke himself”developed serious health problems. Rokke now has reactive airway disease, neurological damage, cataracts, and kidney problems.

    “We warned the Department of Defense in 1991 after the Gulf War. Their arrogance is beyond comprehension.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FLO308B.html

    Has U.S. use of depleted-uranium weapons turned Iraq into a radioactive danger area for both Iraqis and occupation troops?

    This question has already had serious consequences. In hot spots in downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal background radiation levels.

    It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as 1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq. […]

    In this year’s war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as in 1991. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers, along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries, chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won’t be apparent for five to 10 years.

    By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome. This number of disabled veterans is shockingly high. Most are in their mid-thirties and should be in the prime of health. […]

    Around the world a growing number of scientific organizations and studies have linked Gulf War Syndrome and the high rate of assorted and mysterious sicknesses to radiation poisoning from weapons made with depleted uranium.

    http://www.newint.org/issue316/poisoned.htm (re DU in Gulf War 1)

    In Iraq, which has had nine years to feel the full effects of DU, cancers have risen up to tenfold. […]

    In Basra, radiation levels in flora and fauna have reached 84 times the World Health Organization’s recommended safe limit. Here, the unimaginable can be found. Dr Jenan Ali at Basra General Hospital in southern Iraq has a photographic record of all the babies born with no eyes, brains, limbs, genitalia; internal organs on the outside; grotesquely deformed little heads and bodies.

    In Mosul in northern Iraq, studies undertaken by four universities show a fivefold increase in cancers after 1991.

    And so on

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4406.htm#FAHEY

    and so on, and so on…

  11. Sam Dixon 11

    if your captcha is too hard too read reload it with the spin symbol. i’m a little dyslexic so i often reload

  12. Jameson 12

    The allies had good reason and by the U.N.’s own rules, justifiable cause to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein:

    1) Saddam Hussein was actively on the hunt for WMD materials, and was deliberately ambiguous about whether or not he had WMDs. Given his record, the allies had no reason to assume he DIDN’T have them.

    2) The weapons they DID find were chemical in nature – tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them, that could have wiped out entire cities. You only have to ask the Kurds if he had the will to use them.

    3) To those who hold stock in the authority of the U.N. I ask, after a decade of broken U.N. resolutions how many more should they have tolerated before THEY sanctioned an invasion? Saddam repeatedly broke international law, invaded a member-state, performed hideous atrocities on his own people, and committed genocide every act a legal justification for invasion and yet the U.N. did nothing more than send in inspectors to be lied to, intimidated and insulted.

    4) It is beyond doubt now that Saddam DID harbour, finance and assist jihadist terrorists linked to Bin Laden in the Sudan, Afghanistan and through Western Asia. [1] After 9/11 Iraq was the only Middle-Eastern country that applauded the attacks, and when Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were expelling al-Qaeda sympathisers, they started welcoming them in most notably al-Zarqawi. Abu Abbas was traveling on a diplomatic passport issued by Iraq when he committed his acts of terrorism. Yassin, the man who’d mixed the chemicals to blow up the World Trade Centers the first time around ended up where? Baghdad. And then there’s Abu Nidal, the world’s most notorious terrorist of the time, who for years lived openly under the auspices of Saddam Hussein.

    If you want to give this ex-totalitarian the benefit of the doubt, go right ahead. It neatly exposes your anti-American, pro-dictatorship sympathies.

    [1] http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/945usqnx.asp

  13. Jameson 13

    Keep up with events, Vic, this is NOT another Vietnam. The surge IS working and even the anti-war evangelist Obama has admitted as much. In a poll released last week, the number of Iraqis who’ve have stated they are now better off than before is on the rise, sitting on 45% and as concrete proof their people are returning home by the bushel. More than a quarter of the top al-Qaeda heads have been lopped off and soldiers can now walk the streets of Baghdad without Kevlar vests. The list of good news is long, but not a peep of it here.

    War is ugly. The collateral damage in any war is appalling and as far as I can tell, the only ones who are truly concerned about this are our guys. You know how many billions have been spent by the allies developing weapons that DON’T kill civilians? A cursory glance at the “Futureweapons’ show on the doco channel will give you some idea.

    The allies had EVERY right to invade, as I’ve stated, as a matter of pre-emptive self-defence. To call this a war for oil is not only ignorant, it’s downright dangerous. To overlook the Islamofascist’s call to arms is to bury your head in the sand of a primitive and envious people determined, as they repeatedly state, to bring down Western Civilization.

    The only reason why Vietnam failed was because the politicians hamstrung the military. No war was ever won with a limited objective, and until the surge that’s exactly what the poor soldiers were battling against in Iraq. And while we’re on the subject of limitations, how many reports have you heard back from the front about the enemy’s rules of engagement? It’s quite the opposite: they deliberately use their own people as human shields.

    And yet the only criticism here is levelled at the Americans you people disgust me.

  14. r0b 14

    1) Saddam Hussein was actively on the hunt for WMD materials,

    Proof please? Are you referring to the “aluminium tubes”? The Nigerian “yellowcake”? Because both of those are wrong.

    Given his record, the allies had no reason to assume he DIDN’T have them.

    They had perfectly good reason to assume he had no WMD, based on the reports of the 100 UN inspectors team that had been searching Iraq for four months:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5878.htm

    On March 7, 2003, just a week prior to the U.S. and British led invasion of Iraq, the U.N. Security Council received testimony from the heads of the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons inspectors concerning any weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq. Their testimony represented the unanimous conclusion of over 100 U.N. weapons inspectors who were on site in Iraq for four months just prior to the invasion beginning in November, 2002. Unlike the Bush and Blair administrations, these inspectors, who were from all over the world, had had no vested interest in invading Iraq. They publicly refuted every charge that Secretary of State, Colin Powell, made about chemical and biological weapons could not be substantiated.

    See also http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8839.htm

    These reports were ignored, the decision go to war was made, and (according to records from the UK government) “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9387.htm

    2) The weapons they DID find were chemical in nature – tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them, that could have wiped out entire cities. You only have to ask the Kurds if he had the will to use them.

    As far as I am aware, only a few (less than 10?) old, non functional warheads were found. Sources please for your claim “tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them, that could have wiped out entire cities.”

    Hmmm – must go for now – more later perhaps…

  15. Jameson 15

    1) (note the dates supersede the articles you’ve posted)

    From the right:

    THE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQI-NIGER “YELLOWCAKE” NEXUS.
    By Christopher Hitchens – July 25, 2006

    http://www.slate.com/id/2146475/

    From the left:

    The Washington Post – April 9, 2006

    “In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR2006040800895.html

    2)

    Iraq Documents Destruction of VX and Anthrax – 14-Mar-03

    CNN reports, “Iraq on Friday will give the United Nations details about its claims to have destroyed 3.9 tons of VX nerve agent, diplomatic sources said. Iraq is still putting the final touches on the report that is to explain how it disposed of at least 2,245 gallons (8,500 liters) of anthrax.’

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 27: Possible degradation or decomposed product of a nerve gas found on Iraqi missile warheads by American, French and Swiss laboratories could have come from deadly VX or Sarin, United Nations weapons inspectors have reported.

    http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19981028/30150404.html

    Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq – June 22, 2006

    “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html

    Iraq’s Chemical Weapon Program

    http://www.iraqwatch.org/profiles/chemical.html

    Iraqi chemical weapon attacks

    Haij Umran Mustard August 1983 fewer than 100 Iranian/Kurdish
    Panjwin Mustard October-November 1983 3,001 Iranian/Kurdish
    Majnoon Island Mustard February-March 1984 2,500 Iranians
    al-Basrah Tabun March 1984 50-100 Iranians
    Hawizah Marsh Mustard & Tabun March 1985 3,000 Iranians
    al-Faw Mustard & Tabun February 1986 8,000 to 10,000 Iranians
    Um ar-Rasas Mustard December 1986 1,000s Iranians
    al-Basrah Mustard & Tabun April 1987 5,000 Iranians
    Sumar/Mehran Mustard & nerve agent October 1987 3,000 Iranians
    Halabjah Mustard & nerve agent March 1988 7,000s Kurdish/Iranian
    al-Faw Mustard & nerve agent April 1988 1,000s Iranians
    Fish Lake Mustard & nerve agent May 1988 100s or 1,000s Iranians
    Majnoon Islands Mustard & nerve agent June 1988 100s or 1,000s Iranians
    South-central border Mustard & nerve agent July 1988 100s or 1,000s Iranians
    Karbala area Nerve agent & CS March 1991 Shi’a casualties not known

    ————————————-

    Looking forward to the ‘refutation’ of points 3 & 4.

  16. Dean 16

    Rob:

    “They had perfectly good reason to assume he had no WMD, based on the reports of the 100 UN inspectors team that had been searching Iraq for four months”

    I agree with you 100 per cent.

    But how about invading Kuwait, then? And how about the disgusting way women were/are treated in Iraq?

    Would you care to accept either of those things from a government in NZ? If not, why not?

  17. RedLogix 17

    Iraq Survey Group Final Report

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/isg-final-report_vol2_nuclear-03.htm

    A few moments google-monkeying produced this interesting thread about Hitchen’s articles:

    http://fray.slate.com/discuss/forums/thread/862933.aspx

    Or are you going to quote one of these experts next?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-tomorrow/what-they-said_b_46907.html

  18. r0b 18

    Jameson, your first claim:

    1) Saddam Hussein was actively on the hunt for WMD materials

    Your support for this claim:

    THE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQI-NIGER “YELLOWCAKE’ NEXUS.
    By Christopher Hitchens – July 25, 2006

    The context for all this is is Bush’s statement in his January 2003 State of the Union address that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”. As the WMD case in Iraq unravelled and this statement came under scrutiny, it became apparent that this claim could not be justified. In December 2003, then CIA director George Tenet conceded that the inclusion of the claim in the State of the Union address was a mistake.

    The same conclusion was reached by a bipartisan review:

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/093003F.shtml

    U.S. ‘Had No New Evidence of WMD’ in Iraq
    By Edward Alden
    Financial Times

    Sunday 28 September 2003

    The US launched its war with Iraq despite having no fresh intelligence evidence that the regime of Saddam Hussein was developing mass destruction weapons or forging ties with terrorists, the leaders of the House of Representatives intelligence committee have concluded.

    The findings by the Republican and Democratic heads of the committee have again forced the US administration to defend its decision to go to war …

    Fast forward to 2006, Hitchens and Leeden (well known neocons) have both written excited little articles about new information that suggests that, purely by accident and unknown to Team Bush at the time, they may have been correct. The actual substance comes from the UK “Butler Review” published in 2004, which referred to a 1999 visit of Iraqi officials to Niger: “The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.’

    So there we have it. Although Team Bush was lying at the time (ooops making claims that they couldn’t substantiate), information has emerged since (about one incident, not a systematic “actively on the hunt”) which gives them a partial “out”. And let’s not forget the main conclusions of the Butler Review: that key intelligence used to justify the war with Iraq has been shown to be unreliable. Overall it said that “more weight was placed on the intelligence than it could bear”, and that judgements had stretched available intelligence “to the outer limits”.

    Now, your second claim:

    2) The weapons they DID find were chemical in nature – tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them, that could have wiped out entire cities. You only have to ask the Kurds if he had the will to use them.

    The historical context is that at one time Iraq did have some chemical warfare agents, and did use them (1982 – 1991, you provided a list). After Gulf War 1 a lot of this stuff was destroyed by UN inspectors, and by the time of further UN inspections in 2003 Iraq claimed that all such munitions had been destroyed.

    Now, I asked you for sources supporting your claim that they (Americans?) found post invasion: “tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them”. Your evidence:

    “Iraq on Friday will give the United Nations details about its claims to have destroyed 3.9 tons of VX nerve agent, diplomatic sources said. Iraq is still putting the final touches on the report that is to explain how it disposed of at least 2,245 gallons (8,500 liters) of anthrax.

    Yes, Iraq disposed of this stuff long before the invasion.

    Possible degradation or decomposed product of a nerve gas found on Iraqi missile warheads by American, French and Swiss laboratories could have come from deadly VX or Sarin

    Or from detergent, the report found. But once again, tiny remnants of old degraded stuff, consistent with Iraq’s claims to have destroyed munitions.

    Next evidence:

    Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq – June 22, 2006

    “Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq’s pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist.’

    War apologists (like Fox news) are desperate to find some WMDs in Iraq – something, anything to justify the invasion and the grandiose WMD claims that preceded it. Re this particular claim:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article14396.htm

    But the Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such “orphan” munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.

    No significant WMDs have ever been found in Iraq, even according to the American’s own military inquiries – see the history described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Survey_Group

    So Jameson, re your claim “The weapons they DID find were chemical in nature – tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them” – evidence please? Or, I suggest, admit that you were wrong.

    Looking forward to the ‘refutation’ of points 3 & 4.

    All in due course, let’s finish with point 2 shall we?

  19. r0b 19

    Dean – sorry, I can’t make sense of your questions.

  20. Dean 20

    Rob:

    “Dean – sorry, I can’t make sense of your questions.”

    What a surprise.

  21. Jameson 21

    Thanks for the Wiki link, rOb — very informative:

    INTERIM PROGRESS REPORT

    Interim Progress Report on October 3, 2003. The team has found evidence of “WMD-related program activities”

    DAVID KAY RESIGNS

    On January 23, 2004, the head of the ISG, David Kay, resigned his position, stating that he believed WMD stockpiles would not be found in Iraq

    Kay told the SASC during his oral report the following, though: “Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat. Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion-—although I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.”

    Kay also believed some components of the former Iraqi regime’s WMD program had been moved to Syria shortly before the 2003 invasion.

    DUELFER REPORT

    On September 30, 2004, the ISG released the Duelfer Report, its final report on Iraq’s WMD programs. Among its Key Findings:

    Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability, after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability—in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks—but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities.

    In March 2005 Duelfer added an addenda to the original report

    acknowledging that “ISG was unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war.”

    Duelfer also concluded that Saddam planned to resume production of weapons of mass destruction once the United Nations lifted economic sanctions.

    .

    Kay: “I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.”

    Hands up who think we dodged a bullet oh, that’s right you guys prefer to sit on them.

  22. Jameson 22

    More from the inspectors:

    SADDAM’S WMD HAVE BEEN FOUND

    New evidence unveils chemical, biological, nuclear, ballistic arms

    When former weapons inspector Kay reported to Congress in January that the United States had found “no stockpiles” of forbidden weapons in Iraq, his conclusions made front-page news. But when he detailed what the ISG had found in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last October, few took notice.

    The Iraq Survey Group, ISG, whose intelligence analysts are managed by Charles Duelfer, a former State Department official and deputy chief of the U.N.-led arms-inspection teams, has found “hundreds of cases of activities that were prohibited” under U.N. Security Council resolutions, a senior administration official tells Insight.

    “There is a long list of charges made by the U.S. that have been confirmed, but none of this seems to mean anything because the weapons that were unaccounted for by the United Nations remain unaccounted for.” — [ that includes the 3.9 tons of VX that Saddam admitted he had, rOb, which amounts to one large garage in an area the size of California ]

    Both Duelfer and his predecessor, David Kay, reported to Congress that the evidence they had found on the ground in Iraq showed Saddam’s regime was in “material violation” of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the last of 17 resolutions that promised “serious consequences” if Iraq did not make a complete disclosure of its weapons programs and dismantle them in a verifiable manner.

    Both Duelfer and Kay found Iraq had “a clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses with equipment that was suitable to continuing its prohibited chemical- and biological-weapons [BW] programs,” the official said. “They found a prison laboratory where we suspect they tested biological weapons on human subjects.”

    They found equipment for “uranium-enrichment centrifuges” whose only plausible use was as part of a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. In all these cases, “Iraqi scientists had been told before the war not to declare their activities to the U.N. inspectors,” the official said.

    The full article will make your toes curl

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38213

  23. r0b 23

    Jameson, I appreciate that you’re doing the best you can with very little material. Stockpiles long destroyed, a few old artillery shells, drums of fertiliser and so on. Neocon supporters are desperately trying to make the best case they can for the fictional Iraq WMDs:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/us/23believers.html

    For Diehards, Search for Iraq’s W.M.D. Isn’t Over
    By SCOTT SHANE
    Published: June 23, 2006

    WASHINGTON, June 22 — The United States government abandoned the search for unconventional weapons in Iraq long ago. But Dave Gaubatz has never given up. […]

    More than a year after the White House, at considerable political cost, accepted the intelligence agencies’ verdict that Mr. Hussein destroyed his stockpiles in the 1990’s, these Americans have an unshakable faith that the weapons continue to exist.

    But not even Bush believes it:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44268-2004Jul12.html
    (or http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3888587.stm )

    ‘We Were Right to Go Into Iraq,’ Bush Says […]
    Tuesday, July 13, 2004; Page A01

    OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 12 — President Bush asserted Monday that the war against Iraq has made America safer as he sought to counteract the findings in a Senate report late last week that the U.S. intelligence community distorted and exaggerated the weapons threat posed by former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

    “Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we were right to go into Iraq,” Bush said

    Not even Dick Cheney believes it:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14767199/

    Sept. 10, 2006

    In the build-up to the U.S. invasion in 2003, Bush and other administration leaders argued that Saddam should be removed from power because he had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was actively seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

    Subsequent investigations concluded that he did not have such weapons, and in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,’ Cheney acknowledged that, “clearly, the intelligence that said he did was wrong.’

    And Jameson, despite making the best of whatever scraps you can find, you are nowhere close to substantiating your original claim: The weapons they DID find were chemical in nature – tonnes of Sarin and VX, with warheads that could carry them, that could have wiped out entire cities. You only have to ask the Kurds if he had the will to use them.

    Where are the tonnes of chemicals and the warheads that could carry them Jameson? Or were you, perhaps, mistaken? There’s no shame in admitting a mistake Jameson.

  24. RedLogix 24

    I have to bow to r0b’s homework here. Yet for all the details, hair-splitting and disinterring of old information that we can indulge in… one thing is obvious. Saddam Hussein’s military was NOT bristling with WMD’s ready and able for use.

    Put yourselves in Iraqi military boots for one moment. Your nation is clearly under threat. Your job is to defend your country. It would your duty to investigate whatever means that MAY be available to you to fulfill your role. Therefore I would expect the Iraqi’s to have been investigating or at the least experimenting with whatever WMD technologies that they might be able to exploit given the intense scrutiny they were under.

    But the fact is that the UN Inspections regime was most the very most part working. When the US led “coalition of the coerced” invaded was the time when these weapons, if they existed, should have been used. And once we had taken control of the country, despite extensive searches, almost no evidence that such weapons existed was found.

    Of course it is not hard to devise an argument that the Iraqi’s would have had an intent to possess such weapons, but intent is not the same as possession, which in turn is not the same as using them.
    (Nor is a history of using them much of an argument, otherwise why else do we tolerate the USA possessing nuclear weapons?)

    The whole justification for the invasion of Iraq was based on the idea that the Iraq military was armed to the teeth with WMD’s, ready to use. This was a lie. It was known to be a lie by those who made the decision, it was known to be a lie to the media who acted as cheerleaders, and known to be a lie to millions who have not the guts to be honest with themselves and admit that the West lied it’s way into an illegal, immoral and fatally flawed invasion of a sovereign nation. Not to mention the several trillion dollars spent on it that might have been spent more productively. Oh and did I mention all the dead people?

    But who gives a flying pigs ass about my moral posturing. The war has been a raging success. Iraq has been dismantled as a potential military threat to Israel, and the US military machine (and it’s attendant suppliers) is set to encamped there for decades into the future regardless of who occupies the White House. The US political machine is addicted to war and death. The fix is in…and what the hell are us rubes gonna be able to do about it anyhow?

  25. Jameson 25

    I concede that my statement that they’d ‘found’ VX and Sarin is inaccurate. I should have written that they have found plenty of evidence of its existence. Saddam himself admitted that he had tonnes of the stuff, which to this day remains unaccounted for.

    So let’s move beyond your one and only point shall we

    What is not in doubt is that he was actively pursuing them.

    According to the EVIDENCE YOU HAVE PRESENTED it’s not the neo-cons who are suggesting this, it was the head of the U.N. weapons inspection team, David Kay, who said, “Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat.’

    Furthermore his successor, inspector Duelfer, concluded that “Saddam planned to resume production of weapons of mass destruction once the United Nations lifted economic sanctions.’

    According to the EVIDENCE YOU HAVE PRESENTED, the chief inspector at the time and please read this carefully — “LEARNED DURING THE INSPECTION MADE IRAQ A MORE DANGEROUS PLACE, POTENTIALLY, THAN, IN FACT, WE THOUGHT IT WAS EVEN BEFORE THE WAR.’

    That you have sidestepped every one of these key findings by your blessed U.N. inspectors suggests you’re the one with a thinnest of arguments.

    If you want to maintain that Saddam filled his warheads with washing detergent, go right ahead.

    Care to whitewash points 3 & 4 now, in your relentless pursuit to give Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt?

  26. RedLogix 26

    According to the EVIDENCE YOU HAVE PRESENTED, the chief inspector at the time and please read this carefully — “The team has found evidence of “WMD-related program activities” but no actual chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.”

    Or how about:

    “David Kay, resigned his position, stating that he believed WMD stockpiles would not be found in Iraq. “I don’t think they existed,” commented Kay. “What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last Gulf War and I don’t think there was a large-scale production program in the nineties.” In a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kay criticized the pre-war WMD intelligence and the agencies that produced it, saying “It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.””

    So how are we to reconcile that with Kays’ later statement that you quote?

    You can quibble over interpret various reports all you like… but the lack of any actual weapons…. weapons that we were assured before the war actually existed, were actually ready for immediate deployment… the complete lack of any evidence that they ever existed renders your argument null and void.

    We didn’t go to war in Iraq because maybe one day Hussein might have WMD’s. We were unequivocally told that he HAD THEM and WAS READY TO USE THEM. Spot the difference?

  27. Jameson 27

    Red: “But the fact is that the UN Inspections regime was most the very most part working.”

    Which part exactly? The part where they found “hundreds of cases of activities that were prohibited” under U.N. Security Council resolutions — including the “material violation” of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the last of 17 resolutions that promised “serious consequences” – and did NOTHING?

    Red: “Therefore I would expect the Iraqi’s to have been investigating or at the least experimenting with whatever WMD technologies that they might be able to exploit…”

    That’s precisely what he was doing. They found torture chambers where Saddam’s henchmen tested nerve agents on the innocent victims you lot would prefer to have left in the hands of your beloved dictator.

    Red: “… the West lied it’s way into an illegal, immoral and fatally flawed invasion of a sovereign nation.”

    a) According to the U.N. chief inspector “it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat.’

    b) The resolutions broken by Saddam made the invasion legal under U.N. rules — except the toothless tiger’s “serious consequences” amounted to spanking Saddam with the wet bus ticket.

    c) You think it was immoral to stop a genocidal maniac in his tracks?

    Honestly, Red, your Saddam-fellating bullshit is making my stomach churn.

  28. Jameson 28

    Red: “(Nor is a history of using them much of an argument, otherwise why else do we tolerate the USA possessing nuclear weapons?)”

    This demands clarification:

    Do you believe the US dropping the bomb on the Japs and Saddam dropping nerve gas on the Kurds is morally equivalent?

  29. RedLogix 29

    I’m not going to be drawn into parsing “moral equivalences” about who did what in which war. All war is hell, and ‘fair’ really doesn’t enter into it.

    Besides if I recall right it was Winston Churchill who first dabbled in using poison gases in the Middle East:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHU407A.html

  30. Jameson 30

    You won’t be drawn into moral equivalences, but now you’re suggesting Churchill, Truman and Saddam are all as bad as one another?

    What’s your point, Red?

    And while you’re pondering that, perhaps you’d like to address the facts presented by the U.N. inspectors that you’ve neatly frog-leapt.

  31. RedLogix 31

    The UN inspectors presented facts alright. Like a complete absence of any actual usable weapons. Their reported opinions on what all this meant were inconsistent and contradictory.

    My point is that yes Churchill, Truman and Hussein are all as bad as each other, inasmuch as war is an especial darkness of the human heart. There is no ‘good war’.

    This is what war is. You take your family, all those you dearly love, and then while you are bound helpless, you are forced to watch each one tortured, raped and then slowly burned to death by the most debased, “stomach churning” means devisable. After that they burn down your house and home to cover up the evidence. And bayonet the family dog on the way out for fun. And you do it over and over until millions upon millions have been snuffed out.

    Did I really have to spell that out?

  32. the sprout 32

    i heard they did find a lot of oil and reconstruction contracts when the americans “liberated” iraq. funny thing is, there must be lots more where that came from, i just can’t understand why they aren’t so gung-ho about “liberating” china and north korea.

  33. r0b 33

    I concede that my statement that they’d ‘found’ VX and Sarin is inaccurate.

    Bravo Jameson. Don’t worry, you’re in excellent company, lots of people have been wrong about Iraq having WMDs…

    Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. Dick Cheney August 26, 2002

    Wrong.

    Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. George Bush March 18, 2003

    Wrong.

    Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly… Ari Fleisher March 21, 2003

    Wrong.

    They can produce enough dry biological agent in a single month to kill thousands upon thousands of people. … Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical-weapons agent. … My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. Colin Powell, Presentation to the UN Security Council, February 2003

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    We’ve also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. Bush, October 2002

    Wrong.

    The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. Bush, September 2002

    Wrong.

    This is not just an academic exercise or the United States being in a
    fit of pique. We’re talking about real weapons. We’re talking about
    anthrax. We’re talking about botulinum toxin. Colin Powell, February 2003

    Wrong.

    There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them. Gen. Tommy Franks March 22, 2003

    Wrong.

    The regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material, could build one within a year. Bush, September 2002

    Wrong.

    … we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. Cheney, March 2003

    Wrong.

    And so on.

    Interestingly enough Jameson, your argument is like a miniature version of the Bush government’s argument. When it becomes obvious that there were no WMDs, the fallback position is that there were “weapons programmes” and “capabilities” and intentions to acquire or build. Perhaps all those things are true (on a small, disorganised scale), but they are not the reason that team Bush gave for invading Iraq. The reasons given (as above) were about real WMDs, not imaginary ones.

    So let’s move beyond your one and only point shall we

    My one and only point? Well that remains to be seen. But for now, it’s a fairly important point, wouldn’t you agree? Leaving aside value judgements, leaving aside the question of whether it was deliberate deception or genuine mistake, I put to you the following:

    The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect.

    Do you agree Jameson?

  34. AncientGeek 34

    J:

    Do you believe the US dropping the bomb on the Japs and Saddam dropping nerve gas on the Kurds is morally equivalent?

    Short answer is yes. Both were dropped on civilians where there were no significant military targets. Both killed large numbers of civilians as terror weapons to quell an military opposition. Morally it is the equivalent of rounding up nearby civilians and shooting them for being responsible for the decisions of their leaders (or local resistance group). Similarly the bombing of Coventry, Dresden, and mass bombing of other cities where there were no significant military targets.

    If you think differently, then perhaps you could explain your logic?

    There was no significant evidence of WMD’s found in Iraq after the 2nd Gulf War. There is no doubt that Saddam would have probably built them if he’d had the capability, and he was trying to run the bluff that he had them. However, the evidence from both before the war, and afterwards, was that the blockade and embargo was very effective. First time that had really happened since the first world war.

    In effect the coalition of the willing (and stupid) violated the primary UN principle of not invading a country from where there was no clear and immediate danger. The plans for the war showed that they were aware of that as they didn’t allocate sufficient forces to defeat what Saddam had in 1990, just enough for the forces in 2002.

    The big screwup during the war was by that idiot Defense Secretary who over-rode his military and tried to run a cheap war. He didn’t send in sufficient occupying forces to at least make sure that his commander in chief’s screwup didn’t wind up as a morass.

    Militarily the ‘surge’ is an admission of defeat. Effectively it signals that they have been unable to get the Iraqi military and security forces up to a point that they could quell the sectarian violence. The US etc had to pull in more troops.

    The same problem occurred during Vietnam, with the same ‘surges’ and same internal security failures. The question is how does the US get troops out of Iraq?

    BTW: from my ex-military viewpoint, you sound like one of those armchair warriors who are fond of getting other people killed. Believing in whatever theory happens to fit your blinders. Interesting you mention Churchill – I always associate him with Gallipoli as First Sea Lord – he had the same problem.

  35. Pascal's bookie 35

    This is what war is. You take your family, all those you dearly love, and then while you are bound helpless, you are forced to watch each one tortured, raped and then slowly burned to death by the most debased, “stomach churning’ means devisable. After that they burn down your house and home to cover up the evidence. And bayonet the family dog on the way out for fun. And you do it over and over until millions upon millions have been snuffed out.

    Did I really have to spell that out

    You’d hope not Red, but I’m glad you did.

    War is, literally, the worst thing that can happen, save destruction, to a society. It demands that people act barbarically. It destroys lives, futures and economies. It destroys the psyche of a huge number of it’s survivors, with rippling effects that last generations. We all know this, and it is why we lie to ourselves about it, and highlight the sacrafice and bravery, none of which would be necessary without the horror.

    Sometimes it is necessary. For all it’s costs, sometimes, the alternative is destruction.

    This war, in Iraq, was predicated on the lie that Saddam was a threat so severe that war was the only option. The lie needed to be told because if the American people knew the true state of Iraq’s WMD abilities, they would not have supported a war.

    That is why they lied. That is why they did everything they could to discredit the inspection process. That is why they ran a second intelligence analysis out of the VP’s and the undersecretary of defence’s offices. That is why the analysis out of those politically appointed offices was more frightening and less robust than the initial stories from the CIA and State dept. The existence of those reports and their leakage to journalists such as Judith Millar of the NYT, put political pressure on State and CIA to come up with something acceptable to the White house.

    All of this is documented in many places. And the point of it all was that the White House did not believe that the American people, even after the trauma of 911, would support the invasion of Iraq if they were told the truth.

    A government that lies to it’s people in order to get them to support what they otherwise would not support; when that thing is the very worst thing save destruction that can happen to them; is not fit to govern.

    Bush’s govt is not the first to do this and it won’t be the last no doubt. But that doesn’t change the facts.

  36. AncientGeek 36

    PB:

    Sometimes it is necessary. For all it’s costs, sometimes, the alternative is destruction.

    And that I agree with. For instance Afghanistan is a classic case in point. It was literally a failed state after the Russians withdrew. Now that isn’t a particular reason for putting troops in. Ultimately that is a problem for the citizens of the society to build a stable political structure, and for the outside world to provide whatever assistance it can.

    However the state was being used for launching attacks outside it’s borders. It was becoming a danger for societies everywhere. That is why the UN sanctioned its invasion (and why our troops are there). But at least that was planned from the start as requiring troops to be there for a considerable period, probably at least a decade. It wasn’t envisaged as being a ‘quick-fix’ like the Iraq.

  37. Pascal's bookie 37

    Militarily the ‘surge’ is an admission of defeat.

    Good point. It’s also failing on it’s own terms as set out when they started. The strategic purpose was to use the increased troops to stem the bloodflow enough to create political space for ‘reconciliation’. How they intended the second part to work is unknown of course but in any case the idea was that the Government would end up being closer to having a monopoly on the use of force.

    Instead everyone is just entrenching their positions, which makes sense since everyone knows the surge can’t last for ever.

    And Look!! You know those awakening council good-guys-now,
    even-though-they-were-insurgents and still-hate-the-Iraqi-govt?

    They gettin pissed off about something.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/21/iraq.alqaida

  38. Redlogix 38

    Bush’s govt is not the first to do this and it won’t be the last no doubt.

    I’d rather hope it will be.

    Thanks guys for the support. I admit my sense of passion about this makes it hard to express myself clearly. Pascal’s bookie makes a solid point that is worth underlining.

    If the UN had reached a solid and unequivocal determination that Iraq should have been invaded, then I believe we would have been obliged by duty to participate.

    The invention of WMD’s has forever changed the nature of war. Up until the end of WW2 the notion of the “justifiable war” still possessed some scraps of respectability. But since then almost all no significant war has achieved a constructive end, no matter how we attempted to justify it. The simple fact is that warfare, as conducted by the sovereign nation state, has become more or less obsolete as a political tool.

    War has become the ultimate failure. It is now so unthinkably barbaric that is is truly the very last resort when all other options have irrefutably failed. Idealist I may be, but I do understand and accept the role of the military as this last resort.

    But only in the context of the moral and legal imprimatur that a global body such as the UN can bestow upon such a grave step.

  39. Jameson 39

    Thank you for spelling that out for me, Red. It’s not often that someone would so candidly and succinctly demonstrate their inability to distinguish between right and wrong.

    Your description was not of ‘war’, but of the barbaric acts that necessitate war.

    Fighting the good fight, or fighting the good war, does not mean participating in a ‘fun’ war; it means fighting a moral war. Fighting tyranny is a moral fight.

    Hitler was a tyrant. Mussolini was a tyrant. Hirohito was a tyrant. They were guilty of those sorts of atrocities you so vividly described.

    Conversely, Churchill was a good guy, Roosevelt was a good guy and Truman was a good guy. They were the heroic defenders of the free world,

    Correspondingly, the Islamofascists are tyrants, Hussein was a tyrant, and the good guys are those who are heroically defending the free world against those who have pledged its enslavement and/or its annihilation, and going after those who support them.

    But the real enemy is the appeaser. Chamberlain cost the lives of millions because he did not act in 1938 to snuff out (in the words of the U.N. Chief Inspector) “an imminent threat.’

    There is, however, an even lower rung on the ladder to oblivion, reserved for the ugliest of characters: the passive bystander who watches on as a tyrant rapes, tortures and slowly burn to death the innocent; the limp-dick that is rendered immobile by his inability to determine the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong.

  40. Jameson 40

    rOb… you just can’t help yourself can you. I concede the point and you “nah nah nah-nah nah” all over it. When you’re ready to move on…

    But first I’d like to remind you that my concession does not mean there weren’t any WMD. The U.N. Inspectors have concluded that: a) there was plenty of evidence they had WMD; b)they can’t rule out that WMD weren’t moved into Syria; and c) they still haven’t accounted for the tons of VX Hussein admitted he had.

  41. Jameson 41

    As far as I’m concerned the top U.N. Inspector vindicated Bush. According to David Kay it was potentially WORSE than the president thought:

    “Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat. Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion-—although I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.’

    I think that’s the third time I’ve transcribed this statement. Maybe one of you of you would like to comment. You can’t have it both ways: either the inspectors’ reports count or they don’t; you don’t get to cherry pick the convenient evidence like Mini-Me Michael Moores.

    “Militarily the ‘surge’ is an admission of defeat.’
    Good point?? Could someone please explain how this any sort of admission…

  42. r0b 42

    rOb you just can’t help yourself can you. I concede the point and you “nah nah nah-nah nah’ all over it. When you’re ready to move on

    You misunderstand Jameson. I’m not “nah nah nah” at you. I’m pointing out that Team Bush made the same mistake. They said that there were WMDs when there weren’t. The point was to pose a question. The answer to the question is important before we can “move on”.

    To repeat the question: Leaving aside value judgements, leaving aside the question of whether it was deliberate deception or genuine mistake, I put to you the following:

    The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect.

    Do you agree Jameson?

    (Goodnight, it’s well past my bedtime. You’re an owl Jameson, are you in the NZ time zone?)

  43. r0b 43

    Oh all right, since you’re so fond of that quote, an attempted deconstruction:

    Based on the intelligence that existed, I think it was reasonable to reach the conclusion that Iraq posed an imminent threat.

    Before the war we thought there was an imminent threat.

    Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion

    Now that you (the committee) know how weak the actual situation was, you might reasonably conclude otherwise (no imminent threat).

    although I must say I actually think what we learned during the inspection made Iraq a more dangerous place, potentially, than, in fact, we thought it was even before the war.

    But I’ve got to throw my political masters a bone here – hell – “potentially” anything goes, right?

    Really goodnight this time. The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy doesn’t pay me enough overtime for this…

  44. RedLogix 44

    Oh dear, not the tired old “appeaser” bogeyman again.

    Actually it’s only a polite form of a much uglier and more primitive logic that goes along the lines, “Lets get them before they get us!”. It’s the kind of thing you are supposed to grow out of before you leave primary school.

    Your fond reference to the “good wars” all date to a time before the invention of the nuclear bomb. Bu do you still imagine that it is possible to fight a “good war” with nuclear weapons and have anything that looks like a “good outcome”? Your comparisons are obsolete and irrelevant to our present situation. It’s akin to the teenaged boy thinking he can drive his 220kw boy racer Mitsi, like he did his skateboard. It’s just not the same thing anymore. The consequences of a fuckup are wholly more catastrophic.

    Humanity has passed the point where this immature thing we have played at through out history called war, can be tolerated any longer. What is permitted to a child, may be forbidden to an adult.

    So here is the answer to your “appeaser” accusation. When an adult commits a criminal act, we have a police and justice system that acts on our collective behalf to arrest and punish the wrong-doer according to a set of agreed upon laws. Inherent in our notions of justice is the idea of proportionate response. (ie we don’t execute people for parking meter offenses.)

    Even more fundamental is the idea that we do not do convict someone for thinking about a crime, even if they have committed something similar in the past. If we have actual evidence of their intentions, plans and means to commit a crime, then we may act forestall that crime and charge them with something lessor like conspiracy,… but we cannot do not convict for murder until after there is a dead body. (It would be so much easier if somehow we could pre-emptively act to stop all crime before it happened, but then presumably you would be unhappy about the totalitarian police state you lived in.)

    Therefore by direct parallel, when a nation, led by a tyrant, rises up an commits acts of aggression against others, then all the other nations must collectively consult, and formally act according to a system of law to deter, prevent and punish the aggressor. If in the last resort this means unleashing the hell of war, then so be it. This is how grown up civilisation works.

    When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the UN collectively acted against him. And very effectively.

    By contrast the GW Bush team knew that their real motives for invading Irag would not pass scrutiny at the UN. So they lied to the whole world, and went ahead with their home brewed vigilante justice. Which has turned out rather badly. And neither is the rest of the world going to lift a finger to help the USA wipe so much as a speck of the jumbo-sized omelette that now decorates Uncle Sam’s grizzled visage.

    And you Jameson, need be wiping some of the spittle off yours.

  45. Jameson 45

    Red: “War has become the ultimate failure. It is now so unthinkably barbaric that is is truly the very last resort when all other options have irrefutably failed.”

    Yes, war is a last resort. But you don’t have a choice when your enemy declares war on you – as the Nazis, Japanese and Islamofascists have.

    You keep mentioning these other options. What are they? Surely you don’t mean more weapons inspections and threats of “serious consequences’, and watching him give you the finger as he ignores another resolution… because that irrefutably failed.

    ………………………………..

    This escaped my attention earlier: “They had perfectly good reason to assume he had no WMD, based on the reports of the 100 UN inspectors team that had been searching Iraq for four months.”

    100 inspectors searching the whole of Iraq. If 100 Feds started now, how many months do you think it would take to turn every stone in the FRIENDLY & COOPERATIVE state of California?

    And you guys think I’m the one who’s stretching a point…

  46. Jameson 46

    One more thing: though my sympathies lay primarily and almost exclusively with the allied soldiers in WWII, the bombs dropped on Japan saved many millions of Japanese that would have been killed in a protracted invasion. The citizens who were spared this horror should get down on their knees and thank America for saving them. And, for that matter, so should you. But no-one ever thanks America.

  47. Jameson 47

    rOb: Your deconstruction exposes your desperation to believe in a conspiracy. Once again… Based on the information Bush had BEFORE the war, the U.N. Inspector admits it was reasonable to assume he DID have WMD.

    Only an idiot would ignore a maniac who declares his intentions to kill you.

    Red: Have you heard about the crime they call “Conspiracy to Murder”? Much better to nab them before they kill, don’t you think?

  48. r0b 48

    rOb: Your deconstruction exposes your desperation to believe in a conspiracy.

    Does it? What conspiracy do I think Kay was a part of? How do you interpret the second sentence of this quote that you’re so fond of?: Now that you know reality on the ground as opposed to what you estimated before, you may reach a different conclusion

    Once again Based on the information Bush had BEFORE the war, the U.N. Inspector admits it was reasonable to assume he DID have WMD.

    Kay was not a UN inspector, he was a US scientist. Yes – reasonable to assume that Iraq had WMD – not proved beyond all doubt, as the multiple quotes from the Bush administration (above) claimed.

    Only an idiot would ignore a maniac who declares his intentions to kill you.

    Ummm – what? When did Iraq announce intentions to Kill America? Is possible or even probable possession of dangerous weapons a licence for America to invade? How many other countries may be reasonably assumed to have WMDs? How many others actually have – say – nukes? Israel has. Pakistan has. North Korea (paid up member of “the axis of evil”) has actual nukes (not imaginary ones). Why weren’t they invaded Jameson? Seriously, this line of argument is beyond desperation for you.

    But anyway Jameson, you are ostentatiously ignoring a question I have asked twice now (in following up your original “second point”). Why are you avoiding the question Jameson? Here it is again. Do you agree with the following claim?: The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect.

  49. RedLogix 49

    The citizens who were spared this horror should get down on their knees and thank America for saving them.

    You view America’s motives for unleashing nuclear weapons on Japanese citizens, from the safe vantage point of and through the rather tinted lens of hindsight.

    The US did not nuke Japan because of all the Japanese citizens they might save who would be otherwise lost in a protracted invasion. They did it because they had been fighting a barbaric war, with catastrophic loss of life for five years, and they had this weapon that would kill huge numbers of their enemy. They could do it, and so they did.. Equally the case with Churchill’s bombing campaign in Germany. There is no doubt that at some point it morphed from something militarily justified, to something uglier… something with a lot of vengeance mixed in. In the end even the British public could no longer stomach it.

    As I said. This is what war is like. It’s not meant to be fair, to be sane and certainly not ‘good’.

    “Only an idiot would ignore a maniac who declares his intentions to kill you. Red: Have you heard about the crime they call “Conspiracy to Murder’? Much better to nab them before they kill, don’t you think?

    You re-write history. What makes you think we were ignoring Hussein? Are you not forgetting the very embargo and inspection regime under discussion here? Turns out it was working very well. No actual weapons remember?

    ‘Conspiracy to Murder’ is a lesser offense than Murder. Besides it requires evidence of intent, specific plans (eg times and places) and actual means. There is no doubt Hussein possessed a bad intent, but that alone was insufficient to prosecute him.

    Lets see if YOU can tell right from wrong here.

    When Iraq invaded Kuwait the case was made to the UN to act. It did, the action was short, bloody and effective. As much as war is a deplorable thing, the world community for the very large part supported this action. There were no large scale peace protests in major cities around the world involving millions of people.

    By contrast the GW Bush neocon administration had a predetermined intent to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. Their reasons and justifications for doing so have been proven both venal and false. The UN would not give unequivocal authority to an invasion, and the people of the world protested in huge numbers on the eve of it. And yet they went ahead with their plans regardless.

    Spot the difference?

    If I murder a known and convicted pedophile a lot of people might be sympathetic, but accept that I have committed a crime no matter what justifications I come up with. It’s called vigilantism and its wrong.

    Imagine however that the pedophile was under close and safe supervision, yet regardless I had made up a false rumour he was still fiddling kiddies, and I had used that lie to justify killing the man. Moreover after killing him I had proceeded to steal a large sum of cash stashed on his rather valuable property, and then I went on to occupy it for my own gain… then not only have I still committed a crime, I don’t imagine most people would have much sympathy for me either.

  50. higherstandard 50

    Red

    I think it’s reasonably well documented that the American’s bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima because they’d run the figures that an invasion of Japan would be hideously expensive in terms of American serviceman lost (I believe it was estimated at over 1 million American casualties) this was their primary motive – you are correct that it was not directly on account of the loss of Japanese life that the decision was made. That being said there is no doubt that the Nuclear bomb hastened the end of the war in the Pacific and over all spared many more lives than it took.

    I for one am glad the bomb was discovered by the USA and not the AXIS regimes who had no moral compass. Let’s hope however that it never has to be used again.

  51. RedLogix 51

    That being said there is no doubt that the Nuclear bomb hastened the end of the war in the Pacific and over all spared many more lives than it took.

    Although this reasoning has a very strong plausibility to it, I often feel that we use it as a sort of ‘convenient truth’, to rationalise after the event something that was perhaps fundamentally unjustifiable.

    This rationalisation for using the nukes discounts the very strong possibility that Japan was on the verge of surrender regardless. If not within days, quite likely within months. The war was unquestionably militarily lost. Even if the US had done nothing more than placed a blockade on the Japanese ports, bombed their remaining air capacity to rubble and then patiently starved out the now isolated remnant hostile forces still in the Pacific… a resource starved Japanese govt, with little capacity to re-build, would have been compelled by reality to surrender at some point.

    I’m not trying to re-write history, all I am merely pointing out is that the US was not necessarily faced with a stark binary choice of “a bloody invasion of Japan with millions of casualties versus dropping a bloody big bomb on them”. There were other reasonable alternatives that may have played out.

    But war is not reasonable. And I do not think that reason was the sole rider grasping the reigns of Truman’s mind. Which is why I do not like trying to morally parse questions about ‘who did what and why in which war’ from the safe armchair of hindsight.

  52. Jameson 52

    I’m not ignoring your question rOb; I’ve already answered it. One of the main reasons for the invasion was that it was — according to Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay — reasonable to assume Saddam had WMD. When combined with the facts he was the only world leader to praise al Qaeda’s mass murder of American citizens, and was known to have aided and abetted terrorists, it completely justified the invasion.

    Saddam’s maniacal intentions were clear and present. He tried to assassinate Bush Snr, clandestinely pursued WMD, attacked U.S. forces enforcing the U.N.-sanctioned no-fly zone, and applauded 9/11. He wasn’t a friendly, rOb.

    Being in possession of nukes is not an automatic threat. I think we can rest assured that France, England, India, Israel and the US will not attack the free world. Pakistan is safe for the moment. China is trying to put on a friendly face. North Korea should be taken out as soon as possible and I’m sure their time will come.

    As far as conspiracies go, I assume you’re one of the War for Oil brigade.

  53. RedLogix 53

    I’m not ignoring your question rOb; I’ve already answered it.

    No you haven’t. And you know you haven’t.

  54. Jameson 54

    Red, I never said they dropped the bomb to save Japanese lives; their only concern was the lives of their own and rightly so. Do you have a problem with that motive?

    The U.N. sanctions WEREN’T working. He thumbed his nose at them for 10 years, violated the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire (incidentally, a justification for invasion in itself), and was in material violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, the last of 17 resolutions that promised “serious consequences’. And what was the U.N.’s serious response? Give him another chance.

    I’ll say it slowly just for you, Red:

    I believe the most significant reasonS for invading Iraq were the reasonable assumption that… Saddam had WMD and that he supported terrorism which was a combination that made his existence anathema to a free world AND while there were no significant amount of weapons found there is plenty of evidence presented by the U.N inspectors that he had them.

  55. higherstandard 55

    Red

    Whatever the truth it would not have been pleasant being in Trueman’s shoes

    if interested this piece offers some insights

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_preview.asp?idArticle=5894

  56. Jameson 56

    By the way, Red, your touchy-feely plan for dealing with tyrannical nations is naive and far less compassionate. A blockade of Japan would have slowly starved millions of Japanese to death. Being vaporised by an atom bomb is far more merciful.

  57. Pascal's bookie 57

    More grist for the Japanese surrender mill.

    http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/7184

  58. RedLogix 58

    were the reasonable assumption that Saddam had WMD

    Turned out to be wrong. Therefore it was an unreasonable assumption.

    that he supported terrorism

    Wrong also. Hussein and al-Quaeda were mortal enemies. Any evidence that they were in any manner linked is tenuous indeed.

    You have fallen for the propaganda which had demonised Hussein for it’s own purposes. He was in fact your typical Middle Eastern strongman. In a part of the world with a scant tradition or regard for the conventions of democracy, ‘touchy feely’ democrats typically do not last very long. For all his very numerous and deplorable faults, at least Hussein’s Baath Party was able to govern Iraq. The people were fed, housed and well educated. The electricity was on, the water flowed and the sewerage was treated. They had more doctors than most other nations, and their economy worked. People could go about their business without constant terror and fear of sectarian violence. He was actually quite popular with a lot of Iraqi’s, especially with those content not to challenge the status quo.

    Is this an apology for the man? Scarcely, but it is a reality that amnesia does not change. But the truth is that the US lied about their reasons for invading Iraq tells us that their real motives were not honorable ones. The real reasons why Iraq was invaded are a confluence of a number factors:

    1. The political need to be seen to be “doing something” about 9/11, and to exploit the political capital automatically granted by the American people to any “war president.”

    2. The influence of the pro-Israel lobby keen to see Iraq dismantled as a potential threat to Israel.

    3. The influence of a fundamentalist Christian lobby committed to the idea of a ‘clash of civilisations’ heralding an ‘end of days’ catastrophe.

    4. An armaments industry deeply entwined into the US corridors of power that was bound to see a new war as a major profit opportunity.

    5. The final part of the jigsaw, being the need for the US to protect it’s interests in the oil business. By taking down Hussein (and his new Euro denominated oil bourse), invading Iraq and Afghanistan the US was able to project it’s power into the region and thus hope to restore it’s otherwise slipping grip on a vital industry. (The actual oil extracted from Iraq is not relevant to this argument… in reality it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of dollars the war has really cost.)

  59. RedLogix 59

    Thanks for the link hs, an interesting read. Certainly it was an exceedingly complex and fast moving set of events that Truman was enmeshed in. Not one of us should envy the position Truman was in, and I for one do not wish to judge him.

    At the same time as Pasacl’s bookie reminds us the Soviet factor appears to have been the dominant card. The dates alone suggest this very strongly:

    1. Truman delays Potsdam meeting with the Soviets until he is informed that the atomic bomb was successfully tested. The atomic bomb exploded in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16th, and the Postdam meeting began on July 17th, 1945.

    2. At Postdam, Truman gets the Soviets to agree to enter the war a week later than they had originally promised, moving the date from August 8th to August 15th, 1945.

    3. After Soviets agree to enter the war against Japan on August 15th, Truman then orders that the Atomic bombs be dropped on August 6th and 9th, 1945.

    4. If Truman thought that the war would be over as soon as the Soviets entered the war against Japan, why did he drop the atomic bombs on Japan before the Soviets could enter the war on August 15th, 1945?

    5. Recognizing that the United States had misled them, after the American atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th, the Russians entered the war against Japan on August 9th. After the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and the Russian entry into the war on August 9th, the Japanese surrendered on August 10th and the U.S. accepted their surrender on August 15th–the day the Russians were scheduled to enter the war against Japan.

    6. In order to keep the Russians out of any peace settlement with Japan and prevent any Russian claims on Asia, the United States accepted the Japanese offer of conditional surrender on August 10th.The Japanese surrender wasn’t an unconditional surrender, which President Truman had demanded of the Japanese since May 1945.

    7. Had the United States allowed the Japanese to keep their emperor the Japanese would have surrendered much earlier, as early as June 1945 when the Japanese offered a conditional surrender through Russian and Italian intermediaries.

    http://www.colorado.edu/AmStudies/lewis/2010/atomic.htm#Real

  60. Jameson 60

    Red: “Turned out to be wrong. Therefore it was an unreasonable assumption.”

    Pointless arguing with an imbecile who thinks you can turn back time and make a reasonable assumption unreasonable when new evidence is presented AFTER the event.

    Red: “The [Iraqis] were fed, housed and well educated. The electricity was on, the water flowed and the sewerage was treated. They had more doctors than most other nations, and their economy worked. People could go about their business without constant terror and fear of sectarian violence. [Saddam] was actually quite popular with a lot of Iraqi’s…”

    I can’t stomach another minute of this. I’m done here — you Saddamites make my skin crawl. If you had your way Hussein would still be in power, the U.N. would still be pissing around, women would still be going to the raping rooms, dissenters would still be going to the torture chambers, and the invasion to stop a genocidal maniac would still have to come.

    The joke is, you call yourselves idealists and think you’re all about love and giving. It’s your kind of thinking that allows evil to thrive in this world.

  61. RedLogix 61

    Pointless arguing with an imbecile who thinks you can turn back time and make a reasonable assumption unreasonable when new evidence is presented AFTER the event.

    For the purposes of keeping this debate simple, I’ve held back from pointing out the rather obvious. That if dozens of amateur blog sites running on spare change categorically KNEW before the invasion, that Iraq had no WMD’s, then it is absolutely certain that the State Dept, the CIA and all the other spook gardens with their funding of billions, knew the truth also.

    But if you cannot even be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that the pre-war intelligence about Iraq’s WMD’s was proven in the event to be wrong, there is little point in attempting to take the debate to the next logical step.

    women would still be going to the raping rooms

    Well one of my closer acquaintances was just one of those women. She’s quite well known in Wellington. But here is something you will have trouble understanding.

    For all her desire to see Hussein fall, she did not support the illegal invasion of Iraq that so transparently mis-appropriated Hussein’s crimes as a flimsy pretext to destroy a home country she still loves.

    Go figure.

    PS If your skin is still crawling, take a cold shower.

  62. Vic 62

    I was out of town for a day and have returned to find the original title of this post might just as well apply to the comments thread that follows it. I tried to post the following response a little earlier today and just noticed that it didn’t go through, so I’ve posted it now even later.

    I’m not going to bother trying to return an argument relating specifically to my original comment which is many yards of polemic further up the page. I just wanted to share a story. I have a friend who has worked for an NGO in the Green Zone in Baghdad on and off over the last couple of years. She decided that she wanted to make a documentary about the lives of ordinary Iraqi people under the occupation, to share the reality of what they deal with all the time. In order to do this she would have needed to give cameras only to children because any adult seen outside with a camera is likely to be shot. She would have needed to remove all the children from Baghdad to train them in camera handling because for the children to go through all the internal checkpoints in Baghdad to get to the safety of the Greenzone would likely have resulted in some of them getting shot. If she herself had ventured beyond the Greenzone this would likely have resulted in her getting shot, or worse. The children are unlikely, in the event that the project gets off the ground, to ever be able to video anything beyond the back yard or, in some cases the back rooms of their home because to leave at all would most likely result in them getting shot. Many children have ingrained hatred towards Muslims from other sects because they have been told that family members have been killed by them. My friend wanted some of the children of Baghdad to mix with each other and learn that other people with other beliefs aren’t dangerous and evil, to curb the terrible effects of the sectarian violence in Iraq, and to show us on the outside what it’s really like. And despite the terrible danger, she had support from parents who were willing to put their families, their children, at incredible risk in order to express the truth of what America’s occupation really means for Iraqis on the ground.

    No matter what America says it has done and why, the reality is that they have bought for the rest of the world a violent hotspot that will take generations to heal. It seems likely to me that many many more lives and resources have and will be spent on Iraq and all of the future conflict to come from the occupation, than would have been spent inside it if nothing had been done. I don’t have an answer about a better alternative, and I won’t stretch my limited historical war-nerdery by trying to prove that violent occupation has never solved anything. However looking at the examples of Israel and Ireland, engendering sectarian conflict is not a productive way to proceed. And as Redlogix points out two comments above, Israel is implicated in the current situation. Will the stupidness never end?

  63. r0b 63

    I’m not ignoring your question rOb; I’ve already answered it.

    Ahh – no. You’ve tried to turn it into a different question, and tried to answer that. The invasion of Iraq was not sold the the UN and the American people on the basis that “Iraq may have WMDs”. It was sold on the basis that “Iraq has WMDs and could use them”. See all those quotes from Team Bush above – do I need to repeat them?

    So, we know that the case for invasion was “Iraq has WMDs and could use them”. We know that there were no WMDs (even you have finally agreed to that Jameson). What then prevents you from reaching the only possible conclusion?: The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect. Do you agree Jameson?

    As far as conspiracies go, I assume you’re one of the War for Oil brigade.

    Tell you what Jameson, you answer my question, and I promise you an unambiguous one word answer to yours.

  64. AncientGeek 64

    J:

    The joke is, you call yourselves idealists and think you’re all about love and giving. It’s your kind of thinking that allows evil to thrive in this world.

    From the discussion above, I don’t think that it is possible to class virtually any of the participants as being idealists – apart from yourself of course.

    It is pretty self-evident that they all know more about the ;ong-term and short-term issues than you do. I might not agree with them, but I have to respect them.

    Just one more point:-

    Wrong also. Hussein and al-Quaeda were mortal enemies. Any evidence that they were in any manner linked is tenuous indeed.

    Yeah – that has to be the funniest false claim around. The islamic fundamentalists hated Saddam more than almost anyone else.

    BTW: People, interesting links.

  65. AncientGeek 65

    hs:

    Whatever the truth it would not have been pleasant being in Trueman’s shoes

    Especially as he had a very good idea of the consequences after his service in WW1. While he wasn’t really in one of the hard fought lines, as an artillery officer he would have had a good idea of the potential damage.

    I wouldn’t have liked to be in his shoes either

  66. Dean 66

    “Well one of my closer acquaintances was just one of those women. She’s quite well known in Wellington. But here is something you will have trouble understanding.

    For all her desire to see Hussein fall, she did not support the illegal invasion of Iraq that so transparently mis-appropriated Hussein’s crimes as a flimsy pretext to destroy a home country she still loves.”

    You’re either a liar, or your’re accurately representing her. If the latter is true, then I wish you were the former. That’s an utterly sick way to live, and I sincerely hope she gets help soon. I mean, why else would she have moved the the west?

  67. Dean 67

    Rob:

    “So, we know that the case for invasion was “Iraq has WMDs and could use them’. We know that there were no WMDs (even you have finally agreed to that Jameson). What then prevents you from reaching the only possible conclusion?: The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect. Do you agree Jameson?”

    Seeing as how you continue to avoid the question, would it matter to you that the UN itself, BEFORE THE INVASION, concluded that Iraq was probably in possession of WMD?

    Please note the tense. It is important, and you seem either unwilling or unable to acknowledge it.

  68. Dean 68

    “But if you cannot even be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that the pre-war intelligence about Iraq’s WMD’s was proven in the event to be wrong, there is little point in attempting to take the debate to the next logical step.”

    And never mind the atrocities that happened right? After all, someone you know from there agrees with you! Let’s all turn a blind eye to humans being treated worse than cattle are in some countries and take the moral high ground. It’s so much more appealing than being, you know, realistic.

  69. RedLogix 69

    You’re either a liar, or your’re [in]accurately (sic) representing her.

    Your choice. You are free to take my word at face value or not. But it is worth pausing a moment to consider WHY you find it so hard to believe what has happened here. Yes my friend went through a very bad time, (her sister as well)… but there is more to life than hurt, hatred and vengeance. Have you ever had to forgive something this bad? Do you think you could? And what would give you the strength and inspiration to do so. What power could transform the human heart so?

    Because however bad you think it was, it was worse.

    Now take that calculus and understand that what happened to her and her family was in her eyes, a lesser thing than what has happened to her country at the hands of the Americans.

    Allow me to reassure you that your concerns for her misplaced. She lives a fine and very productive life here in the West.

    If you still have trouble understanding, read what Vic has posted above. I urge you to consider what he has said carefully. He is speaking truth.

  70. r0b 70

    Seeing as how you continue to avoid the question, would it matter to you that the UN itself, BEFORE THE INVASION, concluded that Iraq was probably in possession of WMD?

    Dean takes up the struggle eh. OK then. Tell me Dean, what is your source for the above claim? I do hope it isn’t Jameson. He was confused about a few issues of fact, and I didn’t have the energy to call him on every one.

    So – what had the UN concluded? Because I’m feeling lazy tonight, the following quotes are all from the Wikipedia summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

    Re nukes:

    In January 2003, United Nations weapons inspectors reported that they had found no indication that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons or an active program.

    Re chemical / biological, not so clear:

    However, Hans Blix said in late January 2003 that Iraq had “not genuinely accepted U.N. resolutions demanding that it disarm.” He claimed there were some materials which had not been accounted for. Since sites had been found which evidenced the destruction of chemical weaponry, UNSCOM was actively working with Iraq on methods to ascertain for certain whether the amounts destroyed matched up with the amounts that Iraq had produced.

    However it was known that surviving materials from 1991 were harmless:

    Scott Ritter stated that the WMDs Saddam had in his possession all those years ago has long since turned to harmless substances. Sarin and tabun have a shelf life of five years, VX lasts a bit longer (but not much longer), and finally botulinum toxin and liquid anthrax last about three years.

    What the UN team was sure of was that invasion was not necessary to getting the full picture – that they were within months of (peacefully!) resolving all remaining issues:

    On March 7, 2003, Hans Blix’s last report to the UN security Council prior to the US led invasion of Iraq, described Iraq as actively and proactively cooperating with UNMOVIC, though not necessarily in all areas of relevance and had been frequently uncooperative in the past, but that it was within months of resolving key remaining disarmament tasks.

    So the UN weapons inspection team did not conclude that “Iraq was probably in possession of WMD”. But – even if they had, that doesn’t change anything about the question I was asking Jameson, and I will now ask you: The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect. Do you agree Dean?

  71. Dean 71

    “Dean takes up the struggle eh. OK then. Tell me Dean, what is your source for the above claim? I do hope it isn’t Jameson. He was confused about a few issues of fact, and I didn’t have the energy to call him on every one.”

    No, it’s from the UN.

    “The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect. Do you agree Dean?”

    In retrospect, absolutely.

    Isn’t it nice, being able to comment in retrospect? Chamberlain is absolved, too. In fact, anybody who was wrong about anything must be as well.

    While we’re on the topic though, and seeing as how you like to play dumb about it, why do you think it was ok that Iraq treated women the way it did? Why don’t you think that was reason enough to invade? And most importantly – and I bet you don’t answer this one without any kind of conviction – would you support any New Zealand government in similr treatment of women? Exactly the same way you talked in circles about Labour and the Chinese over Tibet, I imagine.

  72. RedLogix 72

    why do you think it was ok that Iraq treated women the way it did?

    Where the hell did you get that notion from?

    Why don’t you think that was reason enough to invade?

    No it was not.

    Very few problems in this world are solved by the use of military force. Many are made much worse.

    Your reasoning reminds me of that famous line from the Vietnam war; “We had to bomb the village in order to save it”.

  73. r0b 73

    “The most significant reasons presented for America’s invasion of Iraq, namely that Iraq had and could deploy WMDs, were incorrect. Do you agree Dean?’

    In retrospect, absolutely.

    Well done Dean! See Jameson? It’s not so hard! Now, there are some really interesting lines of questioning that follow on from that realisation, but you know what, I can’t be bothered.

    why do you think it was ok that Iraq treated women the way it did?

    You really don’t have a clue, do you Dean. In general women in Saddam’s Iraq were among the most liberated in the Middle East (see quote below). However, the regime did also use systematic rape and abuse in a way which was of course abhorrent. Why would I think that was OK?

    But Dean, do you think it’s OK that since the invasion things have got a lot worse for women? A 2007 account:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/dec/13/gender.iraq

    After the invasion of Iraq, the US government claimed that women there had ‘new rights and new hopes’. In fact their lives have become immeasurably worse, with rapes, burnings and murders now a daily occurrence. …

    “It is getting worse, especially the burnings,” says Khanim Rahim Latif, the manager of Asuda, an Iraqi organisation based in Kurdistan that works to combat violence against women. “Just here in Sulaimaniyah, there were 400 cases of the burning of women last year.” …

    Even under Saddam, women in Iraq – including in semi-autonomous Kurdistan – were widely recognised as among the most liberated in the Middle East. They held important positions in business, education and the public sector, and their rights were protected by a statutory family law that was the envy of women’s activists in neighbouring countries. But since the 2003 invasion, advances that took 50 years to establish are crumbling away. In much of the country, women can only now move around with a male escort. Rape is committed habitually by all the main armed groups, including those linked to the government. Women are being murdered throughout Iraq in unprecedented numbers.

    Do you think that’s OK Dean? Or should we invade again to liberate the women?

  74. Dean 74

    “You really don’t have a clue, do you Dean. In general women in Saddam’s Iraq were among the most liberated in the Middle East”

    Yeah, and that person who got treated really badly compared to other people when in this country we’d treat the same person really well must feel really aggrieved.

    Your double standards in relation to women obviously know no bounds.

    Moral equivalancies, Rob, that’s all this is to you.

    And you still failed to answer the question. I’ll repeat it for you: would you support any New Zealand government in simialr treatment of women? If you can answer this without trying to say Iraq was, in secular Islam terms, a relative heaven, then I’ll be very surprised. Given that you seem to want to keep on dodging it.

    “Do you think that’s OK Dean? Or should we invade again to liberate the women?”

    It’s OK that Saddam and his neighbours treated (and continue to treat) the majority of women badly, because some didn’t get treated so badly. I’d like to see you trundle this out to women you know, because I’m sure they’d find your double standard just charming.

    Why do you continue to defend people who treat women the way Saddam did, Rob? There’s another one you won’t answer.

  75. Dean 75

    “You really don’t have a clue, do you Dean.”

    And how about Tibet, Rob?

    I don’t see you doing a lot of wailing and gnashing of the teeth on that particular subject.

    How about you tell us exactly why it’s ok that Labour don’t want to uphold their beliefs concerning human rights with China and Tibet?

    Take your time. I imagine you’ll need to.

  76. r0b 76

    Yeah, and that person who got treated really badly compared to other people when in this country we’d treat the same person really well must feel really aggrieved.

    What?

    Your double standards in relation to women obviously know no bounds.

    Ummm – what?

    Moral equivalancies, Rob, that’s all this is to you.

    Sorry – what? Seriously Dean, I don’t follow your train of thought at all. It’s all right though, don’t try and explain, I’m happy to remain confused.

    And you still failed to answer the question. I’ll repeat it for you: would you support any New Zealand government in simialr treatment of women?

    Dean, I haven’t got around to answering this, because I can’t believe that the question is as stupid as it sounds. Are you asking me if I would support an NZ government in using systematic rape and violence against women? Seriously? How is anyone ever going to answer that question with anything but “no” Dean. Seriously – what are you on?

    It’s OK that Saddam and his neighbours treated (and continue to treat) the majority of women badly, because some didn’t get treated so badly.

    Saddam’s dead Dean – didn’t you get the memo? He’s not continuing to treat anyone as anything. If you’re trying to argue that the treatment of women in Islamic cultures is unacceptable then for goodness sake just say so.

    Why do you continue to defend people who treat women the way Saddam did, Rob? There’s another one you won’t answer.

    I’ve done no such thing at any time Dean – do you have me confused with someone else?

    Dean, the American invasion of Iraq has made things much worse for the women who live there. That is a huge tragedy. Yet another of the unintended consequences of this stupid war.

  77. r0b 77

    I don’t see you doing a lot of wailing and gnashing of the teeth on that particular subject.

    It’s not the subject of the thread Dean. I think the actions of the Chinese government re Tibet are abhorrent, and I wish that the Labour led government had spoken out more strongly against them.

    How about you tell us exactly why it’s ok that Labour don’t want to uphold their beliefs concerning human rights with China and Tibet?

    Nah, I’ve answered a lot of questions already Dean. How about you answer this one first. How about you tell us exactly why it’s ok that National don’t want to uphold their beliefs concerning human rights with China and Tibet?

  78. RedLogix 78

    Dean,

    I’m tempting to think you are drinking, you’re not making much sense.

    Correct me if I am wrong but the question you appear to be asking is:

    would you support any New Zealand government in simialr treatment of women?

    Answer: No.

    What is your point? At no point in this long thread have r0b, ancientgeek, Pascals bookie, or myself expressed any hint of explicit support for Saddam Hussein. Absolutely we have repeatedly expressed contempt and disdain for his crimes.

    But it is important to note that these oppressions were directed at a relatively small minority of people whom the regime perceived as a threat. (And of course if a New Zealand govt did the same thing it would be condemned equally.) Moreover Iraq as you correctly point out is not alone in treating dissendents and internal opponents very badly. Imagine though if we had to invade everyone of them to put things to rights. (Just one invading one relatively small country has turned out poorly….)

    But for the majority, life in Iraq was far more secular and developed than most Westerners realise and the consequences of this unwise military adventure has visited a far greater misery and oppression upon all of Iraqi.

    Worse still the invasion has ripped the country apart along sectarian lines, and created the perfect conditions for an explosive resurgence of virulent anti-western Islamic fundamentalism.

    And destroyed the prestige, morale and reputation of the USA in the process. And you seem to believe this was all such a good idea?

    Jeeze? Do you want chips with that?

  79. Pascal's bookie 79

    Dean are you saying that if a country has any policy that a person would not want to be the policy in their own country, then that person cannot object to war with that country?

    The reason I ask is because it’s difficult to determine what your argument actually is. Maybe that is because that horse you are on is so damn high, or maybe it’s because you havn’t thought an argument out and are just happy slaying strawmen using the corpses of Iraqi women as your cudgels. Whatever.

    But if your argument really is that if someone objects to the war in Iraq then they must want Saddam era laws here, then you’re an idiot in more ways than I care to think about.

    No one is defending how Saddam treated women. Honestly. If I say that under Jim Crow in 50’s Mississippi, African Americans were not treated as badly as they were in the Confederacy, I’m not defending Jim Crow. I’m just stating a fact.

    Let’s say that in a hypothetical 1950’s there was still slavery in Texas and Georgia but Jim Crow in Mississippi. Let’s say someone invaded Mississippi but didn’t invade Texas. Let’s say further that this invader is an ally of Texas and Georgia (the slave states) and calls them friends and ‘moderate southerners’.

    If I say that this war is based on lies, immoral, a strategic disaster and I won’t support it, I’m not in any way defending Jim Crow. I could have a million objections to Jim Crow, and a couple of really good reasons to object to the war. The two things are unrelated.

    If some halfwit comes along and says that I must be a racist Jim Crow fan for not supporting the war, I am well within my rights to respond by pointing out that there are allies of the invader that practice slavery, so that’s not what the war is about.

    If this halfwit then says that I’m practicing moral relativism and am a closet racist for not supporting the war, even though there are slavers on the halfwit’s side of the argument, and even though opposing the war is not the same as defending Jim Crow, why the fuck should I pay the halfwit any mind?

  80. Dean 80

    Rob:

    “Nah, I’ve answered a lot of questions already Dean. How about you answer this one first. How about you tell us exactly why it’s ok that National don’t want to uphold their beliefs concerning human rights with China and Tibet?”

    Yep, spot on. National are as bad as Labour in this respect. It’s abolutely disgusting. Unfortunately for you, you’ve admitted to being a paid member of the Labour party before now (is that still the case?), whereas I have never been a member, paid or otherwise, of any political party.

    So, let’s recap.

    “Dean, I haven’t got around to answering this, because I can’t believe that the question is as stupid as it sounds. Are you asking me if I would support an NZ government in using systematic rape and violence against women? Seriously? How is anyone ever going to answer that question with anything but “no’ Dean. Seriously – what are you on?”

    Yet you’re quite happy in restrospect for Saddam’s regieme to have treated women the way it did, all to avoid armed conflict.

    Why the double standard, Rob? If it’s not OK here, as you’ve just admitted, why is it Ok for women to be treated this way anywhere on the face of the planet?

    “Saddam’s dead Dean – didn’t you get the memo? He’s not continuing to treat anyone as anything. If you’re trying to argue that the treatment of women in Islamic cultures is unacceptable then for goodness sake just say so.”

    You missed the part where I said “and his neighbours” – you know, like Iran. But if you want to keep picking out the parts that suit you, that’s fine.

    If you’re trying to argue that the treatment of women in Islamic cultures is OK because as long as it’s not in your own back yard, for goodness sake just say so.

    “Dean, the American invasion of Iraq has made things much worse for the women who live there. That is a huge tragedy. Yet another of the unintended consequences of this stupid war.”

    All of them? The majority of them?

    How about the ones that got to vote this time around? Yes, Rob, they got to vote.

    How about that? Of course, it’s ok that all of them didn’t get to vote previously because some of them were better off than others.

    Double standards, Rob. Or don’t all women deserve to live in a democracy?

  81. Dean 81

    “I’m tempting to think you are drinking, you’re not making much sense.”

    I’m tempted to think you’ve got the biggest sense of appeasement, but I won’t accuse you of it until I know the facts about you as a person. It would serve you well to pay other people the same courtesy – unless you wish to appear to be someone that wants to play the man and not the ball.

    “But it is important to note that these oppressions were directed at a relatively small minority of people whom the regime perceived as a threat.”

    Tell that to the Kurds.

    “Jeeze? Do you want chips with that?”

    I’d prefer you addressed exactly why you think it was a good idea to leave someone like Saddam in charge, notwithstanding the human rights abuses, instead of removing him. Because all you’ve done so far is wring your hands and declare that all war is bad no matter what.

  82. Dean 82

    “Maybe that is because that horse you are on is so damn high, or maybe it’s because you havn’t thought an argument out and are just happy slaying strawmen using the corpses of Iraqi women as your cudgels.”

    Then you follow it up with 50 year old examples of the US.

    More double standards.

    “Let’s say that in a hypothetical 1950’s there was still slavery in Texas and Georgia but Jim Crow in Mississippi. Let’s say someone invaded Mississippi but didn’t invade Texas. Let’s say further that this invader is an ally of Texas and Georgia (the slave states) and calls them friends and ‘moderate southerners’.”

    You conveniently forgot the part where Mississippi had rape rooms (ever so eloquently defended previously, and I notice not a single one of you has commented on that because that would be way too uncomfortable for your moral compass), routinely sought genocide and attempted to develop nerve agents against your precious UN’s sanctions.

    Really, guys. You’re just debating semantics here from your comfy armchairs, where in reality, if any one of you had to spend a single day living in a regieme the likes of Hussein perpetrated you’d be more exited than a Greenpeace member at a fish market.

    I’m actually not a supporter of the Iraq conflict, but the reasons you guys are using to argue against it are the same old tired claptrap.

  83. r0b 83

    Yet you’re quite happy in restrospect for Saddam’s regieme to have treated women the way it did

    Please stop lying about my beliefs Dean.

    Why the double standard, Rob? If it’s not OK here, as you’ve just admitted, why is it Ok for women to be treated this way anywhere on the face of the planet?

    It isn’t OK Dean. It isn’t OK that in countries all over the world women are mistreated, that children starve to death, that minorities are persecuted, that people lie and hate and kill. None of it’s OK Dean. None of it is OK.

    But to pick one particular instance out of all in the world that is not OK, to ignore everything else and to say, yup, that one particular case justifies an invasion that has killed over a million people and destroyed a country – that is deeply and profoundly stupid.

    For the money America has spent on this war – how much suffering could they have alleviated in this world?

    I think I’m going to go do something fun, like, bang in nails with my forehead. Goodnight Dean.

  84. Jameson 84

    Parting Shot:

    Good news for Iraqis: Bad news for whinging Saddamites

    ……………………………………………………..

    Sun, Feb. 24, 2008

    Despite proof of progress in Iraq, Dems obstruct

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

    “No one can spend some 10 days visiting the battlefields in Iraq without seeing major progress in every area. …If the U.S. provides sustained support to the Iraqi government — in security, governance, and development — there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state.”

    — Anthony Cordesman, “The Situation in Iraq: A Briefing from the Battlefield,”

    Feb. 13, 2008

    This from a man who was a severe critic of the postwar occupation of Iraq and who, as author Peter Wehner points out, is no wide-eyed optimist. In fact, in May 2006 Cordesman had written that “no one can argue that the prospects for stability in Iraq are good.” Now, however, there is simply no denying the remarkable improvements in Iraq since the surge began a year ago.

    Unless you’re a Democrat. As Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., put it, “Democrats have remained emotionally invested in a narrative of defeat and retreat in Iraq.” Their Senate leader, Harry Reid, declares the war already lost. Their presidential candidates (eight of them at the time) unanimously oppose the surge. Then the evidence begins trickling in.

    We get news of the Anbar Awakening, which has now spread to other Sunni areas and Baghdad. The sectarian civil strife that the Democrats insisted was the reason for us to leave dwindles to the point of near disappearance. Much of Baghdad is returning to normal. There are 90,000 neighborhood volunteers — ordinary citizens who act as auxiliary police and vital informants on terror activity — starkly symbolizing the insurgency’s loss of popular support. Captured letters of al-Qaida leaders reveal despair as they are driven — mostly by Iraqi Sunnis, their own Arab co-religionists — to flight and into hiding.

    Suddenly, three steps

    After agonizing years of searching for the right strategy and the right general, we are winning. How do Democrats react? From Nancy Pelosi to Barack Obama the talking point is the same: Sure, there is military progress. We could have predicted that. (They in fact had predicted the opposite, but no matter.) But it’s all pointless unless you get national reconciliation.”National” is a way to ignore what is taking place at the local and provincial level, such as Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim, scion of the family that dominates the largest Shiite party in Iraq, traveling last October to Anbar in an unprecedented gesture of reconciliation with the Sunni sheiks.

    Doesn’t count, you see. Democrats demand nothing less than federal-level reconciliation, and it has to be expressed in actual legislation.

    The objection was not only highly legalistic but politically convenient: Very few (including me) thought this would be possible under the Maliki government. Then last week, indeed on the day Cordesman published his report, it happened. Mirabile dictu, the Iraqi parliament approved three very significant pieces of legislation.

    First, a provincial powers law that turned Iraq into arguably the most federal state in the entire Arab world. The provinces get not only power but elections by Oct. 1. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker has long been calling this the most crucial step to political stability. It will allow, for example, the pro-American Anbar sheiks to become the legitimate rulers of their province, exercise regional autonomy and forge official relations with the Shiite-dominated central government.

    Second, parliament passed a partial amnesty for prisoners, 80 percent of whom are Sunni. Finally, it approved a $48 billion national budget that allocates government revenues — about 85 percent of which are from oil — to the provinces. Kurdistan, for example, gets one-sixth.

    Democrats denying victory?

    What will the Democrats say now? They will complain that there is still no oil distribution law. True. But oil revenues are being distributed to the provinces in the national budget.

    The fact that parliament could not agree on a permanent formula for the future simply means it will be allocating oil revenues year-by-year as part of the budget process. Is that a reason to abandon Iraq to al-Qaida and Iran?

    Despite all the progress military and political, the Democrats remain unwavering in their commitment to withdrawal on an artificial timetable that inherently jeopardizes our “very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state.”

    Why? Imagine the transformative effects in the region and indeed in the entire Muslim world, of achieving a secure and stable Iraq, friendly to the U.S. and victorious over al-Qaida. Are the Democrats so intent on denying George Bush retroactive vindication for a war they insist is his that they would deny their own country a now achievable victory?

    ……………………………………………………..

    The Post

    Five years later, Iraq is a better place than it was under Saddam Hussein

    March 20, 2008, 11:44 AM by Marni Soupcoff

    Editorial

    It is taken for granted by many Canadians that the Iraq war has been a failure. But many of those who believe this seem to have stopped their mental clocks in 2006 at the height of the insurgency, when dozens of deaths by ambush and roadside bombs were a daily occurrence. Over the last year, during the “surge” that brought more U.S. troops to Iraq, remarkable gains have taken place. On this, the fifth anniversary of the 2003 invasion, it’s only right that we enumerate the lessons learned.

    To be sure, American civilian war planners made many mistakes following the initial, successful invasion. Chief among these was the decision to overrule senior generals’ estimates that at least 400,000 troops would be needed to maintain the peace in the months immediately following the liberation. When General Eric Shinseki, then the Army chief of staff, proposed sending nearly half a million soldiers, his political masters — notably defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and deputy secretary Paul Wolfowitz — denounced his estimate as “wildly off the mark.” Instead, the decision was made to limit the deployment to fewer than 200,000, in the belief that superior equipment and technology could replace boots on the ground.

    Without sufficient troops, the coalition could not secure Iraq’s borders. Jihadis flowed in from Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia; bombs and missiles followed. Jihadis also beat coalition forces to major weapons caches. There were too few coalition forces to patrol the streets, collect intelligence about terror plots, protect Iraq’s civilian population and permit the resumption of normal daily life.

    Attacks on essential infrastructure, such as pipelines and power plants, could not be stopped, so oil could not flow and the lights could not be kept on. That meant Iraq’s government had less oil-generated income than expected and businesses — small and large — could not operate fully since their owners could not be guaranteed a reliable power supply.

    The U.S. purging of Baathists — the members of Saddam Hussein’s old ruling party — went too far. Reliable bureaucrats, army commanders and soldiers who knew the country were shunted to the sidelines, even though they were not Saddam loyalists. Many took up arms against the occupying army.

    Young men without work were attracted to charismatic Shiite and Sunni militia leaders who offered them pay to fight the Americans. And neighbourhood leaders who could not trust coalition forces to secure their streets gravitated toward the militiamen, too.

    Still, since the surge began a year ago, Iraq has changed. The overall picture that emerges is of a country that is gradually growing safer and happier. A poll done last week for American, British, German and Japanese television networks indicates 55% of Iraqis believe life is “going well,” compared to just 39% last August. Most now think the 2003 invasion was a good thing, and while they are not always happy with U.S. troops, 80% are happy the Americans are there battling al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The Awakening Councils — the anti-al-Qaeda alliances between tribal leaders, American commanders and the Iraq army — have cut off al-Qaeda’s supplies, safe houses and sources of recruits. Meanwhile, the Sons of Iraq neighbourhood patrols that pay citizens $450 a month to guard the streets around their homes and businesses have cut crime and minor acts of terror.

    Oil is flowing at the rate of over two million barrels per day and the electricity is on for a nationwide average of 13 hours a day, versus just nine at the height of the insurgency.

    Most important of all, deaths have dropped dramatically. Although Americans will likely suffer their 4,000th combat death this month or next, their fatal casualties have fallen from nearly 140 a month last summer to fewer than 20 a month now. Iraqi civilian deaths are down as well, from nearly 4,000 a month to under 500.

    Sunnis — the dominant sect under Saddam — still feel victimized, and Kurds still seek their own nation carved out of Iraq, both of which are huge problems. However, in January, the Iraqi Parliament passed landmark legislation dealing with radicals from all elements who find their way into the military or civil service. This should permit the reintroduction of thousands of Sunnis into Iraq’s administration and mainstream culture — they had suffered a blanket ban under previous such laws — and facilitate the expulsion of radical Shiites friendly to Iran and militia leaders such as Moqtada al-Sadr.

    That this might have come about much sooner, say, in 2004, if the U.S. had executed the occupation better is the tragedy of Iraq. Still, Iraq is a better place now than it was under Saddam, and its future is brighter. The world has also been spared the menace of a genocidal dictator playing the world community for fools, and acting as a champion of militant Arabism and a patron to Islamist suicide bombers.

    ……………………………………………………..

    America. Making the world a better place. 🙂

  85. RedLogix 85

    Most important of all, deaths have dropped dramatically. Although Americans will likely suffer their 4,000th combat death this month or next, their fatal casualties have fallen from nearly 140 a month last summer to fewer than 20 a month now. Iraqi civilian deaths are down as well, from nearly 4,000 a month to under 500.

    Last year, U.S. military deaths peaked as U.S. troops added troops to regain control of Baghdad and surrounding areas. The death toll per month has seesawed since, but nonetheless 2007 has ended as the deadliest year for American troops at 901 deaths. That was 51 more deaths than 2004, the second deadliest year for U.S. soldiers.

    Numbers speak a language all of their own… don’t they?

  86. Vic 86

    Rhetorically speaking I wouldn’t have said that just because things are getting better now means that the original invasion can be considered either an appropriate course of action or a success. I’ve never thought that America should leave before cleaning up the mess they’ve made. But the fact that they’re still cleaning it up doesn’t mean they didn’t make it, or that the excuses used to go in in the first place actually stack up. And the assertion that Iraq is about to become a stable democracy if only America continues to hang in there is obviously an expedient thing for any Republican commentator to make. I hope it’s true, but I’m not holding my breath. The reality on the ground is far more complex culturally, religiously, politically, than any tidy op-ed piece from a comfy armchair in America can hope to address.

  87. r0b 87

    Ahh Jameson – a “parting shot” – some puff pieces from armchair neocons. Pathetic.

    As AG pointed out far above, the “surge” is an admission of failure. Failure to establish a workable Iraqi society or army. And is it working? Never mind armchair neocons, never mind even asking Democrats, what do the folk in Baghdad have to say?:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19405.htm

    23/02/08 – — – BAGHDAD, Feb 22 (IPS) – What the U.S. has been calling the success of a “surge”, many Iraqis see as evidence of catastrophe. Where U.S. forces point to peace and calm, local Iraqis find an eerie silence.

    And when U.S. forces speak of a reduction in violence, many Iraqis simply do not know what they are talking about.

    Hundreds died in a series of explosions in Baghdad last month. This was despite the strongest ever security measures taken by the U.S. military, riding the “surge” in security forces and their activities.

    The death toll is high, according to the website icasualties.org, which provides reliable numbers of Iraqi civilian and security deaths.

    In January this year 485 civilians were killed, according to the website. It says the number is based on news reports, and that “actual totals for Iraqi deaths are higher than the numbers recorded on this site.”

    The average month in 2005, before the “surge” was launched, saw 568 civilian deaths. In January 2006, the month before the “surge” began, 590 civilians died.

    Many of the killings have taken place in the most well guarded areas of Baghdad. And they have continued this month

    There is also interesting stuff going on behind the “surge” that you won’t find in the puff pieces:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19384.htm

    19/02/08 “ICH” — — It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush regime’s lies. There are simply too many. Among the recent crop, one of the biggest is that the “surge’ is working.

    Launched last year, the “surge” was the extra 20,000-30,000 U.S. troops sent to Iraq. These few extra troops, Americans were told, would finally supply the necessary forces to pacify Iraq.

    This claim never made any sense. The extra troops didn’t raise the total number of U.S. soldiers to more than one-third the number every expert has said is necessary in order to successfully occupy Iraq.

    The real purpose of the “surge” was to hide another deception. The Bush regime is paying Sunni insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack U.S. forces. That’s right, 80,000 members of an “Awakening group,” the “Sons of Iraq,” a newly formed “U.S.-allied security force” consisting of Sunni insurgents, are being paid $10 a day each not to attack U.S. troops. Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work fighting al-Qaeda.

    This is a much cheaper way to fight a war. We can only wonder why Bush didn’t figure it out sooner.

    The “surge” was also timed to take account of the near completion of neighborhood cleansing. Most of the violence in Iraq during the past five years has resulted from Sunnis and Shi’ites driving each other out of mixed neighborhoods. Had the two groups been capable of uniting against the U.S. troops, the U.S. would have been driven out of Iraq long ago. Instead, the Iraqis slaughtered each other and fought the Americans in their spare time.

    In other words, the “surge” has had nothing to do with any decline in violence.

    Even if the “surge” really does work, even if, eventually, in a decade, peace does come to Iraq, has America been “making the world a better place”?

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19596.htm

    But even if we can’t identify the true motivations within the administration for invading, we can surely begin to see the costs. Probably a million Iraqi civilians are dead. Over four million are displaced and now living as refugees. Together, these equal a staggering one-fifth of the population of the entire country. Meanwhile, the remaining four-fifths are living in squalor, fear and a psychological damage so extensive that it is hard to grasp. America has lost 4,000 soldiers, with perhaps another 30,000 gravely wounded. Hundreds of thousands more will be scarred for life from their experiences in the hell of Mr. Bush’s war. Our military is broken and incapable of responding to a real emergency, at home or abroad. Our economy will sustain a blow of perhaps three trillion dollars before it is all said and done. Our reputation in the world is in the toilet. We have turned the Iranian theocracy into a regional hegemon. And we have massively proliferated our own enemies within the Islamic community. That would be one hell of an expensive war, even if the reasons given for it were legitimate. It is nearly incomprehensible considering that they were not.

    And the final Irony, Jameson, is that those who are big fans of America are those that should be the most outraged at this stupid war. This war has gutted America militarily, financially, and morally. The damage is huge. And for what? If you love America you should hate the war that is dragging America inexorably down.

  88. Pascal's bookie 88

    I always find this guy interesting on Iraq, he gets a lot right, some wrong, but certainly knows who is who.

    http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/

    Or if you prefer journalists to academics, Nir Rosen seems to have lot’s of good contacts in country:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/18722376/the_myth_of_the_surge/print

    Ancient G, if you are still around I’d appreciate your thoughts on the following, if you have any you’d like to share.:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4198

    Parts of it shocked me.

  89. Pascal's bookie 89

    As an example of what shocked:

    38 percent of officers thought the draft should be reinstated to to help the military meet its recruiting and retention needs. Crikey thought me, that’s high considering these are all volunteers.

  90. AncientGeek 90

    I’m around – just a lot less active during the working week..

    Excellent link. I’ll muse over it today. But some prelim thoughts.

    The post-cold war thinking in the US military in the 90’s (from my understanding) favoured being able to be involved in two regional level conflicts at the same time, as well as their general readiness and commitments. They redeployed on that basis

    Problem is that they are involved in two at present – but they haven’t been quick like Grenada or Panama. So it is causing a stretch.

    We’re having exactly the same problems here in a more miniature level. Just at present I think we have deployments in East Timor, Solomons, Afghanistan, etc… Current army deployments. This is reduced compared to the last few years as you can see from the list here, in particular as the commitment in Timor reduces.

    But it is the same issue.

    Looking beyond the immediate fight, the officers say that no step is more important for preparing the United States for the broader threats and challenges of the 21st century than increasing the size of America’s ground forces.

    It is the old adage. To control an area you have to be able to control on the ground. There has been quite a focus in the US on improving tech over the last 20 years. That allows them to win campaigns, but as they’ve found in Iraq, not to win a war.

    Nearly three quarters of the officers say the United States must improve its intelligence capabilities

    I wouldn’t like to be an intelligence chief in the states at present. The officer corp in the US is really starting to gun for them. From what I have heard, the military has been doing quite a lot of reworking of their own intelligence.

    Fifty-eight percent of the West Point class of 2002 left active duty when their obligation to serve expired in 2007. Reversing these and other troubling signs will be critical to improving the health of the U.S. military.

    That has got to be a worrying trend. I wonder what the senior non-com rates are. If they are similar then the US has a real problem.

    I think that the most interesting point that shows up in that survey, is that the officers show more intelligence than their C-in-C and defense sec.

  91. AncientGeek 91

    38 percent of officers thought the draft should be reinstated to to help the military meet its recruiting and retention needs. Crikey thought me, that’s high considering these are all volunteers.

    That is probably related to this section.

    More than 80 percent of the officers say that, given the stress of current deployments, it is unreasonable to ask the military to wage another major war today. Nor did the officers express high confidence in the military’s preparedness to do so. For instance, the officers said that the United States is not fully prepared to successfully execute such a mission against Iran or North Korea.

    A majority of the officers also say that some of the policy decisions made during the course of the Iraq war hindered the prospects for success there. These include shortening the time units spend at home between deployments and accepting more recruits who do not meet the military’s standards.

    You have to remember that they are at the point where they haven’t had to substantially eat into their resource commitments elsewhere. That is what happened in Vietnam where equipment, munitions, and troops were stripped from critical areas like the NATO and Korean deployments.

    But if they get pulled into another conflict or there is continued escalation in Iraq, that will happen. The officers would prefer to get the recruitment for that started now rather than have to try and do it under time constraints. The military in the US is directly under political control rather than being semi-detached as they are here or in the UK. They have a lot less control over their own deployments.

  92. Pascal's bookie 92

    Thanks man.

    I guess one worry about the high number of officers leaving would be that the pool of options shrinks with regard to promotions.
    Even if there is an even distribution of talent amoungst those that leave, I guess there will be many moving on up that might otherwise have been stuck at Captain or what-have-you.

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