July 20, 2003

Yes, Virginia, America Is Worse Off

Irving Kristol writes: "Not that anyone in the Democratic party... dares to propose... that America is worse off now that Saddam is gone."

But America is worse off.

First of all, our alliances are now in shreds, and we badly need the active cooperation of our allies to defeat and suppress Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. For most of the past three decades the British government's attempts to keep the IRA and its enemies from killing lots of people in Northern Ireland and elsewhere were severely hobbled by the fact that the U.S. government regarded the IRA as Britain's problem, not ours. If our allies adopt a similar view--and ask why they should have to deal with the fact that we smashed open a hornet's nest with our attack on Iraq--we will be in significant trouble.

Second, we may well have just convinced a lot of people around the globe that U.S. foreign policy is not a (moral) drive to suppress terrorist madmen but an (immoral) attempt to accomplish some large imperial mission. The next year or so will see the extent to which our attack on Iraq has gained Al Qaeda and its like more recruits and sympathizers.

Third, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He, however, liked to sleep in palaces and live richly. Now his weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of others, who don't like to sleep in palaces, don't like to live richly, and expect to die gloriously. Saddam Hussein could be deterred, and thus his weapons of mass destruction were not that dangerous. Is there any reason to think that those who now control whatever weapons of mass destruction he had can be deterred? No.

The people of Iraq, however, are likely to be better off in the long run as a result of our invasion.

Posted by DeLong at July 20, 2003 11:29 AM | TrackBack

Comments

Not to worry. Tony Blair is supporting us. Of course, Tony Blair has cut the size of the British force in Iraq to 5,000 while America's force is 148,000. Of course, I do not recall Tony Blair offering to pay say 25% of the cost of the Iraqi force and development.

Posted by: arthur on July 20, 2003 11:42 AM

Prof. DeLong is driven to despair by the fact that the US invasion of Iraq displeased the French and upset a lot of German socialists and pacifists.

Why is that a problem? Do we really want the German Greens and the French to control US foreign policy? They never have - why should they start now?

As for US allies refusing to cooperate against terrorism, that is uttterly implausible. Not even the French are that stupid.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 12:02 PM

I think you miss another way in which the US is worse off. Given the military, political, and (to some extent) budgetary commitments to Iraq, it distracts from the government's ability to address other issues, including Al Qaeda and the Korean pennisula.

As to the Iraqi people, whether they are better off is difficult to say. Meaning that in the long run they will be better off (with high probability), but that doesn't mean they are actually better off. To put it bluntly, does the future higher steady state offer enough discounted utility to offest the high current disutility. I don't know the answer to that.

Posted by: Rob on July 20, 2003 12:12 PM

Did anyone hear Tony Blair's magnificent address to Congress? The PM seems to be almost the last man on the left who believes that the survival or western civilization is a cause worth fighting for.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 12:13 PM

Losing close ties with the French is not really a loss. They will continue to trade with the US. Militarily speaking the French have been a non-factor in the last 50+ years. As for the war against terror. They will help bassed on French national intrest. The US extradition treaties with France are weak at best.

The real loss is Germany. If they ever decided to militarize it would be nice to have them on the US side for once.

Posted by: james on July 20, 2003 12:53 PM

"First of all, our alliances are now in shreds",

Yep, I'm sure the Brits, Israelis and Kuwaitis are mourning the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. As are the new members of NATO who expressed support in the WSJ. And I've noticed that NATO's headquarters in Brussels no longer exists. The Japanese have reneged on their security treaty and the Koreans have thrown out American troops. And Putin punched Bush the last time they met.

"and we badly need the active cooperation of our allies to defeat and suppress Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations."

Even the French and the Russians make great play of how they are continuing to help with the fight on terrorism. International terrorists are menaces throughout the world. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein has ended a regime that was supporting "other terrorist organisations", as well as committing acts of terror itself (remember the assassination attempt on Bush I in 1993).

"The next year or so will see the extent to which our attack on Iraq has gained Al Qaeda and its like more recruits and sympathizers. "

Here we go again. Whenever America acts in its own interests, mad foreigners will blow up our planes and buildings. Never mind that the Clinton (and Bush until 9/11) non-policy of do nothing on Iraq coincided with the huge growth in Al-Qaeda terrorism, and that they have not landed a significant blow on Western interests since the war on Iraq. Even if it were remotely moral to yield to the threat of terrorism, these terrorist scum are unappeasable, and nothing the United States can do, short of committing national suicide or of withdrawing from the rest of the world, will affect their inclination to strike American interests. American safety is promoted by destroying them and their networks, with the help of friendly governments all over the world, not by appeasing them.

"Now his weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of others, who don't like to sleep in palaces, don't like to live richly, and expect to die gloriously."

That's a pretty bold statement. The DeLong intelligence agency must be privy to some information that nobody else is. Or maybe its information is even more dodgy than the British dossiers?

"Did anyone hear Tony Blair's magnificent address to Congress? "

Does that prove anything other than that he can hire a good speechwriter?

Posted by: anti-terrorist on July 20, 2003 01:08 PM

Third, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He, however, liked to sleep in palaces and live richly. Now his weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of others, who don't like to sleep in palaces, don't like to live richly, and expect to die gloriously. Saddam Hussein could be deterred, and thus his weapons of mass destruction were not that dangerous. Is there any reason to think that those who now control whatever weapons of mass destruction he had can be deterred? No.

The people of Iraq, however, are likely to be better off in the long run as a result of our invasion.

Talk about massive speculation!

Do you do this with economic matters too DeLong? Just asking??

Frist of all the jury is still out on whether not Saddam had an real WMD to speak off. It certainly does not seem to be the tons of chemical and bio-weapons that Bush indicated Saddam had in his SOTU address. And second let us not forget what Clinton said about this aspect of the Iraqis being better off, (and a bit of history too, clearly the Vietnamese were not better off after the US invasion of Vietnam and subsequent withdrawal). Clinton said that we couldn't bring him back to life if things in Iraq didn't go well (not that I'm sure Saddam is dead yet, mind you because clearly he doesn't seem to be)--Also note this latest story 2 US soldiers killed near Mosul, 10,000 Muslims stage anti-American rally.

Iraq do not seem very happy with their supposed liberation. Irarqis are now living in total anarchy without electric and infrastructure but they did have these amenities when Saddam was alive even if he was a cruel dictator. Clinton said that he "thought"-- a big question?? mark, that Iraqis would be somewhat better off after Saddam was removed. Also note that Iraqis have recently approached the UN with request for US military occupation deadlines and stories of mistreat at hands of US military.

So I'm with Sen. John Kerry in that we need to see about ending US Iraqi occupation if Bush refuses to go back to the UN and secure a resolution and get help in Iraqi nation building efforts.

Posted by: Cheryl on July 20, 2003 01:24 PM

Joe and James,

As far as France and Germany goes, you need to get the difference between allies and clients. Clients do what they are told, because if they dont you go replace their governments. Allies have to be talked into stuff.

There arent many large professional armies around. France and Germany have 2 of em. If you want to be able to rotate the US army units out of Iraq, you need people to replace them.

Otherwise, you are going to burn out the US Army ... check out what Phil Carter said in Intel Dump about resignations for USNG units returning from Iraq.

A good example of non-cooperation is Australia. Huh ? But we have 2000 troops in Iraq, right ?

Nuh-uh. We have a security detachment for our embassy, some air traffic controllers, some guys for the transport planes and a boat.

We've pulled our special forces out fo Afghanistan, where they could have been hunting Al Quaeda.

Instead, we're enrolled in a major south-pacific nation building operation in a failed state known as the Solomons (aka Guadacanal etc). That plus East Timor is goanna pretty much overstretch our army, the NZ army and the Fijians by itself (btw, if the US does want to get itself a brigade of usable experienced peacekeeping troops, they could do a lot worse than spend a hundred mill getting Fiji back on it's feet, and re-equipping the Fiji Army to US NG standard. Heck, with enough economic aid and an income stream for 'allied troops' in the coalition of the billing, the tribal chiefs might even cooperate with a multi-racial government).

Ian Whitchurch

Posted by: Ian Whitchurch on July 20, 2003 01:30 PM

Joe and James are wrong. Brad is right. Get over it. Bush lied about WMD, and Iraq is far from over.

Posted by: non economist on July 20, 2003 01:36 PM

Tony Blair supported America verbally, while sparing little in the way of troops and budget for the war in Iraq. What I gain from Tony Blair is support for America, as long as Britain is not asked much. Then there is the matter of Tony Blair's Government finding evidence of WMDs from a California doctoral thesis published on the internet. I am not cheering.

Posted by: arthur on July 20, 2003 01:36 PM

I'd largely agree, but would note, in reference to your third point, that UN Inspectors, shortly before the invasion, were shown sites where WMD had apparently been destroyed. The amounts were TBD, but that got shut down by Shock and Awe.

There's also this, from Wesley Clark:

'But we always believed that Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction left over after the U.N. inspections. We couldn't be certain that the strikes in December of '98 took everything, although Tony Zinni, who ran those strikes, put every target he could get in there, and the people who did it felt that they were pretty successful.'

I wonder what makes you so certain that "[n]ow his weapons of mass destruction are in the hands of others..." when it's not even clear (to me, at least) that the phrase "his weapons of mass destruction" has a current referent.

Posted by: JoJo on July 20, 2003 01:53 PM

"Tony Blair supported America verbally, while sparing little in the way of troops and budget for the war in Iraq. "

That's probably the most fatuous comment I've read on this website. I'm no fan of Bliar's, but he went to the wire on this one. The Brits sent 45,000 troops (around a third of the army), a carrier battle group and more than 100 planes. Many were expecting a token contribution, but they were wrong.

So if you're not cheering, you should be.

Posted by: PJ on July 20, 2003 02:06 PM

Ian writes:

"As far as France and Germany goes, you need to get the difference between allies and clients. Clients do what they are told, because if they dont you go replace their governments. Allies have to be talked into stuff."

France and Germany are allies, not clients, so tney can do as they please. But unlike Australia and Great Britain, they have proven to be unreliable allies. It's time to look for replacements.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 02:06 PM

Ian writes:

"As far as France and Germany goes, you need to get the difference between allies and clients. Clients do what they are told, because if they dont you go replace their governments. Allies have to be talked into stuff."

France and Germany are allies, not clients, so tney can do as they please. But unlike Australia and Great Britain, they have proven to be unreliable allies. It's time to look for replacements.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 02:09 PM

It’s no wonder the Republicans can’t cut it in academia. Their first loyalty is to ideology and party rather than the truth -- a fatal vice for an ostensive scholar. But Kristol is not a real intellectual, he only plays at being one on tv. Kristol is primarily a propagandist. Kristol makes a number of fallacious arguments which are not the result of lapses into over-heated rhetoric but are calculated attempts to deceive.

Kristol begins with an odd, presumably tongue-in-cheek, argument that Bush has demonstrated his political genius by luring the Democrats into a trap by only pretending to give contradictory answers in the Yelowcake Scandal in some kind of rope-a-dope political strategy which is allegedly supposed to make the Democrats look petty as they chase the details. This fails both as humor and as an honest grappling with the real issue at hand.

Kristol is right to focus on Bushco’s admittedly (by Kristol) contradictory answers. However, these are not purely literary Strauss-esque contradictions which can be dismissed with a quick joke, a wink to the cognoscenti, and a skillful changing of the subject. These contradictions underscore what is the key issue at hand: the evident dishonesty of the Bush Administration.

Kristol pretends to answer every charge -- except the real one. He appeals to the October National Intelligence Estimate. But of course, we already know that Cheney and others had caused that intelligence to be cooked. We already know that the CIA and the State Department and the Energy Department found those findings “highly dubious” and said so in that very same estimate – even if Bush’s allies relegated it to an Annex of the document.

Kristol acknowledges that, in speaking the infamous 16 words, Bush should have said that the British government “believes” rather than “has learned” about Hussein’s alleged attempts to procure uranium in Africa. But then he judges the 16-word statement to be “unremarkable.” Not so fast. Unremarked upon by Kristol? Yes. Unremarkable? I think not.

In fact, the relative truthfulness of Bush’s use of those 16 words is the most important issue raised here. The true answer to that question is well worth discovering and very much worth remarking on. Because if the Bush Administration inserted those 16 words into the State of the Union and knew, or should have known, that they were false, then this would constitute a smoking gun which in and of itself is sufficient to convict Bush.

That smoking gun forms part of a yet larger case to be made that Bush twisted intelligence and knowingly mislead the American people and the world in order to start a war under false pretenses. There is a lot of evidence to support that larger case. The smoking gun is just one unusually strong piece of that larger body of evidence.

So what are some of the straw men Kristol flays? He notes that the uranium claim was just a single piece of evidence and that there was “otherwise voluminous evidence” to make the same case about Hussein’s nuclear threat. Kristol doesn’t offer any of that voluminous evidence, but, more to the point, the significance of the 16 words lies not in how large a proportion of an idealized case for war they constitute. The significance of those 16 words lies in whether or not they constitute an intentional deception.

There is a lot to argue about with respect to the quality and quantity of other evidence, but that is all irrelevant. Kristol, the propagandist, knows it is irrelevant. That is precisely why he raises it – as a smoke screen, a red herring to throw the dogs off the scent. You can pile up a mountain of true statements right next to a false one, but that mountain does nothing to cure a false statement from being untrue.

Kristol then mockingly reviews a series of charges that have been made by Democratic presidential candidates. But he never answers those charges. His only rebuttal is a pathetic appeal to a reductio ad absurdum, arguing that if what the Democrats are saying were true, then we would find ourselves in the midst of another impeachment drama. The implication is that, since we do not, the Democrats’ charges must be false. This argument is so weak it needs no rebuttal.

Kristol strays even farther from the real issue (Bush’s dishonesty) and says, “Not that anyone in the Democratic party is prepared to defend Saddam's deposed regime, mind you. Or dares to propose that Iraq is worse off now that Saddam is gone. Or that America is worse off now that Saddam is gone. Or that the Middle East is worse off now that Saddam is gone… George W. Bush's one great and unforgivable sin, it seems, was to have acted on the judgment that Saddam Hussein was a present danger.”

Well, no, Mr. Kristol. Bush’s numerous unforgivable sins were (in the context of starting a war under false pretenses) to repeatedly present hyped, exaggerated, and simply false information as being absolutely confirmed beyond any doubt by our latest intelligence. THAT is the issue. That is the potentially impeachable offense with which Bush has been charged. All that stuff about Democrats not being willing to defend Saddam or admit that the Iraqi’s are better off without him is obvious nonsense. No one disagrees with that. THAT is not the issue.

Kristol’s other claim – that no Democrat dares say that America is worse off now that Saddam is gone – is demonstrably false. Atrios does a pretty good job of it right here. I would add that the point is not necessarily that America is worse off BECAUSE Hussein is gone. America is worse off, DESPITE the fact that Hussein is gone. In fact, you can even construct a case that we are worse off BECAUSE Hussein is gone since, with Hussein in power, whatever WMD he had were in the hands of a demonstrably deterrable man, while Iraq itself was not in the hands of the Shiites, who are likely to cooperate with Al Qaeda.

Posted by: The Fool on July 20, 2003 02:10 PM

So all you Bush-lovers voted for him in the hope that he would improve the Iraqi people's lives!
Meanwhile back at the ranch, millions of AMERICANS lost their jobs, AMERICAN stockholders lost $Trillions, hundreds of AMERICAN soldiers lost their lives , hundreds more AMERICANS lost limbs, organs, etc.

Why do you hate America, you scumbags?

Posted by: Tom Strong on July 20, 2003 02:20 PM

Bill Kristol, not Irving.

Posted by: Mitch Schindler on July 20, 2003 02:29 PM

Mr. The Fool, the Shiites are not going to cooperate with Al Qaeda, because if they do they are going to be dead Shiites, and they know it. This is partly of the salutary message that the invasion of Iraq has conveyed.

Many positive effects of the invasion are already becoming apparent. The degenerates and criminals who rule Saudi Arabia and Syrian are running scared. There is new hope of movement toward the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. We are not liked in the Middle East, but for the first time in a long time we are beginning to be respected.

In Iran the people are increasingly emboldened to defy the moronic clerical scum who have wrecked that country. Freedom may not mean much to American liberals, but it means a lot to people who don't have it and want it desperately.

George W. Bush may not always be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he is a genuine hero for having the guts to realize that there is such a thing as evil in this world, and that evil will triumph if the free nations listen to the voices of cowardice and appeasement that predominate in academia and the liberal media.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 02:31 PM

Bill Kristol, not Irving.

Posted by: Mitch Schindler on July 20, 2003 02:34 PM

Yikes! Did I say "Atrios" above? I meant "Brad DeLong". Forgot what web site I was on.

Posted by: The Fool on July 20, 2003 02:35 PM

Hey Joe:

Yours is a very optimistic view. I frankly haven't noticed the Saudis running scared. You think we're "respected" in the Middle East? Well, not in Iraq -- and they are the contry most directly affected. Hell, we're not even respected in Europe or the rest of North America any more, much less the Middle East.

I think what you're trying to say is that we are now feared. I got news for you buddy. Guys that knowingly fly airplanes into buildings and strap explosive belts around their bodies are not going to be scared by a turkey shoot in Iraq.

By the way, you say the Shiites will be too afraid to cooperate with Al Qaeda? Well Osama Bin Laden's not afraid to cooperate with Al Qaeda, now, is he? He certainly hasn't been scared into retirement. He may however have picked up some WMD's at Saddam's post-war garage sale. And I don't think the Pakistanis who continue to harbor Bin Laden are shaking in their boots either.

Posted by: The Fool on July 20, 2003 02:57 PM

Joe Willingham writes: "But unlike Australia and Great Britain, they have proven to be unreliable allies."

No, the US has proven to be an unreliable ally. We do little or nothing anyone else wants us to do, and never without a fight. We expect everyone else to do what we want them to do, but we never reciprocate. The Bush administration doesn't give a rat's ass about the concerns of any other nation; Bush just has to get his own way.

Blair has had to jump through hoops just to get Bush to 'reconsider' whether or not British citizens in Guantanamo are going to get real trials or if they're going to be tried in an unfair, biased kangaroo court and executed. (Which prospect pisses off most Britons.)

We lied to France and Germany, despite their assistance in the *actual* war on terror. Need I remind you that the first conviction and imprisonment of an Al Qaeda member took place not in the US, but in *Germany*?

France and Germany have been good partners in the war on terror. Iraq has *nothing* to do with the war on terror, apart from creating a distraction, killing a soldier every day, and swallowing $4 billion a month that could be doing wonders getting Afghanistan back on its feet. Do you even remember Afghanistan?

The US has been eminently unreliable. You can't lie to your allies, and treat them with contempt, as the Bush administration has done, and expect them to go along with you.

President Bush should crack open his dusty Bible and brush up on that stuff about "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and think about how he's screwed up.

Posted by: Jon H on July 20, 2003 03:02 PM

Brad's original question, Is the United States better off now (and will it be better off in the foreseeable future) as a result of our recent and continuing efforts in Iraq, is a great one. I think that if the answer turns out to be 'yes,' most Americans at least (rightly or wrongly) will then conclude that the war was worthwhile (whatever the other costs), while if the answer is 'no,' or even just 'perhaps,' most Americans will eventually conclude that it was not.

It's really too early to say. I believe, however, that if you made a checklist of what we would have wanted our incursion to accomplish, and now checked off our successes, failures, and remaining question marks, you'd get a very mixed result, leaning slightly in the failure category.

The next six to twelve months should tell us a lot more.

Posted by: Brandonimac on July 20, 2003 03:24 PM

Brad's original question, Is the United States better off now (and will it be better off in the foreseeable future) as a result of our recent and continuing efforts in Iraq, is a great one. I think that if the answer turns out to be 'yes,' most Americans at least (rightly or wrongly) will then conclude that the war was worthwhile (whatever the other costs), while if the answer is 'no,' or even just 'perhaps,' most Americans will eventually conclude that it was not.

It's really too early to say. I believe, however, that if you made a checklist of what we would have wanted our incursion to accomplish, and now checked off our successes, failures, and remaining question marks, you'd get a very mixed result, leaning slightly in the failure category.

The next six to twelve months should tell us a lot more.

Posted by: Brandonimac on July 20, 2003 03:26 PM

Reply to The Fool:

According to a poll taken in Baghdad a few weeks ago by the New Delhi Times 54% of the people of Baghdad supported the US invasion and 32% were opposed.

You can't please everybody, but I think it's safe to say that 100% of the Kurds, half the Sunnis, and 95% of the Shiites don't want Saddam back in power. By killing at least 500,000 Iraqis and driving 2.1 million into exile Saddam (as I understand it the deposed dictator doesn't have a family name - Hussein is his patronym) made a lot of enemies. I would wager that Hitler was more popular in Germany in March 1945 than Saddam is in Iraq now.

It's too bad it had to be the US that overthrew Saddam, but nobody else applied for the job. The UN passed 16 resolutions condemning the dictator, but resolutions are not divisions.

You and I are both wrong to have spoken of "the Shiites". They don't all think alike. A majority of them are said not to theocratic, and a substantial minority believe in democracy. In fact, theocracy is not the traditional Shiite idea, but rather a recent introduction.

Instead of calling Bush names and blowing off about the likely fact that some con artist sold the US some fake documents, liberals should pitch in and try to help the situation by offering constructive suggestions about how the US can do a better job of helping the Iraqis set up a government that can set the country on the road to peace and prosperity.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:28 PM

What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen.

I find three persistent themes among the antiwar brigade. 1) Anti-Americanism elevated to the level of a religious faith. Anti-Americanism is a mixture of snobbery, envy and resentment. It is an easy way for the cafe half intellectual Noam Chomsky/Michael Moore set to feel sophisticated. 2) An all pervasive sense of western and in particular American guilt, leading to the notion that anybody who raises a hand against us must be in some way justified. 3) An ill disguised anti-Semitism posing as legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. That last meme is especially popular in Europe. In the US it is confined to the radical antiglobal crowd.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:53 PM

"Third, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

Oh? Do you have any evidence for that "belief"?

"Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage'

Feb. 20, 2003

CBS) While diplomatic maneuvering continues over Turkish bases and a new United Nations resolution, inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases....

...U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.

Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."

Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found "nothing."

Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight..."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/18/iraq/main537096.shtml

Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed

Bombshell revelation from a defector cited by White House and press

February 27, 2003

On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that "raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims.

Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq's deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek's John Barry-- who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade-- obtained the transcript of Kamel's 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM...

http://www.fair.org/press-releases/kamel.html

UK nuclear evidence a fake

British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein has been trying to import uranium for a nuclear bomb are unfounded, according to UN nuclear inspectors

Ian Traynor Saturday March 8, 2003 The Guardian

British intelligence claims that Saddam Hussein has been trying to import uranium for a nuclear bomb are unfounded and based on deliberately fabricated evidence, according to an investigation by the UN nuclear inspectors in Iraq.

The chief nuclear inspector for Iraq, Mohammed El Baradei, yesterday flatly contradicted Downing Street's and British intelligence's claims of attempted uranium smuggling by Iraq and said that the documents used to substantitate the British claim were "not authentic"..."

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,910129,00.html

Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq:

Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons

By Barton Gellman

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, May 11, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD -- The group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group's departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war.

Leaders of Task Force 75's diverse staff -- biologists, chemists, arms treaty enforcers, nuclear operators, computer and document experts, and special forces troops -- arrived with high hopes of early success. They said they expected to find what Secretary of State Colin L. Powell described at the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 -- hundreds of tons of biological and chemical agents, missiles and rockets to deliver the agents, and evidence of an ongoing program to build a nuclear bomb.

Scores of fruitless missions broke that confidence, many task force members said in interviews.

Army Col. Richard McPhee, who will close down the task force next month, said he took seriously U.S. intelligence warnings on the eve of war that Hussein had given "release authority" to subordinates in command of chemical weapons. "We didn't have all these people in [protective] suits" for nothing, he said. But if Iraq thought of using such weapons, "there had to have been something to use. And we haven't found it. . . . Books will be written on that in the intelligence community for a long time..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A40212-2003May10¬Found=true


Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 04:13 PM

Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:53 PM

"What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen...."

What disturbs ME about all of the clumsy post facto justifications for the organized and orchestrated hysteria that got us into the quagmire in Iraq is the utter hypocrisy of the people who are now trying to convince themselves and anyone still gullible enough to listen to them that they stirred up their splendid little war out of "the goodness of their hearts", and anyone who refuses to believe that big lie is either an "inhuman" and "indifferent" Saddam lover

OR

1) "Anti-American"

2) "Guilt ridden"

AND

3) "Anti-semitic".

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 04:30 PM

Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:53 PM

"What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen...."

What disturbs ME about all of the clumsy post facto justifications for the organized and orchestrated hysteria that got us into the quagmire in Iraq is the utter hypocrisy of the people who are now trying to convince themselves and anyone still gullible enough to listen to them that they stirred up their splendid little war out of "the goodness of their hearts", and anyone who refuses to believe that big lie is either an "inhuman" and "indifferent" Saddam lover

OR

1) "Anti-American"

2) "Guilt ridden"

AND

3) "Anti-semitic".

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 04:37 PM

"The people of Iraq, however, are likely to be better off in the long run as a result of our invasion."

Well, no - and this is not indifference to their suffering or ignoring the value of liberation but rather an appreciation of how they got that way and of the likelihood that they actually will get liberated (hint: the USA destabilised what was there before, going back to the 1950s, and has a track record of not leaving things improved after intervention). The best guess for Iraq's future is that after a painful transition the Iraqis will end up with some other strong man - or maybe more than one, if the country fragments. With that not only do they end up with no improvement, they also get the added suffering along the way.

It's like the story of the dying soldier on the battlefield who was asked if he wanted the flies chased away. He replied no, because he would only get a new lot of hungrier ones.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 20, 2003 04:43 PM

Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:53 PM

"What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen...."

What disturbs ME about all of the clumsy post facto justifications for the organized and orchestrated hysteria that got us into the quagmire in Iraq is the utter hypocrisy of the people who are now trying to convince themselves and anyone still gullible enough to listen to them that they stirred up their splendid little war out of the goodness of their hearts, and anyone who refuses to believe THAT big lie is either an "inhuman" and "indifferent" Saddam lover

OR

1) "Anti-American"

2) "Guilt ridden"

AND

3) "Anti-semitic".

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 04:44 PM

There is nothing "hysterical" about the case against Saddam Hussein's regime. It is in the public record. When I signed on to the case for war I certainly didn't base my support on the dubious deliverances of the intelligence agencies. I don't trust those agencies, not because they are especially dishonest, but because their work is innately prone to error.

Nobody was fooled by the uranium story. Those who supported and those who opposed the liberation of Iraq took held their positions on grounds other than the yellow purchase allegation. In fact, the story came out shortly after Powell's speech to the UN that the documents were probably forgeries.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 04:54 PM

I find some disturbing themes on the pro war side.
1) If you question the wisdom of the invasion you hate America.
2) If you question how the US is rebuilding Iraq you are probably an anti-semite or a self hating Westerner who doen't believe in enlightenment values and wants to see the West obliterated.

It's a neat way to block out any opposing viewpoint. If you set up the person who disagrees with you as immoral, demented or incapable of Reason then you don't even have to look at their ideas.

The big questions are:
1)Was the invasion of Iraq a stretegically sound choice for the United States?
2)Now that Iraq is under American control how does it win the peace?

1) Strategically the United States has blundered. In effect the military threat value America once had is now neutralised and could be for some time. Tell me, how do you threaten North Korea when 1/2 the US ground capability is in Iraq? Look at the criticisms of this war that came form conservative commentators, members of the Bush I team, retired general and intellegence chiefs. What did they say? Iraq is not a threat now. Lets do Iraq when we have Afganistan wrapped up. If we do go, get our traditional allies lined up before we go in. The radical conservatives didn't listen and did a real neat job messing with your intellegence services to get what they wanted. Just what the US needs in the war on terrorism; a disfunctional secret service.


2) To win the peace this Republican administration will have to do what no Republican administration has ever accomplished in US foreign affiars. Show some humility and ask the world for help. Get the UN involved. Make the Iraqi guerillas take on the world instead of taking on the USA. Get the ligitimacy you need.
You know it is a good argument for electing a Democrat to the White House. The Democrats have produced all the Great American Diplomats and War leaders; Wilson, FDR, Truman.
Lets look at American history. Which major conflict has America won decisively? WWII. What was the main characteristic of the Second World War? It was a group effort, where the United States had some powerful allies in Great Britian and the USSR.
What conflict did America lose? Vietnam. One of the major characteristics of the Vietnam war was that the United States fought it alone.
I think some of the older critics of this invasion understood this and the risks it poses to America.

Finally a word about suffering. I though only left wing saps went on and on about "suffering" Now it seems the Right has all of a sudden discovered that there is suffering in the rest of the world.
The point is that suffering is everywhere. In fact suffering by tyrannical dictators is everwhere. You only have so much help to give. Where will you go? Serbia? Bosnia? Liberia? Burma? North Korea? Zimbabwe? Congo? Cuba? China? Iraq? Iran? Columbia?
Will your actions help or not? Do you have a plan in place to make that country a better place?

It's like having a next door neighbor who beats his wife and kids. You can go over there and kill the sob, but your gonna have to take care of his wife and kids OR teach them to take care of themselves. And if they don't share your world view or your culture, we'll that makes the job harder. You better do some planning and thinking before you go over and pop a cap in the jerks head.

Bush didn't have a plan for fixing Iraq. I hope for the sake of the WEST let alone America he has the guts to ask for help from Americas friends.

Posted by: Scott McArthur on July 20, 2003 04:58 PM

What bothers me is how completely full of shit the Republicans, like Joe here, are. You can furiously try to change the subject all you want, but there is too much videotape for Bushco to duck responsibility for having perpetrated the most egregious hoax in American political history. You can say no one was fooled by this lie or that lie, but there were so many lies that it is safe that everyone was fooled by at least some of the multitude of lies.

You see, Joe, the issue has nothing to do with what is Saddam like or how do the Iraqis feel. The REAL issue, you stupid conservative fuck, is that Bush and his henchmen perpetrated a hoax in order to get their way in foreign policy. They were afraid that they weren't getting enough support, so they lied their asses off about WMD to scare some up.

Fuck you and every other lying sack of shit Republican who lacks the integrity to admit what is right out in the open for everyone to see. Your boy lied and got caught. Now be a man and admit it.

Posted by: The Fool on July 20, 2003 05:09 PM

Joe Willingham writes: "Liberals should pitch in and try to help the situation by offering constructive suggestions about how the US can do a better job of helping the Iraqis set up a government that can set the country on the road to peace and prosperity"

The right has already shown it doesn't listen to the populace in general, let alone the left-leaning portion of the populace.

If the GOP could, they'd take the vote away from anyone left of the center-right. They're certainly trying to.

Posted by: Jon H on July 20, 2003 05:19 PM

I disagree with the article. We could be better off and the Iraqi people could be better off were it not for the incompetence of this administration and its unilateralist foreign policy. In the rush to war Mr. Bush alienated our allies and failed to adequately plan for post war Iraq. This lack of planning has left our troops in a quagmire and the Iraqi people with a chaotic situation. Had we had better planning we would not be in this mess.

Posted by: bakho on July 20, 2003 05:25 PM

Jon:

They're not just tying to take our votes away, taking our votes away was how Bush got his start as president.

Look Joe: Bush and his henchmen told story aftre story, tall tale after tall tale about the scary WMD in Iraq. They said there was no doubt that the WMD were there. They said this over and over 100 different ways. Funny thing is, when we got to Iraq and kicked Hussein out of power, there were no WMD to be found!

That was simply incredible! Took everyone by surprise. There is no way that you people can do enough fast talking to erase what the whole world saw: you said they were there. But, in fact, they weren't.

You simply can't justify that.

Posted by: The Fool on July 20, 2003 05:26 PM

Joe Willingham wrote,

"What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen."

Strawman. I was strongly against the war, and yet of course I'm happy to see Saddam gone, and realize that it's possible that this is a very good thing for the Iraqi people.

Why, then, would I have been against the war?
1. Nation states don't act out of humanitarian impulses. It's possible that humanitarian situations improve as a side-effect, but it's not part of the motivation.
2. Bush already showed his complete incompetence in the conflict in Afghanistan. He let bin Laden get away by relying on proxy Afghan troops at Tora Bora (instead of the politically riskier/costlier alternative of using more US troops). He didn't budget a dime (not a dime) for Afghanistan afterwards---his minions in Congress had to clean up that embarassing oversight. And right now Afghanistan is going to hell quickly.

So part of my opposition to the war stems from my view of Bush being incompetent, so incompetent that he now comprises a major threat to national security.

As to "Many positive effects of the invasion are already becoming apparent. The degenerates and criminals who rule Saudi Arabia and Syrian are running scared.", that's just plain ignorant of the fact that (a) Syria was cooperating quite nicely on the al Queda issue *before* the invasion of Iraq, (b) it's very possible that certain elements within the Administration want to destabilize Syria, regardless of how much it cooperates on issues like Al Queda.

Finally, as to "There is new hope of movement toward the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute", I can't imagine a more naive statement. Bush essentially does whatever Sharon tells him to do, and the links between Likud and the Bush administration are public knowledge. (You can't call me an anti-Semite, since I was bar mitzvahed. You'll have to rely on "self-hating Jew".)

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 05:33 PM

Joe Willingham wrote,

"What disturbs me about the critics of the liberation of Iraq is their utter lack of humanity, their appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under a psychopathic dictator and his henchmen."

Strawman. I was strongly against the war, and yet of course I'm happy to see Saddam gone, and realize that it's possible that this is a very good thing for the Iraqi people.

Why, then, would I have been against the war?
1. Nation states don't act out of humanitarian impulses. It's possible that humanitarian situations improve as a side-effect, but it's not part of the motivation.
2. Bush already showed his complete incompetence in the conflict in Afghanistan. He let bin Laden get away by relying on proxy Afghan troops at Tora Bora (instead of the politically riskier/costlier alternative of using more US troops). He didn't budget a dime (not a dime) for Afghanistan afterwards---his minions in Congress had to clean up that embarassing oversight. And right now Afghanistan is going to hell quickly.

So part of my opposition to the war stems from my view of Bush being incompetent, so incompetent that he now comprises a major threat to national security.

As to "Many positive effects of the invasion are already becoming apparent. The degenerates and criminals who rule Saudi Arabia and Syrian are running scared.", that's just plain ignorant of the fact that (a) Syria was cooperating quite nicely on the al Queda issue *before* the invasion of Iraq, (b) it's very possible that certain elements within the Administration want to destabilize Syria, regardless of how much it cooperates on issues like Al Queda.

Finally, as to "There is new hope of movement toward the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute", I can't imagine a more naive statement. Bush essentially does whatever Sharon tells him to do, and the links between Likud and the Bush administration are public knowledge. (You can't call me an anti-Semite, since I was bar mitzvahed. You'll have to rely on "self-hating Jew".)

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 05:35 PM

>Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 04:54 PM

>"There is nothing "hysterical" about the case against Saddam Hussein's regime. It is in the public record....I certainly didn't base my support on the dubious deliverances of the intelligence agencies. I don't trust those agencies, not because they are especially dishonest, but because their work is innately prone to error..."

Unh hunh. That's the Cheneyesque Rumsfeldian line we're ALL familiar with by now.

That's why Cheney spent so much time at Langley looking over people's shoulders and that's why Rummy says he ditched the best estimates of his $multi-billion in-house professional intelligence analysts for a top-notch, off the books, shoe-string outfit:

Rumsfeld's personal spy ring

The defense secretary couldn't count on the CIA or the State Department to provide a pretext for war in Iraq. So he created a new agency that would tell him what he wanted to hear.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Eric Boehlert

July 16, 2003 | During last fall's feverish ramp up to war with Iraq, the Pentagon created an unusual in-house shop to monitor Saddam Hussein's links with terrorists and his allegedly sprawling arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. With direct access to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's office and the White House, the influential group helped lay out, both to administration officials and to the press, an array of chilling, almost too-good-to-be-true examples of why Saddam posed an immediate threat to America.

Six months later, with controversy mounting over the administration's handling of war intelligence, the small, secretive cell inside the Pentagon is drawing closer scrutiny and may soon be the subject of a congressional inquiry to determine whether it manipulated and politicized key intelligence and botched planning for post-war Iraq.

"The concern is they were in the cherry-picking business," says U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "Cherry-picking half-truths and rumors and only highlighting pieces of information that bolstered the administration's case for war."

The Pentagon's innocuously named Office of Special Plans served as a unique, hand-picked group of hawkish defense officials who worked outside regular intelligence channels. According to the Department of Defense, the group was first created in the aftermath of Sept. 11 to supplement the war on terrorism...

http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/07/16/intelligence/index_np.html

Speaking of "special plans" "outside of regular channels":

The Office of Strategic Influence Is Gone, But Are Its Programs In Place?

November 27, 2002

The Federation of American Scientists has pointed to a startling revelation by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that mainstream media have missed: In remarks during a recent press briefing, Rumsfeld suggested that though the controversial Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) no longer exists in name, its programs are still being carried out (FAS Secrecy News, 11/27/02, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html ).

The OSI came under scrutiny last February, when the New York Times reported (2/19/02) that the new Pentagon group was “developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations.” The news was met with outrage, and within a week the Pentagon had closed down the OSI, saying that negative attention had damaged the office’s reputation so much “that it could not operate effectively" (AP, 2/26/02).

The plan was troubling for many reasons: It was profoundly undemocratic; it would have put journalists’ lives at risk by involving them in Pentagon disinformation; and it’s almost certain that any large-scale disinformation campaign directed at the foreign press would have led, sooner or later, to a falsified story being picked up by U.S. media. (See Extra! Update 4/02, "Behind the Pentagon's Propaganda Plan.")

At the time, Rumsfeld claimed that he had “never even seen the charter for the office,” but Thomas Timmes, the OSI’s assistant for operations, said that Rumsfeld had been briefed on its goals “at least twice” and had “given his general support” (New York Times, 2/25/02).

Now, in remarks made at a November 18 media briefing, Rumsfeld has suggested that though the exposure of OSI's plans forced the Pentagon to close the office, they certainly haven't given up on its work. According to a transcript on the Department of Defense website, Rumsfeld told reporters:

"And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And 'oh my goodness gracious isn't that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.' I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have."

http://www.fair.org/press-releases/osi-followup.html

Then there's this little item....

July 19, 2003, 12:12AM

U.S. tallied up assets well before war

Documents list Cheney group's activities

By DAVID IVANOVICH

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- The energy task force led by Vice President Dick Cheney was examining maps of Iraq's oil assets in March 2001, two years before the United States led an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein, newly released documents show...

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/2001799

...Which, I think it's fair to say, casts a whole new light on this, "questionable" behavior:

9/11 Attack Investigators Complain About Hindrances

Bush team is dragging its feet on access to papers and is cowing witnesses, they say.

July 9, 2003
By Greg Miller, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Leaders of a federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks complained Tuesday that the Bush administration has been too slow to provide access to key documents and is intimidating witnesses by insisting that CIA and FBI "minders" attend sensitive interviews....

http://www.ctnow.com/news/custom/newsat3/la-na-commission9jul09000429,0,453137.story?coll=hc-headlines-newsat3


Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 05:40 PM

>The people of Iraq, however, are likely to be >better off in the long run as a result of our >invasion.

Then all we need to do is annex Iraq, make the Iraqis into American citizens, and then everything adds up in our favor. Think outside the box.

Posted by: Andrew Northrup on July 20, 2003 05:50 PM

>Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 05:35 PM

>"...1. Nation states don't act out of humanitarian impulses. It's possible that humanitarian situations improve as a side-effect, but it's not part of the motivation...."

Sure they do. All the time.

Nation states don't often put their blood and honor "on the line", (let alone INVADE other countries in the face of almost universal condemnation) for humanitarian reasons. But they do OFTEN "act out of humanitarian impulses."

In fact, enlightened self-interest often demands that they do just that, even over the usually strenuous and utterly predictable objections of "bleeding-heart" guys like ol' joe here...

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 05:58 PM

"The people of Iraq, however, are likely to be better off in the long run as a result of our invasion."

To what silly question is this the silly answer? My candidate: are the people of Iraq better off because of the events of 1919-1922?

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on July 20, 2003 06:18 PM

My critics keep giving me all sorts of bum raps. I am accused of being a Republican, when I have never voted Republican in my life and I supported Bill Clinton to the end.

I remember the Democratic Party as a party that stood up to the challenge of fascism and Communism under FDR and Truman, two of the greatest American president, and to the lesser but still important challenge of Serbian fascism in the 'nineties.

Mike accuses me of opposing humanitarian intervention. On the contrary, I supported the war of NATO against Serbia in Bosnia and Kosovo, which was as close to being a purely humanitarian intervention as I have seen. There was no economic or strategic reason, but both Americans and Europeans got tired of seeing the Muslims massacred on TV every night.

The Democrats were once a great political party but they are losing it. In their bitterness against Bush they are refusing to see that this nation is threatened not only by Al Qaeda, but by countries that practice or support terrorism, and that in order to win this war we need to wage it on multiple fronts. The Democrats are becoming like the old Republicans: small-minded and isolationist.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 06:52 PM

Stephen J. Fromm claims that Bush does everything that Sharon tells him to. In fact, Bush has pressured Sharon to accept the Roadmap, and received some praise from Palestinians and criticism from members of the Likud party and American Likud supporters for doing so. The Palestinians should have their own state, but only if they give up their dream of destroying Israel. That was President Clinton's position, and it is President Bush's position as well.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 07:11 PM

I believe there are four urgent steps that we should take in order to win the peace.

Number one—We increase overall troop strength with more allied troops with the right skills and training.  And that means particularly, that people with Arabic speaking skills, and even, hopefully, Muslims.  Without adequate security, every other peacekeeping goal is at risk.  That means you have to immediately offer NATO a role to give Allies a graceful way to participate.  Without real allies in real numbers, especially Arab-speaking, we are asking our young men and women to bear a needless risk for an length of time that is undescribed.  We also need greater United Nations involvement in the humanitarian and governance transformation. And the world needs to be invested in the outcome in Iraq

Second, we have to train Iraqis more rapidly to carry out what always was an obvious job—of restoring civil order in the aftermath of the victory.  The police functions have to be provided in an adequate form, we need to protect the people, and guarantee the safety of our own troops in that process.  Such an effort will require international police trainers and mentors as well as military trainers in an accelerated commitment.

Third, we have to lay out immediately and publicly a clear plan for the transfer of power to Iraqis as soon as possible.  The sense of American occupation works against our peaceful goals, works against the transformation of democracy ultimately, works against our troops and their safety, and works against our greater goals in the Middle East.  We promised the Iraqis democracy, but we’re sending mixed signals about really letting them run their own country.

Fourth, we must move more quickly to provide the basic services, such as electricity, and transportation.  Without economic recovery, the gap between the expectations and the reality will be a major retardant on popular support for the United States activities in Iraq.  Peacekeeping is linked to the humanitarian and to the governance transformation and the global investment in that is the fastest, most effective way to be able to strengthen our goals and provide safety to our troops.

We now know that the Administration went to war without a thorough plan to win the peace.  It is time to face that truth and to change course—to share the post-war burden internationally—for the sake of our country, for our standing in the world, and most of all for the young Americans in uniform who cannot be protected from enemy attack by an announcement, no matter how well staged, that hostilities are over.”

Small Minded? Isolationist? This is what John Kerry, Democrat for president proposes we do in Iraq. It is a much better plan that the unilateralist quagmire that Mr. Bush has hit. However, Mr. Bush would have to eat a lot of crow to get the UN in Iraq. But hey, our troops are targets now and they deserve support from our small minded and arrogant politicians. Eating crow would be a small price to pay to improve the situation in Iraq. Whatever happened to "humble foreign policy"?

Forget the dustup over how we got in Iraq. We are stuck there. The big question is how do we get out without losing our shirt? Mr. Bush has no answers. His Iraq plan has failed. It is time to take a new approach.

Posted by: bakho on July 20, 2003 07:17 PM

Bahkho, I generally like your plan for Iraq. I would add only that the French should be not be allowed to be a major player, and that the UN should play a humanitarian but not a political role.

Turkish, Indian, Jordanian, and other troops should be brought in, but not under UN command.

Bush should quit farting around and pinching pennies and commit the necessary resources needed to rebuild Iraq and send that nation on the road to freedom and prosperity.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 07:28 PM

>Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 06:52 PM

>"My critics keep giving me all sorts of bum raps...

>...Mike accuses me of opposing humanitarian intervention..."

On the contrary, Joe, I accused you THREE times (two of which were inadvertant, my apologies for the multiple posts ;-) of:

[Putting up a] "clumsy post facto justification for the organized and orchestrated hysteria that got us into the quagmire in Iraq [which amounts to] utter hypocrisy [since it relies upon the MYTH that the perpetrators of that war] stirred up their splendid little war out of the goodness of their hearts, and [that] anyone who refuses to believe THAT big lie is either an "inhuman" and "indifferent" Saddam lover

OR

1) "Anti-American"

2) "Guilt ridden"

AND

3) "Anti-semitic".

In response to PREVIOUS batch of rhetoric which, you MIGHT remember, you dropped here a while ago [Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 03:53 PM] .

This later stuff [Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 06:52 PM] about how I wronged you and misrepresented your (self-proclaimed) humanitarianism and what a bunch of regular guys FDR and Truman were and what a good Democrat you used to be and how screwed up the Democratic Party is now and stuff, well Joe, it's mostly beside the point. I will say though, based upon my limited experience with you thus far, that it doesn't appear to ME to be the least bit "out of character" for YOU...

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 07:29 PM

>Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 07:28 PM

>"...Bush should quit farting around..."

Responsibility for Iraq should be transferred immediately to the UN. And dickweed & Co.

(See: http://truthout.org/docs_03/022803A.shtml
)

should resign.

Or, failing that, the two elected* members of that mob should be impeached. And THEN face trial (along with the rest of the perps) for their crimes.

Posted by: Mike on July 20, 2003 07:50 PM

"The next year or so will see the extent to which our attack on Iraq has gained Al Qaeda and its like more recruits and sympathizers."

I think that we need much longer before we know how badly Iraq has hurt us in terms of provoking terror attacks against us -- about decade would be the right amount of time to elapse.

Posted by: Bobby on July 20, 2003 08:00 PM

Bush should do a better job in Iraq. He should *not* turn the operation over to the UN, which has a proven track record of corruption and incomptence.

The UN is a device to make liberals feel good and the French feel important. It should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 08:35 PM

Joe Willingham wrote, "In fact, Bush has pressured Sharon to accept the Roadmap, and received some praise from Palestinians and criticism from members of the Likud party and American Likud supporters for doing so."

Still sounds naive to me. IIRC, Sharon accepted the roadap with conditions. Have the Israelis committed to any timetable to dismantle the settlements in the occupied territories, which constitute a war crime under the Geneva convention? Actions speak louder than words.

My claims about Sharon and Bush aren't idle speculation. It's well known that many in the Bush administration have ties to Likud. In addition, Bush's far-right Christian nuthead supporters favor hard-line Israeli policies for their own bizarre reasons.

"The Palestinians should have their own state, but only if they give up their dream of destroying Israel."

And we should be funding the Israeli occupation of Gaza and West Bank (to the tune of billions of dollars a year) because...?

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 08:47 PM

Joe Willingham wrote, "Bush should do a better job in Iraq. He should *not* turn the operation over to the UN, which has a proven track record of corruption and incomptence."

And this differentiates the Bush administration from the UN how?

I thought the idea behind getting the UN involved was to spread risk and try to put a non-imperialist face on our presence there (I don't have an opinion on the 2nd).

"The UN is a device to make liberals feel good and the French feel important. It should not be taken seriously."

Oh, please. The UN is corrupt, ineffective, blah, blah, blah, but it's the only umbrella world organization we have---and to state that doesn't mean that I (or any other "liberal") has any illusions about it.

And at least the UN folks were able to figure out that the Niger claim was based on forgeries. Funny how our well-run, uncorrupt intelligence services couldn't do that on $30 billion annually, even though it's claimed that it could have been discovered with a series of Google searches. Or did they indeed *figure it out*, and weren't listened to by our well-run, uncorrupt executive branch?

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 08:56 PM

"And we should be funding the Israeli occupation of Gaza and West Bank (to the tune of billions of dollars a year) because...?"

Because we don't need a second Holocaust. The "occupation" will end when the Palestinians give up the goal of genocide and accept the need for peaceful coexistence with the state of Israel.

By the way, how can you "occupy" a state that doesn't exist?

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 09:05 PM

Mike wrote, "Nation states don't often put their blood and honor 'on the line', (let alone INVADE other countries in the face of almost universal condemnation) for humanitarian reasons. But they do OFTEN 'act out of humanitarian impulses.'"

I disagree. I'll concede that you might find a 2nd or 3rd order instance of states acting out of humanitarian impulses, but I think the model "states act out of perceived self-interest only" is accurate at 0th and 1st order. (Pardon the pseudoquantitative lingo.)

"In fact, enlightened self-interest often demands that they do just that, even over the usually strenuous and utterly predictable objections of 'bleeding-heart' guys like ol' joe here..."

But if they're acting out of self-interest, then they're acting out of self-interest.

The test cases I have in mind are situations where there are strong humanitarian reasons for acting, but the perceived payback to self interest is either negative or zero. In those cases, I claim, states---almost all of the time---will not act. My impression is that Rwanda was a case where the US, for example, had no self-interest, and as a result didn't do anything. (Though maybe certain European allies---Belgium or France, can't remember---would have not liked us intervening, in which case perhaps the perceived self-interest was negative.)


Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 09:09 PM

Joe Willingham wrote, "By the way, how can you 'occupy' a state that doesn't exist?"

I never said Israel was occupying a state. I said it was occupying *territory*.

How do I know Israel is occupying territory?
(a) It has military control of said territory.
(b) It has not annexed said territory.

"Because we don't need a second Holocaust."

But the Palestinians don't pose a security threat to Isreal, and Israeli security isn't enhanced by occupying Gaza and the West Bank. They want the land---it's quite simple. (To be fair, read "they" as "*some* Israelis and certain factions of the Israeli government.")

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 09:18 PM

Joe Willingham wrote, "By the way, how can you 'occupy' a state that doesn't exist?"

I never said Israel was occupying a state. I said it was occupying *territory*.

How do I know Israel is occupying territory?
(a) It has military control of said territory.
(b) It has not annexed said territory.

"Because we don't need a second Holocaust."

But the Palestinians don't pose a security threat to Israel of the kind that could lead to a 2nd Holocaust, and Israeli security isn't enhanced by occupying Gaza and the West Bank. They want the land---it's quite simple. (To be fair, read "they" as "*some* Israelis and certain factions of the Israeli government.")

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 20, 2003 09:23 PM

Stephen;

A pedantic note. The passage you quoted from Joe about the anti-war side's "utter lack of humanity [and] appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi" is not, as you allege, a "Strawman," at least not as I learned the term. A "strawman" is seen when the speaker responds to a particular interlocutor by implicitly assigning to that interlocutor a specific, easily-refutable argument or position the interlocutor has not, in fact, made or taken.

By contrast, when a speaker (like Joe here) is talking to nobody in particular, and without any substantiation explicitly assigns a grotesque moral failing to the entire class of people who disagree with him, the technical term for his rhetorical tactic is "bullshit."

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 20, 2003 09:46 PM

C'mon Jeffrey, the syndrome is a familiar one. When have you seen a demonstration by the left against, for example, the genocidal regimes in Africa? The contemporary left judges a regime by two criteria: if it hates Americans and Jews it's pretty much OK.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 10:49 PM

May I make a modest proposal.

Through whatever intermediaries may be acceptable, North Korea should be induced to police the occupied parts of Iraq.

This would have the incidental benefit to the USA of reducing the conventional threat in the Korean peninsula, it might be acceptable to Iraqis (and to us in the rest of the world) in that the Iraqis would not fear that the policemen were implementing a US agenda, it would help the North Koreans by reducing their burdens without threatening their nuclear longstop, and it would get the USA off the hook without adding to any strategic threat (since North Koreans out of North Korea have even less ability to project force).

It can't happen. The USA wouldn't end up ahead: it would only get peace, good order, and hope for the future - nothing in it for US interests.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 20, 2003 10:51 PM

Stephen, read what the Palestinians teach their children in school. It's straight out of Hitler's playbook. The Israelis live in an ugly neighborhood, and they can't afford to forget it.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 20, 2003 11:21 PM

Joe;

The implicit logic of your defense of your claim that "critics of the liberation of Iraq" show "an utter lack of humanity [and] appalling indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi" apparently goes something like this:

Anybody who demonstrates against one thing, but does not demonstrate against a second thing, is indifferent to the second thing.
The Left demonstrated against the Iraq war, but did not demonstrate against the Rwandan genocide.
Therefore critics of the war are indifferent to the sufferings of the Iraqi.

The primary flaw with this syllogism, on the logical level, is that two terms ("critics of the war" and "the sufferings of the Iraqi") appear in your conclusion without having appeared in either premise; thus the syllogism is invalid.

The primary flaw on the substantive level is that the major premise is a crock of shit.

Posted by: Jeffrey Kramer on July 20, 2003 11:36 PM

After parsing through the Joe vs. the World comments, I'll go back and comment to Mr. Delong's original post.

I think it's very accurate. In the long run, the Iraqis will probably be better off. Now the long run means a good 20 years or so and also supposes that Al Qaeda didn't pick up some WMDs from Saddam (I'm starting to believe he really did destroy most of what he had, but is so psychotic that he didn't want to admit it to anyone). If they did, then the whole world could be gone and nobody's better off in that condition. But taking an Iraq that was never invaded in the early spring of 2003 what was its probable course? The succession of one his sons which are stunningly even more psychotic than he is. Continuing sanctions that certainly hurt the majority of the people of Iraq if not the regime itself. The invasion does remedy that. Could it go horribly awry and actually be a net loss for the Iraqis? Absolutely. But let's not start believing that life in Iraq was good for the majority of Iraqis.

That being said it is a net loss for the United States. We aren't safer from terrorism THAT AFFECTS THIS COUNTRY. Yeah, Saddam supported some terrorism. It was all local and most of it was for show. The guy's a psychotic control freak and didn't want terrorists he couldn't control traipsing all over the world. If he was going to kill somebody he'd just do it with his own henchmen. Also, invading Iraq had nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The Bush Administration could have pushed the "roadmap" at any time. They chose to do it after the invasion. Timing is not the same as cause and effect.

Finally, invading Iraq solved absolutely no national security problem that this nation has. None. Saddam wasn't "45 minutes" from attacking us. He has never had any ICBM technology to get WMDs to these shores.

Two countries were principally responsible for 9/11. One, we attacked almost immediately in Afghanistan. The other is Saudi Arabia. They finance Al Qaeda. They provide a fertile recruiting ground with their extreme brand of Islam. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. And nearly two years after the attack this administration has done nothing to them. Why? The pat answer is oil. If that's the real reason then this country has cut its deal: we'll take cheap oil and you can make terrorist attacks on American interests.

I believe that it would have been very, very easy to get the American public's support behind attacking the Saudis. No need to forge intelligence (these are some very duplicitous people). I think they would have generally sacrificed higher oil prices and economic sticker-shock in the short run to really begin the process of "rooting out terrorism." But instead of doing something hard we took the easy way out and are going to try to lean on the Saudis by developing Iraqi oil. It will take years to get that project fully running to where it will begin to affect the Saudis. And this supposes that everything works out well in Iraq which is not guaranteed. All in all an incredibly poor decision.

Posted by: Double B on July 21, 2003 02:46 AM

Joe Willingham wrote, "C'mon Jeffrey, the syndrome is a familiar one. When have you seen a demonstration by the left against, for example, the genocidal regimes in Africa? The contemporary left judges a regime by two criteria: if it hates Americans and Jews it's pretty much OK."

(1) The Left protests American policies because it (the American Left) is morally responsible for American policies, not African policies. Furthermore, it's not clear what the American Left (or any other parties in America) can do about Africa. Though take note that TransAfrica, for example, *did* speak out re Zimbabwe recently (this was discussed in the _New York Times_ IIRC); see http://www.transafricaforum.org/newsletter/why_we_spoke_zim060603.shtml.

(2) Your second comment, "if it hates Americans and Jews it's pretty much OK" is ignorant and slanderous. Are you going to tell me that the Left (whatever that means, since there's clearly no monolithic Left) thinks Saudi Arabia is "OK"? I'd think not, given that S.A. would, to the average leftist, not do too well on issues of women's rights, even if that leftist is anti-Semitic.

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 21, 2003 06:30 AM

Joe Willingham wrote, "Stephen, read what the Palestinians teach their children in school. It's straight out of Hitler's playbook. The Israelis live in an ugly neighborhood, and they can't afford to forget it."

I can't evaluate this claim because I don't have access to the alleged schoolbooks.

The claim isn't, on the face of it, ridiculous. On the other hand, why should it be surprising that a people violently and lawlessly occupied should hate its occupiers?

Furthermore, it doesn't refute my claims that (a) the Palestinians don't constitute a _military_ threat to Israel, (b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security.

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 21, 2003 06:35 AM

Double B: I agree with much of what you wrote.

However, in regards to "...also supposes that Al Qaeda didn't pick up some WMDs from Saddam (I'm starting to believe he really did destroy most of what he had, but is so psychotic that he didn't want to admit it to anyone)..." it's not so clear this is *alone* is evidence that Saddam was psychotic. Saddam had various reasons to want to appear strong, and admitting he didn't have such weapons wouldn't be consistent with the role he's constructed for himself.

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 21, 2003 06:43 AM

Listen Joe and the rest..

I'm a hawk on terrorism. I believe that it needs to be rooted out, mainly because the fear it imposes quite frankly does severe psychological damage on a society. I support opposing terrorism fully, including hate crimes. I believe that the Serbian operation was long overdue, as well I believe that the Contra-aides should be in prison right now.

When Bush started to bomb Iraq, he SURRENDERED...I reapeat...SURRENDERED the war on terrorism.

This war will not be fought with bombs and force. It will be fought with justice, and law, and most importantly, ideas. Giving those ideas the best spin possible is the weapon we have to win this war. Taking them for granted, and acting as a lone cowboy...well..that's how to lose this war real fast.

It is NOT clear that Iraq will be better off. Bush did not have a plan for this from the beginning. We said as much. The most likely result is you will see a theocracy in Iraq. Obviously not exactly a good thing.

Iraq COULD have been done right. It would have taken a real leader however. If it was done right, it would have been good. However, it was done wrong. That may make things very bad.

Posted by: Glenn on July 21, 2003 07:25 AM

Listen Joe and the rest..

I'm a hawk on terrorism. I believe that it needs to be rooted out, mainly because the fear it imposes quite frankly does severe psychological damage on a society. I support opposing terrorism fully, including hate crimes. I believe that the Serbian operation was long overdue, as well I believe that the Contra-aides should be in prison right now.

When Bush started to bomb Iraq, he SURRENDERED...I reapeat...SURRENDERED the war on terrorism.

This war will not be fought with bombs and force. It will be fought with justice, and law, and most importantly, ideas. Giving those ideas the best spin possible is the weapon we have to win this war. Taking them for granted, and acting as a lone cowboy...well..that's how to lose this war real fast.

It is NOT clear that Iraq will be better off. Bush did not have a plan for this from the beginning. We said as much. The most likely result is you will see a theocracy in Iraq. Obviously not exactly a good thing.

Iraq COULD have been done right. It would have taken a real leader however. If it was done right, it would have been good. However, it was done wrong. That may make things very bad.

Posted by: Glenn on July 21, 2003 07:29 AM

Double B, Brad, Stephen, et al...

"In the long run, Iraqis will probably be better off"

How is that for an arrogant, imperialistic, 'we know best' attitude?

Unless some of you have

a) lived in Iraq
b) worked in Iraq

you really have no idea whether ALL or even MOST Iraqis are 'probably' better off.

Just because we opposed the war does not mean that we cannot be as 'knowledgeable' about what is best for Iraqis as, say, Wolfowitz.

Howard Dean said it best: Saddam Hussein is out of power and I suppose that is a good thing.

Humility is a virtue. We Americans do NOT know what is good for everybody else (even if our president gets his intell direct from God). The truth is, none of us have any clue what ordinary life was like under Saddam and is like post-Saddam.

For all the people Saddam exterminated, there is near consensus that Iraq under Saddam was the most advanced nation in that region - the least discriminatory (in ordinary ways like women, non-muslims etc), the freest access to education.

The ONLY people with the right to pass judgement on Saddam are Iraqis and last time I checked, no Iraqis appear to be posting here.

So, may I suggest a dose of humility?

simply admit that the future of Iraq is uncertain and we might have made it worse?

How is it that we NEVER seem to admit to self doubt?

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on July 21, 2003 08:28 AM

Fourth, our ground force conventional military -- the wherewithal to go places and do things, should the need arise -- is largely incapacitated for years to come ... and in the worst case our reserve-heavy, all volunteer force structure is broken.

Fifth, out intelligence posture -- and the quiet contest of affinities, attitudes and atmospherics it depends on -- is seriously damaged. The real "war" on terror pivots on intelligence penetration much more than reactive deterrence.

Sixth ... and so on ... and so forth ...

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on July 21, 2003 08:42 AM

"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq." Paul Wolfowitz


Really! Really!

Posted by: emma on July 21, 2003 10:09 AM

Fromm, this article could have been written for you.

Jabotinsky

The Spectator

The New Anti-Semitism

by Melanie Phillips - March 22, 2003

Melanie Phillips says that hostility to Jews is strongest among those on the Left who claim to be fighting racism

Want to make yourself really, really unpopular if you’re a Jew? Try saying that the world is witnessing a terrifying firestorm of hatred directed at Israel and the Jewish people, in which the British and Europeans are deeply implicated. Since it is now a given in many circles that Israel is a threat to the world equal to North Korea, and that Ariel Sharon is a cross between Martin Bormann and Hendrik Verwoerd, you will find yourself accused of using the Holocaust to avoid any criticism of Israel’s behaviour. Because, well, you know, you Jews always stick together and are mighty quick to deal that persecution card.

Anyone who holds that view may as well skip what follows. More objective and fair-minded souls, however, might be deeply alarmed to learn of the evidence provided at a recent conference on anti-Semitism and the media at the Vidal Sassoon Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem.

This was scarcely a gathering of the Ariel Sharon fan club. Among academics and journalists from Israel, Europe, Britain and America were several left-wingers and liberals who were deeply hostile to Israel’s Likud government, believed that the settlements should be dismantled, and were troubled by the behaviour of some of Israel’s military. ‘There’s no doubt that Israel is committing human-rights violations on the West Bank,’ said Professor Yehuda Bauer, the distinguished Holocaust expert.

But there was equally no doubt, from what he and others said, that anti-Zionism is now being used to cloak a terrifying nexus between genocidal Arab and Islamist hatred of the Jews and deep-seated European prejudices.

Anti-Semitism is protean, mutating over the centuries into new forms. Now it has changed again, into a shape which requires a new way of thinking and a new vocabulary. The new anti-Semitism does not discriminate against Jews as individuals on account of their race. Instead, it is centred on Israel, and the denial to the Jewish people alone of the right of self-determination.

This is nothing to do with the settlements or the West Bank. Indeed, the language being used exposes as a cruel delusion the common belief that the Middle East crisis would be solved by the creation of a Palestinian state.

The key motif is a kind of Holocaust inversion, with the Israelis being demonised as Nazis and the Palestinians being regarded as the new Jews. Israel and the Jews are being systematically delegitimised and dehumanised — a necessary prelude to their destruction — with both Islamists and the Western media using anti-Zionism as a fig-leaf for prejudices rooted in both mediaeval Christian and Nazi demonology.

This has produced an Orwellian situation in which hatred of the Jews now marches behind the Left’s banner of anti-racism and human rights, giving rise not merely to distortions, fabrications and slander about Israel in the media but also to mainstream articles discussing the malign power of the Jews over American and world policy.

The Jerusalem conference heard chilling presentations about a phenomenon barely discussed in Britain: the virulent Arab and Muslim hatred of the Jews. This goes far beyond even the desire to finish off Israel as a Jewish state. Anti-Jewish hatred plays a crucial role in the fanatical jihadism that now threatens all of us in the West, pouring out in television programmes, newspapers and religious sermons throughout the Arab and Muslim world, and amounting to a new warrant for genocide.

The dominant message is that Jewish power amounts to a conspiracy to destroy Islam and take over the whole world. Truly mad theories circulate on Islamist Internet sites which have now convinced untold numbers of Arabs and Muslims that the Jews were behind both 9/11 and the Columbia space-shuttle disaster. Egyptian television transmitted a 41-part series which presented the notorious Tsarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion — which purported to be a Jewish plot to control the world — as the truth. (This has prompted some Arab intellectuals to condemn such propaganda as both untrue and a tactical error, but these dissidents remain a small minority.) Meanwhile, Saudi media and religious sermons incite the murder of Jews.

According to the Arabic scholar Professor Menachem Milsom, this Arab and Islamist propaganda persistently dehumanised Jews by representing them as apes and pigs. A preacher at the totemic Haram mosque in Mecca said the Jews were ‘evil offspring’, the ‘destroyers of God’s word’, ‘priest murderers’ and the ‘scum of the human race’. The mediaeval Christian blood libel — the claim that the Jews kill children and drink their blood — has surfaced time and again in prestigious Arab newspapers.

And Zionism was equated with Nazism; just as the Nazis believed in the superiority of the ‘Aryan’ race, so Zionists (sic) believed they were the chosen people, which justified their own military expansion. This equation was not confined to a marginal few. Abu Mazen, said Milsom, the Palestinian Authority intellectual who is being talked about as Yasser Arafat’s prime minister in a ‘reformed’ administration, wrote as much in his doctoral thesis — in which he also said that the Zionists gave the Nazis permission to treat the Jews as they wished so long as this guaranteed their immigration to Palestine.

These sick outpourings are not so much religious or even fundamentalist doctrines as rooted in a fanatical totalitarian ideology. As Professor Bauer observed, the driving aim is the Islamic dictatorship of the world. Realisation of this utopia necessitates the destruction of the foundation creeds of Western culture, Judaism and Christianity — and especially Israel, the supposed personification of Western global power-lust, which was planted as an incubus on Arab soil as a result of the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is therefore central to Arab anti-Semitism, the prejudice which such historical falsehood has helped to forge a strategic alliance with Europe. For it absolves Europe of its guilt over the Jews, and replaces it with European guilt towards Arabs displaced as a result of the Holocaust.

Europe has waited for more than half a century for a way to blame the Jews for their own destruction. So instead of sounding the alarm over genocidal Islamist Jew-hatred, Europeans have eagerly embraced the Nazification of the Jews, a process which really got under way with Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982. This marked the beginning of the media’s systematic inversion of Israeli self-defence as aggression, along with double-standards and malicious fabrications, which have nothing to do with legitimate (and necessary) criticism of Israel and everything to do with delegitimising the Jewish state altogether in readiness for its dismantling.

So the conference heard about German accusations that Israel was using Nazi methods and (repeating a claim by Hamas) that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was a Jewish conspiracy against Bill Clinton. It heard of the Nazification of Israel in Sweden, where there were charges that the Israelis were exterminating the Palestinians, that the media were controlled by Jewish interests to suppress criticism of Israel, and that influential Jewish lobby groups were ‘spraying journalists with poison’.

It heard that in France Jews were vilified and excluded from public debate if they challenged the lies being told about Israel. It was shown a devastating French film Décryptage (Decoding) — which has been playing to packed houses in Paris — about the obsessive malevolence towards Israel displayed by the French media. It was told about the way the British media described Israel’s ‘death squads’, ‘killing fields’ and ‘executioners’ while sanitising Palestinian human bombs as ‘gentle’, ‘religious’ and ‘kind’. It heard about the cartoon in the Italian newspaper La Stampa during the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, depicting an Israeli tank pointing a gun at the baby Jesus who is saying, ‘Surely they are not going to kill me again.’

And of course there was Jenin, the so-called ‘massacre’ or ‘genocide’ reported as such by virtually the entire media, where in fact 52 Palestinians died, of whom more than half were terrorists, while Israel sustained (for it) the huge loss of 45 of its soldiers. This astonishing media distortion was conceded at the conference by the (extraordinarily brave) Palestinian politics professor Mohammad Dajani, who also observed that a distraught Palestinian public was — on this and other occasions — whipped up by biased and emotional Palestinian reporting which showed little concern for the truth. But the big lie of the Jenin massacre is now believed as fact, contributing to the belief that Israel is a criminal state.

Europeans have thus made themselves accomplices to an explicitly genocidal programme. But an even more striking feature is that, while the old anti-Semitism still festers away among neo-Nazis, the new anti-Semitism is a phenomenon of their sworn enemies on the political Left. So, as the Canadian law professor Irwin Cotler observed, we now have the mind-twisting situation where anti-Jewish hatred is harnessed to the cause of anti-racism and human rights, with Israel being compared to both Nazism and apartheid by those who define themselves against these ideologies. Such a travesty of the facts involves, of course, the implicit denial of the truth of those terrible regimes, quite apart from the prelude to annihilation created by such a lethal defamation of Israel. And even more counterintuitively, many Jews and Israelis on the Left also subscribe to this analysis — and even to the demonology of Israeli Nazism and apartheid — handing an effective weapon to those who dismiss the claim of a new anti-Semitism as Jewish paranoia or Islamophobia.

So what is the explanation for the Left’s position? Partly, it’s the old anti-imperialist and anti-West prejudice. Partly, it’s the view that only the powerless can be victims; so Third World people can never be murderers, and any self-defence by Western societies such as Israel must instead be aggression. Partly, it’s the post-modern destruction of objectivity and truth, which has ushered in the hegemony of lies. And partly, as the Left takes an axe to morality and self-restraint, it’s a golden opportunity to pulverise the very people who invented the damn rules in the first place.

A left-wing Polish journalist at the conference, Konstanty Gebert, got the real point. The Left, he said, could not face the fact that they had totally misconstrued the Middle East because this would undermine their whole philosophy. This was founded on the premise that reason could reconcile all differences; all that was needed in Israel was an enlightened government for reason to prevail. The evidence that we are facing a phenomenon which is not susceptible to reason would destroy that world view. It would also give credibility to the hated Sharon, whose demonisation is absolutely vital to the Left as a protection against the implosion of its whole ideological position.

So the evidence is being denied, and truth is being stood on its head. The result is the defamation of a people, the greater prospect of its destruction, and the disastrous failure of the populations of Britain and Europe to understand properly the threat that all free peoples now face.

Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist.
© 2003 The Spectator.co.uk
http://christianactionforisrael.org/antiholo/new_anti2.html

Posted by: Jabotinsky on July 21, 2003 12:51 PM

Fromm,

This article could have been written just for you.

Jabotinsky

The Spectator

The New Anti-Semitism

by Melanie Phillips - March 22, 2003

Melanie Phillips says that hostility to Jews is strongest among those on the Left who claim to be fighting racism

Want to make yourself really, really unpopular if you’re a Jew? Try saying that the world is witnessing a terrifying firestorm of hatred directed at Israel and the Jewish people, in which the British and Europeans are deeply implicated. Since it is now a given in many circles that Israel is a threat to the world equal to North Korea, and that Ariel Sharon is a cross between Martin Bormann and Hendrik Verwoerd, you will find yourself accused of using the Holocaust to avoid any criticism of Israel’s behaviour. Because, well, you know, you Jews always stick together and are mighty quick to deal that persecution card.

Anyone who holds that view may as well skip what follows. More objective and fair-minded souls, however, might be deeply alarmed to learn of the evidence provided at a recent conference on anti-Semitism and the media at the Vidal Sassoon Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem.

This was scarcely a gathering of the Ariel Sharon fan club. Among academics and journalists from Israel, Europe, Britain and America were several left-wingers and liberals who were deeply hostile to Israel’s Likud government, believed that the settlements should be dismantled, and were troubled by the behaviour of some of Israel’s military. ‘There’s no doubt that Israel is committing human-rights violations on the West Bank,’ said Professor Yehuda Bauer, the distinguished Holocaust expert.

But there was equally no doubt, from what he and others said, that anti-Zionism is now being used to cloak a terrifying nexus between genocidal Arab and Islamist hatred of the Jews and deep-seated European prejudices.

Anti-Semitism is protean, mutating over the centuries into new forms. Now it has changed again, into a shape which requires a new way of thinking and a new vocabulary. The new anti-Semitism does not discriminate against Jews as individuals on account of their race. Instead, it is centred on Israel, and the denial to the Jewish people alone of the right of self-determination.

This is nothing to do with the settlements or the West Bank. Indeed, the language being used exposes as a cruel delusion the common belief that the Middle East crisis would be solved by the creation of a Palestinian state.

The key motif is a kind of Holocaust inversion, with the Israelis being demonised as Nazis and the Palestinians being regarded as the new Jews. Israel and the Jews are being systematically delegitimised and dehumanised — a necessary prelude to their destruction — with both Islamists and the Western media using anti-Zionism as a fig-leaf for prejudices rooted in both mediaeval Christian and Nazi demonology.

This has produced an Orwellian situation in which hatred of the Jews now marches behind the Left’s banner of anti-racism and human rights, giving rise not merely to distortions, fabrications and slander about Israel in the media but also to mainstream articles discussing the malign power of the Jews over American and world policy.

The Jerusalem conference heard chilling presentations about a phenomenon barely discussed in Britain: the virulent Arab and Muslim hatred of the Jews. This goes far beyond even the desire to finish off Israel as a Jewish state. Anti-Jewish hatred plays a crucial role in the fanatical jihadism that now threatens all of us in the West, pouring out in television programmes, newspapers and religious sermons throughout the Arab and Muslim world, and amounting to a new warrant for genocide.

The dominant message is that Jewish power amounts to a conspiracy to destroy Islam and take over the whole world. Truly mad theories circulate on Islamist Internet sites which have now convinced untold numbers of Arabs and Muslims that the Jews were behind both 9/11 and the Columbia space-shuttle disaster. Egyptian television transmitted a 41-part series which presented the notorious Tsarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion — which purported to be a Jewish plot to control the world — as the truth. (This has prompted some Arab intellectuals to condemn such propaganda as both untrue and a tactical error, but these dissidents remain a small minority.) Meanwhile, Saudi media and religious sermons incite the murder of Jews.

According to the Arabic scholar Professor Menachem Milsom, this Arab and Islamist propaganda persistently dehumanised Jews by representing them as apes and pigs. A preacher at the totemic Haram mosque in Mecca said the Jews were ‘evil offspring’, the ‘destroyers of God’s word’, ‘priest murderers’ and the ‘scum of the human race’. The mediaeval Christian blood libel — the claim that the Jews kill children and drink their blood — has surfaced time and again in prestigious Arab newspapers.

And Zionism was equated with Nazism; just as the Nazis believed in the superiority of the ‘Aryan’ race, so Zionists (sic) believed they were the chosen people, which justified their own military expansion. This equation was not confined to a marginal few. Abu Mazen, said Milsom, the Palestinian Authority intellectual who is being talked about as Yasser Arafat’s prime minister in a ‘reformed’ administration, wrote as much in his doctoral thesis — in which he also said that the Zionists gave the Nazis permission to treat the Jews as they wished so long as this guaranteed their immigration to Palestine.

These sick outpourings are not so much religious or even fundamentalist doctrines as rooted in a fanatical totalitarian ideology. As Professor Bauer observed, the driving aim is the Islamic dictatorship of the world. Realisation of this utopia necessitates the destruction of the foundation creeds of Western culture, Judaism and Christianity — and especially Israel, the supposed personification of Western global power-lust, which was planted as an incubus on Arab soil as a result of the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is therefore central to Arab anti-Semitism, the prejudice which such historical falsehood has helped to forge a strategic alliance with Europe. For it absolves Europe of its guilt over the Jews, and replaces it with European guilt towards Arabs displaced as a result of the Holocaust.

Europe has waited for more than half a century for a way to blame the Jews for their own destruction. So instead of sounding the alarm over genocidal Islamist Jew-hatred, Europeans have eagerly embraced the Nazification of the Jews, a process which really got under way with Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982. This marked the beginning of the media’s systematic inversion of Israeli self-defence as aggression, along with double-standards and malicious fabrications, which have nothing to do with legitimate (and necessary) criticism of Israel and everything to do with delegitimising the Jewish state altogether in readiness for its dismantling.

So the conference heard about German accusations that Israel was using Nazi methods and (repeating a claim by Hamas) that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was a Jewish conspiracy against Bill Clinton. It heard of the Nazification of Israel in Sweden, where there were charges that the Israelis were exterminating the Palestinians, that the media were controlled by Jewish interests to suppress criticism of Israel, and that influential Jewish lobby groups were ‘spraying journalists with poison’.

It heard that in France Jews were vilified and excluded from public debate if they challenged the lies being told about Israel. It was shown a devastating French film Décryptage (Decoding) — which has been playing to packed houses in Paris — about the obsessive malevolence towards Israel displayed by the French media. It was told about the way the British media described Israel’s ‘death squads’, ‘killing fields’ and ‘executioners’ while sanitising Palestinian human bombs as ‘gentle’, ‘religious’ and ‘kind’. It heard about the cartoon in the Italian newspaper La Stampa during the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, depicting an Israeli tank pointing a gun at the baby Jesus who is saying, ‘Surely they are not going to kill me again.’

And of course there was Jenin, the so-called ‘massacre’ or ‘genocide’ reported as such by virtually the entire media, where in fact 52 Palestinians died, of whom more than half were terrorists, while Israel sustained (for it) the huge loss of 45 of its soldiers. This astonishing media distortion was conceded at the conference by the (extraordinarily brave) Palestinian politics professor Mohammad Dajani, who also observed that a distraught Palestinian public was — on this and other occasions — whipped up by biased and emotional Palestinian reporting which showed little concern for the truth. But the big lie of the Jenin massacre is now believed as fact, contributing to the belief that Israel is a criminal state.

Europeans have thus made themselves accomplices to an explicitly genocidal programme. But an even more striking feature is that, while the old anti-Semitism still festers away among neo-Nazis, the new anti-Semitism is a phenomenon of their sworn enemies on the political Left. So, as the Canadian law professor Irwin Cotler observed, we now have the mind-twisting situation where anti-Jewish hatred is harnessed to the cause of anti-racism and human rights, with Israel being compared to both Nazism and apartheid by those who define themselves against these ideologies. Such a travesty of the facts involves, of course, the implicit denial of the truth of those terrible regimes, quite apart from the prelude to annihilation created by such a lethal defamation of Israel. And even more counterintuitively, many Jews and Israelis on the Left also subscribe to this analysis — and even to the demonology of Israeli Nazism and apartheid — handing an effective weapon to those who dismiss the claim of a new anti-Semitism as Jewish paranoia or Islamophobia.

So what is the explanation for the Left’s position? Partly, it’s the old anti-imperialist and anti-West prejudice. Partly, it’s the view that only the powerless can be victims; so Third World people can never be murderers, and any self-defence by Western societies such as Israel must instead be aggression. Partly, it’s the post-modern destruction of objectivity and truth, which has ushered in the hegemony of lies. And partly, as the Left takes an axe to morality and self-restraint, it’s a golden opportunity to pulverise the very people who invented the damn rules in the first place.

A left-wing Polish journalist at the conference, Konstanty Gebert, got the real point. The Left, he said, could not face the fact that they had totally misconstrued the Middle East because this would undermine their whole philosophy. This was founded on the premise that reason could reconcile all differences; all that was needed in Israel was an enlightened government for reason to prevail. The evidence that we are facing a phenomenon which is not susceptible to reason would destroy that world view. It would also give credibility to the hated Sharon, whose demonisation is absolutely vital to the Left as a protection against the implosion of its whole ideological position.

So the evidence is being denied, and truth is being stood on its head. The result is the defamation of a people, the greater prospect of its destruction, and the disastrous failure of the populations of Britain and Europe to understand properly the threat that all free peoples now face.

Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist.
© 2003 The Spectator.co.uk


http://christianactionforisrael.org/antiholo/new_anti2.html

Posted by: Jabotinsky on July 21, 2003 01:12 PM

To use the term "WMD" is to embrace a chimera, almost literally. The chimera, as I'm sure everyone recalls was an imaginary beast cobbled together from three real ones - a lions head on a goats body with a serpents tail.

The lion is the only part with teeth, just as nuclear weapons alone cause mass destruction. A "nuke" is a city killer - the only city killer.

A chemical weapon is a tool of mass murder.  But, so is a truckload of fertilizer, (Oklahoma City, 1995) a dufflebag of rifles, (Austin, 1966) or a planeload of innocents.

And while a biological weapon may be, someday, the tool of mass extinction, we are decades and megabucks shy of that point. Only a rich, paranoid nation, one willing to burn vast sums for new wartoys, might take us there.

Here in the 200x's, biological weapons are serial killers, as we saw recently with anthrax. (We have, according to the FBI 20 or 30 serial killers active in this country at any given time.) Stopping one requires early detection that the victims are linked, a coordinated multiregional and multispeciality response, and a whole lot of shoeleather, spent in old-fashioned detective work.

This is also the prescription to save us from the next SARS, AIDS or Spanish Flu. Getting those tools in place now is, therefore, a far better use of our resources than bloodily bombing our way into a long and costly occupation to capture a trailer or two.

All that blood was shed, and a great deal of treasure spent, in pursuit of a chimera.


Posted by: contract3d on July 21, 2003 01:29 PM

To use the term "WMD" is to embrace a chimera, almost literally. The chimera, as I'm sure everyone recalls was an imaginary beast cobbled together from three real ones - a lions head on a goats body with a serpents tail.

The lion is the only part with teeth, just as nuclear weapons alone cause mass destruction. A "nuke" is a city killer - the only city killer.

A chemical weapon is a tool of mass murder.  But, so is a truckload of fertilizer, (Oklahoma City, 1995) a dufflebag of rifles, (Austin, 1966) or a planeload of innocents.

And while a biological weapon may be, someday, the tool of mass extinction, we are decades and megabucks shy of that point. Only a rich, paranoid nation, one willing to burn vast sums for new wartoys, might take us there.

Here in the 200x's, biological weapons are serial killers, as we saw recently with anthrax. (We have, according to the FBI 20 or 30 serial killers active in this country at any given time.) Stopping one requires early detection that the victims are linked, a coordinated multiregional and multispeciality response, and a whole lot of shoeleather, spent in old-fashioned detective work.

This is also the prescription to save us from the next SARS, AIDS or Spanish Flu. Getting those tools in place now is, therefore, a far better use of our resources than bloodily bombing our way into a long and costly occupation to capture a trailer or two.

All that blood was shed, and a great deal of treasure spent, in pursuit of a chimera.


Posted by: contract3d on July 21, 2003 01:32 PM

Fromm wrote:

"The claim isn't, on the face of it, ridiculous. On the other hand, why should it be surprising that a people violently and lawlessly occupied should hate its occupiers?"

Aside from the obvious and gross distortions of fact, this argument - that Jews themselves are responsible for Jew hatred - was employed quite a number of times by Hitler himself, most notably in Mein Kampf. Streicher and Goebbels were also very partial to it.

"Furthermore, it doesn't refute my claims that (a) the Palestinians don't constitute a _military_ threat to Israel, (b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security."

This displays an almost staggering ignorance. But, then again, you weren't in Israel in 1973 when her life was almost snuffed out as the rest of the world stood by with its eyes averted and holding its nose.

"(b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security."

You are quite wrong, the settlements are not illegal under the Geneva conventions or any other body of legislation. Had the territories actually belonged in law to Jordan and Egypt prior to the 1967 war you might have had a good case, but not as things stand.

Suicide bombings though, these deliberate attempts to murder as many Jews as possible in one go, are most definitely not just war crimes but very serious ones.

Posted by: Jabotinsky on July 21, 2003 01:33 PM

To use the term "WMD" is to embrace a chimera, almost literally. The chimera, as I'm sure everyone here knows, was an imaginary beast cobbled together from three real ones - a lions head on a goats body with a serpents tail.

The lion is the only part with teeth, just as nuclear weapons alone cause mass destruction. A "nuke" is a city killer - the only city killer.

A chemical weapon is a tool of mass murder.  So is a truckload of fertilizer, (Oklahoma City, 1995) a dufflebag of rifles, (Austin, 1966) or a planeload of innocents.

And while a biological weapon may be, someday, the tool of mass extinction, we are decades and megabucks shy of that point. Only a rich, paranoid nation, one willing to burn vast sums for new wartoys, might take us there.

Here in the 200x's, biological weapons are serial killers, as we saw recently with anthrax. (We have, according to the FBI 20 or 30 serial killers active in this country at any given time.) Stopping one requires early detection that the victims are linked, a coordinated multiregional and multispeciality response, and a whole lot of shoeleather, spent in old-fashioned detective work.

This is also the prescription to save us from the next SARS, AIDS or Spanish Flu. Getting those tools in place now is, therefore, a far better use of our resources than bloodily bombing our way into a long and costly occupation to capture a trailer or two.

All that blood was shed, and a great deal of treasure spent, in pursuit of a chimera.


Posted by: contract3d on July 21, 2003 01:35 PM

Fromm wrote:

"The claim isn't, on the face of it, ridiculous. On the other hand, why should it be surprising that a people violently and lawlessly occupied should hate its occupiers?"

Aside from the obvious and gross distortions of fact, this argument - that Jews themselves are responsible for Jew hatred - was employed quite a number of times by Hitler himself, most notably in Mein Kampf. Streicher and Goebbels were also very partial to it.

"Furthermore, it doesn't refute my claims that (a) the Palestinians don't constitute a _military_ threat to Israel, (b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security."

This displays an almost staggering ignorance. But, then again, you weren't in Israel in 1973 when her life was almost snuffed out as the rest of the world stood by with its eyes averted and holding its nose.

"(b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security."

You are quite wrong, the settlements are not illegal under the Geneva conventions or any other body of legislation. Had the territories actually belonged in law to Jordan and Egypt prior to the 1967 war you might have had a good case, but not as things stand.

Suicide bombings though, these deliberate attempts to murder as many Jews as possible in one go, are most definitely not just war crimes but very serious ones.


Posted by Jabotinsky at July 21, 2003 01:33 PM

Posted by: Jabotinsky on July 21, 2003 02:17 PM

Jabotinsky wrote, "Aside from the obvious and gross distortions of fact, this argument - that Jews themselves are responsible for Jew hatred - was employed quite a number of times by Hitler himself, most notably in Mein Kampf. Streicher and Goebbels were also very partial to it."

You distort what I wrote. I didn't claim that *no* hatred of Jews is motivated by rank anti-Semitism. I claimed that in this case, it might be reasonable to claim that some Palestinian hatred of Jews might stem from the occupation.

But I guess I'm wrong, because Israel, unlike other governments, is incapable of oppressing anyone.

"'Furthermore, it doesn't refute my claims that (a) the Palestinians don't constitute a _military_ threat to Israel, (b) transporting settlers to the West Bank and Gaza (again, I must repeat, a violation of the Geneva conventions) clearly decreases Israeli security.' This displays an almost staggering ignorance. But, then again, you weren't in Israel in 1973 when her life was almost snuffed out as the rest of the world stood by with its eyes averted and holding its nose."

Uh huh. It was *Palestianian* armor that threatened Israel in 1973? Heretofore I thought it was Syrian or Egyptian.

"You are quite wrong, the settlements are not illegal under the Geneva conventions or any other body of legislation."

From "Settling Scores," Avishai Margalit, _The New York Review of Books_, Volume 48, Number 14 · September 20, 2001:
(http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14482
(sorry, probably pay only)):

"That the settlements are illegal under international law is not in doubt to any of the 142 members of the UN, except for Israel. Nor is it in doubt to most legal experts, for whom Israel is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), which says: 'The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.' Israel's legal position is that the territories are not 'occupied' since the West Bank was taken from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, whose rule over the territories was never recognized internationally as sovereign. The Israelis say the term 'occupation' applies only if the territories in question belonged to a sovereign state. Moreover, Israel claims that the words 'deportation' and 'transfer' in Article 49 were used with the Nazi practice of deportation and transfer in mind, while the Jews settling in the West Bank are not deported or transferred to these territories in any recognizable sense of those terms. But it remains clear that the purpose of Article 49 is to prevent permanent colonization of occupied territories, which is undoubtedly the purpose of the settlements. The rest is sophistry."

Posted by: Stephen J Fromm on July 21, 2003 02:54 PM

The following passage from *Strategic Forecasting* newsletter explains the strategic purposes behind the US-British invasion of Iraq.

"1. The elimination of a regime that potentially could support al Qaeda operations.

"2. The transformation of the psychological architecture of the Islamic world. The perception in the Islamic world, developed since the U.S. withdrawal from Beirut in 1983 and reaffirmed by
events since then, was that the United States was incapable of resolute action. The United States was seen as powerful militarily, but as lacking the political will to use that power. U.S. forces withdrew after taking minimal casualties in Beirut and Somalia. In Afghanistan, the United States halted operations after seizing major cities, apparently because it was unwilling
to engage in more extended conflict. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was designed to change the Islamic world's perception -- accepting anger at the United States in exchange for greater
fear.

"3. The creation of a base of operations that would allow the United States to bring political and military pressure to bear on a cluster of nations the U.S. administration sees as directly or indirectly sustaining al Qaeda operations -- in particular Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran. Riyadh began shifting its position prior
to the Iraq invasion. Immediately after the end of the campaign, the United States turned its attention to follow-on operations against Syria and Iran. These operations have been primarily
political since the end of the Iraq campaign, but the constant threat exists that they could move to a military phase at any point."

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 03:45 PM

"So, may I suggest a dose of humility? simply admit that the future of Iraq is uncertain and we might have made it worse?

How is it that we NEVER seem to admit to self doubt?"
~~~

Well, there's not much *self* doubt in this conversation.

Certainly not along the lines of "the future of Iraq is uncertain, and in spite of all my qualms we might have made it a whole lot better".

As for the fact that nobody here is posting from Iraq, that's seems true enough. But last week was the Baath party anniversary, a big holiday since the party's rise, and various news media conducted "man in the street" interviews (is that term sexist these days?) with Iraqis that were reported in the US press. In the reports that I read everybody interviewed over there seemed pretty happy or moreso about recent events. Certainly nobody worried about things being made *worse* for them than before.

I haven't seen even such second-hand comments from Iraqis reported here.

Personally, while I can have plenty of "self doubt" about how much we will finally accomplish over there, it's hard for me to see how ending endemic torture and the filling of one mass grave after another would likely make things *worse* for a people.

Posted by: Jim Glass on July 21, 2003 04:53 PM

Jim Glass - see my earlier comments. The idea that things might get worse isn't the same as thinking that ending oppression might make things worse. What makes you think the USA really has ended all those oppressive things, rather than just making a short pause before a renewed and intensified bout of oppression by some later lot of tyrants? After all, that's how the USA usually leaves things.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 21, 2003 05:57 PM

P.M. Lawrence writes:

"After all, that's how the USA usually leaves things."

Right. That's why Great Britain fell to the Nazis, and Western Europe lives under Communist dictatorship, and the Japanese fascists control Asia.

For a different assessment of America, see Tony Blair's brilliant speech to the US Congress.

Liberal democracy is a controversial, revolutionary system of government. A lot of people don't like it. Freedom isn't for everybody.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 06:34 PM

Unlike Mr. Lawrence, the residents of Baghdad are rather optimistic about the future of Iraq. See the article in *The Spectator* about a public opinion poll taken in Baghdad by a British firm.

"The Voice of Baghdad", by Peter Keller

"Baghdad is on a knife edge. Three in four of its residents say the city is now more dangerous than when Saddam Hussein was in power. Two in three fear being attacked in the street. Most think that we went to war to grab Iraq’s oil and/or to help Israel. Yet despite these deep concerns, only a minority oppose the American and British invasion, and as few as one in eight want the invaders to leave the country straight away. They want the occupying troops to restore normality and then hand the country back to the Iraqis. In effect, the people of Baghdad are telling the Americans, ‘You say you came to make our lives better. You need to prove you can — and fast.’"

See the Spectator online for the rest.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old§ion=current&issue=2003-07-19&id=3315

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 07:06 PM

For a different assessment of America, see Tony Blair's brilliant speech to the US Congress.

... and for an American's takedown of that 'brilliant speech', see this commentary

you may not agree, but it *is* a matter of perspective as to whether Tony's speech was bootlicking or brilliant.

Posted by: Suresh Krishnamoorthy on July 21, 2003 07:54 PM

It all depends on your taste in political systems Mr. Krishnamoorthy. Some of us like constitutional democracy, others prefer dictatorships like that of Saddam Hussein.

Some people like freedom. Others prefer to live under a system where they are told what to do.

Of course to a radical leftist the concept of freedom is meaningless, just a trick to disguise the rule of the bourgeoisie (or white males or whatever the bonzes of the left have last decreed).

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 08:17 PM

Could we make a new rule that people not double-post articles longer than 1000 words? Or perhaps that the total of all double, triple, etc. posts not exceed 1000 words?

Posted by: zizka on July 21, 2003 08:36 PM

Could we make a new rule that people not double-post articles longer than 1000 words? Or perhaps that the total of all double, triple, etc. posts not exceed 1000 words?

Posted by: zizka on July 21, 2003 08:37 PM

Could we make a new rule that people not double-post articles longer than 1000 words? Or perhaps that the total of all double, triple, etc. posts not exceed 1000 words?

Posted by: zizka on July 21, 2003 08:37 PM

Mr. Willingham is looking in the wrong direction. WHILE Britain didn't fall to the Nazis, the British Empire (along with other European empires)was destroyed by ringbarking to suit misguided US ideas of how to run the world - which is how we got the problems we have now.

That's not saying the values were wrong, just that you can't have your cake and eat it. To the extent empires are the answer, the US ran them down. To the extent they are not, well, the US is substituting its own. There can be no credit for doing good at the expense of stopping previous good being done - and if it wasn't good then, it isn't good now.

And as for the pro-US articles in the Spectator, perhaps he would like to find the hard copy letters it printed presenting slightly different views of that. But in any case, all today's Baghdadis can indicate is today's optimism - and my post addressed where it might end up later on. You and they are counting chickens before they are hatched. It is certainly premature to call this a happy ending.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 21, 2003 09:16 PM

A reply to Mr. Lawrence's interesting comments:

In the forties and fifties the colonized peoples became restive to the point of becoming ungovernable. It seems strange to blame, if "blame" is the right word, the demise of imperialism on the US. Expecially since the Labor Party in Great Britain was committed to decolonization.

In a strange twist of history it appears that some sort of imperialism is making a come back. The French are in the Congo, the British are in Sierra Leone, and the Liberians (and the UN) are begging the US to intervene there. Only this time the "imperialists" seem to have the approval not only of the UN, but of most of the people of the countries in which they are intervening.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 09:51 PM

The UN wants the US to intervene in Liberia, but refused to endorse the US-British-Australian-Polish invasion of Iraq. The difference I suspect has a lot to do with the ties of French and Russian oil companies to Saddam Hussein's regime.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 21, 2003 10:39 PM

Mr. Willingham is again being selective. He should read reviews of Skidelsky's life of Keynes, or see what happened to the Dutch when they tried to reassert their presence in the East Indies.

The way this works is not that the USA caused the local disturbances; it was that the USA prevented them being handled in traditional (and often bloody) ways. The pretence is that the local disturbances succeeded on their own, as wrong as supposing that American rebels defeated Britain on their own.

There was no "Labor" party in Britain; the Labour Party, however, attempted such things as the ground nut scheme, which shows a far more flexible approach to colonies. There had been a movement for winding back direct imperialism ever since the 1920s and '30s or maybe earlier; but post war requirements forced premature departures. And those pressures were dealt by the USA via financial channels, in furtherance of US views of how the world should be run.

There was a case for that. Certainly there is an even stronger case for not imposing an empire than for retreating from an existing one (where much of the harm is sunk cost). But there is no case for chucking out one empire, waiting for damage to build from the likes of Saddam Hussein coming in after Suez, then imposing a new and less experienced empire with a new swag of not yet sunk costs.

And oh yes, most of the earlier empires were also welcomed at the time by a least some locals - because they were improving on a much lower base.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 21, 2003 10:41 PM

Joe wrote:

Some of us like constitutional democracy, others prefer dictatorships like that of Saddam Hussein.


I love democracy and freedom enough to hate the Patriot Act and all it implies. I like democracy enough to call Blair on the fact that a majority of his countrymen opposed his participating in the war on Iraq. I value it enough to ask: had it not been for the 'exaggerations' of the President, would a majority of us Americans (and I am one too...) approved of this war?

Would I have preferred to live under Saddam? certainly not. But I am democratic enough to say that others have the right to choose to live under saddam.

Posted by: Suresh krishnamoorthy on July 22, 2003 06:29 AM

Joe Willingham, yes I think we need more Arab speakers and Moslems to help us in Iraq. We should be careful about hostilities though. During the war an Arab News reporter described how he felt such burning hate from the Iraqis I wonder if they would want anyone from the Arab world who had participated in the earlier campaign, because they probably still feel a lot of resentment for abandoning them. It did not surprise me that Al Queda struck at them, as it seems that accumulated misery has a way of slamming back at the source.

Posted by: northernLights on July 22, 2003 08:04 AM

Strawmen and hysteria: one can almost see the froth on Joe's lips.

Posted by: ahem on July 22, 2003 08:47 AM

Concerning the war in Iraq:

Some Iraqi's are better off. Some are worse off. Obviously those removed from power are worse off. Those freed from prison are better off. How about the remainder of Iraqi's. With all due respect, its to early to tell. Iraq is still in a rebuilding phase. Rebuilding both from the war and from Saddam's rule. The US did a pretty good job re-building Germany and Japan. Why the assumption it will fail now?

Concerning the US and terrorism.

There was terrorism before the war. There will be terrorism after the war. The question is will the US suffer more terrorism because of the war? One could argue that a few Iraqi civilians and some of the ousted Bath party people will now resort to terrorism. On the other hand, Iraq is no longer directly funding terrorism (Not referring to Al-Quida). The war in Iraq demonstrates the willingness of the US to fight a major war. The war in Afghanistan demonstrated the will to use military force against nations sheltering terrorist organizations. Other terrorist supporting nations (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran) must now consider their well being when considering funding for terrorism. Will this make a difference in the long run. Again its to early to tell.

Posted by: james on July 22, 2003 11:21 AM

"I am democratic enough to say that others have the right to choose to live under saddam."

Really? And how many people *chose* to live under Saddam? To how many did he give that choice?

Compared to how many he gave the choice of ending up in one of those 90 mass graves, with up to 10,000 each in them, that Tom Friedman was talking about the other day? (One of them filled with children still holding their toys.)

It is an intriguing kind of "democrat" who is "democratic enough" to see people exercising their "right to choose" in such circumstances.
~~~~

"Even before the identity of the bodies [of Qusay and Uday] was confirmed, celebratory gunfire erupted across Baghdad tonight as Iraqis celebrated the news, the night sky illuminated with tracer fire.

"'I don't think it is possible, but if it is true, they deserved whatever happened to them,' said Omar Salam, 22, eating his dinner at a roadside cafe with gunfire erupting all around him.

"Most Iraqis will breath a sigh of relief that Mr. Hussein's two most likely successors have been eliminated...."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/22/international/22CND-IRAQ.html
~~~

It sure doesn't sound like very many people over there are lamenting over how "their right to choose to live under Saddam" has been denied to them.

Don't they know that their lives are just being made worse? What are they celebrating?

Posted by: Jim Glass on July 22, 2003 02:09 PM

According to the British poll of the citizens of Baghdad referred to above just 7% of Baghdadis want Saddam Hussein back.

The man is not real popular. Losing half a million Iraqis in futile wars, executing another half million Iraqis, driving 2.1 million Iraqis into exile, and wrecking the country's economy may have something to do with that.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 22, 2003 03:11 PM

"The US did a pretty good job re-building Germany and Japan. Why the assumption it will fail now?"

Not an assumption that it will fail, rather not making the assumption that it will succeed - because, after all, not only were those examples of "success" isolated and atypical, even they were only successes measured by the definitions of the people imposing them. (Read how Hirohito immediately subverted his denial of divine descent by going through a religious ceremony asserting it.)

As for Joe Willingham's recent remarks - he really, really should wait for the information from those Spectator magazine articles to be put in perspective by the letters from an informed readership. Even Melanie Phillips' material looks a lot different once you are able to do that.

I suppose the points I've been making rest on the idea that we shouldn't decide these things on a simple "first draft of history" approach - yet the attempts at refutation read "wait and see" as asserting a contrary but equally premature view, then try to knock it down with yet other first draft stuff.

Sure, sometimes we really can't wait and we have to go with incomplete information. Even if that had been true before invading Iraq, it isn't true here and now, in this blog medium after the fact.

Posted by: P.M.Lawrence on July 22, 2003 05:07 PM

A lot of those killed by Saddam Hussein were killed because they were supposedly communists, That was allright from the USA viewpoint from what I remember from my life.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume on July 22, 2003 05:22 PM

Nobody can predict the future, but I'm betting that democracy will survive the current challenge from Islamist fascism, just as it triumphed over European fascism and Communism.

Fortunately the current enemy is much less formidable an enemy than were the previous two.

I am encouraged by the fact that none of the dire predictions emanating from left and liberal circles have come to pass. Afghanistan would be a disaster, millions would die in Iraq, the whole Islamic world would explode. And on and on it went, and on and on it goes.

The left is like the Bourbons, of whom it was said, "They have forgotten nothing, and they have learned nothing".

Posted by: Joe Willingham on July 22, 2003 05:46 PM
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