Saturday, October 3, 2009

In Response to a Reader's Request

Here are a few sources for anyone who might be interested in exploring reasons the Iraq war was—to put it very kindly—ill-conceived:

Then of course there’s any of the books on the subject by Bob Woodward, who’s been obsessing about this matter for several years, now.

One thing that distinguishes this war from the war in Vietnam is the vast amount of information that is instantly and continuously available to writers and analysts. It’s much harder to keep secrets than it was fifty years ago.


Anonymous said...

And the beat goes on. Historians are still arguing about whether FDR knew that the Japanese would bomb Pearl Harbor and allowed it to happen as a catalyst for dragging a reluctant American public into WWII. To my knowledge, the experts still don't agree, despite mountains of information and documents.

Idna said...

Well I'm really convinced now ... Gerald Ford, who stumbled into the White House for his 2 1/2 year stint after Nixon resigned 35 years ago is truly the go-to-guy to decide whether the Iraq war should have been waged. Tell me, did he have daily intel briefings? some inside information from Sadam? or just the Monday morning quarterbacking of a 93-year old (perhaps touched by dementia) who's publisher was looking to sell a book and wanted a controversial statement.

Now as to the Iraq Veterans Against the War (nice timing for them to surface, right before Bush's second election, possibly funded by Soros and his ilk?)... May I remind you that we have no draft currently, or during the Bush years in this country. These people VOLUNTEERED to be in the armed forces. So was it a big surprise to these "veterans" that soldiers sometimes actually go to war?

A few day ago you had a very touching post about an old PT boat veteran who despite being a Republican, still has respect for Obama as his Commander-in-Chief. You seemed to think that this made him a great patriot. So what does it say about the IVAW's who trashed their Commander-in-Chief? Just using your model for patriotism.

So I'm still waiting for some real evidence that Bush & Cheney knew that there were no WMD's, that they and ONLY they knew this as evidenced by quotes from all kinds of domestic and foreign leaders. And knowing this they wanted to go to war for what purpose again???

Here's a question for you? Would the Iraqi people and the world be better off today if Sadam was still running things in Iraq?

Citizen Jane said...

Straw-man fallacy--attacking the person and not the message.

The statement you took issue with originally was that "we had no real enemies or legitimate purpose" in Iraq. I see you conveniently failed to mention Cheney's admission that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11--even though that was how it was sold to the American people.

At bottom, Bush and Cheney (and most prominent Republicans these days, if you ask me) are irrational, emotional decision makers. I think Bush was trying to finish his daddy's business in Iraq and rationalizing about the reasons. I think Cheney is a paranoid power-monger and a world-class example of the adage that "absolute power corrupts." He had "absolute power" because he could hide behind Bush and pull strings with little or no accountability.

Many others profited from that war--especially Bush's business buddies and private contractors. And the families of the over 100,000 Iraqis killed since the invasion began (see don't think they're "better off."

Idna said...

From the website: USAID Assistance for Iraq ... Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves

"Since the Saddam Hussein regime was overthrown in May, 270 mass graves have been reported. By mid-January, 2004, the number of confirmed sites climbed to fifty-three. Some graves hold a few dozen bodies—their arms lashed together and the bullet holes in the backs of skulls testimony to their execution. Other graves go on for hundreds of meters, densely packed with thousands of bodies.

"We've already discovered just so far the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves," said British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 20 in London. The United Nations, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) all estimate that Saddam Hussein's regime murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people. "Human Rights Watch estimates that as many as 290,000 Iraqis have been 'disappeared' by the Iraqi government over the past two decades," said the group in a statement in May. "Many of these 'disappeared' are those whose remains are now being unearthed in mass graves all over Iraq."

"If these numbers prove accurate, they represent a crime against humanity surpassed only by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s, and the Nazi Holocaust of World War II."

So much for the Iraqi people being better off under Sadam.

Next point: Would you please show me where President Bush or Cheney EVER said that we are going to war because Iraq was responsible for 911? (You said "even though that was how it was sold to the American people") I seem to remember a lot of talk about a dangerous Sadam and WMD's by EVERYONE at that time in history.

And I wasn't attacking Gerald Ford, God love him, I was questioning the taking of his opinion as an infallable authority.Past Presidents can say dumb things (as we are currently seeing with Carter.) These are their personal opinions, based on no special knowledge ... nothing more.

Citizen Jane said...

Happily, I don't need to look for quotes in which the former administration either stated or implied links between Saddam Husein and Al Qaida. Others have already put together a good list. Copy and paste:

Idna said...

OK - why don't we just agree to disagree on this one. Having lived through a certain event in time, I'm amazed at how differently people can interpret things. So let's start discussing current problems like Iraq, Afghan, etc.

But I must summarize ... I believe (and have shown quotes) that the general prevailing belief for years, in our country and others around the world, was that Sadam was a dangerous murderer who had possessed and used WMD against his own people. I don't know how you can argue with this.

I also believe that Bush and Cheney had honorable intentions and not some crazy, demonic plot to enrich their friends.

Below is a link to the full text of Bush's address announcing the start of the war with a coalition of over 35other countries. (I suppose they were also ALL under some spell that Bush cast over them).

Anyway, here's the link. Al Qaeda was not mentioned once in the entire address.

Citizen Jane said...

Idna, I agree. We can agree to disagree on this one. Saddam was a dangerous murderer--no two ways about that. Our differences have to do with what, if anything, we should have tried to do about that.

Six said...

It never ceases to bother me how the people on the left... err the Progressives or whatever the term of the day is like to paint it as all being on the Republican shoulders for Iraq. While the R's may have been the party in power and Bush being the one leading the charge, I do remember more than one or two Democrats (as pointed out by Idna) supporting with the same so-called 'evidence' making the SAME arguments Bush made. The vote to give the president powers to attack Iraq preemptively (while not actually calling it 'War') was supported overwhelmingly by those in Congress - on BOTH sides.

And while he talks a good game, based on his actions, I see no meaningful difference between Obama and Bush. I will wager with you, we will still have a very significant number of troops occupying Iraq by the time his re-elction comes around we will have substantially more troops in Afg too. Watch what he does, not what he says.

The bottom line is that we attacked a country preemptively. While I can see an exceedingly rare case to be made for doing so, it should not have been done as hastily as it was in Iraq. Using Idna's philosophy that somehow we were righteous to invade and continue to occupy Iraq 6+ years later as a preemptive strike because now the Iraqi's are better off - then why don't we go ahead and do the same in Somalia, Sudan, Myanmar, Congo, N. Korea... and on and on... the things going on inside those countries are right on par with Iraq... in fact, WE KNOW some of those places mentioned have become hotbeds for terrorism/Al Quaeda planning against the US - are we to invade ALL of those countries too? Many have death tolls as high or higher than Iraq (pre-invasion, Lord only knows the casualty toll now of Iraqi's). We would be doing thier people a favor too!

Citizen Jane said...

Six, you've had a busy morning!

From your remarks taken together, it seems that you dislike and distrust a) all politicians, and b) government in general. I submit that people and policies are all different and cannot and should not be lumped together.

You put Bush and Obama in the same boat, comdemning them equally. Other than the fact that they're both male homo sapiens, they have about as much in common as Tiny Tim and Winston Churchill. Regardless of what you may think of either of them, lumping them together is not rational or helpful when it comes to deciding what policies to support--or oppose.

And without government, whether you want to believe it or not, we'd all be in one hell of a pickle!

Your remarks indicate that you are likely intelligent and educated. If so, then those kinds of generalizations are a cop out. It's easier to condemn than to spend the intellectual energy necessary to distinguish the fine points.

Regarding wars, the two we have going aren't at all the same, either. One was prompted by an attack on the U.S., like Pearl Harbor. The other was, as you so nicely put it, a preemptive war. Apples and oranges.

Six said...

Heh - ya too much coffee this morning.

To your points - first, I didn't mean to imply Afg and Iraq were one in the same - very different, in fact much in the same way it is different from Vietnam, Korea and so on. My point was simply that in Iraq, based on what Obama has shown thus far, we will have 50,000 or so troops there come re-election time. I predict the same to be true about Afg.

Second, Afg was NOT like Peal Harbor. I don't even know where to begin in the many ways the two have so little in common and it is ridiculous to compare outside of the initial shock it had on the American people. Without completely getting in to it, it's worth mentioning that our war with Japan legitimately ended after 4 years (compared to this so-called war of 9 years)... and we STILL to this day have 50,000 troops station in Japan 50+ years later (do you want that for Afg?). AND Japan was a modern, civil society where law, order and governance has existed for many, many centuries. That has NEVER existed in Afg - that is not the culture there. We are not about to bring that tribal hell hole to something we would recognize in our lifetimes.

As for not trusting politicians - you got me.

And for not trusting government - yup, got me there too.

Although do not mistake that for being anti-government or an anarchist... I am just realistic about those who tend to choose a life of politics and the corrupting, inefficient bureaucracy of OUR current corporate bought and paid for government.

And for lumping Obama and Bush in to one... okay I will concede that Bush is clearly the more accomplished at bafoonery and put in to motion much of the ills of today - but for someone who is not impressed with good looks, a motivating speech and lots of promises, it is really hard for me to see a drastic change...

Too much to try and post - but his presidential policies (which all seem to contratict his views as a candidate) policies on Iraq, Afg., rendition, the Patriot Act, and indefinate detention all jump right out at me as the scariest stuff being in lock-step with Bush. That's not even getting in to how similar his policies are on the Drug War, education, Free Trade, immigration and the economy.

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