I recall, pretty clearly, the Hans Blix testimony at the UN in Feb, 2003 -- the deadline for Saddam to prove he had no WMDs.
Blix DID want more time for more inspections.
Blix did NOT ever claim that Saddam had proven to have destroyed all his previously known WMDs.
Where was the burden of proof? The Left wants to say it is up to the US to prove he had them, and in the deranged version that Bush LIED about them -- meaning that Bush knew Saddam didn't have them. (It's clear to me the Bush believed Saddam had WMDs, but was wrong. Wrong is not lying. Only BDS sufferers think that wrong = lying.)
According to the UN resolutions ending the Iraq War in 1991 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the burden of proof is on Saddam. He was on parole, and violating it in some 16 UN SC resolutions. If violating a UN SC resolution is not violation of international law, there is no effective international law (a position I believe is
Bush has been spectacularly weak at pushing the issue of burden of proof (altho perhaps he might be doing this because he doesn't want that precedent with Iran).
The goal of Saddam was to "allow" inspections that "would never" (wink wink) find any WMDs -- even tho all of his neighbors and the West would believe he still had them. (IMO)
Thus, just as Saddam won Desert Storm (thru surviving w/o unconditional surrender or losing power), he would win the inspection whack-a-site sometimes cooperate, somtimes not.
All the while, his Oil-for-Food bribery to France, Russia, and folks at the UN would continue, with them pushing for ever looser sanctions.
I have no doubt that, without the invasion, Saddam would have survived, prospered, and had sanctions loosened.
Remember many of the anti-war folk had previously been screaming about how sanctions were killing so many Iraqi children -- always the fault of the West, never the dictator.
There is a general Leftist idea, seen in a comment on Winds Of Change blog:
<i>"But I do know that invading their countries and making war on them, when they have not actually attacked our country first, consistently turns into a disaster, both for them and for us."</i>
Well, I don't recall any Korean attack on the US, but the US/UN invasion/ liberation of S. Korea seems pretty good, right now.
Especially when compared to the N. Korean alternative.
In Vietnam, Nixon won the war (1973 Paris Peace Accords) before the majority Dem US Congress (a) insisted on a "no enforcement by US troops" law forbidding Nixon/ Ford from sending troops (1974), and (b) reduced funding for our imperfec ally, S. Vietnam (1975) -- allowing the N. Viet commies to violate their signed treaty and attack and win, quickly, against the corrupt, cowardly (many officers), incompetent S. Viet forces with no support from the USA. Similarly the Chinese support Khmer Rouge were able to overrun Cambodia and murder hundreds of thousands.
The Killing Fields are the worst human caused tragedy that have occurred in my life -- I wish the US anti-war (Vietnam) really WERE held accountable for these despicable yet predictable results of their policies. I'm a bit ashamed to recall my first US presidential vote, for Carter -- because I didn't like Ford pardoning Nixon AND didn't like the fotos of Ford with a football between his legs like a college center.
Carter has never been held accountable for dumping the Shah, and its torturing secret police (SAVAK), which was replaced by even worse mullahs.
D. Feith's book (thru reviews) seems to argue that the Rumsfeld idea was to go in, take out Saddam and the WMDs, and turn everything over to the Iraqis quick, with Gen. Gardner. But he lost the policy battle with Powell's State dept., wanting to do the far harder & longer "nation building", but under US "little dictator" Bremer ... anybody but Iraqi exile Chalabi!
I'm really annoyed so much silly hot air is discussed in "why" we went into Iraq, and so much less in what our choices were starting after the statue fell.
We are going to continue Losing the Peace if we can only accept and support allies that have perfectly Clean Hands -- I call it Unreal Perfection. Much of this (admittedly stimulating, even addicting?) comment thread is sterile on this crucial point -- what are the right policies to follow AFTER an invasion?
1) Faster elections of local leaders with local security responsibility and budget spending authority (whether thru ration cards or other methods)
2) Creation of a Resource Fund, oil or diamonds or whatever, which will pay out dividends directly to the people -- more money/ power to them, less cash & corruption of the politicians
3) Full 100% internet based transparency on all gov't contracts...
All the dissent about lies before the war is also sucking policy discussion time away from forward moving policies.
I, for one, would like to live in World Without Dictators. When I compare Bush's action in Iraq with the UN's mostly inaction in Sudan, Bush looks a lot better. The Left seldom compares real situations with other real situations.
Questions in poll are silly.
i don't find any reason for US to get out from Iraq.They have come there to take all resources ,they have got good control now and why they will think of leaving iraq,? Never[/img]
Some people prefer not to spend $5 billion a week watching a government stuck in 2003 try to sit down and have rational discussions without shooting each other....while Al-Qaeda and other "terrorist" groups grow in strength and power (which they have and are). Not to mention that if the goal were to take the oil (it wasn't, but hypothetically speaking), we've failed miserably at that as well.
i am listening lennon's war is over and happy xmas.
i think iraqi people should have the right to vote for or against the withdraw of US troops.
that's simply easy.
They can vote all they want; it's not as if America will listen to anything they have to say.
Do we withdraw the Iraqis on the 'good' side too, or do we just not care if they die?
It's not like it would matter anyway. Any type of voting is going to be rigged or imbalanced in some nature. They have no government of their own. It's nothing but a puppet government of the US...therefore, depending on what we want to do (given the current administration, we're staying) any election held is going to be grossly influenced and rigged for what the US wants.
But I do think it's funny a large percentage of Iraqis said it's okay to shoot at US troops and a good 70% or so say they're fully against the occupation. Occupation doesn't work. We're not accomplishing anything politically (which is the overall goal and point of this whole damn war), the major terrorist groups are growing in strength, power, and numbers, the Sunnis and Shiites aren't going to make amends, Israel and Iran are on the brink of war, etc. etc. The negatives of staying outweigh the positives of staying. If it's going to be a bloodbath when we leave (which is an assumption made by the people who got EVERYTHING ELSE WRONG) then it's going to happen regardless of when we leave.
All I know is that I want my step-son home and safe. If folks over there want to shoot at each other they can do it without our boys in the middle.
I'd like to believe that we can fix things over there, especially considering we caused quite a bit of the mess in the first place, but at this point I think it's pretty clear that there isn't going to be a resolution any time soon.
We need to go ahead and let the Iraqis sort this out among themselves. I'm betting things will calm down if our soldiers aren't present providing targets for people who are upset over being "occupied" by a foreign power.
But mostly, I'm selfish - I'm tired of worrying about whether or not my step-son is going to come home safe from his third tour of duty. He's already got a Purple Heart from his first tour, and he's got four kids that are in danger of being left fatherless.
As far as I can remember when war started with Iraq it was not entirely a US war. It was something that had been decided by the West including the UK. Think Tony Blair had to pay heavily in political capital for sending troops to the Iraq.
Quite a number of troops from the West was deployed in Iraq and died.
Think another point that has to be explored, and I do not regard this as a good reason for the US presence in Iraq, but perhaps something to be considered. It has to do with balance of power and of course oil plays an enormous role in the balance of power. So does stability in the Middle East. If the Middle East is to become completely destablilized, and there is no oil flowing to the US, what then? Sort of a scenario that is quite awesome to contemplate. But that is what can easily happen if the US decides to completely remove itself from the Middle East conflict. Right now everyone in the Middle East loves to hate the US, and particularly Bush, but believe you me, most people sleep much better knowing that the US is present and looking at stability in the troubled areas surrounding Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, not to mention Syria.
Let's just imagine the US completely moves out of the Middle East, what would happen? I see China and Russia stepping right in. They are already populating many of the Middle East countries in increasing numbers. The world including the Middle East is flooded with Chinese merchandise in one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns of lower cost products (copying the higher cost ones and undercutting them in cost), so imagine if control is taken of oil supplies in the Middle East? How much oil will get to the United States?
I do not believe that the US would ever win the war in Iraq. Victory was never what was intended as far as I can understand so the poll attached to this posting is a little bizarre for me. As far as I can understand, once the US found themselves in Iraq longer than they intended their purpose became that of peace keeping, trying to stabilize the environment. And for that of course troops are needed. They are doing a brilliant job and need to be commended for that. Probably one of the most difficult environments to do peacekeeping in.
All of those are hypothetical, worst case scenarios. You can't really believe forming war policies based on hypothetical situations is a good way to manage something like this? We've been assuming the entire war and even based our entire invasion on an assumption. Assuming some extremely bad thing will happen if we do/don't do something has gotten us into the shithole (sorry) we're in.
And why would China and Russia move in as soon as the US left? Russia has seen first hand what it's like trying to manage in the Middle East (Afghanistan). Both countries have watched the US go down the hole trying to manage the Middle East. I think they'll stay as far away from it as possible for as long as possible. They're dealing with enough problems at home to even consider occupying the Middle East.
Possibly you assumed I meant military occupation, and that is not what I meant. Also there is no comparison between Afghanistan and Iraq. The two are poles and billions of barrels of oil apart. If the US should leave the Middle East, there would be a vacuum that needs to be filled and for sure it can be filled along peaceful lines as most of the hard work has already been done, right? Russia or China do not need to be present in a military capacity. They can support Governments or sponsor large projects and populate territories. They are already present over here and doing business with Middle East countries. In huge numbers. Think you need to come over and check things out for yourself. Also do yourself a favour (if you have not already done so) and read the book by Daniel Yergin "The Prize" which is a very comprehensive history about oil in the Middle East. Everything always stays the same although it has the appearance of change. Different century, different players, but the story is the same - about OIL!!!!
Short summary about Daniel Yergin after a quick search:
The invasion was probably a stupid mistake. Pulling out now however will just hurt way more people then it will help. By withdrawing, all the US achieves is hatred of everyone - they invaded and now are abandoning the people they alleged to be trying to help...
Not very nice of them.
As opposed to staying in huge numbers and making everyone in the vicinity of coalition forces a target? Troops should be out within the next year and a half with no permanent bases. Government gets a year and a half to adapt (which they're fully capable of at the moment) and we're done. Go finish the job in Afghanistan where things are becoming increasingly worse on a daily basis (June = deadliest month for coalition forces since the Afghanistan War started). No permanent bases there either. Case closed. If we can't work it out (or at least get on a remotely decent track) in almost 8-10 years there's not much more that can be done.
Deanhills, the poll was partly to see if anybody was willing to try to define Victory.
I notice that we're still in Germany and Japan, now 60+ years after The War, and they're both peaceful, democratic countries. Considered part of the West.
I'd say that's the goal for Iraq. And if you go back to the Dems' & Bush 18 points to judge progress in Iraq, the Iraqis are doing pretty good.
8-10 years??? 2003 > 2008 is only 5 years. It was a brave and risky decision to invade, but not invading also would have had consequences. Those who think it was wrong to invade can be accurately called, de facto, supporters of Saddam -- since not invading means allowing Saddam to continue ruling.
Much like not invading Sudan means the slo-mo genocide there (now at 400 000 murders?) continues, some 4 years after Bush called it genocide; but the UN disagreed.
Nobody seems to be mentioning that violence is way down in Iraq.
I wonder how many Obama fans will be calling him a liar if he changes his mind and calls for US troops to stay in Iraq for more years.
Violence is down in Iraq - true. Down from what base though? Down from before the invasion? I think not. Down from the post-war heights? Yes. Of course it is difficult to get accurate stats (the graph below, for example, comes from a site which is not exactly anti-war - www.longwarjournal.org) and many commentators question whether the stats we have are real or just hype - see the washington post article below (from September last year)...
(Unfortunately I cannot find any reliable stats for 2008 - if anyone has some then please post them).
I don't think there will be a "victory" perse in Iraq. The place is a mess, what is considered a victory depends on many people.
Pulling the troops out and leaving them in that mess isn't good.
Staying there for another 10 years is not victory either.
What does Americans really want?
Would that really not be victory? What if it became a new Germany, Japan, or South Korea? All places where we keep permanent military bases. Though, Japan would probably be the best example there.
Well said. It is correct that the violence is down, but there is the point about the whole reason of the war with Iraq being to find weapons of mass destruction. I thought in terms of the objective of the war victory would have been had if they had found and eradicated all those weapons, but of course to date none have been found. Personally I am happy that the US is in Iraq for the sake of balance of power. But I am sorry that so many lives had to be lost. Now that the US is in Iraq however, its presence has to assume some responsibility for the Iraqis who are presently protected by the US troops. What will happen to them if the US should move out all of a sudden?
Maybe a symbolic victory could be peace, when Iraq can stand on its own feet again and look after itself. And the US can leave completely, but maybe that is a pipe dream, as there are too many people benefitting from the very high oil price. Once Iraq recovers completely and can pump a lot of oil again, that will obviously and hopefully get the oil price to drop. Maybe those countries who are sitting very pretty with the oil price, such as Russia and China for example who are exporting billions of barrels of oil, may prefer to have an unstable Iraq. As well as tie the US down.
Chris, thanks for a great chart. CNN in Baghdad under Saddam certainly didn't track gov't rapes and violence at the time, so "what is the base" can also be split between the actual violence and the reported violence.
China is a big oil importer, but also silly in subsidizing the cost of fuel so that too much is used. Russia is a big exporter.
"Iraq standing on its own", if it means like Mugabe's Zimbabwe standing on its own, is not so good. What I want, and think that most American efforts are aimed at, is an Iraq that has a gov't and a society which respects human rights to a much greater extent.
It was always going to be a victory for Iraqis; the real question is which Iraqis, with what ideas. The US presence means the worst ones, those with Castro or Che or Mugabe like ideas, can be opposed.
How much of that violence is created by Iran and Iranian supported agents? Quite a bit, apparently, and it's not unreasonable to expect increasing numbers of Iraqis to blame the Iranians.
The Iraqi government (as well as just about every other government in the region) has stated very clearly they will not stand for permanent US bases and they demand sovereignty to be completely restored to the Iraqi government and people. They have been especially adamant about this since the recent dealings with the oil in Iraq (big name Western oil companies getting no-bid contracts to Iraqi oil). You cannot compare a war like Iraq to the Korean situation, Germany, Japan, or any other war of that nature. There are no similarities or connections. Iraq will never be like that. As long as we're there (and Israel) there will be "terrorist" actions, bombings, killings, etc. in the name of jihad. To believe otherwise is being naive and much too idealistic.
Bush Sr. -- "To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day hero ... assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an un-winnable urban guerilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability."
Again, neither the Iraqi government or people want permanent US presence.
May I ask what consequences we would have faced if we hadn't invaded Iraq? It was an idiotic time to invade Iraq and overall a terrible decision. And please do not ever call me a supporter of a mass murdering tyrant just because I disagree with invading a random country that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. That's completely stupid, insulting, and in absolutely no way accurate. I'm sorry to be so blunt.
The fact of the matter is we had much more important issues on the table to deal with. Namely Afghanistan and taking out Bin Laden and other high Al-Qaeda/Taliban leaders. Iraq should have never even been brought up. There were multiple countries at the time with murdering, oppressive tyrants. Why didn't we invade any of those countries?
Violence is down in Iraq. That's really good. Violence in Afghanistan is the highest it's been since the invasion. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have both risen in power and numbers. We've done a wonderful job. But never mind, we took out Hussein, so that makes up for our failure to do relatively little about that day thousands of people lost their lives on our soil.
If Obama were to change his mind on Iraq or if he does see fit that permanent bases should be laid down in Iraq, he will definitely not get close to my vote...for the same reason McCain won't.
Totally agreed Tom. I think that
Bush SR on why NOT to occupy Iraq after Desert Storm, 1991 <i>"...and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day hero"</i>
What a joke, almost like "read my lips" (no new taxes -- just before ... increasing taxes!)
Saddam BECAME an Arab hero, for fighting against America and "winning" (not being beaten) by surviving.
If we had not invaded (March 2003), Saddam would have allowed some inspections, not allowed others, and no WMDs would be "found" -- a) because he had none (despite Clinton's intel, and France & the UK that he did), or b) because he was too clever to allow the silly UN to find them. The case for invading because of WMDs gets weaker, the troop buildup stops, possibly goes down, the intense pressure goes off, Saddam gets more arrogant (and continues paying Palestinian suicide bomber families $25 000 to become martyrs).
France opposes sanctions, those with top execs bribed by the Oil for Food billions. But this bribery remains rumors, because the Iraqi documents aren't discovered by the US. You do know about the bribery -- some US folks have gone to jail. The UN refuses to publicize its internal investigation; no UN folk have been punished.
The Iraq sanctions slowly get lifted, and the inspections stop -- without finding any WMDs, but without quite being able to claim Saddam has none (wink, wink, he's so clever). Saddam increases his official support for Taliban and all other terrorists, while denying he's doing so.
Libya does NOT stop its nuke program (further advanced than the CIA had estimated). Nor does Iran.
"Increased" focus on Afghanistan doesn't do much better -- since the less than modern tribes hate foreigners, and it's clear to all Arabs that America is the "weak horse", able to invade a backwater country, but unable to stop Saddam.
"Some random country" - either a lie, or an indication of serious ignorance.
How about if I call you a supporter of a mass murderer for opposing the implementation of the 1998 (Clinton) official policy of regime change in Iraq? Either you support regime change, or you support the tyrant. I supported regime change, with or without the possession of WMDs. I also support regime change in Sudan, where the gov't is supporting genocide; while I disagree with the UN claiming it is not genocide.
To call these problematic countries random is the kind of self-delusion that allows silly people to think Bush is like Hitler.*
Are there any other countries where the official US position is to support regime change?
I don't quite think so for N. Korea, Iran, Sudan, and certainly not Zimbabwe nor China. Probably Cuba.
I fully support having a referendum in Iraq on the US bases -- such is the only way to really know what the Iraqi people will vote for, depending on the choices. If the choice was merely "permanent bases" vs "immediate, total withdrawal", I can easily imagine a majority of Iraqi voters accepting permanent bases, even tho most political leaders don't want to appear so weak. What the pols say in public is, even more there than here, not what they really believe. (And who knows what Obama believes.)
[*A silliness soon to be magnified as Obama's lying "McCain equals Bush" gets more repeated -- McCain was more NOT Bush than any other Rep (ok, except Ron Paul, nearly the anti-Bush).]
I cannot agree with this statement. Arab hero? To whom? Think the Arab world was upset about the US invasion of Iraq as being an act of aggression. Which obviously it was. I think the people in the Middle East have a very good comprehension of Saddam's limitations on the human rights score. Saddam did irreparable damage to his own country over decades of time and everyone is aware of it.