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imperialism & war

SADDAM is the Problem, Not America

Yeah, me again. Doesn't someone around here need to be a counterweight to all of these Saddam Hussein apologists? Just think: taking out Hussein could actually be good... how about an end to OPEC, a beginning domino chip fall against the evil House of Saud? But hey, just one guy talking here.
Give credit where it's due: Colin Powell had a point about going to the U.N. on the Iraq question. When President Bush did so, it helped change the dynamics of the debate, both domestically and internationally. But a few distinctions are in order. The U.S. should not make it its business to enforce U.N. resolutions willy-nilly. We are challenging the U.N. to live up to its resolutions only because they happen to align with important U.S. national-security interests. Bush's speech also packed a threat (one that, if the State Department had its way, would never be made): that the U.N. can go along or be left behind as the U.S. takes action in Iraq without it. The president's "unilateralism" or leadership, to use a better term for it is creating a practical multilateralism in accord with American interests.

So it is that the tenor of French opposition to the intervention has changed, as Paris realizes it would be better not to be left out of the post-Saddam order, especially when it comes to its oil concessions in Iraq. Russia may play ball for similar reasons. We will leave it to the shrinks to determine why American liberals consider it a mark of morality in foreign policy when that policy coincides with Russian and French strategies that are themselves arrived at for the crassest of reasons. In general, making "international opinion" the benchmark for right and wrong is a mistake, since so much of it is driven by fear, self-interest, and greed. The power of fear, for instance, is evident in Saudi Arabia's renewed interest in offering the U.S. use of its bases, as the Saudis see the U.S. shifting its friendship to the relatively benign Gulf state of Qatar (an important lesson as we begin to deal with the effects of Saudi radical evangelism: The House of Saud does respond to pressure).

Unfortunately, the attitude of many Democrats seems to be "international opinion" right or wrong. Al Gore implicitly blames the United States for the irresponsible attacks of Gerhard Schroeder on American policy. Gore is apparently not outraged by Schroeder's unilateralism nakedly motivated by election politics which says that Germany will oppose even U.N.-sanctioned action against Iraq. No: German obstructionism is America's fault. This line of argument risks returning a post-Vietnam, Blame America First taint to Democratic foreign policy, which Bill Clinton had largely effaced. A replay would be bad for the Democrats, and for the country.

Bush has not, as Gore charges, squandered the international consensus that existed after September 11. That consensus arose spontaneously in the rush of sympathy after the attacks, and would inevitably fade. Making U.S. foreign policy dependent on such uniform support would be a prescription for paralysis, since only the status quo can typically command such unanimity. And the present status quo should be unacceptable. Terrorism emanates from the Middle East for a reason: The style of politics and religion promoted by the regimes there, and the work of their security services, all lend support to anti-U.S. terrorism. Breaking up the axis of Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia is a goal central to the war on terrorism.

To insist, as Gore does, that the U.S. not do anything else until we hunt down and kill bin Laden a goal that, for all we know, may already be accomplished is to reduce American policy to a manhunt, perhaps one of several years' duration. Gore suggests that Bush is going after Saddam because it's easier than eliminating al Qaeda as though the ability to achieve an objective were an argument against doing so. Besides which, an invasion of Iraq is the first step toward an extremely difficult long-term goal: transforming the geopolitical balance, and the nature of politics, in the Middle East. Is that hard enough for Mr. Gore's taste?

Other Democrats ask what has changed in recent years with regard to Iraq. The answer is nothing. The situation is exactly the same as it was in 1998, when President Clinton and the Democratic leadership in Congress declared Saddam a threat that had to be met with military action if necessary, and Congress passed a law making regime change in Iraq the policy of the United States. All that has changed is that America now has a president fired, to be sure, by 9/11 determined to effect that policy.

How can the Democrats be taken seriously on Iraq? One day they demand a debate on Iraq, the next day they accuse Bush of "wagging the dog" for having a debate on Iraq. One day the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says we should be confronting the terrorist regimes of Iran and Syria before going after Saddam. The next, Democrats (including Gore) criticize Bush's proposed Iraq resolution because it might leave open the possibility of confronting Iran and Syria. The fact is that pressure, and perhaps even military action, against those regimes may eventually be warranted. One purpose of the intervention in Iraq is to create a new international standard that such radical regimes cannot be trusted with weapons of mass destruction. As Paul Johnson points out in this issue, action against Saddam represents the civilized world's reasserting itself, and pushing back against the piratical regimes in the Middle East that have perversely been taken to be an acceptable part of the international order for 30 years.

While the U.N. can be a useful tool, it is not the same thing as the civilized world, given the nature of many of the 190 governments it includes. Kofi Annan's eager embrace of Saddam's offer of new inspections showed the U.N.'s willingness to believe bluffs and nonsense so long as it advances "peace," no matter how phony. Saddam's "unconditional" offer was conditional, and based on a lie that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction. As Kate O'Beirne and Byron York report in this issue, inspections are meant to be a tool to confirm the compliance of a basically honest, cooperative state. They are unsuited to the current task. The United States should ask the U.N. for a resolution saying the obvious that Iraq is in "material breach" of a decade's worth of resolutions and leave it at that. No further U.N. action is necessary to authorize force. If France, Russia, or China wants to veto such a resolution, and expose even more starkly the U.N.'s bankruptcy, they are more than welcome to. But the U.S. should continue to make it clear that we will act to protect our interests, with only a handful of allies if necessary.

Over the last decade, we have half-dismembered Iraq while respecting the one facet of Iraqi sovereignty that creates the problem Saddam's tenure in power. We should remove the root of the problem, and begin the post-Saddam era. But conservatives should guard against naivety about the ease with which a liberal democracy can be installed in Iraq. Incremental improvements short of that are well worth making. Just as a non-terrorist government in Afghanistan that may eventually control the urban areas of the country is an improvement over the Taliban, a reformist authoritarianism in Iraq would be a relative boon. It would change the balance of the region, possibly reorienting it around a Turkey-Iraq-Jordan bloc and spelling the end of OPEC, the cartel that, through the Saudis, bankrolls Islamism. It wouldn't mean the end of the war on terrorism, but it would be an intermediate step toward a decent Middle East, and one that eventually is not a threat to America.
What a mind 26.Sep.2002 15:51

Ludd

Thank you so much for keeping up with your extremely boring and corporate media inspired rants. I think I now somehow know less about politics because of your keen insights. You mean Democrats are hypocrites? NO WAY. You should get a grip and stop developing your opinions on world politics based on what the NY Times tells you is the truth. You obviously aren't capable of reading between the lines. It's guys like you who sit back and pontificate about how "our" current "enemy" must be obliterated for some reason or another that the military/industrial complex comes up with, while real people are out there getting slaughtered. Saddam is a piece of garbage and the Iraqi people should be the ones instituting a "regime change". Come to think of it, there's never been a better time for a regime change in America then now.

uMMM... 26.Sep.2002 16:21

What about Osama Bin Laden??

I thought he was the enemy.

Doesnt this recent switch to Saddam seem capricious??

The reason there is no counterweight 26.Sep.2002 17:31

PHH

Nobody responds in full because you just seem to talk a load of rubbish. It doesn't bother us if you want to think that way. Why should we waste our time arguing with you?

We all concede you have the most wind. We are interested in exchanging ideas, not an endurance contest of nonsense.

It's all supply and demand. You got plenty of government line, but there is no demand for it here.

Two words for you: FOX NEWS. Trust me. You're material.

Yeah, so? What about him? 26.Sep.2002 17:41

Voron

With an ego as big as Osama Bin Laden's didn't you ever wonder why he hasn't made any new videos? Thats because its kind of hard to appear in any new videos when the remains of your body are contained within vulture droppings and your bones are chew toys for wild creatures...

something you should know 26.Sep.2002 17:50

citizen7

the taliban were a billion dollar creation of carter's foreign policy. recruited, funded and trained.
they ran the russians out of afghanistan. mission accomplished. seeing no immediate use for them or what was left of their country.............until the oil strike of all time.
dgov.corp's propaganda always portrays targets as stupid. evil and stupid. real evil takes genius. the kind that could pull an enemy out its ass an scare the sheep into a near stampede. terrorists scare people. got it?

i read and posted here a smallpox story. if true , instead of bullying a poor nation into a preemptive strike, or exposing any troops to it. push the button and vaporize the problem. there are no billions to be made that way of course. if true fluke is willing to expose mankind to a virulant form called flat-cell. 90+% lethal.

fuckin clowns
something you should know
something you should know

ZIONISTS and NEOCON NAZIS: FASCISTS IN DRAG 26.Sep.2002 23:04

fuck them both

Another disingenous screed from Lame Valet which regurgitates all the fallacious talking points that the American propaganda machine is churning out all the time.

For anyone here not familiar with Lame Valet, he is a Zionist who, following the path of many Right Wing Jews, has jumped into bed with the Neoconservative Chickenhawks who are the leading cheerleaders and apologists for the War Party and American Imperialism in the world.

If anybody believes the "We want to attack the world (and Iraq) for Freedom and Democracy" line that the Neocons are continually spewing out, Lame Valet's following comments accidentally expose the fraudulency of this lie:

"Just as a non-terrorist government in Afghanistan that may eventually control the urban areas of the country is an improvement over the Taliban, a REFORMIST AUTHORITARIANISM IN IRAQ WOULD BE A RELATIVE BOON. It would change the balance of the region, possibly reorienting it around a Turkey-Iraq-Jordan bloc and spelling the end of OPEC, the cartel that, through the Saudis, bankrolls Islamism"

A Reformist AUTHORITARIANISM--a boon? What exactly is this concept anyway? It that kind of like a Benign Slavery? Or perhaps a Benevolent Empire? This comment shows the true Fascist colors of Right Wingers like Lame Valet. Beneath their self-righteous bullshit rhetoric about 'Democracy and Freedom,' they are Iron-fisted Authoritarians at heart--much like the current American Regime of George Bush.

george bush will be our ruin 27.Sep.2002 00:48

he sucks big red donkey dicks

george dubya bush is going to be strung up by his balls when he launches a war on iraq and forces saddam hussein or others to destroy israel with weapons of mass destruction.

saddam hussein is a brutal coward and deserves to be removed from power. however, amerika has no right to unilaterally do remove him. if anyone needs to be removed from power it is george war bush.

two points: he keeps talking about how saddam brutalizes his own people, but he ignores the other fact that us-led sanctions have killed 1.5 million iraqis since 1991. yet bush wants to kill more innocent people! he also keeps harping on iraq for ignoring un resolutions without pointing out that isreal and amerika are the world's greatest violators of un resolutions!

the bush regime decided to briefly pull back on war plans after a military exercise resulted in the decimation of us forces in the region.

see this article:

 http://216.26.163.62/2002/ss_military_09_23.html which states, among other things, that

"The shortcomings in the U.S. military were pointed out in the Millennium Challenge exercise launched last month, Middle East Newsline reported. The exercise sought to simulate a U.S. attack against a Middle East enemy that resembled Iraq.

Officials said in the simulation U.S. naval forces were decimated by an Iraqi missile and weapons of mass destruction strike. The Iraqi side in the exercise used cruise missiles to overwhelm the U.S. Navy's GS radar and sink the entire simulated Blue Armada fleet of 16 ships."

george w is a real loser and he may very well be the one that brings wwIII upon us.

It's Mili-tainment! 27.Sep.2002 00:54

George Bush Sucks!

george dubya bush is going to be strung up by his balls when he launches a war on iraq and forces saddam hussein or others to destroy israel with weapons of mass destruction.

saddam hussein is a brutal coward and deserves to be removed from power. however, amerika has no right to unilaterally remove him and create something in our scary graven image. if anyone needs to be removed from power by americans it is george war bush.

two points: he keeps talking about how saddam brutalizes his own people, but he ignores the other fact that us-led sanctions have killed 1.5 million iraqis since 1991. yet bush wants to kill more innocent people! he also keeps harping on iraq for ignoring un resolutions without pointing out that isreal and amerika are the world's greatest violators of un resolutions!

the bush regime decided to briefly pull back on war plans after a military exercise resulted in the decimation of us forces in the region.

see this article:

 http://216.26.163.62/2002/ss_military_09_23.html which states, among other things, that

"The shortcomings in the U.S. military were pointed out in the Millennium Challenge exercise launched last month, Middle East Newsline reported. The exercise sought to simulate a U.S. attack against a Middle East enemy that resembled Iraq.

Officials said in the simulation U.S. naval forces were decimated by an Iraqi missile and weapons of mass destruction strike. The Iraqi side in the exercise used cruise missiles to overwhelm the U.S. Navy's GS radar and sink the entire simulated Blue Armada fleet of 16 ships."

george w is a real loser and he may very well be the one that brings wwIII upon us. what a shame!

sorry for the double post 27.Sep.2002 01:55

oops

i could swear more than 6 minutes went by between my duplicate submissions. i need to learn to be patient with indy's server...