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Reply #103: I am very cynical of Congress [View All]

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davekriss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-27-06 12:06 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. I am very cynical of Congress
I believe they knew better but were politicked into a corner, pre-election, and felt compelled to say "yea" on the IWR. Craven and a failure of leadership, all around.

There were choruses of voices saying no to war during the run-up, albeit hard to hear behind the roar of our monopolized major media. But there was Brent Scowcraft's famous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2002, which basically said, in nice language, that invading Iraq would be pure nuts; then there's Generals Zinni and Shinseki, and Scott Ritter of course -- none of these from the hard-left perch I occupy. Anyone believing Hussein had anything to do with 9-11 or that the war really was about WMD simply wasn't listening. I grant you that the latter characterizes the vast majority of Americans back then, as so many were glued to ABCNBCCBSCNBCMSNBCCNNFOXNEWS, which diligently reported on how best to execute the war, not on whether or not we should go to war. We were being intentionally misled, though not all of us followed their lead. I'm sorry you and your son, back then, drank the koolaid. I hope both of you have unplugged from the matrix (your presence here suggests you have).

I share here what I posted in February of 2003 (on Urban75). Seemed back then that few board-denizens disagreed. It is a shame your son, the liberal Marine, was not better informed. I pray he's home now and past his errors in personal choice. I thank him for the spirit of his choices, if not their reality and consequences.

From 2003:

    First, I see no reason to believe that Iraq represents the intensity of threat that the GWB administration has claimed; there has been zero serious evidence that the U.S. or our friends face imminent threat of any kind from Iraq. Instead, there has been a laughable series of half-truths, eliding justifications, and bald-faced lies. I therefore don't see any legal or moral justification for attacking Iraq at this time.

    Second, I suggest the U.S. keep to its sound principles of Deterrence and Containment. They represent principles that have served our security interests very well since WWII. I reject the National Security Strategys newly announced (9/20/2002) principle of pre-emptive aggression (as well as the rest of its happy-politico-speak rewrite of the PNAC agenda).

    I understand the arguments that, in the age of WMD proliferation and of ferocious terrorist will (greatly elevated with the attacks of 9-11), we may now need to rethink policy. Significant threats may no longer announce themselves as armies massing along borders, allowing time for security-maintaining (and legal) first strikes based on observed imminent threats. Some reasonable and thoughtful people today believe that the first sign of "imminent threat" might now be a rising mushroom cloud over Manhattan or Washington DC. They think, therefore, we must eliminate, not just real present threats, but the potential for such threats to emerge. Children and mothers in foreign lands might have to die based on a whim and a fear held by our President that someday perhaps in a month, a year, or ten years their leaders may develop the means and the will to attack the United States directly or by proxy via terrorists. Saddam Hussein, for example, might be developing nuclear weapons, and he might share them with terrorists, therefore we must amass our armies on his borders and attack to protect ourselves. I wholly reject this thinking.

    Iraq has not sent its armies outside its borders since 1990; by our own CIA's reporting, they have had zero involvement with international terrorism since 1993. They have only used WMD twice, in 1988 and 1983 (while allied with U.S. interests). It's now, what? 2003? Deterrence and Containment works, my friends, and has been working very well in the case of Iraq for over a decade. Why abandon these sound principles now?

    When in 1990 dear April Glaspie gave Saddam the green light to invade Kuwait (OK, a neutral light), we then hit Iraq with overwhelming force and pushed them back into their own borders. We did so quickly, legally, and morally; we were triggering the muscle of Deterrence and Containment. Iraq paid a terrible price for the foolhardy actions of their leader. Both his regime, and much of the rest of the world, learned that the U.S. has the might and the will to uphold the sanctity of sovereign borders (at least when its in our self-interest). The UN sanctions, UN inspection regimes, and no-fly zones (which are not authorized by the UN) have effectively quelled all further Iraqi aggression. Saddam Hussein has been successfully deterred from all further adventurism. Again, Deterrence and Containment worked and continues to work. Who disputes this?

    Some say, "we can't continue to absorb the expense of maintaining the no-fly zones". Why not? Maintaining them is hugely less expensive than the estimated costs of war, rebuilding, and occupation, never mind the future costs that will accrue through erosion of our moral standing throughout the world.

    Some say, "the sanctions are barbaric and must be stopped; we need to exact 'regime change' in order to do so". Bunk! We could've stopped the sanctions before they started. They have almost zero to do with why Saddam Hussein has not resumed his own desires for empire (which are greatly dwarfed by the ambitions of our own Caesar, thirsting for a new millennial Pax Americana). The example of Gulf War I, plus the no-fly zones and inspection regimes are what held him in check.

    Some say, "Saddam is brutal, vile, represses his people -- war will free the Iraqi people and allow American-style democracy to emerge". If the lessons of history didn't stand in my way, I might believe this to be our motive and thus democracy the likely outcome. But our actions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Grenada, Colombia, Chile (to name a few) lead me to believe the more likely outcome is the installation of a new repressive regime more friendly to American corporate interests.

    So: Why abandon the sound principles of Deterrence and Containment now and leap to a new policy of pre-emptive attack? Where is the justification? Where is the evidence? Where is the imminent threat? Where is the moral clarity? I've been waiting for a smidgeon of these things since I first heard Condi Rice announce with feigned fervor and concern, back in March of 2002, that Iraq might be holding as a prisoner a pilot downed during the first hours of the first Gulf War. Trial balloon #1? You betcha! How can anyone trust anything these people have said since?

    I recall Admiral Billingslea's testimony before Congress in the summer of 2002 overviewing the risks associated with unfriendly nations harboring terrorist groups (several of which undisputedly reside in Iraq -- though not Al Qaeda) while at the same time acquiring or building WMD. The fear is that one day an unfriendly leader will hand these weapons of violence to a terrorist group willing to use them.

    First, its notable that the only weapons of mass destruction used to date have been fuel-full Boeing 747's with boxcutters serving as triggers. The leaders in unfriendly nations have so far refrained from sharing their WMD with terrorist groups for the same reason the U.S. has refused, for example, to share ours with terrorist client states: There is nothing to gain by it and more to lose. These are our toys, the powerful think, an underpinning of our power. Why dilute matters by sharing these means with others?

    What the Billingslea argument demands is vigilant anti-proliferation regimes, not implementation of the insane Bush Doctrine underway now, where Iraq is to serve as an example to the rest of the world of our willingness to use our overwhelming force to unilaterally further our self-interest (the self-interest of an elite few at the top of our socioeconomic ladder). The message: Bend to our will, or else. Its the message of the schoolyard bully.

    So, if at the nation-state level Deterrence and Containment still works, why discontinue it now? And if 9-11 examples the stealthiness of future threat, then I advise that we thoroughly examine how 9-11 came to be. I remain puzzled why the GWB administration didn't on 9/12 authorize a full and complete investigation into how our hundreds of billion dollar security apparatus failed to prevent 9-11.

    When that hijacker's passport magically appeared in the WTC rubble -- or was it when I learned that we already had full active Air Force protocols to follow whenever a domestic jet is hijacked that were, for some unexplained reason, NOT followed on 9-11 -- or was it when we were promised a full "white paper" detailing the evidence of Al Qaeda involvement, evidence that has never been presented to the world -- these things lead me to conclude that this war has just about nothing to do with WMD or terrorism or the desire to bring democracy to Iraq (after all, GWB's dad promised the same thing for Kuwait!), but instead more likely is meant to advance the interests of, well, whom? Halliburton? They have, note, already been awarded huge post-war contracts, and dear Cheney still receives $1mm a year from his old firm. Who else is lined up at the trough? But mostly, the question to ask is who's megalomaniacal ego will be advanced? Who is it that desires future schoolchildren to sing songs praising their names? What arrogance! And what folly!!

    (And who PAYS for war, rebuilding, and occupation? Meanwhile GWB pushes a second trillion dollar tax break for the wealthy while polishing future speeches that surely will inform us that we can no longer afford Medicare and Social Security as we know it, or occupational and environmental safety regulations, or money for educating our young or feeding our needy. What a F*CKING DAMN TRAVESTY! And it continues...)

    OK. Rant over. You can all go back to your seats and carry on...
Where you, your son, and I differed in 2002 and 2003 is that, in my case, I would want to know for certain that Iraq possessed WMD and had the means and intention to use them against the United States before picking up a gun. If I didn't have the evidence, then noting that containment had worked successfully for 12 years I'd continue to support containment while monitoring the situation until and if clear evidence of weapons, means, and intention surfaced. If clear evidence surfaced, then I'd think about war.

Alternately, I'd want to see clear evidence that Saddam Hussein was fomenting terrorists to strike against U.S. targets, that he was behind 9-11 (as was floated early and often before inconveniently the CIA reported Saddam Hussein had zero involvement with terror outside his borders since 1993). If clear evidence emerged, then I'd consider war.

In the absence of clear evidence, I would continue to support the successful policies of containment, anti-proliferation programs, inspections, and monitoring. I would not go to war because of a purely speculative "he might have" or "he might do". That's where I draw the line.

When asked to go to Iraq, I would have said "Sir no Sir" to my commander.
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