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Old 12-08-2003, 08:40 AM   #1
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Official at State Dept: Iraq was a "War of Choice, Not Necessity"

washingtonpost.com
A War of Choice or of Necessity?


By Lawrence J. Korb

Monday, December 8, 2003; Page A25


Eight months after the Bush administration got us involved in a bloody war in Iraq, we are now told by one of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's closest advisers that Iraq was a war of choice after all. According to Richard Haass, director of policy planning at the State Department until June 2003 and still the Bush administration's special envoy to Northern Ireland, the administration "did not have to go to war against Iraq, certainly not when we did. There were other options" [op-ed, Nov. 23 ]. Really?

This is not what the administration told us before the war and continues to tell us to this day. On March 20, as he was sending troops into Iraq because the regime of Saddam Hussein allegedly possessed weapons of mass destruction and had ties to al Qaeda, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld told them, "We are at the point at which the risk of not acting is too great to wait longer. As you prepare, know that this war is necessary . . ." Some three weeks into the war, Powell, who had made the case for war to the United Nations, stated: "We do not seek war. We do not look for war. We don't want wars. But we will not be afraid to fight when these wars are necessary to protect the American people, to protect our interests, to protect friends."

Even after it had become abundantly clear that the arguments the Bush administration advanced for going to war were specious, both Vice President Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz explicitly rebutted Haass's position. In an Oct. 10 speech to the Heritage Foundation in which he lashed out at those who said we had a choice about invading Iraq, the vice president said: "Some claim we should not have acted because the threat from Saddam Hussein was not imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?" On Nov. 4 Wolfowitz stated: "But one of the things that Sept. 11 changed was that it made it a war of necessity, not a war of choice."

The president himself continues to proclaim how necessary the war was. On Nov. 22 he said at a press conference in London, "Our mission in Iraq is noble and it is necessary." On Thanksgiving Day the president told the troops in Baghdad: "You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq so we don't have to face them in our own country."

Even more surprising is Haass's contention that despite its public pronouncements, the Bush administration knows that, because this is a war of choice, Americans will not support it unless it is relatively short and cheap. This is why the administration has changed its policy and accelerated the timetable to hand over increasing political responsibility to Iraqis, even if it means reducing what it is trying to accomplish.

Haass weakens his own case by arguing that the first Persian Gulf War was a real war of necessity and Vietnam was only a war of choice. Even those who argued against the recent invasion of Iraq would not contend that it was less necessary than the first Persian Gulf War. As Secretary of State James Baker noted in 1990, that war was really about oil. And Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as such defense hawks as Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), wanted to give sanctions more time to work before invading Iraq. (If it was so necessary, why did the administration of the elder Bush not invade until it got other nations to fund the war?)

It is equally absurd to argue that the first Gulf War was more necessary than Vietnam. In the mid-1960s many Americans, including most of us who were in the armed forces, believed that if South Vietnam fell to the Communists all of Southeast Asia would soon follow and the containment policy would be undermined. This is why the American people supported that conflict through the Tet offensive of 1968, even though more than 30,000 Americans had died by then.

Ironically, while Haass is wrong about Vietnam and the first Gulf War, he is right about Iraq. It is a war of choice -- a bad choice as it turns out. Unfortunately, he was unwilling to go public with his views, as did Gen. Eric Shinseki, while he could have made a difference. This article should have been written nine months ago when Congress and the American people had a choice. Now our only real choice is to continue to stay and absorb the casualties and the cost.

The writer is senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information. He was assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.



2003 The Washington Post Company




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Old 12-08-2003, 09:50 AM   #2
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Good grief, look who wrote this!!
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Old 12-08-2003, 02:37 PM   #3
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I know Verte! This guy was with Reagan. He's not a liberal! This is so scary! How could they get away with it??

(One answer: Congress rolled over and played dead.)

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Old 12-08-2003, 03:08 PM   #4
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I smell irresponsibility. Big time.
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Old 12-08-2003, 04:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling

(One answer: Congress rolled over and played dead.)

SD
I do believe....I have been rating about us as voters holding the CONGRESS responsible.

Kerry dropping his F-BOMB over voting to give the president the power to wage war was just the start.

They took the responsibility too lightly.

I am 100% for holding each person who gave him this ability responsible.
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Old 12-08-2003, 06:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


I do believe....I have been rating about us as voters holding the CONGRESS responsible.

Kerry dropping his F-BOMB over voting to give the president the power to wage war was just the start.

They took the responsibility too lightly.

I am 100% for holding each person who gave him this ability responsible.
I agree. They need to tell us why.......it's not enough to say "I didn't know they'd fk up like this". They should have asked about the post-war plan: was it there? My criticism of this has been *mostly* of the post-war planning. We've been through it a gazillion times here, but yeah, what about those votes?
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Old 12-08-2003, 06:42 PM   #7
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Yes, Larry Korb once served with Reagan, but that fact alone does not make him a Republican or conservative in regards to his views today or in the recent past. I would definitely consider Mr. Korb to be a liberal in regards to many of his views on Defense and Foreign Policy. In addition, the Center For Defense Information has been a think tank that usually leans to the left.

I actually got the chance to meet Richard Haass several years ago and I have agreed with many of his view points in the past, while I usually disagree with nearly everything Larry Korb has to say including this article. In this article though, I disagree with both of their view points.

The United Nations made the verifiable disarmament of Iraq a necessity back in March of 1991 at the end of the first Gulf War. That fact alone defeats this idea of choice vs. necessity brought up by Haass. Verifiable Disarmament of Saddam's regime was a must for US National Security which includes the security of the Persian Gulf Region. It is true that there were several options in achieving verifiable disarmament short of war, but they all required a certain degree of cooperation from Saddam himself, which he never offered. 12 years of pursing methods alternative to full scale military invasion failed to accomplish the goals set out in March 1991. The only way to insure verifiable disarmament became Saddams removal from power. This was accomplished in April 2003, unlike the other options that had all failed in the past.



In response to Korbs idea's about the Necessity or Choice of the First Gulf War, the fact that it was largely about oil makes it a necessity, not a choice. Powell designed most of the policy and planning for the first Gulf War and the idea that he was dove squeeking for Sanctions is just really unfounded. It was Powell on the first day of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait that suggested that they should strongly consider putting a military force in place to remove Iraq from Kuwait.

The Elder Bush Administration waited 7 months to retake Kuwait not because of "funding" matters but because that is how long it took to put a US force of over 500,000 troops in place in Saudi Arabia to retake Kuwait.

Even Senator Mitchell who led the Democrats in their give sanctions a chance campaign admits they obviously got it wrong when looking at sanctions effect on Saddam's behavior.
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:25 PM   #8
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Sting...I remember you did not like something I posted of his in the past year...LOL

Whta do you do for a living? Just curious.
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Old 12-08-2003, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


I do believe....I have been rating about us as voters holding the CONGRESS responsible.

Kerry dropping his F-BOMB over voting to give the president the power to wage war was just the start.

They took the responsibility too lightly.

I am 100% for holding each person who gave him this ability responsible.
I agree with you 100% (imagine that ). No seriously I think that is one reason Kerry is so pissed. But look at another way.

How many on the fence riders, such as you and others, took the admin. at its word. I know you argued this way and that, but in the end you supported the Pres. or maybe you supported our troops as it seemed inevitable. (If my memory is not exactly accurate I'm sorry, it may just be that you play the devils advocate so often it's hard to get your real opinion) More blame goes on Bush IMO because he approved the troop build up in anticipation of war. Remember how it seemed their was no alternative since we had 100,000 troops already their. Do we just pull them back and lose face.

Anyway, I think Bush should be held responsible for this. He's the President - THE BUCK STOPS THERE. Somebody should pay for the lost American and Iraqi lives when other methods could have worked.
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:18 PM   #10
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That's incorrect, Sting. The UN made verifyable disarmament a requriment (as they should have) because Saddam was a clear threat to his neighbors. As the admin. rep. in this op-ed recognized in this article, he was not a theat to us.

Heads should roll!

SD (who will let someone else argue with you about the neocolonial "oil makes war a necessity" thing )
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:49 PM   #11
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Scarletwine,

"Somebody should pay for the lost American and Iraqi lives when other methods could have worked."

And what other methods would have worked that had not already been tried in the previous 12 years?

Sherry Darling,

"That's incorrect, Sting. The UN made verifyable disarmament a requriment (as they should have) because Saddam was a clear threat to his neighbors. As the admin. rep. in this op-ed recognized in this article, he was not a theat to us."

Anything that threatens Security and Stability in the Persian Gulf Region is a threat to the United States. Anything that threatens Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf States is a threat to the United States and the rest of the world. That has been US policy since the 1940s. Even Jimmy Carter stated he was ready to use Nuclear Weapons if needed to prevent the take over and disruption of most of the planets energy supply.

The Planet uses Oil for much of its energy. A sudden reduction or disruption in a large percentage of the Planets energy supply would have disasterous consequences for the global economy making the depression of the 1930s look like a prosperous time.
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:57 PM   #12
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Originally posted by STING2
Anything that threatens Security and Stability in the Persian Gulf Region is a threat to the United States. Anything that threatens Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf States is a threat to the United States and the rest of the world. That has been US policy since the 1940s. Even Jimmy Carter stated he was ready to use Nuclear Weapons if needed to prevent the take over and disruption of most of the planets energy supply.


That....is very.....very true....

Sting....can you email me

Dreadsox@aol.com

It is about an idea I have for my students and your friends in the service....christmas idea
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:05 PM   #13
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That is true but doesn't make it right.

Maybe we should enact very strict energy guidelines vs killing people. I'd be willing to give up SOME luxuries or cut down, as I'm sure so would many people. A little conservationn would give us decades of fuel availability, like SUV mileage requirements. I'm very interested also in your career, and it's influences on tour beliefs.

Maybe the environment and people should come before corporations.
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Old 12-08-2003, 09:10 PM   #14
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Originally posted by Scarletwine


I agree with you 100% (imagine that ). No seriously I think that is one reason Kerry is so pissed. But look at another way.

How many on the fence riders, such as you and others, took the admin. at its word. I know you argued this way and that, but in the end you supported the Pres. or maybe you supported our troops as it seemed inevitable. (If my memory is not exactly accurate I'm sorry, it may just be that you play the devils advocate so often it's hard to get your real opinion) More blame goes on Bush IMO because he approved the troop build up in anticipation of war. Remember how it seemed their was no alternative since we had 100,000 troops already their. Do we just pull them back and lose face.

Anyway, I think Bush should be held responsible for this. He's the President - THE BUCK STOPS THERE. Somebody should pay for the lost American and Iraqi lives when other methods could have worked.
maybe the Devil's advocate in me makes me a good teacher...LOL

I 100% believe that the terrorism we face/faced was related to our foreign policy of the past 10 years. It is a policy based on the containment of a madman. Because we have been forced to have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda, has declared us the enemy. This war was essential, to change that policy.

#2 I feel that this war was necessary because the UN food for OIL program helped to stregnthen this man's hold over his country and oppress his people. It was killing them. It horrifies me that we allowed this to happen.


#3 I believed that there was intelligence that they had that there was WMD. I apparently was wrong.

#4 I have read recently more linkages between Saddam and Al-Qaeda than first thought that existed. I am not sure how valid they are. If they were real, why are they not being publicized as much.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My biggest concern as a voter is this.

#1 Our intelligence community has failed us on multiple counts.
#9-11
#Iraq WMD Are we as blind as it appears? If we are how are we to trust anything? North Korea? Iran? This scares me. What if we are wrong in either direction? It is NOT comfoting to say the least.

#2 The person whom I had the most respect for at the start of this administration was Colin Powell. The person, more than anyone else that I feel has failed us, as far as tgetting international support is Collin Powell. maybe I am being too hard on him. I have always admired him, and when I model how to do a biography book report for my class I squeeze into my uniform and pretend to be him for my class.......

I am rambling...and not in good shape right now.....maybe I can type more tomorrow......thanks for the well articulated dialogue.
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Old 12-08-2003, 10:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox


maybe the Devil's advocate in me makes me a good teacher...LOL

I 100% believe that the terrorism we face/faced was related to our foreign policy of the past 10 years. It is a policy based on the containment of a madman. Because we have been forced to have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda, has declared us the enemy. This war was essential, to change that policy.

#2 I feel that this war was necessary because the UN food for OIL program helped to stregnthen this man's hold over his country and oppress his people. It was killing them. It horrifies me that we allowed this to happen.


#3 I believed that there was intelligence that they had that there was WMD. I apparently was wrong.

#4 I have read recently more linkages between Saddam and Al-Qaeda than first thought that existed. I am not sure how valid they are. If they were real, why are they not being publicized as much.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My biggest concern as a voter is this.

#1 Our intelligence community has failed us on multiple counts.
#9-11
#Iraq WMD Are we as blind as it appears? If we are how are we to trust anything? North Korea? Iran? This scares me. What if we are wrong in either direction? It is NOT comfoting to say the least.

#2 The person whom I had the most respect for at the start of this administration was Colin Powell. The person, more than anyone else that I feel has failed us, as far as tgetting international support is Collin Powell. maybe I am being too hard on him. I have always admired him, and when I model how to do a biography book report for my class I squeeze into my uniform and pretend to be him for my class.......

I am rambling...and not in good shape right now.....maybe I can type more tomorrow......thanks for the well articulated dialogue.
#1 I agree wholeheartedly with you. but I feel we need to lessen it through our actions in the world. EX helping the AIDS crisis across the world.


#2 I agree, I am also appalled and if I had known about it I would have attempted to do something.

#3 Not me
#4 Same.
What sickens me is that we hear about the "enemies" suffering only when it was convienent foor politics.

I'll never rely on our media to tell the truth again. That is a sad thing for me. 2 years ago I'd never thought this. +

what a disalusionment


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