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Old 02-21-2003, 10:25 PM   #61
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An Old Editorial!

Before Iraq: Strengthen allies, weaken al-Qaeda

By Wesley K. Clark

As the Bush administration raises prospects of war with Iraq, USA TODAY asked experts to explore critical military, diplomatic and political factors involved and the possible consequences. This is part of that occasional series.

Saddam Hussein is a cunning, stubborn opponent, as I well know. As commander of U.S. forces in Europe in the late 1990s, I watched Iraqi forces violate the "no fly zone" and defy United Nations inspection teams. He is the kind of leader who starts wars, as when he invaded Kuwait in 1990 and then struck Israel with SCUD missiles. He has a strong streak of irrationality, and, apparently, a messianic complex.

If Saddam had the SCUD missiles armed with nuclear warheads that he wants, the Middle East would face terrible new risks. He might strike at Israel or go after another neighboring state, holding his missiles as a second-strike deterrent. Or Israel might launch preventive strikes. We must act to prevent this kind of war.

The president will address the United Nations on Thursday. This is an appropriate journey. But is the administration asserting that we should start a war now to prevent one later? Rushing too quickly to invade Iraq presents greater problems now than Saddam does.

Saddam has been seeking nuclear weapons for more than 20 years. In 1991, the CIA said he was within six months of having a nuclear weapon. The latest information says he has tried in recent months to acquire aluminum rods necessary to enrich uranium. Despite all of the talk of "loose nukes," Saddam doesn't have any, or, apparently, the highly enriched uranium or plutonium to enable him to construct them.

Unless there is new evidence, we appear to have months, if not years, to work out this problem. And today we are still at war with al-Qaeda. These terrorists weren't destroyed in Afghanistan, just scattered. Thousands of fighters remain, plotting their next moves.

Despite our successes in Afghanistan, we will not be able to defeat al-Qaeda without committed allies. Military forces and so-called floating coalitions aren't enough, because the terrorists have insinuated themselves into communities around the world, hiding where we can't attack them with air power and special forces. Frustratingly, some friends are releasing terrorist suspects we helped identify because their laws and judicial procedures are not like ours.

Rather than unilaterally attack Iraq now, we should refine the war against al-Qaeda by:

Strengthening cooperation with allies, forging common standards for evidence and definitions of crimes and enhancing the exchange of in-depth information.
Training more police and investigators around the world so they can detect al-Qaeda operatives and bring them to justice.
Increasing U.S. assistance to countries and to non-governmental organizations to alleviate the miseries of underdevelopment and strengthen democracy.
While we do this, we also should make our case against Saddam. Ultimately, he must be held to his pledge to give up weapons of mass destruction, by force if necessary. First, we should build international pressure against him. We need to simultaneously offer more tightly focused and, therefore, more effective sanctions against Iraq while increasing our efforts to open the country to humanitarian and human-rights efforts. We need to press for a U.N. resolution demanding no-holds-barred inspections, which the White House is considering. At worst, engaging the U.N. would build international support for action against Iraq; at best, intrusive inspections might slow down Saddam's weapons programs, giving us more time. Finally, we should establish "red lines" Saddam cannot cross - such as refusing to accept these inspections - that would mobilize international support for action against him.

Above all, we need to demonstrate that we ourselves are abiding by international law, considering force only if absolutely necessary.

Attacking Iraq now, before these other actions are taken, would reduce, not enhance, our security. Unilateral U.S. action today would disrupt the war against al-Qaeda, supercharge anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and Europe, undercut international cooperation and shake up moderate Arab governments.

Invading Iraq also entails considerable military risks and uncertainties. Under the best scenario, most Iraqi soldiers probably wouldn't fight well, and battles might last only a few days. But some troops might fight fiercely, and in cities such as Baghdad, that could be costly and time-consuming. If Saddam attacked Israel, he would draw it into war and undercut any Arab support. After the war, establishing a Western-style democracy in an Arab police state such as Iraq would be problematic. We likely would have thousands of soldiers tied down and billions of dollars committed in post-war reconstruction.

Our strategic priorities need to be kept in order: We can best face a possible fight against Iraq if we have strong allies and a weakened al-Qaeda. While we eventually may have to use force against Iraq, we should use our resolve first to empower diplomacy, with war as the last resort.


Wesley K. Clark, a retired U.S. Army general, commanded NATO forces in Europe and is the author of Waging Modern War.
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Old 02-21-2003, 10:41 PM   #62
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John Kerry's POSITION:

We Still Have a Choice on Iraq
By JOHN F. KERRY


ASHINGTON It may well be that the United States will go to war with Iraq. But if so, it should be because we have to not because we want to. For the American people to accept the legitimacy of this conflict and give their consent to it, the Bush administration must first present detailed evidence of the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and then prove that all other avenues of protecting our nation's security interests have been exhausted. Exhaustion of remedies is critical to winning the consent of a civilized people in the decision to go to war. And consent, as we have learned before, is essential to carrying out the mission. President Bush's overdue statement this week that he would consult Congress is a beginning, but the administration's strategy remains adrift.

Regime change in Iraq is a worthy goal. But regime change by itself is not a justification for going to war. Absent a Qaeda connection, overthrowing Saddam Hussein the ultimate weapons-inspection enforcement mechanism should be the last step, not the first. Those who think that the inspection process is merely a waste of time should be reminded that legitimacy in the conduct of war, among our people and our allies, is not a waste, but an essential foundation of success.

If we are to put American lives at risk in a foreign war, President Bush must be able to say to this nation that we had no choice, that this was the only way we could eliminate a threat we could not afford to tolerate.

In the end there may be no choice. But so far, rather than making the case for the legitimacy of an Iraq war, the administration has complicated its own case and compromised America's credibility by casting about in an unfocused, overly public internal debate in the search for a rationale for war. By beginning its public discourse with talk of invasion and regime change, the administration has diminished its most legitimate justification of war that in the post-Sept. 11 world, the unrestrained threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein is unacceptable and that his refusal to allow in inspectors is in blatant violation of the United Nations 1991 cease-fire agreement that left him in power.

The administration's hasty war talk makes it much more difficult to manage our relations with other Arab governments, let alone the Arab street. It has made it possible for other Arab regimes to shift their focus to the implications of war for themselves rather than keep the focus where it belongs on the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his deadly arsenal. Indeed, the administration seems to have elevated Saddam Hussein in the eyes of his neighbors to a level he would never have achieved on his own.

There is, of course, no question about our capacity to win militarily, and perhaps to win easily. There is also no question that Saddam Hussein continues to pursue weapons of mass destruction, and his success can threaten both our interests in the region and our security at home. But knowing ahead of time that our military intervention will remove him from power, and that we will then inherit all or much of the burden for building a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, is all the more reason to insist on a process that invites support from the region and from our allies. We will need that support for the far tougher mission of ensuring a future democratic government after the war.

The question is not whether we should care if Saddam Hussein remains openly scornful of international standards of behavior that he agreed to live up to. The question is how we secure our rights with respect to that agreement and the legitimacy it establishes for the actions we may have to take. We are at a strange moment in history when an American administration has to be persuaded of the virtue of utilizing the procedures of international law and community institutions American presidents from across the ideological spectrum have insisted on as essential to global security.

For the sake of our country, the legitimacy of our cause and our ultimate success in Iraq, the administration must seek advice and approval from Congress, laying out the evidence and making the case. Then, in concert with our allies, it must seek full enforcement of the existing cease-fire agreement from the United Nations Security Council. We should at the same time offer a clear ultimatum to Iraq before the world: Accept rigorous inspections without negotiation or compromise. Some in the administration actually seem to fear that such an ultimatum might frighten Saddam Hussein into cooperating. If Saddam Hussein is unwilling to bend to the international community's already existing order, then he will have invited enforcement, even if that enforcement is mostly at the hands of the United States, a right we retain even if the Security Council fails to act. But until we have properly laid the groundwork and proved to our fellow citizens and our allies that we really have no other choice, we are not yet at the moment of unilateral decision-making in going to war against Iraq.


John F. Kerry, a Democrat, is a senator from
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Old 02-21-2003, 11:36 PM   #63
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Thank you for th etwo articles, Dreadsox. I was also reading about Kerry's position of the war.
To me it appears that Congress in the flush of September 11 and the cries from Ashcroft about With us or Against Us, rushed to pass the resolution for Unilateral, preeemtive strikes as well as the Patriot Act. Many Senators and representatives have admitted to not even reading the contents of the PA.

I get tired of Bush bashing, however, I firmly believe he has squanders the good will form the international community that we had not felt since The Marshall Plan. He has lost the goodwill and respect that we gained and brought about the near destruction of NATO and the UN.
In many publications I read it is believed that this is purposeful and the intent is to declare the US sovreignty(?) over the world as well as Space. In 1967 the US signed a treaty "The Outer Space Treaty of 1967" banning deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space. This outlaws the Ballistic Missile Defense Sytem and other space weapon programs. It also outlaws nuclear power use in any way. But of course it's full steam ahead on this also.
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Old 02-22-2003, 10:24 PM   #64
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Ugh. I can't believe what Bush has done to our foreign relations. They're a mess. I don't know if I can take two more years of this .
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:58 PM   #65
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Re: Re: One Term President

Quote:
Originally posted by Beefeater


* out of control deficit spending
Deficit Spending?.. The incredible amount of money spent the past two years was a Chamberlainesque appeasment strategy employed by K. Rove to give the Democrats at least half of what it was they wanted, to pave the way for a Republican sweep in the 2002 elections.. Bush has said many times that he wants fiscal restraint in the legislation.. But That huuge Farm bill, Education Bill, Airport Security Bill, were the brainchilds of Teddy Kennedy and Tom Daschle... It was Bush's apparent 'New Tone' in the White House that prevented him from vetoing these things.

U.S. Deficit Hits $97B in First 4 Months

By JEANNINE AVERSA
The Associated Press
Monday, February 24, 2003; 10:42 PM


The government has run up a deficit of $97.6 billion in the first four months of the 2003 budget year, a reversal from the corresponding period last year when a small surplus was produced.

The latest budget figures, released Monday by the Treasury Department, highlighted the government's deteriorating fiscal situation, where record high budget deficits are forecast this year and next.

The whopping deficit posted from the beginning of the 2003 fiscal year in October through January, the most recent month available, stood in stark contrast to the $8.4 billion surplus posted for that period last year.

Revenues are down by 8.1 percent this budget year from last year, to $615.3 billion, which reflects in part lower tax revenues from the sagging economy.

Individual income tax payments totaled $306.5 billion, a 9.4 percent drop from last year. Corporate tax payments plunged by 47.4 percent to $34.2 billion.

Spending for the first four months of the 2003 budget year totaled $712.9 billion, representing a 7.8 percent increase from the corresponding period in 2002.

The biggest spending categories so far this budget year were: programs of the Health and Human Services Department, including Medicare and Medicaid, $169.9 billion; Social Security, $168.4 billion; interest on the public debt, $131.4 billion; and military, $123.4 billion.

For the entire 2002 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, the government ran up a deficit of $157.8 billion, ending four consecutive years of surpluses.

The Bush administration is projecting record budget deficits of $304 billion this year and $307 billion next year. Those projections factor in President Bush's proposed economic stimulus package, which consists mostly of tax cuts, but does not include outlays related to possible war with Iraq.

The administration has blamed the return of deficits on lingering effects of the 2001 recession and the costs of waging war in Afghanistan and battling terrorism at home. Democrats say a major cause of the red ink has been Bush's 10-year $1.35 trillion tax cut and what they contend are bad economic policies being pursued by the administration.

In January, the government produced a surplus of $11.1 billion, compared with a $43.7 billion bounty registered in the same month last year.

Still, January's surplus - based on revenues of $187.9 billion and spending of $176.8 billion - was slightly larger than the $10 billion surplus both the Congressional Budget Office and private economists had predicted for the month.
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Old 02-25-2003, 12:11 AM   #66
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unbelievable. what strikes me the most is the fact that revenues are DOWN 8.1 PERCENT!

thats a HUGE ammount!

this adminsistration is crippling the future, without question, though that is merely my opinion.
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Old 02-26-2003, 07:08 AM   #67
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Great article from Wesley K. Clark and John F. Kerry thanks for posting it!

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Old 02-26-2003, 08:19 AM   #68
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Re: Re: One Term President

Quote:
Originally posted by Beefeater
* out of control deficit spending
Deficit Spending?.. The incredible amount of money spent the past two years was a Chamberlainesque appeasment strategy employed by K. Rove to give the Democrats at least half of what it was they wanted, to pave the way for a Republican sweep in the 2002 elections.. Bush has said many times that he wants fiscal restraint in the legislation.. But That huuge Farm bill, Education Bill, Airport Security Bill, were the brainchilds of Teddy Kennedy and Tom Daschle... It was Bush's apparent 'New Tone' in the White House that prevented him from vetoing these things.
Oh please. The $1.7 trillion tax cut and now the impending $675 billion tax cut has *nothing* to do with deficit spending? I love how this goes; if a Republican fucks up, it must be the Democrats' fault! Those huuuge bills pale in comparison to the military spending as of late. We're giving $30 billion to Turkey alone...that's not exactly a small chunk of change!

A beautiful Reaganesque strategy that I grew tired of in the 1980s, let alone now.

Melon
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Old 02-26-2003, 12:17 PM   #69
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Re: Re: Re: One Term President

Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Oh please. The $1.7 trillion tax cut and now the impending $675 billion tax cut has *nothing* to do with deficit spending? I love how this goes; if a Republican fucks up, it must be the Democrats' fault! Those huuuge bills pale in comparison to the military spending as of late. We're giving $30 billion to Turkey alone...that's not exactly a small chunk of change!

A beautiful Reaganesque strategy that I grew tired of in the 1980s, let alone now.

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Old 02-26-2003, 12:36 PM   #70
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Bush's tax cut has not been fully implemented as of yet, and the other referenced legislation, have a much greater impact on the deficit situation than the tax cut.. Right Now. Tax cuts have always worked to increase government revenue.. and when they are fully implemented, I don't expect a different result. This Reaganesque strategy is also a John F. Kennedyesque strategy as well... and from what I just heard today.. tax cuts are the policy of Bill Richards... DEMOCRATIC governor from New Mexico.

In regards to the military.. A government deficit in exchange for protecting my liberty is ok with me, as if America doesn't look out for its interests, there is no one else that will.

On another note, Perhaps carrying the political respect of Socialist nations that care nothing more than to tear America down, strip us of our 'Superpower' status is really not something that is important. And again, if a principled administration who follows an internal compass on what is right and wrong (As with T. Blair) does not receive respect, perhaps this 'crumbling' of foreign affairs is rooted in jealousy and envy.. Which does not put us in the wrong. Anyways, we do have an international coalition of 23 nations for this Iraq situation, France has a coalition of 1 nation.. Germany, and they are even giving a 'yea' for war. And the Saudis have even just recently allowed us to use their bases.. How is this a loss of respect.

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Old 02-27-2003, 06:23 AM   #71
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Beefeater:

I'm curious where you got your numbers.
In the UN - Pro War:
USA, GB, Spain
Mexico agreed to sign the next petition but read their comments why they agreed

(US and GB have Veto-power)

In the UN - Against War:
Germany, France, Russia, China, Syria (the only Arab country which is in the UN security council)

(France Russia and China have Veto-power)

(Maybe china is still a little unhappy that the Bush administration called them evil - and threatened them? Well maybe they will forgive)

The rest is afik undecided
(Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Pakistan, Bulgaria)

Bulgaria would vote with yes if it helps to strengthen the threat on iraq and if it would help the inspectors (2nd half of the sentence was censored by cnn & co)
Maybe you can get back Pakistan if the US government keeps the promisses which they made before the Afghanistan invasion - maybe they don't trust the Bush administration anymore.

You need at least 9 countries voting with "Yes" and no "no" of a country with veto power.

(this is the official statement of the governments - if you ask the people about 90% of the countries of the world are against that war)

The Turkey parliament is voting now if they allow 60.000 US troops to stay in turkay for six months if the US government pays 20.000.000.000 $! Thats more than 55.000$ per month per person - i guess they are really not convinced - they just love your money.

And to the saudis - they let you use the bases the last time - they asked you to leave the country after the iraq war.

Lets see if your Government has enough money to buy some more "friends".

Klaus
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Old 02-27-2003, 10:38 PM   #72
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Klaus,

At the end of the day, most of these countries have more to gain from the USA by supporting it than they do by opposing it. That goes for the countries with Veto power. Their going to vote their pocket books. I predict you will have 12 votes for the resolution with 3 abstaining from voting. Bottom line, no one is going to benefit by voting no. I could be wrong though, but from what I have been reading the past few days, I don't think so.
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