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Old 01-09-2003, 02:57 PM   #1
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US - Iraq: what do you think?

From what I understand, for several days now there are more and more troops in the Gulf area, but Bush always says he doesn't plan war.
North Korea admitted to use the nuclear programme and banned UN inspectors, but here diplomacy is being used, on the other hand US is using more pressure on Iraq where nuclear capabilities have yet to be found by UN inspectors.
First US was talking about disarming Iraq, then later it was about changing the regime.

IMO, this is more about the control of Middle East and oil. And I have a feeling that even though US says it will build a coalition, they will in the end attack on their own.

If Saddam is such a threat, then why wasn't he eliminated back in '91?
And if he does have nuclear weapons, isn't it more likely he WILL use them if he will face attack and will be pressed against the wall? (there were rockets fired to Israel in '91 right?)

Suppose UN inspectors don't find anything? Will US strike anyway?

*edit* Does the "pre-emptive strike" theory sound scary to anyone else?
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:24 PM   #2
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Re: US - Iraq: what do you think?

Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
From what I understand, for several days now there are more and more troops in the Gulf area, but Bush always says he doesn't plan war.
North Korea admitted to use the nuclear programme and banned UN inspectors, but here diplomacy is being used, on the other hand US is using more pressure on Iraq where nuclear capabilities have yet to be found by UN inspectors.
First US was talking about disarming Iraq, then later it was about changing the regime.

IMO, this is more about the control of Middle East and oil. And I have a feeling that even though US says it will build a coalition, they will in the end attack on their own.

If Saddam is such a threat, then why wasn't he eliminated back in '91?
And if he does have nuclear weapons, isn't it more likely he WILL use them if he will face attack and will be pressed against the wall? (there were rockets fired to Israel in '91 right?)

Suppose UN inspectors don't find anything? Will US strike anyway?

*edit* Does the "pre-emptive strike" theory sound scary to anyone else?
Have you considered that the two-fifths of the permanent members of the UN Security Council who have objected the most to an attack on Iraq also have significant business dealings with Iraq? (France and Russia)

Maybe the reason that they don't want a US-led war against Iraq is because they're afraid that they'll lose economic ground in a reconstructed Iraq?

That being said, I don't think economic issues have much to do with the situation at all. Up until *October 2001*, oil executives were still lobbying for a *loosening* of the economic sanctions on Iraq.

If oil were the primary factor in US foreign policy towards Iraq, the US would probably just lift the economic sanctions, conduct business as usual with Iraq, and pretend like there isn't a problem.
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Old 01-09-2003, 07:08 PM   #3
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Re: Re: US - Iraq: what do you think?

Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer



If oil were the primary factor in US foreign policy towards Iraq, the US would probably just lift the economic sanctions, conduct business as usual with Iraq, and pretend like there isn't a problem.
like we're doing with China
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Old 01-09-2003, 07:32 PM   #4
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U2girl, why dont you give us some proff or examples as to why they only watn control of the mid-east and oil.

From what i understand many in the mid-east dislike Sadamm so isnt the US doing them a service. And like speed said. It would cost much less to just lift the sanctions and buy oil off Iraq. Just imangine how much money they are spending to get their oil. They could buy a lifetime of oil for the price its gonna cost them to go to war.
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Old 01-09-2003, 08:08 PM   #5
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Iraq has been in violation of 16 UN resolutions passed under chapter VII rules of the United Nations. Resolutions passed under Chapter VII rules require the use of force if necessary to bring about compliance. The agreement with North Korea if it was a UN resolution was not passed under Chapter VII rules. Those are the strictly legal answers.

Iraq is very different from North Korea because of its foreign policy behavior. Iraq has invaded and attacked four different countries just in the past 20 years. North Korea has not invaded any country in nearly 50 years. It is this reckless behavior by Saddam that makes him a much larger threat than North Korea. In addition, there are risk involved in an attack on North Korea that do not exist with a similar operation on Iraq.

Seoul South Korea, is only 20 miles from the border with North Korea. North Korea has one of the worlds largest inventories of conventional artillery, much of it in striking distance of the large South Korean capital of Seoul. In the first few days of a conflict, the North Koreans could kill per haps hundreds of Thousands of innocent civilians just with Conventional Artillery. This artillery would eventually be destoryed, but not before unbelievable loss of life in Seoul.

In addition, North Korea has nuclear weapons, which certainly makes any attack on North Korea more risky. So, #1 North Korea has a passive behavior relative to Iraq foreign policy wise and is not likely to attack in the future while Saddam has proven that he is both a risk taker and mis-caculator and from his recent past is likely to attack in some way in the future. #2 there are huge risk involved in attacking North Korea that do not exist in an Attack on Iraq a. number and proximity of North Korean Artillery to Seoul South Korea b. North Korea already has two or more nuclear weapons.

The USA has already built a coalition and Bush's latest UN resolution was passed 15-0! This is not about control of middle east oil, but it is important that the free flow of oil not be obstructed in any way. Any regime change in Iraq will only increase the amount of oil that is available on the World market. This causes the price of Oil to drop and does not aid Oil companies. When the price of Oil or energy drops, this helps consumers like you and me.

Saddam was not eliminated in 1991 for several reasons. First, the Bush adminstration had a tough time convincing the world and American people that military action was needed to remove Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait, but they did succeed in convincing them it was necessary. The Arab countries and certainly no other countries or the American congress at the time, were not in support of a regime change in Iraq. They only wanted to see Iraq removed from Kuwait and its WMD programs dismantled.

While the world probably should have removed Saddam in 1991, the Bush adminstration was only able to convince everyone of the smaller option which was retaking Kuwait and disarming Iraq's WMD programs. Much of Iraq's military was destroyed in the 1991 war and Iraq's WMD was heavily dismantled but not eliminated when the inspectors were forced to leave in 1998. The Bush adminstration and many other officials believed that Saddam would never be able to stay in power for very long after such a devestating military defeat. If he did stay in power, it was believed that with UN inspectors that the WMD could be dismantled and Saddam fully contained. When the inspectors were kicked out for 4 years, this really ended the possibility of disarming Iraq in a peaceful manner. Saddam could still give in, but if he does not, he will have to be disarmed with force.

The USA and coalition allies are trying to head off the situation of Saddam with Nuclear weapons. Far better to act now when Saddam does not have Nuclear weapons than when he does. Chemical and Biological weapons are far more difficult to effectively employ and easier to defend against relative to Nuclear Weapons. Saddam is trying to conceal what ever Chem and Bio weapons he has which makes it harder for him to suddenly uncover them and use them quickly and effectively in a war that could be very quick and devastating. Also, unless Saddam has already positioned Chem, Bio weapons with terrorist groups outside of Iraq, it will be very difficult for him to employ such weapons against defenseless civilians in other countries. Scud Missiles do have the reach but its not known how many he has left. The USA has several ABM systems in place in the region to defend against a possible Scud attack.

If the UN inspectors do not find anything, there is the glaring fact that Iraq has not shown the evidence that several weapons it had on the inspectors list in 1998 were destroyed. Iraq claims to have destroyed them, but have not shown the evidence of this. Unless Iraq shows the evidence of the destruction of these known weapons or gives them up, then the USA and coalition partners will be forced to disarm Iraq with force. It is important to remember that the United Nations resolutions and 1991 Ceace Fire state that It is incumbent upon Iraq and Iraq alone to prove that they no longer have weapons of mass destruction! Iraq has failed to do this.

The Pre-emtive strike theory is not really a change in policy but simply the publication of what the USA and several other countries would do in order to counter a serious threat to the country there by saving thousands or millions of innocent people.
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Old 01-09-2003, 08:59 PM   #6
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Sting2 i agree with you in theory, however no one, meaning the white house has outlined plans for post Sadaam. That is if they can find him.
1. If they can't find him aren't we setting up a martyr.
2. The ripple effect of other Arab nations and militant Islamist against the US and the probable increase in terrorist activity.
3. Destabilization of the region.
4. Our horrible history of not following through on establishment of a new regime or gov't, due to monetary concerns back home (same in Afganistan, we promise the world and deliver not much, - we should have accepted UN peackeepers).

This really is a rehash, but I welcome your comments.
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Old 01-09-2003, 11:01 PM   #7
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Scarletwine,

The Bush adminstration has a plan for post Saddam, but it has not really been publicized yet. If Saddam tries to run and hide, that would not prevent the Coalition from accomplishing its goal of regime change in Iraq. Saddam is powerless without the control he has in Baghdad. If he leaves the Republican Guard, he is probably leaving the only people that are willing to fight to the death for him. Many would be happy if Saddam decided to pack up and leave and went to live in Libya. But I doubt that he is going to do that. Saddam is not Bin Ladin and would not last as long if he were in Bin Ladin's shoes. He also is not experienced or connected in the way Bin Ladin is to a multi-national terrorist organization. Saddam's power is in Iraq, and if he leaves that his power will be gone. Oil and the Republican Guard is his power. Based on his defensive preperations for Baghdad, he looks ready to fight it out to the end in Baghdad if there is a war.

2. The arguement of problems throughtout the Arab World and increased terrorism was made back in 1990/1991 and the first Gulf War. These problems did not happen. They were not even close to happening back then. Many said the samething about the US invasion of Afghanistan, but again there was certainly disagreement, but not a radicalized situation where people start lining up to become terrorist. In addition, when the living conditions of Iraqi civilians are improved over what they were under Saddam, it will make this threat even less probable of happening.

3. Rather than destabilizing the region, today disarmament of Iraq or regime change will make the region more stable. Israel will feel far less threatened from a more strategic point of view and may be a little more willing to make compromises. Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia will have less to worry about with Saddam gone which could have a major positive impact on Iran's future. When these governments feel less threatened about their future with Saddam gone and Iraq developing economically, they will not feel the need to devote as many resources to defense as they have in the past. This will in turn benefit their economies. Of course this assumes that in a decade or two the conservative forces in Iran are forced out. Bottom line is, the countries in the region will benefit in the long term with Saddam gone or disarmed completely and permanently.

4. I have a good friend in the US Marines that just got back from being in Afghanistan for 6 months. Afghanistan is vastly improved from where it was 2 years ago, but there is a lot of work to do. Afghanistan has been an undeveloped country with a Warlord history going back thousands of years. It will take considerable time to make large scale changes.

The USA has had an excellant history when it comes to regime change and economic development. Germany, Japan, and South Korea are just a few of the huge success stories that come to mind.

The biggest thing going for a post Saddam Iraq that Afghanistan does not have is Oil! Any post Saddam Iraq will have the worlds 2nd largest Oil reserves to draw from. The revenue if properly distributed throughout Iraq, will accelerate economic development and rebuild the country. If there was only one country in the third world you would want to economically develop, it might be Iraq do to the fact of its Oil. Saddam has spent Iraq's wealth the past 23 years on Weapons, war, weapons, war, and more weapons. Without Saddam, all that wealth that is generated from the sale of oil can be pushed back into the economy and people rather than Saddam's adventures.

Iraq is on top of and to close to most of the worlds oil supplies for the USA to let the country just slide into Chaos.

In the longterm, Iraq with its two large rivers and the worlds second largest reserves of Oil, especially relative to the size of its population, is well set up for prosperity in the future once Saddam is gone.
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Old 01-10-2003, 10:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
While the world probably should have removed Saddam in 1991, the Bush adminstration was only able to convince everyone of the smaller option which was retaking Kuwait and disarming Iraq's WMD programs. Much of Iraq's military was destroyed in the 1991 war and Iraq's WMD was heavily dismantled but not eliminated when the inspectors were forced to leave in 1998. The Bush adminstration and many other officials believed that Saddam would never be able to stay in power for very long after such a devestating military defeat. If he did stay in power, it was believed that with UN inspectors that the WMD could be dismantled and Saddam fully contained. When the inspectors were kicked out for 4 years, this really ended the possibility of disarming Iraq in a peaceful manner. Saddam could still give in, but if he does not, he will have to be disarmed with force.

I am sick of it because if he was going to be taken out, they should have done it in 1991! All of his troups were surrendering, even the Republican Guard, and the coalition troops had a cakewalk into Baghdad. They even encouraged rival factions like the Kurds and Shiites to rise up and oust Saddam, then left them to die with no help! No, they were convinced by (two-faced) Saudi Arabia that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know, and they were afraid that whoever replaced Saddam would be worse. Well, over 10 years later, he is still in power, worse than ever, and now they realize he should have been thrown out back then so they decide to return and do it now? I don't want to hear about it. All those soldiers on TV in 1991 said to a man they wanted to finish the job so they wouldn't have to come back and do it later, as they knew would happen. What urks me most is, if he was a bad guy in 1991, and a bad guy in 2002, was he not trouble in between? Or is he only a demon when it's convenient and suits someone's current political needs?
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Old 01-10-2003, 01:53 PM   #9
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Sting2: true, but if N. Korea is really as benign as you say, then why did they kick out the UN inspectors and demanded US not to attack them in order to stop the nuclear programme?
If they really are using the programme in peaceful purposes like they say, those actions don't make sense.

(oil prices are going up as we speak - good for the oil companies)

What do you mean "Saddam does not have nuclear weapons"? Isn't that what US is saying all along - WMD are biological, chemical and nuclear weapons right?
If they indeed destroyed those weapons, how will they prove it? The weapons don't exist anymore!

Pre-emptive strike (strike first, including nuclear weapons) is a US doctrine, I'm not aware of any allies who'd do the same thing.


Good points, Scarletwine. I agree - it's one thing to defeat Iraq's army and capture (or whatever the plan is) Saddam, but anyone can only guess what will happen next.
What will happen to the Baashi party and how long will there be troops to keep peace? How do we know someone close to Saddam won't get power? What about the refugees and damage repair? Who's to say this won't start up terrorist attacks?
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Old 01-10-2003, 01:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
Any post Saddam Iraq will have the worlds 2nd largest Oil reserves to draw from.
Bonoman, does this answer you?

You can bet US would be (at least indirectly) very interested in what happens to those reserves (plus Saddam might start burning oil fields like he did in '91), and we all know that many US presidents tried to solve the Israel-Palestine problem - US always had their interests in Middle East.
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Old 01-10-2003, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl


(oil prices are going up as we speak - good for the oil companies)

1. Not being a car driver, I haven't noticed any changes in the price of gasoline.

But an increase in oil prices means nothing by itself. What matters is *why* oil prices are going up, and it's plausible that this is due to a forecast of a *decrease* in oil production in the near future (because of the prospect of a war).

2. I wonder if anyone remembers the allegations that leftists made about the attack on Afghanistan being motivated by the desire to build an underground oil pipeline there? Funny, you don't hear too much about it nowadays.


Quote:

Pre-emptive strike (strike first, including nuclear weapons) is a US doctrine, I'm not aware of any allies who'd do the same thing.
The US has *never* indicated that it plans to use nuclear weapons against Iraq or any other country, now or any time in the future.
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Old 01-10-2003, 02:48 PM   #12
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Um, I don't know about those allegations but it's true about the oil prices. (unless media are lying)

I'm not saying US plans to nuke anyone - but use of nuclear weapons is included in the mentioned doctrine.
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Old 01-10-2003, 02:54 PM   #13
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I wouldn't necessarily call the Media an unbiased source of truth....
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Old 01-10-2003, 03:09 PM   #14
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...but they are only reporting what's happening in the oil market.
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Old 01-10-2003, 03:37 PM   #15
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Desire4Bono,

First let me correct some distortions about the first Gulf War. There was never any mass surrender of the Republican Guard forces. The Republican Guard had 8 divisions at the time of the Gulf War.(The Regular Army had a little over 50) These were:

1. Hammurabi Armored Division
2. al-Faw Infantry Division
3. Madinah Munawrah Armored Division
4. Tawakalnah Armored Division
5. Nebuchadnezzar Armored Division
6. Adnan Armored Division
7. Special Forces Division
8. Baghdad Infantry Division

During the ground war US ground forces destroyed the Tawakalnah Armored Division, Nebuchadnezzar Armored Division, Adnan Armored Division and 50% of the Madinah Munawrah Armored Division. In each case, the soldiers of each Division numbering over 10,000 a piece fought to the death! Few if any prisoners were taken from these divisions. Only four prisoners and perhaps the only 4 survivers were taken in from the Tawakalnah Division. The Madinah Division only survived because of the suspension of offensive ground operations after 100 hours.

The Baghdad Division had most of its troops defending the Capital and was not in the theater of operations, while the Special Forces Division quickly withdrew towards Baghdad at the start of the Ground War. The Hammurabi Armored Division and the al-faw Infantry Division survived relatively intact and were ready to defend Al-Basrah if the city was attacked.

The point here is that the Republican Guard did not surrender at all, and their level of resistance was surprising even if it was ultimately futile.

There were 80,000 Iraqi REGULAR ARMY soldiers that surrendard but that is out of a total of 350,000 Regular Army and Republican Guard forces still in the area of operations at the time of the Ground War. Most Iraqi soldiers did not surrender but either retreated, deserted, or were killed or wounded in combat.

The Bush administration realized that Saddam should go back in 1991 but did not compaign for an operation of regime removal because congress would have blocked it. Realize the US Senate only Authorized Desert Storm by a Narrow vote of 52 to 47. Had they tried to get an operation for regime change that was much more involved and included going all the way to Baghdad to remove the regime, it would have been easily defeated in the Senate and then nothing would have happened, and the Iraqi's would have remained in Kuwait.

So many people here forget that there was heavy opposition to the first Gulf War and its funny to see(not to point the finger at anyone) some political figures criticize the first Bush administration for not going all the way to Baghdad when they did not want to use force to even remove the Iraqi military from Kuwait.

The Coalition that George Bush Sr. built in 1990/1991 to help enforce sanctions and pay for most of the military effort would have collapsed if the USA suddenly decided to advance on Baghdad. But the thing is, even if the adminstration suddenly decided to go to Baghdad, it had not put in place the logistical needs for an operation all the way to Baghdad, which would be significantly more than an operation to free Kuwait, at the time of the ground war. Many felt that Saddam would not last in power and it was less costly to wait a couple of years for him to be overthrown than to invade and overthrow him and be saddled with rebuilding the country without the support of any coalition members. Based on the intelligence information available back then, Bush made an intelligent decision. The USA removed Iraq from Kuwait, destroyed much of its military power and enforced no-fly zones and an inspection regime on the country to destroy its WMD program. The USA did not have to pay a dime for the war, the Coalition allies, mainly Japan, Germany, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia paid the 70 Billion dollar tab. The price of oil around the world dropped to some of its lowest levels in history helping to fuel the economic expansion of the late 1990s. The only problem was, to shock of many, Saddam was not overthrown from within as the administration had caculated it would be.

Its easy to look back in hindsite and say the adminstration made a mistake. I agree in general that Saddam should have been overthrown by the Coalition in Allies in 1991. But this was not possible for several reasons. The Coalition Allies did not support such an action, and the US congress and public were not supportive of such an action either. President Bush did the best he could with these built in restraints. In fact its to President Bush's credit that he was able to convince the US Congress and the world of the need to remove Saddam Hussian from Kuwait with military force!

As far as what happened from 1991 to 2002, most of that of course falls on Clintons shoulders. Saddam for the most part complied with the resolutions against him in 1991 and 1992. The obstructions and bad behavior against the UN inspection teams occured more often in the mid to late 1990s. If the UN inspection teams could successfully and permanently disarm Iraq peacefully then the fact that Saddam was an evil dictator would not matter. He would simply be the defanged snake, evil but powerless. The approach was cerntainly less costly politically and economically to have a large inspection and containment regime. The problem is the inspections while successful in many cases were in the end a failure because they did not accomplish the goal of disarming Iraq completely and permanently. The inspectors were of course kicked out giving Saddam time to re-constitute his WMD programs and figure out a way to conceal them if the inspectors were ever let back into the country based on the previous experience.

The Clinton Administration felt UN inspections plus Containment would keep Saddam from having the capability to threaten his neighbors or the USA, and felt there was not much support for regime change in the region or in the USA itself. The UN inspectors were kicked out in 1998 and the Coalition in response bombed Iraq for four days which only temporarily set back Saddam for a year at most. By 2000, the election year, the Clinton Adminstration wanted to stay on the defensive and practice damage control with Iraq and let the new administration come in and get a fresh start instead of handing them a mess.

The Bush adminstration from the start stated that Saddam's violations would not stand and were looking at all options for regime change. A large scale conventional invasion was still seen as off the table because most did not believe they could muster enough support required in Congress and from the American People. But that changed on Sept. 11, 2001. People who had been passive on the threat from Iraq woke up to the reality of that threat and realized Iraq had to be disarmed now, with force if necessary, to prevent a disaster greater than 9/11 in the future.

It is interesting to note that Hitler was a threat in 1933, but the world sat and did nothing. It was difficult for those that thought something needed to be done to muster enough political support to do something. Eventually events around the world would change the majority opinion, but it was probably to late had it not been for German and Japanese military mistakes. Please, this is not a direct comparison to Saddam, but simply an illistration of the difficulties of responding to threats in a democracy and the problems that can emerge when you do not deal with threats when they first arise.
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