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Old 10-07-2004, 06:44 AM   #1
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Cheney's Misleading, Deceiving Case for War

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6192327/site/newsweek/

The article says it all.

Cheney intentionally misled the public to start this war in Iraq, which has cost so many lives. Think about how many soldiers and civilians (including innocent CHILDREN!) have been killed because of this administration's decision to go to war. Saddam was obviously a madman and a murderer, but there had to be a better way. We would not have rushed to war knowing what we know now. There was no clear and present danger to the U.S. from Iraq. Certainly no more than N. Korea or Iran. Yet, we went into Iraq but not the others...

If a leader has to fabricate and embellish circumstantial evidence in order to garner support for a war that would not have been supported otherwise, there is a huge problem in this country that needs to be recognized and solved.

AJ
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:00 AM   #2
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More an opinion piece than an article but interesting points nevertheless.
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Old 10-07-2004, 08:07 AM   #3
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Moving this to War...
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Old 10-07-2004, 08:35 AM   #4
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Hawk269 -

Unfortunately, most people don't like to be confronted with the truth but the truth ultimately sets you free.

Cheney is the most dangerous man in politics today - right next to his friend, Congressman Tom DeLay - a partner in moral bankruptcy and ethical crime from Texas.

DEFINITELY TIME FOR REGIME CHANGE IN DC....
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:22 AM   #5
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Jamila

When "confronted" with an OPINION piece, do you always ASSUME it is true?
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Jamila

When "confronted" with an OPINION piece, do you always ASSUME it is true?
My feelings exactly.
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Jamila

When "confronted" with an OPINION piece, do you always ASSUME it is true?
When evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of one side over another, and backed up by facts that have been substantiated by an unbiased source, I make the reasonable choice of siding with those who present logical, credible evidence.

I adhere to the reasonable person standard, which is one of the pillars of the U.S. justice system.

Maybe you should try adhering to this standard as well.


AJ
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:41 PM   #8
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This rationale is so full of holes, you can substitute it for Swiss Cheese:

"Based on all the information we have to date," Mr. Bush said at the White House, "I believe we were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison.

He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction, and he could have passed that knowledge on to our terrorist enemies."


So being *safer* justifies going to war? We would be *safer* if N. Korea were no longer a threat. We would be *safer* if Iran were no longer a threat. Yet, we have not attacked them. Why is that?

In the second part of that quote, you could substitute the leaders of Iran or North Korea for "he" and it would be the same argument. So, these reasons alone are not enough - otherwise, we would be in N. Korea or Iran by now.

Anyone CAN do just about anything. But that doesn't mean they will. It doesn't mean there was a clear and present danger.

AJ
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269


When evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of one side over another, and backed up by facts that have been substantiated by an unbiased source, I make the reasonable choice of siding with those who present logical, credible evidence.

I adhere to the reasonable person standard, which is one of the pillars of the U.S. justice system.

Maybe you should try adhering to this standard as well.
Thanks for the lecture on the US justice system. I've been familiar with it since you were in elementary school.

Why don't you argue the facts instead of using someone else's opinion?
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Old 10-07-2004, 12:49 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Hawk269
So being *safer* justifies going to war? We would be *safer* if N. Korea were no longer a threat. We would be *safer* if Iran were no longer a threat. Yet, we have not attacked them. Why is that?
Yes. The whole rationale behind a pre-emptive strike is that the attack makes you safer.

If you want us to attack N. Korea, perhaps you could write your congressional representative.
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269



I adhere to the reasonable person standard, which is one of the pillars of the U.S. justice system.

Maybe you should try adhering to this standard as well.


AJ
Being a lawyer, I am sure NBCrusader is fammiliar with the standard of which you speak.

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Old 10-07-2004, 01:43 PM   #12
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I will first have to wait and see how the situation in Iraq evolves before I can draw my conclusions about whether the world is a safer place or not.
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Old 10-07-2004, 05:44 PM   #13
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Re: Cheney's Misleading, Deceiving Case for War

Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6192327/site/newsweek/

The article says it all.

Cheney intentionally misled the public to start this war in Iraq, which has cost so many lives. Think about how many soldiers and civilians (including innocent CHILDREN!) have been killed because of this administration's decision to go to war. Saddam was obviously a madman and a murderer, but there had to be a better way. We would not have rushed to war knowing what we know now. There was no clear and present danger to the U.S. from Iraq. Certainly no more than N. Korea or Iran. Yet, we went into Iraq but not the others...

If a leader has to fabricate and embellish circumstantial evidence in order to garner support for a war that would not have been supported otherwise, there is a huge problem in this country that needs to be recognized and solved.

AJ
Saddam Hussein had invaded and attacked four different countries in the space of less than 10 years in the 80s and early 1990s. After his invasion of Kuwait and then defeat in the Gulf War, the United Nations laid down a number of conditions and requirement that Saddam had to comply with. Multiple resolutions were passed authorizing the use of military force if Saddam failed to meet the conditions of the 1991 Gulf War Ceacefire agreement and subsequent resolutions.

Saddam played a cat and mouse game with UN inspectors from 1991 to 1998 when the UN inspectors were kicked out and not allowed to return. The process of Verifiable disarmament is not something that takes 7 years let alone 12 years. Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakstan, and South Africa all verifiably disarmed of their arsonals in under a year. With, Saddam things were far different.

When UN inspectors were kicked out in November of 1998, they listed the fact that Saddam had failed to account for over 1,000 Liters of Anthrax, 500 pounds of mustard gas, hundreds of pounds of sarin gas, and over 20,000 Bio/Chem capable shells.

Four years passed with inspectors not allowed to return to Iraq. Then in 2002, because of the Bush administrations pressure, Saddam did let inspectors back in, but refused to account for the missing stocks which even Saddam had addmitted to having back in 1998. The claim was that the materials had been dismantled and any evidence of the dismantlement or destruction destroyed as well. Essentially, the dog ate my homework excuse.

The situation in March 2003 was, Saddam had failed to Verifiably Disarm of all WMD which was required by the 1991 UN Ceacefire agreement and multiple UN resolutions including resolution 1441, that authorized the use of military force if Saddam failed to comply and verifiably disarm. Saddam's failure to verifiably disarm made war a necessity.

While the CIA and other inspection teams failed to find WMD in Iraq, the cold hard fact remains that Saddam failed to VERIFIABLY DISARM of all WMD. Various inspectors and others may theorize about where or in what condition unaccounted for WMD is in, but they remain theory's and not facts. The fact that made war a necessity was Saddam's failure to verifiably disarm of all WMD. That fact is just as true today, as it was on March 19, 2003.
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Old 10-07-2004, 06:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269
This rationale is so full of holes, you can substitute it for Swiss Cheese:

"Based on all the information we have to date," Mr. Bush said at the White House, "I believe we were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison.

He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction, and he could have passed that knowledge on to our terrorist enemies."


So being *safer* justifies going to war? We would be *safer* if N. Korea were no longer a threat. We would be *safer* if Iran were no longer a threat. Yet, we have not attacked them. Why is that?

In the second part of that quote, you could substitute the leaders of Iran or North Korea for "he" and it would be the same argument. So, these reasons alone are not enough - otherwise, we would be in N. Korea or Iran by now.

Anyone CAN do just about anything. But that doesn't mean they will. It doesn't mean there was a clear and present danger.

AJ
Saddam's regime invaded and attacked four different countries over the past 20 years! Saddam's regime used WMD more times than any other regime in history! Saddam's regime threatened the majority of the PLANETS energy supplies with seizure and sabotage, which could have plunged the world into global depression far worse than the 1930s depression with unknowable consequences for the entire world. Saddam's military in Iraq is only dozens of miles from vast oil fields in both Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, as well as Iran, that supply a majority of the world with its energy. Because of where Iraq was geographically, Saddam's regime was idealy positioned to threaten global energy supply. His past behavior indicated he was likely to do so again, and he did retain the capabilities to do so.

While North Korea is a threat, it is not nearly the threat that Saddam was because of the above facts. North Korea has not invaded another country in over 50 years! North Korea borders 3 countries, China, Russia and South Korea which have 3 of the 5 largest military forces in the world. Although South Korea's military is slightly smaller than North Korea's, South Korea has a far better equiped and trained military force than North Korea.

North Korea is not harmless and what makes them formidable is the massive amount of artillery that the country has deployed along its border with South Korea and in range of the Seoul the capital and its 10 million people who live there. North Korea's stocks of artillery are nearly the largest in the world, and most of it is deployed along the DMZ into the side of mountains and other places with various concealment and fortification measure designed to increase each emplacements survivability. Because of the level of artillery that North Korea has and the close proximity that Seoul and its 10 million people are to that artillery, any conflict started would result in hundreds of thousands of deaths in the first days and hours. This unique situation does not exist anywhere else in the world. Prior to getting nucear weapons, this is how North Korea had a strong deterent to military action from other countries. With Nuclear Weapons, the North now has the ability to cause devestation in southern parts of South Korea as well as Japan.

Despite these capabilities, North Korea has been one of the most benign countries in the world when it comes to unprovoked military aggression over the past 50 years. North Korea simply has not invaded any countries, unlike Saddam who has launched more unprovoked invasions and attacks than any other leader today.

While North Korea does have enormous capabilities to cause destruction, their behavior has shown them to be far less of a threat. In addition, geographically, they are not positioned to threaten the planet in the way that Saddam was. North Korea while able to cause large scale loss of life in South Korea and Japan, does not have the capability to overrun either of those countries. As long as Saddam's regime had the capacity to defend itself from Iran, they would always have the capability to overrun Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The impact globally from the seizure and sabotage of Kuwaiti and Saudi oil would be far greater than economic impact from South Korea being cut off from the world whether it was overrun(not possible) or devestated by war.

What deterimines the level of threat is one's capabilities and desire's to cause harm. While Saddam lacked certain specific capabilities that North Korea has, his past behavior shows that he is likely to engage in behavior that would cause terrible harm to the entire planet, is perfectly geographically positioned to cause this harm, and does have the capability to inflict it. North Korea was only more threatening than Saddam in specific area's in the capability category.

North Korea was less of a threat than Saddam, and the cost of dealing with the threat from North Korea through military force outweighs the cost of dealing with North Korea through sanctions and talks. With Saddam, the situation was just the opposite.
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Old 10-08-2004, 12:36 AM   #15
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you can't claim to enforce UN laws and throw out the UN inspectors yourself and ignore the will of the UN president.
That dosn't seem authentic to me
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Old 10-08-2004, 03:15 PM   #16
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Originally posted by Klaus
Sting2
you can't claim to enforce UN laws and throw out the UN inspectors yourself and ignore the will of the UN president.
That dosn't seem authentic to me
The United States did not throw out the UN inspectors. Saddam prevented the UN inspectors from doing their job. Under such conditions, member states of the UN were authorized through resolution 678 to take military action. The UN president does not make the decisions about military actions or the resolutions, the Security Council does. The UN president does not have a vote on the security council.

Any meaning that the United Nations was crumbling, until the member states in the coalition finally took decisive action to finally enforce 17 UN resolutions passed under chapter VII rules of the United Nations. The fact that it took 12 years for this to finally happen is the only bad thing.
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Old 10-09-2004, 12:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2


The United States did not throw out the UN inspectors. Saddam prevented the UN inspectors from doing their job. Under such conditions, member states of the UN were authorized through resolution 678 to take military action. The UN president does not make the decisions about military actions or the resolutions, the Security Council does. The UN president does not have a vote on the security council.
The USA prevented the UN inspectors from doing their job more than Saddam did by starting a war where we effectively told the inspectors, get out of there because your lives are at risk!

Quote:

Any meaning that the United Nations was crumbling, until the member states in the coalition finally took decisive action to finally enforce 17 UN resolutions passed under chapter VII rules of the United Nations. The fact that it took 12 years for this to finally happen is the only bad thing.
Sting - you quote all of these UN resolutions, often by number, which provides interesting legal jargon. However, the point of the UN is to have consensus prior to taking action. You are justifying the war by basically saying that we were the world police who finally enforced the UN laws that had been broken and you are probably correct in asserting that .

But let's go over the purpose of the UN in general: To maintain peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect; to cooperate in solving international problems; to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

You can argue the legalese until your face turns blue. But when you are talking about starting a war where thousands of human lives are at stake, shouldn't morality play a role?

IN ADDITION, as Klaus said, you can't have it both ways! One minute you are talking about how weak the U.N. was to have not taken action in 12 years and the next you are quoting UN Resolution 678, as if it were the law of the land. Either you are for the U.N. or you are against it. But playing on both sides of the fence is usually maligned as flip-flopping around these parts.

AJ
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hawk269


The USA prevented the UN inspectors from doing their job more than Saddam did by starting a war where we effectively told the inspectors, get out of there because your lives are at risk!



Sting - you quote all of these UN resolutions, often by number, which provides interesting legal jargon. However, the point of the UN is to have consensus prior to taking action. You are justifying the war by basically saying that we were the world police who finally enforced the UN laws that had been broken and you are probably correct in asserting that .

But let's go over the purpose of the UN in general: To maintain peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect; to cooperate in solving international problems; to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

You can argue the legalese until your face turns blue. But when you are talking about starting a war where thousands of human lives are at stake, shouldn't morality play a role?

IN ADDITION, as Klaus said, you can't have it both ways! One minute you are talking about how weak the U.N. was to have not taken action in 12 years and the next you are quoting UN Resolution 678, as if it were the law of the land. Either you are for the U.N. or you are against it. But playing on both sides of the fence is usually maligned as flip-flopping around these parts.

AJ
#1 Guess how UN inspectors got back into Iraq in November of 2002?

#2 After being in the country for four months, nothing was accomplished on the chief goal of getting Saddam to account for several thousands of stocks of WMD that the UN reported were unaccounted for when they were kicked out four years earlier. The UN inspectors mission is to inspect and verify, not play Saddam's old game of "cheat and retreat". The inspectors are not armed and to few, to ever have a chance of winning at one of Saddam's games as the process from 1991 to 1998 often showed.

#3 Resolution 1441 signed in November of 2002 gave Saddam one last chance to openly come out and comply with the resolutions. Its not the inspectors job to try and do that for Saddam. They are there to inspect and verify that Saddam is complying. No progress was made on the unaccounted for weapons the whole time the inspectors were in the country from November of 2002 to March of 2003. Nothing had been accomplished in the year prior to the UN inspectors being kicked out in November of 1998.

#4 When the 1991 Gulf War Ceacefire was signed, it was not designed to be some open ended process where Saddam would essentially get forever to comply with the resolutions. The conditions were serious and were backed up with the use of military force if Saddam failed to comply.

#5 It was the UN that passed the resolutions authorizing the use of military force, not the United States. Member states of the UN to include the United States, United Kingdom and Australia then enforced the resolutions as authorized by the UN.


#6 "But let's go over the purpose of the UN in general: To maintain peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect; to cooperate in solving international problems; to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations."

This is precisely what the UN has finally done in regards to Iraq. Saddam was a threat to peace and security in the region as well as the world and he was removed. 30 nations are currently involved in the operation in Iraq which will finally help to develop friendly relations and respect among countries that have only known war and hostility because of Saddam. Can you name another operation around the world that involves the same number or a greater number of nations on this level?

#7 When were talking about Saddam's regime, a regime that has invaded and attacked four different countries over the past 20 years, used WMD more times than any leader in history, threatened the PLANETS energy supply with sabotage and seizure, and murdered over 1.7 million people, I would say that MORALITY did indeed play a role in going to war! Indeed what would be the cost of leaving Saddam in power? How many Iraqi's would die? How many people would die from a new war launched by Saddam, potentially with WMD? What would the effect on the planet be if it were suddenly cut off from the majority of its energy supply? When you think about morality and costs, you need to consider these questions!

#8 The UN passed excellant resolutions designed to force Saddam to comply and verifiably disarm, or face the renewed military action. Unfortunately, while the UN has been strong in theory, law and idea's, it has been weak in the enforcement or practice of these things. Recognizing the strengths of the UN as well as its weakness's is vital to making it stronger in the future.
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Old 10-11-2004, 04:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2


#1 Guess how UN inspectors got back into Iraq in November of 2002?


The US by sending their military to the Iraqi border.
It was a good thing to raise presure on Mr. Hussein. Mr. Hussein started to cooperate with Unmovic for the first time in years. But it was stupid to throw unmovic out of Iraq when they weren't finished with their job. And it was bad for the US credibility to not allow UNMOVIC to enter Iraq after the fall of mr. hussein.

Quote:
#2 After being in the country for four months, nothing was accomplished on the chief goal of getting Saddam to account for several thousands of stocks of WMD that the UN reported were unaccounted for when they were kicked out four years earlier. The UN inspectors mission is to inspect and verify, not play Saddam's old game of "cheat and retreat". The inspectors are not armed and to few, to ever have a chance of winning at one of Saddam's games as the process from 1991 to 1998 often showed.


Nothing was accomplished? They destroyed some rockets and they verified that some of the mentioned factories don't produce WMDs like some countries blamed.
You're right, Saddam did play games - but this time the US played games and this isn't good for their reputation.

Quote:
#3 Resolution 1441 signed in November of 2002 gave Saddam one last chance to openly come out and comply with the resolutions. Its not the inspectors job to try and do that for Saddam. They are there to inspect and verify that Saddam is complying. No progress was made on the unaccounted for weapons the whole time the inspectors were in the country from November of 2002 to March of 2003. Nothing had been accomplished in the year prior to the UN inspectors being kicked out in November of 1998.


I have commented this approx. 10.000 times, i don't think that these resolutions were enough to justify the war, Mr. Annan dosn't think so, many other countries don't think so. You, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair do think it justified the war.

Same for #4, #5


Quote:
#6 "But let's go over the purpose of the UN in general: To maintain peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect; to cooperate in solving international problems; to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations."


You think that talking like a cowboy and declaring the UN as irrelevant, and "either you are with us or against us" is based on respect and is solving more international problems than it creates?
Do you think that the US were "harmonizing nations" in the last 4 years?

Quote:
This is precisely what the UN has finally done in regards to Iraq. Saddam was a threat to peace and security in the region as well as the world and he was removed.


A basically non-existing threat for global peace and security was removed while ignoring that other countries really have A- B- And C-WMDs and are willing to sell them.
But well they helped against iraq and so it's not our problem that they sell nuclear technology?

Quote:
30 nations are currently involved in the operation in Iraq which will finally help to develop friendly relations and respect among countries that have only known war and hostility because of Saddam. Can you name another operation around the world that involves the same number or a greater number of nations on this level?



To be honest i have no clue how many nations operate in iraq, in afghanistan and i have no clue how many nations try to solve the palestine/israel conflict.
But if you take the No. of troops in iraq and the percentage of non US troops it dosn't look like the broad support you're trying to make out of this.


Quote:
#7 When were talking about Saddam's regime, a regime that has invaded and attacked four different countries over the past 20 years, used WMD more times than any leader in history, threatened the PLANETS energy supply with sabotage and seizure, and murdered over 1.7 million people, I would say that MORALITY did indeed play a role in going to war! Indeed what would be the cost of leaving Saddam in power? How many Iraqi's would die? How many people would die from a new war launched by Saddam, potentially with WMD? What would the effect on the planet be if it were suddenly cut off from the majority of its energy supply? When you think about morality and costs, you need to consider these questions!


You forget that (besides Kuwait) the western world supported the wars of Mr. Hussein. And in Kuwait we liberated a country from one Dictator and gave it to another dictator (the "royal family")
It was good to free kuwait and it was stupid not to turn that country into a democracy.
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Old 10-13-2004, 08:40 PM   #20
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Security Scholars Say Iraq War Most Misguided Policy Since Vietnam
by Jim Lobe


WASHINGTON – The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has been the “most misguided” policy since the Vietnam War, according to an open letter signed by some 500 U.S. national-security specialists.


We’re advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging.

Barry Posen, the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
The letter, released Tuesday by a Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy (S3FP), said that the current situation in Iraq could have been much better had the Bush administration heeded the advice of some of its most experienced career military and foreign service officers.

But the administration’s failure to do so has actually fueled “the violent opposition to the U.S. military presence,” as well as the intervention of terrorists from outside Iraq.

“The results of this policy have been overwhelmingly negative for U.S. interests,” according to the group which called for a “fundamental reassessment” in both the U.S. strategy in Iraq and its implementation.

“We’re advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole, to stop digging,” said Prof. Barry Posen, the Ford International Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the organizers of S3FP which includes some of the most eminent U.S. experts on both national-security policy and on the Middle East and the Arab world.

Among the signers are six of the last seven presidents of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and professors teach in more than 150 colleges and universities in 40 states.

Besides Posen, the main organizers included Stanley Kaufman of the University of Delaware; Michael Brown, director of Security Studies at Georgetown University; Michael Desch, who holds the Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security Decision-Making at the Bush School of government at Texas A & M University; and Jessica Stern, at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who also served in a senior counter-terrorism post in the National Security Council during the Clinton administration.

“I think it is telling that so many specialists on international relations, who rarely agree on anything, are unified in their position on the high costs that the U.S. is incurring from this war,” said Prof. Robert Keohane of Duke University in North Carolina.

Their critique mirrors an unprecedented statement released by 27 retired top-ranking foreign service and military officials last June, any of whom said they had voted for Bush in the 2000 election.

The 27, called Diplomats for Change, accused the administration of the country “into an ill-planned and costly war from which exist is uncertain and charged that the March 2003 invasion.” As their name suggested, they called for Bush to be defeated in 2004.

The new statement’s signatories also includes a number of retired government officials – some career military and foreign-service officers, other political appointees in Democratic and Republican administrations – who are currently working at colleges and universities.

Much of their critique echoes arguments voiced by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry who, in recent weeks, has pounded way at alleged failures in the way Bush has prosecuted the “war on terrorism,” particularly with respect to Iraq.

“We judge that the current American policy centered around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period, one which harms the cause of the struggle against extreme Islamist terrorists,” S3FP writes.

“One result has been a great distortion instead of facts, on mythology instead of calculation, and on misplaced moralizing over considerations of national interest,” they wrote.

The scholars applauded the Bush administration for its initial focus on destroying al-Qaida’s bases in Afghanistan, they charged that its subsequent “failure to engage sufficient U.S. troops to capture or kill the mass of al-Qaida fighters in the alter stages of that war was a great blunder.”

“It is a fact that the early shift of U.S. focus to Iraq diverted U.S. resources, including special operations forces and intelligence capabilities, away from direct pursuit of the fight against the terrorists.”

The letter noted that “many of the justifications” provided by the administration for the Iraq war, including an operational relationship between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein and Iraq’s programs for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), have proven “untrue” and that North Korea and Pakistan pose much greater risks of nuclear proliferation to terrorists.

“Even on moral grounds, the case for war was dubious: the war itself has killed over a thousand Americans and unknown thousands of Iraqis, and if the threat of civil war becomes reality, ordinary Iraqis could be even worse off than they were under Saddam Hussein.”

Since the invasion, “policy errors …have created a situation in Iraq worse than it needed to be,” according to the letter which noted that the administration ignored advice from the Army Chief of Staff on the need for many more U.S. troops to provide security and from the State Department and other U.S. agencies on how reconstruction could be carried out.

“As a result, Iraqi popular dismay at the lack of security, jobs or reliable electric power fuels much of the violent opposition to the U.S. military presence, while the war itself has drawn in terrorists from outside Iraq.”

While Saddam’s removal was “desirable,” according to the scholars, the actual benefit to the United States was “small,” particular in light of the fact that Iraq posed far less of a threat to the U.S. or its allies than the administration had asserted.

“On the negative side, the excessive U.S. focus on Iraq led to weak and inadequate responses to the greater challenges posed by North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear programs, and diverted resources from the economic and diplomatic efforts needed to fight terrorism in its breeding grounds in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East.”

Worse, the occupation’s failures, such as the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere, have acted as a recruitment tool for al-Qaida and similar groups throughout the region, according to the letter.

“Recognizing these negative consequences of the Iraq war, in addition to the cost in lives and money, we believe that a fundamental reassessment is in order,” the letter said.
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