October 08, 2004

I'm Only Good at Inviting More Trouble


Everyone knows about this Iraq Survey Group report that came out this week, and that it basically says Iraq didn't have what we said they had. However, the report indicates that Saddam Hussein had the "intent" to produce WMD's. Although the "true believers" have had to concede that Saddam didn't actually have WMD's, they have now taken up the position - in true believer style - that this intent to make WMD's still makes the "liberation" of Iraq such a worthwhile idea that they would do it all over again, even with this information. I believe this position is further indication that this administration has no conscience and no shame when it comes to failing to actually take (not just say it) responsibility for their mistakes and adapt their message, let alone their policies, in light of new information. To me, this is just a continuation of the kind of attitude that got us into this situation in the first place. In the first months of this administration, they believed they were so on-track that they didn't take notice of the reports warning them of attacks on the US. Now that we know our "information" on Iraq was wrong, will the administration also turn a blind eye to these facts out of a stubborn need to be right even when wrong? What will be the consequences of this failure to address pressing situations and issues in favor of a pre-set plan and policy? The administration may call this flip-flopping, but survival (security) depends on an entity's ability to adapt to its environment, to become familiar enough with the enemy to either learn how to co-exist or how to neutralize it, and to band together with others for mutual benefit and protection. The administration's inability to face their mistakes and adapt to situations can only put the US more in harms way. Anyway, here are my 2 main arguments:

1) $paginate_current_page = 1; $paginate_sections = array( 0 , 1); $paginate_top_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page-1]+1; $paginate_bottom_section = $paginate_sections[$paginate_current_page]; } else { $paginate_top_section = 1; $paginate_bottom_section = 1; } $paginate_self = '&' . $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'] . '&'; $paginate_self = preg_replace("/&page=[^&]*&/", "&", $paginate_self); $paginate_self = substr($paginate_self, 1, strlen($paginate_self) - 1); if($paginate_self == '&') $paginate_self = ''; else $paginate_self = htmlentities($paginate_self); $paginate_self = basename($_SERVER['PHP_SELF']) . "?${paginate_self}page"; ?> Posted by Kristina at October 8, 2004 01:57 AM

Look at me getting first place in two comment sections! Truly, I rule.

Mostly I wanted to say I love your Presidency 101 test; it is exellent.

And while I didn't read half of what you wrote because frankly I'm spent when it comes to Iraq, Bush, and the election mess, I'm sure you are entirely in the right with everything you said because you always are.

Also because Bush is a hardcore retard.

And one last point before I stop commenting on your site: I really think that most everyone you and I know, and possibly everyone in the country, has already decided who to vote for, and those few people who haven't probably live in Tennessee or Arkansas or something and don't have access to this page anyways. So before any right-wingers pop up to lambast you into frustrated exhaustion, I'd just like to put it out there that any ideological argument anyone (liberal or conservative, Yaya fan or Blindy lover) can pose at this point is entirely ARBITRARY.

We all know who we're voting for, no one is changing his mind, so can we skip the back-and-forth for once?

Posted by: Renee at October 8, 2004 08:00 AM

I almost didn't post this because I just know I'm going to end up in some ugly, unproductive, frustrating debate with some person whose politcal philosophy is so far from mine that we pretty much don't speak the same language. However, I'm determined to not let that happen.

Posted by: Kristina at October 8, 2004 08:37 AM

An honest appraisal of the report must take into account the overwhelming evidence that our "allies" were bribed by Saddam and actively working to undermine the sanctions. There is no doubt that the absence of WMD undermines Bush's position. It is particularly damaging in terms of how compelling our threats toward Syria and Iran will be. Both countries know that Bush will not be able to muster support for an invasion. He will not be able to argue that they are about to get the bomb without people pointing to "that's what he said last time." Thus, it seem to me that Iran is in some ways more secure in knowing it is exempt from invasion than it was.

Still, it must be acknowledged that sizable portion of the Security Council was in league with Saddam. Thus, those who favored a U.N. solution, who favored relying on our "allies" have also had their credibility damaged by this report. Sanction were not working. Saddam still had the knowledge, the intent, and all he needed was to bribe the inspectors, get sanctions lifted, and then return to his pursuit of WMD.

I'll also add that Kerry was doubly wrong. He was wrong about their being WMD. He was also wrong about France and Germany and Russia being "allies." The worst part is that he still acts as if they are allies, as if we should give one shit about pleasing those in league with our enemies. The global test means pleasing the same French enemies who were actively engaged in mutual back scratching with Saddam--at our expense. But hey, John Kerry would have had them on board in no time.

Posted by: Global Test at October 8, 2004 11:48 PM

If we have indeed made enemies out of the other permanent members of the Security Council (France, Russia and China) by either just having interests adverse to theirs (i.e. our disrupting their oil supplies) or by our badmouthing them so they they no longer have any reason to try to work with us, but now have greater incentives to work together and with others to benefit their interests... this could one of biggest mistakes that this administration has made, one that could affect us for years and years to come. Without a unanimous vote from the P5 members of the Security Council, the UN has effectively lost whatever remaining binding power that it had in order to curb global terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The Security Council is the only body in the UN system that has the ability to make decisions that can bind any nation, even a state that is not an official UN member. Even if the United States became intersted in the strategy of gaining compliance anti-terrorism and anti-nuclear proliferation policies and agreements via the binding international pressure that only the Security Council can provide, we may no longer be able to do that because we have alienated and made "enemies" out of those countries that we should be endeavoring to keep good relations with... even if only superficially. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer.

To say that certain friendly nations were "in league with Saddam" is an incredibly hard to substantiate, incredibly divisive thing to say; perhaps even more than saying that the war itself was a mistake. There's a world of difference between having diplomatic relations with a state in order to take care of your interests (i.e. our proven relations with Saudi Arabia) and being "in league with them" (i.e. "Bandar Bush" having a personal meeting with Bush on 9/13/01 despite our suspecting Saudis were involved in the attacks and our flying every member of the Bin Laden family out of the US that day when every other passenger plane in the US was grounded.) While it is true that France has received most of its foreign oil from Iraq since 1918, it isn't the only one that has stood to gain from relations with Iraq for oil. Of the five largest oil companies in the world, the US has 2, the UK has two and France has one. Until 1972, when the Iraq Petroleum Company was privatized, the US and UK had a combined 75% interest in Iraq's oil production. Since then, France and Russia have continued to have relations with Iraq for the purposes of obtaining oil for themselves, as they have been doing for years and years. During this time, the US and UK have consistently attempted to regain a presence in the Iraq oil picture, which they see as essentially to remaining the world's #1 and #2 nations in the world oil industry.

So, essentially, the only difference between the US/UK and France/Russia is that Iraq forced US/UK out in the 70's to gain greater control of its own oil supplies (President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was in power at the time) and kept France and Russia (and many other nations) on as customers. Until very recently, there was nothing "wrong" with France and Russia getting oil from Iraq, and I say there's still nothing "wrong" with it since that's what the US and UK have wanted from 1972 to this day. It's a fact that the US had relations with Iraq during the 1980's, during which we were providing them with arms and training, and it would be absolutely contrary to American interests and MO's if we weren't also getting oil from them at that time.

Furthermore, France has denied past insulting accusations that they are doing anything more than legally buying oil from another nation in a standard manner for its own use. Now, France is further insulted by the Iraq Survey Group's accusation that they have profited from Iraq's oil sales (I assume "profit" means means in a way other than just getting the oil they paid for, or else it's a sitlly "accusation"). To me, none of this adds up to enough to officially pronounce France and Russia as our enemies. We can't be mad at them for having legitimate, OPEN relations with Iraq for the purposes of procuring oil because that's just what WE want and have wanted for quite some time. Although the last 10 years or so of France's relations with Iraq have been during major UN Security Council sanctions, it quickly became clear that these did not have their intended effect on the government, but were only impacting the already impoverished, sick and hungry citizens of Iraq. So, it eventually came down the the US and UK saying they would veto any attempt by the Council to repeal the sanctions. Many conservatives like to spin this as showing evidence that the other members of the Security Council supported Saddam, when really, their primary concern was for the cititzens that were being affected by the sanctions and that Saddam didn't care enough about to have the government come to their aid in any productive way. Undeniably, there was also a selfish desire to get rid of any pressure France and Russia were under to cease relations with Iraq because the sanctions were on, but the sanctions really had very little to do with oil and business relations with the Iraqi government (which is its oil industry). Here is a list of things that were banned by the sanctions:
agricultural pesticides
all electrical equipment
all other building materials ambulances
baby food
badminton rackets
cannulas for intravenous drips catheters for babies
children's bicycles
children's clothes
chlorine and other water purification chemicals
cleaning agents
cobalt sources for X-ray machines
dialysis equipment
disposable surgical gloves
drugs for angina
ECG monitors
glue for textbooks
leather material for shoes
medical gauze
medical journals
medical swabs
medical syringes
medication for epilepsy
nail polish
nasogastric tubes
nylon cloth for filtering flour
other adult clothes
oxygen tents
pencil sharpeners
ping-pong balls
polyester & acrylic yarn rice rubber tubes
school books
school handicraft equipment
shoe laces
shroud material
sanitary towels
specific granite shipments
specific umbilical catheters
steel plate stethoscopes
suction catheters for blockages surgical instruments
textile plant equipment
thread for children's clothes
toilet paper
tooth brushes
various other foodstuffs
wool felt for thermal insulation
X-ray equipment
X-ray film

To me, these items don't show an attempt to prevent the Iraqi government from producing or possessing WMD's, but an attempt to get the Iraqi people to pressure their dictator into getting the sanctions lifted by complying with the UN's initial demands.

This always has been and always will be about oil. To label our one-time friends and allies as "enemies" because we're both fighting over the same oil is childish and narrow-minded. France has done nothing but refuse to let the US push it into giving up its long-time oil source for BS reasons. France and Russia are sovereign nations with needs and interests just like us. Those are bound to conflict at some point, and to create such a huge gap over a thing as flimsy and BS as the patently false connection between Iraq and the real war on terror is just shooting ourselves in the foot. France and Russia could be allies if we were to stop treating them like enemies for opposing our attempts to deny them access to their primary source of oil, if we were to treat them with the respect due to sovereign nations by not basically forcing them to pay US prices and deal under US law for something they've been getting from the same source for over 80 years. I think Kerry can heal the wounds among the P5 members of the Security Council, if only just by not being a total dumbass.

Posted by: Kristina at October 9, 2004 12:01 PM