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The US, The UN and Iraq

 
 
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 07:14 am
I am sick of arguing this topic. I will state for the record that I am 100% opposed to starting a war in Iraq and let it go at that. No amount of arguing or facts will disuade those who crave a war.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 153,405 • Replies: 4,306
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perception
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 08:23 am
I think we have all made some good points but this thing will play itself out regardless of our opinions. And Edgarblythe, your insinuation about some "craving " war is an insult but then I've seen your posts on Abuzz. You will never qualify for diplomat of the year. War, as ugly as it is will be a fact of life for the near future because we as representatives of the human race have not advanced more than an inch or two in the past 5000 years. Humans are still cutting throats(remember Daniel Pearl) and trying to kill their neighbors.
My point is this: If there is to be one world superpower, I'm damn glad it's us because we are the best qualified(out track record with Germany/Europe and Japan prove it beyond a doubt). That being the case we have an obligation to the world to rid the world of murdering thugs like Saddam. We are doing the "RIGHT" thing in Afghanistan and we will continue to do the "RIGHT" thing regardless of who is in the White House though I will say that I'm very glad Bush is in right now. He is not paralyzed with fear as some would be and he has the moral integrity to see this thing through.
There are some things that just need to be said!!!!!!!!
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 08:43 am
Craven de Kere wrote:
Remember that to some the whole question of WOMDs is a glaring hypocracy. We have WOMDs. We are able to decide who has them or not in most cases simply because we have the power to do so. But the rule of law is prefferable to the rule of "might is right".


I've sen this comment several times by several different people but it's a red herring. Yes, we have WOMDs. But it isn't a matter of "might makes right" in this case. Iraq, just like the other 184 nations on this planet, has signed several dozen treaties agreeing not to build WOMDs. Those treaties ARE the rule of international law. Iraq has, at it's option, the ability to remove themselves from those treaties but they have not chosen to do that.

Who enforces the law in the International community if the laws are being flaunted? It seems that the majority of the world is more than willing to over-look a few "indescretions" on the part of Iraq here. Iraq has agreed to several UN mandates since the end of the previous war and then gone on ignore the agreements as they saw fit but several countries aren't interested in backing up their words. Instead they just want to move the bar so that they look like they are doing something.

The isolation route has been tried. The UN cut Iraq off economically and then the bleeding hearts cried that innocent Iraqi civilians were suffereing as a result. The UN later restructed the sanctions and allowed money to flow for food, medical supplies, etc.. yet Saddam didn't use the money to improve the lives of suffering innocents. He used the money to rebuild his military and continue WOMD research. The very same people who are no saying "Don't go to war, impose sanctions!" are the people who have been blaming the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis on the existing sanctions.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 08:46 am
I had gone before your post, Perception, which is why i've not responded til now: I think we should continue the status quo--and not let up on patrolling the no-fly zone. The problem with this is it will take 10-20 years to get rid of the silly bastard, and most politicians have a hard time envisioning tomorrow afternoon, let alone a policy that takes a decade or two to unwind. But, if you consider the options, which involve a lot of dead Iraqis, and very likely, quite a few dead Americans and Englishmen, than i don't see a better solution. The problem with that jackass the Shrub is that he has brought up the subject (likely at the insistence of his master, Cheney), and now believes he is in a situation in which he must do something. I haven't the least doubt that the Mossad will quickly inform us if he gets sufficient amounts of fissionable material, or accumulates sufficient chemicals to start making significant amounts of nerve gas. There is absolutely no reason to believe that now is when we ought to go get him. There is no reason to believe we ought to go get him. Leave him cornered, like a bad dog, and swat him hard with a big rolled-up newspaper if he tries to come out of the corner--otherwise there's no need to worry about him. The Iraqis are the one's suffering, and the Shrub's solution will just kill a lot of them, and make them suffer more.
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Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 09:19 am
Yes, Perception, it's good to be the superpower, but even more than being the superpower, it's good to be part of a country that has historically stood for individual freedom, justice for all, due process, and that has been a responsible member of the world community. It is always possible that some situation may arise where it will be necessary to go-it-alone, but this is not that situation.

If the US trades justice and due process for international bullyism our citizens will no longer stand tall, and our country will have lost much of its appeal to the oppressed of the world.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 09:48 am
well said
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perception
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 09:59 am
Hazlitt

You make a very good point and it is filled with "reason" however what you and every well meaning person who uses this argument, must realize is that thugs and psychopaths NEVER conform to reason and logic. When people lived in caves, the guy who had the biggest stick was the leader, then as intelligence began to rule, the smart people hired "enforcers" then they built armies but there was up until now a "PARITY" of arms to a certain degree. Meaning clubs against clubs, bows and arrows againt bows and arrows, repeating rifles against repeating rifles, planes against planes etc. but now we have this powerful tech advantage and we must protect that advantage or we are certainly doomed to extinction. Does it really matter from day to day about reason and logic and diplomacy, the day we lose our advantage or fail to have the "WILL" to use that advantage to further our objective of world peace then that is the day we become slaves to some thug like Saddam or Hitler or Stalin.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 10:06 am
You don't further world peace by starting wars. I don't believe that Hazlitt suggests, nor do i suggest, letting the idito go his own way unmolested. But we currently choke him with an embargo, and blast his AAA off the map any time they pop their heads up. Absent proof of criminal intent AND means, we've got no right to roar in their with six guns blazing--and the rest of the world knows that, and would prefer to prevent us from doing it. They're right, and as long as "we" means the Shrub and company, we're wrong.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:04 pm
roger,

You're right of course. There are countries that are not directly or indirectly threatened by Iraq. What I should have said is that being the strongest nation in history our existence as a nation, freedoms etc. are the least threatened.

perception,

I agree in that as a superpower we haven't done nearly as bad as I can imagine some nations doing. Of course I'll always clamor for an improvement.

fishin'

The nonproliferation treaties are hypocritical, that doesn't mean I don't agree with nonproliferation. I'd honestly rather see WOMDs in the hands of some than the hands of others. I did not advocate a change in the status quo in this regard. What I am saying is that if WOMDs become reason to erode the concept of sovereignty I believe that the safety of the world will not have been increased. And nowhere in any of the nonproliferation treaties does it say that the consequences of noncompliance is a war. Especially before the noncompliance has been proven. I've stated clearly that I'd like to see Sadaam go, but not at the cost of law and order.

a) It's not civil to want punishment to precede verification of the infraction. Can we agree that if the current administration could get away with it they would have waged war on the basis of Sadaam's notoriety and belligerence while leaving suspicions unconfirmed? And do you really think Iraq's withdrawal from the nonproliferation treaty would make it any less likely that we invade Iraq?

b) By rule of law I was speaking of the United Nations. We created it, we have absolute power over it. Yet many of us seem to want more and wish to dismiss the only global forum that we have to settle these disputes. Rendering the UN "irrelevant" as was threatened would erode the rule of law almost as much as putting this threat over their heads does.



You asked: "Who enforces the law in the International community if the laws are being flaunted?"

We do, in a very selective manner. There are those who flout the UN to a greater degree than Sadaam. There are those who wish that something be done about it. There is often us making sure that this doesn't happen.

The isolation route has been tried, quoting the bleeding hearts (on a discussion here the sanctions has not been criticized) is irrelevant. Why are the sanctions not working? My argument has nothing to do with Iraqis dying. If they all died I'd feel sorry and move on. What I don't want to see is my country go against the will of the world in a very touchy issue of sovereignty. Sovereignty might seem like a buzz word but it happens to be something our nation went to war to secure in its birth.

Isolation has worked splendidly, Iraq has flouted but they also have been contained very well. I also think war is an option. What I don't like is what can be the cost of the war in terms of a change in geopolitical paradigms.

As to what Sadaam does with his money it's irrelevant. I'd not like to see military spending become the basis of what constitutes a justifiable regime change.

In short I repeat, I'd support this war if it took into account the fact that we aren't owners of the only opinion on earth and due to said fact the protocol for going to war shouldn't be treated with frivolity. My reservation is not that of breaking the peace but that the reasons and way it is done might do little in way of securing peace and stability and in fact do it a disservice.

perception,

I don't think anyone has argued in favor of painting Sadaam as a rational or peaceful man. But other than repeating that humans are base and that survival of the fittest is still valid you have not uttered a word that validates that this is indeed the case and that the survival of anyone is legitimately threatened. That much is not too much to ask of you so let's pretend you already did give such argument and go on to this:

When are you going to discuss the practical implications of this? Hitler, Stalin.. all good names, comparable to Sadaam in notoriety. But I would like to see a debate focused at least partly on the logistics rather than ideology.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:16 pm
logistically speaking, it will likely be a nightmare . . .
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Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:17 pm
Perception, my feeling is that once we begin to practice preemption, which is really just war at our discretion, we have become similar to Hitler and Stalin, at least in that one respect.

I recognize that all of life is really a question of balance. Here we are asking ourselves to walk a path between our safety and our basic philosophical principles. To forsake these principles is to go backwards into arbitrary government, a big step in the direction of barbarism. It took the West many centuries of struggle to get out from under arbitrary rulers. I don't think it is safe to go back to that.

I'm willing to bank on containment in order to preserve my safety and our principles.

I'd like to say that all the participants in this discussion have helped to clarify several points for me.
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:26 pm
very interesting and informative discussion. I only have to add that once we have gone through the steps with the UN and other nations are satisfied that military action is necessary, I will hate the loss of innocent life, but I must say that I will really enjoy seeing Sadam's stupid smile wiped off his face. Excuse please the political incorrectness of that statement. It's just a gut reaction.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:48 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
And nowhere in any of the nonproliferation treaties does it say that the consequences of noncompliance is a war. Especially before the noncompliance has been proven.


First things first, Iraqi non-compliance is well known and publicly admitted to by Saddam himself. In the early 1980s Iraq declared at the UN that they had produced 200,000 chemical weapons that were ready for use. Half of those were used in their war with Iran. Prior to the Gulf War Iraq's stocks of VX were pegged to 500,000 metric tons with several hundred additional metric tons of Sarin, Tabun and mustard gas. The UN (via the UNSCOM) destroyed 480,000 liters of chemical weapons and 1.8 million liters of chemical precursors (unmixed ingredients) in the aftermath of the Gulf War. There is zero dispute anywhere in the world about Iraq's non-compliance with existing treaties that they signed.

And you are right the having one's national sovereignty infringed upon isn't listed in any of those treaties for non-compliance. Those nations that signed on did agree to have the matter heard and decided by the UN. So that has been done. The UN has now spoken on the matter of Iraq what? 12 times? 12 seperate resolutions? So when is the UN going to back up what they say?

I'm not particularly thrilled with the idea of running off to war either but let's face it here, the UN is quickly losing any credibility. What good are UN resolutions if no one is willing to step up and enforce them? If Germany, France, China, Russia, etc.. aren't willing to step up and back their own declarations then they are simply spineless. As has been said several times here, the decision is walking a fine line. Our partners at the UN don't seem to be interested in walking anywhere. They seem more content to just continue passing more resolutions which will also be ignored.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 02:08 pm
Hmm, you are right about noncompliance existing, but in a matter of a war I'd not mind a bit more attention to the proof etc. Sure Sadaam wants and probably has weapons.But they deny it. I'd hate to see a war only to find that all the WOMDs were hastily destroyed beforehand. So I'd like to put their denial to the test before any extreme action on our part.

As to the UN being recently irrelevant it only has to do with our current dissatisfaction with them. Their resolutions have always been flouted, by our allies just as much as our foes. They are only losing credibility because the only nation who can afford to undermine it is doing precisely so. Or threatening complete undermining if the resolutions aren't passed in our favor. If they could survive without us they would not have passed the latest resolution and we'd have been vetoed soundly. But since mere criticism of this endeavor can make us give the cold shoulder (see Germany) they passed it.

Sure the UN is losing credibility, it's because we are showing how little we need them and how willing we are to do it our way if they don't tag along. And regardless of the credibility of the UN it's all the world has. The only alternative is Washington calling all the shots. That might sound nice to Americans but others might disagree. Since it's so easy to call the shots while working with the UN why undermine it?

And if resolutions being flouted are of such importance to validate the UN's existence why don't we pursue the UN flouters? Some of whom are only able to flout due to our support.

I think the main American concern with the UN is that they don't echo our every opinion and, gasp, might disagree with us. If we wanted a strong UN we could have it. But we don't, we don't want their courts to have jurisdiction because an effective court would infringe on our power. If votes decided everything our money and military would lose power. That is why the UN doesn't work optimally. Because nobody wants to give up power in exchange for an effective global courtroom.
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perception
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 03:15 pm
Craven
Do people never tire of blaming the US for everything bad in this world.
Now you're blaming the US for the UN being irrelevant. Hmmmmmm....
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 03:19 pm
Yes I'm blaming the US for undermining the UN this year. I do not blame the US for everything and I certainly don't think the UN is irrelevant.

Please debate fairly. I don't put words in your mouth and I also answer your pointed questions. You have reciprocated in neither case.
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perception
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 03:27 pm
Lola
Even beautiful women are entitled to a "Gut" reaction. This is an informative and interesting discussion. It is gratifying to see such restrained and intellectual behavior. I also hope that war can be avoided because the thought of chemical and biological warfare is terrifying to everyone, and I'm very concerned that we cannot protect all our troops adequately.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 03:54 pm
You know, Perception, your posts have been pretty vague, apart from being a cheerleader for Bush. That comment to Lola was uncalled for, and condescending. On what do you base your statements about chemical and biological warfare threats to "all our troops?" Do you propose going in simply because you allege the Shrub has courage, and do you contend that is sufficient justification? Are you suggesting we bypass the U.N. altogether, and make war because we want to, and we say Saddam is a bad man? I've not read a post of yours which has any underpinning other than contentious statements, many of which seem to have been calculated to imply naivete or cowardice or unpatriotic sentiments on the part of those with whom you have disagreed.

What is your evidence that Saddam poses a clear and present threat to our security to an extent which justifies risking so many lives, American, English and Iraqi? Please, no vague allusions to his past behavior or alleged arsenal, this discussion is focused on the present situation. Precisely what do you propose we do, given the U.N. resolution, and Saddam's apparent acceptance thereof? What do you propose will constitute a material breach, and how do you propose the U.S. react to such a situation? You have tried to put a lot of people here on the spot with your questions. Can you answer questions, point by point, as you seem to expect others to do?
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perception
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 03:56 pm
Craven
Please forgive me for not giving specific answers----I have misplaced my manners. Would you please list your specific questions for my failing memory other than the request to "focus on the logistics rather than the ideology. Do you mean the logistics of fighting the actual war?
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 04:10 pm
I answered questions in detail about what I'd do/have done.

I guess my question is this: What is your take on the dangers of setting a precedent of preemptive action without international support?

I think some of the peacecamp is being unfairly characterized as dovish or bleeding hearts etc. My qualm isn't with war per se but in the protocol. I already said that if done correctly I would be happy to see this war. But I don't think it's necessary and if it were I'd not go about it this way.
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