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Afghanistan and Iraq: a retrospective (for JTT)

 
 
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 05:12 pm
JTT:
I didn't want to derail your anti-Pearl Harbor Day rant of a thread by going into detail about my feelings on these subjects [no, no, need to thank me Smile] but, since you've brought them up, I thought I'd answer you more fully by starting this new thread.

The "reasons" we invaded Iraq were never honestly vocalized, I totally agree with you. What the public was fed was pure and unadulturated bullshit. Anyone with even just one functioning brain cell knew that Saddam Hussein had had no hand whatever in the Sept. 11 attacks. The very idea is ludicrous that alQaeda or binLaden would have had anything whatever to do with the sybaritic and purely secular-minded Hussein. I doubt that more than one or two percent of all Americans ever believed this "reason" for the invasion. Much the same is true of the claim made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. This was marginally more believable but still a very, very doubtful proposition. Most of us didn't buy it.

I, personally, had very ambivalent feelings about this. I was largely opposed to the operation because I thought it was coming way too late, historically. It was Bush pere who screwed up big-time by not going on to Baghdad during Operation Desert Storm. That's when we should have gone in and taken out Hussein. I remember being shocked when we didn't. What, withdraw our troops just because we drove the Iraqis outof Kuwait? To me that was kind of like pulling that D-Day invasion in Normandy, fighting the Battle of the Bulge and then pulling back because -- what the hell! -- the Wahrmacht had withdrawn to behind German borders. No seed to go after Hitler. What for? That's how this silly end of Desert Storm seemed to me. Hussein needed to be deposed because he was ...Hussein. One of the most sociopathic dictators in that part of the world. And, yes, yes, we had helped him stay in power when he was waging war against Iran, but that, too, is irrelevant.

What was happening was that, in the wake of 9/11, Bush fils thought he saw an opportunity to rectify the mistake made by Bush pere and depose Hussein. So we went into Iraq where we had no business being. What do I think of it now? I think it's a damned good thing that Saddam Hussein is dead; it simplifies certain things in the Near East. I wish it could have been accomplished with less loss of lives, both Iraqi and American, but it needed to be done.

As for Afghanistan, I never had the least problem with going in there; I was just afraid that the job might be too beig even the U.S. armed forces. Historically, the only two warriors who ever defeated and subjugated Afghanistan were Alexander (the Great) of Macedon and Ghengiz Khan of Mongolia. Queen Victoria's British colonial troos failed miserably in the 19th Century as did the Soviet Union in the 20th. But I certainly had no moral qualms about the desirability of ousting the megalomaniacal sociopaths who call themselves the Taliban or in hunting down binLaden and the alQuaida troops that the Taliban was giving sanctuary to. And, in this case, the reasons that the US government gave for the invasion were quite valid. There was never any doubt as to who was behind the destruction of the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon. The Taliban's refusal to surrender the terrorists/murderers to any authority quite legitimaely sealed their fate. I had no problem at all with it and I doubt that most Afghans living in fortunate exile did either.

If your contention (on the other thread) that the U.S. goaded the Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor is at all valid, then it's equally valid to say that the Taliban -- and, by extension, the Afghans -- goaded the US into launching the invasion.

[I addressed this thread to JTT because it was JTT's vitriol that prompted me to post it. But, as always, you are all welcome to comment.]
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 05:24 pm
mookbark.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 07:01 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
Anyone with even just one functioning brain cell knew that Saddam Hussein had had no hand whatever in the Sept. 11 attacks. ... I doubt that more than one or two percent of all Americans ever believed this "reason" for the invasion.


With all due respect, Andy, how can one be so ignorant [non-pejorative sense] about ones' own country?

Note the date 2003-09-06.

Quote:

Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm




Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 07:10 pm
@JTT,
Frankly, that surprises me. Nobody I know personally ever gave the least credence to that claim. Oh, there were people on Abuzz (was A2k up yet?) who posted rants in support of this silly notion but I assumed they were all neocon flacks out to defend the presidential propaganda, or less-than-normally-intelligent war hawks. The idea that Saddam Hussein could somehow have been in cahoots with Osama binLadn is ludicrous on the face of it. The butcher of Baghdad was not an Islamist.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 07:28 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
The butcher of Baghdad was not ...


See how easily you fall into the propaganda trap, Andy. The butcher of Baghdad was the butcher of Baghdad because the US made him so. Now describe accurately and fairly what that makes those of the US who facilitated and actively supported that.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 07:59 pm
@JTT,
Again, JTT, what facilitated Saddam's rise to power and his ability to maintain that power is not relevant in this argument. I don't deny that the US has, at times, backed the most iniquitous dictators; this was particularly true during the so-called Cold War when we made the pernicious assumption that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I don't try to defend this, not because it is indefensible (even if it is Smile) but because it is tangential and irrelevant to the argument at hand. We were talking about whether the assaults on Iraq and Afghanistan were, in any sense, justified, given the situation existing at the time.

My position is that the Iraq war cannot be justified on the premises advanced by any of the administrations in Washington. It might be justifiable on other grounds, however. But, again, that is outside of the scope of what we're talking about here. My further position is that nobody was lied to about the situation in Afghanistan and that our involvement there is easily justifiable.
Enzo
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 08:02 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
...pernicious assumption that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.


Yes, don't repeat history. Everyone shouldn't make the pernicious assumption that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. Thus my sig line. Cool

Lustig Andrei
 
  4  
Reply Sat 8 Dec, 2012 08:11 pm
@Enzo,
I knew there was a good reason why I like your sig line, Enzo.
RABEL222
 
  0  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2012 12:18 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Lots of luck with convincing JTT that he is unreasonable. A few good points mixed with mostly bad ones.
JTT
 
  -2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2012 11:55 am
@RABEL222,
Quote:
A few good points mixed with mostly bad ones.


Discuss any that you think are bad, Rabel. Really, are you all such cowards?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2012 12:28 pm
I said it pre-invasion and I will say it again. To invade Iraq was total horseshit. What went on during the war was unjustifiable.

The war in Afghanistan has gone way beyond retribution for 911 and ought to be ended as quickly as possible.
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2012 05:47 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:
The war in Afghanistan has gone way beyond retribution for 911 and ought to be ended as quickly as possible.


I would agree with that wholeheartedly, edgar, except for one small thing: how do you end the occupation (it's no longer a war) without inviting the Taliban back in? It's why we're still in So. Korea: to keep the bad guys from doing all over again what they've showed themselves so willing to do once already.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2012 07:03 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
If you want it to evolve into a situation mirroring Israel/the Palestinians situation, we can stay there forever. We ought to rethink the whole kill em all philosophy and find ways to influence people to do the right thing. I can see setting up a few bases near the hot spots and sending a few drones if absolutely necessary. Not a lot beyond that. As it is, these endless wars are sucking up money and are essentially beyond the reach of the budgetary process. If we go broke we cannot continue fighting anyway. Why not quit while there is something to salvage?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 08:58 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
The war in Afghanistan has gone way beyond retribution for 911


What's with this "retribution", Edgar? Did you see any Afghans on those planes?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:09 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
I, personally, had very ambivalent feelings about this. I was largely opposed to the operation


You were largely opposed to what, Merry? It wasn't an "operation". It was an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation. The United States, through its criminal president, was guilty of a major war crime, the major war crime.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:13 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
Hussein needed to be deposed because he was ...Hussein. One of the most sociopathic dictators in that part of the world. And, yes, yes, we had helped him stay in power when he was waging war against Iran, but that, too, is irrelevant.


It's irrelevant that the US installed and kept in power "[O]ne of the most sociopathic dictators in that part of the world"?!!

Is it "irrelevant" because this is standard operating practice for the USA? It's as much of a war crime, it's still terrorism to put subordinate war criminals in place to do your bidding as it is to do it yourself.
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:13 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

Quote:
I, personally, had very ambivalent feelings about this. I was largely opposed to the operation


You were largely opposed to what, Merry? It wasn't an "operation". It was an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation. The United States, through its criminal president, was guilty of a major war crime, the major war crime.


An invasion, legal or illegal, is, by definition, a military operation. If you're going to quibble about terminology instead of addressing the issue, I see no point in the discussion.
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:16 pm
@JTT,
It is irrelevant because -- here I agree with you -- our support of Hussein was an egregious mistake and his removal can be seen as no more than the US correcting its mistake. Surely you'll agree that everyone has a right to try and rectify their mistakes?
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:18 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
An invasion, legal or illegal is,


The operative word here, Merry, is "illegal", as in war crime, which is exactly what that invasion of Iraq was. That is the issue, the only issue.
Lustig Andrei
 
  3  
Reply Mon 10 Dec, 2012 09:21 pm
@JTT,
No, that is not the "operative word." The only word you were questioning was "operation." Anything the military does is an "operation." Your argument was regarding semantics, not substance.
 

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