Comes word from Iraq that the Maliki government has just shipped to Canada 550 tons of yellowcake uranium that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled.
One wonders what the anti-war left thinks Hussein had been planning to do with it. Make cupcakes, perhaps?
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Comes word from Iraq that the Maliki government has just shipped to Canada 550 tons of yellowcake uranium that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled.
One wonders what the anti-war left thinks Hussein had been planning to do with it. Make cupcakes, perhaps?
The article says that the uranium is from before 1991. It also came from the facility that the Israelis bombed in 1981. The age of the uranium is also consistent with the claims that Saddam’s weapons programs were decimated in the first Gulf War.
Plus, as declassified government documents show the case that Iraq had rebuilt its chemical and biological weapons programs to massive levels was based on the testimony of one person, who apparently wasn’t playing with a full deck.
Did the Coalition invade Iraq to make sure they DID have WMD or did the Coalition invade to make sure Iraq DIDN’T have WMD? Other than that, I suppose we could have given Saddam a pass on violating every single treaty and UN resolution after the 1991 war.
The anti-war left has made up its mind. It doesn’t want to be bothered with facts, and certainly doesn’t want to bother re-examining the narrative.
krygny: we give Israel such a pass, why not Iraq? :-)
But anyway, David Deloney called it correctly above: it’s not news that Saddam was attempting to develop WMDs before 1991, nor is it particularly surprising that he had some yellowcake uranium left over from said programme. The argument was over (1) whether he had usable WMDs (which Blair claimed could be deployed in under 45 minutes, if you recall), or (2) whether he was attempting to develop WMDs in 2002. The linked story is in no way a problem for the anti-war movement.
After what David and Miles said, one could argue that the anti-war left isn’t the only group that doesn’t want to be bothered by facts.
Eric, I used to admire your wit and verve as a representative of the “Open Source Message”. Nowadays I’m thankful that Open Source doesn’t need a Message anymore, and I’m worried when you say you represent Open Source. Apparently, you are always right in everything you say, and comments that interfere with that worldview do not elicit responses, much less corrections or apologies. Your post about Caligula was a fallacy (to put it mildly), as per http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=294#comment-41001 (obviously, this is my opinion, I don’t speak for John Cowan).
I don’t ask for anything from you. I just wanted you to know that I don’t feel represented by you.
Adriano: that’s a large part of the reason I read this blog. While I try to avoid the left-wing echo chamber, my news input mostly has a vaguely left-liberal slant; I find it useful to remind myself that there’s an equal and opposite right-wing echo chamber populated by people like Eric, and to catch a glimpse of how the world looks to its inhabitants.
I reject the label “right-wing”. See my post on why I am neither a liberal nor a conservative Also see my post on Impotent Radicals.
People who want to stuff me in a box labeled “right wing” are revealing a limitation in their thinking, not in mine.
Hackers who go out of their way to tell me I don’t represent them are revealing their own presupposition that many other people think I do represent them. This presupposition is true; I turned down three speaking engagements this month. Thus, I’m afraid it’s not really in my power to stop representing Adriano; it’s up to my audiences to decide that.
I reject the label â€œright-wingâ€.
OK, sorry. At least I knew better than to describe you as a conservative :-) On the other hand, I think we may mean different things by the term (a pervasive problem in political discussions). Jeff Read, if one can ignore his “Murkan structured narratives”, for the moment, lays out the case pretty clearly here: you support gun ownership, the war in Iraq, George W. Bush, strong measures against terrorism, elimination of government social programs, and unfettered free markets. You spend a lot of time denigrating liberals and leftists, and praising (some) traditional American values. To a left-winger, or even to a relatively moderate liberal like me, those are all traits that could be described as “right wing”. What’s your position on environmental issues like anthropogenic climate change? Do you still believe that Peak Oil is a “liberal wish-fulfillment fantasy”?
This is not to say that we disagree on everything: we hold pretty similar views on First Amendment rights, for instance.
Besides, to be strictly accurate, I didn’t accuse you of being right-wing; I accused you of living in the right-wing echo chamber.
Leaving aside what Iraq might have done with that stuff I think the far more interesting question these days should be what the USA will do with it.
The USA has an active weapon programme, after all.
Miles: that’s why I read this too: if I didn’t get anything useful from Eric, I certainly wouldn’t bother posting. Or reading. It might be obtaining things and ideas ad absurdum, I might not like it, I might think that sometimes he’s -as he likes to say- moon bat insane, but it’s a different, interesting POV.
Examples of _my_ POV, for those who might care:
– I’ve lived all my life in countries with regulated (but not banned) firearms and yet nothing of import happened (moreso, my country of origin has seen its share of revolts against military governments). My dad even collects guns, makes ordnance and even sells it.
– In my country, ID is mandatory, voting also, the state is very strong (Presidentialist even), and still, none of the terrible things libertarians foresee have yet happened (at least, not because of compulsory ID and voting).
– When bad things have happened, it was usually because our government wanted to do something with -say- oil, and other, more powerful, governments didn’t want that to happen. Thus coups ensued. Coups against which people sometimes did rebel with guns, mostly unsuccessfully.
Plus, Eric states he represents Open Source, which is something I am also very interested in. So it is natural to be at least aware of what he says, if only to disagree. Also, in light of the previous, thanks, Eric, for not accepting those speaking engagements.
Adriano: interesting, thanks. It’s worth mentioning in passing that the ID card (for which read, “massive government database tracking your activities”) scheme planned in the UK (and, AFAIK, the US) would be far more all-encompassing than that in most other (non-totalitarian) countries.
Ah, yes. Still, my ID covers the usual suspects plus current place of living, voting record, fingerprint, marriage status, organ donor status (this one’s optional, negative by default), military status (also optional, because when joining the military you get a particular ID). So I’d say it does cover a lot. The advantage is that, until now, it’s not been digitalised, so cross-referencing data should be a Royal Pain in the Ass. This is, I believe, slowly changing. We do not have wide video surveillance, though (only on private grounds).
I do have privacy concerns. Still, most of the bad omens I hear in the US and UK press are about things I live with, and the negative aspects have not arised.
Your voting record??? Please tell me you just mean when and where you voted, not who you voted for…
Worry not, it’s only place and time. The vote here is “secret, mandatory and universal”, as they say. Criminals, insane and people in the military can’t vote, and the vote is not mandatory for those over 70. You can avoid voting if you’re away from your declared place of living, but have to get a certificate and present it to your local police office.
Uh, do you not recall how the administration sold this latest war? They said Saddam had a functional nuclear warhead and posed an immediate threat to its neighbors and the U.S. This yellowcake is basically unrefined uranium ore. It’s a long way from anything you could put into a nuke.
The “anti-war left” never claimed Saddam was a great guy, or that he had given up all aspirations for developing WMD. The claim was that the sanctions were working well enough to let diplomacy work for a little while longer. I see nothing here that proves this assertion wrong.
The real reason we went to Iraq is outlined in “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century”, from the Project for a New American Century. I suspect a large number of Americans, if they were to read this document, would actually agree with those real reasons for going to war, although a lot would not. But the bottom line is that Bush lied, and robbed the people of the right to make an informed decision for themselves.
>They said Saddam had a functional nuclear warhead and posed an immediate threat to its neighbors and the U.S.
This is a myth. Bush specifically rejected the claim that intervention needed to be justified by an “imminent” threat.
See a detailed refutation here. If you don’t trust the Weekly Standard, the liberal-leaning Spinsanity site says of this matter As a factual matter, conservatives are largely correct and liberal critics and journalists are guilty of cheap shots or lazy reporting.
Indeed, that’s what angered many of us outside the US: with that kind of reasoning, why stop at Saddam? Let’s invade anyone who might be dangerous to the US. Even if we didn’t like Saddam.
Kind of similar to the fear of your own government becoming big brother, but s/your own government/the US/ .
>Indeed, thatâ€™s what angered many of us outside the US:
I speak as someone who, having spent much of his childhood in Europe and South America and much of the last decade visiting more of the globe than most people know exist, has a pretty genuine claim to being a global citizen. I probably speak more languages than you do, and I’ve been mistaken for a native in so many countries that I have to think for a while to remember them all. So don’t mistake me for a parochialist. Nevertheless…
When you’ve had 2,500 of your people mass-murdered out of the blue by nutjobs and are living with the high likelihood that jihadis are planning to detonate a dirty bomb on your equivalent of the Smithsonian Mall, I will accept that your reaction is more than a petty peeve. In the meantime I invite you to take your “anger” and shove it up your ass.
Under the circumstances that actually obtain, I don’t give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut for “world opinion”. Nor do I think other Americans or our politicians should reasonably be expected to care about whatever vapors any non-citizen of the U.S. is having about U.S. policy until the day the jihadi enemies of the U.S. are reasonably believed to all be dead, dead, dead. Or, at least, so shit-scared of us that they’ll never threaten us again.
If you do not place yourself among the U.S.’s enemies, I do not think you have any reason to fear invasion. If you do, I have even less reason to be interested in your opinion of our policy choices.
Can I make it any clearer than that?
Eric, it was clear all along. It’s not like you haven’t made this point before. I’m even a bit surprised to see you repeat yourself.
You divide the world in black and white among ‘those who play by my (not our) rules’ and “those who don’t”.
This is one (possibly the main) thing I disrespect about you: you think you’re so right about this particular point. Good for you. I don’t like the idea of the US invading _any_ country “just because they might be dangerous”.
“Personal isn’t the same as important” said an author we both like (I think). If 9/11 was enough to make you forget that (granted, I speak of “personal” in a broad sense”), I don’t think I can do anything to change your mind.
>You divide the world in black and white among â€˜those who play by my (not our) rulesâ€™ and â€œthose who donâ€™tâ€
It is not a “my” rule that civilized people have the right to defend themselves against barbarians. It is not a “my” rule that barbarians who attempt genocide on civilized people should have their war taken back to them and be killed, pour encourager les autres. It is not “my” rule that dictators who nerve-gas their own people and invade their neighbors should be deposed and hung. These are “our” rules, at least if we want to have a civilization left after the smoke clears.
If wherever you came from had been the victim of a 9/11-style atrocity, I would cheer while your country’s troops were killing jihadis. Because supporting your country in doing that would be the duty I owe our (yes, I said “our”) shared civilization. It’s not so much that I think the U.S. is especially entitled to be the paladin of Western liberty (though a strong case could be made for that), it’s that defensive war waged by a nation-state (or coalition of states) is presently the only response our civilization has available to end the threat.
So don’t give me any crap about special rules. Al Qaeda and their Islamist allies chose war to the knife with the U.S. It is the U.S.’s right, and in a strong sense its actual duty, to fight that war and win it. Not just on our own behalf but on yours as well.
It’s not like we aren’t used to bailing Europeans out in situations like this. Jeez, you’d think we might even get a little gratitude for it once in a while. But no, instead we get yammering that somehow the U.S. is the threat. Idiots. Didn’t the 20th century teach you anything?
The 20th century told me the US was supporting that dictator in war against Iran, and turning a blind eye to the nerve-gassing, and finally turned around on its stance when Irak touched Kuwait’s oilfields. So much for civilization values.
It also told me of the US supporting military coups that, in my country, killed at least 10000 between civilians and revolutionaries. It told me of Kissinger, of United Fruit, of Standard Oil, of all those corporations exploiting South America with full support from the US government. So you might understand where my concerns come from.
What it didn’t tell me was the actual connection between Saddam and the people who destroyed the Towers. I thought you invaded another country for that reason (I won’t complain about that at all, though I wish they’d been more successful).
What the 21st century has told me so far was about a country that got bombed its ass off and still goes on, behaving like civilized people, not answering in kind to the ETA separatists. That country was also attacked by Al Qaeda, in Madrid, at the Atocha train station. Still, they haven’t reacted as the US did. For me, that’s ‘civilized’.
The US got plenty gratitude with the Marshall Plan and with the soldiers sent to Europe (a war they might not have joined at all) It did. Still, this is not it. France got gratitude, I suppose, when helping the US in your independence war. Still, they don’t get it now.
To be clear: the “they” who “I wish had been more successful” is the US invading Afghanistan, not the bloody murderers crashing against the towers. I do not condone terrorism.
How many collateral corpses does it take to sate that rage? ‘Cause there have been a lot more than twenty-five hundred. Does the anger of their surviving countrymen not count because their fellows’ deaths were labeled as “unfortunate” and “mistakes”? Does it count less because they’re not Americans, and Americans are special?
Your patriotism is indistinguishable from rank tribalism, no matter how you may try to pretty it up–from the idea that we are right because we are us, and they are wrong because they are not, and therefore what we do–whatever we do–is good. Except taking away your guns, apparently.
>Your patriotism is indistinguishable from rank tribalism, no matter how you may try to pretty it upâ€“from the idea that we are right because we are us, and they are wrong because they are not, and therefore what we doâ€“whatever we doâ€“is good.
That isn’t even a good parody of my position. Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
In the comment you quoted so selectively, I was explaining which I don’t care for ‘world opinion’ and don’t expect American politicians to, either. That’s a negative position. It’s a rejection of certain kinds of criticism.
My own positive position is not that what we do is right because we’re Americans, but because the cause of liberty is advanced when we depose dictators and kill jihadis. What we do has to be judged by the metric of whether, on net, it increases the scope of liberty in the world.
The Afghanis and Iraqis get to hold elections now, and the elections are as fair as one can expect in societies still mired in tribalism. That’s a sufficient demonstration that we have done right.
So when are you moving to New Zealand? :)
grendelkhan, the point of post-9/11 American military activity is not to avenge the deaths of those who perished in the Twin Towers, but to destroy the capability of the enemy to repeat their attack. A case can be made for this kind of aggression, which is why our actions in Afghanistan were supported by libruls and conservatives alike.
Energy independence, to reduce our political dependence on that part of the world, is a much better long-term solution than a continued aggressive stance. And, there is considerable doubt as to whether our actions in Iraq contribute to this goal of preventing further terrorist attacks, as opposed to the goals of satisfying the money interests and personal vendetta of the present administration.
I really think that this notion of “we depose dictators to advance the cause of liberty” is naÃ¯ve at best, and thanaturgically misguided at worst. History has shown that the dictators we depose are singled out for extermination not because they’re dictators, but because they interfere with American corporate interests. Brutal thuggery is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being marked a tyrant or terrorist; to be so marked one must also deny American corporate interests access to vital resources or markets. We supported Batista, we supported Pinochet, and we supported Saddam before he got oil-greedy and went into Kuwait.
Ah, but in practice, you seem to have it backward–to think that where your country is, there is liberty, by definition.
You were claiming that the 9/11 attacks made Americans special, that they provided license to transcend criticism.
But in practice, that’s not what’s going on. The US historically installs dictators and deposes democratically-elected leaders at least as often as it does the reverse. It doesn’t just kill jihadis, it kills lots of people. Fluffing up the security state at home doesn’t increase liberty. Torturing people doesn’t increase liberty. You claim to be operating on an objective basis involving a net increase in liberty, but believing that requires you to studiously ignore the obvious.
Societies still mired in tribalism, unlike their enlightened betters to the west, yes? It’s a good thing the white men are ready to shoulder that burden again, but it’s too bad that the level of gratitude will, no doubt, be insufficient.
If you think revenge wasn’t a significant motivator, I have a bridge to sell you. I suppose it wasn’t the only one, though.
You’re too kind. Mossadegh and Allende weren’t engaged in brutal thuggery, but they were marked as crazy tyrants who endangered world peace or weren’t “friends of liberty”, or whatever magic words sated the Erics of the day. I don’t think Lumumba or Nkrumah were brutal thugs either, but I don’t know enough African history to be certain. Obedience to American dictates and servility to American interests are the relevant factors in who’s defined as a dangerous dictator who must be “taken out” in the interest of peace. It’s all very “where liberty dwells”, isn’t it?
>Brutal thuggery is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being marked a tyrant or terrorist; to be so marked one must also deny American corporate interests access to vital resources or markets. We supported Batista, we supported Pinochet, and we supported Saddam before he got oil-greedy and went into Kuwait.
The best this argument can establish is that the U.S. should be intervening abroad and deposing dictators more often rather than less. Is that really the result you want?
>Societies still mired in tribalism, unlike their enlightened betters to the west, yes?
Absolutely. Sarcasm tends to fail when it’s actually describing reality.
I’d comment (as I’ve done before, as grendelkhan did before) about the dictators the US actually put in power, but after a response such as http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=308#comment-214447, I doubt anything useful will come out as an answer. Blind spots, indeed.
In the past, I think there was even a “where liberty dwells” justification for putting dictators in power: to contain the much larger threat to liberty of Soviet expansionism. But I didn’t treat that as a free pass for the U.S. even at the time, and absolutely wouldn’t today – the threat level of jihadism is not as high.
Now that we’ve demonstrated by example in Iraq that we can invade a dictatorship and nurture something resembling a free society with fair elections there (as we did in post-war Japan), I think the case for propping up pro-American puppet dictators is basically gone. Better we should invade their countries and impose democratic reform, at the point of a gun if need be.
Oh, sorry, is that not the result you wanted?
Be careful what you ask for when you demand that the U.S. behave in a less self-interested way. You might get it.
I think what I asked for was for the US to stop invading countries. Unrealistic wish, I know, but since I have to ask, I might as well do it with gusto.
Eric, I don’t demand that the US behave against their economical interest, and they wouldn’t listen to me in any case. I also do not have to like this behavior. Another thing I dislike is people like you rationalizing those economic interests as “needed for liberty and world peace”. Also, those “be careful what you want, you might just get it” really sound like what the associates of a bully would say.
The funny thing is, this is not what “could happen”. This is what the US has already done, repeatedly, all over the last century (and for as long as it has been the main world power), with the same excuses. Putting strong dictators into power avoided at least some black eyes for the US. E.g. less people blew themselves up near the US soldiers protecting democracy in those countries, say. So menaces of the big bad US don’t do so much as remind us of what has already been, what is in many cases happening right now, and of things we already expect some time in the future. It would be nice not to have elections where the US govt. opinion didn’t loom large.
Still, I suppose it’s necessary for the continuation of the status quo that a majority of Americans view this behavior as positive and noble; otherwise it would stop.
>I think what I asked for was for the US to stop invading countries
The U.S. will stop invading countries when the politicians the U.S. people elect no longer perceive existential threats to U.S. security. Your opinion on the matter is irrelevant.
The above statement is not a value judgment, a justification, or an excuse – so don’t bother arguing with me about whether it ‘should’ be like this. It is a simple recognition of geopolitical reality. A great power (that is, a country with the capability to project force overseas) is going to try to fight the wars it thinks it has to on other peoples’ soil rather than its own whenever it can.
You should be thankful that U.S. policy really is shaped to a significant extent by the ideal of liberty. If the U.S. were genuinely imperialist, half the world would be sending taxes to Washington and the other half would be wondering when their turn was coming. And in the long run of history it wouldn’t end well for the U.S., either. Empires never do.
Your quoting habits are interesting. I thought I did write, next to what you copied on http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=308#comment-214474, something on the lines of “Unrealistic wish, I know, but since I have to ask, I might as well do it with gusto”. It seems to me this implied what you responded.
Furthermore, I seem to recall having written “I donâ€™t demand that the US behave against their economical interest, and they wouldnâ€™t listen to me in any case. I also do not have to like this behavior”. Which would also imply what you replied.
Please, don’t try to portray me as an idealistic idiot, I am fully capable of doing so myself if need arises.
>It seems to me this implied what you responded.
My problem is that you seem to want to have it both ways. You seem to want to portray the U.S.’s behavior as a special kind of moral failure that indicts the government, the people, and individual patriots such as myself. When you concede that it’s not realistically possible for the U.S. to stop behaving like a self-interested great power, you knock the props out from under that condemnation – but you don’t seem to realize this.
Even I, a libertarian, would prefer that the U.S. prefer its necessary wars on foreign soil. If you were a libertarian, I would think no worse of you for preferring that your country fight its wars far from you.
Would you really think better of me, or other Americans, if we thought only in terms of brutal realpolitik? If we didn’t care about the future liberty and prosperity of our soi-disant “victims”? I think any German old enough to remember the Marshall Plan would have a few words to say about that.
How was the War in Iraq making war on Islamic radicals? I thought Saddam was relatively secular…more of a Stalinist. Wouldn’t Iran have been a better first choice for the sort of war between America and Jihadis that you are advocating?
Of course, now that we’re there, there are certainly plenty of terrorists of various kinds, out to kill American soldiers. But didn’t the American invasion *create* this problem? You have to grant that there would be less Iraqis shooting Americans now if we hadn’t invaded the country and given an opportunity to every crazed Islamist in the area.
Further more, I don’t understand the connection between 9/11 and the Saddam-era Iraqi government. I see how you can use 9/11 to justify wiping all Islamic terrorist networks (Who can’t?…in fact, it would have been justified without 9/11). But I’ve never seen an adequate explanation of the Iraqi government’s supposed connections to the sort of networks out to kill so many American citizens. Barring the first Gulf War, of course.
Why resort to pundits when you can easily see what the president said himself:
“Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
I don’t know how people got the idea that Bush thought there was an imminent threat. I suspect a liberal conspiracy to smear the poor man!
Another favorite quote:
“Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq. The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power…”
Bottom line, the Iraq war is about the petrodollar, not terrorism. If Saddam hadn’t started selling his oil for Euros, we wouldn’t be there today. If terrorism were the primary concern, we would have finished the job in Afghanistan and taken a harder line with Pakistan.
If you really want to understand “geopolitical reality”, I urge you to look beyond all the meaningless “liberal” versus “conservative” nonsense and follow the money.
@ausqb: the iraq invasion had nothing to do with oil. a/ iraq’s oil is simply not that important b/ the USA habitually tempts fate by pissing off regimes which genuinely have it by the short & curlies re oil: its foreign policy re oil could politely be described as risky and arguably be described as deathwish — machiavellian long-term optimisation is quite the opposite of the USA’s behaviour c/ the first casualty of war is economic production — iraq is still a decade or more away from returning oil production to anywhere near pre-invasion levels.
“no war for oil” makes for a good slogan by cleaving to outrage-memes so simple a child can grasp them, but it’s bemusingly irrational. i suggest you do a lot more research into the money before claiming to have followed it.
and then, on discovering the iraq war is an economic disaster for the US AND was predicted to be so before it was started, you may come to realise that money was not the primary reason for the invasion.
The point is, in the mind of the paranoid conspiracy theorist, every proof that seems to disprove the theory actually strengthens it: “look how skillfully they disguise their plans!” For example if the result of the war would be cheap oil and so on, they’d point out that was the reason of it. When it results in expensive oil and economic recession, they point out that the very reason of doing so was to rob the little guy in America, starve him out so that he works for peanuts etc. etc. It’s pretty much impossible to disprove a conspiracy theory.
>Itâ€™s pretty much impossible to disprove a conspiracy theory.
it’s like… it’s like there’s some sort of CONSPIRACY protecting them!
I don’t know where you got “no blood for oil” from what I wrote. I’m not necessarily even sure if it was a bad move to go into Iraq… I just hate being lied to. I wish we could have discussed the true merits of the case for war before we went, instead of the assinine “mushroom cloud” crap, which I guess you are saying you actually believed?
Which one sounds more like a “conspiracy theory” to you:
1) Saddam had nuclear weapons, and we had to act before there was evidence, because otherwise the evidence could’ve come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
2) OPEC accepts only U.S. dollars for its oil. This requires developed nations who need oil to hold large amounts of U.S. dollars. This in turn allows the U.S. to continue running massive trade deficits with the rest of the developed world, without having to face the natural consequences of doing so. Saddam Hussein, shortly before we invaded, decided to start selling his oil for Euros rather than dollars, and was actively engaged in convincing other Middle Eastern nations to do likewise, thereby threatening a critical piece of the U.S. economic underpinning. Since the war, other OPEC nations have backed off from the idea of selling oil for Euros (though Iran seems to want to try again lately).
#1 is the party line espoused by the Bush regime, and it’s already been proven false.
#2 consists of well known facts.
Shenpen’s right tho, if you actually believe #1 (the true conspiracy theory), that belief is irrational, probably based on a form of hero worship, and there’s not much I can do to convince you otherwise.