February 01, 2005

Still Celebrating

by Jeremy Brown

Yes, I know; it’s been a couple of days since the Iraqi election. It’s time for people like me to tone down our unseemly enthusiasm and give the slouching, frowning pessimists, cynics, and tut-tutters their chance to sit up tall, straighten their lapels and give us their side of the story. Actually, they’ve been pretty much doing that all along, haven’t they? Then I guess you won’t mind that I’m still celebrating. Just one more post before I wipe this naive smile off my face and reacquaint myself with ‘reality.’

I’ve been reading blogs across the political spectrum and I would like to share some of my findings with you.

My thesis is this: separating things into Left and Right tells you less than dividing them between 'them what gets it' and 'them what don’t.'

What Don’t:

I won’t dwell on these, frankly, but here’s a taste. Take my word that there are plenty on the ostensible Right who feel this way too (hat tip: Todd Pearson)

Eric Alterman: "I don’t have a lot to say about the Iraqi elections . . ."

Tom Tomorrow: "I don't have a lot to say about the elections right now . . ."

What Do:

Don’t let them tell you you’re a fascist for wanting to celebrate Iraqi liberation or that you're a Stalinist because you have hope for a better world and will not tolerate tyranny from either the Left or the Right:

People who live in countries where liberal democracy is far too easily taken for granted - and even, appallingly, sneered at by the converging elitists of the right and the pseudo-left, who imagine that they could do much better if only the masses would turn to them - are in no position to carp at the courage and determination of those who voted in Iraq on Sunday, a day that will be right up there in the history of political progress with Christmas Day 1989, when Romanians risked their lives to get rid of their own Stalinist dictatorship. It’s one more nail in the coffin of dictatorship, and, for the deranged apologists of fascism and terrorism, who have read too little Marx and not understood even what they have read, one more kick up the backside (where their brains appear to be located). (-SIAW)

And post this on your site, courtesy of a Lefty black cat from Australia:

finger.gif

And let’s start saving the word “progressive” for those who are truly interested in the progress of democratic freedom in the world:

Today the bigots lost. The bigots that say that "Arabs don’t want to vote" or "Islam cant support Democracy" are now scratching their heads like the bigots did when they confronted in the 1940's with the reality of "lowly black men" flying P-51's with great proficiency. 10 years after Tuskeegee, those same black men wanted not only to vote but that their sons and daughters should go to school on an equal basis with the sons and daughters of white men. 40 years later in the same week that Iraqis became citizens overcoming 5,000 years of oppression, a black mans daughter became Secretary of State in the most powerful country the world has ever seen (Varifrank)

And then there’s this from Zeyad:

Hold your head up high, Remember that you are Iraqi.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled depressive resignation (or perhaps, when the voice of defeatism tries to reclaim our fealty, we’ll give it the old purple finger).

Posted by Jeremy Brown at February 1, 2005 01:11 PM
Comments

Jeremy,I plan to GLOAT from now until the last Coaliton troops leave a FREE Iraq.I have no sense of mercy towards ANY member of the left who does not declare un-conditional surrender immediately on the Iraq issue.
Today I was listening to CNN and Dennis(give fantasy a chance)Kucinich actually was calling the Iraqi election illegitimate because there were not any 'international observers'.I kid you not.He was deadly serious.
They are all 'worthless',and the sooner all reasonable people simply scorn them completely the better we will be.

ps-- I think you might enjoy the 'quagmire'post on the previous thread.I found it on Ace of Spades an it 'rocks'.

Posted by: dougf at February 1, 2005 02:09 PM

2 questions for MJT:

1. Do you archive these threads? If so, how does one refer back to them on your site, once they "disappear" from your front page? For example, I had an interesting exchange on the SpongeBob: Gay tool? topic, but now it's no longer on the front page.

2. Is "identity theft" possible? What keeps me from putting up a post in someone else's pen-name?

Nice job on the Iraq coverage. It's been inspiring!

-Didsbury

Posted by: Didsbury at February 1, 2005 04:04 PM

Didsbury,

There are two ways you can find old posts. First of all, there's a Search box on the left side panel. That's what I use.

Below the Search box are monthly archived. The template for the archives is basic and lame-looking, and one of these days I'll update it.

As far as identity theft goes, the best defense against it is for someone to say something if they're name is forged and I will permanently ban the offender. It happened once before, but only once as far as I know.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 1, 2005 04:09 PM

A lot of these posts in the past few days have been overwhelmingly uplifting, and rightfully so. I didn't want to spoil the mood by reading anything by the naysayers. But just now, right after dinner, I clicked on these links, and I can say without the slightest bit of hyperbole that I felt ill. Physically ill. I had to lie down for a while, that's how bad it felt. I'm still not over it, to tell the truth, and I haven't quite wrapped my head around this.

Now more than ever it is obvious. The left in this country hate freedom. It's going to take drastic measures to combat their sinister agenda.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at February 1, 2005 04:42 PM

I found this on the "Corner" at NR.I liked it so much that I am posting it here.It is from an Italian journalist,and is exactly how I view this reality.
Yes, agreed, it’s all true: the nobility of the vote, the courage of the Iraqis, the challenge to the Terror Party, the lines to the voting booths with the smiling women who make the victory sign and show their inked fingers, and now the hope for a sovereign national solution that banishes the memories of the horrors of war and occupation.
All true, heaven knows, but also all false and cynical, too comfortable and easy, too condescending and consoling.
The true glory of these elections is that they flowed from bayonets, which are the dry and bitter fruit of a war and a tenacious military occupation, they are part of the global strategy of the United States, part of a wager and a strategic doctrine for global security and therefore command, they are purely and simply the exportation of a modern Western cultural model that is alien to the very roots of fundamentalist Islamic culture , that rightly considers it blasphemous, according to the fundamentalists’ principles. From a certain point of view, Democracy and Liberty are meta-principles, recurrent forms of universal human identity that run through history, from and to which they enter and exit in a thousand different forms. The Iraqi version is the reincarnation, in Arab-Islamic soil, of a social method that has become a philosophy and a myth and even a religion, which it is hard to resist in modern times.
But it is also a much more prosaic political strategy, made possible by thousands of deaths, by enormous wealth spent in weaponry, by the decision to move and use armies to confront an ambitious, global terrorist challenge, a fundamentalist uprising within a great premodern civilization like the Islamic one.
Too easy, and stupid, is the position of those who were opposed to the war and now praise the elections, without reconsidering their previous position, because the elections are a direct product of the war, they would be inconceivable without the Anglo-American troops, without the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by bombs, without all the dirty work of the Coalition Provision Authority, without the checkmate of the U.N., and the acceptance of the fracture within the West.
The elections in Iraq are an act of global sedition, the imposition of liberty as a model, a revolutionary act of the imperial sort, a ring in the chain of political necessity, not a new version of rainbow idealism, of the religion of good, humanitarian religion.. Their nobility, which is real, is tempered by steel and does not permit hypocrisy

Posted by: dougf at February 1, 2005 05:53 PM

good stuff, jeremy! feel free to gloat for as long as you like. wow, what a surprise. the desire for freedom and liberty is a universal value for all mankind. shocker, really. some truths are self-evident.

Posted by: Glenn at February 1, 2005 05:57 PM

Fair enough, but now let's see if Jeremy or any other liberal is capable of taking off those rose tinted spectacles, to proffer any sort of rigourous and interesting analysis either of the elections themselves, or the future.

Cut and paste jobs from clapped out Marxists spouting empty rhetoric don't count.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 1, 2005 06:26 PM

Well, la-la-la Mr. Poopy Pants.
How's that for rigorous analysis?

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 1, 2005 06:38 PM

Well, la-la-la Mr. Poopy Pants.
How's that for rigorous analysis?--JB

Perhaps a little too sophisticated for Benjamin,I fear,and I will stop at that point as heartfelt invective is just around the corner,and it's just not worth the effort.

Posted by: dougf at February 1, 2005 07:01 PM

I was only asking a question. Okay, so we are not going to get that analysis and questioning from the likes of Jeremy Brown or dougf, self evidently. At some point along the line, that work is necessary.

Yes, the Iraqi people were brave in voting, taking the first steps towards democracy we all hope.

But you are not going learn much about the deeper realities by simply watching people wave purple fingers on TV, and saying "oh, isn't that good" and going through the hackneyed, well rehearsed arguments against the usual bete noirs.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 1, 2005 07:23 PM

And I didn't mean to be unkind. Just kidding. But I think it's a bit early to predict what exactly is going to happen next. Indeed, it is still a good time to celebrate those purple fingers. We'll have more to analyze when more is known about the specific results of the election. In the mean time the argument is still very broad: all-out civil war vs. flourishing democracy. Of course, the truth will be somewhere in between. We'll be analyzing what we read and hear for months to come. But I've still got a couple more cigars to smoke and wisecracks to make for the moment.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at February 1, 2005 07:32 PM

Benjamin,

Seriously, I'm sick to my stomach here. This got to end.

Posted by: Kay Hoog at February 1, 2005 07:40 PM

And I didn't mean to be unkind--JB

Golly I did.To every thing there is a season,and this is the season to GLOAT,and expose the glaring internal contradictions of the so-called anti-war groupings.
You can call someone a 'clapped out Marxist',but that childish ad hominem argument does not refute his conclusions.Freedom in Iraq is directly related to the War in Iraq.Period.

Posted by: dougf at February 1, 2005 07:45 PM

I'm leaving my rose colored glasses on, cuz the future's so bright I just gotta wear shades. :)

Posted by: Patricia at February 1, 2005 07:52 PM

From Friends of Democracy: "Voters in Al Muthanna province said one of the reasons they voted was so they could tell Zarqawi and his goons to go to Hell.."

I know that the ‘war against terrorism’ is really a fight against state-sponsored paramilitaries - terrorism is just the tactic that they use. Asymmetric warfare is just a weapon of sorts, an advantage, like dive-bombers against the Maginot line or something like that...

But this is a major strike against that tactic. Common wisdom says that conventional military forces are powerless against the unpredictable, fear-inducing, shadowy, underground blah, blah, blah, force of ‘insurgents’. But what if we, and the populations that are threatened by them, are finding a way to defend ourselves? What if terrorism, as a weapon became as quaint as a crossbow? That would be something.

Not surprisingly, 'activists' who like to bloviate about 'revolution' aren't happy about this.

Posted by: mary at February 1, 2005 08:42 PM

Michael,

With your connections to Friends of Democracy, do you think those of us who get it could do something in the memory of, or for the family of Police Constable Abd al Amir, one of those who sacrificed to make Sunday happen?

Posted by: huski at February 1, 2005 09:23 PM

Benjamin reminds me of characters from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, specifically the Philosophy Union representatives. When Deep Thought offers to answer the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, the Philosophy Union reps threaten to go on strike.

"And who will that hurt?"

"Oh, it'll hurt buddy, it'll hurt."

From memory, so apologies for any inaccuracies.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 1, 2005 10:35 PM

Mark Poling

I was just asking whether there will be any analysis of what has just taken place, and prospects of the future.

The reaction to my question is very interesting indeed.

There is a certain lack of reality.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 1, 2005 10:57 PM

Benjamin,

Aaargh! Your tone of miffed condescension is killing me!

What do you take us for? Of course we (those who are yahooing, grinning from ear to ear and slapping each other on the back) are aware there is more - much more - to come. And not all of it will be good. In fact, some of it will be downright horrific. Iraq is a two-steps forward, one-step back kinda place, thanks to the Baathist dead-enders, jihadi maniacs, and some serious fuck-ups by the Coalition.

Just relax and let us have our moment. Because most of us who care deeply about the Iraqi people have been to hell and back over the past couple of years, and this is precious.
We're not idiots. We're not wearing rose-coloured glasses. We're just really happy right now.

Posted by: Fish at February 2, 2005 01:28 AM

Well, la-la-la Mr. Poopy Pants.
How's that for rigorous analysis?

Jeremy was right the first time!

So do some analysis Mr. PP.

Like, how many Sudanese Black Muslims will be murdered in the genocide (US) / non-genocide (UN) -- and how many must be murdered before the UN, and Amnesty, and HRW, and the EU, call it genocide? So far the numbers of those murdered don't pass the "global test" Kerry was bloviating about.

Iraq's intermarriage between Sunnis and Shi'a and Kurds is the most positive thing I've heard from the first hour of the webcast, because the biggest fear I have is the Yugoslav option.

Worst option, tri-country partion by war:
Kurds and Sunnis declare Independence against a Shia dominated Baghdad gov't. The Shia start a Civil War for the Iraqi Union, which kills some 1% of the men... (much like Lincoln?). (See my Iraq a bloodbath? )

There is no democratic model where 20% runs the country; the Sunnis are out of "power". How much in the way of minority rights is a good question -- the lack of coverage of the Iraqi minority rights has been just one of many MSM scandals.

Gloating and ranting against the Leftist supporters of death squads is called for.
Gloat.
Rant.

Go Bush, go freedom, help create a World Without Dictators.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at February 2, 2005 01:42 AM

Benjamin,

By the way, I might disagree with you most of the time, but I think it's great to have a dissenting voice on this thread that doesn't resort to name-calling and other kindergarten tactics. (Well, I don't think 'clapped-out Marxists' qualifies as name-calling, although some might disagree...)

Thing is, most of us here - including you - are serious people. So I was just trying to point out that those of us celebrating do actually see the big picture.

You have to admit, 'Mr Poopy Pants' was quite funny :)

Posted by: Fish at February 2, 2005 02:42 AM

It was exactly four months ago when John Kerry lost his bid for the American presidency. The Iraqi elections would have likely turned out differently if the Massachusetts senator were running things. TGeorge W. Bush's reelection sent a signal to both our friends and enemies that we are serious about encouraging the Muslim world to enter the 21st Century. The exact opposite message would have been sent if Kerry had been victorious last November 2.

Posted by: David Thomson at February 2, 2005 02:56 AM

Tom Grey

Well, I certainly do NOT agree with the UN on this one (not calling the Sudanese situation genocide.)

But it would be mistake - a rather arrogant one, perhaps - to assume that only people from your political perspective care about Sudan and what is happening there. Or take action. Danny Glover, a man you would deride, was arrested outside the Sudanese embassy last year, protesting the atrocities.

The US, whilst admonishing Sudan, is now blocking any putative international criminal proceeding against the perpetrators.

As for the UN, a favourite bete noir of this blog and others, it is controlled by nation states often at the Security Council level.

In Rwanda for example, UN action was blocked by US and the UK, the carnage exacerbated by France.

As for Amnesty and HRW etc these organisations constantly put pressure on govts about these issues.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 2, 2005 02:58 AM

Fish

Its okay. I spent quite a lot of my time as the dissenting voice on pro-war blogs! Kind of a (sad) hobby :-)

Posted by: Benjamin at February 2, 2005 03:02 AM

from an Italian journalist

The true glory of these elections is that they flowed from bayonets, which are the dry and bitter fruit of a war and a tenacious military occupation, they are part of the global strategy of the United States, part of a wager and a strategic doctrine for global security and therefore command, they are purely and simply the exportation of a modern Western cultural model

Posted by dougf at February 1, 2005 05:53 PM
**************************************************
Refresh my memory, good buddy how was it Itally emerged from Facism?

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at February 2, 2005 04:01 AM

In Rwanda for example, UN action was blocked by US and the UK, the carnage exacerbated by France.

Posted by Benjamin at February 2, 2005 02:58 AM
**************************************************
Yes that is so true and a black mark on our national honor. As I result, I make a pledge to do anything within my power to see to it that the Party of that Administration never has a chance to occupy the White House until at least there is a complete change of its leadership and its direction, oh and to give French Politicians the attention they deserve. ;-)

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at February 2, 2005 04:04 AM

This is the clearest example of the two sides of the political aisle that I have seen lately.

http://www.sondrak.com/archive/005050.php

Anyone want to comment on Photo 1 versus Photo 2?

I find myself in agreement with this comment

Something tells me the Iraqi voter understands freedom much better than the moron in the lower photo who would deny it to him.


Posted by: Dan Kauffman at February 2, 2005 04:15 AM

Swiped from: http://billroggio.com/archives/2005/01/0_for_6.php

"There was a time when liberals would cheer at the prospect of freedom and democracy in places long under the stench of oppression. Today, any attempts to right past wrongs and free men from tyranny are looked on with scorn. Yesterday’s idealistic liberals are today’s realists; preferring the ‘stability’ of dictators to the spread of democracy. They are fearful of asserting themselves on the world stage without the approval of the United Nations. They refuse to judge other cultures but are quick to judge American actions as immoral."

I, for one, choose to revel in the beauty that is represented by all those purple inked fingers, and will do so for as long as I damn well please.

Posted by: too many steves at February 2, 2005 04:20 AM

“Well, I certainly do NOT agree with the UN on this one (not calling the Sudanese situation genocide.)”

This is a quintessential example of the postmodernist corruption of language. Liberals are innately pacifist and will do just about anything to avoid military actions. And yes, they will call a cat a pig, a piece of crap a diamond, or describe outright genocide as merely a handful of unorganized murders if will keep them out of harm’s way.

Posted by: David Thomson at February 2, 2005 04:20 AM

The UN has a long history of ignoring what is politically inconvienient, and America was equally at fault.

When the Peoples Republic of China crossed the Tibetan boarder with troops they broke the longest nonagression treaty in the History of the world, initiated in the latter part of the 9th century, and the UN refused to even meet with the Tibetan envoys.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at February 2, 2005 04:27 AM

This is a quintessential example of the postmodernist corruption of language.

Er.... right.

Okay, it was clumsily put, but I was just saying I do not agree with the UN report on Sudan.

The actocities should have been classified as genocide.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 2, 2005 05:14 AM

And anyway, whether or not I had agreed with the UN regarding Sudan, it hardly designates me a "pacifist" or otherwise.

Because in any event, concerted military action against Sudan is unlikely. There is very little logic in the argument.

Posted by: Benjamin at February 2, 2005 05:19 AM

Dan Kauffman Anyone want to comment on Photo 1 versus Photo 2?

Those are powerful pictures. People like the gentleman in the second picture infuriate me with their ignorance and self-righteousness. I loathe people like that, everybit as much as I loathe the upper-middle class activist students from my generation who lay in the street chained together to protest world events they don't fully comprehend.

All that only to then return to the classes which Mommy and Daddy pay $25,000/year to have radical professors fill their heads with more anti-american pseudo-marxist crap. Not to go off on a tangent or anything...

Posted by: Mike T. at February 2, 2005 06:50 AM

Yet another sign of how desperate the terrorists (and/or the press) are becoming – the fake but accurate GI Joe hostage.

The Guardian still doesn’t get it..

Posted by: mary at February 2, 2005 07:56 AM

As you know from my previous comments, what I saw on TV on Sunday made me happy as a lark. If it helps Forrest Gump in White House politically, well, there are more important things in life than politics.

There are still many strong arguments against the overthrow of Saadam, but they are arguments that I've never been inclined to accept, being the liberal sucker for idealistic big-government social engineering projects in other countries kind of guy that I am. The legitimate arguments against the war are CONSERVATIVE ones, made by real conservatives:

1. Overthrowing a tyrannical regime, and helping to build a decent representative government in its place, is a sweet and pleasant outcome, but it is still not worth the life of one single US citizen, given the fact that the former tyrant posed no real threat to us.

2. Turning our attention to liberating a country that poses no threat to us while allowing other countries that actually do pose such a threat to develop nuclear weapons sends a dangerous message to would-be enemies: "get a nuke and we'll leave you alone."

3. One election with a better than expected turnout does not make a successful occuptation, or a successful turn toward to democracy. The risk of failure is still very high: civil war, a emergence of a weak Iraqi government that is unable to prevent terrorist groups from making Iraq their homebase, the emergence of a Shiite fundamentalism that does not respect minority or secular rights, etc...

Seeing "conservatives" jumping on board to join Christopher Hitchens and others on this neo-trotskyite revolutionary project is...rather amusing.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 08:00 AM

The construction of a new democracy in Iraq after the overthrow of a mass murdering fascist dictator is probably the most liberal foreign policy campaign in a long time. Which party is in government when it happens is irrelevant to me. Here's hoping things continue in this manner for the new term.

Posted by: sam at February 2, 2005 08:07 AM

Refresh my memory, good buddy how was it Italy emerged from Facism?--Dan K

Can you clarify the point you are trying to make?If you are saying that it was 'American bayonets'that delievered Italy from Fascism,I agree completely.If you are saying something else,I am confused.The article I posted is SUPPORTIVE of the Iraqi project,and derides the belief that you can believe the elections are a great good but that the WAR is a great bad.
He merely states that they are linked--- as they are.

Posted by: dougf at February 2, 2005 08:45 AM

The bigots that say that "Arabs don’t want to vote" or "Islam cant support Democracy"

That's you, LGFers. So go get a life now.

Posted by: AllahAkbar at February 2, 2005 08:58 AM
Seeing "conservatives" jumping on board to join Christopher Hitchens and others on this neo-trotskyite revolutionary project is...rather amusing.

Too late to take credit, Markus. The "liberation express" has already left the station, and the anti-war liberals are STILL on the platform.

It does, however, make me feel even better about Iraq that you are now trying to take credit (albeit in a wildly roundabout way) for it.

Hitch, btw, has admitted many times that it is he who "swiched sides", not the other way around.

Posted by: TomB at February 2, 2005 09:09 AM

TomB -- i got on the "liberation express" before it left the station. I wish more fellow liberals had joined me. Our incompetent occupation has tempted me to get off at many points since then, but I haven't.

I'm not sure what I'll do if the fears and objections of the real conservatives prove to be well founded.

Hope you won't get off the train in the event that a truly representative Iraqi government says or does something that the United States, or Israel, doesn't like.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 09:46 AM

Hope you won't get off the train in the event that a truly representative Iraqi government says or does something that the United States, or Israel, doesn't like---MR

Good point,but as for me,as long as the future Iraqi governments,do not attack their neighbours(any of them),treat their citizens(all of them)with respect,understand that state-controlled economies don't work very well for their people,and submits itself to the democratic will of its citizens,I am pretty much content.They can disagree with us as much as they like,as long as it a clash of ideas not a clash of weapons.
I have hope,which is more than I have ever had in regard to the ME.Got my fingers(and toes)crossed big time,as we all have.

Posted by: dougf at February 2, 2005 10:36 AM
Our incompetent occupation has tempted me to get off at many points since then, but I haven't.

So what, in your learned opinion, would be a "competent" occupation?

Germany, Japan?

Given all the gloom and doom presented prior to the invasion, this looks mighty successful to me.

Hope you won't get off the train in the event that a truly representative Iraqi government says or does something that the United States, or Israel, doesn't like.

They already have. Our government asked that the elections be postponed for a time. The current Iraqi govenmnet disagreed, and the elections went off fine at the proper time.

But that's actually beside the point, when there is a "truly representative Iraqi government" there won't be a train to get on or off. Our work will be finished.

Posted by: TomB at February 2, 2005 11:33 AM

I didn't notice anything resembling this level of triumph when Afghanistan held elections, despite the fact that they were just as important and historic.

Must have something to do with the fact that it couldn't be used as a rhetorical club against liberals.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 2, 2005 12:10 PM

Markus, Kimmitt -

I'd comment, but I'm too busy laughing at you both.

The two of you have a huge expanse of carpet that has never seen a vacuum cleaner, right in the dead center of your respective living rooms.

That's o.k. It's covered by the elephant you refuse to see.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 2, 2005 12:52 PM

TomB -- a competent occupation would have provided for the several hundred thousand troops needed to ensure order during the crucial first days after the overthrow of Saadam. A competent occupation would have secured Baathist ammo dumps, instead of allowing them to be looted by the terrorists. A competent occupation would have taken the advice of people who actually knew something about the country, such as the State Department foreign service officers who prepared the detailed The Future of Iraq project that predicted most of the problems we ended up facing, but who were ignored by "the dumbest fucking guy on the planet" and the other geniuses running the show at the pentagon. A competent occupation would have been led by people who spoke Arabic.

Don't argue with me about this. Argue with Bill Kristol, or Larry Diamond, the Hoover Institutnion scholar who wrote What Went Wrong in Iraq in Foreign Affairs last fall:

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20040901faessay83505/larry-diamond/what-went-wrong-in-iraq.html

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 12:59 PM

TmjUtah -- Once you stop laughing, kindly respond to one of my points substantively, either the one about how saadam was not much of a threat, or the one about how the legitimate objections to the war and the occupation are based on conservative, not liberal, principles.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 01:06 PM

Must have something to do with the fact that it couldn't be used as a rhetorical club against liberals--Kimmett

Not really.But the CLUB aspect of the event is most assuredly the 'icing on the cake'.It is truly the gift that just keeps on giving,and it's all thanks to you and your fellow 'liberals'.
Muchas gracias

Posted by: dougf at February 2, 2005 01:11 PM

markus (apologies for the trancations: bandwidth reduction and MEGO insurance):

1. Overthrowing a tyrannical regime...is still not worth the life of one single US citizen, given the fact that the former tyrant posed no real threat to us.

Two problems with this: One is the idea that stopping a humanitarian catastrophe isn't worth the life of a single US soldier. Call me a chickenhawk (again) but I think risking some US lives to save a few 100k Sudanese lives might be worth it. To my mind its the same with the oppressed Iraqis. Second, Iraq's continued defiance of the cease-fire imposed after the first smackdown was a real threat to us (regardless of how chimeric his military capabilities might have been) as you so ably (if unwittingly) illustrate in your second point.

2. Turning our attention to liberating a country that poses no threat to us while allowing other countries that actually do pose such a threat to develop nuclear weapons sends a dangerous message to would-be enemies: "get a nuke and we'll leave you alone."

Realpolitik quiz: how do you stop a country like Iran from getting nukes? Answer: You threaten the hell out of them and hope they don't call your hand. Let's say they call your hand. Now you've got to back down (in which case you're worse than when you started - see my response to Point 1) or you go to war. It's that simple. Would war with Iran be easier launched from Iraq, or with Normandy-style assaults on Iranian beachheads with a hostile Saddam on the flank? Even a chickenhawk like me can see the difference.

3. One election with a better than expected turnout does not make a successful occuptation, or a successful turn toward to democracy. The risk of failure is still very high...

Agreed. But the first step is necessary, and in the case of Iraq pretty spectacularly successful. Iraq is now a country where >= 60% of adults are bonafide patriotic heroes. (No chickenhawks in that crowd; them's the real thing.) IMHO, that's a damn good way to start a democracy. If it fails, Irag returns to its status as a failed state. But I'm optimistic that it won't.

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 2, 2005 01:42 PM

"as the future Iraqi governments,do not attack their neighbours"

dougf,

But that means I lose my bet on the Iraqi 1AD beating the US 4AD to Damscus (I got great odds). Could you make an exception for joint operations?

Posted by: Rick Ballard at February 2, 2005 01:47 PM

Mark Poling -- I agree with you that overseas humanitarian interventions are worth US lives. You see, I'm a liberal internationalist, and a nation buider, not a conservative.

I disagree with you that the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent long-term committment of 150,000 plus troops to the country that it is proving to require makes it easier for us to take military action in the forseeable future against Iran.

And of course I agree with you that those who voted on Sunday are true heroes.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 01:51 PM

And BTW, not all of us who supported the war are crypto-Buchananites with generative organ issues. Some of us are Libertarians who believe the most important part of being a Libertarian is agitating for Liberty for everyone. Government actions that promote that ideal we support. Those that don't, we don't. Iraqis today have more Liberties (overall) than they did under Saddam. We'll know how things are going by watching the trends.

(And a second BTW, Occam's Razor is on the side of those of us who believe the occupation is driven by Libertarian principals. Libertarian motives lead directly to elections. EvilEmpire motives takes a number of dubious assumptions and unlikely occurances to get to elections. So all this "Bush Lied"/"No Blood for Oil"/"Insert Your Favorite Mindless Slogan Here" crap doesn't much move those of us who just bloody hate tyranny.)

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 2, 2005 02:02 PM

Markus -- forgot to address your point about Saadam's "defiance." In fact, just because Scott Ritter said it doesn't mean that it isn't true: Saadam DID disarm, just as he claimed when he asked that the UN DROP sanctions in December 2002. This could not be verified for many years because Saadam kicked out the inspectors in 1998, in response to the discovery that they were spying for the United States. Hans Blix was well on his way to verifying compliance when Bush decided to become a neo-Trotskyite, topple the tyrant and start a revolution.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 02:02 PM

Mark -- i meant to address the previous to you, not to myself!

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 02:05 PM

Mark -- i meant to address the previous to you, not to myself---MR

I am perhaps jumping to conclusions here,but I am guessing based upon Mark's previous posts that ,in fact,you really were addressing those comments to yourself rather than Mark.I base that upon his statement that:

So all this "Bush Lied"/"No Blood for Oil"/"Insert Your Favorite Mindless Slogan Here" crap doesn't much move those of us who just bloody hate tyranny.)

Who cares about this 'debatable ' matter at this point in time?We had that debate;we have been having that debate for over 2 years.We have moved-on, and are sort of hoping that reasonable members of the 'opposition'might now seize this opportunity to move-on as well.

Posted by: dougf at February 2, 2005 02:50 PM

Markus -

"TmjUtah -- Once you stop laughing, kindly respond to one of my points substantively,..."

Why? Why bother?

You'll just find another talking point. You (speaking in the plural sense) always do.

I saw you careen into the "it's not a CONSERVATIVE strategy" lane and I literally burst out laughing.

What does that really mean? That we've violated the conventional wisdom as defined by non-conservatives? That we are dishonest in encouraging the expansion of freedom and democracy as stategies aimed at accomplishing foreign policy objectives that might coincide with our interests?

You really, really need to rethink what "conservative" means. We don't all have brown shirts and armbands in our closets. Not nearly. I just finished reading a fantastic open letter penned by Joanie in response to one of her perennial commentors. Please note the link and if you would, read it at your convenience. I give to Spirit of America, too; I believe that schools improve communication and that communication is a key to preventing tyranny. I believe that the books, computers, and one- on- one interaction SoA volunteers provide will change more Iraqi minds about what we are trying to do for them than any number of slogans or speeches or mere checks.

I contribute almost as much to the Walter and Adam fund, organized by Kim Dutoit because there are some people whose minds won't be changed by anything short of a 168 grain .308 boattail passing through their chest or head at 2800 fps. It is no less vital that we recognise that fact and it's essential that we deal with as many of them as efficiently as we can.

Saddam a threat? We fought a war with him a decade ago. He tried to kill a former president. In the mid-nineties another president deployed tens of thousands of troops to the theater in response to threats against the same country we liberated in 91. We stationed and rotated literally dozens of aircraft and ships in theater for a decade to prevent the worst of Hussein's genocidal intentions on the Kurds and Marsh Arabs. Our pilots on Northern and Southern Watch were routinely painted with fire direction radars - acts tantamount to firing a gun across the bows of a ship on the open sea. Acts of war, if you will. Besides slaughtering his own population retail and wholesale, he was a public and generous supporter of the export league terrorists in Israel - writing checks, providing training, and generally cheering on acts of homicide with the aim of proving how substantial his credentials as this era's Saladin were, even without quite having the chops of a real Imam. He provided retirement havens for terrorists who killed American citizens, too, until it became necessary for those folks to commit suicide. By the time 9/11 rolled around he was in violation of a hatfull of U.N. resolutions - you know, a violator of holy international law.

Then there's the 9/11 thing. Our problem is not with any one group or individual. If OBL is fertilizer or still wandering around the Kush or hanging out in a five star hotel in Iran, it matters little right this second. He communicates by foot courier. His state supporters - the ones left - know that we will not tolerate ANY action on their behalf to assist OBL. He's a symptom of a failed culture, not any sort of causitive intellectual figure. He exploited the hopelessness and rage of a population that has watched the world pass them by; he certainly didn't bring much more than a checkbook to the arena of ideas.

He'd have been just another semi-literate Imam regurgitating blood-libel talking points and bitching about soft core satellite TV were he not the recipient of a Saudi trust fund... and (possibly) living proof that evil ignored is always a mistake.

The Bush Doctrine is not perfect. In execution it has manifested itself as diplomatic, economic, or military moves, or combinations of all three.

Have there been mistakes? Sure. Bad days? Buckets full. "Several hundred thousand occupation troops" wouldn't be shit near enough to make the country "secure" to your suggested level of satisfaction. Iraq was literally awash with things that go bang long before we got there. Screwing around a year (in a sop to the U.N. and the loons who still think it had relavence) past the time when we were prepared to have taken Iraq out just gave them time to disperse and plan.

There's ten thousand cops in L.A. county. They have radios, fast cars, and even helicopters. They just have gangs fighting for streetcorners and that's enough for four or five people a day to die.

We are fighting world war four. Have been fighting it for over three years, and the current shooting battle happens to be across the nation of Iraq.

Do you see a scale here? It takes one guy with a rifle or a hand grenade to kill a half dozen people. Or blow up an oil pipeline. We could shoot on sight any Iraqi who sets foot out of their house, but short of that there's just no way to control, much less police, a nation of twentyfive million people.

We work to provide security while assisting the development of community governments, essential infrastructure, and eventually a constitutional national government that will be subject to the will of the Iraqi people. That's time consuming stuff. We do the best we can today in the hope that eventually some tomorrow will come where "bury the dead/chase the bad guys who did it" will not be on the schedule.

We work to make them free. We work so that we don't have to camp in their country in order to defend ourselves.

It's only a battlefield. That the strategic weapons which victory hinges upon are compressors, textbooks, and computers is a novel development but then again, so is America.

Make no mistake: If the people of that part of the world do in fact embrace a political identity that rejects our right to live as free men, and if YOU are proven correct that our attempts to foster democracy as a solution to the threat are foolish and doomed to fail because the natives are just incapable of change, then it will be time to solve this problem the old fashioned way. In Iraq, and beyond.

Your mention of "allowing" nukes to proliferate is specious and seems to ignore the failures of the previous administration, too. If you've ever humped the hills of Korea, you would be starkly aware of the nature of any war we might fight there. We do what we can do. Most important, those regimes who do have nukes KNOW we will do what we must when the time comes. They no longer have immunity - as they have had for thirty years, or more - to act.

I understand it was awfully hard to find a Nazi in Germany in 1946. That's because we spent the entire energy of our nation killing Germans for four years until they were thinned out sufficiently to allow democracies to rise.

I just live here, Markus. I have a contract with my government - I follow the law and pay my taxes, and the government keeps out of my way and works to protect my rights, and my family's rights. I expect them to keep their end of the deal, and will strive mightily to see that they don't shirk.

That's what all this blather is about, in the end.

I think that you and I are going to have to just disagree. And Kimmitt, too, as well.

Apologies for length - but you did ask.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 2, 2005 02:54 PM

TmjUtah -- If we were doing this over drinks in a bar, we would have a great long talk, with me challenging most of your assertions with what you insultingly refer to as my "talking points." (As if I read them somewhere and can't think for myself?)

But to do so in writing is just too exhausting, plus I can't figure out how to do that thing where previous comments are in italics, and my commentary on them are in regular script. (Someone please tell me how!)

But briefly, I will point out that your catalog of Saadam's crimes in the nineties does not add up to a case for war. One possible half assed plot against Bush 41 (see Hersh's investigation of the allegation here: newyorker.com/archive/content/020930fr_archive02),payments to families of anti-Israeli (not anti-American) suicide bombers, nefarious designs on Marsh Arabs and Kurds, and disarming per UN resolutions but refusing to allow this act to be verified -- all this is certainly the work of a cruel and cowardly madman, but it does NOT remotely constitute a clear and present danger, or a grave and gathering threat to AMERICAN interests.

And regarding Iran and North Korea, just what is it that their leaders have learned they CAN'T get away with doing now, that they thought they could get away with five years ago in the bad old Clinton years?

Lastly, you're not reading me right at all when you accuse me of thinking that "our attempts to foster democracy as a solution to the threat are foolish and doomed to fail because the natives are just incapable of change." I do believe it is worth a try, and a noble cause. I believe in looking for root causes of problems and trying to solve them. You see, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool liberal internationalist, not a conservative.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 03:56 PM

Tmjutah: "Make no mistake: If the people of that part of the world do in fact embrace a political identity that rejects our right to live as free men, and if YOU are proven correct that our attempts to foster democracy as a solution to the threat are foolish and doomed to fail because the natives are just incapable of change, then it will be time to solve this problem the old fashioned way. In Iraq, and beyond."

There's no way I can follow Tmj as a coherent poster but the issue you raise here reminds me of Seymour's earlier posts re his concerns about Islam. I still haven't seen anyone address the link to a post I made previously re the Kurds blocking the Assyrian Christians from voting but if true it is something that concerns me a great deal. However, the political left gets no brownie points on that score as they appear to be most in denial re Islam. Or if they do have those concerns they have certainly obstructed acting on those concerns domestically in every way vis a vis the Patriot Act and the ACLU and immigration reform. So they can claim no credit for raising that red flag. That honor goes to folks far to the right of Bush.

Still - re Iraq and the logic of spreading democracy in the ME - which is clearly anathema to even mainstram Islam - I place my hopes on several fronts.

1. Information: Islam may have a 1400 year history of imperialism and intolerance but the internet is a revolution unto itself. But information has got to flow and democracy is the only real context for that to happen. Thomas Barnett has much to say about this. IMHO - we have busted a giant hole into the ME in Iraq from an information perspective and we have yet to see what fruits the information revolution might bear.
How long have any of us been plugged into the internet? Compare that to 1400 years!

2. Women: Much of Islam's edifice rests on suppression of women. That's 50% of the Muslim population. Much of this battle will be faught in the context of women's rights. What happens to Islam's basic edifice once the subjugation of women is rejected by women themselves? And how can that happen without democracy? Moreover, once a society admits the equality of women doesn't that open a door to reevaluate the equality of others, including non-Muslims, homosexuals etc. Review our own western struggles on the human rights front. I say - start with the women and the remaining intolerance could potentially collapse like a house of cards.

3. Apostasy and blasphemy ( basic 1st amendment rights). They also flow from democracy and civil libertarian institutions. Apostasy is crucial. it follows from tolerance of blasphemy. I think this is self-evident re reducing the global power of Islam but all westerners should work very hard on these 2 fronts - resisting political correctness ( and thereby resisting blasphemy)and prosecuting apostasy to the maximum extent so that Muslims themselves can leave Islam with impunity.

But the point is - how can any of these things happen (free information flow, women's rights, freedom from punishment for apostasy and blasphemy) without basic democratic institutions?

If TmjUtah's worse scenario comes to pass - then the western world may have no choice but to declare islam itself as the enemy and the consequences will be very bad indeed, as he has indicated. Perhaps the attempt to foster democracy in Iraq represents the middle road. The last great gamble. There is no doubt though that it would help a great deal if the political left in this country would join in in defending and promoting and even demanding these most basic liberal rights in Iraq in order to avoid a great catastrophe down the road.

The Iraqis themselves have made themselves extremely vulnerable this weekend in stepping forward in this direction, even if they aren't quite sure who they voted for! They just seem to know that they are stepping into the light! All of us should help them - liberals and conservatives alike!

Posted by: Caroline at February 2, 2005 04:26 PM
But briefly, I will point out that your catalog of Saadam's crimes in the nineties does not add up to a case for war.

If you are looking for a "legitimate" causus belli, you need only look to the waning hours of the first Gulf War. In order to preserve what was left of his military, Saddam allowed his military leaders to negotiate a cease fire. There were many terms inculded in that agreement, of which, Hussein had been in material breach almost since the beginning.

Note, once the cease fire was violated, we were in a state of war with Iraq, and no further agreements, negotiations or votes were necessary.

Posted by: TomB at February 2, 2005 04:32 PM

Tags that work in these comments:

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This is text within the blockquote tags.
<b>[some text]</b> makes text bold
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Most other tags are stripped, as are most attributes (like the "target=" attribute for the "a href=" element) for elements that are supported. But these elements should do for commenting.

And of course always preview to make sure you haven't screwed something up, like forgetting to put in a closing tag. (Unmatched <blockquote> tags in particular can really mess up a comment section.)

Posted by: Mark Poling at February 2, 2005 04:38 PM

TomB - I couldn't agree more. And for those who suggest that we should have gone into Iran instead - let them make a case. Cause there is no legal case, which we at least had in Iraq. Or are these folks now strongly in favor of preemption? So - radical neo-cons - step forward. Make your case.

Posted by: Caroline at February 2, 2005 04:41 PM

"The bigots that say that "Arabs don’t want to vote" or "Islam cant support Democracy"

That's you, LGFers. So go get a life now.

Posted by AllahAkbar at February 2, 2005 08:58 AM "

Yuk. I'm not running this site but that was the first truly offensive post I've seen - the first one I would have banned. Anyone posting under the phrase that our enemies have used right before cutting someone's head off is intolerable to me. Maybe if AllahAkbar wants to choose another moniker I would be open to it. But otherwise - fuck you buddy. What the hell is your fucking problem?

Posted by: Caroline at February 2, 2005 05:04 PM

TomB -

"If you are looking for a "legitimate" causus belli, you need only look to the waning hours of the first Gulf War. In order to preserve what was left of his military, Saddam allowed his military leaders to negotiate a cease fire. There were many terms inculded in that agreement, of which, Hussein had been in material breach almost since the beginning."

Yes.

Everybody, thank TomB for stopping me from posting again!~

Caroline -

"And for those who suggest that we should have gone into Iran instead - let them make a case."

The governemt of Iran is directly responsible for the invasion of the U.S. Embassy and subsequent 444 day hostage ordeal that followed.

Embassies are presumed to be sovereign territory in civilized countries. Invasion is generally recognised as a valid causus belli. If we'd had a president who understood the responsibilities of his office in 1979, we'd probably not be in the position we are in today.

The government of Iran is directly responsible for the murder of 248 (and counting) U.S. Marines, Sailors, and civilians that was committed at the Beirut International Airport in November of 1983. The key entry in the CIA logbook for that morning was the precipitous abandonment by all hands of the Iranian Embassy and their subsequent high-speed departure to the Syrian border two hours before the bomb was delivered. It was characterized as a Chinese Fire Drill by those who witnessed it.

If this was 1905 we could afford to live on our side of the planet and have nothing more to do with the thugocracies than write checks for their oil. It's not 1905 and the threat we represent to the muslim arc is not so much as an ideological commitment to make them just like us as it is the fact that our diametrically opposed cultures are no longer insulated by time, money, and distance.

The threat we pose is not manifested in bible thumping covert agents actively subborning Islam. It's the fact that a billion people stuffed into forty or sixty countries are increasingly asking "why can't we live that way?" and that scares the hell out of the handful of theocrats, thugs, and dictators that have managed to float to the top of a very shallow and scummy pond.

I don't need perfect. We sure as hell aren't in a domestic politcal (even though I wonder what exactly it may take after the thirty years leading to 9/11... ) posture capable of ending the threat the other way I mentioned, so I'll continue to support the current strategy. Especially in the utter absence of any substantive alternative proposals.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 2, 2005 05:37 PM

TmjUtah - what is your take on Saudi Arabia and the newly released Freedom House report demonstrating outright sedition supported through their mosques here in the US? What should we do about it?

Posted by: Caroline at February 2, 2005 05:48 PM

Caroline -

Please see my exchange with ambisinistral on the "Who Do They Think They Are?" thread.

I am no friend of the Sauds, and they are no friends of ours.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 2, 2005 07:30 PM

Caroline -- the solution to the "saudi problem" and the "problem of islam" is the same: someone needs to take a ride on the mother of all bombs, straight down to the Kaaba in Mecca, just like Major TJ Kong in Dr. Strangelove, and let those barbarians know what century they've been living in. I nominate you.

Seriously, your fears that we may have to fight a holy jihad against Islam are excessive. You should spend some time in Turkey: politically secular, mostly pro-western, and 99% Muslim.

Wahhabism is not synonymous with Islam.

Posted by: markus rose at February 2, 2005 08:10 PM

Markus -

"Wahhabism is not synonymous with Islam."

I agree.

However, it is without question the most militant sect of Islam. Very top of the heap for agitprop, propaganda, and public relations, too. It has the highest level of economic infrastructure of any contemporary religous movement- more cash flow than the Pope or even the Mormons. "They got numbers", as they say in the old gang movies. They are intensely active worldwide. And without blush I consider them the mainspring of the machine.

What began as a political tool used by the Saud family (the Brits deserve a little credit, too, as I understand the tale told to me) to manage their dictatorship up and got away from them.

I do not put the Saudis in the same threat column as I do the Iranians. The Saudis are pragmatic dictators that paid lip service to Islam by writing fat checks and allowing power and prestige to acrue to the clerical heirarchy. That august establishment now provides employment to a fat slice of the seventy percent of (male) subjects of the kingdom that bother to work at all. It also exists as the sole vehicle for social advancement available to somebody who didn't happen to spring from the loins of one of the thousands of Royals that have accumulated over the years.

I guess the establishment of a wealthy, prestigous, but essentially powerless entity appealed to the tribal instincts of the Sauds. With so much money to spend they could afford unimaginable largesse in greasing the skids. Have you ever been inside a landmark mosque? Appealing right up until the moment that fatwas labeling the Royals infidel for their Scandanavian harems and single malt safaris, of course.

Dr. Frankenstein could commiserate with what the Royals have done to themselves. He could have warned them about angry villagers.

The key difference between the Kingdom and Tehran is that the government assistance that is extended to terror (excluding against Israel) from Saudi Arabia is generally agreed to be a "free agent" level of support in that government officials may facilitate kindred spirits in the pursuit of terrorist goals, but the Royals themselves have no interest in being a direct enemy of the United States. None. They are in a bad, bad place now.

I don't pity them. Not much, anyway.

Tehran, on the other hand, has built a robust diplomatic policy based on "Death to the Great Satan" from day one and has acted directly to achieve that goal just about to the limit of their abilities ever since. They are a state, not just clandestine state employees. They can print money, provide legitimate documents, and use the economic assets at their command without restraint. They have accredited (sp?)embassies for communication and bases, and blithely accept that diplomatic immunity applies to them.

I don't believe they are all fanatics, of course. Anecdotal evidence is that the bulk of the government beauracracy has devolved into a Tijauna or Tammany Hall- style scam writ large BUT the muscle is composed of well-paid knee breakers who more often than not do believe... and the headliners at the very top of the heap have nothing but their interpetation of the Koran as credentials. So there you are. They are THE state terror entity.

I posted my observations on the SOTU speech here. Iran is mentioned.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 2, 2005 09:13 PM

(TmjUtah, fine quick SOTU piece).

The US has said the Sudan is committing genocide.

The UN has said it is NOT genocide, therefore no action is required (maybe threaten a resolution, and then, another resolution, and then, ...)

I wish Pres. Bush had mentioned Sudan. It is no threat to the US, directly. It IS a moral threat to the idea of any collective responsibility to stop, and prevent, genocide.

Sudan is the biggest candidate for next military assisted regime change.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at February 3, 2005 03:08 AM

No mention of Sistani here? How very odd.

Posted by: Michael Farris at February 3, 2005 06:59 AM

Markus: "Seriously, your fears that we may have to fight a holy jihad against Islam are excessive. You should spend some time in Turkey: politically secular, mostly pro-western, and 99% Muslim. "

And pray tell - how did Turkey get to be 99% Muslim?

Posted by: Caroline at February 3, 2005 07:07 AM

Caroline, the history behind the expansion of all religions is often not a pretty picture. What's more important is what individuals and societies do with the religions they have.

Posted by: Michael Farris at February 3, 2005 09:41 AM
Everybody, thank TomB for stopping me from posting again!~

You're welcome! ;-)

But I always enjoy reading your posts, please don't let me stop you.

I popped back in to see if Markus had a response. But it looks like he is just ignoring the hard facts...

Posted by: TomB at February 3, 2005 10:13 AM

Note, once the cease fire was violated, we were in a state of war with Iraq, and no further agreements, negotiations or votes were necessary.

This is not the case under international law -- violations of treaty must be met with a "proportional" response. Our actions with regard to the embargo and no-fly zones were proportional responses to the Iraqi violations of the cease-fire.

I agree with the principle that Iraq was in violation. I disagree with the conclusion that invasion was an appropriate action under international law.

Of course, the humanitarian justification still exists, but then we get into cost/benefit analysis, etc. And those of use who thought that we should do something else first still aren't objectively pro-Saddam.

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 3, 2005 11:15 AM

According to Aricle 60 of the Vienna Convention on the
Law of Treaties:

"A material breach of a bilateral treaty by one of the parties entitles the other to invoke the breach as a ground for terminating the treaty or
suspending its operation in whole or in part."

I see nothing there about proportionality.

Is there another law that supercedes this?

Posted by: TomB at February 3, 2005 11:54 AM

Catherine -- Turkey became muslim when the seljuk turk invaders from central asia made their way through persia and adopted the religion of the peoples they conquered. My point was that Islam can coexist with democracy and political moderation. What was your point?

Posted by: markus rose at February 3, 2005 04:33 PM

Article 43 would seem to take precedence:

The invalidity, termination or denunciation of a treaty, the withdrawal of a party from it, or the suspension of its operation, as a result of the application of the present Convention or of the provisions of the treaty, shall not in any way impair the duty of any State to fulfil any obligation embodied in the treaty to which it would be subject under international law independently of the treaty.

That's where the proportionality kicks in. We can't invade Canada for screwing up mail under our postal treaties.

Separately, I have no idea if we attempted to follow Article 65 and 66 regarding withdrawing from the cease-fire following Iraqi breaches.

We were never in a state of war with respect to the state of Iraq, so even after the cease-fire, international law still held. Congressional authorization of the use of force was given only with respect to the liberation of Kuwait. If Iraq violated cease-fire agreements after the war, those violations were along the lines of extremely serious violations of treaties during peacetime, and we were bound by international law regarding the proportionality of response to treaty and/or security violations.

This sounds legalistic, but what I do want to emphasize is that the choice was never between "invade Iraq" and "do nothing." It was always between "invade Iraq" and "contain Iraq."

Posted by: Kimmitt at February 4, 2005 12:08 AM
That's where the proportionality kicks in. We can't invade Canada for screwing up mail under our postal treaties.

You are reaching, I see NOTHING which mentions a proportional response.

Posted by: TomB at February 4, 2005 11:55 AM

Markus - I missed that you were responding to me. Constantinople was once the capital of the Christian world. My point was just that it was amusing for you to point to a 99% Muslim country as evidence that there is nothing to fear. In fact it appears that pretty much everwhere a Muslim majority takes hold, the minority religious populations are reduced to nil. Turkey would appear to be a good example. That was my point. And the process is still continuing.

Posted by: Caroline at February 4, 2005 02:04 PM

"I see NOTHING which mentions a proportional response"

Why am I not surprised?

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