Friday, April 16, 2004

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Yes, I'm at a conference again

This time it's the Midwestern Political Science Association, which is traditionally held in the gorgeous Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.

I'll be back tomorrow. In the meantime, critical readers can re-read what I wrote a year ago about what the anti-war advocates got right and wrong about Iraq. [How well does it hold up?--ed. Opponents of the war were largely wrong about the ramifications outside of Iraq, but have a much better track record of what would happen inside of Iraq.]

posted by Dan on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM


One thing no one thought of is that the US would be calling on Iran to help with pacifying Iraq. Well, actually, one part of the US govt. has invited Iran into negotiations with Sadr (or his followers, it's not so clear, really), while another part is rattling a saber, and half threatening an invasion. Meanwhile, just as Osama pops his head up to make a recording, Gen. Meyers announces a near future reduction in US troops in Afghanistan. Who woulda thunk??

posted by: r.u.t. on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Dan, you supported a war, that is now obviously one of the biggest debacles in decades. So unless you're willing to state conditions why you think the war was a bad idea -- I, along with other rational people will have to continue to believe that its purely irrational. Karl Popper once said beliefs that are unfalsifiable are meaningless -- and thats what the belief that the war in Iraq was a sucess is.

(1) NO WMD -- This was the primary motivation for the war. And nothing. No mushroom cloud -- it was lies -- this was known before the war (see IEAE report from March). Nothing.

(2) No Significant Al Queda Link -- How many times were terrorism and Iraq mmentioned in the same breath?

(3) A war to democratize Iraq with no real plan for post war Iraq. It makes you wonder doesnt it? Last time I checked, there was no hurry to start the war? So why not create a plan for Iraq's occupation? Let's see what happened because of no plan -- After teh war, the whole placec was looted, yet the oil fields remained secured. But, since we know the hawks really dont care about the Iraqi people, maybe this will spark some outrage -- the IEAE (along with others) is reporting that conventional weapons as well as radioactive material from Iraq were also looted and are now appearing in ports in Europe and other places. A war over WMD that apparently forgot to make sur e the weapons were secure? Apparently, we forgot to even secure the conventional Iraq sites! currently their are no stable political insitutions (Bush doesn't know who is going to take control of Iraq in a month, is this a joke?).

(4) A war that would pay for itself -- RIGHT!

(5) Rumsfeld claimed there would be 30k troops in Iraq right now. I'm serious. (see Novak's sunday column).

(6) Abizaid, and otheres are claiming we need to internationalize the troops of the ground. HMMMMMM. Was this a concern before?

(7)A severely overstreched military. Franks response to Bush wanting to plan a war in Iraq while fighting in Afghanistan -- "!*$#*@#%@#".

(8)Taking all the good will America had after 9/11 and basically tossing it out the window. How is this not alone the biggest political mistake in decades? Our "allies" all are turning against us (c.f. Poland, Spain, South Korea).

(9) No one knows the true # of casualities in Iraq, because the military doesn't want to know. I've heard estimates from 8-12k (from first phase of the war). OBviously this past week has addded afew more thousand.

I could keeep going, but i think the above is enough to convince any sane person that this was not a war we should have fought.

The liberal worst case scenario didn't occur -- but it was a worst case scenario. This war was run by grossly incompetent people -- and even if you supported some premise behind the war -- you definitely should have not supported the war being run by this bunch of idiots.

So the real question is, Would you still support this war again in '02, if you know what you now know?

posted by: Jor on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Er, in the first Paragraph, I meant to say unless you are willing to state conditions under which you'll say the war is a bad idea -- i.e. IF A,B,C, and D happen, then yes, I agree the war is a bad idea.

posted by: Jor on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

When my wife and I visited Chicago, including the University of Chicago, two years ago, we stayed at the Palmer. It is, indeed, beautiful. I highly recommend it.

(Sorry for interrupting the Iraq War discussion. Back to politics, everyone!...)

posted by: Robert Tagorda on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

“So the real question is, Would you still support this war again in '02, if you know what you now know?”

I most certainly would. The price tag has been ridiculously low considering what has been accomplished. The coalition forces are causing a major cultural shift in the Middle East. Yup, things overall are looking real good. The dominoes are starting to fall. Moderate Muslims throughout the region are becoming bolder. The radicals are on the losing side. Thank God for President George W. Bush.

posted by: David Thomson on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

The price tag has been ridiculously low considering what has been accomplished.

Which is...?

The coalition forces are causing a major cultural shift in the Middle East.

Exactly what major cultural shift do you have in mind? Specify, with examples.

Moderate Muslims throughout the region are becoming bolder.

This is slightly less vague than "major cultural shift", but a definition of "moderate Muslim" and examples of these folks "becoming bolder" would be appreciated.

The radicals are on the losing side.

You hope. We don't know yet who's going to win.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

"it was all lies...see the IAEA report before the war" you mean the same IAEA that said North Korea was in full compliance all the way up until Uncle Kim announced 'surprise we've got the Bomb' a couple years ago?

That's one big gaping hole in the arguments of people who said the IAEA knew any better what was going on than people in the Administration.

While you're interrogating people about how they define progress, if we're going to look back, please define for me exactly what would constitute a 'significant' link between the late Baathist regime and Al-Qaeda. No opponent of the war except perhaps for Daniel Benjamin has bothered to do so, unfortunately. And even his own definition (support in WMD related expertise) comes perilously close to one that Richard Clarke offered in January 1999 to Vernon Loeb of the Washington Post while justifying President Clinton's cruise missile strike on Sudan ('Iraqi chemical weapons experts').

Apparently while it is of no significance today, the link at the time between Bin Laden and the Iraqis was deemed sufficiently threatening to launch a cruise missile, blowing up a plant and killing someone over.

The WTC 1 bombers were Iraqi nationals, and the Iraqis were harboring somebody we wanted in connection with WTC 1 - according to the New York Times.

posted by: UT-AustinUndergrad on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

What??! That can't be! That doesn't fit neatly into my Bush-hating world-view.

posted by: Dawn Williams on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

UTAUG -- Regarding IAEA, the only real evidence left supporting the nuke story in the case of Iraq were some supposed centrifuges taht could be dual use. DOE experts stated that the centrifuges could not possibly be dual use, however they were overruled by idealogues when the NIE was being created. Part of the problem was that the NIE was rushed -- 2 months -- usually it takes many months to create. However, in this case, the administration had laready reached a descion to go to war and wanted to speed up any evidence it could get to support its forgone conclusions. The IAEA released a report confirming the DOE descion before, essentially closing the case on the Nuke situation. This report was ignored (it was in March, so it was close to the start of the war). This is a matter of physicists being over-ruled by idealogues. If you don't believe intel was systematically misused in the war in Iraq -- you have lost touch with reality. One word OSP. One person Ahmad Chebli (See post article hwere he practically admits he lied to the idiots at the pentagon so he could get his way). '

Moreover, Hans Blix -- cheif UN weapon inspector felt the war was unjustified. Several US UN weapon inspectors felt the war was unjustified. It goes on, and on, and on. There were no WMD in Iraq. Many people in the know were stating that this was the case. Technical people were overruled by idealogues.

To further the absurdity of the WMD story and the awful post-war planning, dont forget the AP is story about how conventional weapons and radioactive material from Iraq are now showing up in ports at Europe. Apparently we forgot to secure iraqs military locations.

I don't know the situation in North Korea, nearly as well, so I don't feel fit to comment on it. So I will not. But the case in Iraq is crystal clear.

Again, regarding the Al-Queda/Iraq link -- no one believes there is a link. There is a reason Bush doesn't mention this or anyone in the administration doesnt mention it anymore. It is non-existant. Again, detached from reality. When Cheney tried to insuniate a link in January, other people in the administration quickly distanced themselves from him. Tenet was sent to "talk to him". Etc. etc. etc. No one believes the link. The non-extradition of teh WTC bomber has a much simpler explanation. We just attacked Iraq ('91) -- its no surprise Iraq was refusing to extradite ('93). This doesn't mean Iraq supported Al Queda. Occums Razor --- I suggest you look into taking a science class (or philosophy of). Significant Link (a start first pass would be) Iraq provided assitance planning/carrying-out one of Al Queda's attacks on America. Hard evidence, not circumstantial crap that has all proven to be false. If there was a smoking gun, you would think a year long expedition in IRaq would have found it.

Clinton's Sudan strike turned out to be a false hit and knocked out half the pharm capacity of the country. I don't think he ever did anything to rectify the error. In my opinion tahts was a much bigger scandal than Monica. That might be because I feel that matters more than sex. But tahts just me. Hence just from the fact that Clinton bombed the wrong target it seems that the '99 story was WRONG and Clarke then was WRONG. But at least he's learned from his mistake, unlike some people -- who can't even think of a mistake they've made over the past 3 years (*cough*Bush*cough*).

I had 9 points, you failed at even partially refuting two.


Why don't you try addressing the points instead of just making silly content-less remarks. I can guess the reason is because all the points I made are essentially irrefutable. Go ahead, tell me under what conditions you would think the war in IRaq was unjustified. I bet you can't.

posted by: Jor on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Jor opines:

"Hans Blix -- cheif UN weapon inspector felt the war was unjustified." Such "belief" is not the same as good reason. Apparently, the UN need not stand for anything as long as corruption's being served well!

"To further the absurdity of the WMD story and the awful post-war planning..." This is far from asself-evident as the chattering classes out East insist it is. To the contrary, the much grieved sacking of the treasures of the Iraq National Museum did not happen. On the other hand, kidnapping has become a major industry in Bagdhad - surely more needs to be done.

The problem is that no one concluding this - including Jor - asks or answers "Compared to what?"

"[D]ont forget the AP is story about how conventional weapons and radioactive material from Iraq are now showing up in ports at Europe. Apparently we forgot to secure iraqs military locations." Perhaps Jor will be good enough to examine the definition of "open society" again?

"I don't know the situation in North Korea, nearly as well, so I don't feel fit to comment on it. So I will not. But the case in Iraq is crystal clear." If so, you need to start your evaluation over again.


posted by: Orson on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]


Hans Blix personally benefited from the corruption at the OFP right? Give me a break. Another half-assed attempt at avoid the issue. NO WMD stands as strong as ever.

If you are suggesting Baghdad didn't experience wide-scale looting, I'd say you probably ought to get yoru head checked. It wasn't just the museum -- everything was looted. If you'd like to post a link to the contrary -- go ahead.

By the way, I already told you what to compare the looting and the raid of iraqi military sites to -- the OIL FIELDS. Suprisingly teh oil fields made it out in pretty good shape. However the cities and Iraq military sites were ignored? HMMMMMMMM

I'm not sure what "open society" has to do with allowing anyone to take missiles and ship them off to Eurpoe? Or allow people to take radioactive material and sell it. But ok!

You wingnuts really need to try harder.

posted by: Jor on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

You're wasting your time, Jor. Many still believe that Vietnam wasn't a mistake.

As for Drezner's analysis, the "liberal" worst-case scenario was based on urban combat, and they picked this up from conservative experts:

General Hoar noted that his "nightmare scenario" is a dozen Iraqi divisions lined up to defend Baghdad, reinforced with "several thousand" antiaircraft artillery pieces. "The result would be high casualties on both sides, as well as in the civilian community," Hoar said. US forces would win, but he questioned the cost in US lives, "and at what cost as the rest of the world watches while we win and have military rounds exploding in densely populated Iraqi neighborhoods?"

While this scenario with Iraqi artilley will never play out, the rest of the world is watching as we fire artillery into densely populated areas. You can see some of the pictures here.

Something to keep in mind when people say we're changing the culture.

posted by: Carl on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Wow, Carl - The live Al-Jaz web-feed, eh? And here I was expecting some good "splash-out" video by way of, well, you know, evoidence of your claim.

But hey - thanks for outing yourself. At least we know who you stand with. How's that feel, by the way?

posted by: Tommy G on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

Toomy G, let's assume your right and the pics are a fraud. I honestly don't know and admit they could be.

Ask yourself this: does it matter? As one freeper said earlier, this is a political war, not a military one. Politically, we are getting our butts handed to us by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. They are killing us in the ratings.

Now take a look at those pictures again, and ask yourself how you would feel if you were an Iraqi and were seeing this 24/7.

The Iraqis have a veto on this operation whether we like it or not, and if they constantly see pictures like this, it's just human nature that they're going to turn on us.

You may agree or disagree, but I think it's a reasonable point, and one that shouldn't be dismissed just because I linked to a site that many Iraqis trust.

posted by: Carl on 04.16.04 at 02:20 PM [permalink]

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