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Should We Have Paid Off Saddam To Step Down?  
User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1689 times:

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/a...%241bn+to+go+into+exile/article.do

The above article mentions that Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq in exchange for $1 billion.

Assuming that the report is verified. Do you think that the US government should entertain these sorts of proposals? Clearly on a financial cost benefit basis, the offer is appealing but does this set the wrong tone going forward.

Would your answer have changed if the amount was $500 Billion?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineZak From Greenland, joined Sep 2003, 1993 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1682 times:

if its true, then yes, it was a cheap price for a whole country and avoiding a war.


10=2
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1662 times:

Quoting Pope (Thread starter):
Do you think that the US government should entertain these sorts of proposals? Clearly on a financial cost benefit basis, the offer is appealing but does this set the wrong tone going forward.

YES. If you think about our objectives before the war, it was to remove Saddam's ability to threaten us. Having him leave power would have satisfied that objective. We wouldn't have to rebuild a country, we wouldn't have to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to do so, and we wouldn't have all these American and Iraqi lives lost in the process. We would probably still be dealing with the sectarian violence in the country, however.

It does, however, set a rather awkward tone, which is why it should be done under the table. However, even if not under the table, what is the cost of justice for Saddam? I'm not sure you could even get justice for Saddam. What matters is that the Iraqis wouldn't have to live under his rule anymore. We basically did the same thing with Libya, except that Qadafi is still in power there.

Plus, there would still be a lot of people pissed at him, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was relaxing on an island somewhere and somehow managed to get murdured. And it wouldn't sadden me all that much either.

EDIT: Not to mention, we'd have probably gotten most of the countries that wanted Saddam out but didn't want to go to war to do it onboard, and had a real powerful and multilateral coalition to maintain order in Iraq until an Iraqi government could be established.

-Mir

[Edited 2007-09-27 18:46:53]


7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1645 times:

Quoting Pope (Thread starter):
Do you think that the US government should entertain these sorts of proposals?

Absolutely not, it is the same reason the U.S. doesn't pay ransoms. If you pay one crack pot everyone else will see that there is profit to be made in being an asshole.


User currently offlineCastleIsland From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1643 times:

"Denied the opportunity to use their talents in the service of their country, they began to operate what they called 'The Operation'... They would select a victim and then threaten to beat him up if he paid the so-called protection money. Four months later they started another operation which the called 'The Other Operation'. In this racket they selected another victim and threatened not to beat him up if he didn't pay them. One month later they hit upon 'The Other Other Operation'. In this the victim was threatened that if he didn't pay them, they would beat him up. This for the Piranha brothers was the turning point."

Notwithstanding the huge financial savings in making such a payment, and not to mention the (possible) prevention of destruction in Iraq, I'm not in favor of paying what amounts to protection money to mad dictators in exchange for a promise of "good behavior."


User currently offlineSBBRTech From Brazil, joined Jul 2007, 722 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1640 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Absolutely not, it is the same reason the U.S. doesn't pay ransoms. If you pay one crack pot everyone else will see that there is profit to be made in being an asshole.

 checkmark 



"I'm beginning to get the hang of this flying business" - C3PO
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1634 times:

Does anyone seriously believe that Saddam would have taken the $1bil and quietly walked off into the sunset never to cause trouble again?

Seriously?


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1625 times:

Quoting Pope (Thread starter):
The above article mentions that Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq in exchange for $1 billion.

Actually, it was the U.S. that offered him the deal. Leave the country with your sons, and there would be no invasion. He did not take the bait.

And Saddam would never ask for $1 billion. He was worth some 10 times that in his Swiss/Cayman bank accounts.


User currently offlineOHLHD From Finland, joined Dec 2004, 3962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1602 times:

1 billion would have been nothing for him. He was ruling this countries for decades, so thinking you can buy him out with this little sum is a actually silly. I am sure there are billions resting on different bank accounts.


NO the US should not even have tried.  Smile Money can't buy everything.


User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1596 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 6):
Does anyone seriously believe that Saddam would have taken the $1bil and quietly walked off into the sunset never to cause trouble again?

Seriously?

I'm thinking the same thing. Only one thing could have got him out of there and we did it.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1558 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
YES. If you think about our objectives before the war, it was to remove Saddam's ability to threaten us. Having him leave power would have satisfied that objective.

I appreciate the honest reply. If I may, I'd like to explore a hypothetical that derives from your line of thought. If satisfying our objective is the standard (sort of an "the ends justify the means" analysis") should we offer Osama the same offer. Here's $1B (or $5B or $100B) if you agree never to attack us again? Assume that if he agreed he would abide by the terms of his agreement. Should states be in the business of paying protection money?

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
We would probably still be dealing with the sectarian violence in the country, however.

My understanding is that the costs of the war / invasion are minimal in comparison to the post war expenses. If you're saying that these problems would still exist, then how do you reconcile the previous statement?


User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Absolutely not, it is the same reason the U.S. doesn't pay ransoms. If you pay one crack pot everyone else will see that there is profit to be made in being an asshole.

What's better? Letting some lout live in luxury, but in hiding all the time, or having gone through what we have gone through in Iraq? Had we made that offer, and he had taken it, it's possible Iraq wouldn't be in the mess it is today; Four thousand Americans and countless thousands of Iraqi's might be alive. Granted, you can't see an alternate reality-this isn't Star Trek, but it would have been a cheap price to avoid all the crap we've dealt with in the last few years.

But I also agree with Mdorbust. I don't think Saddam would have taken the money, unless it was substantially more than the $1 billion being reported. I'll side with Pope on this one-we should have done it.


User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1539 times:

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):
What's better? Letting some lout live in luxury, but in hiding all the time, or having gone through what we have gone through in Iraq?

Because it gives the green light to all the outer louts, in essence the U.S. is now paying off dictators. Then everyone will begin attacking Americans in the hope of being paid to stop.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1536 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
YES. If you think about our objectives before the war, it was to remove Saddam's ability to threaten us.

The UN inspections in the 1990s already removed that possbility by destroying the WMD programs Saddam had back then.

And the 2003 inspections confirmed that fact.

And after the US invasion the US inspectors again confirmed that the UN inspections were exactly right.

So for aversion of a threat to other countries (or even to the USA!) neither invasion nor payoff would actually have been necessary.

Human rights are a different matter entirely - in more than one respect.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 1530 times:

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 11):
I'll side with Pope on this one-we should have done it.

For the record, I don't think we should have done this. I was simply asking the question not advocating the policy.


User currently offline767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1500 times:

Part of the story got left out of the OP:

According to the article linked:

It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction

So, no, it would not have been a good idea. If in fact Saddam even considered such an offer. I agree with MDorBust. Saddam had way too big an ego to voluntarily allow himself to be erased from relevancy.


User currently offlineAllstarflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 1499 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
We wouldn't have to rebuild a country, we wouldn't have to pay hundreds of billions of dollars to do so

That's perhaps a good economic point.

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
What matters is that the Iraqis wouldn't have to live under his rule anymore.

That doesn't matter - we could say the same thing about Kim Jung Il - and now his name is mired with the Syrians about nuclear products, so Kim Jung doesn't have clean hands about terrorism, either, but we haven't removed him. And Kim Jung rules under a communist-styled regime, so he's no gem for his people, either. This "removing Saddam because he was such a bad man" is bogus. Bad men in power are everywhere and have been.

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
it wouldn't surprise me at all if he was relaxing on an island somewhere and somehow managed to get murdured. And it wouldn't sadden me all that much either

Nor I.

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
Not to mention, we'd have probably gotten most of the countries that wanted Saddam out but didn't want to go to war to do it onboard, and had a real powerful and multilateral coalition to maintain order in Iraq until an Iraqi government could be established

A lot of the countries, though, on board, would have been from the increasingly weak Western Europe, who increasingly can't even check radical Islamists in their own front yards.

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 3):
Absolutely not, it is the same reason the U.S. doesn't pay ransoms. If you pay one crack pot everyone else will see that there is profit to be made in being an asshole.

 checkmark 

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 6):
Does anyone seriously believe that Saddam would have taken the $1bil and quietly walked off into the sunset never to cause trouble again?

Seriously?

 no 

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 9):
Only one thing could have got him out of there and we did it.

Well, more than one thing, IMO, but all with the same result.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1477 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 10):
If I may, I'd like to explore a hypothetical that derives from your line of thought. If satisfying our objective is the standard (sort of an "the ends justify the means" analysis") should we offer Osama the same offer. Here's $1B (or $5B or $100B) if you agree never to attack us again? Assume that if he agreed he would abide by the terms of his agreement. Should states be in the business of paying protection money?

It depends on three factors. One is how closely we can make sure that the other party is holding up their end of the agreement. Dealing with Osama that way would be different from dealing with Saddam. Saddam's power came from being in power. If he is not in Iraq, then he is pretty well neutralized. Osama, on the other hand, is a threat no matter where he is, and even if he were to agree to never attack us again, what is to stop some other group from using him as a role model and attacking us? He has hordes of followers worldwide, many of whom are not even part of his organization. Saddam did not.
The second factor is how much of a threat we perceive Osama (or Saddam) to be. If they are not a serious threat, then there is no need to be paying the money.
Thirdly (and most importantly in my mind), what is the collateral damage cost to getting them through military means? We wanted Saddam out of power. We got it, but tens of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives in the process, which isn't really fair considering that our beef was not with them. Why make an entire country suffer when all we want is one guy?

So looking at your scenario, the first factor is taken care of by your supposition that Osama will abide by his agreement. I explained how I think that that is still not a guarantee, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it is. The second factor is pretty clear - Osama is a serious threat. I do not believe him to be a huge threat in general, but he is one of the biggest threats that we face today, if not the biggest. Which brings us to the third factor. I believe that Osama is hiding out in the mountains of Waziristan, and that because of this we could get him militarily without having to induce large amounts of collateral damage. That would lead me to say that no, there's no point in paying him off, because we would be sacrificing a good deal of integrity (which is why I think such deals need to be kept under wraps to the extent possible) for very little benefit in terms of human life. Hope that makes sense.

Somewhat along the same "why make the country suffer if we want one guy" line (though a bit off-topic): I'd really like to see more covert action against threats than conventional military action. I read an article a while ago about UN-issued death warrants. Seems like a good idea - not only does it minimize collateral damage, but it sends a message to the dictators around the world that even though a full conventional war may not be possible, we can still get rid of them.


Quoting Pope (Reply 10):
My understanding is that the costs of the war / invasion are minimal in comparison to the post war expenses. If you're saying that these problems would still exist, then how do you reconcile the previous statement?

I think they would exist, but I don't think that they would exist to nearly the extent that they do today because of the ability to maintain order in the immediate aftermath of Saddam's departure. The key word there is maintain order, not regain order. Not to mention that you don't have to spend money on rebuilding all the infrastructure that was destroyed in the war (and that still isn't back to pre-Saddam levels in some areas).

Quoting 767Lover (Reply 15):
According to the article linked:

It seems he's indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he's allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction

So, no, it would not have been a good idea.

With that in mind, I would agree. The WMD information needed to be destroyed in order for the deal to work.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1474 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 14):
For the record, I don't think we should have done this. I was simply asking the question not advocating the policy.

Ah, OK. Fair enough. After all, we can't be seen agreeing, can we?  Smile


User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 14):
For the record, I don't think we should have done this. I was simply asking the question not advocating the policy.

Ah, OK. Fair enough. After all, we can't be seen agreeing, can we?  Smile


User currently offlineAllstarflyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1473 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 17):
I read an article a while ago about UN-issued death warrants. Seems like a good idea

 no  This would legitimize the Utter Nonsense in an unparalleled way - and with the prevalent anti-U.S. sentiment, they would hardly ever vote for someone we would vote to cap, and it would (if we allowed it to) restrict us from getting at somebody until the Utter Nonsense authorized it. Firm and absolute NO.


User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1445 times:

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 18):
After all, we can't be seen agreeing, can we?

I think you and I agree far more often than either one of us are willing to admit. While we may disagree about how to accomplish something, I think that you and I (and most other people in this country and throughout the world) share the same basic goals for ourselve, our families, our nations and our planet.


User currently offlineFalcon84 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1429 times:

Quoting Pope (Reply 21):
I think you and I agree far more often than either one of us are willing to admit. While we may disagree about how to accomplish something, I think that you and I (and most other people in this country and throughout the world) share the same basic goals for ourselve, our families, our nations and our planet.

Very magnanamous, Pope. Thank you. And I suspect you may be right.


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