Alpha 1
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Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:15 am

Interesting. Seems the solid front in the Administration that the war was justifed no matter what is cracking.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1802&ncid=1802&e=1&u=/washpost/20040203/ts_washpost/a6995_2004feb2

Powell Says New Data May Have Affected War Decision
Tue Feb 3, 8:00 AM ET Add Top Stories - washingtonpost.com to My Yahoo!


By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writer

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday that he does not know whether he would have recommended an invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) if he had been told it had no stockpiles of banned weapons, even as he offered a broad defense of the Bush administration's decision to go to war.


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Even without possessing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) intended to acquire them and tried to maintain the capability of producing them in case international sanctions were lifted, Powell said in an interview. But he conceded that the administration's conviction that Hussein already had such weapons had made the case for war more urgent.


Asked if he would have recommended an invasion knowing Iraq had no prohibited weapons, Powell replied: "I don't know, because it was the stockpile that presented the final little piece that made it more of a real and present danger and threat to the region and to the world." He said the "absence of a stockpile changes the political calculus; it changes the answer you get."


Powell spoke on the Iraq weapons issue for more than half of the hour-long interview. Throughout the discussion, Powell tried to balance the administration's rationale for going to war with the reality that no weapons of mass destruction have been uncovered in Iraq. Former chief U.S. weapons inspectors David Kay told Congress last week that Hussein did not have such weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion.

Nonetheless, Powell said, history will ultimately judge that the war "was the right thing to do."

Powell is widely perceived to have placed his credibility on the line last Feb. 5 when he appeared before the United Nations (news - web sites) Security Council and offered a forceful and detailed description of the U.S. case that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. In that appearance, Powell told the council: "What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

In the interview yesterday, Powell said he had "spent much of the weekend" reading Kay's testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites). Powell came to the interview, held at The Washington Post, with an annotated and highlighted transcript, and suggested that Kay's testimony was more supportive of the administration than many news accounts have portrayed.

Kay "did say, with respect to stockpiles, we were wrong, terribly wrong," Powell said, flipping through the pages of Kay's transcript and quoting from selected sections. "But he also came to other conclusions that deal, I think, with intent and capability which resulted in a threat the president felt he had to respond to."

Powell said, "Saddam Hussein and his regime clearly had the intent -- they never lost it -- an intent that manifested itself many years ago when they actually used such horrible weapons against their enemies in Iran and against their own people."

That intent, Powell said, was also demonstrated by Hussein keeping in place the capability to produce weapons. He said Hussein continued to train and employ people who knew how to develop weapons, "and there's no question about that and there's nobody debating that part of the intelligence."

Moreover, Powell said, Iraq continued to have the "technical infrastructure, labs and facilities, that will lend themselves to the production of weapons of mass destruction." Such facilities "could produce such weapons at a moment in time, now or some future moment in time," Powell said. "I think there's evidence that suggests that he was keeping a warm base, that there was an intent on his part to have that capability."

Powell asserted that Hussein was intent on creating delivery systems, such as longer-range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"If you look at my presentation from last year, I talk about intent," Powell said. "I talk about the capability I think is there, the stockpiles, but a large part of the presentation is also what happened" and the unanswered questions about Iraq's weapons holdings. "He got a chance to answer the questions and he didn't answer the questions."

Powell noted that when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War (news - web sites), U.S. troops expected to be hit with chemical weapons. "We weren't hit with chemical weapons but we found chemical weapons," he said. "So it wasn't as if this was a figment of someone's imagination."

Thus, with U.N. inspectors absent from Iraq for four years, "I think the assumption to make and the assumption we came to, based on what the intelligence community gave to us, was that there were stockpiles present."

Although Kay found the years of sanctions had constrained Hussein, eventually international resolve would have weakened, Powell said.

"I think that the international community wouldn't have kept them constrained," he said. "There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if Iraq had gotten free of the constraints and if we had gone through another year of desultory action on the part of the United Nations and when they were freed without threat . . . they would have gone to the next level and reproduced these weapons."

Powell said his Feb. 5 presentation, which contained detailed assertions about Iraq's possible weapons stockpiles, "reflected the best judgments of all of the intelligence agencies. . . . There wasn't a word that was in the presentation that was put in that was not totally cleared by the intelligence community."

Powell noted that not only the CIA (news - web sites) but other intelligence agencies and the United Kingdom "suggested that the stockpiles were there."

Asked whether the American public should be reassured that so many intelligence agencies were so wrong, Powell replied: "I think it should be reassuring to the voters of the United States that we found a regime that's clearly demonstrated intent and clearly had the capability, and that the president had the information from the intelligence community."

Powell added that the American people will understand "with that body of evidence, that was the information and intelligence that was available to the president at that time, the president made a prudent decision."

Powell added he had faith in the intelligence analysts, who he said gave "their best advice."

"I have confidence in the intelligence community," Powell said. "I've seen them do many things that were absolutely brilliant in their concept and their execution, many things we'll never be able to discuss and will never get a headline." With a twinkle in his eye, he added: "Very recently, as a matter of fact. Go research that if you wish."
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Interesting read. I disagree with him about how history will judge this war. I think it will be seen as a major gaffe.
 
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sebolino
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:18 am

Hmmm ...
Powell came in front of the UN to convince them of the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein and his WMDs, with clear "evidences".

Quite funny.
 
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JeffM
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:23 am

Hindsight.... "woulda, shoulda, coulda..." is all that is...

Of course he would say that "IF" the information had been different, other decisions "might" have been made. But it wasn't at the time, now was it?

Did you expect him to say... "No...we were going to invade regardless of the intelligence..."


Don't be so goofy..

 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:26 am

Nonetheless, Powell said, history will ultimately judge that the war "was the right thing to do."

Alpha 1,

I respect you because you included that quote from the article. Yes, you disagree with it...and I disagree with your assessment...but you included it, which shows your character.

We can agree to disagree politically, but I applaud you for including all the facts.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:31 am

The war is over, isn't it? What possible good can be served by waxing over the reasons why the US and its allies went to war, over and over and over again? I mean, there was no inquiry into the whys and hows over the Allies' entry into the Second World War, or so on.

The effort spent finding the reasons why could probably be better spent dealing with the consequences of actions taken against Iraq...... but that's my opinion.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
donder10
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:33 am

Hmmm ...
Powell came in front of the UN to convince them of the imminent threat of Saddam Hussein and his WMDs, with clear "evidences".

Quite funny.
Your country also thought Iraq possessed WMDs.Quite funny too?
 
Espion007
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:40 am

The war is over, isn't it?

Not to me.We still have troops over there,equipment,etc. and Iraq cant run itself yet.Even though no bombs are dropping,the war,in my opinion,isnt over.
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Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:44 am

The actual fighting is over.... I misstated my point - the US and the Coalition are past the "point of no return" when it comes to Iraq. Giving into hindsight now - and allowing partisan arguments to mislead the government and people from the immediate task at hand - rebuilding a free, post-Saddam Iraq - can't be good for Iraq or the US.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
TWFirst
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:44 am

As long as American military personnel continue to die, the war isn't over... and each death is a direct result of "bad intelligence" (and I mean that in more than one way).
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
Klaus
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Goose

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:51 am

Goose: The actual fighting is over.... I misstated my point - the US and the Coalition are past the "point of no return" when it comes to Iraq. Giving into hindsight now - and allowing partisan arguments to mislead the government and people from the immediate task at hand - rebuilding a free, post-Saddam Iraq - can't be good for Iraq or the US.

"Gee, the victim´s dead anyway; What does it matter now whether I killed him in self defense or whether I murdered him? He would still be dead either way! Just let´s go on with our lives!"
 
captaingomes
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:56 am

Interesting how eventhough it seems more clear now that the war was a mistake, people make light of it, as if saying, oh well, we goofed. It seems that a serious strategic error was made, and the potential consequences are nothing to sneer at.

It's great that Saddam is no longer in power, and I hope things will improve for the Iraqi people, but I'm not too sure about the stability in the area improving as a result of the war.
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:59 am

Your description is fairly accurate, Klaus, however - what possible use could a judgement either way provide to the current situation in Iraq? Would it solve anything? Would it give the ongoing Iraqi campaign credibility, or take it away? Would revisiting the decision already made to go to War into Iraq, and throwing doubt into the mix in future US operations there, benefit the people and troops in Iraq?
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
mt99
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:53 am

what possible use could a judgement either way provide to the current situation in Iraq? Would it solve anything?

No. but it may help to avoid other $87 bn (+$50bn )"mistakes" in other countries or situations

[Edited 2004-02-03 18:54:45]

[Edited 2004-02-03 18:56:31]
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Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:05 am

No. but it may help to avoid other $87 bn (+$50bn )"mistakes" in other countries or situations

You know as well as I do that the findings of this inquiry will not be used in that context... the loudest political lobby groups will use the findings - if they find the Bush administration to be in error - for an ousting of the US president or, worse, a withdrawl from Iraq.

And, if it finds the US administration in error.... can you imagine the damage it could do to future US decision-making when it comes to international issues? It could prove to be a catalyst for a recurring case of "Vietnam syndrome" in US decision-making...... which isn't necessarily a positive outcome either.
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727LOVER
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:11 am

Alpha 1,

I respect you because you included that quote from the article. Yes, you disagree with it...and I disagree with your assessment...but you included it, which shows your character.

We can agree to disagree politically, but I applaud you for including all the facts.


Wait a minute!

Are you saying there are people on here that omit certain sentences in articles to give an article a whole different context to fit their view????  Wow!

Have you CAUGHT someone doing this? If so, I'd like to know whom.
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
mt99
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:11 am

can you imagine the damage it could do to future US decision-making when it comes to international issues?

Exaclty.. It's part of the risk that the admin. took when deciding to go to war. There a huge consecuences to this thing. That is why it is so important to get things right before proceeding.

Goose, Are you suggesting a cover-up just to "save face", is wrong doing is indeed found?

Step into my office, baby
 
Klaus
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Goose

Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:59 am

Goose: Your description is fairly accurate, Klaus, however - what possible use could a judgement either way provide to the current situation in Iraq?

If it turns out Kay was wrong and there were WMDs after all which were directly threatening the USA with no other means of defense than to invade immediately, then everything will be justified.

If it turns out that "somehow" the US administration was duped into believing a bunch of scheming exile iraqis through an incompetent CIA and was going in without looking twice, the Bush administration will be found to be completely incompetent in security matters leading to impeachment on gross negligence in office or at least will be kept from starting other wars before they´re kicked out of the White House in November.

If it turns out that the Bush administration was served with basically correct intelligence and skewed it by cherry-picking only the incriminating and discarding the exonerating evidence this would amount to a crime in office and the unavoidable impeachment proceedings would probably be highlighted by one of those famous "I am not a crook!" speeches certain presidents seem to be so fond of.


Unless the - extremely unlikely - first case should occur, it would merely open the american public´s eyes to what everybody else had already seen all along: That the US government engaged in a severe breach of international law without justification, even trying to bully others to go along with it, disregarding every warning on the way.

The international credibility of this administration had been torn to shreds a year ago already and I don´t see any way to repair it without flushing the whole bunch out of office and replacing them with new faces whose credibility and integrity are still undamaged.


It sure is a bitter job to do; But nobody could claim that this had come without warning.
 
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sebolino
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 8:08 am

Quite funny.
Your country also thought Iraq possessed WMDs.Quite funny too?


LOL !!!

Where were you during the last year ? On another planet perhaps ?

Did you notice that some countries including France didn't agree with the war ? HA HA HA HA


 
Alpha 1
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 12:08 pm

Hindsight.... "woulda, shoulda, coulda..." is all that is...

Yes it is, JeffM, but when you do a "woulda, shoulda, coulda", and it's about if you should have bought chicken instead of pork chops for dinner, or if it's about you should have called that girl up that you were dying to date, that's one thing. This "woulda, coulda, shoulda", ended up in a war, where people have died in large numbers. That's nothing to sneeze at, even though you act like it's nothing. It is a big deal, and that's why the President finally gave into having this commission.

War should never be treated as lightly as I think this Administration took in starting this one. It's a serious matter. Stop acting like it isn't.

We can agree to disagree politically, but I applaud you for including all the facts.

EA CO AS, I don't selectively leave anything out of articles. I let it stand or fall on the whole thing. Not everyone on here does that-on both sides of the spectrum. We can disagree on it, but I thought the fact that Powell even uttered those words were siginficant, especially in light of events surrounding this issue this week. I appreciate your candor.

The war is over, isn't it?

Since when? Last time I looked, our boys were still dying over there.

I mean, there was no inquiry into the whys and hows over the Allies' entry into the Second World War, or so on.

Gee, maybe that's because the Allies didn't start that war, bright boy. Ever think of that? We started this conflict, and since the intel seems to have been 180 degrees off, an investigation is absolutely warrented.
 
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JeffM
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:19 pm

Serious matter, yes, can you reverse what has transpired? No. Should we finish what we started? Yes.

Alpha, you are oversimplifying the intel situation. I doubt you have ever been involved in the process, so to quit looking like a complete fool, stop making it seem like you have. Bright boy..
 
MD-90
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:38 pm

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Why did Syria so quickly give in after so many years of stonewalling (for example)?

Also, if there really where absolutely no WMDs, then we have a clear intelligence failure of vast proportions that needs to be addressed.
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:42 pm

Serious matter, yes, can you reverse what has transpired? No.

That's not what it's about, JeffM, and you know it. It's about learning from our mistakes, so they won't be repeated, and find out where improvements in the process can be made. That, ultimately, is why such an investigation should take place.

Alpha, you are oversimplifying the intel situation. I doubt you have ever been involved in the process, so to quit looking like a complete fool, stop making it seem like you have. Bright boy..

JeffM, what's up your butt tonight, eh? It isn't a simple situation ,and everyone knows that, and I for one never said it was. If it were, then we wouldn't be debating about bad intel.

It's you who looks like the fool in trying to bait others, when the rest of us are having a serious discussion of the subject. Grow up.
 
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JeffM
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 1:58 pm

It is about learning from our mistakes. That is my point. Sitting around doing nothing like Clinton was a BIG mistake. Getting off our ass and doing something was a step in the right direction.

Serious discussion? Thats what your doing? I couldn't tell.
 
b757300
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:40 pm

Why did Syria so quickly give in after so many years of stonewalling (for example)?

Actually it was Libya but the point is still the same. Libya saw what happened to Saddam and when they were caught red handed importing nuclear materials and equipment, they decided it was better to give it up rather than suffer Saddam's fate.

The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

I was going to say that! You stole my line! Big grin  Big grin
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commander_rabb
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:19 pm

Whatever the merits of the war there are many that feel that we will almost certainly better off in the world now that we are bringing some stability into Iraq and into the Middle East. The road is a long one. And it may get worse. But it is a road we are now on and one we will travel the full distance.

Many are willing to go the distance.

Including myself.
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:21 pm

Whatever the merits of the war there are many that feel that we will almost certainly better off in the world now that we are bringing some stability into Iraq and into the Middle East.

STABILITY? I guess you consider a continuing war, and continued terrorist attacks stability. I have a different idea about that word and what it means.
 
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JeffM
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Wed Feb 04, 2004 3:24 pm

The attacks will continue for a while. But they won't last.

Tell us alpha....what is stability? How would you get us there?
 
captaingomes
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:35 am

Jeff, how will the attacks not last? And stability is not achieved by starting wars that are dubious. We needed to take action regarding Saddam, if for the sake of the people there, but not the way it was done. With the increased anger towards Americans, stability will decrease, and attacks will increase.
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
 
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JeffM
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:43 am

The attacks will dwindle as the cowards are caught or killed. Stability will be regained as confidence increases. Dubious, is just your opinion. The type of action taken will be debated, but it won't change anything. The people have been liberated, and soon be on there own.
 
Klaus
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JeffM

Thu Feb 05, 2004 1:03 am

JeffM: The attacks will dwindle as the cowards are caught or killed.

At the current rate of recruiting, that will be approximately ... never. Great.

JeffM: Stability will be regained as confidence increases.

More wishful thinking. Wasn´t that already supposed to happen immediately after the invasion? And what gives you the confidence to be right this time?

JeffM: The people have been liberated, and soon be on there own.

You´re aware that the best you can hope in that case is an independent government that´s not openly hostile towards the USA?

Still sure that everything went just great?
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 1:05 am

The attacks will dwindle as the cowards are caught or killed.

You mean, like has happened In Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinians. They've been catching and killing these people for 30 years, and the attacks continue. The problem I fear is that with this war, we breed a whole new generation of terrorists who look upon the U.S. as a worthy target.

The attacks won't dry up-ever-as long as our troops are there. They will continue, and American GI's will keep coming home in body bags for no good reason.
 
zak
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:22 am

"Serious matter, yes, can you reverse what has transpired? No"

actually yes. the u.s. could for example apologize to the iraqi people for making a huge mistake by attacking iraq on wrong intelligence, apologize to the u.n. for trying to abuse it to make this attack legal, and apologize to the u.s. people for feeding them wrong information to make them support the war and in the same process, step down from any civil authority in iraq and handing over "nationbuilding" to the u.n. whilst training the iraqi army to help the iraqis get control of their country again to allow quick withdrawal of u.s. troops.

now that would be something new, the u.s. apologizing for mistakes they made!

on a site note, russia has publicly stated the attack on afghanistan had been a severe mistake and apologized to the afghani people officially and publicly a few years ago.
the u.s. has not apologized to any of the countries in indochina that have suffered due to their intervention, nor have most european countries apologized to any of the colonies they had(or colonies they had but didnt call so, i.e. france and algeria)
10=2
 
777236ER
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:40 am

The attacks will continue for a while. But they won't last.

Just how much military or political experience do you have?
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:03 am

actually yes. the u.s. could for example apologize to the iraqi people for making a huge mistake by attacking iraq on wrong intelligence, apologize to the u.n. for trying to abuse it to make this attack legal, and apologize to the u.s. people for feeding them wrong information to make them support the war and in the same process, step down from any civil authority in iraq and handing over "nationbuilding" to the u.n. whilst training the iraqi army to help the iraqis get control of their country again to allow quick withdrawal of u.s. troops.

The UN's track record when it comes to nation-building is less than stellar; Their track record in the last decade or so in peacekeeping isn't great, either.

I would suppose that, if the US were to step down from the civil authority and hand-over to the UN.... that US troops should then come under the command of the UN as well?

The administration of post-Hussein Iraq is very tricky.... and I think it won't be solved or made easier with the Civil and Military authorities split between the US and UN. In such a scenario, you run a risk of both hands not knowing what exactly the other is doing.... and at a stage in which an certain degree of integration of the Civil and Military authorities is very important.

I'm sure the current scheme with the US-led Coalition administration allows for some of that as well, but the risk increases exponentially as new players - and more bureaucrats - are introduced into the mix.

You also run a risk of the UN making more poor tactical decisions like the ones that lead to the terrible bombing of their compound in Baghdad around 6 months ago. In that case, they were far too concerned with appearances and being "politically correct" that they failed to realize the real dangers of the situation. That's a poor position to be in, especially given the behaviours of the hold-out insurgents and terrorists in the past six months.

That's not to say the US hasn't made similar errs in judgement when it comes to their immediate security.... but you probably understand what I mean.

Like the saying goes... "Too many cooks...." I believe that the best chance of success in Iraq is with a single authority, under the auspices of the current Coalition occupation of the country. This might produce negative results in the immediate term - as some Iraqis lash out against the Coalition because of the fallout of the War and removal of Saddam - but in the long-term, this has the best chance of offering a stable Iraqi government and economy... rather than having the UN meddling around.

The UN has no mandate to be successful in Iraq; they've risked nothing, and are unaccountable to voters and constituents. They have no troops of their own. And as I mentioned, I think their track record in peacekeeping and nation-building is less than stellar.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
Alpha 1
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:07 am

The UN's track record when it comes to nation-building is less than stellar; Their track record in the last decade or so in peacekeeping isn't great, either.

Neither is that of the U.S. But it's funny how we lump all that on the UN.
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:19 am

You're right, Alpha - the US doesn't have a all-wins record when it comes to building nations. I mean, you have to take Vietnam into account, name one.

But US-led or US-guided post-War administrations and aid programs have experienced measured degrees of success in the post-War rebuilding of countries like South Korea, Japan, and Germany. The Marshall Plan was almost entirely a US initiative, which produced some fantastic results.

But the UN hasn't really proved its mettle in building countries; East Timor has had difficulty in its first few years of nationhood - after their initial bloody post-independence referendum fallout. Eritrea fell back into war with Ethiopia only years after their independence. The Western Sahara has yet to realize independence..... All haven't noticed a recovery or improvement of their economy, like Germany, Japan and South Korea have.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
Klaus
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Goose

Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:31 am

First: "The UN" needs the support of its members to be effective. Without that, any effort will quickly fail.

Second: The UN has successfully contributed to nationbuilding. What individual country can present a better track record, all in all? The UN is the only entity with the legitimacy to handle transitions like the one in Iraq.

Third: The success stories in post-WWII rebuilding had a lot to do with local capabilities politically, socially and technically. US support was very helpful, but in the end not the essential ingredient. And underestimating (and even ignoring) the importance of the local factors was one of the main mistakes in Iraq.
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:33 am

Third: The success stories in post-WWII rebuilding had a lot to do with local capabilities politically, socially and technically. US support was very helpful, but in the end not the essential ingredient. And underestimating (and even ignoring) the importance of the local factors was one of the main mistakes in Iraq.

In each case - Japan, Federal Germany, and South Korea - US support was essential in rebuilding the industrial base. Without it, local factors and administration would've had nearly nothing with which to build from - especially in the case of Japan. And, after the Second World War it was advocated - by Stalin, namely - for turning Germany into an agrarian nation without any industry whatsoever... in effect, taking the Versailles treaty a step further.

The 'western' allies - the US, mostly, and Britain to a lesser extent - advocated putting Germany and Japan back on their feet and rebuilding them after the war. The Marshall Plan poured billions of dollars in money into Europe and Japan after the war to rebuild the economies that the war effort had effectively destroyed. The money provided by the United States stimulated industry, and the German and Japanese constitutions - indeed, their very governments - were built and fostered with guidance from the US and other allies.

The US military presence in Germany and Japan was necessary because of the continued threat of Communist insurgents - either home-grown or directed from abroad - and with events such as what happened in Greece in '46 and Malaysia during the 'Emergency' in the postwar years, it was apparent that Germany and Japan ran a real risk of Communist coup. Germany, South Korea and Japan are entirely the nations they are today because of the US involvement after the war.... and the US involvement there was essential.

I would, however, concede that in each case - South Korea, Germany and Japan - that each nation had experienced a long and bloody war which effectively left the populace with little will to 'fight on,' and every desire to see the War over. The Iraqi war, by contrast, was swift and left a bewildered population in its wake..... and they have yet to fully adjust to the change. This is, most likely, a major factor which has produced the ongoing insurgency there. But there are signs of progress in Iraq..... but the fact that the Iraqi war was so quick in its conclusion must be taken into consideration when comparing the situation in Iraq to the Marshall Plan postwar rebuilding of Europe and Japan.

However, there are parrallels between the two. And despite more recent events, the United States does have the most experience with successful nation-building..... indeed, three of the top twelve economies in the world are products of the Marshall Plan and other post-War rebuilding efforts by the US. I still believe that they offer the best chance for success in rebuilding Iraq.
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:39 am

First: "The UN" needs the support of its members to be effective. Without that, any effort will quickly fail.

Hrm... one could argue that any United Nations effort requires support from the United States in order to be effective.

UN missions to the Former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia) and Rwanda - two operations noticeably lacking US involvement - met with some very dismal failiures and horrendous human rights abuses by the combatants. The UN mission in Somalia effectively fell apart (or ground to a halt, whichever way you look at it) after the US withdrawl in the aftermath of the Battle of Mogadeshu.....

Just a thought.

[Edited 2004-02-04 20:41:33]
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
MD-90
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:45 am

You're right, I meant Libya, not Syria.
 
Klaus
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Goose

Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:16 am

Goose: In each case - Japan, Federal Germany, and South Korea - US support was essential in rebuilding the industrial base.

It helped a lot, indeed. After the occupying forces first disassembled and shipped home what industry was left from the bombings, that is... And there was at least knowledge about how to run a state, how to build democratic institutions (and especially, how not to!) in the local population.

As I said, the Marshall Plan and the other support was important, but you should look at the fact that after WWI Germany rebuilt under the harshest possible conditions without any help right through the depression. And it even almost succeeded in establishing a democratic order after the demise of the empire. Abused for evil intentions or not, there was tremendous knowledge about how to (re-)build a nation in 1945.

So things are not quite as simple as if everything was built up by the USA after the war with no significant contribution by the population.

And that´s the big problem with the assumption that you "just" need to win the war and everything would just "fall into place". It wasn´t so in 1945 and it most certainly wasn´t so in 2003! Someone obviously slept through his history lessons!



Goose: Hrm... one could argue that any United Nations effort requires support from the United States in order to be effective.

Winning the war - if one is necessary (ahem) - takes the required military means. Which is one of the reasons why Europe is beginning to step out of its post-war self-limitation.

But you´re making exactly the mistake I´ve described above: "Winning the war" (or sending in peacekeeping troops) is only the precondition for nation building. The actual nation-building is predominantly a question of economic, political and cultural interaction and not a military task!

Especially the US media packs up its cameras and leaves the scene as soon as the bullets stop flying and no "juicy action bits" are expected to happen any more. But that is exactly when the real work is just starting and things get complicated!
 
Goose
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RE: Powell Not Sure If War Minus WMD's Was Justified

Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:11 am

Maybe Mark Twain was right.

"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. That is the main difference between a dog and a man."
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
Klaus
Posts: 20649
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:41 am

Goose

Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:25 am

Reality is just not quite that simple.

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