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  #21  
Old 03-31-2016, 03:11 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
Whether or not this is true or hyperbole is immaterial. Many senior members of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party have told American/British forces post-2003 that Saddam was merely waiting for the UN to let down their guard and remove the military impediments to his aggression before he attacked again. He was also planning on restarting his nuclear program, explicitly with the intent of aiming them at Iran (if not using them).
If you believe everything that Saddam said, then why don't you accept that he was peaceful and was merely maligned by Zionist henchmen?
But if you do not believe everything that Saddam said, then why believe that he meant what some of his henchmen say he said after they'd been caught by the Zionist henchmen?

In other words: why trust those senior Ba'ath members?
Saddam had very good reason to lie: he wanted to keep his followers divided so that they did not conspire with each other against him and he also wanted to impress them with his own power and vision, so that they wouldn't dare try to overthrow him. Given the fact that lies would work better for such a goal than actual plans, let alone failed invasions, there does not seem to be any reason to think that if Saddam said such things he actually meant them.
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  #22  
Old 03-31-2016, 01:06 PM
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Cool news, though not for the US.
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  #23  
Old 04-08-2016, 08:40 AM
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Ozymandias Ozymandias is offline
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
If you believe everything that Saddam said, then why don't you accept that he was peaceful and was merely maligned by Zionist henchmen?
But if you do not believe everything that Saddam said, then why believe that he meant what some of his henchmen say he said after they'd been caught by the Zionist henchmen?
Well, lets see. On the one hand, he had already invaded Iran without any provocation. So its not like we didn't have prior objective evidence as to his antipathy to Iran. Secondly, I'm not trusting his word. I'm trusting the word of the many Iraqi's in a position to know who were "interviewed" after Saddam's fall.

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In other words: why trust those senior Ba'ath members?
Saddam had very good reason to lie: he wanted to keep his followers divided so that they did not conspire with each other against him and he also wanted to impress them with his own power and vision, so that they wouldn't dare try to overthrow him.
This is a stupid argument more worthy of Southpaw. Fine. Why trust anything anyone says? In every statement, ever, one can find an ulterior motive that would lead to distrusting said statement. Besides which, even if what you're saying is true, then why would he tell everyone the same thing?

Saddam was pretty open about his desire to re-invade Iran. Everyone confirms this. The US believes it to be plausible. There isn't a single good reason ever represented that contradicts it, except your desire to believe that somehow Saddam wasn't a psychopath who causes millions of deaths and would have gladly caused millions more if given a free hand to do so. Which, of course, is part of an ongoing political agenda against former President Bush. Who had a multiplicity of faults, including many of his reasons for deposing Saddam. But the act itself of regime change in Iraq, if not many of his justifications, was the ethically and politically humane thing to do.

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Given the fact that lies would work better for such a goal than actual plans, let alone failed invasions, there does not seem to be any reason to think that if Saddam said such things he actually meant them.
Again, you've conjectured a possible (and maybe even plausible) scenario and then assumed its the truth. The evidence ALL points the other way. Even some of the reasoning you use is suspect. You're assuming Saddam's primary goal was to divide his senior followers, and not, say, to conquer his neighbors. Which relies on the idea that he didn't have other, more blunt ways of doing this (such as just purging them, as he had done many times in the past). And then assuming that the facts must be twisted to suit your theory, instead of the other way around.

Here's a fact. Saddam threw away millions of lives and billions of dollars for seven years to prosecute a war it was obvious he could not win (and I won't even count the initial invasion of Iran here, as he might have had a chance early). There is no real reason for him to have kept fighting, and as brutally as he did, with chemical weapons, except a desire to inflict as much damage on Iran. That is a fact (except the last bit, which... frankly is the only thing that fits any kind of fact pattern). You know what isn't a fact? Alleging some kind of vast conspiracy Saddam was instituting in order to divide the Iraqi Ba'ath party by lying about invading Iran a second time once the current American military occupation had ended.
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  #24  
Old 04-08-2016, 09:09 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
This is a stupid argument more worthy of Southpaw. Fine. Why trust anything anyone says? In every statement, ever, one can find an ulterior motive that would lead to distrusting said statement. Besides which, even if what you're saying is true, then why would he tell everyone the same thing?
Because it worked.
First, for years, he had been relying on having chemical and biological weapons to cow his subjects and keep them docile. He used them a few times (mainly against the Kurds, but also against the Iranians), but mostly he kept them in reserve. That worked quite well, from his point of view.
Then, after his Quwait adventure, he decided he had to get rid of those weapons in a hurry, so as to not be convicted of having proscribed weapons. A consequence of this hurry was that no one could prove what had happened to those weapons. On the one hand, that proved to be a major headache to him, but on the other hand, it turned out that the rumour of weapons worked just as well as the actual weapons did.

He may actually have been more worried about an Iranian attack than about his own followers, for all we know. But against such an attack, the possibility of WMD also worked as deterrence, so there too the rumours were enough.

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Saddam was pretty open about his desire to re-invade Iran. Everyone confirms this. The US believes it to be plausible.
Maybe true, but there is no way at all that the American invasion was meant to protect Iran.
Given a choice, the USA would have again helped Saddam against Iran, but he wasn't going to do that again, unless he first got a lot of reinforcements and the sanctions prevented that instead of helping him.
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  #25  
Old 04-09-2016, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
Because it worked.
First, for years, he had been relying on having chemical and biological weapons to cow his subjects and keep them docile. He used them a few times (mainly against the Kurds, but also against the Iranians), but mostly he kept them in reserve. That worked quite well, from his point of view.
Firstly, he used them more than a few times. And by the way, the attempted genocide against the Kurds was in and of itself all the legal justification (not that there weren't many other perfectly legal justifications for the war, as noted at the time).

But it wasn't fear of chemical weapons that kept Iraqi's in check. The use of secret police, torture, etc was far more effective. There is almost no evidence that this was a consideration. If you squint right it makes sense, but the average Iraqi had to be far more immediately concerned with the Mukabarat showing up to their door than a detonating mustard gas missile.

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Then, after his Quwait adventure, he decided he had to get rid of those weapons in a hurry, so as to not be convicted of having proscribed weapons. A consequence of this hurry was that no one could prove what had happened to those weapons. On the one hand, that proved to be a major headache to him, but on the other hand, it turned out that the rumour of weapons worked just as well as the actual weapons did.
Again, this is pure and not even particularly logical conjecture. He had just used those chemicals weapons a few years earlier; why would anyone believe him of not having them? That was why the disarmament and inspections regime was set up in the first place by the UN!!

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He may actually have been more worried about an Iranian attack than about his own followers, for all we know. But against such an attack, the possibility of WMD also worked as deterrence, so there too the rumours were enough.
This is true enough, but the problem here is that he wasn't worried about an Iranian attack. He was planning to attack Iran. That is an extremely important distinction.

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Maybe true, but there is no way at all that the American invasion was meant to protect Iran.
Given a choice, the USA would have again helped Saddam against Iran, but he wasn't going to do that again, unless he first got a lot of reinforcements and the sanctions prevented that instead of helping him.
All very true. Maybe I have a slightly less cynical view of the world than you do, however, because I think it is possible that the Bush Administration was concerned in humanitarian as well as geopolitical terms for the costs of any further Iraqi bellicosity. We probably would not have helped Iran or cared in a geopolitical sense, but we certainly cared about others in the region, and while I know you think George W Bush was some combination of Charlie Gordon and Satan, it is still plausible that he didn't want to see thousands if not millions of casualties in another war if Saddam was left unchecked.
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  #26  
Old 04-09-2016, 11:07 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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Actually, I don't think Bush did it out of malice. Instead, he was motivated by greed, indifference and deliberate ignorance. The result, of course, was thousands, maybe millions, of casualties.
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  #27  
Old 04-09-2016, 11:18 AM
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Actually, I don't think Bush did it out of malice. Instead, he was motivated by greed, indifference and deliberate ignorance. The result, of course, was thousands, maybe millions, of casualties.
Or, possibly, he was of the opinion that the permanent establishment of a military protectorate over half of a country because its head of state couldn't be trusted not to exterminate the local populations if left un-muzzled was ridiculous in the extreme.

Clearly the Bush Administration was ignorant. The complete lack of understanding of how a post-war Iraq would function, the absence of any kind of plan to rebuild the country or amnesty enough Ba'athists to ensure a degree of continuation of civil governance, certainly shows that. Perhaps they were even greedy; greedy to boost their popularity, to burnish a reputation for the history books, MAYBE even to gain financially.

But if you believe those are the only reasons, then you are too biased to be participating in such a discussion. George W Bush is not the devil. He said, many times, that international safety and, most importantly, the safety of the citizens of Iraq, were the foremost reasons for his actions. And while we can debate what he felt most strongly, to ignore that, or deny that those were valid ethical and (in some cases, legal) justifications is ridiculous.

And the flip side is that on a net basis, Bush may have saved thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives.
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  #28  
Old 04-09-2016, 12:37 PM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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... the absence of any kind of plan to rebuild the country ...
There were such plans. Rumsfeld deliberately threw them out. That's why I did not just accuse them of ignorance, but specifically of deliberate ignorance.
The neo-cons had certain beliefs about how things (economics, society as a whole, and such) should work, and they knowingly ignored anything that contradicted those beliefs.

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But if you believe those are the only reasons, then you are too biased to be participating in such a discussion. George W Bush is not the devil. He said, many times, that international safety and, most importantly, the safety of the citizens of Iraq, were the foremost reasons for his actions.
I am willing to grant that he may have believed such things; but since his approach was based on deliberately ignoring reality, the results were not beneficial at all.

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And while we can debate what he felt most strongly, to ignore that, or deny that those were valid ethical and (in some cases, legal) justifications is ridiculous.
I do not think that if someone deliberately harms someone else out of a deliberately false belief of doing good, that that then makes the perpetrator a good person.
To name but one other example: the 9/11 perpetrators also thought they were doing good; they too were acting for what they felt was the good of humanity.

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And the flip side is that on a net basis, Bush may have saved thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives.
Where?

Not in Iraq. The yearly death toll there was as high as it was in the latter days of Saddam, if not higher, and that's with the sanctions that were having a lethal effect. If those sanctions had been reduced, then Iraq would have been better of.
Not in Syria. There the USA might have been able to play a more constructive role, if it hadn't blown all its credibility and its willingness to act in Iraq.
Not in Iran. If Bush had wanted to protect that country from Saddam, then all he needed to do was normalise relations and start trading weapons to the them again. Heck, he could even have asked for a repeal of the Rushdie verdict.
Not in North Korea, which got nukes because of his focus on Iraq.

Where Bush may have saved lots of lives is in South America, which was mostly ignored by him and the USA as a whole. As a result, democracy there is far more stable than it ever was in preceding century when the USA was constantly meddling there, trying to squash socialism and drug production. But, once again, that's a result of ignorance and incompetence, not of deliberate policy.
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  #29  
Old 04-11-2016, 09:29 PM
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There were such plans. Rumsfeld deliberately threw them out. That's why I did not just accuse them of ignorance, but specifically of deliberate ignorance.
Which is not the same as saying he was deliberately planning on there being anarchy. As I remember, the idea was that constituting a civilian government, bureaucracy, army, etc... which would be populated with many Ba'athists who had been complicit in the previous regime, would undermine the entire concept of regime change and pave the way for a return to power of one of Saddam's cronies.

Obviously, some middle ground should have been paved.

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The neo-cons had certain beliefs about how things (economics, society as a whole, and such) should work, and they knowingly ignored anything that contradicted those beliefs.
Donald Rumsfeld wasn't a neocon, so... not sure what the point of this is. Neoconservatives were in large part against nation building, I'll give you that. Which I'm sure they would say is being in favor of self determination.

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I am willing to grant that he may have believed such things; but since his approach was based on deliberately ignoring reality, the results were not beneficial at all.
Easy for you to say in hindsight. Everyone sees the world through their own set of biases. You refuse to acknowledge that Saddam Hussein was an unrepentant genocide who was only being restrained from further murderous warmongering by the daily application of armed force. Who was openly disdainful of the sanctions placed upon him, and who was caught harboring terrorists and suborning international diplomats to enrich himself at the expense of his starving, dying populace.

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I do not think that if someone deliberately harms someone else out of a deliberately false belief of doing good, that that then makes the perpetrator a good person.


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To name but one other example: the 9/11 perpetrators also thought they were doing good; they too were acting for what they felt was the good of humanity.
Even if I accept this as equal, its categorically not true. They actively and openly were doing it (if you ascribe Osama's beliefs as those of all al-Qaeda, which is fraught but I'll roll with it) to restore the Caliphate. At the broadest, all they could claim was to be doing it for the good of Muslims. And it isn't like they pursued a peaceful solution.

The Bush Administration was explicitly invading to benefit the vast mass of the Iraqi population being exploited by the Hussein regime. I'm not sure how the two are even remotely related. One was an attack on a random selection of several thousand people, regardless of creed or nation. The other was as targeted of a campaign against a particular subset of oppressors as one could hope to have.

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Where?

Not in Iraq. The yearly death toll there was as high as it was in the latter days of Saddam, if not higher, and that's with the sanctions that were having a lethal effect. If those sanctions had been reduced, then Iraq would have been better of.
Well, to my mind the most accurate death count was the 2006 Lancet survey, which relied on actual death certificates instead of cruder estimates. That number was 650,000 excess casualties due to the war and its aftermath. The Lancet estimated in 1995 that sanctions had caused excess casualties among children under 5 (a small subset of the population, though admittedly the most vulnerable) at 550,000.

And your point about the sanctions is silly. First, it was quite obvious that all efforts to improve the lot of the people of Iraq were being diverted to fund Saddam's pet projects and not actually going to feed the people. Secondly, again: Saddam Hussein was in the process of committing genocide on his own people, and arming himself in such a fashion to carry that genocide out more effectively, when sanctions were imposed. Under the circumstances, the ONLY argument is that we should have removed him then instead of forcing the Iraqi people to suffer Saddam's psychopathy. The alternatives were mass starvation, or the systemic extirpation of several (large) subgroups of Iraqis. There is, literally, no other option. Under the circumstances, I'd argue that the regime change strategy initiated in 2003 was far and away the most humane one possible.
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