Wednesday, March 02, 2005

…And the argument continues.

First, I will say that I agree with Dude in regards to Homeland Security. I was never for creating a new department and felt that it was done for political reasons. Such things happen in a democracy. It happened again with the creation of an intelligence czar, another measure that I do not support.

However, I disagree that a bait and switch took place upon the lead up to the war. Certainly the WMD case got the most attention from the people and the press and became a focal point from the administration, but the other reasons, including the freedom of the Iraqi people were stated beforehand as well, as his 2002 speech to the U.N. shows. I also maintain that the president was careful to distinguish between a grave and gathering threat and an imminent threat. If an administration official painted the threat as imminent, such a depiction was the exception, not the rule. In his 2003 SOTU Bush stated:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have
terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice
before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge,
all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in
the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an
option.

I recognize that rehashing this argument will not bring about any reconciliation. One side feels that the president was essentially honest with the people (though I’ll admit that there was a selling job to garner support for the war) and the other side feels that the president lied and manipulated evidence to go to war. Neither can prove, with any certainty, its case.

That said, I would no sooner condemn Bush for focusing on the liberation aspect after the WMD argument didn’t pan out as I would condemn Lincoln for freeing the slaves after his 1860 campaign tried to convince nervous slaveholders that he wasn’t an abolitionist.

A couple of excerpts from that UN speech:

In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime
cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic
repression of minorities -- which the Council said, threatened international
peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.
Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime's repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.


In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General's high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them. In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise.

In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and
support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and
Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993,
Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American
President. Iraq's government openly praised the attacks of September the 11th.
And al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.
...

We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when
inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left?
The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's
regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against
the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions
and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not
take.
...

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally
forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction,
long-range missiles, and all related material.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian
population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as
required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

If all these steps are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government
that represents all Iraqis -- a government based on respect for human rights,
economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.
...

Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic
goal.

1 comment:

mat said...

i think it's obvious (and i clearly remember) that bush convinced americans into armed conflict by fostering fears of wmds. of course, freedom for the iraqi people was stated--about as much as saddam gassing his own people and rape rooms. its was all about the invisible wmds. do you think americans would have agreed to invade without the constant fear bush instilled concerning saddam's wmds? it was a rush to war on faulty and inconcluseve evidence (Bush to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2002: "Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon."
personally, i am not anti-war. bush and company worked ovetime to imply that american soil was in danger because of saddam's wmd. and it worked: i have had conversations and debates with many other americans during the ratcheting up to war and the core of their argument: we can't let saddmam possess wmds. i agree; we can't. i guess the u.n. scientists' assesment was correct. ahh, the voice of reason. now, 1,500 americans dead, lots of missing arms, legs, and eardrums, billions of tax dollars spent (instead of on education) and at least 16,000 everyday iraqi folks killed we have found out they were right: no wmd.

the world's only superpower has provided an excellent example of violence for the rest of the world to follow in regards to their own brand of problems. i strongly feel that another president would have been more cool-headed, got as much of the world behind us as possible to fight terrorists, and, lastly, be more honest about his reasons.