It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:55 am UTC

Iconoclast wrote:What responsibility? The whitehouse, the Pentagon, and the congress have been irresponsibly, illegally, and covertly using the military for decades in places where the people of the country don't want us there. We (the American people) have no more responsibility in Iraq and Afghanistan than we do in Protecting/containing Japan(FYI, I figured I'd post the first article that comes up in "Okinawa base" search in google news. Not surprisingly, it wasn't flattering.)


Not always. Certainly, we do things for our own interests, but those interests have sometimes coincided with those of the nations we've entered - Panama and Kuwait are two fairly good examples of this.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:38 pm UTC

jayhsu wrote:If we knew a country was systematically and efficiently mowing down specific members of it's population (i.e. Holocaust), would we, as humans, not have an obligation to try to stop them? America is arguably the strongest nation on Earth, why should it not be at the forefront to stem the tide?

Though I suppose most situations are not nearly as black-and-white as that. Peace is a great way to lead and show by example, but as you also stated, the Iraqi sanctions resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands as well. Is there no middle road?

I don't accept that there were absolutely zero good intentions of this war. Even if any amount of evil will always taint good, even if there is only a sliver of good in the entire mess that is the Iraqi war, have we not made some people's lives better? The whole thing's a crapshoot - there's no argument there. But when one infringes upon the basic human rights of another, I would say that any third party has an obligation to intervene (turning into the morality thread).

Preferably peaceably, of course.

First of all, Godwin's Law. Second of all, I would not call economic sanctions peaceful. Third of all, I do think there were good intentions with this war. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I was just saying that the system itself is self-serving. And neocons seeking to expand the empire has just as good intentions as any war protestor. I do not contest that.

However, it is impossible for us to act as the world police and not make mistakes, and keep America safe and treat all of the world fairly. Our military is strained as it is, and we have barely scratched the surface of eliminating evil from the world. The fact is we have to pick and choose which countries deserve our protection, and which don't. We also need to determine what people deserve our protection, and which don't. Saudi Arabia does, the Saudis don't. North Korea and North Koreans don't. Iraq gets priority. And remember, no matter how smart our bombs get, civilians will die in any war or conflict.
Indon wrote:Not always. Certainly, we do things for our own interests, but those interests have sometimes coincided with those of the nations we've entered - Panama and Kuwait are two fairly good examples of this.

You mean when we invaded panama to get one man, in the process killing thousands of civilians? You know, many panamanians actually don't think America has a God-given right to the canal. And Kuwait involved US bases in Saudi Arabia, which is definitely against the interest of Saudis, and Muslims the world over.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:43 pm UTC

Iconoclast wrote:You mean when we invaded panama to get one man, in the process killing thousands of civilians? You know, many panamanians actually don't think America has a God-given right to the canal.

The canal aside, quite a few panamanians rather didn't like the fact that they'd been taken over by a military dictatorship.

Iconoclast wrote:And Kuwait involved US bases in Saudi Arabia, which is definitely against the interest of Saudis, and Muslims the world over.


The Saudi government obviously disagreed. Admittedly, the Saudi government doesn't exactly have a Will of the People thing going on, but what exactly does the protests of extremist Muslims have to do with us basically saving Kuwait?
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:35 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:And Kuwait involved US bases in Saudi Arabia, which is definitely against the interest of Saudis, and Muslims the world over.

The Saudi government obviously disagreed. Admittedly, the Saudi government doesn't exactly have a Will of the People thing going on, but what exactly does the protests of extremist Muslims have to do with us basically saving Kuwait?

Who cares that the Saudi government disagreed, look at the people. And it does not only piss off extremists, although it can be a factor in turning someone extremist. Look at where most suicide bombers come from (or the 9/11 hijackers). Either there is a genetic trait in Saudi Arabia, or our foreign policy actually is a factor in who attacks us, and how they attack us. Any military operation, covert or not, will have unintended consequences which are extremely hard, if not impossible, to calculate.

It is my opinion that when it comes to foreign policy, you must look at the big picture, meaning all consequences of our actions. To isolate a specific conflict such ass Kuwait, and ignore all events leading up to it, and any situations outside of it, than it is very easy to make a case for why such an invasion was a good thing. When you look at our foreign policy as a whole, meaning geographically and temporally, you can arrive at a more useful conclusion.

Indon wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:You mean when we invaded panama to get one man, in the process killing thousands of civilians? You know, many panamanians actually don't think America has a God-given right to the canal.

The canal aside, quite a few panamanians rather didn't like the fact that they'd been taken over by a military dictatorship.
It is impossible to discount the importance of the canal when talking about Panama. The US wouldn't look at Panama if it weren't for the Canal.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:52 pm UTC

Iconoclast wrote:Second of all, I would not call economic sanctions peaceful.


What sort of actions would be peaceful, that don't include not taking any action at all?

Iconoclast wrote:However, it is impossible for us to act as the world police and not make mistakes, and keep America safe and treat all of the world fairly. Our military is strained as it is, and we have barely scratched the surface of eliminating evil from the world. The fact is we have to pick and choose which countries deserve our protection, and which don't. We also need to determine what people deserve our protection, and which don't. Saudi Arabia does, the Saudis don't. North Korea and North Koreans don't. Iraq gets priority. And remember, no matter how smart our bombs get, civilians will die in any war or conflict.


I agree it is impossible to perform all three acts at once - someone will always get the short end of the stick (or at least claim it). Perhaps a more neutral 4th party, say the UN, should play a greater role in American foreign policy (much to America's chagrin, I'm sure), and decide for all world powers which situations are most critical and require intervention. The least beneficial action America can do for the world is promote it's own isolationism. Besides, as long as America has interests beyond it's borders, some degree of intervention will always be required.

There will always be civilian casualties in war, but we can still strive to minimize collateral damage to the best of our ability.

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:04 pm UTC

jayhsu wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:Second of all, I would not call economic sanctions peaceful.


What sort of actions would be peaceful, that don't include not taking any action at all?
The only peaceful action I can think of is trying to act as a mediator between parties. Economic warfare can be just as inhumane as normal warfare.

Iconoclast wrote:However, it is impossible for us to act as the world police and not make mistakes, and keep America safe and treat all of the world fairly. Our military is strained as it is, and we have barely scratched the surface of eliminating evil from the world. The fact is we have to pick and choose which countries deserve our protection, and which don't. We also need to determine what people deserve our protection, and which don't. Saudi Arabia does, the Saudis don't. North Korea and North Koreans don't. Iraq gets priority. And remember, no matter how smart our bombs get, civilians will die in any war or conflict.


I agree it is impossible to perform all three acts at once - someone will always get the short end of the stick (or at least claim it). Perhaps a more neutral 4th party, say the UN, should play a greater role in American foreign policy (much to America's chagrin, I'm sure), and decide for all world powers which situations are most critical and require intervention. The least beneficial action America can do for the world is promote it's own isolationism. Besides, as long as America has interests beyond it's borders, some degree of intervention will always be required.

There will always be civilian casualties in war, but we can still strive to minimize collateral damage to the best of our ability.

Idealism is a dish best served at room temperature and a sprinkling of cyanide.

The UN plays a greater role than you may think. We have already been involved in a number of wars based on enforcing UN resolutions. And the UN can be seen just as arrogant as the US. Isolationism is completely different from military non-interventionism. Isolationism means cutting off economic and diplomatic ties with all other countries. What I am saying we should do is expand economic and diplomatic ties with all countries, and stop threatening the use of force to those who threaten our interests. The intervention to protect US interest beyond our borders is nothing but 21st century mercantilism.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:14 pm UTC

And what of situations where the jerk in power just doesn't care and continues to slaughter his own people?

Perhaps some do view the UN as arrogant, but it seems to be a fairly neutral party - am I wrong in believing this?

An eye for an eye makes everyone blind, but there is something to be said about taking the bastard out when he goes for the second eye too.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:45 pm UTC

Iconoclast wrote:Who cares that the Saudi government disagreed, look at the people. And it does not only piss off extremists, although it can be a factor in turning someone extremist. Look at where most suicide bombers come from (or the 9/11 hijackers). Either there is a genetic trait in Saudi Arabia, or our foreign policy actually is a factor in who attacks us, and how they attack us.

Or, it could be that Saudi media (which is under a suspicious amount of state influence) is extremely anti-American, and we are painted as scapegoats for problems that we have nothing to do with.

Iconoclast wrote:Any military operation, covert or not, will have unintended consequences which are extremely hard, if not impossible, to calculate.

But this does not mean that one should never resort to a military solution.

Iconoclast wrote:It is my opinion that when it comes to foreign policy, you must look at the big picture, meaning all consequences of our actions. To isolate a specific conflict such ass Kuwait, and ignore all events leading up to it, and any situations outside of it, than it is very easy to make a case for why such an invasion was a good thing. When you look at our foreign policy as a whole, meaning geographically and temporally, you can arrive at a more useful conclusion.

Then in turn, we should look at the foreign policies of others, and other factors as well, to get the complete picture, eh?

Indon wrote:It is impossible to discount the importance of the canal when talking about Panama. The US wouldn't look at Panama if it weren't for the Canal.


Indeed. I wasn't saying that the US is motivated by goodwill - merely that some of our operations have, albeit incidentally, yielded positive results for peoples other than the American one.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby cspirou » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:18 am UTC

As someone has already said we went to war in Iraq because of the military industrial complex. They own us. Which was corroborated with other corporate interest and oil in particular. I think it's absolutely disgusting that this war was privatized in a large percentage. I was watching the documentary "Why We Fight" and someone said if you asked 10 people why we are over there you would get 10 different answers.

What truly makes me sick right now is the missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, which is effectively a pork barrel project, and the possibility of going to war with Iran. For what? They are not going to launch missiles even to Israel because they know it's suicide for Iran. Israel easily has 100 nukes and they won't have to fire any. The USA would have already launched a dozen before it hits the news that Iran launched a missile. The best thing to do is to actually talk to Iran. Something the right accuses Obama as appeasement and it's a major reason why I'm not voting for McCain if it means another war.

My line of thought is that I imagine if there's a draft. Are things bad enough to where I would be willing to die for it? In the case of Iraq and Iran the answer is definitely no. I don't believe killing 100,000 of the people some leader has been oppressing is the best way to do things.

But that's a little off topic.

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:38 am UTC

jayhsu wrote:And what of situations where the jerk in power just doesn't care and continues to slaughter his own people?

Perhaps some do view the UN as arrogant, but it seems to be a fairly neutral party - am I wrong in believing this?
Yes. The UN represents largely western interests.
Indon wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:Who cares that the Saudi government disagreed, look at the people. And it does not only piss off extremists, although it can be a factor in turning someone extremist. Look at where most suicide bombers come from (or the 9/11 hijackers). Either there is a genetic trait in Saudi Arabia, or our foreign policy actually is a factor in who attacks us, and how they attack us.

Or, it could be that Saudi media (which is under a suspicious amount of state influence) is extremely anti-American, and we are painted as scapegoats for problems that we have nothing to do with.
The Saudi media is government controlled, but I don't think that has much to do with the animosity towards America (if it is as ant-American as you say). If that was the reason for them not liking our policies, then they'd also support the Saudi government. The fact is we have bases outside of the two holiest cities in Islam, and are quite obviously a foreign force. Even when the religious context is taken out, you can see how such a policy can promote hatred. After all, the US gives billions in aid to the Saudi government.

Iconoclast wrote:Any military operation, covert or not, will have unintended consequences which are extremely hard, if not impossible, to calculate.

But this does not mean that one should never resort to a military solution.
I agree. A military solution is quite nice acceptable if the country is invaded, or under a direct, real threat of being invaded.

Iconoclast wrote:It is my opinion that when it comes to foreign policy, you must look at the big picture, meaning all consequences of our actions. To isolate a specific conflict such ass Kuwait, and ignore all events leading up to it, and any situations outside of it, than it is very easy to make a case for why such an invasion was a good thing. When you look at our foreign policy as a whole, meaning geographically and temporally, you can arrive at a more useful conclusion.

Then in turn, we should look at the foreign policies of others, and other factors as well, to get the complete picture, eh?
Yes. Look at how harmful different countries' foreign policies are to themselves and others. By contributing ourselves, as the world's most powerful country, we are fanning the fire. We can do more damage than any other country, and when we assume the role of being the moral guiding light of the world, we get into trouble. We are encouraged to be this guiding light by those in congress who's district builds planes, or wants to be seen as patriotic. We feel good about what we do because the dirty things in war (i.e. civ. casualties, or the oppressive regimes supported) are hidden from us. Then when we see the results of this policy it looks like they came out of nowhere. The policy has not worked well for America since Wilson, and I see little optimism for it working in the future.

Indon wrote:It is impossible to discount the importance of the canal when talking about Panama. The US wouldn't look at Panama if it weren't for the Canal.


Indeed. I wasn't saying that the US is motivated by goodwill - merely that some of our operations have, albeit incidentally, yielded positive results for peoples other than the American one.
So let me get this straight. We should continue with our policy because two countries in the long list of places we've intervened may have benefitted?
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:53 am UTC

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that it could be a lot worse. We went into Iraq, deposed a dictator/tyrant and made the lives of (some) people better. That does not justify the war by any means, but it could be worse.

So to readdress the OP's question, why did we invade Iraq? Well, all these shitty reasons, but maybe also for a good one or two. Does it ever balance out? Are some of the good things worth all of the bad?
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Indon » Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Iconoclast wrote:The Saudi media is government controlled, but I don't think that has much to do with the animosity towards America (if it is as ant-American as you say). If that was the reason for them not liking our policies, then they'd also support the Saudi government.

The Saudi people clearly support their government more than the people their media tells them to hate.

Iconoclast wrote:I agree. A military solution is quite nice acceptable if the country is invaded, or under a direct, real threat of being invaded.

I think there are other applications as well - to intervene to stop a corrupt military government from gaining power in a country would be another situation I would think force would be appropriate.

Iconoclast wrote:Yes. Look at how harmful different countries' foreign policies are to themselves and others. By contributing ourselves, as the world's most powerful country, we are fanning the fire. We can do more damage than any other country, and when we assume the role of being the moral guiding light of the world, we get into trouble.

We can also fix more damage than any other country - potentially, anyway.

Iconoclast wrote:So let me get this straight. We should continue with our policy because two countries in the long list of places we've intervened may have benefitted?


More than two, really: Cuba's doing pretty well for itself and we set up its' current leader, as another example. :D

But I'm not calling for no change in our foreign policy, to be fair. I just think a judicious use of our power would be far superior to a cease in usage of that power. I also consider it more likely - America has been an interventionist country pretty much since its' founding.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Lumpy » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:15 am UTC

My perception when we invaded, when I was 12, was that Americans were bored and wanted something other than celebrities to follow in the news, and it was only going to be over in a few months anyway. The glue huffing kid next to me cheerfully said "And we're going to bomb them!" during a discussion on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. I thought nothing of it, hoped that the adults knew better, and tried concentrating on studying. That and watching MacGyver.

Now I know that according to Donald Rumsfeld, Iraq was a threat and democracy is just a screwdriver to fix the loose screw. I also heard from a Press Secretary (Tony Snow, probably) talk about how good it is that they're voting, just look at the purple ink on their fingers, and you're bad if you think Saddam Hussein throwing dissidents in a grinder and gassing Kurds was a good thing. McCain once me that one reason was al-Qaeda, despite the link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda being disproven, and al-Qaeda makes up 2% of terrorist organizations attacking American forces.

I know that Bush had scheduled the invasion date on the calendar while he was saying that he was giving Saddam Hussein time to leave the country and the invasion was not set in stone. I heard once that he had discussions about invading before September 11, 2001, and I know that the U.S. government even funded the Taliban before 9/11 for fear of regional instability or something. I used to think that the idea that they invaded for oil was an extremist concoction invented by the likes of Code PINK until I heard about Bush saying in a signing statement that Congress can't tell him that federal funding can't be used to secure Iraqi oil reserves for the U.S.

That doesn't prove anything; that idea could have come after the invasion, but it gave that claim some credibility. I do know that prior to the invasion they were so desperate that Tony Blair had suggested that they intended to provoke Saddam Hussein into moving first by disguising a regular military airplane as a U.N. airplane making suspicious or hostile-appearing action. That'd have been a war crime.

I do know that Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment to the U.S. House of Representatives last month. Today it was voted by a majority of the House of Representatives, Democrats joined by nine Republicans, to send it to the Judicary Committee where Chairman John Conyers will hold hearings. I do know that it's highly improbable you'll get the same reasons depending on which government official you ask, if they were willing to truthfully respond. I do know that it is believed in the Bush administration, or at least with Karl Rove, that executive privilege excuses them from subpoenas.

Maybe today's vote will result in some things being cleared up before January 20.

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:34 am UTC

Indon wrote:The Saudi people clearly support their government more than the people their media tells them to hate.
As I said, I sincerely doubt the hatred is a result of brainwashing.

I think there are other applications as well - to intervene to stop a corrupt military government from gaining power in a country would be another situation I would think force would be appropriate.
OK, so that means an invasion of America would be good right now, since it's pretty clear it's run by a corrupt military government (</facetious>). My point is assuming America is now, and forever shall be, the most morally guided country is an extremely shaky premise.

We can also fix more damage than any other country - potentially, anyway.
Yes, potentially. But we don't have a very good track record, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

More than two, really: Cuba's doing pretty well for itself and we set up its' current leader, as another example. :D

But I'm not calling for no change in our foreign policy, to be fair. I just think a judicious use of our power would be far superior to a cease in usage of that power. I also consider it more likely - America has been an interventionist country pretty much since its' founding.

Yeah, that was a bit of a straw man on my part. By definition a judicious use of power woul be superior to no use of power, but I see no evidence that we can use it judiciously. America certainly has had a history of being interventionist, but we also have a history of great non-interventionist rhetoric (oh, and Washington and Grover Cleveland).
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:21 am UTC

Iconoclast wrote:
I think there are other applications as well - to intervene to stop a corrupt military government from gaining power in a country would be another situation I would think force would be appropriate.
OK, so that means an invasion of America would be good right now, since it's pretty clear it's run by a corrupt military government (</facetious>). My point is assuming America is now, and forever shall be, the most morally guided country is an extremely shaky premise.


Heh, that's a really good point.

What do you propose we (America) do, Iconoclast? Regarding foreign policy, world policing, &c. I'm interested in hearing your view. I think you said earlier that we should lead with peace and a non-interventionist policy - what happens when people just ignore us?

Should the world create a more unbiased third party (i.e. the UN but better)?

Ignoring the fact that most of this could never happen.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Thu Jul 17, 2008 9:22 pm UTC

jayhsu wrote:
Iconoclast wrote:
I think there are other applications as well - to intervene to stop a corrupt military government from gaining power in a country would be another situation I would think force would be appropriate.
OK, so that means an invasion of America would be good right now, since it's pretty clear it's run by a corrupt military government (</facetious>). My point is assuming America is now, and forever shall be, the most morally guided country is an extremely shaky premise.


Heh, that's a really good point.

What do you propose we (America) do, Iconoclast? Regarding foreign policy, world policing, &c. I'm interested in hearing your view. I think you said earlier that we should lead with peace and a non-interventionist policy - what happens when people just ignore us?

Should the world create a more unbiased third party (i.e. the UN but better)?

Ignoring the fact that most of this could never happen.

I think we should withdraw our troops from around the world, and massively cut down on military spending. I think the national guard, parts of the navy, and the coast guard are all we need for national defense. We restructure the CIA so it only collects intelligence. We could then adopt a policy of neutrality. Of course, all that's only possible if we also open up oil drilling within the US (heavily taxed and regulated to try to minimize enviro. damage). It should also be easier to build a nuclear power plant.

Now, about the rest of the world. I'm not an isolationist, so I don't think the rest of the world doesn't concern us. Now, as I said, I don't think we should do anything to police the world because it is wrong to assume America is always morally right. This means many of the world's problems would remain, but we would also stop creating/aggravating problems around the world.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:11 am UTC

What about blatant human rights violations? Or even not-so-blatant ones? Should we just keep out of those?

Perhaps assign them to Peace Corps or UN duties?
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:01 am UTC

jayhsu wrote:What about blatant human rights violations? Or even not-so-blatant ones? Should we just keep out of those?

Perhaps assign them to Peace Corps or UN duties?

Define human rights violation. You can't. We can't. I can't. By most definitions, a good amount of our allies perform human rights violations that few people have a problem with. Perhaps Europe would take on our role (I'm sure Sarkozy would love a european army) and try its darndest not to reunite with its colonialist past. Only if there was an absolute, rigid definition of conditions needed to invade a country would I begin to think the UN intervening is a good idea (perhaps something along the lines of systematic mass killings of civilian populations). Of course, even that is a tricky definition since it's difficult to tell the difference between civilians, guerillas, and freedom fighters. Maybe it should be: "systematic mass killings of civilian populations for nonpolitical means". That sounds extremely cold, though, and I really don't like it.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Akula » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:48 am UTC

jayhsu wrote:I don't accept that there were absolutely zero good intentions of this war.



Exactly. And I don't direct this necessarily at the people running the country. But I think this is a wide spread belief among the people actually serving there. Not universal by any means... it might not even be a majority. But I know a lot military men and women who see the war as a chance to help those in need. To hell with what Bush's or anyone else's intentions are, they have their own reasons for being there.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:30 am UTC

Heh, Iconoclast made a good point on that previously, Akula. But I still stand by that affirmation (naive as it may be).

systematic mass killings of civilian populations for nonpolitical means


That is kind of cold. And I'd bet you could argue any genocide (okay, let's not use that word - mass killings of populations instead) are definitely political in nature.

It is hard to decide what is right and what is wrong, and who is right and who is wrong, but can we agree that killing innocent civilians is definitely wrong, and the ones doing the killing are wrong. Even if the killings are motivated as a result of past grievances (i.e. Rwanda), are the people of the present responsible for the actions of those in the past?

As you've shown me in this discussion, very little is black and white, and I don't believe a black and white solution will suffice.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby space_raptor » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:22 pm UTC

Here is what I think about the reason for the war.

Bush and Co. decided that, after 9/11, America would have a much more proactive attitude toward threats against it. This was part of the whole neo-con active foreign policy idea. 9/11 was a bitter pill to take for America, and they decided, you know, "never again", no matter what it takes. So they invented the Homeland Security Department, started wiretapping without warrants, installing metal detectors in places metal detectors had never been before, and confiscating tubes of toothpaste and nail clippers from airline passengers. And they started invading countries that they felt posed a threat to America. Boom, they invaded Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a training ground for terrorists, terrorists had attacked America. This was not a proportional response to the 9/11 attacks, and it was executed in a way that pretty much guaranteed they wouldn't find Osama, but they did manage to take over the country pretty effectively. Threat to America over. So they start looking for other places that might pose a threat. Bush comes out with the whole Axis of Evil* idea. They start taking a harder line with these countries, and presumably the intelligence agencies are directed to look for information which could indicate any threats to America. Of course, they find some. There are indications that nuclear material has been moved to Iraq. Possible threat to America detected, in, you know, an evil country. America makes the case for war. This time international support is limited, because nobody in Iraq has done anything to America. But that is no longer the criteria, for the American government. Now there just has to be a perceived threat, and it's their policy to go in and end that threat, because, like I said before, "never again".

Bam, they take over Iraq. It was a cakewalk, for the American military. Casualties were (wiki) 172 Coalition soldiers vs. 9,200 Iraqi combatants. That is about a 53:1 kill ratio. Threat to America over.

This is all repetitive, I'm sure you've heard it before. The key point I'm trying to make is that there was this perceived threat, a combination of WMDs and terrorists and a terrible dictator, and in a pretty well unprecedented way Bush just went to war to end it. I mean, there had been American military actions before, but they were generally things like retaliatory cruise missile strikes or direct responses to forces that were doing Bad Things. Complete occupation of a country, without an actual provocation? In the post 9/11 world, that's how America is going to roll.

Now, one wonders what they thought they were going to do once they controlled both of these countries. Presumably they thought they'd install a democratic and/or more importantly US-friendly government, as per usual when the US interferes in other country's governments, and then get out. That didn't work out so well. Paul Wolfowitz(who basically invented the policy I'm talking about here) has admitted that they were wrong about what would happen after the occupation. American soldiers have been in Iraq for five years because once they got there, they didn't know what to do. They weren't exactly greeted as liberators, and the population didn't just roll over and capitulate.


*the Axis of Evil being composed of two countries that fought a decade long war which included the use of chemical weapons and that had dramatic political and religious differences (Iran and Iraq) and North Korea, which of course is not religious at all and doesn't have anything to do with Islamic terrorism or have a lot of political alliances with anybody, let alone Iran/Iraq. What the hell does that even mean?
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jayhsu
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:24 pm UTC

Foresight is not a strength that America (or any country or group or most individuals) posesses.

I would hope that in the future, we think things through a bit more.

But that might be asking for a bit much.
-Jay

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby space_raptor » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:44 pm UTC

Iconoclast wrote:I think we should withdraw our troops from around the world, and massively cut down on military spending. I think the national guard, parts of the navy, and the coast guard are all we need for national defense. We restructure the CIA so it only collects intelligence. We could then adopt a policy of neutrality. Of course, all that's only possible if we also open up oil drilling within the US (heavily taxed and regulated to try to minimize enviro. damage). It should also be easier to build a nuclear power plant.

Now, about the rest of the world. I'm not an isolationist, so I don't think the rest of the world doesn't concern us. Now, as I said, I don't think we should do anything to police the world because it is wrong to assume America is always morally right. This means many of the world's problems would remain, but we would also stop creating/aggravating problems around the world.

Just to be contrary, I feel I must point out that the American military does a lot of good just by existing in a lot of places. In a world without American aircraft carriers and Marine Expeditionary Units, I would fear for the people of Taiwan, South Korea, Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, Kuwait, Kosovo and Bosnia, heck, even Colombia. America does keep the peace. Completely withdrawing would be extreme and it would leave a lot of people at risk.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby jayhsu » Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:51 pm UTC

Heh, this was the contention I was making earlier vs. Iconoclast.
-Jay

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Cooley » Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

The answer is simple enough: Bush wanted to.

Hear me out: Congress has the power to declare war. After a certain time frame, troops can't remain in action without a declaration of war, they must be recalled.

Congress neglected its duty and handed over the power to start the war to our dear President. A war proposal was actually made by Congressman the Ronpaul, but was struck down in favor of letting Bush take the inevitable fall for starting a war. Unconstitutional as this was, it happened, and Congress won't declare peace and withdraw funds (two more of its powers it won't use).

Now, why Bush wanted to... we all pretty much know, right?

space_raptor wrote:Just to be contrary, I feel I must point out that the American military does a lot of good just by existing in a lot of places. In a world without American aircraft carriers and Marine Expeditionary Units, I would fear for the people of Taiwan, South Korea, Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, Kuwait, Kosovo and Bosnia, heck, even Colombia. America does keep the peace. Completely withdrawing would be extreme and it would leave a lot of people at risk.

We currently have troops in 130 countries, surely Japan and Germany can take care of themselves by now, right?

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:19 am UTC

space_raptor wrote:Just to be contrary, I feel I must point out that the American military does a lot of good just by existing in a lot of places. In a world without American aircraft carriers and Marine Expeditionary Units, I would fear for the people of Taiwan, South Korea, Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, Kuwait, Kosovo and Bosnia, heck, even Colombia. America does keep the peace. Completely withdrawing would be extreme and it would leave a lot of people at risk.
But that's the same line of reasoning the British used to justify their imperialism. They were civilizing the natives, and feared for what would happen if the British left. Now we're keeping the peace for the natives.
Cooley wrote:The answer is simple enough: Bush wanted to.
Again, I think that is just simple thinking and results in believing as soon as Bush is out, all our problems will be gone. We were heading to war with Iraq far before Bush (W.). The point is he did not get the option to go to war out of nowhere, and it certainly wasn't the first time a president went around congress to start a war.
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Cooley » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:19 am UTC

D-did you read what I wrote? Really? He got the power to go to war, not from nowhere, but from a spineless, unconstitutional move from Congress to authorize him to make the decision himself. And you're right, it wasn't the first time a war was started unconstitutionally. And, because I qualified my overly-simplistic introduction, it does not necessarily result in the belief that as soon as Bush leaves we won't have problems. We'll still have Congress passing unconstitutional legislation, an executive branch with far too much power, and a judiciary decreeing for the nation decisions that should be left up to the states.

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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Mabus_Zero » Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:29 am UTC

So, now that we've finally brought up the obvious in the spinelessness of the last several congresses, and how they've effectively ceeded several of their powers to the administration for the duration of the current disaster (pun intended). Perhaps a more useful bit of discourse would be...

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Iconoclast
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Iconoclast » Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:46 am UTC

Cooley wrote:D-did you read what I wrote? Really? He got the power to go to war, not from nowhere, but from a spineless, unconstitutional move from Congress to authorize him to make the decision himself. And you're right, it wasn't the first time a war was started unconstitutionally. And, because I qualified my overly-simplistic introduction, it does not necessarily result in the belief that as soon as Bush leaves we won't have problems. We'll still have Congress passing unconstitutional legislation, an executive branch with far too much power, and a judiciary decreeing for the nation decisions that should be left up to the states.
Yeah, sorry. What I wrote was more directed at the people who say "Because Bush wanted to" and leave it at that. It's kind of like asking "why did that monkey shoot me?" and getting the response "He wanted to."
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Re: It's July 14th, 2008. Why did we invade Iraq?

Postby Cooley » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:35 pm UTC

Mabus_Zero wrote:How do we fix it?


Personally, I think we should elect the Ronpaul for President. But on a less controversial note, by being active citizens, taking a serious interest in local government and using it to solve problems so that the feds don't have any excuse to bust in and meddle.

@Iconoclast: 's cool. I've been having people ignore my point to argue with my examples all week, so I may have gone overboard.


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