Wednesday, April 27, 2005



Still No WMD

Some months ago, the Iraq Survey Group, the US group set up to find Saddam's missing WMD, reported that there weren't any. NeoCons desperate to justify the war (and start the next one) claimed that that was because they'd all been moved to Syria before the invasion started. Today, the ISG sank that theory as well, reporting that there was no evidence to support the theory. It also criticised military intelligence for botching interrogations of WMD scientists, and recommended that they be released. Some have been detained without charge or trial for almost two years.

So, what were those 21,000 (and counting) people killed for again?

14 comments:

Because Saddam did not allow the inspections to proceed properly. Its rather difficult for the simple public to understand but whether they actually had WMD or not is irrelevant.
It would only be relevant if the UN had agreed before the war that the inspections were unessercary.

Take for example if the police came to my house with a warent to inspect my property for drugs.If I then lets say punched the officer trying to inspect and he was unable to complete the inspection (as per the warrent) it would become irrelevant whether I had drugs or not since that is not information the law even theoretically could have acess to - all that would matter is that I had obstructed the law.
Or more simply if I refused to produce my licence to an officer when driving a car I could expect to be fined for driving without a licence regardless of whether an extensive inspection of my car eventually found one.

The law must worked based on what it can know not on "absolute truth".

Posted by Genius : 4/27/2005 05:29:00 PM

But Genius, Iraq did nothing even vaguely comparable to "punching the officer". In fact, the police officers in this case, ie Hans Blix and his weapons inspectors, pleaded for more time to conduct their inspections, time that Bush refused to give them.

So who was it that was obstructing justice, exactly?

Posted by Ranald : 4/27/2005 07:01:00 PM

In case you were not watching over the decade of sanctions Iraq was certainly obstructing justice.

Iraq commited the national equivilent of "child rape" followed by to
"assult with intent to kill"
the "police" then saved the life of the victim and a judge put the kid under social welfare told them they were not welcome in the market square and told them there would be some concequences if they started making home made bombs.
Iraq then obstructed attempts to enforce the rulings of the judge.

Strangly some of the public then ran around saying
"but the army/police have bombs"
or
"the police kill people so why can't they?"
or
"the police should check up on criminals because they might not have committed a crime this time."

Posted by Genius : 4/27/2005 08:40:00 PM

The people killed were killed during the overthrow of a dictatorship. Those that opposed this method of getting rid of Saddam should be giving an indication of what price in lives their alternatives would have resulted in. To date I have never seen this done.

The only reason Saddam had not been able to be as brutal to his opponents in the North and South of Iraq was because the evil British and Americans maintained the no fly zones. The only reason Saddam accepted any form of UN inspection was because the evil British and Americans had an army at his doorstep. Those who opposed the war were naive enough to think that once British and American forces were no longer there then Saddam would not be a problem, well a problem "just to his own people".

Posted by Sock Thief : 4/28/2005 08:30:00 AM

Nice work, Genius.. torture logic a bit further and do you reckon you can make it confess?

Invasion apologists live in what must be a beautifully monochromatic world in which:
- Baddies are BAD
- the US is GOOD

Given the evidence, I'd sooner believe in the tooth fairy..

Posted by Huskynut : 4/28/2005 08:54:00 AM

So, Sock Thief, were the WMD irrelevant?

What I remember is that the US and UK goverments justified the war on the grounds of the WMD -- which Bush and Blair let on they "knew" were there -- not because Saddam was an evil dictator. If merely being governed by an evil dictator who kills your own people was grounds for invasion, there would be many, many other countries that qualify, and perhaps further up the list at that.

Posted by stephen : 4/28/2005 09:15:00 AM

Idiot has conflated two issues.

One is that we have clear evidence now that Blair lied to his nation, his cabinet and his armed forces to try and trick them into a war that he knew they would not have wanted otherwise. That is a bad, bad thing for a PM to do.

Even if you think this particular war is justified, that is still a bad, bad thing for a PM to do.

Any argument on that point? Genius? Sock Thief?


The other issue is the question of whether or not going to war with Iraq was a Good Thing.

On that (other) issue:

Genius is arguing that the UN weapons inspectors were not able to do their job. I'd respect that if it was what the UN weapons inspectors have said. But it isn't.

Genius is also using a mistaken analogy to the police. This wasn't the police, this was an armed vigilante. Even if you support the invasion, claiming that this was the global cops is wilful misrepresentation: you are ignoring Idiot's point that this invasion was not lawful.

Sock Thief appears to be arguing that no-fly zones and armed deterrent were working, and that hence it was appropriate to stop using no-fly zones and armed deterrence and invade instead. Perhaps I have misunderstood him, as that makes no sense to me at all.

Maybe the tens of thousands killed in this invasion will be worth it. Personally, I'm pessimistic about that given the increases in child poverty and starvation in Iraq since the invasion, and that there are still massive human rights abuses in Iraq.

But all we know right now is that Blair and Bush lied to trick their nations into a war and paid a huge human cost in order to get a dice roll. Double 6 gets us a stable peaceful democracy: if it's snake eyes Iraq collapses into constant civil war and religious oppression. I hate the fact that this roll was made: but I'm praying to a god don't believe in for two sixes.

Posted by Icehawk : 4/28/2005 10:17:00 AM

Stephen, I completely agree with your last statement and that point of view has now been accepted at the UN - national soverignty no longer over-rides a government's resposnsibility to its citizens. But i don't see how not overthrowing one dicator is an aguement against overthrowing another.

If Bush and Blair put forward a case for military action against Mugabe or the Sudanese government then I would look at that on its merits rather than ask why the aren't attacking North Korea.

As for WMD, we have found out that Saddam did not have them and, more importantly since he was bound to restart his WMD programs, made sure he will never have them.

Posted by Sock Thief : 4/28/2005 10:21:00 AM

Icehawke, we have evidence that Bush and Blair were mistaken and overstated their case, not that they lied. My point about how the US and British military were the only curbs on Saddam's brutality and the only reason he allowed UN inspections is that that pre-invasion situation was not sustianable.

But it would be interesting to hear what your alterntives would have been and what cost in lives could gave been involved.

Posted by Sock Thief : 4/28/2005 10:34:00 AM

If Bush and Blair put forward a case for military action against Mugabe or the Sudanese government then I would look at that on its merits.

This is the nub. B&B DID put forward a case for military action against Iraq. Its principal "merit" was the WMD. Not only has this since proved to be false, but it looks increasingly likely that they knew it at the time.

If B&B made a case for invading Zimbabwe because, I don't know, Mugabe was said to be supplying uranium to North Korea, and then this proved to be false, you'd be a bit cheesed off, wouldn't you?

Posted by stephen : 4/28/2005 11:13:00 AM

Stephen, if there were legitimate reason to believe that Mugabe was supplying uranium, but that turned out to be mistaken, then that's what one can expect when dealing with dictatorships. They tend to be secretive and deceptive. Afterall, Saddam was intent on maintianing the illusion that he had WMD even though he didn't.

If Mugabe were overthrown and free elections held, as they have in Iraq and Afghanistan I would not be terribly upset.

Feel free to give a run down of the cost of your alternatives to overthrowing Saddam.

Posted by Sock Thief : 4/28/2005 12:41:00 PM

If Mugabe were overthrown and free elections held, as they have in Iraq and Afghanistan I would not be terribly upset.

Dear Lord, then why not invent any old reason for invading "bad guys"? Forgive me, am I wrong in thinking that you don't give a damn about launching a war on a pretext?

As to the cost in lives of alternatives, I believe that's irrelevant if the war was launched on different grounds than saving Iraqi lives. Which it was.

Posted by stephen : 4/28/2005 02:25:00 PM

You misunderstand me. If Mugabe were to be overthrown on the basis of information that later turned out to be wrong I would not be unhappy. There is enough well documented information leading to the view that he should go.

Times have changed in the international area. Now its not a case of justifying getting rid of brutal regimes, it is now the case that one has to justify not overthrowing them.

And the cost of your alternatives is an issue. The price of leaving Saddam in power should surely have to be considered when debating the justifications of the war.

Duelfer is being quoted in The Independent saying "...given the opportunity, which would have come with the lifting of UN sanctions, the Iraqi dictator was poised to resume his banned weapons activities". So that would have been a consequence of not invading.

Posted by Sock Thief : 4/28/2005 04:08:00 PM

Huskynut,
It is irrelevant whether the US was good or not the relevant issue is if Iraq was bad.

By the way Baddies ARE bad that is why they are called baddies.

> What I remember is that the US and UK goverments justified the war on the grounds of the WMD

the US.UK were just pointing out the potential concequences there is a difference between that and the REASON although the public probably isnt smart enough on the whole to realise that. the reason is a breach of the agreement they made to allow inspections as a result of iraq invading kuwait.

Stephen,

> If merely being governed by an evil dictator who kills your own people was grounds for invasion, there would be many, many other countries that qualify

Are you arguing that we should not stop peopel from massacaring their own people because we dont stop everyone? dont you realise that is applicable to any piece of morality. And to follow that principle is to define yourself as amoral. For example not all murderers are caught, and some are only superficially pursued. Now if I kiled your family would you accept that as a reason for not arresting me? ridiculous isnt it?

Icehawk,

> we have clear evidence now that Blair lied to his nation

If you think he lied you need to have a quote and say this is a lie because.... while some of what he said could be a lie (depends on how you define a lie most people probably lie a few hundred times over the course of a day I doubt blair is all that much better than the average man) but on the central points I dont think they were "lies" I think they were probably things he honestly beleived - ie iraq had WMD and so forth. Posibly because iraq had said it had them earlier.

> Genius is arguing that the UN weapons inspectors were not able to do their job. I'd respect that if it was what the UN weapons inspectors have said. But it isn't.

I think you dont understand my point - my point doesnt rely on the WMD inspectors not being able to do their job - it instead relies on Iraq obstructing the process. They were suposed to have free and full access to al the sites. Iraq breaches the treaty by preventing them from having that access regardless of whether the inspectors think given a decade and a half they might be able to work around it.

> This wasn't the police, this was an armed vigilante.

In the absence of a police vigilanties are the good guys. It is a similar argument to that used by the left to say sadam is better than anarchy. well some enforcement of justice is better than no enforcement.

Stephen,

Dear Lord, then why not invent any old reason for invading "bad guys"?

You might do that, but that doenst mean everyone else would

> As to the cost in lives of alternatives, I believe that's irrelevant

Action should be taken for wholistic reasons surely, in that case nothing is irrelevant.
If you dont take them for wholistic reasons you are accepting that your rules kill people needlessly.

Posted by Genius : 4/28/2005 06:24:00 PM