Friday, 8 May 2009

Answering the Iraq Invasion Questions

During a debate on another site regarding the rights and wrongs of the Iraq War, Stan issued a challenge to rubbish his 22 REASONS WHY IT WAS RIGHT TO INVADE IRAQ. Yes i know that this has been thrown backwards and forwards relentlessly over the last 6 six years and nobody is going to change their minds about things now at this late time but i can't resist a challenge and who better to quote then the people there at the time. His main justifications run along the lines of:

Instead of over-throwing Saddam at that time, the allies gave way to liberal sentiment and left him in power on the basis that he would never be in a position to threaten neighbouring countries again.

Dick Cheney, why did you not remove Saddam in 1991? Was it to pacify us bleeding heart lefties? 'If we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone, we wouldn't of had anybody else with us. It would have been a US occupation of Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein's Government than what you going to put in it's place? That's a very volatile part of the World. It's a quagmire if you try and take over Iraq. The other thing was casualties, everyone was impressed with how we were able to do our job with so few casualties as we had but for the 146 Americans killed in action and their families it wasn't a cheap war. The question for the President as to whether we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth. Our judgement was not that many and i think we got it right.' American Enterprise Institute 1994

The intelligence was showing that Saddam still possessed WMD and was continuing with his WMD programme.

Was the Intelligence at the time showing Saddam had WMD's and was building WMD Programmes? Let's listen to Pat Roberts in 2004 at a news conference on the Senate Intelligence Committee Report: 'One fact is now clear: Before the war, the U.S. intelligence community told the president, as well as the Congress and the public, that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and if left unchecked, would probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade. Well, today we know these assessments were wrong. And, as our inquiry will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available intelligence.- Most of the key judgments in the October 2002 national intelligence estimate on Iraq's WMD programs were either overstated or were not supported by the raw intelligence reporting'.

Whats the New York Times got to say about it - 'Another group of British memos, including the so-called Downing Street memo written in July 2002, showed that some senior British officials had been concerned that the United States was determined to invade Iraq, and that the "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" by the Bush administration to fit its desire to go to war'.

The UN inspectors, most governments, every intelligence agency in the world, and even Saddam's own generals were convinced that these weapons still existed.

Was everyone convinced about Saddam's intentions Robin Cook? - 'The reality is that Britain is being asked to embark on a war without agreement in any of the international bodies of which we are a leading partner - not NATO, not the European Union and, now, not the Security Council.' 2005

Hmm, that's a large swathe taken out of everyone. What about the US intelligence Agency then former CIA operative Tyler Drumheller, "The Central Intelligence Agency warned President Bush before the Iraq war that it had reliable information the government of Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, they simply brushed off the warning, saying they were no longer interested in intelligence and that the policy toward Iraq had been already set. CBS 60 Minutes

Even the Americans didn't think he had them then. Anything to add head of the Iraq Survey Group Charles Duelfer? 'There was no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991'.
Throw us a bone former Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter 'As of December 1998 we had no evidence Iraq had retained biological weapons, nor that they were working on any. In fact, we had a lot of evidence to suggest Iraq was in compliance'. 2002

The feeling after 9/11 was why should a tyrant like Saddam be given the benefit of that doubt, particularly if it provided a legitimate reason for getting rid of him?

Saddam was a nasty piece of work so did you try and sneak in a bit of regime change without telling us Tony? 'I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change.' 2002

After being given every opportunity to comply with the UN resolutions Saddam rejected the final demand under resolution 1441 which called for "an accurate, full and final disclosure of Iraq's WMD's and of all aspects of its WMD programme".

Saddam set out a 12000 page dossier stating he had no WMD's. Blair & Bush were adamant that he did. Which of these of these 3 were telling the truth?

To argue that the war was DEFINITELY illegal is not therefore defensible whereas the Prime Minister's parliamentary answer putting the legal case for the war is legally defensible.

Was it legal deputy legal advisor to the Foreign Office Elizabeth Wilmshurst? Her resignation speech over the issue said 'I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678.' 2003

Iraq War architect, Richard Perle, is it worth asking you if it was legal? "I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing. International law would have required us to leave Saddam alone, and this would have been morally unacceptable." 2003. Blimey, wasn't expecting that from him.

You agree with neo-con Richard Perle that it was illegal then Lord Bingham of Cornhill, former Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord of the United Kingdom, 'the invasion was a serious violation of international law and of the rule of law." 2008. Take that as a yes then.

I know you had your doubts UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith because your leaked memo that turned up in the media initially advised that 'the war would be in breach of international law for six reasons, ranging from the lack of a second United Nations resolution to UN inspector Hans Blix's continuing search for weapons'. Yes, we know you went from that to everything's legal and above board days before the invasion.

Let's ask Jack Straw, when he was in his former role as Justice Minister, why the minutes of the cabinet meetings where the legality of the Iraq war was discussed was subjected to the first ever ministerial veto when a Freedom of Information request was entered, despite the Information Commissioner ordering the minutes to be disclosed in the public interest. Nothing to say on that Jack. The UN top banana, Kofi Anan will surely have an opinion on whether the Iraq war was legal or not. 'I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.'

In coming down in favour of the war Blair probably saw this as the lesser of the evils and as the chance to act as a restraining influence on Bush in a way that those opposing the war were not able to do..

As luck would have it, here's a copy of the Chatham House report on Blair's influence on George Bush. 'Despite military, political and financial sacrifices by the UK, Mr Blair had been unable to influence the Bush administration in "any significant way". 2006
Surely the American State Department didn't think of him as little more than a poodle did they senior state department analyst Kendall Myers 'for all Britain’s attempts to influence US policy in recent years, we typically ignore them and take no notice — it’s a sad business'.
Far from the invasion being anti-Islamic, the (Islamic) Kurds, anti-Saddam Sunnis and the Shias rejoiced at being liberated from Saddam's tyranny (even now despite the post-war mayhem a recent poll has shown that over 60% of the population believe that overthrowing Saddam was worth the hardship entailed, 75% of the Shias and 81% of the Kurds).

Feeling the love in the streets of Umm Qasr are we lads?

2004 Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies - 92% of Iraqis perceive Coalition forces as occupiers, rather than as liberators or peacekeepers.
2005 Sunday Telegraph 45% of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American
troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province. 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;
2006 Washington Post 83% want the US-led Coalition forces to immediately withdraw from the country.
2006 (PIPA), 78% of Iraqis believe that the US military presence is provoking more conflict that it is preventing.
2006 Centre for Research and Strategic Studies-95% believe the security situation has deteriorated since the arrival of US forces.

That government wants our troops to stay as long as it takes to do the job. To cut and run now would be one of the most ignoble acts in our history.
I agree and have argued for this myself. We broke it, we fix it.


Stan said...

Nice attempt, Lucy, but I'm afraid it's nowhere near to being good enough.

First your edited highlights do not really do justice to the argument conveyed in my piece. This was timelined and designed to show the mutually reinforcing nature of the many factors involved (the sum was greater than the parts). For example the weight given to the evidence of WMD was linked to 9/11 which pointed up the dangers of UNDER-reacting to the intelligence received.

I know that you had to compress the many facets of my argument to make them easier to answer but at the very least you could have cross-referenced to my full case as posted in the comments section (No.13)of your earlier post about the Iraq war. This covers a progressive defence of the war and questions the morality of anti-war protestors as well as setting out a point-by-point case for the war.

Now to deal with each of your points in turn:


Apart from the Christine Keeler response "He would say that wouldn't he" the point here was that the American decision (for whatever reason) was in step with liberal opinion on the matter. The more important point which I made (which you ignore) is that the cease-fire was designed to ensure that Saddam would never be in a position to threaten his neighbours again. Hence the concern about his possible retention and development of WMD and the UN's imposition of an inspection regime under Resolution 1991, non-compliance with which would represent a breach of the cease-fire (not a peace-settlement by the way) and justify a resumption of the war. Under this regime the onus was on Saddam to DEMONSTRATE not just declare that he didn't have WMD. It obviously wasn't good enough to simply accept the word of someone who had started the war and who was a notorious liar anyway, particularly when he was thwarting the efforts of the inspectors at every turn.


You then quoted Senator Roberts (presumably an opponent of the war) as saying in 2004 (i.e.AFTER the time not AT the time the war was launched) that the intelligence assessments were wrong or over-stated. You also quote from the New York Times (another opponent of the war)referring to Downing Street memos showing that SOME (my emphasis) British officials had had concerns about the intelligence being hyped up to justify the war.

Certainly the assessments at the time of the war did not entirely match the situation discovered on the ground after the invasion. But AT THE TIME you could only go on the best information available and that was believed by almost every intelligence agency and government in the world, not to mention Saddam's own generals. Saddam actually admitted to the post-war Iraq Survey Group that he was trying to give the impression that he still had WMD-for deterrent purposes, as will be seen from this extract from the team's report.

" Saddam continued to see the utility of WMD [even though he claimed he had destroyed them]. he explained that he purposely gave an ambiguous impression about possession, as a deterrent to Iran"

And the report also refers to "an extensive, yet fragmentary, and circumstantial body of evidence" suggesting that Saddam was maintaining a capability of returning to a WMD programme once the heat was off him. It also states that he had restarted production of banned ballistic missiles, which in itself constituted a breach of the cease-fire and a reason for resuming the war.

As for the allegation that the intelligence was doctored by Blair (Blair took us to war on a lie) two independent investigations, the Hutton and Butler Inquiries) cleared Blair of this charge. I suggest you read up the full reports before you airily dismiss them, as you doubtless will.


Well no, there are always exceptions to any rule. Some people even believe in fairies.

Robin Cook's observations? The simple answer was that unanimous international agreement was impossible because it was being blocked by France and Russia for their own geopolitical and economic reasons,not necessarily because they were unconvinced of the case for war.

The CIA operative's opinion? That's just one among many opinions to the contrary. Please provide evidence that it was the DEFINITIVE opinion of the CIA.

THe Iraq Survey group? These findings were post-war and anyway included findings that support the case for war as I've shown.

Scott Ritter? Well his own anti-war boss confirmed just before the outbreak of war that "Iraq had not fully accepted the obligations to disarm" At that point the actual existence of WMD was irrelevant since this could only be determined by Saddam fully complying with UN resolutions. I repeat, the actual reason for going to war was NOT the proven existence of WMD but Saddam's refusal to DEMONSTRATE that he no longer had them by providing PROOF that he had destroyed his arsenals and allowing the inspectors completely free access


THe full point(No.11) was

"If there were any doubts about the intelligence the feeling after 9/11 was probably that it ws safer not to take any chances and that anyway why should a tyrant like Saddam be given the benefit of the doubt, particularly if it provided a legitimate reason for getting rid of him"

In other words there was a good enough reason for going to war on the question of WMD's and compliance with UN resolutions alone. Getting rid of a tyrant would be a bonus in this respect and in fact it was the only way of MAKING SURE that he had no WMD.


Excuse me while I laugh. Even the anti-war Blix had to admit that the document didn't meet the requirement of the UN resolution. Whether Blair and Bush actually believed that Saddam had WMD is not the point. The point was that Saddam had not fully compliied with a resolution requiring him to PROVE that he no longer had these weapons so the only way to make sure was to remove him from the scene (as I've said before).


THE legal justification for the war was set out in the Prime Minister's written answer to a Parliamentary question on March 17 2003. Essentially this argued that non-compliance with UN resolution 1441 and previos UN resolutions provided sufficient grounds for military action without a further resolution. Certainly there were differences of opinion about this. However such differences of opinion are common in this arcane and fairly new area of the law and a challenge to the Attorney-General's advice does not constitute PROOF of illegality,whether it comes from another lawyer or the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
From that perspective the war cannot be regarded as being DEFINITELY illegal as the anti-war movement continually claims.


Your reply covers whether he ACTUALLY restrained Bush. There is some evidence that this was so but even if there wasn't my point was not whether Blair really had influenced Bush but that Blair believed it was easier to have some say in what was going on as an ally than as an opponent. That's just common-sense.


MY evidence shows they were in favour of it despite the hardships. Your evidence simply confirms they didn't like the hardships. Who would?

No doubt my full article and these answers will not convince you (as the old saying goes there are none so blind as those who do not wish to see) but I hope you will have sufficient integrity to at least admit that the issue is not as clear-cut as you previously thought and that you were therefore wrong to condemn Blair as harshly as you did. I'm not holding my breath.

Chris said...

Why do you even try Lucy? No matter what you came up with, Stan wouldn't have agreed with you. You can use all the quotes from the people involved showing how they lied and cheated in order to have a war against Saddam and people like Stan will still refuse to accept what is staring them blatantly in the face.
Face it Stan, you lost the argument about what the war was about and how it came about a long time ago. To even try and justify it now is that fine tradition of not knowing when you are beat.

effay said...

I think this back-and-forth is generally focusing on irrelevant issues.

I remember during the buildup to the Iraq War, I was convinced that Saddam had WMDs, seeing as he had used them on his own people before and all. Nevertheless, I still opposed the war because I never recall hearing any logical argument that Saddam was linked to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. In fact, all of the evidence pointed to the fact that bin Laden and Saddam really didn't like each other at all.

Also, a lot of your arguments, Stan, focus on the fact that Saddam didn't prove he didn't have WMDs, so he was violating UN resolutions. I don't believe that's a justification in itself. So he violated some UN resolutions, okay, why should we invade based on that? Your argument that "compliance with UN resolutions alone" was a justification lacks an argument as to why a violation of those UN resolutions justified war. The UN does things all the time that people just ignore, why was this time different.

I guess you say that violation of the UN resolutions was justification because they were intended to insure the continued safety of Saddam's neighbors. Well, I don't really see how he was ever a threat since his military was substantially destroyed in the First Gulf War, and he wasn't really involved with terrorism. Simply put, my issue is that I never saw a threat from a Saddam with WMDs and no military or terrorist links. What evidence is there to cast doubt on this view?

Also, you say that your data supports the idea that the Iraqis were in favor of the war, but I don't see your support for this. According to your info, only 49% of Iraqis think the invasion was right. Even though you tried to make this number look "impressive" by preemptively attempting to lower expectations, I don't think it is impressive at all, and it certainly doesn't support your statement that Iraqis "were in favour of [the Iraq War]." At best your statement is not the "DEFINITIVE opinion," as you would say, of Iraqis. At worst it is a propagandized mischaracterization of the evidence.

Anonymous said...

To All,

I'm tired of addressing the past. The Yankee's got their independence. The "war to end all wars" didn't. Hitler and Hito were beaten to a pulp. The Iron Curtain fell. Iraq was devistated. Let's focus on the present, keeping in mind the needs of the future. History proves there is no point in trying to learn from the past.


effay said...

If we didn't learn from the past, the human race would have died out long ago.

Cheezy said...

"Yo! Blair!... Lucy just slam-dunked you!" (along with yo mamma and Stan)

"Here boy! Good dog!" (pat pat, stroke stroke)

Stan said...

Chris, you're right but I'm afraid you've got it the wrong way round. It's quite obvious that it's YOUR mind that's closed on this one, so much so that any exposure to another opinion actually hurts. At least Lucy and I have made an attempt to think it all through and set out our views. All you can do is throw silly jibes. Pathetic really.

Effay's response is more worthy. But even here he/she asks me the 'killer' question, realises that there's an easy answer and then attempts to rubbish it by arguing that Saddam's military was substantially destroyed. Well the German army was substantially destroyed in 1918. Look what happened only 20 or so years later (not to mention the persecution of Jews in between). Does this ring any bells regarding the way Saddam was treating the Shias and Kurds? Or doesn't this sort of thing matter for people like you?

The evidence for Saddam being a continuing threat was referred to in my answer to Lucy's second point. I can't cut and paste the full extracts from the Iraq Survey Group report to this site for some reason so I suggest you google it up yourself-if you're really interested.

As for Saddam having no terrorist links, at the very least there's evidence of him financing Hamas by providing money for suicide bombers. Or, again, maybe that doesn't count for people llke you (or is even welcomed).

Finally, I'm not sure where you got the 49% figure from regarding those Iraqis that supported the overthrowing of Saddam, despite the hardships. My piece referred to a figure of over 60%.

effay said...

First of all, Iraq and Nazi Germany are hardly comparable in terms of the military threat. Iraq was a third-world country under UN sanctions.

Next you move on to the Saddam was oppressing his people justification. I actually think this is a legitimate argument.

Then you move to the continuing threat. I don't see where the Iraq Survey Group Final Report shows a continuing threat. All it says is Saddam was pretending like he still had WMDs so Iran wouldn't take him out.

Then you say Saddam gave money to Hamas. I'm not sure where that information is from.

In any case, we have effectively boiled this down to really the only legitimate pro-war arguments that existed before the war. Basically, that Saddam was bad for Iraqis and you say he had ties to Hamas. I have always accepted that there was a legitimate pro-war argument that Saddam was just a bad person, and I'll accept your Hamas argument for argument's sake.

So, Saddam kills his own people and has ties to Hamas. My first issue with this is that if we accept these as a basis for war, in order to remain logically consistent, we now have to invade many other countries on the same logic. We probably have to invade every Middle Eastern country, and some in North Africa and elsewhere, for harboring Hamas supporters. And, we have to invade every country that is getting its people killed, which would include North Korea and Sudan at least. I mean, that's a lot of war we have to fight to remain consistent.

The second problem is you still have to factor in the negatives of the cost-benefit. Obviously, even Dick Cheney was so skeptical of our ability to control Iraq post-invasion that he turned US forces around during the First Gulf War, as Lucy noted. What about the possibility that this will give Al Qaeda a new rallying call, and a new country to rally in? And the newfound ease of killing Americans who are being served-up to terrorists in Iraq? And the cost in lives and money? And the removal of the bastion against Iran?

Those costs were all apparent before the war, and I think they significantly outweighed the few perceived benefits.

By the way, to find the 49% number just go to your post that you linked to on Lucy's previous post, type Ctrl+F and type "49". It's the only "49" on the page. The >60 number you refer to is how many Iraqis think we should stay until security improves, not how many thought we should have invaded in the first place.

Lucy said...

I agree with you Q, this argument has gone backwards and forwards since 2003 and it's the same thing that's been gone over again and again.
For me Stan, there are 3 things that made me vehemently against the Iraq War.
One was that the decision to go to war was decided long before but they needed to find a justification, hence the terrible attempt to find things to 'fit' Saddam up.
The second point is that the Weapons Inspectors were there, on the ground, looking for the WMDs. If they had come back and said they found half of what Blair said he knew was there, then you would be on safer ground. They didn't and rather than Bush/Blair leaving them there to complete a thorough search of the country, they withdrew them. Nobody need have been killed on either side if they had just been left to look.
The third reason is you need to be a million percent sure of your facts before sending others to die while you stay thousands of miles away in safety. Blair's evidence was at best shakey, at worst an out and out lie for the reason i gave in the first point.

Lucy said...

Something i would like to mention Stan is that i hope you realise that my comments at the other site were edited, partially deleted or just plain didn't make it past the moderation stage. People can do what they like on their own blogs i guess, but i just want you to be aware that it happened.

Cheezy said...

Let's imagine for a moment that Stan is right - no sniggering at the back. No, I'm being serious.

Let's say that Stan is right and that, in 2002-2003, Tony Blair was an honest broker in all this Iraq business. Let's say that he presented all of the available evidence, both for and against, to the Cabinet and to the general public in a "pretty straight kinda guy" way, and didn't try to 'sex up' dossiers or subvert the usual intelligence process by amplifying one side of the argument and suppressing the others. Let's say that it happened like that.

(I realise that it goes against a lot of what we know, but let's just for a minute say that it happened like that, the way Stan thinks it did).

Now. What are we left with?

Here's what we're left with: A Prime Minister who gets decisions of war and peace - undoubtedly the most important powers vested in our leaders - 100% wrong.

Even if you like to tell yourself that in the 6 years since the invasion, the remaining Iraqis (e.g. not in Syria/Jordan/Egypt/Lebanon, and not dead) have been living in a democratic Disneyland with white picket fences, neatly cut lawns and Playboy TV 24 hours a day (it's a man's world in Iraq these days), this does not alter the fact that Blair's reason for the invasion turned out to be vapour.

As far as 'mistakes at work' go, it's a bit of a biggie isn't it? Beats forgetting to order extra toner for the printer.

And the thing about people who make mistakes like this is that they're likely to do the same thing again. Incompetence is as incompetence does. And this rule applies as much for politicians as it does for people who work in your office. I give you David Blunkett. I give you Jacqui Smith. I give you Peter Mandelson. I give you Gordon Bloody Brown. Stupid people do stupid shit.

This is why - even if we put the kindest possible spin on it, and guilelessly accept everything Stan says about how Blair made an 'honest mistake' - he still should have resigned the instant it became clear he had led this country into a war under false pretences... (and Alistair Campbell should have slit his wrists in Parliament Square and allowed us all to watch him slowly turn pale - or paler - and expire). It's only right.

That's accepting the 'Blair is honest' argument.

Whereas personally I think we all got bullshitted.

Stan said...

Effay I'll deal with your points first, each in turn as I did for Lucy (thanks for engaging with the argument btw).

(1) Third world countries can still be a threat, particularly if they have a WMD capability up their sleeves ready to bring out when the time is ripe.

(2)As I said in my previous comment, the Iraq Survey Group report confirmed that Saddam was retaining this capability to return to a WMD programme once the pressure was off him i.e. once the anti-war movement had succeeded in their attempts to effectively leave him to do what he wanted.

(3) The Saddam links to Hamas can be easily googled. He was paying $50,000 to the families of every successful suicide bomber. That's quite an incentive.

(4) No,the case does not boil down to the two arguments you mention, getting rid of a nasty tyrant and the link with Hamas (although they are pretty powerful in their own right). Other strong arguments were set out in point 15 of my article. These were: finally dealing with the WMD threat perceived at the time (it was the only way of PROVING he did not have WMD);neutralising Iraq as a base (potential or otherwise) for world-wide terrorism; demonstrating that the international community could not be defied on such a vital issue (the repeated breaches of a cease-fire condition);allowing US troops to be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia and its Holy Places (which up to that point was one of Al qaeda's main recruiting issues; and, finally, allowing progress to be made towards a Middle East settlement, bearing in mind that Saddam's support for Hamas was helping to block it. That's quite a list.
See also point 16 of my article which sets out Blair's incredible dilemma on the pros and cons of going to war, which could leave him him damned if he did and damned if he didn't. THAT'S WHY I RESENT SO MUCH THE GLIB ABUSE OF HIS BACK-SEAT CRITICS.

(4)This objection, that the tyrant and terrorist reasons for taking out Saddam could apply to all Middle East and some Norh African countries is the debating trick which rubbishes an argument by taking it to an absurd extreme. In the real world you cannot do everything that might be necessary. You can only do the best you can in relation to what you consider to be the GREATEST wrongs and the GREATEST threats.

(6) Factoring in negatives can still leave you with a positive decision on balance. This is usually a case of going for the lesser of the evils as I showed in points 15-17 of my article. Obviously there are different views on where the balance lies but in my opinion the only ones that count are those that take into account ALL factors and are not swayed by the simplistic rhetoric of group-think.

(6) Wrong again. The 60% figure quoted in my "22 reasons" article was correct and DID refer to the proportion of Iraqis approving of the invasion , despite the hardships. It was from a late 2006 survey. Your 49% figure was from a survey carried out a year later (when the insurgency had been stepped up) and as I said in my related piece "Yes, but what did the IRAQIS think of the invasion?" this was suprisingly high given nationalist sentiment and the terrible suffering that Iraqias had to endure. And the 49% overall figure was dragged down by the minority Sunnis being 95% against the invasion, which is not suprising bearing in mind that they were top dogs under Saddam. The figures for Shias and Kurds were 65% and 87% respectively.
At a time when the anti-war movement were saying that the war was a total disaster this degree of support for it in Iraq was quite remarkable.

Replies to Cheezy and Lucy will follow.

Stan said...

Lucy,I'm afraid your latest arguments do not stand up to analysis either.

IF the decision to go to war was taken so long ago why was Saddam given SO much time to prove he was not in breach of the cease-fire conditions? Even at the last, several attempts were made to avoid war. All that was needed was for Saddam to comply with that last UN resolution and there would have been no war.Surely if the Coalition had been bent on war they wouldn't have given Saddam so many opportunities to wriggle out of it. And even if Bush and Blair WERE looking for things to stitch Saddam up with would that have been SO terrible if the man was doing such terrible things to his own people?

It wasn't suprising that the weapons inspectors weren't coming up with the evidence given the constraints they were working under and the nature of their task, which was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Giving them even more time in these circumstances would have meant spinning out the whole operation indefinitely and a continuation of the containment policy that was already beginning to unravel. This would have left Saddam and his pathological sons free to continue with their reign of terror and with a capacity to produce and use WMD at a time of their choosing, even if actual stocks did not exist at the time. As Oliver Kamm has said, by going to war when we did, we at least had the advantage of confronting Saddam at a time of OUR choosing.

If leaders need to be a million per cent sure of being right before sending others to their death I'm afraid tyrants would just be left free to have their wicked way. Not a very noble sentiment when you think about it.

So these are my answers to the things that make you vehemently against the war. Do you know what makes ME angry on this issue, Lucy?
Those who claim the moral high ground by insisting that others are lying, when they use so many lies themselves in the case that THEY make (my other article "Ten lies about the Iraq war" refers, which can be accessed at

Lucy said...

So you don't accept that the war wasn't decided long before?
Is it worth me linking to the leaked 23 July 2002 memos? Or how the weapons inspectors went to look around every site US and UK sent them to and came up empty handed?
Probably not, you seem quite happy to ignore all the other evidence so why would you take any notice of that.
I heaped a lapful of evidence and links and proof of my claims before you and still you choose to brush it all off and offer nothing but rhetoric and repeat Blair's propaganda. You haven't given any evidence to back up your claims.
As i said to people at the time when they were urging the UK to war, you seem very keen to send other people to die while you are sat safely at home in front of the TV.

If the lies post is anything like this one, i will end up showing you evidence and proof about how you are wrong until we are both blue in the face and you will refuse to accept it. Don't think i wil bother thanks.

Anonymous said...


We humans definitely learn certain things. But your generation, like apparently all generations, think they are smarter than prior generations. Odds are very strong that both you and your generation will discount history many more times than heed it. The rationale (excuses and mis-directions in many cases) will include things like:
- technology has improved
- we know more about economics now
- our laws have evolved
- communications is better
- life was simpler then so comparisons are invalid
- women didn't have as much influence as they do now
- minority "x" didn't have as much influence as they do now
- the environment has changed
- we have more and better data now
- and the best of all, "things are different now"

Right. I've heard them all.

Just remember that we don't really know how Egyptian's built the pyramids all those mellenia ago, the Roman's had running water over 2,000 years ago, and today the most advanced military's study Chinese military strategy that is several thousand years old. Yet, we humans still have slavery, war, extreme poverty, large scale starvation, women are subjugated globally, and young wipper-snappers think they are smarter than their elders...


Noah "Nog" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noah "Nog" said...

This objection, that the tyrant and terrorist reasons for taking out Saddam could apply to all Middle East and some Norh African countries is the debating trick which rubbishes an argument by taking it to an absurd extreme. In the real world you cannot do everything that might be necessary. You can only do the best you can in relation to what you consider to be the GREATEST wrongs and the GREATEST threats.I don't quite understand any of the pro-war arguments or who this objection sustains them. Saddam wasn't the worst dicator around by any measure or any combination of measures. If WMDs, genocide, support for terrorism or something else of this sort were to tell us whether or not we should invade a country, Iraq would not be at the top of the list. And at least the WMD and genocide reasons are nearly laughable in the context.

The war was wholly elective. The notion that Saddam's Iraq was anywhere the "greatest threat" doesn't hold up at all.

And yeah, maybe we could play the "whose really the worst" game until we turn blue, but this only supports the point that there is no cut and dry reason why Iraq needed invading anymore than any other despotic state.

But I am going to far. The "justifications" for the war are so flimsy that to even answer them gives them more credit than they are worth.


Cheezy said...

"And even if Bush and Blair WERE looking for things to stitch Saddam up with would that have been SO terrible if the man was doing such terrible things to his own people?"In case anybody missed it, hidden within all those other words, this was the part where Stan tried to justify the leaders of a putative democracy, who's wages you and I pay, lying to us about massively important matters of foreign policy of war.

A fan of Kissinger, are we Stan? Metternich, perhaps?

Stan said...

Cheezy, I'll deal with your previous comment first, although I must admit it's difficult to take anyone seriously who chooses a name like that.

You are now charging Blair with incompetence. Well I suppose you you can always rubbish anybody when you just look at one side of the balance sheet.

Looking at the other side of the Iraq account we see a country liberated from an acknowledged tyrant of the worst sort, the emergence of a democratic system that the Iraqis have risked death to participate in, the containment (if not defeat) of one of the most despicable insurgencies in history where the enemy not only deliberately targets civilians and uses them as human shields but also tries to foment a sectarian civil war and to destroy anything that might make the lives of the people better and a growing economy despite all these difficulties.

Helping to achieve this level of success against all the odds deserves a medal rather than the cheap, unthinking abuse of critics.

And when you still go on about Blair leading this country into war under false pretences, this just goes to show how much you have been following the argument. As I've said quite a few times now the reason for going to war was NOT the actual EXISTENCE of WMD but Saddam's serial non-compliance with UN resolutions designed to make him PROVE that he didn't have them. In the absence of such proof it was quite reasonable to conclude that he DID have them. Get it?

On your second comment I would first say that this is not about lying as I demonstrated above. Stitching up in this context simply means looking for breaches in the cease-fire conditions without giving a tyrant like Saddam the benefit of any doubt. Common sense really.

Cheezy said...

Cheezy, I'll deal with your previous comment first, although I must admit it's difficult to take anyone seriously who chooses a name like that."Calm down dear, it's only a blog! ;-)

"You are now charging Blair with incompetence. Well I suppose you you can always rubbish anybody when you just look at one side of the balance sheet."Not at all. I take a balanced view. On the one hand, Blair invaded a country on a pretext that turned out to be bullshit... but on the other hand he also presided over a booming economy for those 10 years... Lovely, lovely credit! ;-)

"Looking at the other side of the Iraq account..." ...bla bla bla... all sorts of other highly subjective stuff that has nothing to do with Blair launching a war based on a false pretext, which is the actual point I was making. Do try and keep up, old boy.

"but Saddam's serial non-compliance with UN resolutions designed to make him PROVE that he didn't have them."

Hmmmm. Shouldn't the UN itself be the judge of who's in violation of their own resolutions, and what the consequences should be? As you would have learned if you'd been paying attention, UN inspectors on the ground were quite satisfied with the progress they were making. It's the 'Coalition of the Willing' who were rushing things and (even) you will now admit, turned out to be dead wrong. Those urging caution turned out to be right. That's the real common sense vs incompetence bit.

"Stitching up in this context simply means looking for breaches in the cease-fire conditions"Ah, so that's what 'stitching up' means... I'd always wondered... So it now means 'legitimately looking for breaches in cease-fire conditions'. But of course - it's a legal term! I'll adjust my urban dictionary accordingly!

Keep it up, Stanley, you're doing a bang up job :)

Stan said...

Lucy, no, I don't think the war was decided years ago for ther reasons I've given (totally ignored by you I note). If I remember correctly the memos you refer to were about worst case scenarios and contingency planning (which is the normal practice on these matters) rather than about going to war regardless.

I've also answered your point about the weapons inspectors not finding stocks of WMD (they coudn't go where they liked ,when they liked). And they didn't come back empty handed btw. Weapons capabilities were found along with rockets that breached the ceasefire conditions.

I likewise answered the linked points made in your post. Proof of guys saying something does not make what they say right, particularly when it's quoted out of context.

Finally, my previous reply to you answered your emotional point about sending others to their death.

Do you actually read and take in what I'm posting to you or have you reached the point where it just hurts too much to properly expose yourself to the other side of the argument?

As I said when we started this exchange I wasn't sure that you would be open to reason. Now I'm quite sure you're not. What a pity for someone whose heart, at least, seems to be in the right place.

Cheezy said...

"Do you actually read and take in what I'm posting to you or have you reached the point where it just hurts too much to properly expose yourself to the other side of the argument?"Dude, this would be a wanky thing to say, even if you weren't getting your arse handed to you on a plate. So, seeing that you are, it's both wanky and sad.

Stan said...

Cheezy, that last remark was, well....cheesy. Now I KNOW I've won the argument.

Cheezy said...

Bravo! ;-)

Lucy said...

You win a month self catering in Baghdad Stan. You might want to give the market places a miss though, turns out they are full of terrorists now.

Stan said...

Lucy, the prize of enlightening your good selves is enough, thank you.

Lucy said...

Not sure about enlightening anyone Stan but you entertained us.

Stan said...

That'll do me, Lucy. They say that telling it as it is in an entertaining way can get through to even the most closed of minds. :-)

Anonymous said...

Great work lucy. What amuses me stan is that lucy very cleverly shredded your argument to pieces and you still don't know what she did to you. She handed it to you by using the very people that you pro war supporters use to support your stance. Challenge her again to something sometime as i love seeing your sort so comprehensibly defeated.

Stan said...

Thought I would have another look at this thread in connection with something else I'm working on. Noticed the last comment of Anonymous which linked up nicely with an article I've just read in the Times Saturday Review, headed "Facts are the best way to combat crazy ideas? Don't you believe it".

It seems that research into the persistence of misperceptions in the face of evidence shows that, first, correcting misperceptions doesn't really work when the original misperception fits snugly with the subject's ideology (in this case anti-Americanism). Second, attempting to correct errors often produces a backlash, with the error becoming more firmly believed.

The previous comment demonstrates this theory perfectly, not to mention the abusive ones which formed part of the backlash.

Just another blogger said...

You must be a real glutton for punishment Stan. Not enough that this blogger took your arguement apart so comprehensivley, you STILL try and grasp something from it. Give it up, you were taken to task. Be big enough to just suck it up and accept it.