Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 18, 2004
WAR: Gassing The Kurds

Picture, thousand words, etc.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 07:25 AM | War 2004 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

I guess a couple of those words would have to include....

1988, Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, a decade of US aid and arms deliveries, the Law of Unintended Consequences, etc.

Posted by: C Giddy at March 18, 2004 04:59 PM

Definitely. A few others would be the Cold War, the lesser of two evils, the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian hostage crisis, a decade of the Ayatollah screaming "Death to America", the Soviet invasion of Aghanistan, Soviet aid to Iran, the prospect of a Shia-controlled Iraq aligning with an Ayatollah-led Iran, the prospect of Iran-style Islamic revolution catching on in neighboring countries, etc...

We had good reasons for supporting Saddam at the time, regrettable though they are in retrospect. In all, a complex period. But we had reasons for supporting Stalin in WW II as well, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't have been held accountable for what he did, if we had a realistic chance to do so.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at March 18, 2004 05:14 PM

Another picture... the words as well.

Posted by: C Giddy at March 19, 2004 02:55 PM

No question there is a human toll to taking military action. But it must always be weighed against the equally real human toll of inaction. Both short and long-term.

How many more countries besides Iran, Kuwait, Israel, Saudi Arabia, etc…were we supposed to allow Saddam Hussein to attack and threaten before holding him ultimately and finally accountable? How else were we supposed to deal with a regime which it had been government policy since 1998 to overthrow? The policy of containment of Saddam had eroded and we had every reason to believe he would become more, rather than less, dangerous over time (which, with the gift of hindsight, may not have been the case). Was the status quo in the Middle East really something, after 9/11, we wanted something to continue in perpetuity?

I care about our troops too, but I also know that putting off action indefinitely into the future only to be drawn into a larger and bloodier conflict on someone else’s terms and timetable is not a fool-proof way to protect them. And it is no substitute for a national security strategy.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at March 22, 2004 02:59 PM

"The policy of containment had eroded...." and yet it had completely kept him contained?

Saddam hadn't attacked anything outside of the parallels since 1991....and yet you're worried about who his next victim would be?

You want to use a questionable picture of a old woman with victims from a gassing that occured in 1988, under the watch of the GHWB, and say that its worth a thousand words....and yet deem a lovely young American lady who had her future ahead of her as essentially a one-off, a price of war?

Putting it off indefinitely? Who says that was our only other option? Iraq was not an imminent threat. How about we put the action off for a year and actually work a little bit to build some world-wide legitimacy? Maybe set ourselves up for success prior to rushing in?

Posted by: C Giddy at March 23, 2004 07:43 PM

Ah, that 14-month rush to war again, after 12 years of futilely trying to get Saddam to comply. "World-wide legitimacy"? You can't take that stuff seriously and then say it doesn't matter that he broke UN resolutions year after year, actively deceived weapons inspectors . . . to say nothing of the wholesale corruption of the UN oil-for-palaces program. If nothing else, David Kay's investigation made clear that further inspections were pointless, and Chirac made clear that the French were against the war no matter what. More time would have accomplished nothing at all.

Saddam hadn't attacked anything outside of the parallels since 1991

Tell that to the families of the suicide bombers he financed. Tell that to GHWB, who he tried to have murdered. To say nothing of his numerous other ties to terror groups.

Posted by: The Crank at March 23, 2004 08:05 PM

The containment regime, a condition of the end of the first Gulf War, was predicated primarily upon weapons inspections and economic sanctions (as well as patrolling of the no-fly zone). It was supposed to have real teeth, not just be an ambiguous admonition to Saddam not to misbehave. Kenneth Pollack writes about this a good deal in his book.

The weapons inspectors were expelled during the Clinton era and only admitted back in under the threat of force - a threat which relied on imminence (i.e. troops on the doorstep) which could not be realistically maintained indefinitely. As for the sanctions, the world, including our trusty French and German allies, had turned against them and bought into Iraqi and Arab propaganda that they were aimed at Iraqi civilians, rather than the regime. The international community was clamoring for sanctions to be lifted, rather than strengthened.

Without the inspectors, whose presence was guaranteed by the threat of military force (i.e. real consequences), and without sanctions, there was no containment. Not in any meaningful sense.

Posted by: The Mad Hibernian at March 24, 2004 08:21 PM
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