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  #1  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:21 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq instead of Iran?

If Bush was going to react to the 9/11 attacks by going to war with some country other than Afghanistan, why did he pick Iraq instead of Iran? I mean, it should have been obvious we only had the troop strength to take on one of them. Both countries are of more or less equal strategic importance. Both have oil. We've had a national grudge against Iran since they took the U.S. Embassy staff hostage following Khomeini's revolution in 1979 (of course, Iran has had a national grudge against the U.S. since the CIA-sponsored "Operation Ajax" coup against Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, but since the U.S. did that it doesn't count). The case for "regime change" in Iran was just as compelling as in Iraq; Iran's mullahcracy is at least as dangerous to regional peace and stability as Hussein's Ba'athist dictatorship was -- especially considering that Iran might be in a position to influence the political development of a lot of neighboring post-Soviet Muslim nations in Central Asia. And while neither country had any provable connection to al-Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, Iran had (and has) a real record of promoting terrorism abroad, and might be working on real weapons of mass destruction. So why not Iran?
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:25 PM
Rapier42 Rapier42 is offline
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Assuming for the moment that we did not, in fact, have any real intelligence on Iraq being an imminent threat (plenty of threads for that, please don't flame me here ), I'm assuming Iraq presented the easier target. Embargo, and all that.

Interesting poloicy shift, since we backed Iraq against Iran.
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  #3  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:25 PM
XT XT is offline
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Because there was an excuse to invade Iraq...there was none to invade Iran. Because Saddam was an easier sell to the American people who had already been prepped that he was a 'bad guy'. UN sanctions already in place for Iraq. Because Iraq was easier, logistically, to invade then Iran. Because Iran has a much larger population and so would be much more difficult to subdue. Because Iran presumably has a much more fanatic population (well, it probably looked that way pre-war) than Iraq, who was more secular.

Take your pick.

-XT
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  #4  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:28 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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IIRC (and I may not be) Iran had been leaning toward reforming its government. At least, ISTR that there were some opposition parties that were becoming more vocal.

Saddam had been misbehaving for ten years. He was basically thumbing his nose at the U.S. and the UN. Also, Iraq was fresher in Americans' minds than Iran. The the Short Attention Span Theatre of America, freshness counts. Besides, 'He trah'd t'kill mah pa!' (Bush the Elder). Records seem to show that Bush the Younger had been spoiling for a fight, and circumstances provided him with an excuse.
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  #5  
Old 06-30-2005, 11:55 PM
RickJay RickJay is online now
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Whatever the other reasons, the central truth is that Iraq was weak and essentially defenceless. It may now be hard to subdue, but it was easily overrun; they simply couldn't put up much of a fight.

Iran would have required an invasion force at least twice and perhaps three times as large and would have put up a vicious and bloody resistance.
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Old 07-01-2005, 12:26 AM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Iran would have required an invasion force at least twice and perhaps three times as large and would have put up a vicious and bloody resistance.
And where would you have staged such an army? How would you have supplied them? All in all I don't think Iran was ever in the cards. Perhaps...perhaps mind you...IF Iraq had been a push over and the Iraqi's really would have thrown roses at our feet and offered us their young daughters, we MIGHT have been able to stage an invasion of Iran sometime in the near future.

Not going to happen. Maybe some bombing or toss a few cruise missiles at em a la Clinton...but invasion just was never in the cards IMO. Even if we had a fig leaf excuse...which we didn't.

-XT
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:29 AM
furt furt is offline
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1) Regime change in Iraq was already a stated policy objective, dating from 1998.

2) Saddam was in defiance of UN resolutions, providing a legal argument.

3) The admin either believed or believed they could plausibly claim (take your pick) Iraq had WMD programs.

4) Iraq was better positioned culturally and geographically to be the seedbed for the liberalisation of the Arab world that is the real goal of this war. Iran is Shiite, is not Arab, and does not border Syria or Saudi Arabia.

5) While Iraq's military was probably stronger than Iran's, the difference was not significant.

6) While the overall civilian population in Iraq was probably less well-disposed to the US than in Iran, the civilian opposition was more concentrated: e.g. we could pretty much count on little resistance from the Kurds and Shiites.

7) Moreover, the Kurds have experience with democratic self rule; that was/is valuable in reconstruction.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:32 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Another major difference between Iraq and Iran is that Iran's government is a bit shaky and old, the population is young, pro-American, and actually have a chance of eventually getting rid of their leaders. War was never an option there, and certainly wouldn't have been the right thing to do.

Iraq, on the other hand, was in the iron grip of Saddam, with no chance of a coup or revolt, and there was a set line of succession to his children who, if anything were worse than he was.

Another difference is that the U.S. was having to maintain 50,000 soldiers in Saudi Arabia to contain Saddam with the northern and southern no-fly zones, and this was an unstable situation. Don't forget that Bin Laden named U.S. presence on Saudi soil as one of his reasons for his Fatwa.

Another reason is that the only reason it turned out that Saddam didn't have WMD is because of the sanctions and inspections. But this was also unstable, as it was disproportionately hurting the population, and there was pressure growing for the sanctions to drop - mostly because companies were itching to do business with Iraq. We've discovered that Saddam was bribing officials in influential positions with money stolen from the oil-for-food program. Had their been no war, today there would be a hue and cry demanding that the sanctions be dropped, and fully 1/3 of the soldiers that are there now would still be in the middle east, only based out of Saudi Arabia. But still vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Another reason was the very real chance that Saddam would offer the power of his state to jihadists - we thought by giving them WMD, but it could also be funding on a large scale, conventional weapons, intelligence, safe harbor, etc. My personal belief is that Saddam had plans to use islamic terror as a smart weapon against the U.S., and he believed that by standing up to the U.S. he could elevate his stature in the middle east and become the symbol of middle-eastern uprising against the U.S. Think about that. If he wins that conflict by forcing America to back down, attack them hard enough that they withdraw, or even just stare them down, suddenly he's a hero to millions. Which is exactly what he dreamed of - being the head of a new caliphate. Saddam was allied with the enemy, and was about to become a larger problem. In my opinion.

Saddam was inflaming Atab hatred for America which was creating more jihadists. From his support for Palestinian suicide bombers to his shooting at American planes and his new found love of Islam, he was clearly taking advantage of Islamic extremism because it suited his goals. Saddam was a lightning rod in the region.

Another difference is that the U.S. had no realistic way of invading Iran other than through Iraq. The only border the U.S. had even remote control of was in Afghanistan, and that would have been very, very difficult.

But again, the plan is not, and never has been to attack Iran. The strategy of choice in Iran is to support the pro-American people, provide aid to Iranian dissident movements, and simultaneously work to convince the government that nuclear weapons are not in their best interest. This does not preclude the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, but it won't be for the purpose of invading the country, but to remove a direct threat.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:35 AM
andros andros is offline
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8) We had been in a state of open hostilities with Iraq since '91, continuing to enforce the no-fly zones and essay punitive and preemptive airstrikes.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:53 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
The case for "regime change" in Iran was just as compelling as in Iraq;

In my opinion, not, and by a long shot. The Iranian regime isn't even remotely as barbarous as Saddam's Irak used to be. If for some reason, I had to choose between becoming an Iranian or an Iraki citizen, I wouldn't have hesitated 1/10th of a second before picking Iran. They just weren't playing in the same ballpark as lack of freedom goes.
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2005, 01:55 AM
villain71 villain71 is offline
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Saddam was an idiot dictator. He should have followed ex-president Marcos of the Philippines style where he dined-n-wined with Reagan that when he was ousted from a coup he got a nice military helicopter to fly him out into Hawaii in exile with his $$$. The guy got off the airport and nobody even arrested him or questioned him or let alone check his belongings. He landed like a King. Now wasn't it great being friends with the U.S.A.

The guy ransacked the country to its knees and he was never punished. If Saddam was friends with the Americans to begin with he'd still be the leader of Iraq and there wouldn't be any invasion. What a dumbass.
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:06 AM
andros andros is offline
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Originally Posted by villain71
If Saddam was friends with the Americans to begin with he'd still be the leader of Iraq and there wouldn't be any invasion.
He was. He just didn't saty that way.
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:30 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Iran, for all its faults, is a mostly functioning nation with a semi-democratic system of government. It hasn't directly threatened the United States in decades. So the only reason for invading Iran would have basically been "why not?". International opposition to an Iranian invasion would have been about a hundred times worse than it was to the Iraqi invasion. You probably would have actually seen many countries openly supporting Iran. The United States would have been subject to diplomatic and economic sanctions and perhaps even military oppostion.
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  #14  
Old 07-01-2005, 04:09 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
IIRC (and I may not be) Iran had been leaning toward reforming its government.
They were then, they aren't now. In the just-finished presidential election (unlike in earlier ones), the ruling Guardian Council of mullahs wouldn't let even moderate reformers on the ballot. And out of a field of hard-liners, the winner was the hardest of them all, who might have been involved in taking the U.S. embassy staff hostage in 1979. http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/...ent/index.html
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2005, 04:13 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by xtisme
And where would you have staged such an army? How would you have supplied them?
The U.S. has the world's most powerful navy. It could have gone into the Persian Gulf, established any number of beachheads, and troops could have been landed. More troops could have invaded from Iran's long border with Afghanistan, forcing Iran to divide its forces. Supply from the same directions. No harder than invading Iraq from its very short border with Kuwait. No harder getting troops into the country, that is; defeating the defending forces is another matter.
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Old 07-01-2005, 04:13 AM
Latro Latro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
They were then, they aren't now.

I wonder if being declared part of an axis of evil and having a bit of an invasion next door might have had something to do with that.
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  #17  
Old 07-01-2005, 04:29 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
1) Regime change in Iraq was already a stated policy objective, dating from 1998.
Cite? I don't remember Clinton ever saying that. Did he commit the U.S. to it as policy, or just mention it as an option?

Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
4) Iraq was better positioned culturally and geographically to be the seedbed for the liberalisation of the Arab world that is the real goal of this war. Iran is Shiite, is not Arab, and does not border Syria or Saudi Arabia.
What are the chances this war could lead to the liberalization of Syria or Saudi Arabia? I've heard of no signs of it from either country, yet. The Syrian regime is holding things down tight because it fears the prospect (bacause of Lebanon's example, not Iraq's -- http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050502&s=hirst), and the only serious opposition in SA is the ultra-Wahhabists, who make the Iranian mullahs look like Enlightenment Deists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
5) While Iraq's military was probably stronger than Iran's, the difference was not significant.
Cite? I would have expected Iran's military to be stronger, since they have a larger population and had not been under international economic sanctions for the past decade.
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  #18  
Old 07-01-2005, 04:32 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Stone
But again, the plan is not, and never has been to attack Iran. The strategy of choice in Iran is to support the pro-American people, provide aid to Iranian dissident movements. . .
That doesn't seem to be working either, does it?
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  #19  
Old 07-01-2005, 05:35 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
The U.S. has the world's most powerful navy. It could have gone into the Persian Gulf, established any number of beachheads, and troops could have been landed. More troops could have invaded from Iran's long border with Afghanistan, forcing Iran to divide its forces. Supply from the same directions. No harder than invading Iraq from its very short border with Kuwait. No harder getting troops into the country, that is; defeating the defending forces is another matter.
The U.S. Navy is not capable of landing hundreds of thousands of troops across the ocean in an invasion. I think you seriously underestimate how hard it is to do this.

As for the hardliners being elected in Iraq, this may in fact be a sign that the government is losing its grip a bit. When the Soviet Union first started having major difficulties, it put into power old appatchiks who were anything but reformers: Ex-KGB head Yuri Andropov and Constantin Chernenko. It was only after they died and the U.S. continued standing up to the Soviet Union that they finally decided to try their luck with a reformer.

With Iran, it's really hard to tell. I worry perhaps even more about what that government will do if it feels its grip on power slipping than if they were stable and firmly in control. Iran is a very dangerous problem.

Quote:
Cite? I don't remember Clinton ever saying that. Did he commit the U.S. to it as policy, or just mention it as an option?
Man, this has been referred to dozens of times on this board. We simply don't seem to be able to communicate with each other. For the record:

H.R.4655 - Iraq Liberation Act of 1998

Quote:
Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 - Declares that it should be the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.

Authorizes the President, after notifying specified congressional committees, to provide to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations: (1) grant assistance for radio and television broadcasting to Iraq; (2) Department of Defense (DOD) defense articles and services and military education and training (IMET); and (3) humanitarian assistance, with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled from areas under the control of the Hussein regime. Prohibits assistance to any group or organization that is engaged in military cooperation with the Hussein regime. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the President to designate: (1) one or more Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that meet specified criteria as eligible to receive assistance under this Act; and (2) additional such organizations which satisfy the President's criteria.

Urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people and democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, including convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to the foreign debt incurred by the Hussein regime.
It became public law No: 105-338 after Bill Clinton signed it. After that date, official U.S. policy was to work towards the removal of Saddam Hussein's government.

Also interesting is the rationale:

Quote:
(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.

(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.

(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.

(4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a 7 month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait's oil wells ablaze upon retreat.

(5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire conditions specified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.

(6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.

(7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of or attack against Kuwait.

(8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government.

(9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

(10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.
Note that the use of and suspected possession of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq were key elements of this policy. And again, it was written in 1998, supported in a bipartisan fashion and signed into law by a Democrat president.
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  #20  
Old 07-01-2005, 05:43 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
That doesn't seem to be working either, does it?
You have a better plan? Some problems are just not that easy to solve. This is what frustrates me when people keep saying, "Why didn't the U.S. invade Saudi Arabia? Or Pakistan? Or North Korea? Or Iran?" Of course, they almost never offer an actual workable plan for doing so. Sometimes, a plan just doesn't exist and a problem is intractable. Nonetheless you take your best shot and work on the best strategy that is feasible, even if it's not your idea of the perfect plan.

Is the U.S. pursuing a good strategy against Iran? In broad strokes, yes. Engagement with the people is the best course of action, in my opinion. Is the Bush Administration doing a good job of this? I don't know. I suspect not. I don't know why there isn't more outreach to the Iranian people. If it were me, I'd be very overt about it. If Iran shuts down Iranian blogs, announce a U.S. government program to provide free anonymous web hosting to any Iranian. Funnel much money to the dissident groups. Lean on the government more. Hell, air drop hundreds of thousands of satellite radios and set up an American satellite station. Whatever it takes.
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Old 07-01-2005, 09:24 AM
GLWasteful GLWasteful is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Whatever the other reasons, the central truth is that Iraq was weak and essentially defenceless. It may now be hard to subdue, but it was easily overrun; they simply couldn't put up much of a fight.
I think that this is a big reason for invading Iraq instead of Iran. Hell, a real coalition had gone in and kicked the hell out of the Iraqi army only a decade before. They had diminished, well, everything. Hard to sell easy victory to the folks back home if the country being invaded actually, y'know, fights back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
5) While Iraq's military was probably stronger than Iran's, the difference was not significant.
Just like BrainGlutton, I'm gonna ask for a cite. Iran hadn't had their military decimated and lived under sanction for a decade.
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2005, 10:16 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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When I first spotted the thread title, I had one of the "WTF?" spasms. "What the heck has MindMuncher been smoking, and where can I get some?"

But taken as an entirely theortical excercise, its like, "Hmmmm..."

Now, if I presume that I'm a dim-witted buttmunchkin with a throbbing, aching military hard-on that simply demands a sovereign nation to serve as an orifice, it becomes pretty obvious why I would prefer Iraq to Iran.

Iraq was (relatively) secular, as a people, as well as a government. And, presumably, the people of Iraq were not all that keen on Saddam as their leader (except for that pesky bunch of Baathist deadheads...). We have encountered a rather tiresome amount of resistance from the people at large.

But Iran is a whole 'nother kettle of piranha. Iran has a large segment of religious fanatics who closely identify with their government, there is no chance, none whatsoever, that these people would have regarded an invading force as anything remotely resembling "liberators". They would have regarded such a force as the Spawn of Satan, come to lay a steaming turd in the Temple of Allah.

The factor of resistance would have been multiplied by ....what, a hundredfold? At least? If a ticket to Paradise could be purchased by flinging oneself bodily on an American soldier to tear out his throat with one's teeth, our troops would have been wading in blood until we either ran like hell or depopulated the country.

Next to that prospect, the invasion of Iraq looks pretty good, like a CarrotTop film festival seems a better prospect than nailing your pecker to a tree and setting the tree on fire.
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Old 07-01-2005, 10:56 AM
XT XT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
The U.S. has the world's most powerful navy. It could have gone into the Persian Gulf, established any number of beachheads, and troops could have been landed. More troops could have invaded from Iran's long border with Afghanistan, forcing Iran to divide its forces. Supply from the same directions. No harder than invading Iraq from its very short border with Kuwait. No harder getting troops into the country, that is; defeating the defending forces is another matter.
We certainly have the largest navy in the world. Were you planning on transporting the troops on air craft carriers or using missile destroyers? How large do you suppose our current sea lift capability is with respect to moving troops and supplies? WHere would we stage those supplies out of (presumably Saudi)? Would the approach be contested? Mined? Suicide speedboats? Suicide SCUBA?

Once you established the beechead in Iran (at gods know the cost), and then slowly brought in more troops and supplies to expand your control, you'd still have logistics problems because you'd need to move everything in via sea or air from Saudi, then you'd need to dump it and re-distribute it into a country that is up in arms against you. You seem to think that this is going to be much easier than it would be...or perhaps you think we have the same sea lift capability we enjoyed during D-Day. We don't. And if you think the Iraq war is expensive...at a guess Iran would have been more costly in terms of both money spent and men lost. Right now instead of a trickly of soldier deaths a week we'd have hundreds IMO. The Iranians actually COULD stage larger pitched type battles because they can fight in the mountains (something lacking in much of Iraq) and could establish secure bases. Plus the Iranians probably WOULD have fought a scortched earth type fight...Allah was on their side after all.

As to invading through Afghanistan....look at a map BG! THose bumpy things all along the border are mountains...not exactly best suited to a US offensive (which relies quite a bit on our armor) or to rolling supplies through (especially when you consider that Afghanistan is not exactly completely subdued yet, is it?). Hell, just look at the whole country...much of it is mountainous. Again, not well suited to our style of fighthing if we are going to actually invade.

Even if the president had a complete hard on to take Iran out its just not feasibe unless we are willing to take a lot more casualties and spend a lot more money...and be in it for a lot longer than Iraq. If we were going to go the Iranian route it would have taken the form of air attacks on their nuclear program, military targets (especially C&C and air defense), and perhaps their military logistics. THAT we could have done and can still do pretty much at will. But invasion, especially before our invasion of Iraq? No way.

-XT
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  #24  
Old 07-01-2005, 11:37 AM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
Man, this has been referred to dozens of times on this board.
And you and others been quite dishonestly characterizing that resolution many, many times as the Clinton administration mandating an Iraq war. Which is a load of baloney. That resolution was a feel-good act that started in the congress that mandated funding dissident elements in Iraq, with the hope that the Iraqis themselves would overthrow Saddam. It had jack-all to do with invading the country.
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Old 07-01-2005, 11:53 AM
elucidator elucidator is offline
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It would be remiss not to take a moment to praise The Leader: given a choice between a disastrously stupid military adventure and an Armageddon-level apocalypse, he chose the lesser catastrophe!

GW! Hey, It Could Have Been Worse!
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  #26  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:35 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
The case for "regime change" in Iran was just as compelling as in Iraq;
Quote:
Originally Posted by clairobscur
In my opinion, not, and by a long shot. The Iranian regime isn't even remotely as barbarous as Saddam's Irak used to be. If for some reason, I had to choose between becoming an Iranian or an Iraki citizen, I wouldn't have hesitated 1/10th of a second before picking Iran. They just weren't playing in the same ballpark as lack of freedom goes.
Short of a case of genocide in progress, what do the conditions of life inside a given country have to do with justification of regime change by foreign military action? By that standard, the first country on our list to invade should have been North Korea; conditions are even worse there than they were in Hussein's Iraq. But Bush had to make his case in terms of Iraq's threat, immediate or potential, to other countries, and rightly so. The world is full of tyrannies; if that alone could give grounds for an invasion, just imagine the consequences.
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Old 07-01-2005, 12:43 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
And you and others been quite dishonestly characterizing that resolution many, many times as the Clinton administration mandating an Iraq war. Which is a load of baloney. That resolution was a feel-good act that started in the congress that mandated funding dissident elements in Iraq, with the hope that the Iraqis themselves would overthrow Saddam. It had jack-all to do with invading the country.
Cite?
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  #28  
Old 07-01-2005, 12:51 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Short of a case of genocide in progress, what do the conditions of life inside a given country have to do with justification of regime change by foreign military action? By that standard, the first country on our list to invade should have been North Korea; conditions are even worse there than they were in Hussein's Iraq. But Bush had to make his case in terms of Iraq's threat, immediate or potential, to other countries, and rightly so. The world is full of tyrannies; if that alone could give grounds for an invasion, just imagine the consequences.

I know. But part of the "regime change" rethorics was/is based on a "look how evil Saddam Hussein is and what he does to the Irakis" statement. Which was a true statement.

And IMO the only valid jusification for the invasion of Irak.
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  #29  
Old 07-01-2005, 01:02 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
Cite?
From the text of the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998

Quote:
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Section 4(a)(2)
(2) MILITARY ASSISTANCE- (A) The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations.
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  #30  
Old 07-01-2005, 01:11 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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But we had a pretty good idea of how a war against Iraq would go, and it turns out that we were correct...we rolled right over the regular Iraqi army just like we did in Gulf War I. The occupation obviously didn't go according to plan, but the invasion itself was easy.

Contrast that with a hypothetical invasion of North Korea. The reality is that we don't have a very good idea of how such an invasion would go. Would it be a cakewalk over poorly motivated conscripts with useless equipment? Would the North Koreans fight? How much North Korean equipment can function even on a minimal level? How much retaliation can they inflict on South Korea? And more importantly, how is South Korea going to view our invasion? Without South Korea's cooperation there is no invasion. Period. And South Korea currently has no plans to invade the North, no matter how awful things are there. Iraq's weakened military couldn't threaten Kuwait or Saudi during the invasion, but can we say with certainty that North Korea couldn't inflict unacceptable damage to South Korea or even Japan?

Iraq was a unique situation. Iraq was completely isolated diplomatically, it was isolated economically, we knew we could easily beat Iraq's military, Saddam was a horrible dictator that Americans already knew and hated, we had forward bases to invade from, Saddam couldn't retaliate against neighboring countries, we had UN cover (however weak), we had the plausible (although since revealed as false) threat of WMDs, we had the humanitarian disaster of the sanctions, we had large ethnic groups that we knew would support us (Kurds and to a much lesser extent Shia), postwar Iraq had oil wealth that could be used to rebuild and pacify the population, Iraq's oil wealth would no longer go into Saddam's pockets but rather into various other pockets, and on and on.

While other countries might have similar characteristics, no other country had so few barriers to war. If you were a cowboy president who was looking for a quick victorious war Iraq would be 10 times more attractive than any other potential victim.
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  #31  
Old 07-01-2005, 01:26 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
Cite?
Cite for what? That that resolution didn't mandate an invasion of Iraq? See your own post.
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  #32  
Old 07-01-2005, 01:53 PM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
And you and others been quite dishonestly characterizing that resolution many, many times as the Clinton administration mandating an Iraq war. Which is a load of baloney. That resolution was a feel-good act that started in the congress that mandated funding dissident elements in Iraq, with the hope that the Iraqis themselves would overthrow Saddam. It had jack-all to do with invading the country.
Cite?
I think Sam means a cite that "you and others been quite dishonestly characterizing that resolution many, many times as the Clinton administration mandating an Iraq war." He originally said
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
It became public law No: 105-338 after Bill Clinton signed it. After that date, official U.S. policy was to work towards the removal of Saddam Hussein's government.
Removal of government does not necessarily mean war. At least in this thread, Sam is not misinterpreting the resolution.
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  #33  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:11 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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Perhaps not, but furt is. It was he who said "Regime change in Iraq was already a stated policy objective, dating from 1998" presumably in answer to the question "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq instead of Iran?" and Mr. Stone seems to be defending furt's using it as an excuse for invading Iraq. It's explicity stated in the resolution that it does not represent an excuse to use military force. furt is wrong, and if Mr. Stone is defending [/b]furt[/b]'s assertion, then he's wrong too.
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  #34  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:19 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tooth
Perhaps not, but furt is. It was he who said "Regime change in Iraq was already a stated policy objective, dating from 1998" presumably in answer to the question "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq instead of Iran?" and Mr. Stone seems to be defending furt's using it as an excuse for invading Iraq. It's explicity stated in the resolution that it does not represent an excuse to use military force. furt is wrong, and if Mr. Stone is defending [/b]furt[/b]'s assertion, then he's wrong too.
How can "remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power" not mean the same as "regime change"? Tell us what you think it means-- remove his regime from power and not remove it from power at the same time? Or perhaps it means to remove it from power but make sure nothing takes it place so there isn't a "change"?
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  #35  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:25 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
How can "remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power" not mean the same as "regime change"? Tell us what you think it means-- remove his regime from power and not remove it from power at the same time? Or perhaps it means to remove it from power but make sure nothing takes it place so there isn't a "change"?
Gah!!! I completely misread your post, Tooth. Sorry.

The 1998 act did not give the president the authority to invade Iraq, which is why he asked Congress to approve the Congressional Resolution on Iraq in Oct 02.

Again, sorry for my original screw-up.
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  #36  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:27 PM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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Rereading furt's post, his point
Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
1) Regime change in Iraq was already a stated policy objective, dating from 1998.
does not misstate the resolution. The resolution does advocate regime change ("the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government") and goes on to specify how (not war). furt's post is answering the question "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq instead of Iran?"--this is distinct from "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq?" The first asks for a comparison of reasons to invade of the two countries; the second for an independent justification of an invasion.

One may consider which country is better to invade separately from whether we should invade.
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  #37  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:34 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
Gah!!! I completely misread your post, Tooth. Sorry.

The 1998 act did not give the president the authority to invade Iraq, which is why he asked Congress to approve the Congressional Resolution on Iraq in Oct 02.

Again, sorry for my original screw-up.
No worries.
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  #38  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:48 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast
I think Sam means a cite that "you and others been quite dishonestly characterizing that resolution many, many times as the Clinton administration mandating an Iraq war." He originally saidRemoval of government does not necessarily mean war. At least in this thread, Sam is not misinterpreting the resolution.
That's exactly what I meant. I don't recall ever saying that the U.S. voted for war in 1998, or even hinting at that, yet I've been accused of it. What I have said is that 'regime change' became official government policy in 1998, indicating that even the Democratic White House recognized the need to get rid of Saddam, and was openly working towards having him removed from power.

By the way, back then a number of Democrats were even more hawkish towards Iraq, including John Kerry. I actually said on this board about a year before the election that I hoped that Kerry would win the nomination, because his record on Iraq was the most hawkish of the Democratic candidates.

But I would like to replay some of the comments of Democrats in that discussion back in 1998:

"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow. Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal."
- Bill Clinton, 1998

"We urge the President to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- Tom Daschle, 1998

"Look, we have exhausted virtually all our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so?"
- Tom Daschle, 1998

"The U.S. should strike, strike hard and strike decisively. In this instance, the administration needs to act sooner rather than later,"
- Sen. Robert C. Byrd, 1998

"I agree with using military force,"
- Chris Dodd, 1998

"Iraq is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is a threat with respect to the potential activities on a global basis."
- John Kerry, 1998

"There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein still seeks to amass weapons of mass destruction. You know as well as I do: as long as Saddam Hussein stays in power, there can be no comprehensive peace for the people of Israel, or the people of the Middle East.

We have made it clear that it is our policy to see Saddam Hussein gone."
- Al Gore

So while the resolution itself stopped far short of war and indeed only endorsed programs of destabilization by funding resistance groups, many prominent democrats were calling for a lot more than that. The same ones who suddenly became anti-war and skeptical when it was a Republican president in charge.

By the way, the 'Regime Change' policy passed the House with the support of 157 Democrats. Only 29 opposed it.
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  #39  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:49 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast
Rereading furt's post, his pointdoes not misstate the resolution.
Read narrowly, it doesn't.

However, the point as often stated -- "In 1998 President Clinton made Regime Change in Iraq the Official Policy of the United States." -- is often used (and has repeatedly been used so on these boards) as the quintessential argument that the left "just hates Bush", because Bush is just following Clinton's policies. In other words, it's a way to call the Iraq war's opponents hypocrites. Which is the most deftly dishonest implication possible from that resolution, a resolution that came from the Congress, not Clinton, and did not authorize war.
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  #40  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:53 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleonast
Rereading furt's post, his pointdoes not misstate the resolution. The resolution does advocate regime change ("the policy of the United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government") and goes on to specify how (not war). furt's post is answering the question "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq instead of Iran?"--this is distinct from "Why did Bush decide to invade Iraq?" The first asks for a comparison of reasons to invade of the two countries; the second for an independent justification of an invasion.

One may consider which country is better to invade separately from whether we should invade.
You're right. He didn't say it was a good reason, just a reason.
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  #41  
Old 07-01-2005, 02:56 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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And where, Sam, in your quote-fest is discussion about our military invading Iraq? All of those quotes are deliberately vague as to what should be done. If prominent Democrats opposed Bush's policy, could it perhaps be because it was a different policy than what was current in 1998?
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  #42  
Old 07-01-2005, 03:14 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
And where, Sam, in your quote-fest is discussion about our military invading Iraq? All of those quotes are deliberately vague as to what should be done. If prominent Democrats opposed Bush's policy, could it perhaps be because it was a different policy than what was current in 1998?
Do I have to repeat this again? NO ONE is saying that the U.S. planned to invade Iraq in 1998, or that anyone was advocating a full-scale invasion. However, the reasons Bush gave for the invasion were echoed by Democrats in 1998. It's all there - WMD, gassing the Kurds, the risk of weapons getting into the hands of terrorists, failure to comply with U.N. resolutions, etc.

I posted this in the context of a thread asking, "Why Iraq, and not Iran?" In that context, quotes from Democrats describing the desire to remove Saddam from power are reasonable, are they not?
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  #43  
Old 07-01-2005, 03:23 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
However, the point as often stated -- "In 1998 President Clinton made Regime Change in Iraq the Official Policy of the United States." -- is often used (and has repeatedly been used so on these boards) as the quintessential argument that the left "just hates Bush", because Bush is just following Clinton's policies. In other words, it's a way to call the Iraq war's opponents hypocrites. Which is the most deftly dishonest implication possible from that resolution, a resolution that came from the Congress, not Clinton, and did not authorize war.
No, squeegee, the most "deftly dishonest implication possible from that resolution" (because much easier to miss) is that either Clinton or the Congressional Democrats were part of, or represented, "the left."
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  #44  
Old 07-01-2005, 03:31 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
No, squeegee, the most "deftly dishonest implication possible from that resolution" (because much easier to miss) is that either Clinton or the Congressional Democrats were part of, or represented, "the left."
You lost me. "The left" and "democrats" are usually used as synonyms in the right's Noise Machine, are they not?
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  #45  
Old 07-01-2005, 03:43 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
You lost me. "The left" and "democrats" are usually used as synonyms in the right's Noise Machine, are they not?
Yes, they are. That's what I meant by "deftly dishonest implication."
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  #46  
Old 07-01-2005, 03:45 PM
squeegee squeegee is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
I posted this in the context of a thread asking, "Why Iraq, and not Iran?" In that context, quotes from Democrats describing the desire to remove Saddam from power are reasonable, are they not?
Maybe I read to much into your post -- you were responding, indirectly, to a point made by me about your Regime Change Clinton Policy quote, no? So I thought it was directed at me, not unreasonably IMO.
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  #47  
Old 07-01-2005, 05:13 PM
furt furt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squeegee
Read narrowly, it doesn't.
And I'll thank you to read me narrowly, and not assume you know what you think I really mean. Pleonast is 100% correct.

I'm not aware of anyone who would argue that the 1998 resolution alone justified the war from a legal standpoint; it plainly did not, and anyone saying otherwise is a fool. It (and Sam's quotes above) does, however, point out that there was a history there and that many people had at least in the past seemed open to the idea.

IOW, deciding to add "and we will do so by military means" to the existing policy was less of a stretch than starting from step one with Iran.
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  #48  
Old 07-01-2005, 10:50 PM
deadbeater deadbeater is offline
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Great job containining Iran, Bush. Now they learn one thing from both the invasion of Iraq and the North Korea affair: get nukes in the arsenal, no matter how.
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  #49  
Old 07-01-2005, 11:02 PM
Frostillicus Frostillicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Whatever the other reasons, the central truth is that Iraq was weak and essentially defenceless. It may now be hard to subdue, but it was easily overrun; they simply couldn't put up much of a fight.
And yet Bush took us to war by claiming that Iraq was actually a serious and growing threat to the survival of the United States. And some people actually believed him!
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  #50  
Old 07-01-2005, 11:04 PM
Frostillicus Frostillicus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furt
2) Saddam was in defiance of UN resolutions, providing a legal argument.
And yet Bush bypassed the UN when it became clear that the Security Council would not approve his little invasion. Now where's the legality of that? (And please don't argue the right of self-defense.)
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