Would an Iraq invasion be acceptable if there were no casualties?

After reading hundreds of postings regarding the (supposedly) forthcoming war between the US and Iraq my impression is that people from throughout the world are concerned at the deaths which will occur as a result of an invasion.

However, the Iraqi soldiery will be well aware of the might of the US air power and the technological gap between Iraqi and US ground forces.

I see no reason why (if, indeed the average Iraqi secretly hates Saddam) the US could not coerce their opposition into surrender on a mile-by-mile basis.

As long as the US guaranteed the removal of Saddam and replacement of his government with a monitered humanitarian regime, surely the average Iraqi soldier would prefer surrender to death?

Personally, I think this is achievable, but won’t explain the process for the sake of space. Suffice it to say it involves radio broadcasts, leaflet and food drops, border negotiation and the ripple effect. However, this is not my point.

My query is: are people opposed to the removal of Saddam following a US invasion or are they opposed to the projected deaths following a shooting war? The debating point is: Would a (relatively) bloodless coup (originated by the US) be acceptable to those railing against the current likely war or should the US stay away regardless?

No, it would not be okay.

It is not for the US to decide the government of sovereign nations. Nations have a right to self governence even if those governments piss of the US. That right is sacred and is the foundation of diplomacy and International politics. If it is time for Iraq to have a bloodless coup, they will be able to do it without a global superpower holding total destruction over their head.

When you say ‘no casualites’, do you mean deaths of United States/Coalition personnel, or are you including Iraq military/civilians as well?

I would be more in favour than I currently am.


If democracy can be installed bloodlessly, then to deny it to a country would be a crime in itself.

I thought that’s what the UN Inspections were. Didn’t work out to well, did they?

The Iraqi government pisses us off, because they are a threat to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

You mean it is in the bible or the koran or what?
Cite please.

Cite this while you’re at it.

Sure the people of Iraq are happy with Saddam. I remember that they voted 100% for him in the last election. But if he doesn’t please them they will just vote him out, peacefully. :rolleyes:

So then you would say that the people of Iraq govern themselves?

The latter. Saddam is an odious tyrant, and I would have no problem with him being seen off by a coalition of other countries.

A coup instigated by the US is fine, as long as the US agrees to be bound by the same principle: IOW, a coup instigated from outside the US and overthrowing our government would be considered acceptable behavior. Somehow I don’t see such an agreement to be forthcoming.

Oh, and I disagree with Kniz. Iraq simply does not have sufficient military power to pose a direct threat to the US or ‘the rest of the world’, and cannot significantly augment that power unless the sanctions are lifted.

In any military operation casualties are assumed. Any competent military leader tries to calculate expected losses, if for no other reason to try to figure out what sort of follow on forces are needed and whether there will be enough of the force left to complete the mission. For instance, in the Normandy Invasion 10% losses were assumed in the planning. You may take it as given that some very narrow worst case scenario calculations have been made for an invasion of Iraq. Those calculations have been made by people in the bowels of the Pentagon who are not going to show up to be interviewed about it on Good Morning America.

The problem some of us have with this operation has little to do with potential losses on either side, or whether Iraq has a representative government, or whether Saddam is a good person or not. Our problem is that we purport to be going in to defend the honor and virtue of the UN when the UN has not expressed a clear wish to be vindicated. We are bothered by resort to this ultimate measure without the moral advantage of an international consensus and without a clear sense that this thing is an imperative necessity. We think that the United States should not be a bully.

This is of course my judgment, but by definition I hate America and support bloody handed dictators under all circumstances. Doing so takes up all my time when I am not oppressing widows and orphans, grinding the faces of the poor and championing frivolous lawsuits.

IMHO, “national sovereignty” is NOT a fundamental human right. In and of itself, it is not even a particularly good thing.

Viewed as a “good,” it is not an absolute good, but an instrumental good. If a given case of national sovereignty produces respect for human rights, prosperity, health, education, and such like that there, it is justified.

But no one is obligated to respect the “national sovereignty” of Germany under Hitler, Russia under Stalin, Italy under Mussolini, etc etc. Do note that I’m not speaking of mere “disapproval” of some regime’s “policies,” but rather of aggressive assaults upon the fundamental rights of individuals, which I regard as of universal value.

Hitler was legally and “democratically” elected.

IMHO, national sovereignty is like the rights of parents over their children. Those who abuse it deserve to lose it.

My dear youngling, Iraq does not have self-governance, it is a dictatorship and a virulently nasty one at that. Would you say the same thing about Nazi Germany? Should we not have fought them? What about the Korean War? Should we have allowed North Korea to devour the South?

There is no inherent “right” for any government to exist if it has lost its mandate from the masses. I suggest that you read up on John Locke, particularly his Two Treatises Concerning Government, followed by a serious reading of the Declaration of Independence.

If it was right and just for our ancestors to throw off the yoke of British tyranny, then it must also be right and just to help the Iraqis to overthrow their despotic leader.

Of course an Iraqi invasion would be acceptable under those circumstances. Heaven would be even more desireable if you didn’t have to die to get in. Being a virgin would probably be ok if you could still have lots of sex.

Am I to understand that it is now your position that the invasion of Iraq is needed, not to protect the United States’ vital national interest, not to uphold the credibility of the UN, but to free the people of Iraq from the yoke of despotism? Oh, what a humanitarian you are.

I admit that I am speaking from my own rather esoteric philosophy, which is neither grounded in the real world nor is likely to be a good thing to apply in the real world.

But I still stand that there has to be some respect for the idea of governments. When we stop respecting governments, there is nothing at all to keep the large from bullying the small. Sovereignty is the right of nations. Toppling a government should be held as a very grave act only to be done in the most extreme cases. Anything else is detroying people’s autonomy, and esentially promotes slavery on a national scale.

What do I mean by “extreme cases”? The only things that really count in my mind are trying to take over other countries through direct military force, and extreme human rights abuses. By extreme human rights abuses, I mean large scale genocide and the like- not something thats bad but which fifty other nations also do and get to be our “allies”. Iraq is nasty, but they’re not extremely nasty.

There are non-democratic forms of government that are valid and that do count as “people governing themselves”. For example, if a Muslim state set up a theocracy, I’d have to respect that. Theocracy is part of their world, part of their religion, and a part of their nation- just as democracy is to mine. Theocracy (and monarchy) fulfills certain religious and historical places, and can be as much a part of a nation as any democratically elected government would be. In the end, unpopular governments don’t last too long even where there is not a democracy.

Are you saying those reasons are all mutually incompatible? I’m a half-hearted supporter of the war, spurred into supporting this war mostly out of the fear of what Saddam could do if he, had nukes. I’d love for you to show me where I said exactly that? Oh, you can’t, can you?

I don’t think anyone is saying that liberating the people of Iraq is the main goal of this war, but if it is a happy result, is that a problem?

A great deal of mischief can be hidden by applying lipstick to a pig. “Liberating”? In what regard?

Are we going to empower free and fair elections? Perhaps, so long as the Iraqi people are not bent on anything foolish, such as installing a fervently Islamic republic. After all, the poor Iraqi people are not accustomed to democratic procedures and processes, they will need considerable avuncular guidance from Uncle Sam.

And the Kurds of the north will have to restrain any misguided nationalism. Negotiating on their behalf, we have assured the Turks that no such destabilizing activity will be permitted. After all, we deeply respect Iraq’s “territorial integrity”. The Shia of the south will be permitted much more interaction with thier co-religionists in Iran, unless that should reflect badly on “territorial integrity”.

What is contemplated is more akin to “guided democracy”, as coined and practiced by the late liberation philosopher and statesman, Sukarno of Indonesia. Instead of the sham election of one approved candidate, they will most likely be offered two or more approved candidates. Tweedledum or Tweedledee? Kang or Kodos? The choice will be entirely thiers!

Well, color me foolish, but I believe in popular sovereignty as practiced through full and open democracy, and I am foursquare against authoritarian governments, including theocratic regimes.

Yes, the Iraqis will need US help-I know you’d be the first one to scream bloody murder if the US abandoned Iraq to its own devices after a war. If you don’t oppose US providing postwar rehabilitation and rebuilding the physical infrastructure after the war, what objection can you have to building a new, democratic infrastructure. Islam is not inimical to democracy and it is possible according to some scholars for a government to be both Islamic and democratic.

I don’t want the US to be a colonialist, I don’t want us to be the overlords of a pupper Iraqi regime, I don’t want us to be like France, with its gaggle of despotic, Francophonic nations following it in a semblance of empire.

I want the US to kill or expel Saddam, help the Iraqis set up a provisional government, and then according to a set timetable, pull out completely and let the Iraqis run their own nation.

So the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq doesn’t count, even though it fulfills one of your criteria? And if you don’t think Iraq is a serious enough violator of human rights to be classed as “extremely nasty”, who would be?

For that matter, doesn’t the attempt to wipe out the Kurds count as “large-scale genocide”?

I don’t see why Iraq doesn’t fit your criteria of countries that have forfeited their right to “self-governence”. Leaving aside the points others have made that Iraq is about as far from self-governence as can be imagined, and practically any other government is likely to be an improvement - although doubtless not a panacea.

Look at it this way - Iraq invades Kuwait (after attempting genocide against the Kurds), and thus fulfills your criteria. Thereby it loses its right to self-governence. The UN coalition of the Gulf War drives Iraq out of Kuwait, and enforces a cease-fire on her. This is basically a conditional return of sovereignity to Iraq, on condition that she disarm, verify that she has disarmed, and shows proof that she no longer presents a danger to her neighbors.

Iraq fails all the conditions, quite blatantly. Ergo, the conditional return of sovereignity is revoked, and her right to have her status as a nation respected is gone.

What more has to happen? Or is your “rather esoteric philosophy” such that it never can be applied? In which case, what good is it?



“…A great deal of mischief can be hidden by applying lipstick to a pig. …”


One of the lipsticked pigs is the idea of “nationalism,” as in “it’s our country and the US has no right to push us around.”

The lipstick is the slather of slick generalities: national sovereignty, national pride, honor, dignity, independence.

The pig beneath is: “We would rather have our own tinpot dictators, petty thugs, bribeable warlords, corrupt legislators, beholden judges, fascistic mullahs, oppressive ‘traditions,’ poverty, illiteracy, disease, and general human hopelessness–than allow you lighter-skinned Euro-western types to upset our apple cart.”

No doubt it’s human nature to accept any horror rather than admit error, or give credit to the Alien Other. Something like the Stockholm Syndrome writ large.

Some apple carts deserve to be upset.