“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Monday, December 12, 2005

Print for a liberal

An earlier post, Dems' case for war 98-99, consisted mostly of the raw data (so to speak) taken from the Mudville Gazette's highly complete history of the Iraq conflict. I received mixed reviews -- people like the info/quotes, but "it was just too long" for comprehension/interest.

Here's the narrative version based on these facts. Please hit both links above for the details.

Iraq has been a problem for a long time. More specifically, Iraq with Saddam Hussein in charge has been a problem for a long time. It is inarguable he was a totalitarian dictator, ruling autocratically in the style of Stalin complete with state-mandated terrorization of his own people. He invaded his neighbors Iran and Kuwait, using chemical weapons in both instances. He continued the reign of terror after Gulf War I by gassing Kurdish villages in his own country following a 90's version of the Bay of Pigs. In leaving Kuwait he committed major acts of environmental and economic terrorism by setting the wells on fire.

The Gulf War was never officially over -- following the bombing campaign and four-day ground action in 1991 there was a ceasefire predicated on Iraq's commitment to destroy all existing WMD's, discontinue work on developing and acquiring WMD's, and cooperating fully with UN inspectors. The ceasefire was understood by all concerned (the US, the UN, and Iraq) to be binding and inarguable -- do it yourself or we come back in and do it for you. And we're checking your math.

Saddam of course did not follow through on the good faith required by the ceasefire, and the Clinton administration did not enforce the ceasefire until forced to do so. Even then it was timid and had suspicious timing. Random airstrikes during periods of presidential scandal hardly mattered to Saddam's weapon machine. Other terrorist incidents (1993 WTC bombing, USS Cole bombing, Black Hawk Down, various attacks on civilian and military installations through the middle east) went largely unpursued and unpunished, giving rise to the notion that the US was weak and could not or would not follow through when confronted by muslim terrorism.

Saddam continued to develop chemical and nuclear weapons and was known to pay the families of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel. He also provided training camps and had known contacts with al Qaeda and other muslim terror groups.

While he did not share religious fervor with these groups, he still had the same goal -- destruction of Israel and the erosion of western and US influence in the region. The subjugation and terror of his own people continued, and the oil-for-food scandal allowed him to align western powers with him in secret. There is no doubt the man was preparing to build an arsenal of chemical and nuclear weapons and either use it or sell to the highest bidder.

We knew this at the time. Democrats, Republicans, inspectors, the UN, President Clinton and his the quotes. They all speak of the need to reign in Saddam and disarm him. They all speak of the surety of his use of these weapons. They all speak of the horrors he visited on his people. The Iraq Liberation Act was passed unanimously in the Senate.

9/11 was a distraction from this situation, and confused the issue and has led to the current crisis of debate. Saddam may or may not have had anything to do with Atta -- it has not been proven either way, although we know he met with Atta at one point. After 9/11 we had to act, and Afghanistan was the result. When GWB returned to the issue of Iraq, it was not as a result of 9/11, it was despite it. The policy was not formed in 2001, it was formed in 1998 and he was pursuing it in accordance with his position, urged on by the serious nature exposed by 9/11.

The upshot of all this is that liberals need to think hard on how the facts reconcile with the popular positions of Bush lying about WMD's or starting a war for oil buddies/Halliburton or the ever-popular World Domination fantasy (complete with 9/11 conspiracy theories). The information above and in the other links all took place during President Clinton's watch, under UN oversight, long before GWB came close to being in power. The major players in the Clinton administration and Senate, including Kennedy, Kerry, and Hillary, were all in agreement in 1998 and 1999 that Saddam was in violation of the ceasefire agreement and was setting up for military action on our part.

The House and Senate passed a bill in 1998, the
Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which 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. Read that again.

"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."

1998. The Senate passed it unanimously. Kerry, Kennedy, Biden, and all the other Senate dems who are now yelling about evil Bush's war were in favor of removing Saddam and replacing his regime with a democracy. Never mind that they again voted for the secondary resolution after 9/11 authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

It is not about oil. It is not entirely about WMD's. It is not a conspiracy to make war profits. It is the result of a responsible president upholding his duties to follow through with decisions made not only by his administration, but also to carry out existing US policies as determined by his predecessors. It was decided by our government in 1998 to plant democracy in Baghdad.

Regarding the WMD's -- yeah, we haven't officially found much in Iraq, but keep in mind we spent 18 months arguing about it following Bush's speech saying that we were coming. That gave Saddam a year and a half to dismantle and move the stuff to Syria and elsewhere. There is also some speculation that our government is not broadcasting all that we have learned in order to catch the upper-level people involved. But ultimately, it was not about WMD's...they were a part of it, but the real issue has always been Saddam and the need to supplant him with rule of the people. That is what is occurring now. What exactly is the problem with understanding this?


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