Friday, August 21, 2015

Re-fighting the Iraq War

On March 19th, 2003, after months of preamble, President George W. Bush took the United States of America to war with Iraq once again.  This one event is arguably the most controversial in the 21st century to date.  There is seldom a middle ground found on this issue amongst Americans.  Often times the divide comes down to pure partisanship, which is ironic considering the strong bipartisan and international support America had in the build up to this war. 

Nowadays though, if one is right of the political center, chances are good that you supported this war.  If one is to the left, often times you are strongly against this war.  Indeed, many Americans on the left are vociferous in their condemnation of President Bush to the point of accusing him of an “unjustified war of aggression” and thus “guilty of war crimes”.  Such has been my experience with some friends in the blogosphere lately. 

To me the topic has always been pretty cut and dry.  The evidence prior to the war, and indeed to this current day, spoke of a clear and present danger with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq regime that needed to be eliminated.  Others seem to want to ignore the evidence, or claim that the war was predicated on lies and Bush’s overwhelming desire to go into Iraq, especially after the 9/11 attack of al Qaida.  Regardless, the topic of this war keeps coming up again and again in discussions I have had lately.  With that being the case, I felt it was incumbent upon me to lay out the reasons for this war in a more comprehensive manner.

First, ever since the conclusion of operation Desert Storm in the first Iraq war in 1991, of which I was a part, Saddam Hussein held an all-encompassing grudge against President George H.W. Bush for leading the coalition that pushed Saddam’s troops out of the neighboring Gulf nation of Kuwait.  He vowed at that time to avenge this, even if Bush was no longer in office.  In April of 1993, Hussein tried to make good on his promise by having his Iraqi Intelligence Service plant a car bomb in Kuwait when the elder Bush returned there.  Luckily, the plot was foiled and traced back to Iraqi Intelligence.  Then-President Clinton responded to the assassination attempt by launching a strike of 23 tomahawk missiles at the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.  Saddam Hussein’s attempted assassination of a former head of state was an act of war just by itself.  At the very least, it showed that he was still dangerous, unstable, and willing to go to extreme lengths in striking out at his enemies.

Second, there were various occasions of apparent cooperation between al Qaida and Saddam’s regime.  Indeed, al Qaida’s leader in Iraq, Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, spent a lot of time in Iraq, particularly throughout 2002 before the second war.  As per Carl W. Ford, Jr., MA, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, on Feb. 11, 2003 stated in his remarks before the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence:
"Al-Qaida's presence in Iraq has grown since 9/11, including inside Baghdad. We know that Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi spent considerable time in Baghdad during 2002, and has a network of operatives in northern Iraq in an area under the control of Ansar al-Islam. This network has been working steadily to produce toxic substances which are ready for deployment, based on recent arrests in Europe. Zarqawi controls operations outside Iraq as well, as evidenced by the assassination of USAID representative to Jordan, Lawrence Foley, in which the perpetrators reported they were acting with support from Zarqawi. Though we do not know the specific operational details of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida yet, we do know that neither Iraq nor al-Qaida would have any compunction about using WMD in terrorist attacks against civilians. Based on the weight of our current information, I believe that al-Qaida operatives inside Iraq have positioned themselves so that they could launch operations with little or no warning."
Indeed, there was also intelligence reports of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, having met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer in April of 2001.  As per Stanislav Gross, the Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic,
"We can confirm now that during his (Mohammed Atta’s) trip to the Czech Republic, he did have a contact with an officer of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Ani."
 Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tarik Aziz denied that the meeting had taken place; however, he said:
"Even if such an incident had taken place, it doesn't mean anything.  Any diplomat in any mission might meet people in a restaurant here or there and talk to them, which is meaningless.”
Third, and perhaps the biggest concern, was the fact that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) and was also seeking to continue its nuclear weapons program.  We know Iraq possessed WMD’s and under multiple UN resolutions, Saddam Hussein’s regime was required to submit to international inspectors to remove and dismantle his WMD’s.  He initially made a show of compliance, but became more difficult and uncooperative as time went on in giving U.N. inspectors full and unfettered access to suspected WMD areas.

At the start of the 2003 Iraq war, there were myriads of still unaccounted for WMD’s.  Indeed in our multi-month build up to the war, the United States telegraphed its intentions to intercede if Hussein did not comply with U.N. resolutions on the matter.  Many intelligence analysts suspected that this prelude provided him with the necessary time to hide and move his WMD’s to Syria and elsewhere. 
Opponents of the war point to the fact that no WMD’s were discovered after the coalition invasion of Iraq as proof that George W. Bush fabricated evidence and lied about WMD’s as a casus belli for the war.  Indeed, initially no WMD’s were found in Iraq; however, we have since found Saddam Hussein’s stashes that were indeed hidden within Iraq.

To that point, the mission called Operation Avarice, which began in 2005 and continued into 2006, was deemed a non-proliferation success as the American military acquired and destroyed at least 400 Borak rockets of the Iraqi regime.  These were one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that were unaccounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.”  These weapons contained the chemical nerve agent Sarin.

Then there is the matter of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program.  The United States grew concerned when it was reported by British Intelligence that Saddam Hussein had tried to acquire yellow-cake uranium from North African nations prior to the second war.  Indeed, President Bush touted this in his State of the Union address in 2003, which detractors claimed was a lie.  To this day, however, British Intelligence stands by their statement. 
   
The Butler report on British intelligence affirms:

"We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:
'The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.'
was well-founded."

Further, after the war was executed, the United States did indeed find 550 metric tons of yellow cake uranium, which was subsequently removed from Iraq in 2008.  Saddam Hussein was indeed trying to acquire materials for his nuclear weapons program.

So, let’s summarize.  Saddam Hussein had motive to harm the United States after his crushing defeat in Desert Storm.  Indeed he even tried to assassinate President George H.W. Bush for his leadership role in that endeavor.  Saddam Hussein also had various pre-war ties and seeming non-aggression pacts with al Qaida in Iraq, including with Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi.  Further, Hussein had many unaccounted for WMD’s and was being non-cooperative with international inspectors.  Continuing, he was still trying to acquire fissile material for his nuclear program.  In light of the fact that Saddam Hussein had motive, means of attack with WMD’s, and seemingly a cooperative agreement with known terrorists, a clear and present danger against America and its allies did indeed seem to exist.  This dilemma was exacerbated with Saddam’s then intransigence towards internationally mandated WMD inspections.

It is because of this that bi-partisan support of H.J.Resolution 114 (107th) assured its passage with a vote of 296 to 133 in the House on 10/10/2002, which included 81 Democrats supporting the resolution.  The Senate similarly passed the resolution with a 77 to 23 vote with the support of 29 Democrats, including various Democratic senate leaders and future Democratic presidential candidates such as Tom Daschle, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton.  This resolution, as it was aptly and unambiguously titled, was called the "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002".

After that, international support was rallied via the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, which was adopted on November 8th, 2002 by a unanimous vote of 15 to 0.  It stated in part that it gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and warned Iraq of "serious consequences" if it did not.  Saddam called the world’s bluff and refused to allow unfettered access to inspect for his WMD’s throughout Iraq.  Consequently a coalition of 38 countries supplied 25,000 troops to support the United States in enforcing UN resolution 1441, with the full backing of the United States Congress.

One can reasonably argue about the issues involved in keeping the peace after the main combat operations were over as being a failure; however, when President Obama came into office and precipitously and dangerously removed all significant remaining troops from Iraq, the power vacuum that he created without the United States and the international coalition in place to support the fledgling new Iraqi government was filled with disaffected Baathists, Shia insurgents from Iran, and ultimately resulted in the rise of a countering Sunni terrorism and the birth of ISIS. 


The follow up to the war was poorly thought out and executed under both George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s administrations and severe criticism can justly be leveled at both accordingly; however, the initial need for the war in preventing the development, proliferation, and use of WMD’s by the Iraqi regime or cooperative al Qaida or similar terrorist regimes was absolutely justified.  Discounting the clear evidence of this potential threat, even if it was not immediately imminent, would only put American and ally lives in danger.  The second war in Iraq was absolutely justified accordingly. 

8 comments:

John Myste said...

I actually have always taken the illusive middle ground on this.

Iraq clearly violated a U.N. Resolution designed to prevent them from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and it was clearly reasonable to assume that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, regardless of the reasons we went to war.

I do believe that Bush and the American people were eager to support the war because of 9/11, which was a gut reaction.

I think it was democrats who promoted the rumor that the war begun not as enforcement of a violated resolution, but as an attack on long time enemy.

Unfortunately for the GOP, Bush and his people embraced the spin placed by the opposition.

T. Paine said...

John, if it were possible for anyone to take the middle ground on this issue, I am not surprised to find that it would be you.

As for the rest of your statements, I find myself in agreement on every one of them, my friend.

Dave Dubya said...

TP,
If all your information were true, I would have been more sympathetic to Bush’s war for crony profit and political capital.

I am aware beliefs are often held in resistance to facts, but just to keep our quest for truth alive, I’ll offer some facts anyway:
==

Saddam Hussein’s attempted assassination of a former head of state was an act of war just by itself.

Very nasty.

Never mind that same former head of state had first ordered the bombing of Saddam’s palaces. Attempted assassination? You betcha. IOKIYAR? Personal revenge from Junior? You betcha.
==

apparent cooperation between al Qaida and Saddam’s regime.

Per your link:

“we do not know the specific operational details of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida” – Carl W.Ford Feb. 11, 2003

===

reports of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 terrorist hijackers, having met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer in April of 2001.
Atta in Prague: Did It Happen?

http://www.newsweek.com/atta-prague-did-it-happen-109225

In December 2001, Cheney had claimed: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.”

Uncensored portions of the Senate report say that by January 2003, the CIA had issued two assessments questioning whether the Prague meeting occurred. In these assessments, the agency said that neither it nor the FBI were able to confirm the meeting happened.

The new Senate report says that after the U.S. invasion, American personnel in Baghdad discovered evidence that Saddam’s government considered Zarqawi an outlaw and made unsuccessful efforts to track him down and capture him. Postwar investigations turned up no evidence Saddam’s government ever had friendly dealings with Zarqawi


====

the fact that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) and was also seeking to continue its nuclear weapons program.

Degraded remnants were known to exist by UN inspectors. There was NO “nukular” weapons program. NO “biological labs. NO “nukular” aluminum tubes. This was a known LIE in Bush’s State of the Union Address. It was a crime to lie to congress in order to commit treason by war of aggression.

===

Dave Dubya said...

Many intelligence analysts suspected that this prelude provided him with the necessary time to hide and move his WMD’s to Syria and elsewhere.

Those would have been old degraded weapons. No evidence exists to support this theory.

==
The Butler report…

London's Evening Standard daily newspaper dismissed the report's findings, under the front-page headline "Whitewash (Part Two)", saying Lord Butler had effectively thrown Tony Blair "a lifebelt" by claiming that Saddam was indeed trying to procure uranium from Niger in 1999 to build a nuclear bomb,
The Liberal Democrats opted not to take part, because the role of politicians had been excluded from the Inquiry's remit. (Senior Lib Dem MP Alan Beith was to have been the sixth member of the panel). Explaining their position Foreign Affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell asked the prime minister:
“Don't you understand ... that following the public response to the Hutton report that an inquiry that excludes politicians from scrutiny is unlikely to command public confidence...”
On 1 March 2004 the Conservative Party announced that they would not be taking part in the inquiry either. Conservative leader Michael Howard said that this was because Lord Butler of Brockwell's interpretation of the terms of reference were "unacceptably restrictive".
In the run-up to war in Iraq, the British Intelligence Services apparently believed that Iraq had been trying to obtain uranium from Africa; however, no evidence has been passed on to the IAEA apart from the forged documents (6.4 Para. 502). (Times Online, 2003)



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butler_Review

===
, after the war was executed, the United States did indeed find 550 metric tons of yellow cake uranium

It was already “found” and accounted for.

Per your link:

U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.

T. Paine said...

"Never mind that same former head of state had first ordered the bombing of Saddam’s palaces. Attempted assassination? You betcha. IOKIYAR? Personal revenge from Junior? You betcha."

First of all, the bombing of Saddam's palaces absolutely was an attempt to destroy command and control functions, as well as possibly eradicating the head of the regime whom we were fighting against IN A WAR. The attack on Bush Sr. was a vengeance attack after hostilities had ceased and a tepid truce was in force. Further, Bush Sr. was no longer in office at the time of the attempt. It was not an attack during war time hostilities. There is a huge difference in just war doctrine.

“we do not know the specific operational details of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida” – Carl W.Ford Feb. 11, 2003

Indeed. We know that there was cooperation, but we don't know the specific operational details. What is your point? There was at least a loose working arrangement between al Qaida and Saddam. The extent of that cooperation is unknown.

"Degraded remnants were known to exist by UN inspectors. There was NO “nukular” weapons program. NO “biological labs. NO “nukular” aluminum tubes. This was a known LIE in Bush’s State of the Union Address. It was a crime to lie to congress in order to commit treason by war of aggression."

There WAS a nuclear weapons program, as evidenced by the uranium Saddam had and was attempting to acquire more of. Further, there were also a few bio-labs that were discovered post war; not that the media reported much on that either. In other words, there were indeed elements and intention for WMD programs ongoing under Saddam's regime. Any LIE being told is by those suffering with Bush Derangement Syndrome.

T. Paine said...



T. Paine: Many intelligence analysts suspected that this prelude provided him with the necessary time to hide and move his WMD’s to Syria and elsewhere.

Dubya: "Those would have been old degraded weapons. No evidence exists to support this theory."

T. Paine: Oh... I see... the same WMD's that killed thousands during the Iraq-Iran war were not potent enough to kill thousands more 20 years later. Would you have been willing to take that bet by putting yourself or loved ones in harms way of those? Further, common sense dictates that this is a probable theory. One cannot help but wonder where Bashaar Assad got his WMD's he was using on the rebel uprising against his regime.

==
Dubya: "The Butler report…
London's Evening Standard daily newspaper dismissed the report's findings, under the front-page headline "Whitewash (Part Two)", saying Lord Butler had effectively thrown Tony Blair "a lifebelt" by claiming that Saddam was indeed trying to procure uranium from Niger in 1999 to build a nuclear bomb,
The Liberal Democrats opted not to take part, because the role of politicians had been excluded from the Inquiry's remit. (Senior Lib Dem MP Alan Beith was to have been the sixth member of the panel). Explaining their position Foreign Affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell asked the prime minister:
“Don't you understand ... that following the public response to the Hutton report that an inquiry that excludes politicians from scrutiny is unlikely to command public confidence...”
On 1 March 2004 the Conservative Party announced that they would not be taking part in the inquiry either. Conservative leader Michael Howard said that this was because Lord Butler of Brockwell's interpretation of the terms of reference were "unacceptably restrictive".
In the run-up to war in Iraq, the British Intelligence Services apparently believed that Iraq had been trying to obtain uranium from Africa; however, no evidence has been passed on to the IAEA apart from the forged documents (6.4 Para. 502). (Times Online, 2003)"

T. Paine: First, any use of wikipedia as a source would be immediately discounted in any reputable college class. Do you know why, Dave? Because any hack can go into it and state their own beliefs, supported or not. You will have to do better than that to prove to me that the British Intelligence report was bogus.


===
T. Paine: "after the war was executed, the United States did indeed find 550 metric tons of yellow cake uranium"

Dubya: "It was already “found” and accounted for. Per your link: U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said."

T. Paine: Oh... so the fact that we already knew about it means that it could not be used to harm us, huh?

No disrespect intended Dave, but I really don't see any significant argument from you to rebut my case that the war was justified on fact and intelligence in hand at that time. Your hatred of Bush and this war seems to be more partisan than factually based accordingly, my friend.

Dave Dubya said...


I was just offering my evidence backed reasons why I don't share your beliefs. You cited none to refute my reasons. All you did was reiterate your beliefs. As I expected.

Biological labs? None. Nuklear weapons program? No such thing. Cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda? Just believing Cheney, with no need for any evidence, sounds like he was your, um, unquestionable "messiah" or something.

Say didn't Dick say "Reagan proved deficits don't matter"?

Was this his only wrong statement, or was this also correct?

I have to wonder why you still believe those lies. For a while I couldn't believe what our country was allowing. Reality raised its ugly bloody head.

So if Saddam's WMD's were such a threat to the US, please tell us your theory why NOT ONE American was killed by chemical warfare.

If defending his country against an invading force wasn't the perfect chance and best excuse for him to use them, what was he waiting for?

Do you ever consider such questions?

This is rhetorical. There's no point in arguing beliefs. Just hoping you understand that that is what they are.







T. Paine said...

Wow. There are none that are so blind as those that simply will not see. I guess this is a microcosm of our society. Hatred of the "other" is so great that even when actual contrary facts are presented, they are ignored in favor of one's firmly held partisan beliefs. It certainly does no good to argue the facts accordingly. They are simply ignored. I cannot help but wonder, as our nation slips further into the morass that the very dangerous progressive agenda has created, whom the left will blame when everything finally does collapse and come crashing down because of it.