Thursday, November 20, 2008

The long view on Iraq from the beginning

At the request of one of the Anonymouses, I'm posting the rationale for the Iraq invasion.

Even though the events leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq started before this, to get this kicked off, I'll start with the Congress' Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq resolution of 2002. I'll summarize a few of the points and we'll go from there.

1) The 1990 invasion created a coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait and enforce UN Security Council resolutions against Iraq

2) After the invasion, Iraq entered into a UN sponsored ceasfire in which it agreed to end its pursuits of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons & cease sponsoring international terrorism

3) Iraq, in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire, attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities, which finally resulted in the withdrawal of inspectors from Iraq on October 31, 1998

4) in Public Law 105–235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq’s continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in ‘‘material and unacceptable breach of its internationa obligations’’ and urged the President ‘‘to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations’

These 4 items are all historical fact - and the events depicted in the resolution all took place PRIOR to George W Bush taking office. In spite of the fact that we NOW know that Iraq did not possess WMD at the time of invasion, it was public knowledge that they had weapons back in 1998. Furthermore,

5) Iraq persist[ed] in violating resolution of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region, by refusing to release, repatriate, or account for non-Iraqi citizens wrongfully detained by Iraq, including an American serviceman, and by failing to return property wrongfully seized by Iraq from Kuwait

6) the current Iraqi regime has demonstrated its capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people. NOTE: While it has now been shown that Hussein did not possess WMD at the time of the invasion, that was hardly the posture he was taking. Not only was there ample intelligence indicating the presence of WMD in Iraq, Hussein (at this point in time) did not permit weapons inspectors back into the country.

7) the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105–338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime. NOTE: as early as 1998, it was the policy of the United States to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

8) September 12, 2002, President Bush committed the United States to ‘‘work with the United Nations Security Council to meet our common challenge’’ posed by Iraq and to ‘‘work for the necessary resolutions,’’ while also making clear that ‘‘the Security Council resolutions will be enforced, and the just demands of peace and security will be met, or action will be unavoidable NOTE: as early as September 2002, the President began working with the United Nations - in spite of the oft repeated claim of "unilateral action" - never mind the fact that acting unilaterally is not an evil in and of itself.

To quickly sum up a long post - the first several reasons listed as rationale for the Iraq invasion occured prior to President Bush taking office. President Bush ran for office on a platform that took an aggressive stance against hostile nations that support terrorist activities.

The events of September 11th underscored the importance of taking pro-active stance against increasingly bold terrorist states.

The invasion of Iraq sent a message that we will not tolerate state sponsors of terrorism. Unfortunately, as time went on, the message that was delivered by our media is that the United States does not have the stomach for a fight. IMO, it was the stance taken by the media that emboldened Iran to press forward to achieve nuclear capability. When they saw the peoples response to a difficult and expensive fight, they knew there was no way they had the stomach to do anything other than talk while they perform nuclear tests, launch missiles, etc. Fortunately, Israel has no qualms with taking out nuclear facilities in Iran.

On the plus side, President Bush had the perseverance (despite the fact that it was immensly unpopular) to stay and finish the job. Thanks to that perseverence, there is one less terrorist state in the world.


  1. Don't forget the real reason: a little thing called "Fossil Fuels"

  2. What's the rationale behind claiming we're in Iraq for oil? Saudi Arabia controls more oil than the Iraqis could ever dream of and we have abundant oil deposits in our own territory. Would an administration corrupt enough to foment war with Iraq over oil really care that much about who cries over drilling in ANWR?

  3. Jordan M. Poss's response to 'Anonymous' made me think about Saudi Arabia. Why don't we go into Saudi Arabia and require that they institute a non-oppressive democracy? That nation has numerous ties to terrorism, yet we float them pretty serious amounts of support.

  4. " On the plus side, President Bush had the perseverance (despite the fact that it was immensely unpopular) to stay and finish the job."

    Are you totally synched up to Bush's self-legitimatizing, pro-war swill machine?

    Platitudes about "coming home with honor," "winning the fight," and "finishing the job" sound great, but have no real basis. The very fact that we are there in Iraq is a loss for the United States. Billions of dollars down the drain, thousands of dead and wounded American troops, and scores of thousands of dead Iraqis. For what? Invasion and occupation that will spawn more hatred and put our citizens at greater risk of attack?
    What vital, Constitutional job have we really accomplished?

  5. Saudi Arabia has yet to 1) develop or even claim to develop WMDs or nuclear arms, 2) threaten or attack the US with them, or 3) engage in full-scale genocide (Saddam vs. the Kurds). Also, the US is on more friendly diplomatic terms with an accommodating Saudi Arabia, unlike the historically aggressive Baathist Iraq under Saddam.

    Anonymous 3 illustrates my point--the "war for oil" idea fails the common sense test. Why sink billions upon billions into an unpopular war--which has yet to bring us oil--rather than spend a few million settling lawsuits from Greenpeace after tapping new oil fields?

  6. Anon3:
    Looking at dollars spent and lives lost, while certainly valid from a tactical perspective, and we can have that discussion if you wish, however, if you want to know the "for what" see the points in the original post.

    As far as the swill machine goes - none of those points came from President Bush - they came from Congress.

  7. Here's an interesting piece on the idea of oil influencing the Iraq war.

  8. Thanks for the post article Anon, however it (along with just about any War for Oil theory I've read) smacks heavily of conspiracy theory.

    In order to accept the idea that this war was for Bush to ensure cheap oil for his cronies, you have to accept:

    1) Bush is a complete buffoon. As JMP pointed out, we have plenty of reserves here at home. For all the cries that President Bush was in the oil execs pockets, he refused to issue any executive orders opening national reserves to exploration. It wasn't until the latest runnup in gas prices this past summer that he issued an order to open up the OCS to drilling (at which point gas prices started their most recent descent to < $2/gal - before even a drop was produced - just the idea that supplies would increase in the future were enough to turn the tide).
    2) Bush's cronies were complete buffoons. The oil companies already control existing domestic oil production. When middle east crises threaten the foreign supply chain, oil prices go up - making their current holdings of greater value. Exxon's profits soar when the price of gas goes up - why do you think they get hauled before congress every summer? They would have to be complete fools to drive prices down.
    3) This group of complete buffoons was somehow able to fabricate international intelligence reports capable of fooling almost every single member of congress, NATO members, enough UN members to pass multiple resolutions leading to the invasion and several other Nations to form a coalition invading force.

    As far as comparing Iraq to various African nations under brutal regimes, you can't police the world, so you go after the ones that pose the biggest threat to US interests.

    President Bush called out Iraq, Iran & North Korea. I'm perfectly open to discussions as to why the other two on the list might have been a wiser choice, but I still hold that the world (and the US) are safer due to the invasion.

    Even if there were no al Qaeda members in Iraq prior to the invasion, they sure were present during the strike. Al Qaeda certainly felt Iraq was important and over the course of the past five years, their ranks have steadily dwindled.