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Saddam bribing Blix is like paying for sex in a College town. Not Necessary.

My question is more for Ekeus than Aziz: Why didn't you tell us this at the time? Why did you seemingly choose to protect the Hussien regime by keeping this information to yourself? Shouldn't the people of the world have known that the Ba'athists were trying to bribe the inspectors? Shouldn't they have been able to take that into account when judging the efficacy of those inspectiona? And should, at least, the member nations of the UN--or even just the Security Council--have been informed of this?

Don't you think that might have made a teensy bit of difference?

In keeping this information to yourself, you chose to side with the Ba'athists.

It is unnecessary to go through old stories of how Iraq tried to bribe the inspectors to give favorable reports before 1997: The Iraq Survey Group has clearly come to the conclusion that Saddam's WMD capability "was essentially destroyed in 1991", but that he wanted to recreate it once the sanctions were lifted. So the reason for trying to bribe Ekeus was undoubtedly that Saddam wanted weapons, not that he had weapons.

@ aphilosopher

Let's accept as highly probable (not certain: no one can be sure what was moved over the Syrian border) that Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction (WMD.) As you say, the attempted bribe proves that he wanted to get them in violation of the terms of the armistice.
And of course the expulsion of the inspection teams is hardly consistent with transparent, good-faith compliance either.

I am not sure I see where your argument is going. Let's ignore Saddam until he succeeds in getting the WMD and is really dangerous? Attempting to evade is harmless boyish fun while evading is criminal? I admit that these are strawmen, but you have drawn a valid distinction, between an attempt and a success, without indicating what signification is to be assigned to the distinction in a case of extremely dangerous weapons. That leaves, as a philosopher and logician certainly knows, nothing but strawmen to deal with.

I have said in prior posts that I believe Bush made a political, not a moral, error in placing so much weight on POSSESSION of WMD as casus belli. Attempted evasion on the terms of ending the first Gulf war was more than enough for me.

As you say, the attempted bribe proves that he wanted to get them in violation of the terms of the armistice.

No, for itself this attempt to bribe Mr. Ekeus would only prove that the Iraqi regime wanted a favorable UNSCOM report. The only reason to assume that Saddam wanted to get WMDs again is the Duelfer report.

And of course the expulsion of the inspection teams is hardly consistent with transparent, good-faith compliance either.

Well, this story is more complicated, but I think we all agree that Saddam was not really a person one should have trusted.

I am not sure I see where your argument is going.

Well, the entry above claimed the bribe attempt was evidence that Saddam had had WMDs (or at least that's how I understood it). I just wanted to voice my disagreement with that point.
To come to the issue you raised now, I think it's quite simple: IF you think that the mere intention of Saddam to rebuild his capability for unconventional weapons was justification enough for the war, you can believe that Bush made the right decision. If you believe that Saddam Hussein could have been contained if he had tried to revive his weapons programme (and this was a main premise of the UN policy which the USA had also supported before the invasion) and that his intentions were not a sufficient justification for the war, you can come to the conclusion that Bush made a mistake. That's it. I agree with the second position.

Philosopher, your agreement with the second premise leaves a 'contained' Saddam Hussein in power armed with a multi-billion dollar racketeering, influence pedalling and corruption scheme. This scheme arms terrorism (perhaps not al Quaeda but terrorism none the less). In the U.S. we've learned quite a bit how racketeering, influence pedalling and corruption can breed terror. So much that we passed a law to combat it within our borders with great success. Now if we apply the same principle on the international scene in enforcement of international law, we get sneered at with scorn for trying to be the 'world police'. Since noone else on the planet seems to be willing to enforce international law, that leaves the U.S. holding the bag. It wasn't about intention to rebuild WMD arsenals, it was about compliance with the law. In that light, the war was the right decision.

@ aphilosopher

I read you carelessly: the "Iraq Survey Group has clearly come to the conclusion that ...[Saddam] wanted to recreate [a WMD capability] once the sanctions were lifted." I did not realize that you were quoting someone that you disagreed with. I thought you were conceding both his desire and capacity to do so once the sanctions were lifted. I presumed as well that you were implcitly conceding that if he could have evaded the sanctions, he would have.

In any case, I think that he would have evaded them if possible and that he was trying both to evade them and to get them lifted (starving babies, no medicine, the whole litany of bleeding heart gush.)

You and I simply disagree in our premises. No point in continuing the discussion.

@ mishu: Your main point seems to be that Saddam's regime supported terror. But there are a lot of regimes around the world supporting terror directly and indirectly (Saudi Arabia, for example). And there are a lot of corrupt regime. The question is: Was there a threat to the world peace large enough to justify military actions? As far as Iraq in 2003 is concerned, this doesn't seem to have been the case.

@ Jeff:
I did not realize that you were quoting someone that you disagreed with.

I did not realize that I voiced disagreement with the Duelfer report so far. As someone who is not an intelligence expert (nor will most visitors of this blog be), I decided to trust this report conceding that there was evidence implying that Saddam wanted to get these weapons. If this was the case, it is also not unlikely that he believed he could recreate his weapons programme. What means that Saddam took the same position as the war supporters. But people like me standing on "the other site" thought and think that the international community would have been able to hinder Hussein from getting WMDs again.
You write,
You and I simply disagree in our premises. No point in continuing the discussion.

I am afraud you're right. Such discussions are normally rather fruitless.

Aphilosopher - you wrote

@ mishu: Your main point seems to be that Saddam's regime supported terror. But there are a lot of regimes around the world supporting terror directly and indirectly (Saudi Arabia, for example). And there are a lot of corrupt regime. The question is: Was there a threat to the world peace large enough to justify military actions? As far as Iraq in 2003 is concerned, this doesn't seem to have been the case
--------------------------------------


Of all the immoral and weak cases to be made for the continued reign of Saddam in power in Iraq I personally find the above to be the most revealing of all

Basically this means that as long as there are ANY corrupt or brutal regimes in the world there can and should be no action against any corrupt and brutal regimes

With this foundation it is clear that your philosophy also oppposed the action in Kosovo, any action that might have been attempted in Rwanda and any future action in Darfur

It seems the only action you would support are threats large enough to threaten "world peace" - a term I would love to hear you define since we live in a very un-peaceful world in my opinion
Or do you mean "Western civ peace" rather than world?

But even taking your narrow view of what should concern us in relation to "world peace" the reason Saddam had to go was because the ME is a stagnant swamp of corruption and repression on a grand scale with a population raised on a propaganda of blame we have not seen since Nazi Germany

It is this intellectual and political swamp that bred the 9-11 hijackers and the 3/11 Madrid bombers and the Bali bombers and countless other terrorist atrocities

And if the threat to world peace is your concern you need to understand that the death of a thousand pinpricks we felt from terrorism in the 1970's to 1990's was being escalated to plans for spectacular mass murder

Terrorist sponsoring regimes seeking WMD are by any rational definition a threat to world peace in this new world of ours

Now if the UN knew Saddam was trying to bribe the inspectors certainly that is relevant information in the court of world public opinion

After all - it was Bush V The World wasn't it - and every benefit of the doubt was given Saddam

So why is it right that the UN witholds this information in 2002 when action was debated?

Why - the end justifies the means perhaps

Basically this means that as long as there are ANY corrupt or brutal regimes in the world there can and should be no action against any corrupt and brutal regimes.

When I wrote that there are a lot of corrupt, terrorist-supporting regimes, I didn't say that we should do NOTHING against them. The question is wether you use appropriate or inappropriate means to fight such regimes. And since no sane person would seriously suggest that invading all these countries would be a good way to react to corruption and support of terrorists from their dictators, it's highly questionable to justify the Iraq war that way.

With this foundation it is clear that your philosophy also oppposed the action in Kosovo, any action that might have been attempted in Rwanda and any future action in Darfur

Let's be pretty clear about the issue here: Support for terrorism and corruption as a justification for a war. It's another question wether a genocide justifies a war.

It seems the only action you would support are threats large enough to threaten "world peace" - a term I would love to hear you define since we live in a very un-peaceful world in my opinion
Or do you mean "Western civ peace" rather than world?

We don't live in a peaceful world, quite right. And it should be considered very well if any action should be taken that could make it eaven more unpeaceful.

But even taking your narrow view of what should concern us in relation to "world peace" the reason Saddam had to go was because the ME is a stagnant swamp of corruption and repression on a grand scale with a population raised on a propaganda of blame we have not seen since Nazi Germany
It is this intellectual and political swamp that bred the 9-11 hijackers and the 3/11 Madrid bombers and the Bali bombers and countless other terrorist atrocities

Surely, but has the invasion of Iraq changed anything? No. While it's a good thing that the population of Iraq is now freer than under Saddam, there is also no doubt that Islamists recruiting people for "Holy War" are currently spreading their propaganda in Iraq - something they couldn't have done under Saddam Hussein.

Terrorist sponsoring regimes seeking WMD are by any rational definition a threat to world peace in this new world of ours

I don't think that I have to add anything to my last posts to respond to that point.

So why is it right that the UN witholds this information in 2002 when action was debated?

If you mean the bribe attempt - it was Ambassador Ekeus, a man who has defended Bush's decision to attack Iraq in public, who has now told a newspaper about it. We don't know wether he has ever publicly said something about the attempt previously. So this is hardly an occasion for UN bashing.

Philosopher: "When I wrote that there are a lot of corrupt, terrorist-supporting regimes, I didn't say that we should do NOTHING against them. The question is wether you use appropriate or inappropriate means to fight such regimes."

Given the reaction of the "Arab street" to the Iraqi election, I would say that the most appropriate action WAS taken. When Saddam fell, and then it was later demonstrated to the world that the US had no interest in developing an "empire" in Iraq, the "Arab street" went into a complete reversal. Now Lebanon is about to be liberated by its own people's actions, Kuwait and Egypt are promising elections, and even Saudi Arabia is making nice with the idea of democracy. SA is doing too little too late, but at least they have figured out which way the wind is blowing! The election in Iraq on Jan 30 changed the entire face of the ME, and the entire opinion of the "Arab street" that was going to rise up in backlash against the US!


When Saddam fell, and then it was later demonstrated to the world that the US had no interest in developing an "empire" in Iraq, the "Arab street" went into a complete reversal.

I think that's a miscalculation. Let's take a look at your examples:

Now Lebanon is about to be liberated by its own people's actions,

...which has more to do with the death of Rafik Hariri than with the Iraq war. It's also still unclear wether the demonstrations will lead to democratic reforms - let's hope so.

Kuwait and Egypt are promising elections,

Hosni Mubarak is considering to let someone run against him. It's rather unlikely that this person will win. In the German Democratic Republic there were also other parties but the SED (called "Blockflöten"), but that didn't make this state a democracy.

and even Saudi Arabia is making nice with the idea of democracy.

They had local elections there. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are close to becoming a real democracy, though it's one step in the right direction. So what you write about these three countries is an exaggeration, and, in addition to that, it's a classical post hoc ergo propter hoc-fallacy to attribute democratic reforms or movements only to the USA's Iraq policy.
But even if we accept your premises, your argument is still a bit dubious. As I have pointed out in another thread, the original plan of the US government was to hold indirect elections through regional caucuses in Iraq. So, if the Bush administration had prevailed, the January 30 election wouldn't have taken place. It's always unclear, where a war leads, but it is clear that tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and militarys died through the war.

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