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The primary problem with Germany and the rest of Old Europe is that it has no strategic vision and not much to offer in the way of values. Look at Chancellor Schroeder's recent travels. He promotes no policy and identifies himself with no cause other than the promotion of German economic interests. German media like to call him Germany's traveling salesman. Immediately after his photo op with President Bush in Mainz he jetted off to the Middle East to make sure his association with the Presidernt hadn't harmed Germany's sales prospects to Arab dictators. The EU will shortly lift its arms embargo on China. Not because China's human rights situation has improved, but because the EU has determined it has no strategic interests in the region - only economic ones. If it had to defend Japan or Taiwan from mainland China, perhaps it would think differently. Instead, the EU would rather profit by playing the spread on the U.S.'s strategic interest.
D. Lange

@Niko.. re: not in our names..
from the classic Mark Steyn. read to the last line.. zing..

http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn061.html

gruss von Steve in Köln

@niko
great minds think alike.

But German Diplomacy IS paying off:

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1509572,00.html

"German Chancellor Schröder ended his week-long visit to the Persian Gulf region Saturday on a robust economic note as he oversaw the signing of a series of lucrative projects worth several million euros.

Speaking in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the last leg of his seven-day tour, on Saturday, Schröder was upbeat about his several meetings with Gulf leaders and businessmen, saying the political and economic talks in all seven nations he had visited had been "extraordinarily successful." The chancellor underlined that his desire to forge closer contacts with the region had found a positive resonance in the Gulf countries.

On Saturday, Schröder capped his fruitful tour by overseeing the signing of eight contracts for a series of projects worth some $1.5 billion in Abu Dhabi. A consortium led by Siemens AG Power Generation and including Italy's Fisia Italimpianti signed an $860 million contract with the Abu-Dhabi based Asia Gulf Power Holding Company for a privatization project in Abu Dhabi's electricity sector, according to members in Schröder's delegation."

....its just sadly on the wrong side of history still and too little to late to bail out the German economy.

Quite right, but the issue in 2003 was WMDs.

Btw, the reports from Morocco are highly dubious. This is from the Morocco Times, not exactly a unbiased source:

"Although Sahraoui people found it difficult to come to Rabat to paticipate in this March, some managed to come to express their solidarity with the Moroccan prisoners in Tindouf. Every Sahraoui family, whose one of its members served in the Moroccan army, must have had someone who was maimed and killed by Algeria in Tindouf," said Brahim Obhouch, Journalist and Director of Al Mijhar Al Siyassi newspaper.

There are currently around 408 Moroccan soldiers in the prison of Markez Hamdi Aba Sheich, south of Tindouf. The area is controlled by the polisario movement which has tried to seperate Southern Moroccan provinces, known as Moroccan Sahara. This was regained by Morocco in 1975 under the Madrid Agreement with Spain.

Until noon demonstrators were still chanting slogans against Algeria. Though the weather was too hot today, Moroccans remained faithfull to the spirit of the march.

The West Saharan teritorries were not separated from Morocco, but rather forcibly annexed by Morocco, and the Polisario fought back. Besides, Algeria is a democrarcy, and Morocco is not, so Morrocan protests against Algeria are not exactly a good sign. Those soldiers should be released, but it's not as if Algeria were to Morocco what Syria is to Lebanon.

Death and the Salesmen
March 8, 2005 WSJ


"In every major foreign-policy challenge before Europe and the U.S. today, be it China, Iran or Russia, Old Europe, led by Paris and Berlin, invariably chooses closer economic ties over the tougher approach favored by Washington. Issues such as human rights, democracy and freedom, which have become the staple of President Bush's vocabulary, are hardly ever mentioned by French President Jacques Chirac or German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. In the rare exceptions, it is conveniently argued that selling more of their goods to rogue regimes will somehow further these causes.

In light of the economic data, Old Europe's suspension of moral considerations has the air of desperation. Beggars can't be choosers, as the old proverb says.

And increasingly, Europe is looking the part of the beggar. According to press leaks last week, next month the IMF will cut its euro-zone growth forecast to 1.6% from 2.2%. The German economy, which accounts for one third of euro-zone output, will grow a mere 0.8% this year, less than half the 1.8% the IMF predicted before. That's bad news for the more than 10% in France and more than 12% in Germany who are out of work. Contrast that with the U.S., where unemployment is less than half the German rate and the IMF expects economic growth to hit 3.7% this year, up from the 3.5% predicted earlier.

The result of this worsening economic malaise is that, even within its "chosen" policy realm of economic enticement and negotiation, Europe seems to be much less driven by choice than by circumstances. As the failure to reform increases Europe's dependency on exports, a foreign policy that hurts Europe's commercial interests simply appears less of an acceptable alternative."

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111023254286272651,00.html

This is just another example of the hypocisy coming from paris and berlin as it stands tall on the moral high ground. High ground built on sand.

Remember this is how berlin attacks "root causes"

Ralf - "Quite right, but the issue in 2003 was WMDs"

I certainly recall spending quite a bit of time explianing on another thread exactly why this is an outright lie

Is there some reason you continue to repeat this - do you feel that simply repeated this lie again and again will make it truth?

Let me spell it out to you again - is THE issue in 2003 was WMD's - and the "imminent threat" posed by same - this was the issue, the only issue, only in Europe

See - Europeans didn't give a shit how many hundreds of thousands of arabs were murdered by Saddam and his ilk, or how many tens and tens of millions lived under this type of dictatorial rule, or how all of this had led to anger directed against Israel and the US as a way of deflecting domestic criticism

"Mass unemployment"? Its the Jooos!

"Poverty" Blame the Great Satan USA!

"Lack of progress" - See above!

Of course, since this is the model used in European politics these days I can understand why you seem to have no problem with it

Just stop repeating the lie that it was ALL ABOUT WMD in 2003

It wasn't then - and these consequences of the sacrafices of the CoW are not some unexpected development - they were the whole idea!

If it was indeed ALL ABOUT WMD then we would have toppled Saddam, installed Uday with a chain around his gonads to keep him in line, ensured no WMD capability existed - and been home in time for Christmas in 2003

Why didn't that happen?

After all - if it was ALL ABOUT WMD in 2003 - as you say above - that is the way to go - no?

Of course if your lying above - then one would expect the US led CoW to stay in Iraq and transition them to multi-party elections in the hope that such an effort could lead to widespread and profound changes in the ME - changes that would over time make America and the world a safer place

Now - since the is exactly what has happened, and since Bush and his Admin have consistenly stated multiple reasons why getting rid of Saddam was a needed step - why do you continue to repeat that lie?

Pogue,

I was in favor of the war because i feared that Iraq might get WMDs, and I don't recall that anybody was talking about anything else but that and the emminent threat.

Don't bother responding, though: Since you called me a liar and an anti-Semite I'll ignore you from now on.

Ralf,

This constant repetition of “it was all about WMD’s” and “imminent threat” has got a surreal quality for those of us who actually listened and/or read Bush’s speeches leading to the Operation Iraqi Freedom. As was pointed out countless times President Bush argued that action had to be taken BEFORE Iraq developed WMD capabilities and BEFORE it became imminent threat not because it already has been one (though one can logically argue this position, too, given Saddam’s ties to various terrorist groups – and yes, they were real enough). Also, democratically rearranging ME was always on the top the list of reasons for attack, simply because it just happens that democracy and freedom are best guarantors of the long term US security interests.

It is not Bush’s fault that the press around the globe had chosen to twist his words. If you really want to know the bases for American action in Iraq, pls google full texts of President’s speeches. They are very clear and explain in full detail current American policy toward ME.

Ralf - for the record I did not call you an anti-semite - my comments were regarding the modus operendi of the ME where all internal difficulties are blamed on Israel and the USA

This is a phenomenon I see repeated of late in the European area - we can see Herr Schroeder's gov't spending more time blaming the US than in explaining why they have failed

In any case - I assume you are not an anti-semite and did not mean to suggest otherwise

On the other point, while it is true that WMD were the primary focus in 2003 as the legal rationale for action - it is equally true that other factors were mentioned - links to terrorism and despotic rule specifically.

These were mentioned by Bush and every Admin official who spoke on the topic in 2003

That you don't recall anything except WMD being discussed doesn't give you the right to lie here and state this as a fact.

And yes - it is a lie when you do so

Now I am open to the understanding that from your German media distorted perspective it may not have even been reported that there were other factors involved - but you have enough opportunity to do some research by now

Let me give you a hand - just Google "2002 SOTU"

Thats the 2002 State of the Union address

Heres an excerpt

"Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world."

As you can see he is talking about more than just WMD

And this is from the 2003 SOTU

"Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?

If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured.

Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained: by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape.

If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning."

Explaining why we must not wait for this, or any other, threat to become "imminent" and catalogueing Saddams evil


Now these are THE major speaches by the President given in any year - and in both you can see that your statement that it was ALL ABOUT WMD is completely false - ie, a lie

The thing is Ralf these sorts of things must be refuted - because the reality is that a lie repeated often enough without rebuttal will indeed become the truth

I don't deny WMD was the main focus given in public in 2003 by the way - but I know that even in public more than WMD was discussed - and what I really understand, and I think you do too, was that in private it was never primarily about WMD

Its just that making toppling the entire crew of ME despots a stated war aim in 2003 would lead to more problems wouldn't it

I mean, would Assad or Mubarek be quiet if they knew our plan was to depose Saddam AND them?

of course not

Besides, WMD and repeated violations of UNSC resolutions were the legal rationale once Blair forced Bush to go to the UN

I actually didn't mean to offend you Ralf but honestly, just saying it was all about WMD is simply wrong

It goes against the public record - and it stands at odds with the never publically stated reality

--Quite right, but the issue in 2003 was WMDs--

Only for those who weren't paying attention, Ralf, you were paying attention before that.

And what a cherry on top if there's a Bekka Valley Bonanza.

What will it take for the left to put the knife in themselves?

-- the emminent threat--

Ummm, W never said imminent threat, Ralf, he said before he became an imminent threat, and w/what we know now about his programs.....

Ralf Ralf .... come back Ralf

- with apologies to Shane ;)

The German media seems to count on people forgetting the facts (I was surprised too when I saw the wording "must not wait until he becomes an imminent threat" among other quotes by Pres. Bush) and after hearing many times "Bush claimed in 2003 that Saddam was an imminent threat", nobody bothers to check it out again - it is after all our "honest and objective" media.

Thanks once again for the clarification guys, you can't repeat it often enough for Europeans! I wouldn't by the way call Ralf a "liar" - he just happens to be repeating what we get told everyday by our journalists and end up believing.

Ok, Pogue,I misunderstood you. :)


Sandy,

immenent threat wasn't the term used by W, but some in his Admindstration did.

Ralf,

We are dealing with huge bureaucracy here, so perhaps someone, somewhere used the term ”imminent threat”. Perhaps you have a source? Let us also remember that any sorts of leaks, free interpretations of policies, or wishful thinking are peddled all the time, even by people with impressive titles. That does not make them true.

However, the Prez never used the term and it was never official stance of the Administration.

It is wise, while trying to understand American policy, to actually listen to what Bush says and not to all the “interpretations”, otherwise known as spin. If you have two versions of policy, one straight from Bush, and the other offered by somebody in the media or in the bureaucracy, you could safely bet your money that former is the right one.
Bush is famous for outmaneuvering his opponents by sticking to what he says.

Someone did say it, but it wasn't W, so we're not supposed to believe W but the lackey, and that would include Condi.

If it was Condi, she, unlike good house slaves, did not parrot her master.

In the interest of keeping the records straight in the future, here is a text of Bush’s latest speech, if anybody is interested.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050308-3.html

Ralf, would you please educate me as to why you and so many of your countrymen choose to believe and propogate blatent falsehoods then? Why are you and so many countrymen under the spell of this same lie? I'm not saying that YOU per se are lying, but you're at least ignorant enough like a fair number of your countrymen to buy those of your leadership and state owned press wholesale. As your "ally", I think I deserve to know why. If you please...

Ralf,

From a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on 26 Feb 2003:

The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein -- but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us.
...
There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.
...
Success in Iraq could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestinian state. The passing of Saddam Hussein's regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers. And other regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated.

Sure, the WMDs were mentioned frequently. Even the UN was convinced (in 1999) that Hussein was holding out. The CIA, the British, the French, and the Russians all thought that he still had them. President Clinton was convinced of that in 1998. Somehow I think even Karl Rove, at his most Machiavellian, would have a hard time planting that meme in Bill's head.

But I distinctly recall that that was not the only reason given, though it did seem to be the only reason that had any traction with the UN. Hussein's repeated refusals to obey the 14 UN resolutions upon which the cease-fire of the first Gulf War would be reason enough: if you violate the terms of a cease-fire, that generally means that someone is going to start shooting. And there was shooting, by the Iraqis. During the 12 years of US planes enforcing the no-fly zone, they came under fire an average of once per day. That is well over 4000 instances of what used to be called "acts of war."

I don't know about you, but sometimes I actually have more than one reason for doing something. I usually do not consider this to be a sign that I shouldn't do whatever it is until I only have one reason.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" was "all about WMDs", everybody! I read that Bush said so in Ralf's state-owned "free" media. Spread the word to all your friends who also can't bother to read the actual truth. I am so disgusted and outraged by Bushitler I'll believe he drinks baby's blood for breakfast if enough ignorant assholes tell me he does.

Now, back to reality and the grownups... I thought David Lange's first post on this thread summed up many of my thoughts on the subject of our relationship with France and Germany. With allies like these, who really needs enemies? I want a technology transfer moratorium. Really. I don't trust them.

I would add one addendum to what David said, "The primary problem with Germany and the rest of Old Europe is that it has no strategic vision and not much to offer in the way of values." I would add to that list of complaints, they have little to nothing to offer in the way of helpful assests in times of crisis like boats, helicopters, trucks, medical care, food, water, tents... much less "soldiering" or "peacekeeping" implements.

Europe needs to take a very long ride on the clue bus, and America needs to look at limiting technology transfer. I mean it. If Europe is going to be selling military and nuclear technology to enemies of the "Great Satan", then the Satan needs to put limitations on critical technology transfer.

This article goes well with the topic.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14590-2005Mar7.html?sub=AR

To blog authors: feel free to delete it after reading, I'm just using comment to point useful information.

-----

Is Bush Right?

President's Critics Reconsider Democracy's Prospects in the Middle East

By Jefferson Morley
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 8, 2005; 6:00 AM

In countries where President George Bush and his policies are deeply unpopular, online commentators are starting to think the unthinkable.

"Could George W. Bush Be Right?" asked Claus Christian Malzahn in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Essayist Guy Sorman asked last month in the Paris daily Le Figaro (by subscription), "And If Bush Was Right?" In Canada, anti-war columnist Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star answered: "It is time to set down in type the most difficult sentence in the English language. That sentence is short and simple. It is this: Bush was right."

The tipping point came last week when Lebanon's pro-Syrian government fell. The international online media, much of which had been critical of Bush during his first term, had to acknowledge democratic developments on the American president's watch. Many commentators also cited free elections in Afghanistan last fall, Palestinian elections in early January followed by the Jan. 30 Iraq elections. Then came local elections in Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement of constitutional changes allowing his opposition to challenge him electorally.

Given Bush's insistence that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would lead to a democratic political order in the Middle East, many Europeans are "somewhat embarrassed" by these developments, Sorman wrote in Le Figaro.

"Hadn't they promised, governments and media alike, that the Arab street would rise up [against U.S. military forces], that Islam would burn, that the American army would get bogged down, that the terrorist attacks would multiply, and that democracy would not result nor be exported?"

"These dramas did not occur," Sorman says. "Either Bush is lucky, or it is too early to judge or [Bush's] analysis was not false."

Rüdiger Lentz, Washington correspondent for the German broadcast network Deutsche Welle, wrote, "There have been many good reasons to criticize the messianic political style of Bush's first term. But isn't it time now to stop finger-pointing and bickering?"

"After all, one has to acknowledge that Afghanistan and Iraq might have been catalysts for what we see now happening in Lebanon, in Egypt and even between the Palestinians and Israel."

In Germany, the economic daily Financial Times Deutschland accused Europeans of ignoring events in Lebanon. "It is bizarre that here in Germany, where the Berlin Wall once stood, this development (in Lebanon) is greeted with hardly a shrug," according to a translation by Der Spiegel Web site. The paper borrowed a phrase from New Yorker columnist Kurt Andersen saying that Europe is engaging in political "short selling -- hoping for bad news to back up the continent's 'ideological investment'" in opposing Bush.

"Short selling," the paper concluded, "is an honorable strategy on the stock exchange but in terms of democracy, it is looking more and more like a major mistake. Indeed, it isn't honorable at all."

Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent for London's Independent (by subscription) begged to differ on Monday. Writing from Beirut, Fisk predicted that Bush's call for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon would only hurt the Lebanese.

"Have we forgotten 150,000 dead?" he asked referring to the estimates of the number of people killed in the Lebanese civil war of 1975 to 1989. "Have we forgotten the Western hostages? Have we forgotten the 241 Americans who died in the suicide bombing of 23 October 1983? This democracy, if it comes, will be drenched with blood -- but the blood will be that of the Lebanese who live here, not that of the foreigners who wish to bestow freedom upon them."

Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab is not so pessimistic.

"The Lebanese intifada has provided a strong model for the Arab world," Kuttab writes in the West Bank-based Arabic Media Internet Network."It has sent shock waves throughout the Arab world," he says, noting that many Arabs had given up on the possibility of peaceful and patriotic democratic movements.

Tom Penn,

If you are concerned about technology transfers and the arming of China by "our allies", then I strongly recommend you write your Congressional Delegation to express your concerns.

This will probably have no effect on the decision of Europe but what it can do is to insure the US has a proper policy toward Europe in the future.

Ok, listen up:

1) For me the WMDs and the threat, imminent or not, that Saddam might acquire and use them, or hand them over to terrorists was reason enough to be for the war. I really wasn't all that interested in the other reasons for the war, so I might not have paid close enough attention when Bush was spelling them out.

2)I have to point out that Bush didn't make all that many speeches after 911. Most speeches were held by Rice, Rumsfeld and Cheney, and since Bush didn't contradict them when they spoke of imminent threat, and connections of Saddam to Al Queda, I assumed that he was endorsing what they said.

And Sandy: Coming at me with terms like 'house slaves' because I mentioned Condoleeza Rice is really uncalled for.

3)In the run-up to the war I read a lot of war-blogs, and didn't rely on European media to inform myself. And those bloggers wrote about WMDs,. and hardly ever mentioned democratization.

4)I have to point out that nobody from the Bush Administration never mentioned democratization when meking a case for the war before the UN and other international organisations.

Note from David: Here is a quote from President Bush's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 12 Sept, 2002, that quite obviously refutes your assertion in point 4) :

"If all these steps (outlined earlier in the speech) are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government that represents all Iraqis—a government based on respect for human rights, economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq. ...

The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond."

DarthVada:

I don't know about you, but sometimes I actually have more than one reason for doing something. I usually do not consider this to be a sign that I shouldn't do whatever it is until I only have one reason.

I was for the war, and the WMD issue was reason enough.

Note from David: Here is a quote from President Bush's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 12 Sept, 2002, that quite obviously refutes your assertion in point 4): ...

Alright David, I missed that one (I already conceded that I might have missed something in my point 1) :)

@Ralph

In Europe the argument on WMD is rather ironic IMHO. It is often used to avoid giving Bush any credit for the democratic transformation that is taking place. My friend was at a seminar recently on US foreign policy and a lot of German students babbled on about how the war was about oil but sold as WMD..... Even though an Iraqi exile stood up and said how Bush had promised him democracy and liberation and had delivered and that for him Bush is a hero! To accept that democracy was a core war aim is to have to accept that the war was a huge success. To avoid it means that it is possible still to brand the war as illegal and if you were an anti-war America hater then its the last chance you really have to avoid reality. In America WMD was one of many reasons stated by the President and his staff on many occasions, democracy and freedom being central to their case. To deny this therefore gets people wound up big time as you are repeating the falsehood that idiotarians are hanging to blindly. That you only heard this reason doesnt surprise me and this is the ironies begin:

Firstly in Europe the idiotarians claim that the war reason was WMD and throw this against America, where in fact this is only the case perhaps for Europe. In USA WMD was only 1 of many reasons but in the UK for example it was much more a central issue, especially in a legal sense. Blair made speeches about freedom and democracy but the crucial votes were mainly based on WMD. I have no idea about the other European CoW countries but that the "debate" here is WMD then I suspect it was a central issue for CoW in Europe. In short what is blamed at America actually is only really perhaps relevant to Europe.

Secondly the Axis of Weasel thought that the WMD was there anyways and the UN resolution wasnt about whether they existed or not but whether Saddam complied to hand them over or explain their use / depletion /disposal.

In Europe you are a radical Bush fanatic to take what i understand to be your line and say : Hell there were no WMD after all like we thought there were but I believed the US and things have worked out Ok in the end. The trouble is that from a US point of view you are slipping into the abyss because what you claim all worked out in the end is, was and remains the fundamental reason for the war in Iraq. Namely to ensure security by the spread of democracy.

Ralf,

I don’t want to appear to be on your case, but now you complain that Bush did not make enough speeches after 911 to makes things clear for you?

You know, I am plugged to the current events probably more than it is good for me but after listening to the Prez I did not need more words from him. For an European politician it may be de rigour to babble constantly in order to obfuscate his position just in case that the CYA strategy might be required in the future and consequently European citizens feel compulsive need to parse every sentence of a political speech looking for hidden meaning.
The thing is, once the policy is clearly stated it needs no additional explanation; to the contrary, additional words can often water down the original meaning.

Pls try not to observe the American political scene through European filter. We have much in common, but we are different enough for those differences to cause a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding.

Doughnut Boy Andy,

I'm perfectly happy that Iraq sems to become a real democracy. I do hope that the same is going to happen with Syria and Iran.


Katherine,

if I had heard of th speech in 2002 I would indeed have thought that it is just another speech.


Anyway, I did and still do support the war, so what's your problem, people?
So what if I didn't support it for all the reasons that were important to you? And since the elections this January I have come on board as far these are concerned, too.

Enemies of America gather in Interreligious House in Berlin and discuss about American Imperialism and resistance against "occupation" in Iraq (=terror against Americans and Iraqis). The German newspaper "Junge Welt"
is hosting the Antiamerican summit.

-> http://www.irakkonferenz.de/

-> http://www.irakkonferenz.de/docus/flyer_en.pdf

March 12, 2005, 10 a.m.
Hendrik-Kraemer-Haus
Interreligiöses Zentrum
Lindenstraße 85
10969 Berlin

----

Dear American readers,

isn't there a possibility to send a stealth bomber, a tomahawk or some marines...?! There was already a "10 Euro for the Iraqi resistance"-campaign by some leftist organizations after Saddam Hussein has been removed from power. These people still support terrorists although very many Iraqi civilians have already been murdered by radical Islamic terrorists.

This constant repetition of “it was all about WMD’s” and “imminent threat” has got a surreal quality for those of us who actually listened and/or read Bush’s speeches leading to the Operation Iraqi Freedom. As was pointed out countless times President Bush argued that action had to be taken BEFORE Iraq developed WMD capabilities and BEFORE it became imminent threat not because it already has been one (though one can logically argue this position, too, given Saddam’s ties to various terrorist groups – and yes, they were real enough).

This statement is simply false. While Bush said that he wanted to take action before the threat becomes imminent in his "State of the Union"-address, and while he used Saddam's repression of the Iraqi people as a justification for the war, he DID claim that Iraq possessed WMDs, not only that there was a danger that Iraq might develop these weapons.

A few examples:

Yet, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is necessary, by whatever means that requires. Either the Iraqi regime will give up its weapons of mass destruction, or, for the sake of peace, the United States will lead a global coalition to disarm that regime. (source)

Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith. (source)

The dictator of Iraq has got weapons of mass destruction. He has used weapons of mass destruction. He can't stand America and what we stand for. He can't stand our friends and allies. (source)

Sorry, Ralf. I have no problem with you at all, it is just this “all about WDMs” talk back in the US is such an idiotarian domain that it gets to me – even as I manage to ignore majority of the anti-war blather :-)

One of the realities we should all be honest about is that making the case for war based upon the need for democratic change in the ME would not have been such a wise idea

You would have to deal with opposition from

A) the ME despots
B) the "Arabs can't live that way" element
C) a public that won't accept anything other than an immediate threat as a reason for action

One wishes a Churchill was around in 1938 in Britian to make the case for taking on the Nazis then eh

In short there was a reason that WMD was the primary focus of effort

Now if you say you support the war based on WMD or democracy or just getting rid of Saddam - why should you care about the "lies" - because you apparently understand the bigger picture

It just seems there is a need to show what was wrong about this action thata I don't understand

Sorry aphilosopher, your commemts haven't even pretended to go back to what was already said.

This statement is simply false.

Didn't you read the quotes above? Can you read? There is more than enough evidence for anyone with the capacity to run a Google query that the majority of the world believed that Hussein had WMDs.

Didn't you read the quotes above? Can you read? There is more than enough evidence for anyone with the capacity to run a Google query that the majority of the world believed that Hussein had WMDs.

Come on! It would have been one thing to state that there was intellligence indicating that Saddam had WMDs. But Bush went even further: His statements implied that there was absolutely NO DOUBT that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
But how about this DIA memo?

No problem, Katherine. :)

in light of all that I can thoroughly understand why "aphilosopher" keeps pondering the Iraqi WMDs issue.

Well, quite right. As anyone who reads this thread will see, it was ME who brought up the WMD issue (though I used my medium Ralf Goergens). And now people like Niko, people who have learned not to let themselves be fooled by leftist propaganda tactics have concluded that I am an evil leftist who just wants to detract visitors of this blog from the huge success of Dubya's pro-democracy politics.
Well, they are wrong. < irony >So let me praise George W. Bush. His Afghanistan policy led to democratic elections in this country. (OK, the invasion of Afghanistan would probably never have taken place if the US hadn't wanted to get Osama bin Laden caught after 9/11, but that doesn't change the fact that he is a hero, motivated solely by advancing democracy and freedom, does it?)
He was equally brillant in realizing his vision of a free, democratic, economically stable Iraq, ignoring all the European Saddam followers who seriously believed that the civilian deaths in a war (just 100,000, according to a study of the John-Hopkins-Bloomberg-school for Public Health, and even the UN estimated that at worst only 500,000 civilians would die) are justification enough to oppose the overthrow of a fascist mass murderer and the advancement of democracy. It is difficult to understand people believing that the important issue in 2003 was WMD, not democracy. Would it help to point out to these people that all statements of Bush administration officials indicate something else? Just take Paul Wolfowitz: "There have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. Actually I guess you could say there's a fourth overriding one which is the connection between the first two. [...] The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it."
Give me a break - it's so wonderful to look at the deeds of a man who should win the nobel peace price.
But no, let's get to something even more masterful: Convincing the Iraqi people of building a democracy in their country. 60% voter turnout should be enough to convince even the worst opponents of Bush. As Robert Fisk notes, "Many anti-war critics were so busy pooh-poohing the balloting as a farce engineered by the Bush administration that they forgot that Washington had only agreed to the election under Iraqi Shi’ite pressure. The first U.S. plan for Iraq was to hold indirect elections through regional caucuses, a process that would have lent itself far more easily to American manipulation." You don't have to share his anti-imperialist views to agree with that. That's how you win people for democracy: Don't force it on them, but let them beg for their rights themselves. (OK, polls show that a large part of the Iraqi population didn't need to be convinced that way, but Bush's strategy surely increased the voter turnout by AT THE VERY LEAST by 10%.)
But the most important achievement of Dubya was how he somehow managed that Arafat died and that terrorists (or Syrian government agent, or anyone else) decided to murder Rafik Hariri. This will ultimately lead to the democratization of the entire region. As I mentioned above, he should win the nobel peace prize< / irony >

(Note: I know that a large part of the Bush friends reading this will now see me as an anti-democratic, snobby European leftist who doesn't understand the value of Dubya's policy guided by simple and moral principles, so please spare me any response repeating these charges. I also know that many will want to attack my ironic remarks above by responding something like "Was that supposed to be funny?" - so please spare me that again. I think you can guess the answer on your own.)

Well, as aphilo has already explained what he is I can save the time - thanks

As for the Nobel Peace Prize, George W Bush is the most deserving of this award of any single person in the last half century

Of course, deserving an award based upon its premise, ie: promoting peace and extending freedom around the world, and getting it based on the political philosophy of the board, are two very different things

Based on past experience I would think that Basher Assad of Syria has to be the front runner for this years award - another "kick in the leg" to Bush from the committee

( heavy betting on a second award to Arafat would be reccomended as well )

@ Pogue

Actually Arafat does deserve the prize. His dying was a TREMENDOUS contribution to peace. If only he had had the wisdom to die about 30 years ago, he might have won the prize EVERY YEAR.

@ Pogue and Ralf

I know this part of the thread has kind of wound down, but it seems to me it is worth clarifying a few points.

1) Bush decided that letting medieval government run loose in the modern world was a big mistake. He had campainged against "nation building" in 2000. He changed his mind immediately after 9/11 and started with Afghanistan. We can debate all day whether the US will be both willing and able to impose and maintain democracy worldwide for decades on end, but that Bush is convinced we can at least try establish it was first PROVED by Afghanistan. So Bush's policy of establishing democratic states in critical spots was not something made up after the fact for Iraq. He had adopted it as policy pre-Iraq.

2) Bush was wrong (along with 90% of the civilized world) on whether Iraq had or was trying to acquire WMD. Being wrong is not lying. To say Bush was lying means showing that the preponderance of the evidence available to him in early 2003 indicated that Iraq did not have WMD. No one has done that.

3) Bush damaged his credibility domestically and globally by relying so heavily on WMD in his original justification for getting rid of Hussein. I think Bush's admirers should concede this point. To my mind, however, it proves that he fully believed that Iraq had WMD: if he had known that they were probably not there, he would have been an idiot to have used them as a justification that would soon be proved false. He could have, should have, relied more heavily on Hussein's repeated failure to fulfill the conditions imposed by the UN as a condition of truce in 1991. He could have, should have, relied more heavily on the nature of Hussein's Iraq and its demonstrated willingness to invade its neighbors. One can admire the Bush administration overall without believing that its public diplomacy has been even close to effective. The Bush adminstration has not provided efective explanations to people like Ralf, who basically seem ready to support Bush.

I would add to that list of complaints, they have little to nothing to offer in the way of helpful assests in times of crisis like boats, helicopters, trucks, medical care, food, water, tents... much less "soldiering" or "peacekeeping" implements.

Germany did volunteer to loan us 25 Fox vehicles for the invasion, sealed vehicles with equipment used to determine the presence of chemical agents on the battlefield.

Well, as aphilo has already explained what he is I can save the time - thanks

I explained what I thought I would be now in the eyes of people like you and Niko (though I forgot to add "leftist troll" - thanks to Niko for pointing that out). I did it for the simple reason that I could save your and my time this way.
The actual point is that those who are making Bush a hero of advancing peace and democracy are simply rewriting history. He isn't, and he has never been.

Who's making Bush a hero here? You're beating your own strawman.

Oh, I forgot to mention that none of you used the term "hero" when you were talking about how much Bush has done for democracy and freedom in your view. I apologize.

(Oh, and for the record - you might want to press CTRL+F in your browser and search for "leftist troll". There's only one hit, i.e. in your own comment. Sure Karl Rove is behind all that.)

I also apologize that I didn't mention that you explicitly only called me a "troll". You didn't call me explicitly a leftist, you only implicitly agreed with that claim. I am infinitely sorry.

Note from David: Can we stop now this childish discussion?
Please.

Note from David: Can we stop now this childish discussion?
Please.

Since it has really become a bit childish, I am not going to continue the discussion, but I would like to correct a mistake in my posting above: The article on the Iraq election I cited was written by Frank Smyth, not by Independent-correspondent Robert Fisk who is quoted at the beginning.

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