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Your choice on Iraq


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The incomparably articulate and insightful Tony Blair makes your choice clear:


"Obviously there will be people who have never been convinced about the original decision. But the fundamentals of the situation in Iraq are absolutely clear. You have a government supported by the United Nations. You have got massive reconstruction. You've got an attempt to bring democracy to the country and you've got these people trying to stop it. I can understand why people still have a powerful disagreement about the original decision to go to war, but what ever that disagreement, surely now it is absolutely clear we have to stay and see it through. Because the consequences of not doing so is that global terrorism will get a tremendous boost. By contrast, if we succeed and defeat these people and help the Iraqis to get what the Iraqis want, then global terrorism will suffer a defeat... So my point to people is: which side should we be on now? You might have disagreed about the conflict, but there is only one side to be on now, and that's the side of people who are trying to bring democracy and hope to the country, not trying to plunge it into terror and chaos."



I don't think there's much doubt about which side many of the people here are on.

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As usual, you're living in fascist fantasyland, Dougie. There's nobody here who wouldn't like to see a democratic, pluralistic, prosperous and peaceful Iraq. Everyone recognizes that, whatever the lying scum politicians who got us into this war used as excuses, there's no going backwards. We broke Iraq and we'll have to fix it. What most people here agree on is that we're not fixing it, and we're not making any meaningful progress towards preparing Iraq for a democratic future. In fact, we're making things worse.


We also agree that Bush and Co. had no plan for the post-war period, they still have no plan (other than pursuing the same failing course of action) and they've burned so many bridges to our former friends and allies that the only hope of convincing other countries that it's time to start shouldering their share of the task is with new leadership that doesn't have the same history and doesn't cause the same loathing and contempt that this administration and this President have brought upon themselves.

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Oh, and by the way, the incredibly articulate and insightful Mr. Blair (and normally I would agree with those descriptions of him, especially when compared to the barely sentient Mr. Bush) also fell for doctored intelligence as a justification for going to war.


And as someone pointed out today, the people screaming for Dan Rather's head for using phony documents are strangely quiet about asking for George Bush's head. Bush cited those phony documents about Iraq's supposed uranium purchases in his State of the Union address, and they were part of his campaign to convince Congress to give him war powers. He did this even though it appears there were already doubts about their authenticity. Of course, Dubya has never been bothered with facts and truth in the past, so why should he worry about them in this instance? But why aren't the same people who want Dan Rather tarred, feathered and locked in the stocks in the public square not clamoring for Bush's impeachment for doing exactly the same thing, with vastly more horrific consequences?

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The President's Comedy Routine



President George Bush's denial of the reality of Iraq is beginning to sound like a stand-up comedy routine.


"Mr. President, the insurgency has spread to the whole country."


"We're making great progress."


"But Mr. President, the attacks against coalition forces have escalated dramatically."


"We're making great progress."


"But Mr. President, all but two percent of the Iraqi people want us to leave."


"We're making great progress."


"And the interim government has no support and in fact can't step outside the Green Zone without being surrounded by American security."


"We're making great progress."


And so forth. Whether the president is actually in denial or is misleading the public for partisan purposes, I will leave to your judgment. It would be less dangerous if he were engaged in deliberate deception. That, at least, is a sign of sanity.


Some are now speculating that the president's solution to the morass in Iraq will be to launch an attack against Iran – after the election, of course. There can be no other reason to sell Israel bunker-buster bombs. The only possible target would be Iran's nuclear reactors. The Iranians would retaliate, and, of course, the United States would join the war in defense of Israel. Widening the war to a country with 60 million people might sound stupid, but with this administration's record of stupid decisions, it's not to be ruled out.


Nothing would destroy the democratic movement in Iran quicker than an attack by Israel and the United States. The same stupid people who thought we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq, however, might actually think Iranians would welcome an attack. People who spend their lives in academic surroundings can be forgiven for not knowing much about human nature. The most basic response of all humans is to rally around their country's government when it is attacked by a foreign power. The Iranians would certainly do that, as they demonstrated in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein attacked them.


As all democratic nations do, we have uneven luck in choosing our leaders, but this is the first administration that actually scares me. There is nothing so stupid and wrongheaded that I can't visualize them doing it.


Bush has no real compassion. That's why he forbids ceremonies for returning dead. According to Ollie North, President Reagan was at the airport every time a dead American serviceman's body came home. The British also formally greet their returning dead with honor and respect. Only in the United States does the government even forbid news organizations from greeting the dead.


Bush and his corporate cronies care for Bush and his corporate cronies. If Reagan was the Teflon president, Bush is the irresponsible and unaccountable president. Not only has he created a bloody mess in Iraq, his economic policies have forced many American working men to endanger their lives by going there to work. Naturally, wages in Iraq, for everybody but the troops and the Iraqi people, are exorbitant, since the taxpayers are footing the bills.


I've noticed that Bush has stayed out of Iraq, except for his short dead-of-the-night sneak into and out of the Baghdad airport for a photo op. If we are making such great progress, as he keeps insisting that we are, surely he could visit the country in the daytime. Other national leaders have done so.


But the Bush policy in regard to Iraq has been a fraud from the beginning, and it remains a fraud with the appointment of an old CIA leech as prime minister to oversee the rape of Iraq by the favored corporate pirates. The Iraqi people know the score. The question is, Do the American people?


Charlie Reese / antiwar.com

~~ 'God gave man a brain and a penis and only enough blood to run one at a time' Robin Williams~~

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Smirk not evidence!

Apparently the president thinks we should ignore the mountain of evidence to the contrary -- daily suicide bombings, the escalating number of killed and injured among our troops, entire regions being held by insurgents -- and just accept his Pollyannaish outlook that all is going well in the reconstruction of Iraq.


But isn't this the same man who said that Hussein undoubtedly had WMD and al Qaeda connections? The same man whose secretary of defense said of those WMD, "We know where they are?" The same man whose vice president said the war would last "weeks rather than months or years?" These, and dozens of their other erroneous comments, have left me longing for a different kind of statement -- one backed up by facts! A good start would be to release to the public, with confidential information removed, the comprehensive report on Iraq recently completed by the CIA. For a growing number of us, a smirk no longer suffices.

~~ 'God gave man a brain and a penis and only enough blood to run one at a time' Robin Williams~~

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Guest zipperzone

>Bush has no real compassion. That's why he forbids ceremonies

>for returning dead. According to Ollie North, President Reagan

>was at the airport every time a dead American serviceman's

>body came home. The British also formally greet their

>returning dead with honor and respect. Only in the United

>States does the government even forbid news organizations from

>greeting the dead.


And you guys think you're living in a free country? Give your head a shake!

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I'll accept his apology, and applaud his election loss


Blair Gives Qualified Iraq Apology to Woo Party


BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) - Tony Blair offered his Labour party on Tuesday a partial apology for waging war in Iraq -- a desperate attempt to pull supporters back behind him ahead of an election next year.


But as two more British soldiers died in Iraq and a hostage remained under threat of death, his hopes of drawing a line under two years that has wrecked his public trust ratings are far from secure.


"The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons ... has turned out to be wrong," Blair said, his nearest yet to a mea culpa.


"The problem is, I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam," he said. "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power."


Blair's speech was interrupted twice by protesters, one yelling that the premier "had blood on his hands," others opposing a planned ban on fox-hunting.


They were ruthlessly bundled out of the hall.




For most of his speech, Blair focused on domestic issues which he hopes will define his campaign to win a third term at a general election expected in May.


But aides said he knew that would not resonate, with party or the wider public, if he did not tackle Iraq head-on.


Blair made the case for war on the assertion that Saddam had banned weapons ready to use. The fact none has been found more than a year after major military action finished has soured British public opinion.


"Whatever disagreements we have had, we should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done," he said, adding that foreign affairs and domestic prosperity were indivisible.


"If I don't care and act on this terrorist threat, then the day will come when all our good work on the issues that decide people's lives will be undone because the stability on which our economy ... depends, will vanish."


Blair also mentioned British engineer Kenneth Bigley, who was abducted by Al Qaeda-linked militants 12 days ago, and the two soldiers killed in Basra on Tuesday.


"I want to express our condolences to the latest British casualties in Iraq," he said, "and I want to, on behalf of all of us, express our support and solidarity with Ken Bigley and all the Bigley family."


Bigley's brother has accused Blair of not doing enough to appeal for his release.




In a recent Daily Telegraph poll:


59 per cent of British voters disapprove of their government’s record to date, 30 per cent say Blair would make the best prime minister, 67 per cent say the government is not honest and trustworthy, 62 per cent are dissatisfied with Blair as prime minister.

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Well as you admire Bliar so much, here is an extract from his speech to his Party Convention yesterday:


"Salvation will not come solely from a gunship.


Military action will be futile unless we address the conditions in which this terrorism breeds and the causes it preys upon.


That is why it is worth staying the course to bring democracy Iraq and Afghanistan, because then people the world over will see that this is not and has never been some new war of religion; but the oldest struggle humankind knows, between liberty or oppression, tolerance or hate; between government by terror or by the rule of law.


And let us demonstrate to Muslims here in Britain that these are values we apply to all our citizens, and change the law to make religious discrimination unlawful as we do with race, gender and disability.


This party knows the depth of my commitment to the Middle East peace process and shares my frustration at the lack of progress.


After November I will make its revival a personal priority.


Two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in an enduring peace would do more to defeat this terrorism than bullets alone can ever do.


Britain is now, committed for the first time in our history to the UN aid target of 0.7 per cent.


Next year as president of the G8 along with action on climate change, we will try for consensus on a new plan for Africa, that not only on aid and trade but on conflict resolution, on fighting corruption, on the killer diseases Aids, malaria and TB, on education, water, infrastructure.


A plan to lift that continent in hope and lift from ourselves the shame that so many human beings live and die in misery when we know together we could stop it; and when unchecked this misery some time, somewhere in the future will threaten us.


But understand this reality.


Little of it will happen except in alliance with the United States of America.


And here am I, told by the pro-Europeans to give up on America and the Atlanticists to forget about Europe.


And yet I know Britain must be at the centre of a Europe now 25 nations reunited after centuries of conflict the biggest economic market and most powerful political union in the world and I know that to retreat from its counsels would be utter self-defeating folly.


And I know to cast out the transatlantic alliance would be disastrous for Britain.


And I believe so strongly that if Europe and America could only put aside their differences and united around a common cause, the future could be different and better."




Sounds rather more like the Kerry soluion than the Bush one.

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Dick Cheney Was Right


Dick Cheney's May 1992 statements on Iraq, from a press conference.


We stopped when we did, and it was a unanimous recommendation on the part of the President's advisors, civilian and military, we stopped when we did because we had achieved our objectives. We had said from the outset that our purpose was to liberate Kuwait and destroy Saddam Hussein's capacity to threaten his neighbors, his offensive military capability, we did that. We destroyed about two-thirds of his army in that portion that he sent in to Kuwait and Iraq, and stripped him of most of his weapons of mass destruction.


We could have gone on. There is no doubt in my mind, from a military standpoint we could have sent forces on down the road to Baghdad, captured Baghdad, but I would expect in terms of trying to get rid of Saddam Hussein that it would not have been an easy task. I don't think it was the kind of situation where we could have pulled up with a paddywagon in front of the Presidential Palace and said, "Come on Saddam, you're going to the slammer." I think we would have had to run him to ground, and doing that in Baghdad or in a nation as large as Iraq would have involved a lot of US forces.


Once we rounded up Saddam, then the question is what do you do? You're going to put a government in his place. Presumably, you're not just going to turn your back and walk away. You have to put some kind of a government in its place. And then the question comes is it going to be a Shi'a government or a Kurdish government, or maybe a Sunni government, or maybe it ought to be based on the old Baathist Party regime, or some combination thereof. How long is that government to be able to stay in power without US military support to keep it there? How long can we maintain the coalition?


Remember we entered into this activity with the support of 30 other nations. A very important part of that support was the support of other Arab nations who took up arms against a brother Arab state, who allowed us to operate military forces from their territory, who sent combat forces to fight alongside our people in Kuwait.

How long could we have maintained that coalition of Arab states if we had been involved in the long-range occupation by the US in Iraq? I would guess if we had gone on to Baghdad I would still have forces in Iraq today. I don't know how we would have let go of that tar baby once we had grabbed hold of it.


A final point that I think is very important. Everybody is fond of looking back at Desert Storm and saying that it was, in fact, a low cost conflict because we didn't suffer very many casualties. But for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it was not a cheap or a low cost conflict. The question, to my mind, in terms of this notion that we should have gone on and occupied Iraq is how many additional American casualties would we have had to suffer? How many additional American lives is Saddam Hussein worth? And the answer I would give is not very damn many.


I think we got it right when we made the decision to use forces to liberate Kuwait; I think we got it right when the President made the decision, with my support and the support of everybody else, to stop when we did. And I, looking back on it now, think that the decisions both times were sound.

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>What is going to happen when the subjects of Saudi Arabia and

>Jordan ask for democracy. You think the two kings will fold

>their tents and move to Crawford, Texas? :-)


You've gotta be kidding! No casinos, no blond Eastern European hookers, no caviar and foie gras. . . Look for these guys to be spending a nice exile in Monaco or Dubai! (Although, to be fair, the new King of Jordan has been trying to democratize and he's not got a reputation of being a sleazebag. In fact, he's a pretty smart and thoughtful guy.)

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Guest ReturnOfS

>The incomparably articulate and insightful Tony Blair makes

>your choice clear:



I love how right wing Doug complements the leader of Britain's left of center party. :-)

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