Children freed from prisons in Iraq

And as for what is “better for the Iraqi people,” one could argue that going through the UN would have been much better for the US people, given that we had to spend billions to do this alone, and the tab is still running higher by the day.

The Pentagon has not confirmed the NPR story is true. If they are not comfortable saying so, when they have so much motivation to trumpet such a find, I wouldn’t be quite so hasty.

Guest, are you arguing that Saddam doesn’t have them, or that we haven’t found them but they are still there? Because the first one is absolutely ludicrous when we’ve seen so much evidence to the contrary, even before the war started (such as here, for example).

If you believe the first, maybe you should take a lesson from this guy:

A captured Iraqi colonel being held in one of the hangars listened in astonishment as his information minister praised Republican Guard soldiers for recapturing the airport.

He looked at his captors and, as he realised that what he had heard was palpably untrue, his eye filled with tears. Turning to a translator, he asked: “How long have they been lying like this?”

As for the second, I suppose it is possible that this report is false, but America has been very tight-lipped with information on all fronts in this war, so basing your disbelief on “no comment” isn’t worth much. If NPR is reporting it, I’d think it would be pretty likely to be true.

Interesting quote… Maybe they can use it for an ad slogan. Notice no one else is reporting this story from a primary source; everyone else is quoting NPR. This is called covering your ass, in case the story is proven wrong.

I’m not saying the story isn’t true. I’m saying the Pentagon’s refusal to confirm the story when asked about it indicates that it is too soon to cite this story as fact.

And as for what is “better for the Iraqi people,” one could argue that going through the UN would have been much better for the US people, given that we had to spend billions to do this alone, and the tab is still running higher by the day.

Yes, I suppose that could be argued, but to do it, you would have to leave the American people’s wishes (70% support the war) completely out of the equation. I’m not surprised that so many anti-war people try to do just this, since they’ve already tried to leave the Iraqi people’s wishes out of the equation on whether or not it is right to liberate them.

As for the “too early to cite as fact”, okay, point taken, but I really don’t see any reason to disbelieve this.

Remember when you called all these sorts of things “random fantasies”, Tom?

What I remember is commenting on all the goofy tortue horror stories trotted out, like clockwork, as justification for the invasion. You can set your watch to this sort of thing. I’m sure Hussein was a brutal despot. No one’s surprised at tortured political opponents, repressive measures, and human rights abuses.

I also won’t be surprised if he was reseraching chemical and biological weapons to some degree. The jury is still out on nuclear research. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if there’s any evidence of a viable nuclear program.

BTW, your link, which you claim as evidence of “massive deposits of chemical and biological weapons”, is a story about 20 MRMs with suspected chemical warheads. Hardly massive and not at all biological. Let me know if you need help with those terms in the future. :)

I will be very surprised if we find out he was supporting international terrorism. And you would do well to read the articles you link, John. A prisoner of war claiming there were a dozen al-Qaeda members hardly equates to “members of al-Qaeda flooding into Iraq”. Although I guess twelve guys can “flood” if they squeeze really quickly through a small doorway.

Even then, are you surprised that al-Qaeda would participate in an opportunity to fight Americans? And is that really evidence of a link to the Hussein regime? Consider the whole situation with ansar al-Islam, for instance.

BTW, the real problem is not and never was the actual fighting of the war. The real problem is the shape of the world afterwards. Your glee about an easy win says to me how little you understand about what has happened. And no amount of trumpeting Pollack’s concerns while ignoring his reservations can change that.

 -Tom

the American people’s wishes (70% support the war)

I’m beginning to wonder whether you’re actually reading the stuff you link. If you’ve been following the Gallup polls, you’d know support has varied from 58% to 72% over the course of the war.

And, FWIW, the level of support has never reached the 82% Bush Sr. enjoyed with the first Persian Gulf War in 1991. It seems to me like a war that a third of your population actively opposes means you’re not doing a very good job of convincing the country.

That said, I’m surprised at the amount of support for this war, since I think it’s been a poorly articulated cause all along. And I’m sadly disappointed that there hasn’t been any viable political opposition. Spineless Democrats.

 -Tom

The cost estimates of the war were not released by this administration until our troops were already in Kuwait. The American public did not express a “70% in favor” opinion about the war until it was already obvious the president was going to go in no matter what, and they were already faced with a situation in which they felt like it was their patriotic duty to “support our troops” who were already over there.

BTW, your link, which you claim as evidence of “massive deposits of chemical and biological weapons”, is a story about 20 MRMs with suspected chemical warheads. Hardly massive and not at all biological. Let me know if you need help with those terms in the future. :)

D’oh! about the biological weapons… I feel foolish, I’m just used to saying both terms in one go.

However, I would argue that twenty warheads is a massive find. I don’t have Pollack’s book in front of me or anything, but as I recall, Saddam’s chemical warheads were estimated by the CIA to be somewhere around 100. If that recollection is true (can someone look this up for me?), that means the coalition just discovered at least 20% of their chemical munitions.

Would it be more impressive to you if we found two hundred missiles out of a thousand possible?

As for Al Qaeda, I see you are slipping into your patronizing word-choice burnination mode over “flooding” when I referenced that article, which is fine. So let’s drop that, and for the sake of argument, I’ll concede that your contrary assertion (that the “at least a dozen Al Qaeda troops” cited in just one town are actually only a dozen, and in fact the only members of Al Qaeda in the entire country, and even if they aren’t, fighting side by side with the Republican guard doesn’t really show that Iraq has ties with Al Qaeda) is plausible.

But hey, when you said this:

I will be very surprised if we find out [Saddam] was supporting international terrorism.

Are you just blotting out Saddam’s entire $25,000 pension to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers? This is all on public record and not a debated fact. Or do you have some entirely different definition of “international” than the traditional one? Sorry to slip into patronizing word-choice burnination mode here, but I figured you set the stage, Chick. :)

BTW, the real problem is not and never was the actual fighting of the war. The real problem is the shape of the world afterwards. Your glee about an easy win says to me how little you understand about what has happened. And no amount of trumpeting Pollack’s concerns while ignoring his reservations can change that.

It’s funny… you hit Met_K in the UN thread with just this same smarmy tact: “you obviously just don’t understand what is going on”, which is an absolutely meaningless commentary without some sort of specifics.

Also funny here: you criticizing me for “trumpeting Pollack’s ‘concerns’ while ignoring his reservations” (which I haven’t) when you are totally ignoring the other half. Unlike you, who have only read the side you want to read, I’ve read both what you quaintly call Pollack’s concerns and his reservations, and understand both (in fact, as the Slate article mentions and I found true even while reading it the first time, Pollack’s book encompasses his reservations).

But his reservations don’t make his concerns suddenly null and void: all they say is that this war could have gone forward a hell of a lot more optimally on the part of the Bush administration. Which I agree with. But it is not a self-refutation of the reasons listed in his book on why it is necessary to remove Saddam from power before it is too late. And, in my view, his reservations about Bush’s approach, which I think are valid, certainly do not even begin to disprove that the job still needed to be done. Still, without having read his book, I can’t fault you for praising Pollack’s reservations while trying to downplay his reasons on why it needs to be done anyway.

But sorry if you find distasteful the fact that I’m so “gleeful” at the surprisingly light civilian and military casualties so far in the war. Although, again, without knowing exactly why being happy about that fact makes me, in your view, “not understand the situation”, this is about as vacuous a closing statement as it is possible to make in the English language. Sounded pretty big and blustery and important sounding, though.

PS: Hey, Chick, seen “A Woman in Black” yet? Come on, already! Its no Zombie Lake!

Edit: Some clarifications in my paragraph on Pollack.
Edit Deuce: Argh! And some in the Al Qaeda one.

Ummm… right now (April 5-6), according to that poll, support is at 70 percent. When I cited it, should I have also mentioned the results on what the ancient Roman senators thought about the war in Iraq, along with what Americans thought when there was far less information being presented? If you wanted me to mention what every single historical Gallup result was in my little parenthesis, that was why I included the link. You’re really over-reaching to try to discredit these things, Tom.

Are you just blotting out Saddam’s entire $25,000 pension to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers?

This is the only established connection between Hussein and terrorism and it’s arguable that it’s not supporting terrorism so much as currying favor with anti-Israeli Arabs; it’s a sort of less dramatic version of the SCUD lobbing he did ten years ago. And it’s hardly unique in the Arab world. In fact, it might even be legal. (?)

However, I don’t think Palestinian suicide bombers do a lot of international work. Last I checked, they seemed pretty preoccupied with domestic issues. Actually, have the Palestinians been abroad since the Achille Lauro? I don’t recall.

according to that poll, support is at 70 percent. When I cited it, should I have also mentioned the results on what the ancient Roman senators thought about the war in Iraq

You wrote that 70% of the American public supports the war. I was simply pointing out that the situation is much more fluid than that.

However, I would argue that twenty warheads is a massive find.

Nice try. You wrote that “massive deposits” were found. I have 20 beers in my refrigerator. I guess by the John Brownlee metric, I have massive quantities of beer.

Unlike you, who have only read the side you want to read, I’ve read both what you quaintly call Pollack’s concerns and his reservations

I have not read Pollack’s book, so I haven’t read either side; I was talking about some interesting points Jason made in another thread about Pollack’s conveniently overlooked reservations about invading Iraq.

Although, again, without knowing exactly why being happy about that fact makes me, in your view, “not understand the situation”, this is about as vacuous a closing statement as it is possible to make in the English language.

The point is that the situation is far from over. It’s premature to celebrate a vindication for the Bush Administration’s short-sighted and reckless policies. As someone else said, war isn’t just what happens on the battlefield.

Hey, Chick, seen “A Woman in Black” yet? Come on, already! Its no Zombie Lake!

I was just looking over my Netflix queue wonder what the hell Woman in Black was. It’s coming up. I did watch Hell House, though. Does that count?

 -Tom

Nice try. You wrote that “massive deposits” were found. I have 20 beers in my refrigerator. I guess by the John Brownlee metric, I have massive quantities of beer.

I think you are trying to take the semantic tack way too far here, because I’m totally unclear as why you think that saying “massive deposit of x found” is different than saying “massive amount of x found”. But yes, if there were 20 beers in your fridge out of only a hundred in the country, I would say you had a massive deposit of beer in there and ask you to crack me open a brew. Coincidentally enough, the dictionary supports me in my interpretation of the word massive: definition 3 is “large in comparison with the usual amount”. Since the usual amount of chemical weapons Saddam Hussein is supposed to have is motherfuckin’ zero, even finding one would be “massive”.

You wrote that 70% of the American public supports the war. I was simply pointing out that the situation is much more fluid than that.

Noted if it makes you feel better, although I find it interesting that your first post in relationship to this poll was a slam about how you doubted I even read the articles I linked to, and now, it has changed to the obvious comment that public opinion is not, in fact, rock steady.

The point is that the situation is far from over. It’s premature to celebrate a vindication for the Bush Administration’s short-sighted and reckless policies. As someone else said, war isn’t just what happens on the battlefield.

Yeah, I hear you, but I think it is fair to celebrate a largely bloodless victory by modern warfare standards, and later, when it comes to it, celebrate the successful installation of a democracy in an economically revitalized Iraq. Which is what I hope and think will happen in the next ten years.

Now that debating the rightness of the war is absolutely pointless, shouldn’t you anti-war guys stop nay-saying the Bush administration’s post-war plans in Iraq and start throwing rallies to support the vision of a autonomous, democratic Iraqi nation? All I hear is gloom and doom, as if it was all pre-ordained to fail and, in fact, you were secretly hoping for it to. I’d say that both pro and anti-war people would be on the same page as far as post-war reconstruction, but I keep on being surprised by both sides.

(As just one last thought on this paragraph, I’m always a little amused to see people refer to Bush’s actions over the last few months as “short-sighted”, because there is absolutely no short-term payoff for America in this war, no matter what you think of America’s motives. Iraq will take years to rebuild and stabilize. We will likely never get our investment back. America’s only possible return on Iraq is strategic - either by allowing us to stabilize the Middle East with a model functioning democracy, or just as a permanent military base in the Middle East. So, if anything, Bush’s vision - whatever you think it is - is more far-sighted than anything).

I was just looking over my Netflix queue wonder what the hell Woman in Black was. It’s coming up. I did watch Hell House, though. Does that count?

Well, kinda, because its about ghosts and a scary house and I remember it has both Vincent Price and a hot naked chick in it. But Woman in Black is definitely scarier. You’ll like it.

Tom, I have a quick question for you (and please don’t read sarcasm or a negative tone into this).

So, my question: do you oppose the war
a) because you oppose war in general?
b) because the Bush Administration clearly didn’t fully explore some of the alternatives before deciding to go to war?
c) because you oppose how the Administration handled the international situation (e.g. disrupting the entire international order to depose a pisspot dictator)?
d) because you feel the reasons offered by the Administration for the war were specious?
d) some other reason (or a combination of the above)?

Where do you fall on this question?

I think a lot of supporters of the war are supportive both of our troops and see some vindication in the various atrocities that are coming to light – and rightfully so, in some sense.

One quick thing I wanted to add. Scott Ritter, who is mentioned above as a peace activist, is one of the former UNSCOM inspectors who expressed a great deal of frustration with the weapons inspection regime post 1995 or 1996 as the regime engaged in massive obfuscation. He’s not a dove, but he does think that there were better ways to get to the goal of disarming Iraq than putting thousands of American soldiers at risk.

<disclaimer>To clarify my own position: I am one of the millions of Americans who opposed the war until it was clear that it was going to happen no matter what, and have since been supportive of the war in the hope that it will be a short, relatively bloodless war (as it seems to have been so far, both for allied soldiers and Iraqi civilians).

I think the war could definitely be justified (Saddam is one of the more depraved dictators on the world stage), but that the Administration in its haste to start killing people utterly and completely failed to make the case (some others did make the case and did a decent job, but the Administration completely blew it on this one). This is not to say that it’s not a good idea to invade countries to liberate the people, free children from prisons, take WMDs from dictators, etc. However, there are right ways and wrong ways to undertake these kinds of actions, and my opinion is that we did this the wrong way and that there are going to be long term international repercussions which we as Americans will have to deal with in the years to come.</disclaimer>

EDIT: added comment about Scott Ritter

So how many Iraqis have to die before it’s not bloodless? Twice as many? Three times as many? Or do they not really count since they are just sand niggers who got in the way of progress.

So how many Iraqis have to die before it’s not bloodless? Twice as many? Three times as many? Or do they not really count since they are just sand niggers who got in the way of progress.[/quote]

I think the perferred term is Towel Head or Camel Jockey.

I believe that a person should be careful reading too much into the 70% supporting the war statistic. For example, in a poll I would probably come out as supporting the war. However, I think that Bush should have been more mindful of international criticism in the way he went about it. I believe that it is a bad idea to have almost everyone in the Muslim middle east (except Kuwait) hating us. I think that there’s a good percentage of people that will consider it their duty to support our troops when they are risking their lives in a war but still might not be happy with what the president has done or how he has gone about it.

Well, asjunk, Grenz, and Crypt all put it better than I ever could. Pictures of people celebrating and pulling statues down after our arrival is a positive sign, right? They are dancing due to liberation and not burning pictures of Bush or U.S. flags, right?

Interviews with 20, 25, 30 year-olds who knew only rule under Saddam and had absolutely no idea there was a free world outside of Saddam’s reign further re-enforce my feelings. While I did not want to have to go in and it may have been bad timing or for poorly described reasons, it was a good thing.

Coalition forces and Iraqi civilians dying are, obviously, never good, but how many civilians would have voluntarily laid down their lives if they knew they could free their country? I don’t think they realized it was even possible after being beat down for 2 or 3 decades and the way we deserted them 12 years ago. How many of our soldiers knew they were laying their lives down for America and their own belief that they were doing the right thing? They did not volunteer to die, but most assumed the risks. How many more would have dissapeared, been killed in public, been tortured, or just suffered through day-to-day life if Saddam had been left to continue as leader and then passed it on to those insane kids of his?

All speculation at this point, but the answers fall in favor of the war, IMO.

So, how come when people are hitting the streets and make a political statement in Iraq you assume it’s a sign of a widely held viewpoint, if not the mainstream view, yet you most likely regard demonstrations here in the US as representing no one but an unimportant fringe element?

Is it because they’re looting and destroying more property than US protesters? Maybe we need to try harder to get your respect, Ty.

So, how come when people are hitting the streets and make a political statement in Iraq you assume it’s a sign of a widely held viewpoint, if not the mainstream view, yet you most likely regard demonstrations here in the US as representing no one but an unimportant fringe element?

Is it because they’re looting and destroying more property than US protesters? Maybe we need to try harder to get your respect, Ty.[/quote]

Not really surprised that a random poster put words in my mouth, but I have never, ever disparaged anti-war protesters. I think it was a huge waste of time and energy once it had begun, but that is just my opinion. It is your right and please continue to protest. As being anti-war should I assume you do not have a job, are a C- college student, and you walk around with tie-dyed clothing on all day?

I knew the looting would be brought up and the fact that this could be a select group of revelers. Can you blame them for looting after they have lived with nothing while Saddam has horded billions with gold plated toilets? No, it is not the right thing to do, but that is going to happen every time a ruler is deposed and there is an interim period of uncertainty between regimes. Especially, when the previous regime ruled with an iron fist and it’s citizens have lived with nothing.

As for the pictures we are seeing of revelers, I am not sure how many reports we will need to see before people in your frame of mind are satisfied that the populace is happy with the Coalition’s involvement. My guess is no amount of positive coverage will please you. The “Death to Saddam” chants, the cheering as we rolled in, and the joy on their faces on their own Al-Jazeera TV is proof enough for me to believe it is not U.S. spin. Maybe the volume of reports with gleeful citizens will one day convince you.

How long until the “whoops, turns out it was fertilizer” follow-up comes out to those stories, Crypt?

I thought it was Desert Irish.