Pollack says no WMD in Iraq

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2004/01/media-preview/pollack.htm

Game over.

Finally, the U.S. government must admit to the world that it was wrong about Iraq’s WMD and show that it is taking far-reaching action to correct the problems that led to this error. Iraq is not going to be the last foreign-policy challenge in which we must make choices based on ambiguous evidence. When the United States confronts future challenges, the exaggerated estimates of Iraq’s WMD will loom like an ugly shadow over the diplomatic discussions. Fairly or not, no foreigner trusts U.S. intelligence to get it right anymore, or trusts the Bush Administration to tell the truth. The only way that we can regain the world’s trust is to demonstrate that we understand our mistakes and have changed our ways.

Yep, that about seals it. Could we get a Daniel Morris spin on it, though, just for old times’ sake?

I’ll try for Dan…

How about Clinton saying that he was convinced that Iraq had WMDs, up until the overthrow of Saddam? Based on his inside knowledge?

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/040109/1/3h5er.html

Doesn’t really answer the question of why any foreign nation should trust us, though. This isn’t the kind of thing you can get wrong when you are going to fight a war about it.

Also, doesn’t really answer the question about why we should care about other country’s trust based on their goodwill and some magical belief that America will be truly honest in a way that no government, good or bad, has ever been. As always, the cooperation of others will rest on what they perceive as their interests vs America’s actions; our goals should be to provide incentives and disincentives to bring the ones we want along, not pretend it is a judgement based on morality on their part.

Also, doesn’t really answer the question about why we should care about other country’s trust based on their goodwill and some magical belief that America will be truly honest in a way that no government, good or bad, has ever been. As always, the cooperation of others will rest on what they perceive as their interests vs America’s actions; our goals should be to provide incentives and disincentives to bring the ones we want along, not pretend it is a judgement based on morality on their part.[/quote]

Trust between nations is built on consistency of action and speech, which allows nations to at least have an idea of how another nation will react in a given situation. I’m not sure want America known as the nation that will consistently lie in order to take advantage of one situation to further a pet agenda.

The point is that he was wrong, like everyone else.

The point is that he was wrong, like everyone else.[/quote]
NONONONO!!! We just haven’t given our good president enough time! They may still be out there! Let’s not attack our president, and instead look at this colorful graph. See? The red line is going up, which means the economy is getting better… not that it was ever bad in the first place. And anyone who disagrees with anything I just said is unpatriotic.

Right, which has been pretty predictable for the last 100 years of American foreign policy. As for this correlation between speech and action, I think you are, ahem, misunderestimating the world community’s bullshit detector, which is at least as sharp as ours. By world community, of course, I mean the people that actually make decisions, not the fruits burning Bush effigies in the street. They use rhetoric to drive their policies, just as we do with ours. It’s sophomoric and irritating everywhere, but a virtual necessity oin our increasingly democratic populist world.

I’m not sure want America known as the nation that will consistently lie in order to take advantage of one situation to further a pet agenda.

Perhaps you should get out more. America has been known as that country to foreigners for a long time. Whether it’s more true with us than with others is open to debate, but not that they loudly trumpet such views whenever convenient to them.

I hold the opinion that Bush and crew has in fact changed the rhetoric a lot. If it’s “more” than before, I don’t know. But it doesn’t seem to be something that the rest of the world (mainly Europe) is used to, which I think indeed leads to the uncertainty that Jessica mentions.

Naivete, thy name is Jessica.

The actions of the US are about as consistent as you can get. If the US has a halfway plausible excuse to take out somebody despicable, and there’s something in it for immediate US interests, the US will do it. At the same time, if the US can get suitable payoffs by propping up somebody despicable, the US will do that, because it’s a lot cheaper than military action. (Over the short or medium term, that is, which is about as far as our government is capable of looking …)

Similarly, Russia will do whatever is in Russia’s immediate and very selfish interests regardless of the ethical concerns involved. China’s action on something depends entirely on whether it means other nations have a chance of even looking like they’re interfering in internal Chinese affairs. France will do whatever it takes to look like the enlightened and refined elder statesmen of the world, while giving in a bit too often to the urge to try to get egg on American face. And North Korea will do whatever will push as many people as possible to the brink of gibbering rabid demented fear while not quite sending the Chinese or American leadership over the edge.

Consistency isn’t the issue. Everybody’s very consistent. Honesty isn’t the issue. There is no honesty in international politics and everyone involved knows it. As for trust, you name me one nation other than Britain or Australia that most people in the world would rather see replace the US in charge of things.

They trust the US a hell of a lot more than they care to admit, and part of it is because of things like Iraq. When the US was putting troops in Uzbekistan before the Afghan war, Putin’s generals made a stink about it. His response to them: “Why is it a problem?”

Personally, I think it would have been better if Bush had just said “Saddam’s a bad guy, and I just decided we put up with him for long enough,” but I can accept that they believed that wouldn’t fly politically or diplomatically. The WMDs - which, as has been pointed out in this thread, practically everyone believed actually existed, though the implications of their existence differ depending on who you talk to - were a casus belli, nothing more. They may not have by themselves justified a war, but when added on to all the other factors involving Iraq, they were enough to tip the scales from not-at-war to at-war.

A casual glance at some recent headlines–

“US welcomes Iran nuclear report”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3241662.stm

The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, warned that any further Iranian failure to co-operate would not be tolerated.

He said it was a “serious and ominous” message to Iran that it must comply with its nuclear obligations in the future.

Mr ElBaradei said he would report early next year on Iran’s compliance.

“Libya allows snap nuclear checks”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3354211.stm

Libya has agreed to allow immediate inspections of its nuclear facilities, the head of the UN nuclear agency says.

Mohamed ElBaradei, speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Libya, said the Libyans were being fully co-operative…

…Earlier this month, Libya said it would abandon its aspirations of developing weapons of mass destruction.

“US welcomes N Korea nuclear offer”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3373863.stm

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has welcomed North Korea’s offer to suspend testing and producing nuclear weapons and freeze its nuclear industry."

This is the real fruit of the Iraq War, as it was always intended to be.

As casus belli go, tens of thousands of tons of unaccounted-for WMD (http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/s/990125/) is a pretty damn decent one. That is, I should say, if one accepts the post-9/11 premise that we ought stop the proliferation of WMD among rogue states and actors.

Unluckily for the White House and 10 Downing Street, Saddam’s regime was so inept that it chose not to document the destruction of its WMD stocks, even when presented the opportunity to do so. We may never know why Saddam bluffed to the very end. (Actually, we have a very good idea – because France and Russia continued to assure him, right up until D-Day, that the U.S. would not actually invade.) But the absence of WMD stocks hardly discredits the pressing need for establishment of the new norm that has emerged from the ashes of Saddam’s regime.

Dan, you’ve been insisting that NK is giving in to the US for like a year now, but I’m not seeing it.