Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

22 Comments:

Blogger Reacher said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong--wrong wrong McCain.

Wrong, wrong, wrong-wrong wrong wrong McCaaaaaiiin.

Can't clean that staaaaaiiin
Wrong McCain

You got me watchin' and a readin'
To see where you're misleadin'
Wrong McCain

4:00 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

So McCain, like everyone else, was wrong about the WMDs, and Obama, like a lot of other defeatists, was wrong about the surge. I know which error I would rather make.

As for whether defeating Saddam's regime was "easy" -- well, it was. Replacing it with something viable, however, was a whole other matter, and the evidence suggests Bush might not have done so badly if, among other things, he had taken McCain's advice earlier than he did.

Agreed, though, that it was weird of McCain to suggest that there had not been a history of Sunni-Shia violence. When I was in grade school and the war was raging between Iraq and Iran, the fact that one side was predominantly Shia and the other side was predominantly Sunni (at least among the ruling class) was a major factor in how that war was explained to me. McCain was a congressman at that time and would presumably have heard something similar.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Let me get this straight--you would rather be wrong about a war that has killed more than 4,000 U.S. troops and tens of thousands (if not more) of innocent civilians, based entirely on faulty information and/or a lie than be wrong about an extra commitment of troops managing to clamp down on a civil war!? Really!?

8:11 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Let me get this straight--you would rather be wrong about a war . . .

No, I would rather be wrong about whether or not the WMDs were already there. The war was fought for other reasons, too, and presumably Saddam had every intention of restarting the WMD program anyway after he had finished bribing the United Nations into submission and guilt-tripping the rest of us into lifting the sanctions that had been imposed on him in 1991. So the fact that McCain made the same error that everyone else did, on that one point, is no biggie. Whereas the fact that Obama made a point of accepting, encouraging and promoting defeatism is a definite biggie -- especially now that his prediction (that the surge would make things worse in Iraq) has been proved demonstrably false.

I mean, seriously, do you really wish Saddam were still running that country, and raking in the dollars at today's gas prices, and bribing the United Nations types, and financing terrorism, and brutalizing his own people (at apparently higher rates than the terrorists have managed to do since he was deposed), and providing the Middle East with a bold and successful symbol of defiance against the rest of the world, etc., etc.? Really!?

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last time I looked at Chattaway's blog, it said that he was born and raised outside of the US; however, you criticize his viewpoint based upon the premises that took us (the USA) to war in the first place - the blood is NOT on his hands.

You should be pointing at yourself when you make that charge.

By the way who did you vote for in 2000?

8:45 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Peter,

Conservatives love that line of argument: "Are you really denying Saddam was a bad man? Would you like to see Saddam back in power, brutalizing his people? Well, would you?"

It's an irrelevant line of questioning and reveals the fundamental flaw of your position and all those who were for the invasion of Iraq from the beginning: YOU WERE WRONG. And the sooner you admit it and talk some sort of responsibility for it, the better.

It's a tangent of something your mother told you growing up: two wrongs don't make a right.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

So one is only wrong if one is an American? One's views are excused if one lives outside the United States? Whew! I can think of a lot of people for whom that little bit of information will be a gigantic relief.

As for who I voted for, why don't you tell me since you obviously know, instead of cowardly hiding behind your "anonymous" profile.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. It's a mistake I have been trying to remedy ever since. Oh, and just so you know, I was dead set against the war in Iraq since Bush first breathed a word about it. Almost lost friends over it. Some of us could see the monumentality of the sheer idiocy from the beginning. What's your excuse?

8:55 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

It's an irrelevant line of questioning and reveals the fundamental flaw of your position and all those who were for the invasion of Iraq from the beginning: YOU WERE WRONG.

What an absurd proposition. If the world is better without Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq than it would have been with Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq, then the question of his continued rule over Iraq is anything but "irrelevant" to the question of whether or not those who supported the war were "wrong" to support it.

Logic, my dear boy, logic. What do they teach in these schools. ;)

But just for the record: I do agree with you that my views matter even if I am not an American. Just as your views matter even if you are not a Canadian. Like it or not, we're all interconnected, and all that.

Still, that being said, a part of me is glad that I do not have the option of voting in your election. I would pretty much have to vote against Obama just on principle, but there are times when, to steal a line from somebody or other, I do think it is a pity that they can't both lose.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Bad events can come from good intentions just as good events can come from bad intentions. It is the intentions we are judging here, not the lucky side-effects--if one can call the last several years in Iraq "lucky" and keep a straight face.

That was my point. And that is logical.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Bad events can come from good intentions just as good events can come from bad intentions. It is the intentions we are judging here, not the lucky side-effects . . .

The democratizing of Iraq was always a primary intention, not a mere side-effect. The sooner you admit that, the better.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

Really? And here I thought WMBs were threatening my way of life and death on a cataclysmic scale by the hand of Saddam was imminent. I'm almost sure I heard someone say that once.

The democratizing of Iraq language came only after it became obvious to everyone that we went in there for all the wrong reasons. The fact that we, that anyone, is still having this particular argument, all these years later is equally insane.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Delahunt said...

I was for the invasion of Iraq from the get-go, but not primarily on the basis of WMD and imminent threat - I weighted that very lightly against other issues. The basis of MY LOGIC of going to war was focused on the UN resolution 1440, which was voted for overwhelmingly, but not acted upon. I was extremely concerned about the numerous occurrences of inspectors getting kicked out of the county and constantly getting gamed by that Saddam idiot. He was funding terrorism for the Hammas... not to mention the "Oil-For-Food" fiasco. His WMD threat was a small tip of the iceberg of what was wrong with Iraq - they were shooting at our pilots enforcing the no-fly zone, an attempted assassination on an ex-president, the list goes on...

How do you deal with a threat like Saddam Hussein without the use of brute force?

Now as far as what I can admit to being wrong about was the execution of the occupation of Iraq... numerous mistakes, especially when we dismantled most of the civilian/military infrastructure after the invasion... as a matter of fact, it wasn't until after Donald Rumsfeld resigned that proper steps were made in Iraq, to the detriment of defeatist like Barak Obama. President Bush learned from his mistakes and made the appropriate changes which, in my opinion is a true-to-the-soul, "Profile In Courage." Whereas the future thriving population of a country will be paying tribute and thanks to the military and civilians who gave their lives in the fire and crossfire of this war, necessary war. And there is nothing "neo-conservative" about that viewpoint. I can't wait to return to that part of the world so that I can make my difference!

I know that many people are hoping otherwise, but I want us to win in Iraq, and a vote for Obama is a vote for someone who wanted us to come home in defeat. I can't vote my conscience for someone in that regard.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Matthew Delahunt said...

And my dear Brandon,

As far as our disagreements go, please don't fear that our friendship will ever go sour. You still are, and shall remain one of my closest dearest friends... although you turned out to be a liberal wacko... and I turned out the opposite.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

On that Matt, we are in utter, complete and total agreement!

10:03 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

Brandon, it's not my fault if your political engagement prior to the invasion was as shallow as you indicate. The discussions I had with people prior to the invasion of Iraq were often about the need to foster a more democratic society in the Middle East -- a society that would, in turn, be less likely to create more suicide bombers. We could probably go on and on forever discussing just how possible or probable the success of such a mission might have been -- and indeed might still be. But if it's a question of intent, then yeah, that's what it was.

And this is coming from a guy who instantly disliked the term "war on terror" because it sounded too much like "war on drugs", and who almost lost a friend or two of his own because he was willing to entertain the notion that the 9/11 attacks did not entirely come out of the blue. I'm not a rah-rah, America-can-do-no-wrong type, and I have always had concerns about the Bush administration's ability to promote its agenda and to plan for the next phase after the defeat of Saddam Hussein.

But given all the options, invading Iraq still seemed like a better option than not invading. And, on balance, the past five and a half years have done more to confirm that view than disconfirm it.

It would certainly, at any rate, be a big mistake to declare defeat and surrender that territory to al-Qaeda or whoever -- especially when things are trending in your favour. As you say, two wrongs don't make a right, and if it is thought by some that the war was begun by American arrogance or belligerence, then it does you no good if it is thought by some that American involvement in the war came to an end because Americans are fickle and impatient and can't finish what they started.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Reacher said...

Peter is right.

Gulp.

He's wrong about most the things he's saying here, but right about the true motives driving the invasion of Iraq. The publicly stated purposes were to stop WMDs and get those responsible for 9/11, but there was a much broader agenda.

The neocon ideology, articulated in the 1990's Project for a New American Century, essentially claimed that Reagan won the Cold War and Clinton to capitalize on the triumph. The intellectual machine driving the politics was a piece written by Francis Fukuyama declaring the End of History. In short, history is a cycle of Hegelian dialectics, where each good idea is ultimately replaced by another. Fukuyama's claim was that democratic capitalism had won. With the US victory in the Cold War, we had reached the end of history. The world was now ours for the taking. Spread dem-cap, even at the barrel of a gun.

Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, & Co. believed they had a "millenial calling" to spread democracy. That was the energy driving the invasion in Iraq. It was perpetrated on a fraud, because they knew they couldn't sell their nation-building agenda. Better to take advantage of the rabid patriotism percolating throughout the country.

Even Fukuyama has engaged in intellectual gymnastics to argue that the neocon use of his ideas was a perversion.

Here are the problems with the current disagreement: Obama is consistently misrepresented as cutting and running. He plans a withdrawal that is responsible, and that turns over power, responsibly to the Iraqis. He does not propose leaving as fast as we can and damn the consequences. McCain, on the other hand, talks of victory--a term few others will invoke--but cannot say what that would look like. He justifies an occupation with no end. When will you defeat terrorism? Never. I know the 100-year occupation thing has been taken out of context against Mac, but really? We could be there forever without a victory.

Seriously, I would like someone to tell me the clear exit strategy for this administration and how they would measure victory?

McCain was wrong from the beginning, and he's wrong now. We cannot win, because we're fighting an idea and an endless supply of comgatants, funneled into Iraq BECAUSE we are there.

Last, the debate often becomes about whether we should have gone there or not. I'm not so sure we shouldn't have attacked Iraq at some point, but not unilaterally. It was not THAT we went in that cost us so much in global political capital, it's HOW we went and how we've stayed.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

The publicly stated purposes were to stop WMDs and get those responsible for 9/11, but there was a much broader agenda.

But? But? Did I just imagine all those speeches and op-ed pieces on the need to spread democracy to Iraq, etc.? Did I just imagine that the whole thing went by the name Operation Iraqi Freedom? Are you seriously implying that there were no other publicly stated purposes?

I'm not so sure we shouldn't have attacked Iraq at some point, but not unilaterally.

Yeah, because letting the United Nations etc. influence the previous Gulf War was so successful.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Reacher said...

Yes, you are dreaming if you think those were the actual justifications given for attacking. Those were given later to rationalize regime change...what was once called "nation building."

"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building." President George W. Bush, Oct. 11, 2000.

Uh. Did we lose 4,000+ American lives and all respect from the world community in the first Gulf War?

You seem filled with an inordinate amount of red, white, and blue bullshit for a Canadian, eh? Do you just have big ol' hard on for power and it feels good to be so close to a nation of ass-kickers? 'Cause we can fit you with a cowboy hat and a Rambo DVD if it will make you feel more like a man.

11:11 PM  
Blogger CNEIL said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:51 PM  
Blogger CNEIL said...

Before the invasion of Iraq a friend who was a chemical weapons specialist in the first Gulf War told me he once guarded Saddam's stock piles of mustard gas and other toxins. He claimed that he didn't know what the military did with them after the 1991 war was over.

It also totally blows my mind how Colin Powell could go before the U.N. and unequivocally state that Iraq has WMDs, especially since none were found. Perhaps he too had mixed motives, but I don't believe that he would intentionally lie.

I do believe that the White House felt perceived danger from Iraq, thought they had enough dirt on the country to justify a military excursion, and decided that attacking Iraq would be better for the United States in the long run.

But I think we need to just admit that the war in Iraq is not about finding Bin Laden or stopping terrorism. I don't really think that it ever was.

The reasons that the United States is fighting in Iraq have more to do with power and finances. If the Bush administration wanted to leave, they could have left immediately after the transitional government was set up and Saddam was hanged. After the new government collapsed, Bush could have pointed his finger and accused the Iraqi people of not taking care of themselves. Case closed.

It might not be true, but at least 51% of the American people would have believed Bush's farcical accusations that despite the “victory” over Saddam, the Iraqi people don't “love freedom enough” and are unable to self govern. Most Americans would have just gone back to watching the next season of Paris Hilton's "The Simple Life" and forgotten about the war within a matter of months.

At best, I believe the Bush administration felt that "stopping terrorism" and "huntin' Bin Laden would be serendipitous side effects of our current military excursions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, southern Turkey, and western Iran.

Until the politicians of both political parties admit to the American people that the Iraq war was about preventing Saddam from selling cheap oil to interests that conflict with the United States, creating defense sector jobs for a failing U.S. economy, punishing Arab nations for betraying the U.S. in the mid-eighties, creating a buffer between Africa and China, finding a new place for troops formerly stationed in the Korean peninsula, bombing mosque leaders that call America the "Great Satan," and destabilizing financial institutions that transfer funds between various anti-Zionist regimes and companies, then none of the political debate is legitimate. We are only hearing false-pretense after false-pretense.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Peter T Chattaway said...

reacher wrote:
Yes, you are dreaming if you think those were the actual justifications given for attacking. Those were given later . . .

So Bush gave his pre-war speech after the war, and Operation Iraqi Freedom was only given that name after the invasion itself had begun? Seriously? That's your story?

Did we lose 4,000+ American lives and all respect from the world community in the first Gulf War?

To the extent that the botched ending of the first Gulf War led to the second Gulf War, sure, why not. You might compare it to how the botched ending of the First World War led to the Second World War.

You seem filled with an inordinate amount of red, white, and blue bullshit for a Canadian, eh?

Let me know when you learn how to read. Note the bit above where I talk about my skepticism re: the "war on terror", etc.

'Cause we can fit you with a cowboy hat and a Rambo DVD if it will make you feel more like a man.

Heh, no, I'll let you keep your overcompensation devices. ;)

4:42 AM  
Blogger Grinth said...

Peter wrote: "You might compare it to how the botched ending of the First World War led to the Second World War."

Now you are stretching...BIG TIME. There were, as always, a multitude of things that led to WWII, but a very significant portion of it rests with with the fact that the 'victors' placed the entire onus of WWI on Germany when in reality it was the cluster**** of secret treaties and alliances that caused the mess, with no one country innocent. The subsequent restrictions and penalties put on Germany destroyed its economy. The whole thing stunk, and it created the perfect milieu for Hitler to rise to power.

I'm sorry there is just no way to compare the two world wars to the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq. Well, I take that back. You can, but it is a dangerous road to go on, since Hitler's speech and justifications to invade Austria mirror Bush's speech about invading Iraq. Terrorists, the threat from another country, our God given right to protect our homeland etc, etc.

But god love you for having such faith in our country's pure interests in "spreading democracy". Unfortunately a good look at the history of our country shows a nation that has little to no interest in truly spreading democracy-especially in the Middle East. What we do have a history of is supporting democracy in another country only if that country is in line with our interests. If it is not, we've employed a multitude of methods to unseat that democratically elected government.

So you'll have to forgive me if I do not share your faith that Bush and Co. were and are being honest about spreading democracy-especially when he has been dishonest about so many other things.

1:14 PM  

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