The biggest WTF of the last 4 years.



  • One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events.  On the other hand, I like to think that I am.  Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:

    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"

     

    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know?  Really, I mean, WTF?  How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?



  • ...Did he just wake up from a coma?



  • @djork said:

    One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events. On the other hand, I like to think that I am. Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:

    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"

    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know? Really, I mean, WTF? How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?

    Though I don't think political discussion really belongs on these forums, its actually a good question, because the administration's justification has changed roughly every 6 months (since each justification has been progressively proven false by intelligence reports).



  • @Dark Shikari said:

    Though I don't think political discussion really belongs on these forums, its actually a good question, because the administration's justification has changed roughly every 6 months (since each justification has been progressively proven false by intelligence reports).

    Wait, so you mean Saddam didn't have WMDs capable of destroying the western world within 5 minutes? They weren't in league with Al Qaeda and actually they liked each other as much as slugs like salt? Saddam isn't really a cardboard cut-out living in hell with Satan? Saddam wasn't the mastermind behind "9/11"? Well gosh darn!

    Actually, there is one reason that the leaders, both Tony 'lapdog' Blair and George 'dubya' Bush in question gave, which goes the a long way back, and which they have never backtracked on. Both are on record as saying that they were told, in a dream, by God, to go on a holy mission to invade Iraq. All other reasons pale in comparison I suppose, since there's no higher authority than the magic sky fairy himself. Frankly I find the Southparkian "'cos Saddam is a cardboard cut-out working in league with the Devil" theory both more rational, and less disturbing.

    So there you go. The official easily summarised answer to the question, the reason for invading Iraq. "Because God said so." 



  • I think "because we're greedy imperialistic bastards" pretty much covers it. There's no conspiracy involved here, just a lot of arrogant denial (exactly the same as you have found in every other greedy imperialistic nation throughout history).



  • C'mon guys, he said without sounding like a conspiricy theorist:

    • Saddam had violated (repeatedly) the cease fire agreement from Desert Storm, both by throwing out the inspectors, and by shooting at the aircraft enforcing the [UN devised] No Fly Zone (so it could be argued, and Bush did, that it wasn't really a new war, but a continuation of the first)
    • Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs
    • Links to terrorism.  There was evidence of Saddam/al-Qaeda cooperation (not on 9/11 specifically).  He was also overtly supporting Palestinian suicide bombers.  He had tried to assassinate a former President of the US (GHW Bush)
    • The sanctions (Oil for Food) had been mostly subverted, and were about to completely crumble, possibly allowing Saddam to resume weapons programs and other nefarious things (thereby also giving Iran a great reason to want a stronger military and/or nukes)
    • He hadn't reconstituted, and things were just going to get worse, so Bush wanted to do it before he became more of a problem



  • The real WTF here is that 99% of the people surely knows the exact reason.



  • @boomzilla said:

    • Links to terrorism.  There was evidence of Saddam/al-Qaeda cooperation (not on 9/11 specifically).

    This is the one I hear the most. It's also by far the most incorrect, and the closest to being a conspiracy theory in and of itself!

    While Wikipedia is by no means the most solid source in the world, this article (as of time of my posting) summarises the key points. A few choice quotes... Osama Bin Laden and Saddam were a long long way away from being friends. So now we have a "war on terror" that is actually centring on attacking the enemies of the people who are the actual terrorists.

    Saddam plotted to kill Dubya's daddy? Sheesh, I wonder if family issues were therefore a bigger reason for attacking Iraq than imaginary weapons that nobody seriously believes exist? Sure, once upon a time he had WMDs. We know this for a fact. Why? Try to guess who gave them to him to use on Iran. Go on, guess. You'll never get it!

    So, no WMDs (and even if there were, we were the ones to give them to him), and he was actually an enemy of the world's main international terrorist organisation. Oh, and the trying to kill Dubya's daddy? Read up on exactly how Saddam got into power (and while you're at it, Osama's story, and the story of the countless other democracys destroyed with U.S. sockpuppet dictators put in their place).

    But I guess Iraq is old news now. The big story is Iran's nuclear power plants, which according to the treaties signed by them and us, we should be helping them build!



  • @djork said:

    One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events. On the other hand, I like to think that I am. Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:

    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"

    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know? Really, I mean, WTF? How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?

    I don't know either. 



  • Sorry, but you really need to get your news for somewhere other than Rush Limbaugh or Fox News


    @boomzilla said:

    by throwing out the inspectors 

    He didn't "throw out" the inspectors.  The Iraqi government wasn't cooperating so the leader of the UN inspectors gave the orders to leave because they weren't able to do their job.  This was reported in every major news source in 1998, but carefully avoided by the current administration when they were fabricating their reasons for invading Iraq.

     

    Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs

    Nobody thought Saddam had WMDs and there was absoutely no evidence that he did.

    Links to terrorism.  There was evidence of Saddam/al-Qaeda cooperation

    Iraq had no ties to any terrorist orginizations.  In fact, Osama bin Laden considered Saddam an enemy and wanted him killed.  Ironically, George Bush gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted.

     

    possibly allowing Saddam to resume weapons programs

    There were no weapons programs, as has been proven.

    things were just going to get worse, so Bush wanted to do it before he became more of a problem

    So Bush rushed in and make things worse.  In the early 90's, after the first Gulf War, Dick Cheney (who was Secretary of Defense) was asked why we didn't invade Iraq and take out Saddam.  His response was "attempting to take over Iraq would be a bad idea and would lead to a quagmire"

     



  • @RayS said:

    But I guess Iraq is old news now. The big story is Iran's nuclear power plants, which according to the treaties signed by them and us, we should be helping them build!

    And given the past behaviour of our governments, the main reason for the fuss is probably to wriggle out of that obligation. 



  • @El_Heffe said:

     

    Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs

    Nobody thought Saddam had WMDs and there was absoutely no evidence that he did.

    I suspect the initial reasoning (that they kept quiet) went something like "We gave him some WMDs ten years ago, and he hasn't used them, so he must still have them". Probably couldn't bear the thought that he might have just got rid of them.



  • @RayS said:

    @boomzilla said:
    • Links to terrorism.  There was evidence of Saddam/al-Qaeda cooperation (not on 9/11 specifically).

    This is the one I hear the most. It's also by far the most incorrect, and the closest to being a conspiracy theory in and of itself!

    While Wikipedia is by no means the most solid source in the world, this article (as of time of my posting) summarises the key points. A few choice quotes... Osama Bin Laden and Saddam were a long long way away from being friends. So now we have a "war on terror" that is actually centring on attacking the enemies of the people who are the actual terrorists.

    Regardless of their personal relations, there was evidence of al Qaeda activity in Iraq, including a training camp. 

    @RayS said:


    Saddam plotted to kill Dubya's daddy? Sheesh, I wonder if family issues were therefore a bigger reason for attacking Iraq than imaginary weapons that nobody seriously believes exist? Sure, once upon a time he had WMDs. We know this for a fact. Why? Try to guess who gave them to him to use on Iran. Go on, guess. You'll never get it!

    So, no WMDs (and even if there were, we were the ones to give them to him), and he was actually an enemy of the world's main international terrorist organisation.

     

    It's true that the family connection likely had an influence, but regardless, he tried to kill an ex-president.  Ignoring this fact doesn't make it go away.  Yes, we gave him some    WMDs, which is one thing that everyone brings up, like it's some kind of trump card.  The bottom line is that, in 2003, pretty much every serious person and government in the world thought Saddam had WMDs.  Just because he got them from us doesn't mean that he wouldn't use them against us or against an ally.

     If he was such an enemy, what was he doing to fight them?



  • @boomzilla said:

    It's true that the family connection likely had an influence, but regardless, he tried to kill an ex-president.

    Well gee, that pretty much makes him a hero. 


    The bottom line is that, in 2003, pretty much every serious person and government in the world thought Saddam had WMDs.

    The bottom line is that you're full of crap and just made that up. 



  • @boomzilla said:

    @RayS said:

    While Wikipedia is by no means the most solid source in the world, this article (as of time of my posting) summarises the key points. A few choice quotes... Osama Bin Laden and Saddam were a long long way away from being friends. So now we have a "war on terror" that is actually centring on attacking the enemies of the people who are the actual terrorists.

    Regardless of their personal relations, there was evidence of al Qaeda activity in Iraq, including a training camp. 

    There's evidence of al Quaeda activity in loads of places, including here in the U.K. I guess it makes sense to bomb us, then. In terms of terrorist training camps, I think it's almost an official industry in Pakistan. However (a) they have nukes so could actually fight back, and it's only really good sport to beat the living hell out of an opponent who can't fight back, and (b) half the well funded companies in the world outsource at least part of their business there. It would be bad form to cause any inconvenience to those arrangements.

    @boomzilla said:

    @RayS said:

    Saddam plotted to kill Dubya's daddy? Sheesh, I wonder if family issues were therefore a bigger reason for attacking Iraq than imaginary weapons that nobody seriously believes exist? Sure, once upon a time he had WMDs. We know this for a fact. Why? Try to guess who gave them to him to use on Iran. Go on, guess. You'll never get it!

    So, no WMDs (and even if there were, we were the ones to give them to him), and he was actually an enemy of the world's main international terrorist organisation.

     

    It's true that the family connection likely had an influence, but regardless, he tried to kill an ex-president.  Ignoring this fact doesn't make it go away.  Yes, we gave him some    WMDs, which is one thing that everyone brings up, like it's some kind of trump card.  The bottom line is that, in 2003, pretty much every serious person and government in the world thought Saddam had WMDs.  Just because he got them from us doesn't mean that he wouldn't use them against us or against an ally.

     If he was such an enemy, what was he doing to fight them?

    So what? Whoopdie doodie doodle diddle diddle doo, some bloke in charge of a country tried to kill an ex-leader of the U.S. Hardly justification for attacking an entire nation. Of course, this pales in comparison to the large list of both direct and indirect political assassinations and coups sponsored by the U.S. gov. Quite often replacing democracies with dictators. If some lame assassination was reason for war in retaliation, there'd have been as many wars waged against the U.S. government as there have ben presidents.

    Regarding the WMDs (or rather, lack thereof), you cannot just use owning them as justification for war - when you are the people who supplied them. In police circles this is known as entrapment. However, even ignoring that, regardless of what the oficial line may be, at the time it was a long way from being clear that Saddam still had functional WMDs (more). In fact, the majority of neutral, intelligent people thought the claims to be a load of horse manure. It is also a fact that he didn't have them. Even if (and it wasn't, but if) the 'evidence' was actually sound, the 'evidence' was wrong. Starting wars, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands, ruining countries and economies, isn't something where you just get to go "Whoops, my bad! hahaha!" at the end of it all. Well actually, it looks like you do get to do that sadly, but you shouldn't be able to.

    Anyway, Bush said in 2003 in an official press release that they had found the WMDs. They have them, and they were soon going to find more. Well come on then. The entire world is calling you a liar at this point. If you really have them, prove us all wrong. end the entire anti-war sentiment worldwide by proving that all your claims were true. It's there in black & white - you claim to have them. Unless... could that have been... yet another lie?



  • @djork said:

    One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events.  On the other hand, I like to think that I am.  Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:
    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"
    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know?  Really, I mean, WTF?  How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?
    Having at least skimmed most of the replies given so far, I've not seen the succint(sp?,) and potentially conspiracy theorem, reply of:

    Oil.

    I'm sure this reply will place me on a database somewhere.




  • @PJH said:

    Having at least skimmed most of the replies given so far, I've not seen the succint(sp?,) and potentially conspiracy theorem, reply of:

    Oil.

    I'm sure this reply will place me on a database somewhere.

    Of course it's about oil. What do Iraq and Iran have which North Korean doesn't? Rather telling that the one Axis of Evil nation which actually has a working nuclear weapons program, (possibly/most likely) has already detonated at least one nuke, and has actively fired ballistic missiles in a threatening manner, is the one country Bush is content to sit down and engage in useless negotiations with. Why bother invading there? It's just a bunch of starving peasants with no useful or exploitable resources.

     

    My personal conspiracy theory about Iraq is that the whole invasion was a coverup for Halliburton to go in as repo men for all the weapons that Daddy Bush shipped over there in the 80s, for which Saddam hadn't yet paid the bill. "How do we know that Saddam had WMDs? We sold them to him"
     



  • @RayS said:

    Regarding the WMDs (or rather, lack thereof), you cannot just use owning them as justification for war - when you are the people who supplied them. In police circles this is known as entrapment. However, even ignoring that, regardless of what the oficial line may be, at the time it was a long way from being clear that Saddam still had functional WMDs (more). In fact, the majority of neutral, intelligent people thought the claims to be a load of horse manure. It is also a fact that he didn't have them. Even if (and it wasn't, but if) the 'evidence' was actually sound, the 'evidence' was wrong. Starting wars, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands, ruining countries and economies, isn't something where you just get to go "Whoops, my bad! hahaha!" at the end of it all. Well actually, it looks like you do get to do that sadly, but you shouldn't be able to.

    Wow, that's an interesting historical perspective.  I seem to recall Iraq agreeing to conditions to end the first gulf war that included, among other things, full compliance with UN weapons inspectors.  He clearly disregarded that which was a serious problem given the context of 9/11.   The UN continued to pass resolutions but did nothing to enforce them. Keep in mind that all Iraq had to do was open the doors and this whole mess could have been avoided - there's no way the world or US citizens would have tolerated an invasion after Iraq had complied.  You're right that having weapons is no reason to go to war but if you have WMDs, have used said WMDs, invaded another country, agree to cooperate fully with UN inspectors and then don't, there must be follow up.  The UN, as usual, was useless.

    Knowing what we know now, there are no weapons and this has been a tragedy.  It could have been avoided, there's no doubt but there's plenty of blame to go around.  As for the weapons being found, they did, just not in the numbers that were expected.  Again Iraq agreed to a ban on certain weaponry that was found during the invasion.



  • This thread will end in nothing but rancor and misery, and I'll bet it will be locked in the end. (However, I think asuffield is a mod now, right? And he's participating in the thread.)

     That being said, I think boomzilla put the "pro-invasion" arguments forward about as well as any. Saddam had repeatedly violated the terms of UN sanctions, so technically he should have been dealt with by the UN. Of course, that was not going to happen.

     

    Everyone thought Saddam had WMDs

     

    Nobody thought Saddam had WMDs and there was absoutely no evidence that he did.

    Although what we found later - or didn't find - turned out to be pretty embarrassing, here is what a number of US politicians and opinion makers thought at the time. (Yes, it's Glenn Beck, but if you have a problem with the source, just please refute the quoted material.) Also, whatever happened to those weapons, Saddam's government was supposed to account for them, something that never happened. Who knows where they ended up.


     



  • I had read through the majority of these replies and was thinking, "What an amazingly insightful and well read group the WTF community is"  Then one singleminded person had to step in and say "Of course it's about oil."  How one-dimensional that thinking is.  If it were all about oil, why don't we just declare war on Canada and Mexico? (http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html)  We get twice as much oil from them as we do from the Middle East Countries.  Or better yet, why not Nigeria, there is a country that we could probably take over with less fuss than our two neighbors, or the politically volatile Middle East, and still make a haul with their huge oil reserves. 

    While this war is about many things, I'm sure oil plays some role, but I'm also sure that promoting democracy abroad is one of the administrations primary goals.  If you read the National Security Strategy of the United States (http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html) you will find this objective: <font face="arial, helvetica, sans serif" size="2"><font color="#003399" face="arial, helvetica, sans serif" size="2">Expand the Circle of Development by Opening Societies and Building the Infrastructure of Democracy.  </font></font>Why didn't Bush number 1 have a proper exit strategy during the first Gulf War?  Could it have been to allow a seed of democracy to plant itself in the Middle East, by allowing numerous US corporations to gain a foothold in Kuwait, the country we saved from Saddam?  Could Bush number 2 just be continuing his fathers goals?

     Oil, bah, it's much bigger than mere oil.  It's a conspiracy I tell you! ;-)



  • @El_Heffe said:

    Sorry, but you really need to get your news for somewhere other than Rush Limbaugh or Fox News

    @boomzilla said:

    by throwing out the inspectors

    He didn't "throw out" the inspectors.  The Iraqi government wasn't cooperating so the leader of the UN inspectors gave the orders to leave because they weren't able to do their job.  This was reported in every major news source in 1998, but carefully avoided by the current administration when they were fabricating their reasons for invading Iraq.



    Are you seriously saying that it's perfectly fine that they couldn't do their jobs, as long as they were in the country?

    What always annoys me about this debate is this: What the fuck are "WMDs"?  It's just some term the press started using and everyone jumped on the bandwagon.  Saddam definitely had things he wasn't supposed to have, but it's nothing sexy like chemical or biological so I guess that doesn't count.



  • @bw13a said:

    Knowing what we know now, there are no weapons and this has been a tragedy.

    The investigation before the war concluded that Iraq had ceased all production in 1991 and destroyed all the relevant weapons (exactly what they were supposed to do). We knew before the war that there were no weapons. The CIA put out a considerable amount of media noise that was pure lies (about weapons stockpiles and laboratories), but didn't even bother to fabricate any evidence for it.


    As for the weapons being found, they did, just not in the numbers that were expected.

    There were a lot of announcements of finds which were later retraced (in a stunning display of media silence). This is because the field tests for chemical agents are, frankly, almost useless - they throw false positives all the time. Agricultural fertiliser sets them off, as do most industrial facilities.

    They did find about half a dozen sets of old (1980s) chemical weapons. Chemical weapons have a shelf life of about 5 years - these things were harmless. They also weren't stockpiled, they had just been buried and lost - probably whoever buried them was dead, and nobody even knew they were there.

    There's a lot of old buried chemical weapons junk in most countries in Europe, and probably in the US as well. Every few years somebody digs up another one left over from the WW2 era.



  • @asuffield said:

    The investigation before the war concluded that Iraq had ceased all production in 1991 and destroyed all the relevant weapons (exactly what they were supposed to do). We knew before the war that there were no weapons. The CIA put out a considerable amount of media noise that was pure lies (about weapons stockpiles and laboratories), but didn't even bother to fabricate any evidence for it.

    There were a lot of announcements of finds which were later retraced (in a stunning display of media silence). This is because the field tests for chemical agents are, frankly, almost useless - they throw false positives all the time. Agricultural fertiliser sets them off, as do most industrial facilities.

    They did find about half a dozen sets of old (1980s) chemical weapons. Chemical weapons have a shelf life of about 5 years - these things were harmless. They also weren't stockpiled, they had just been buried and lost - probably whoever buried them was dead, and nobody even knew they were there.

    There's a lot of old buried chemical weapons junk in most countries in Europe, and probably in the US as well. Every few years somebody digs up another one left over from the WW2 era.

    That's interesting because Hans Blix, among others, were against the invasion but also admitted that Iraq had not complied with the UN resolutions in that all equipment and weapons had not been accounted for. Just for my own info, I'd like to see this report that you are referencing.

    Again Iraq put itself in this position in that it was an aggressor into Kuwait, agreed to terms to end the war and then failed to live up to the terms.  Given Iraq's/Saddam's history, I surely wouldn't trust his word.



  • @bw13a said:

    That's interesting because Hans Blix, among others, were against the invasion but also admitted that Iraq had not complied with the UN resolutions in that all equipment and weapons had not been accounted for.

    A loaded question asked by a politician trying to support the invasion. The US government cannot account for all its equipment and weapons, so why should you expect any other government to account for every last item? Things get lost and stolen. Imperfect bookkeeping is not a reason to invade somebody.

    Blix and the rest of the inspectors repeatedly expressed their position that the Iraqi government didn't have any weapons.



  • "Crazy dictator might or might not have WMDs and isn't letting us check" still sounds like a pretty reasonable explanation to me.



  • @Dark Shikari said:

    Though I don't think political discussion really belongs on these forums, its actually a good question, because the administration's justification has changed roughly every 6 months (since each justification has been progressively proven false by intelligence reports).

    What's with everybody saying they changed their explanation?  They gave multiple reasons upfront, but one-track-minded critics just picked one at a time to complain about.



  • @MarcB said:

    Rather telling that the one Axis of Evil nation which actually has a working nuclear weapons program, (possibly/most likely) has already detonated at least one nuke, and has actively fired ballistic missiles in a threatening manner, is the one country Bush is content to sit down and engage in useless negotiations with. Why bother invading there?

    Yeah, invading the country that (possibly/most likely) will nuke us is a waaay better idea than invading the guy who might be able to nuke us in 15 years.  Not like we'd have any reason to try and avoid a nuclear war.



  •  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.R.4655.ENR:

     

    Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)

    --H.R.4655--

    H.R.4655

    <center>One Hundred Fifth Congress</center>

    <center>of the</center>

    <center>United States of America</center>

    <center>AT THE SECOND SESSION</center>

    Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday,

    the twenty-seventh day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight

    An Act

    <ttitle>To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.</ttitle>

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

      This Act may be cited as the `Iraq Liberation Act of 1998'.

    SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

      The Congress makes the following findings:
        (1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.
        (2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.
        (3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.
        (4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a 7 month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait's oil wells ablaze upon retreat.
        (5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire conditions specified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.
        (6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.
        (7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of or attack against Kuwait.
        (8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government.
        (9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.
        (10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.
        (11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared that `the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.'.
        (12) On May 1, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes, and for related purposes.

    SEC. 3. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS REGARDING UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARD IRAQ.

      It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.

    SEC. 4. ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT A TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ.

      (a) AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE- The President may provide to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations designated in accordance with section 5 the following assistance:
        (1) BROADCASTING ASSISTANCE- (A) Grant assistance to such organizations for radio and television broadcasting by such organizations to Iraq.
        (B) There is authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1999 to carry out this paragraph.
        (2) MILITARY ASSISTANCE- (A) The President is authorized to direct the drawdown of defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense, defense services of the Department of Defense, and military education and training for such organizations.
        (B) The aggregate value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of assistance provided under this paragraph may not exceed $97,000,000.
      (b) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE- The Congress urges the President to use existing authorities under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide humanitarian assistance to individuals living in areas of Iraq controlled by organizations designated in accordance with section 5, with emphasis on addressing the needs of individuals who have fled to such areas from areas under the control of the Saddam Hussein regime.
      (c) RESTRICTION ON ASSISTANCE- No assistance under this section shall be provided to any group within an organization designated in accordance with section 5 which group is, at the time the assistance is to be provided, engaged in military cooperation with the Saddam Hussein regime.
      (d) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT- The President shall notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 at least 15 days in advance of each obligation of assistance under this section in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications under section 634A.
      (e) REIMBURSEMENT RELATING TO MILITARY ASSISTANCE-
        (1) IN GENERAL- Defense articles, defense services, and military education and training provided under subsection (a)(2) shall be made available without reimbursement to the Department of Defense except to the extent that funds are appropriated pursuant to paragraph (2).
        (2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated to the President for each of the fiscal years 1998 and 1999 such sums as may be necessary to reimburse the applicable appropriation, fund, or account for the value (as defined in section 644(m) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) of defense articles, defense services, or military education and training provided under subsection (a)(2).
      (f) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- (1) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are authorized to remain available until expended.
      (2) Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section are in addition to amounts otherwise available for the purposes described in this section.
      (g) AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE- Activities under this section (including activities of the nature described in subsection (b)) may be undertaken notwithstanding any other provision of law.

    SEC. 5. DESIGNATION OF IRAQI DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION ORGANIZATION.

      (a) INITIAL DESIGNATION- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall designate one or more Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
      (b) DESIGNATION OF ADDITIONAL ORGANIZATIONS- At any time subsequent to the initial designation pursuant to subsection (a), the President may designate one or more additional Iraqi democratic opposition organizations that the President determines satisfy the criteria set forth in subsection (c) as eligible to receive assistance under section 4.
      (c) CRITERIA FOR DESIGNATION- In designating an organization pursuant to this section, the President shall consider only organizations that--
        (1) include a broad spectrum of Iraqi individuals, groups, or both, opposed to the Saddam Hussein regime; and
        (2) are committed to democratic values, to respect for human rights, to peaceful relations with Iraq's neighbors, to maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, and to fostering cooperation among democratic opponents of the Saddam Hussein regime.
      (d) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENT- At least 15 days in advance of designating an Iraqi democratic opposition organization pursuant to this section, the President shall notify the congressional committees specified in section 634A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 of his proposed designation in accordance with the procedures applicable to reprogramming notifications under section 634A.

    SEC. 6. WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL FOR IRAQ.

      Consistent with section 301 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (Public Law 102-138), House Concurrent Resolution 137, 105th Congress (approved by the House of Representatives on November 13, 1997), and Senate Concurrent Resolution 78, 105th Congress (approved by the Senate on March 13, 1998), the Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.

    SEC. 7. ASSISTANCE FOR IRAQ UPON REPLACEMENT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN REGIME.

      It is the sense of the Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.

    SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

      Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.

    Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Vice President of the United States and

    President of the Senate.


  • @djork said:

    One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events. On the other hand, I like to think that I am. Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:

    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"

    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know? Really, I mean, WTF? How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?

    We are at war with Iraq because the United States government, in an effort to go Fascist, falsifies information, terrifies it's citizens, and tortures people. And the worst part about it is that people open their asses wide for the ramming because the government goes in with "holy motives"... GOD TOLD ME TO DO IT!



  • The real reason is because Iraq called the US gay.



  • @asuffield said:

    @bw13a said:

    That's interesting because Hans Blix, among others, were against the invasion but also admitted that Iraq had not complied with the UN resolutions in that all equipment and weapons had not been accounted for.

    A loaded question asked by a politician trying to support the invasion. The US government cannot account for all its equipment and weapons, so why should you expect any other government to account for every last item? Things get lost and stolen. Imperfect bookkeeping is not a reason to invade somebody.

    Some recent news detailing how we have a pretty tough time keeping track of military expenditures.



  • @asuffield said:

    @boomzilla said:

    It's true that the family connection likely had an influence, but regardless, he tried to kill an ex-president.

    Well gee, that pretty much makes him a hero. 

    No. What would make him a hero is if he managed to get you to STFU.

    What's the matter, Andrew? Run out of UK citizens to bash, so you've decided to move your limited intelligence across the pond?

    I'd hoped you'd receive a brain for Christmas, but apparently your stocking was full of coal yet again.




  • I think this is a great thread.  This whole war has made me go WTF for many years. 



  • I'm just so tired of this.  Nothing's been said that hasn't been said before--accurate or not, intelligent or not.



  • @Liquid Egg Product said:

    I'm just so tired of this.  Nothing's been said that hasn't been said before--accurate or not, intelligent or not.

    The point is just that it's a very confusing situation and it's hard to understand.  What do people tell others when they say "why are we over there?"

    What do people that actually support the situation believe?  That's another interesting question.  Do they actually believe we're "fighting the terrorists" that are an imminent threat to our way of life (hyperbole here)?  I could imagine that holding some mind-share in the US.



  • I was more hitting at the guy who started with the personal attack, something about person X saying person Y had limited intelligence.  As many reasonable people as there are, discussions like this almost always devolve into personal attacks.  It makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

    @djork said:

    What do people that actually support the situation believe?  That's another interesting question.  Do they actually believe we're "fighting the terrorists" that are an imminent threat to our way of life (hyperbole here)?  I could imagine that holding some mind-share in the US.

    It has something to do with fighting "over there"...if we fight the terrorists on their home soil, they'll be too busy to come here.  In other words, innocent civilians in the Middle East will suffer instead of innocent civilians in the West.

    It kinda makes you feel all warm inside.
     



  • Simple. Let me just type out three letters: P N A C.

    It's been in plain view since the 90's.

     
    Read it and you'll get that uncomfortable feeling. Like the bad touch they tell you about in grade school.

    You probably want to shrug this off as crazy right wing nuts, or some conspiracy theory mock site. Just look at the names of the people who signed the statement of principals.

    Basically most of the biggest players of the US political and financial  scenes of the last 2 decades.



  • @salvobeta said:

    Simple. Let me just type out three letters: P N A C.

    Sorry, I can't count today, maybe its from the post holiday hangover.

    Some more food for thought on just how messy this is.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/01/30/iraq.audit/

    http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/setser/233979


    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&refer=home&sid=a0X4zgNm8Ibs


    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C12%5C26%5Cstory_26-12-2007_pg5_26

    To put in a nutshell, Americans with deep pockets are seeing that China and the Middle East economies will be surpassing the US's. Now as the dollar gets weaker everyday, and the government debt increases, not only with war, but the endless cases of major disasters (Katrina, Cali wildfires, etc.), those big pockets are making big plans to try and stay ahead of the Joneses. Conspiracy theory? Hey I didn't write this book, they did.

    Lucky for the daily WTF audience, we'll make it out ok.
     

    But despite that, and what other have said, we are still there, and it is still a shitstorm. We can all talk about why we are there, and point a lot of fingers. But that doesn't get us anywhere, really. This goes for the government as well, which after 5 years, still cannot agree on an exit strategy, a plan to win, or any kind of peaceful solution. Instead they just keep shoveling dollars at the problem hoping that someday the fires will finally burn itself out.

     



  • @Liquid Egg Product said:

    It has something to do with fighting "over there"...if we fight the terrorists on their home soil, they'll be too busy to come here.

    Of course, all it really accomplishes is to create a country in a state of permanent low-scale warfare who have no hope of holding out against the invaders and a really good reason to take the fight to the enemy. They can't possibly fight on your terms, so they fight on what terms they can; terrorism has always been the last resort of those who have no other options. Suddenly you have a million terrorists instead of a thousand.

    People never learn from history.



  • "Mission Accomplished" 

    - George W Bush aboard the USS Abe Lincoln May 1, 2003



    ... 1,700 days later ...


     



  • @djork said:

    One of my friends (OK, most of them) isn't really up on current events.  On the other hand, I like to think that I am.  Anyway, we're talking the other day and he throws this curveball:
    "So, I'm not really sure about this: why are we at war in Iraq?"
     

    Really, how do people explain this to people that don't know?  Really, I mean, WTF?  How do you explain it without sounding like a conspiracy nut?

    The problem is that you can't.  We live in a very complicated world, and the reasons for going to war are as complicated.  Unfortunately, a number of people believe it must be a "conspiracy" when they hear a complicated answer.

    War is simply an extension of Politcs; and for Americans, Business and Politics go hand in hand.  There are solid economic reasons for going to war with Iraq, and even Iran if necessary.  There really aren't any for hitting Pakistan or North Korea, and actually there are big business reasons not to.  Venezuela is on the edge, but that problem can still be controlled.  BTW, I'm not talking about oil in and of itself, but rather what it means for the US economy to have oil traded in US dollars.  Bear in mind that we are in a very real economic struggle with the EU and China.

    I could go on, but this is the wrong forum.  Suffice to say that you have to be interested enough to dig deep and then the answers become apparent. 



  • @asuffield said:

    This is because the field tests for chemical agents are, frankly, almost useless - they throw false positives all the time. Agricultural fertiliser sets them off, as do most industrial facilities.

    Field tests for chemical agents are actually quite useful: as long as the test doesn't throw a false negative when someone's just gassed the troops, it's done its job.



  • @Carnildo said:

    @asuffield said:

    This is because the field tests for chemical agents are, frankly, almost useless - they throw false positives all the time. Agricultural fertiliser sets them off, as do most industrial facilities.

    Field tests for chemical agents are actually quite useful: as long as the test doesn't throw a false negative when someone's just gassed the troops, it's done its job.

    That is not the purpose of these tests. These tests were supposed to be searching for chemical weapons in Iraq, a task at which they were no bloody use at all, finding a total of none. I do not think that you have read the thread.
     



  • @PJH said:

    Having at least skimmed most of the replies given so far, I've not seen the succint(sp?,) and potentially conspiracy theorem, reply of:

    Oil.

    To expand on this a little:

    When Iraq was invaded in 1991, the price of oil on the US markets tripled overnight. Everybody with stock in oil got very rich.

    In the run up to the more recent invasion, every broker and everybody with money was eager for the same thing to happen again.

    It's not actually about seizing the oil in Iraq. It's about causing so much trouble that the oil supply from Iraq is interrupted, which causes the market price of oil to skyrocket. It does not have to stay there for more than a few days, so the aftermath is not important.

    It may not have been the only cause, but when all the rich people in the country want an invasion because it will make them three times richer overnight, it's going to happen.


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