March 25th, 2014

Obama: pay no attention to that Russia behind the curtain

A nugget of Obama wisdom today on Russia [emphasis mine]:

Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness,” Obama asserted, as though he was talking about the psychological insecurities that plague the average playground bully.

“The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and lay bare these violations of international law indicates less influence, not more,” Obama insisted.

The mind boggles.

And Obama’s motivations? Take your pick, or you can answer “all of the following”: purposely enabling Russia in its power grabs, maintaining the consistency of Obama’s own worldview (asserting he’s right and Romney was wrong), his belief in the power of “dialogue” and international law, stupidity, ignorance, and/or evil.

One thing is certain: this sort of attitude on Obama’s part was foreshadowed way back in 2008:

Barack Obama gave an interesting description of Iran and the threat it poses to the United States and our national interests at an appearance in Oregon last night. “They don’t pose a serious threat to us in the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us,” Obama told a cheering audience, explaining why he doesn’t think we need to worry about “tiny” countries like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. Obama also displays a weird sense of history when he suggests that the Berlin Wall fell because we engaged Mikhail Gorbachev…

The Soviet Union collapsed economically; they did not just decide to capitulate. The Berlin Wall did not fall as a result of negotiations, but because the regime propping it up ceased to exist. Why did the Soviet Union collapse? Because Ronald Reagan won an economic war with Moscow, forcing it to spend more and more and falling further and further behind. The Strategic Defense Initiative provided the coup de grace to the Soviets, who knew they could never match us in missile defense, and tried negotiating an end to the economic war instead, with disastrous results.

That would be the same SDI that Democrats staunchly opposed, sneeringly called “Star Wars” and proclaiming it a threat to peaceful coexistence. They wanted a decades-long series of summits instead of the end of communism, which sounds strikingly familiar in Obama’s speech. Reagan had to fight the Democrats to beat the Soviets, not through presidential-level diplomacy but through economic isolation and military strength.

Obama is consistent.

80 Responses to “Obama: pay no attention to that Russia behind the curtain”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    A consistent liar, yes.

    “So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia’s actions are a problem. They don’t pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan,” said Obama.

    There’s another lie right there. Obama knows that he has no intention of stopping Iran militarily, so if they won’t cooperate their path to the bomb is clear. He knows that nuclear proliferation will result. He knows the great danger is that terrorist groups will then get their hands on nukes. He knows how pathetically vulnerable America is to a nuclear terrorist attack by a nuke concealed in a commercial shipping container.

    Yet he is purposely following a path that ensures that outcome. Thus the lie. Thus the subterfuge. Thus the treason.

    “the region will be far less stable and far more threatened if Iran were to have a nuclear weapon. It will spur a nuclear arms race. It has risks for greater terrorism. It will be destabilizing.” Kerry said the threat extends beyond the possibility that Iran could actually use the weapon on its enemies, specifically Israel. Iran simply having a nuclear weapon would “spur a nuclear arms race” in the region and could be used to support terrorists groups like Hezbollah, he said. Interview with SecState John Kerry – March 5, 2013

  2. Nick Says:

    I have no problem with the President mocking Russia.

  3. Ann Says:

    Some “regional power” — from The Hill: Putin’s quiet Latin America play:

    Away from the conflict in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quietly seeking a foothold in Latin America, military officials warn.

    To the alarm of lawmakers and Pentagon officials, Putin has begun sending navy ships and long-range bombers to the region for the first time in years.

    Russia’s defense minister says the country is planning bases in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, and just last week, Putin’s national security team met to discuss increasing military ties in the region.

    “They’re on the march,” Gen. James Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command said at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”

    Kelly said there has been a “noticeable uptick in Russian power projection and security force personnel” in Latin America.

    “It has been over three decades since we last saw this type of high-profile Russian military presence,” Kelly said at the March 13 hearing.

  4. parker Says:

    How petulant to refer to the largest nation state in the world with enormus energy reserves, a large military including a nuclear arsenal, and a leader who is willing to project raw power as ‘regional’. Someone in the administration should show him a current map of the world. What is clear is that his ridiculous respone was prompted by a member of the MSM asking a question about his global influence. He was surprised and offended by the reporter.

    I suspect behind the scenes the halo is tarnished and his counter parts in the EU are nervous about his insipid and ever changing foreign policy, disappearing red lines, appeasement of Iran and the rest of the Islamic world, and the overall decline of America’s military and economic power.

  5. kaba Says:

    Evidence is rapidly accumulating on the “fool” side of the equation.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Ann,

    “Putin has also signed agreements with Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina in the past two years.”

    Then add to Ann’s linked article; US MILITARY STRUGGLING TO COMBAT THREAT OF CRUISE MISSILES FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO

    “American generals are increasingly concerned that Russia or Iran could establish presences in the Gulf of Mexico that require a sufficient counter-effort. In a congressional hearing last week, General Charles Jacoby admitted the military has met “some significant challenges” in establishing defense mechanisms that would sufficiently protect from such an attack. The Pentagon, he added, is experimenting with a number of different approaches to protect from cruise missiles. Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, told the National Journal that “the idea is to cobble together enough stuff [so] that maybe something will work.” None of the current technologies are considered sufficient to combat this specific threat, however.”

    Any military strategist however will confirm that “cobbling together” and “maybe” are NOT a military strategy, but a prayer.

  7. Lurker Says:

    A key defense against cruise missiles is AWACS. I know this because I researched how many AWACS we needed to counter SLCMs for the USAF.

    We are cutting our AWACS fleet by a third!

    I used to give demos in a prototype SOC. It looked like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise except it was bigger, had three big screens and all the stations around the edge faced the middle rather than the wall.

    I also modeled the plot from Red Storm Rising. Management was none too happy when my model showed without AWACS, Iceland was toast. My boss was a ex-SAC bomber guy. Whenever my model came up with an unhappy result he would say “well the bombers always get through”

    AWACS is model of 707 and is not related to the KC-135. I remember when the 707 line told us “sell another AWACS soon or we are shutting the 707 line down for good.” Replacements are the 767 AWACS sold only to Japan and the 737 Wedgetail sold to Australia.

    SLCM=slick-em=sub launched cruise missile
    SOC=sock=Sector Operations Center
    AWACS= A-wacks=Airborne Warning and Control System
    SAC=sack=Strategic Air Command

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Missiles in Boxes: The Pentagon Cancels Plans, Russians Market Theirs

    April 26, 2010
    “A Russian company called Morinformsistema-Agat is marketing a cruise missile(s) that can hide inside and launch from inside a shipping container.

    How could such a weapon be used? For starters, it could make any container ship a clandestine missile boat, able to severely damage an aircraft carrier or escort. It could also be smuggled into [or very near] a nation and shot from inside that nation’s missile defense system. Close-to-shore terrorism threats also become a little more real, although the chance that a non-state actor would get their hands on one and ship it to the United States seems remote, mainly due to the price and the ability of the United States to track down the culprits via Russia.”

    I don’t think that we can count anymore (if ever) on Putin to tell us who they’ve sold these to… like Pakistan.

    “What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden”

    “Carlota Gall of the New York Times describes what — if true — must be the biggest cover up in of all of the Obama administration’s checkered history. Her article is titled “What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden”. But it is really about what the Obama administration knew that Pakistan knew about Bin Laden. The answer, as far as she can tell is that Washington knows for a fact that Osama bin Laden was Pakistan’s creature. They know it was Pakistan — or factions within it — that ran the whole war on terror.”

    [my emphasis]

    BTW, cruise missiles can be equipped with thermonuclear warheads.

  9. Eric Says:

    “They’re working the scenes where we can’t work. And they’re doing a pretty good job.”

    What?! When did any corner of the Western hemisphere become beyond the reach of American pressure and influence?

    I notice the regions where Russia is asserting its ‘regional power’ all happen to be regions ID’ed as American national security interests.

  10. Richard Saunders Says:

    No doubt The One will move to Colorado after his term, as getting his dope will be so much easier.

    Russia will suddenly lose the geopolitical interests it has had for over 500 years. Why? “Because I, The One who heals the planet and causes the seas to fall, have so decreed!”

    “Yes, O god-king! So it shall be written, so it shall be done!”

    Neo frequently asks, “Is BO a fool or a knave?” My answer? “Yes.”

  11. Eric Says:

    Obama’s “Russia is a regional power” is striking because that point was raised in a recent discussion I had with “Will S.”, a libertarian Canadian who’s cheering on Putin. His blog was just deleted, but I’ve excerpted it below, with ancillary topics redacted. You can see the original post cached on google, if you want to read the whole comment thread.

    It highlights a phenomenon that was prominent under Bush: The Left and libertarian Right share fundamental common ground in their positions on American national security and (liberal) hegemonic world power.

    It also reminds that Left activists will adapt rhetoric from anywhere on the political spectrum if it helps them achieve their goals, by any means necessary. Lesson: Judge leftists by what they do and desire, less by what they say.

    Will S. says:
    March 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I’m rooting indeed for a return to great powers carving out spheres of influence, and America lacking the ability to force others to do their bidding. Looking forward to that, as well as a recognition of the uselessness of the U.N., and its abolition.

    Will S. says:
    March 5, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Balance of powers. Not concentration too much in the hands of any one nation or tiny number of nations, but a bit more evenly distributed. Russia, Germany, and China flexing their geopolitical muscles once more would be a good thing. Ditto regional Islamic powers like Iran.

    Eric says:
    March 6, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Will S,

    That’s fair. The world is competitive. But I would advise caution of what you ask for – you might get it, which looks increasingly the case. The false narrative of the Iraq enforcement may not be the only false narrative that has skewed your perception of American leadership and, in turn, what the alternatives might be.

    Will S. says:
    March 6, 2014 at 7:07 am

    . . .
    Anyway, the world managed fine without ‘leadership’ by any one single nation prior to WWII and the Cold War (where there were two, the world polarized, which I remember very well), and given what George Kennan said about the need for America to devise a system of relationships to maintain economic inequality, plus given the propensity for America (I’m old enough to remember this) during the cold war to invoke freedom rhetoric while supporting anti-communist dicatorships, apartheid, I’m dubious of the moral claim of America to leadership. I’d prefer none. Let regional powers do what regional powers will do. That includes America; I accept America interfering in Latin American politics, as they’ve always done. Just not in my country’s politics; they’ve interfered enough in Canadian politics in the past, I know not to trust American governments, based on their actions here, their actions during the Cold War, etc.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “I’m rooting indeed for a return to great powers carving out spheres of influence, and America lacking the ability to force others to do their bidding. Balance of powers. Not concentration too much in the hands of any one nation or tiny number of nations, but a bit more evenly distributed. Russia, Germany, and China flexing their geopolitical muscles once more would be a good thing. Ditto regional Islamic powers like Iran.” Will S.

    Ah, the naivete and sheer willful ignorance. People of this ilk may be responsible for more tragedy than the ruthlessly ambitious. Hitler created the holocaust but Europe and America’s liberal pacifists gave him the invitation to do as he would.

    Will S is still living in pre-WWI, he’s in complete denial of the very nature of totalitarian China and Islam. Imagining a ‘great game’ between nations of a Victorian morality.

    He engages in moral equivalence between America and global communism under Stalin and Mao and thus completely fails to comprehend the utter necessity for America, during the cold war to support anti-communist dictatorships and even apartheid as the price necessary to stop a far greater evil.

    Some may argue that Will S does not deserve to discover just how naive he is but some people only learn when reality rubs their face deeply and repeatedly in the dirt.

    While others never learn, regardless of the severity of reality’s lessons. And of those, the world would be a far better place had they never been born because they leave the world in worse condition than they found it. Obama is such a man.

  13. OlderandWheezier Says:

    So by the president’s logic, eastern Europeans should all be thankful that Russia isn’t significantly weaker than it is at this time?

  14. blert Says:

    http://facultyfiles.deanza.edu/gems/abrahamsmatt/HowObamaIsUsingTheScienceofC.pdf

    ^^^ A flash from the past — and an insight as to why Barry continues to play entirely to his manipulation rules-set.

    His spin, this spin, is a grift of his.

    We’ve entered Barry’s ‘Willy Loman’ daze.

    “…the aging failure of a salesman who has wasted his life by living in a world of delusions and shallow values…”

    “[Barry] has always [believed] … that being popular and having contacts is the key…”

    “[Barry] never matures enough to realize that being popular without any substance or skill is meaningless in the end…”

    various: Wiki

    Drats!

    Our boy is in an oral sprint… a tongue lashing out against reality… the fastest jibe in the West.

  15. Tonawanda Says:

    We have BO on camera and mic telling Putin (via Medvedev) that he (BO) would have more flexibility after his (BO’s) election.

    There are a hundred interpretations of what that meant, but zero which have any benefit for the country BO “leads.”

    Any donkey can kick down a barn, and BO is kicking down the barn. Something spectacular happens, and so it is a great accomplishment.

    BO hates America, as do the other dreary shallow Leftists in charge of our culture. Putin knows this.

  16. J.J. Says:

    Obama and most lefties actually believe that people like Putin, the mullahs in Iran, Kim Jr., Daniel Ortega, etc. are all people who can be reasoned with. People who are not really interested in gaining more power and territory, if the USA was just not so belligerent. At least that is the way they seem swing in opposing any and all muscular diplomacy or military strength. They think jaw, jaw will preserve the peace.

    I’m just a stupid mountain boy who never took Poli Sci, law, or psychology. But I have learned over the years that when a nation or its leaders act like they want more power/territory, it might be well to take notice.

    To preserve the peace, prepare for war is my motto. Obama is presently preparing for peace by weakening our military. It is to weep.

  17. John Scotus Says:

    Echoes of Ron Paul. Except that one of these men is America’s crazy uncle, while the other is President of the US.

  18. Eric Says:

    blert,

    That’s just activism. The Right needs to learn the method and adapt it.

  19. Francesca Says:

    FOOL and knave!

  20. Francesca Says:

    Richard Saunders Says:
    March 25th, 2014 at 7:19 pm
    No doubt The One will move to Colorado after his term, as getting his dope will be so much easier.

    Russia will suddenly lose the geopolitical interests it has had for over 500 years. Why? “Because I, The One who heals the planet and causes the seas to fall, have so decreed!”

    “Yes, O god-king! So it shall be written, so it shall be done!”

    Neo frequently asks, “Is BO a fool or a knave?” My answer? “Yes.”

    If Dear Leader moves to Colorado, I’m out of here!

  21. Beverly Says:

    For the ultimate contrast, I give you this: the Great Man whose bust this tiny man Obama churlishly and spitefully returned to the British Embassy.

    Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965: “I Vow to Thee.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Xkr8z3lEo

    Tears. Such a man he was! Dear God, send us such another.

  22. Beverly Says:

    Also, Tiny Man [sic] is cancelling our Tomahawk missile program and cancelling our Hellfire missiles as well, thus castrating our Navy. (revealed YESTERDAY: how serious is this creep about national security?)

    “President Barack Obama is seeking to abolish two highly successful missile programs that experts say have helped the U.S. Navy maintain military superiority for the past several decades.

    The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.

    In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016.

    The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.

    The proposed elimination of these missile programs came as a SHOCK to lawmakers and military experts, who warned ending cutting these missiles would significantly erode America’s ability to deter enemy forces.”

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/25/obama-kill-navys-tomahawk-hellfire-missile-program/#ixzz2x2naOljI
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

  23. Zachriel Says:

    Obama: Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness

    That is essentially correct. Russia already had, for all intents and purposes, Crimea. They invaded something they had for internal political purposes. They have about the economic clout of Brazil. Russia can project power locally, but are weak globally. Even locally, they have a host of problems.

    Ed Morriseey: The Berlin Wall did not fall as a result of negotiations, but because the regime propping it up ceased to exist.

    Berlin Wall falls 1989
    Soviet Union dissolves 1991

    Continuing pressure from the U.S. was certainly part of the calculation, but Gorbachev made a conscious effort to liberalize Soviet society and bring an end to the Cold War. The Soviet Union fell because it couldn’t withstand that process of liberalization.

    neo-neocon: Because Ronald Reagan won an economic war with Moscow, forcing it to spend more and more and falling further and further behind.

    Reagan, along with every U.S. president, was following the basic strategy proposed in postwar Long Telegram of 1946.

    neo-neocon: That would be the same SDI that Democrats staunchly opposed, sneeringly called “Star Wars” and proclaiming it a threat to peaceful coexistence.

    Star Wars was a pipe dream. There is still no way to stop a determined strategic missile attack.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    It has come back!

    The question is whether the Left’s propagandists are fools or not.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    Beverly, Hussein needs that missile money to fund his Black Panther thugs, Eric Holder’s fetishes, as well as AQ in Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc.

    We all know how it is by now. In the 3%.

  26. Hattip Says:

    When will you figure out that it is all kabuki theater.

    Obama wants the Russians to rise. Obama wants to destroy American power.

    We are on effect an occupied nation.

  27. Mr. Frank Says:

    Even football coaches know not to bad mouth your opponent before a game. Calling Putin weak could provoke a response we don’t want to deal with.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Hattip:

    I’m not sure why you write “when will you figure out.” One of the choices in my post was, “purposely enabling Russia in its power grabs.”

  29. blert Says:

    Y…

    Dare the risk to Fisk the Z force?

    Does the matter turn on where he’s coming from … or going towards?

    %%%

    As for trolling his iCatechisims …

    All here should know that the conclusions come first…

    Sophistry is prepended, later — anchored by solipsisms to suit.

    Historians will come to relabel the Democrat party as:

    ‘solipsism in our time.’

  30. Sergey Says:

    Economically, Russia can’t afford ANY further power grab. Its army is hollow, arms are obsolete and even stolen. This does not mean, of course, that she will not attempt it, since the real situation is largerly unknown to leadership, and Putin is crazy. The only thing is certain: this new bout of Cold War would not last long. No resources for this exist. Any adventure will lead to a catastrophe, and soon.

  31. Oldflyer Says:

    Oh, my! Now he has done it.

    I expect Putin to invade the U.S. out of spite. It might be ok if he just carved out NY or California (I can already say “Dah” and “Nyet”; as well as Si, and Gracias.), but he would probably go for Alaska; For one thing he can see it, and for another it is actually worth something.

    Obama would probably say “he reacted out of weakness”, and “Alaska is mostly Republican anyway”.

    Zachriel, Russia may be weak, but they have figured out how to make us pay for what they want. We gave away the Space Station. Now, we prop up their space program by paying astronomical (no pun) taxi fares to and from the ISS. We are disarming to whatever level Russia decides is appropriate for us, so that we are no threat to them.

    Of course, as Barack says, they are just a regional power. Cold comfort to those in their region; e.g., the Baltic states, Poland, the Black Sea rim, etc. Latest reports indicate that their region may include Latin and South America as well Europe and the Caucasus.

    Lest we forget, Hitler was just a national thug, until he wasn’t any longer.

  32. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Regarding Russia’s ‘weakness’, the idea is that Russia is trying to become stronger with these actions.

    In 1990-1991, Iraq’s similar attempt to ‘reclaim’ Kuwait by force and then follow up by seizing Saudi Arabia was motivated by the weakened state of Iraq due to the Iran-Iraq War.

    A lean, hungry, ‘weakened’ predator is more dangerous than a satiated predator, though the latter remains dangerous and will eventually be hungry again.

    The strongest policing authority is weaker than the weakest wrong-doer if the policing power is not applied sufficiently to prevent the crime, or if not, stop the crime, or if not, punish the crime sufficiently to deter and prevent the (next) crime.

    Does a subjective wrong even rise to an objective crime if there’s no penalty?

    Once the wrong-doer is awarded for his derring-do with more benefit than cost, he is made stronger and tacitly invited to become stronger still by expanding the working method.

    Obama has cited to international law regarding Russia, but international law is effective only as far as its practical enforcement and (international) community respect for law enforcement.

    A main reason that Bush green-lighted Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 in response to Saddam’s final-chance failure to comply with the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions was to restore the effectiveness of international law in what had been for over a decade the defining international law enforcement mission. (Note: The 2003 international legal controversy over Bush’s decision was procedural only; there was no dispute that Iraq was guilty of violating the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions.)

    International law at this stage of its development is, by its nature, gray, murky, and an outgrowth of a disparate mixture of national and transnational interests. International law is contractual or cooperative rather than collective and rests on the unsettled dynamics of sovereign authorities with their enforcement and consent.

    That understanding of international law is required to understand why the US has acted as an ‘exceptional nation’ with international enforcement starting with Truman’s intervention in Korea: US hegemony has provided the underlying structure, authority of force, and polar order needed for international law to function with what effect it has.

    After 9/11 at least, Bush clearly understood the need for robust US leadership in international law enforcement and a stable world order. Whereas the US acted to revitalize the effectiveness of international law with the Iraq enforcement during the Bush administration, Obama has unwound the restored effectiveness of international law enforcement we had earned with high cost in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Dare the risk to Fisk the Z force?

    I had my fair share of debating Turing emulators in the day. These days I require the ObamaZeals to prove they are actual human agents of the Left first, and not merely tools.

  34. Zachriel Says:

    Hattip: Obama wants the Russians to rise. Obama wants to destroy American power.

    That’s not a reasonable claim that most Ameircans reject. Nor has Obama been shy about the use of American power when it suits American aims.

    Mr. Frank: Calling Putin weak could provoke a response we don’t want to deal with.

    While Putin overreacted, he is a rational actor, and is responding to political conditions within his country. However, calling Putin weak could provoke a response within the Russian politic that the U.S. may not want to deal with.

    Sergey: Economically, Russia can’t afford ANY further power grab. Its army is hollow, arms are obsolete and even stolen.

    True enough.

    Sergey: The only thing is certain: this new bout of Cold War would not last long. No resources for this exist.

    Guerrilla war takes far fewer resources than conventional warfare. If the Russians invaded their southern flank, it could destabilize the entire region. They are entirely aware of this.

    Oldflyer: Russia may be weak, but they have figured out how to make us pay for what they want.

    The U.S. has worked hard to engage Russia, and has been successful on a number of issues. Russia is a regional power, and the U.S. still wants their help on a number of issues, including Iran.

    Oldflyer: Of course, as Barack says, they are just a regional power. Cold comfort to those in their region; e.g., the Baltic states, Poland, the Black Sea rim, etc.

    The Baltic states and Poland are NATO members. Russia can cause a lot of damage, but they are unlikely to tangle with NATO.

    Eric: Regarding Russia’s ‘weakness’, the idea is that Russia is trying to become stronger with these actions.

    It seemed more of a reactive and ill-thought action.

    Eric: A main reason that Bush green-lighted Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 in response to Saddam’s final-chance failure to comply with the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions was to restore the effectiveness of international law in what had been for over a decade the defining international law enforcement mission.

    Yes, breaking down someone’s door, shooting their dog, beating their wife in front of the children, then not finding the contraband, is a sure way to instill respect for the law.

    The ultimate effect was to undermine international law, drive wedges in long-standing alliances, and weaken the U.S. economically, politically, and militarily.

  35. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Your view is based on false premises.

    In fact, there was no burden of proof on the UN and US to ‘find the contraband’ in Iraq.

    Iraq’s guilt was established as a fact in 1991 as the basis of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions. The entire burden of proof was on Iraq to meet mandated standards on weapons and non-weapons resolutions in order to prove Iraq’s rehabilitation, which Iraq failed to do from 1991 to 2003. Iraq’s failure of its “final chance” (Clinton) triggered Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and then failure of its 2nd final chance triggered Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

    Bush’s Iraq enforcement was correct, based on domestic and international law, policy, and precedent.

    Any “undermining” of international law in the Iraq enforcement was by parties that promoted the false premises that have confused you.

  36. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: In fact, there was no burden of proof on the UN and US to ‘find the contraband’ in Iraq.

    WMD was the primary American justification.
    http://wemeantwell.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/powell_un_anthrax.jpg

    Eric: The entire burden of proof was on Iraq to meet mandated standards on weapons and non-weapons resolutions in order to prove Iraq’s rehabilitation, which Iraq failed to do from 1991 to 2003.

    And documentary evidence showed that Iraq had, in fact, complied.

  37. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    The key piece you’re failing to understand is what it means that the burden of proof was on Iraq.

    Due to Saddam’s record, deception, defiance, and belligerence that included hostile actions over the whole period of the cease-fire and resolutions enforcement, Iraq had used up any last remaining benefit of the doubt during the Clinton administration.

    To wit, from the NY Times, Aug 99:

    “I’ve very concerned,” Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who served as the chief American representative at the United Nations during last year’s confrontation, told reporters on Wednesday. “My experience with the Iraqis is if you give them an inch, they take a mile.”

    As the enforcement authority of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions across 3 administrations, with the stakes involved with Saddam in power, we had to be totally sure that Iraq was rehabilitated. The only way we could be totally sure that Saddam and Iraq were rehabilitated was by Iraq passing the compliance tests on the weapons and non-weapons resolutions with flying colors.

    Therefore, Iraq was compelled to meet its full burden of proof on a strict standard in order to forestall triggering the credible threat of regime change.

    I don’t know what you mean by the “documentary evidence showed that Iraq had, in fact, complied”. OIF was triggered, and by design could only be triggered, by Saddam’s non-compliance.

    It’s true that because of Saddam’s record, deception, defiance, and belligerence that included hostile actions over the whole period of the cease-fire and resolutions enforcement, and the stakes involved, Clinton and later Bush officials with the added threat considerations in the wake of 9/11 were obligated to view intelligence on Iraq in the least favorable light.

    However, intelligence was not a required element of the Iraq enforcement procedure because – again – the entire burden of proof was on Iraq. The presentation of intelligence merely colored the argument. By design, only Iraq’s non-compliance, not the presentation of intelligence, could trigger the credible threat of regime change.

    In fact, the law, policy, and precedent bases to finally resolve the Iraq problem had been established by Clinton, and Iraq was in a state of multiple material breach before Bush went to Congress and the UN.

    Bush’s case against Saddam was Clinton’s case against Saddam carried forward, and technically, in picking up from Clinton, Bush didn’t actually need to return to Congress and the UN to act on Iraq. But Bush opted to grant Saddam a full-fledged 2nd final chance to comply.

    Don’t lose sight that Saddam could and should have met the relatively light burden of proof initially imposed on Iraq in 1991 or at any time during the following years, let alone the strict, heavy, multi-measure burden of proof that Saddam had incurred by the close of the Clinton administration.

    While Bush did present the intelligence on Iraq differently to the public than Clinton did, the broad range of justifications and the operative enforcement procedure didn’t change between administrations other than the urgency added by 9/11 to resolve the Iraq problem expeditiously.

    Again, only Saddam’s non-compliance, not the presentation of intelligence, could trigger the credible threat of regime change.

  38. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Therefore, Iraq was compelled to meet its full burden of proof on a strict standard in order to forestall triggering the credible threat of regime change.

    And documentary evidence shows that the Iraqi government made extensive efforts to satisfy those conditions. And they were substantially in compliance. It’s up to the U.N. to enforce their own resolutions. The U.S. has a right to self-defence, but there were no WMD.

    A man’s neighbor is sure the man is building a bomb, so the neighbor goes to the police. The police look around, but don’t find anything. So the neighbor breaks down the man’s door, shoots his dog, beats his wife in front of his children, and burns the house down. The police show up, and confirm there never was a bomb.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left thinks burden of proof is when you bury homosexuals and rape victims underneath a stone block and listen to them being crushed to death. That’s what they think a burden of proof is.

  40. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    You just reiterated your fundamental misunderstanding of the Iraq enforcement.

    And you added a fundamental misunderstanding of how the UN is enforced generally to your misunderstanding of the enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions specifically.

    Again: The UN relies on sovereign authority for enforcement. From the outset of the UN intervention with Iraq, the US was the chief enforcement authority.

    Your fundamental misunderstanding of the US, UN enforcement relationship erases 60-odd years of UN history. In fact, starting with the Korea ‘police action’, the UN has relied chiefly on American leadership and force for enforcement, and not always with a UN authorization.

    More specific to the topic at hand, President Clinton clarified the authority to deploy the US military in the Iraq enforcement was vested in the Office of the President with no need to apply for further authorization from either Congress or the UN.

    IE, Operation Desert Fox was green-lit by Clinton in 1998 based on Gulf War authority, without an application for new authority from Congress or the UN. (Though Congress passed laws further boosting the Iraq enforcement under Clinton.)

    Unlike Clinton in 1998, Bush went to Congress and the UN in 2002, but it wasn’t legally necessary to do so. And in fact, UNSC resolution 1441 and P.L. 107-243 only summarized and restated with steely terms the bundle of prior resolutions and US statutes on Iraq.

    Again: Your analogy is inapposite because Iraq’s guilt was established as fact at the outset and presumed as the foundational basis of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions since 1991. Thus, the US and UN held no obligation to demonstrate the status of Iraq’s weapons, neither in 1991, 1998, 2003, nor at any time in between. All the obligation, from beginning to end, was on Saddam to prove Iraq was fully rehabilitated to a strict standard.

    Clearly, you’re struggling with the concepts of presumed guilt and burden of proof. What’s a simple analogy for Saddam’s status . . . try this: Think of Saddam as a recidivist, convicted serial murderer-torturer – multiplied by a megalomaniacal Nth degree – who, along with his likeminded sons and gang, had been allowed to live free in the neighborhood of his victims. Ruling his family and gang from home-base, no less. He, his sons, and their gang shouldn’t be free at all post conviction, and can be allowed to live free only under the most severe terms of probation, never mind rehabilitation. And in fact, this recidivist, convicted serial murderer-torturer, his sons, and gang have been living free in their neighborhood despite continuous violations of the terms of probation.

    That kind of situation with that kind of wrong-doer demands the thinnest line of tolerance. In 2003, Iraq was not “substantially” in compliance with the weapons and non-weapons resolutions, certainly nowhere close to the standard required for Saddam.

    Your lenient standard and forgiving benefit of the doubt for Saddam despite his swollen record and the extraordinary risk of trusting him is sweet of you, but your position would have been highly irresponsible for the President of the United States – moreso with the added threat considerations in the wake of 9/11.

    To wit, Clinton, CNN, June 2004:

    Noting that Bush had to be “reeling” in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said Bush’s first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining “chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material.”

    “That’s why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for,” Clinton said in reference to Iraq and the fact that U.N. weapons inspectors left the country in 1998.

    “So I thought the president had an absolute responsibility to go to the U.N. and say, ‘Look, guys, after 9/11, you have got to demand that Saddam Hussein lets us finish the inspection process.’ You couldn’t responsibly ignore [the possibility that] a tyrant had these stocks,” Clinton said.

    To wit, Clinton, CNN, July 2003:

    Let me tell you what I know. When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for. That is, at the end of the first Gulf War, we knew what he had. We knew what was destroyed in all the inspection processes and that was a lot. And then we bombed with the British for four days in 1998. We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn’t know. So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don’t cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions. I mean, we’re all more sensitive to any possible stocks of chemical and biological weapons.
    . . .
    I think the main thing I want to say to you is, people can quarrel with whether we should have more troops in Afghanistan or internationalize Iraq or whatever, but it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in ’98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn’t know it because we never got to go back in there.

    If Al Gore had won the Florida recount, my guess is he would have moved after 9/11 to resolve the Iraq problem decisively the same way that Bush did. Given Gore’s front-row seat for Clinton’s presidency-long struggle with Saddam, Gore likely understood as Clinton did the urgent implications of the Saddam problem within the 9/11 context. I highly doubt, though, the GOP would have exploited the opportunity under President Gore like the Dems bamboozled you for partisan gain.

    Simply, the standard you’ve been tricked into judging the Iraq enforcement is a false premise that was no part of the actual 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement that President Bush inherited from President Clinton.

  41. Zachriel Says:

    Dude, there were no WMD. The war led to political anarchy, the death of thousands, and millions of refugees. It was a gross error in judgment.

  42. Zachriel Says:

    Gee whiz. Using some bent letter-of-the-law justification for the debacle just further erodes respect for international law. The primary purpose of international law is “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. War can’t always be avoided, but the Iraq invasion severely undermined the cause of world peace and stability.

  43. Zachriel Says:

    Furthermore, U.N. inspectors were in country at the time of the invasion.

  44. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Again: The trigger was based on compliance, not finding WMD.

    Hey, I didn’t formulate the Iraq enforcement procedure. I just researched the topic to find out the truth (and write a term paper).

    Clearly, you don’t like the “bent” enforcement procedure. Unfortunately, it was necessary due to, one, Saddam’s defiance and success at deception with his proscribed weapons, two, the limits of intelligence services at uncovering Saddam’s deceptions, and three, the high stakes that allowed no doubt with Saddam.

    Disarmament other than by regime change was only achievable with the burden of proof placed on Iraq.

    A pervasive, fundamental misunderstanding of UNSCOM and UNMOVIC is the belief their role was to detect whether Iraq possessed proscribed weapons. Actually, on the basis that Iraq’s possession of proscribed weapons was established and presumed, the UNSCOM and UNMOVIC role in Iraq was not to find anything, but rather to verify whether Iraq had sufficiently accounted for its proscribed weapons. With UNSCOM and UNMOVIC, Iraq failed to satisfactorily account for its proscribed weapons.

    To wit, notice in the 2 Clinton quotes in the prior comment Clinton refers to ‘unaccounted for’ weapons, as opposed to ‘knowledge’ of weapons in Iraq.

    The key that unlocked my understanding of the Iraq enforcement was the realization that Clinton’s intel in 1998 was no better than Bush’s intel in 2002.

    My follow-up realization was that the inherent unreliability of the intel had been, from the beginniing, factored into the Iraq enforcement procedure with the presumption of guilt, burden of proof, and compliance standard.

    From day one, it was up to Saddam – not on the US and UN – to prevent a resumption of war by complying sufficiently to cure Iraq’s guilt.

    I’m guessing these truths about the Iraq enforcement don’t make you respect international law any more. If so, you’re not the first person to feel that way. It’s not like sovereign domestic law that’s evolved with clear bases of authority and modes of enforcement. International law is young with shifting modes and authorities. Like I said, at this point of its development, international law is gray and murky. It’s a hodge-podge that’s more policy than law. Practical enforcement, such as with Iraq, is usually ad hoc in formulation.

    If you must blame someone for the Iraq enforcement procedure, blame President Clinton. Clinton clarified that the failure of Iraq to comply and meet its burden of proof – irrespective of Iraq’s actual possession of proscribed weapons – compelled military action due to “a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere.” Moreover, President Clinton defined the continued existence of Saddam Hussein’s regime – irrespective of its compliance with the UNSC resolutions or actual possession of proscribed weapons – as a humanitarian crisis and collective security threat.

    Those are all justifications for military action with Iraq without finding WMD.

    As far as whether the regime change and subsequent peace operations in Iraq “undermined the cause of world peace and stability”, I disagree with you.

    One: From a law enforcement standpoint, the Iraq enforcement was the defining international law enforcement mission of the post-Cold War.

    It was originally designed to be a strictly enforced, quickly achieved disarmament. Yet, by the close of the Clinton administration, the mission had degenerated into a harmful, invasive, provocative, destabilizing, stalemated, indefinite shambles with no foreseeable conclusion except for the ‘containment’ collapsing and Saddam emerging victorious and unreconstructed.

    That eventuality would have effectively killed international law enforcement as applied to rogue states, which was unacceptable after 9/11. It’s also perhaps Russia’s motivation for opposing OIF, with an eye on restoring its regional dominance with reduced US interference.

    Note that the 2004 CIA Duelfer report concluded that Saddam anticipated the imminent collapse of the ‘containment’ and intended to restore Iraq’s NBC programs, which he considered the key to achieve regional dominance and prevent future US interference.

    By following through with the Iraq enforcement, Bush restored the integrity of the defining post-Cold War international law enforcement mission and, by extension, the integrity of international law enforcement as applied to rogue states.

    Two: From a policy standpoint, Operation Iraqi Freedom resolved the harmful and dangerous Saddam problem.

    Subsequently, the post-Saddam, COIN ‘Surge’ and Sunni Awakening-saved, liberalizing and stabilizing ‘Iraq the model’ was set to become a critical US regional partner and cornerstone for a new Middle East, much like the European and Asian partner nations where US soldiers continue to serve. As Clinton had characterized the Iraq enforcement upon ordering Operation Desert Fox, “in a new century, we’ll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past — but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.”

    To illustrate both points, here’s a before-and-after snapshot of the Saddam problem:

    President Clinton, 1998:

    The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.
    . . .
    Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

    President Obama, 2011:

    Indeed, one of the broader lessons to be drawn from this period is that sectarian divides need not lead to conflict. In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

    President Clinton set the standard to resolve the Saddam problem at: Iraq in compliance with the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions, Iraq at peace with its neighbors and the international community, and Iraq internally reformed with regime change.

    Clinton’s standard of resolution with Iraq was fulfilled under President Bush.

    Restoring the integrity of international law enforcement as applied to rogue states and a partnership with a liberalizing ‘Iraq the model’ were big pluses for the “cause of world peace and stability”. Unfortunately, Obama bungled the SOFA negotiation with Iraq and the Syria problem has flowed over into Iraq. All the hard-won progress we made with Iraq, and all the promise of what Iraq and the US could have achieved together as “steadfast partners”, is being undone.

  45. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Again: The trigger was based on compliance, not finding WMD.

    Iraq was in compliance, and inspectors were in the country. The Iraqi regimes was desperate to prove their compliance, but they didn’t control all of their territory, and a lot was lost during the war with Iran.

    The U.S. claimed Iraq had WMD. They did it publicly. They did it repeatedly. The U.S. started an unnecessary war. There’s no way to undo that with self-serving legal mumbo-jumbo.

    Don’t worry, though. No one’s going to arrest America. But it undermined the rule of law, and America’s best interests.

  46. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Well yeah – Bush’s leadership and the credible threat of regime change are the reason that UNMOVIC was able to be in Iraq and do anything.

    Resolving the festering Saddam problem was in America’s best interest, more so after 9/11.

    Operation Iraqi Freedom upheld the rule of law by honoring, as you termed it, the letter of the law – such as it was.

    Now that I’ve laid out for you the working parts of the enforcement procedure, the issue is that you don’t like the law, what you call the “legal mumbo-jumbo”, that defined the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement.

    From one point of view, the failure to enforce the rule of law against law breakers – prominent, dangerous law breakers like Saddam most of all – undermines the rule of law. That’s a ‘dad’ view, which fits the job of the President.

    From a different point of view, enforcing a law you personally don’t like undermines the rule of law, or at least your respect for rule of law. That’s a common ‘kid’ view.

    Your lenient standard and forgiving benefit of the doubt for Saddam is sweet of you. I understand that according to your personal standard, free of the “legal mumbo-jumbo” of the enforcement procedure, Saddam was compliant.

    However, according to the actual standards of the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement, Saddam was not compliant. There’s no dispute that, by the actual standards, Iraq failed to meet its burden of proof and was in breach of Iraq’s weapons and non-weapons obligations.

    The CIA Duelfer report, made after the fact, also showed Iraq was in violation of its weapons obligations and corroborated Clinton’s warning that “Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”

    Rather, the debate in early 2003 was over what to do about Iraq’s failure.

    By the close of the Clinton administration, we only had 3 choices left on Iraq:

    A. Indefinitely maintain the toxic crumbling ‘containment’ status quo (default, kick the can);
    B. Free a noncompliant Saddam (out of the question);
    C. Give Saddam a final chance to comply with a credible threat of regime change (resolution).

    Before 9/11 and after Operations Desert Fox, we were stuck on A, despite that Clinton had classified Saddam as a “a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere.”

    In the wake of 9/11, the “clear and present danger” of Saddam was further heightened by the threat of what Saddam might do with, as Clinton said, “small amounts” of NBC materials disseminated via the international arms black market or used via Saddam’s own unconventional capability. Recall the AQ Khan network. Also recall that the compliance standard for Iraq included Saddam’s guilt on terrorism.

    Saddam wasn’t blamed for 9/11, but 9/11 heightened Saddam’s already high-risk profile as a “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere.”

    Obviously, you’re against C, or giving Saddam a final chance to comply with a credible threat of regime change (resolution), and opposed to the law enforcement decisions on Iraq made by Presidents Clinton and Bush.

    So, hypothetically, if you had worn the President’s shoes in the wake of 9/11, would you have chosen A or B, instead?

    A, kick the can on the toxic ‘containment’ status quo with Iraq, and hope nothing worse happened until after your Presidency;

    Or, B, free a non-compliant Saddam? (Non-compliant according to the actual standards of the Iraq enforcement, of course, not according to your personal lenient standard for Saddam.)

  47. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Bush’s leadership and the credible threat of regime change are the reason that UNMOVIC was able to be in Iraq and do anything.

    Sure. And the U.S. could not have maintained that level of readiness indefinitely. But the Americans were intent on invasion, as evidence from the Bush Administration attests.

    Eric: what you call the “legal mumbo-jumbo”

    mumbo-jumo, complicated language usually intended to obscure and confuse

    Yes, that is the proper term.

    Eric: the failure to enforce the rule of law against law breakers – prominent, dangerous law breakers like Saddam most of all – undermines the rule of law.

    Iraq was in substantive compliance.

    Eric: There’s no dispute that, by the actual standards, Iraq failed to meet its burden of proof and was in breach of Iraq’s weapons and non-weapons obligations.

    Documentary evidence shows that the Iraqi regime did everything they could to be in compliance. They had a problem in that they didn’t control all their territory, were disorganized, and a lot of materials and documentation was lost during the war with Iran.

    They probably would have eventually restarted their WMD programs, but that wasn’t the casus belli.

    Eric: The CIA Duelfer report, made after the fact, also showed Iraq was in violation of its weapons obligations

    The Duelfer Report indicated that Saddam abandoned his WMD programs by 1995. There was no WMD as the U.S. had insisted. This can only weaken international law. The war was a strategic blunder, in any case.

  48. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Whether or not Saddam permanently eliminated his proscribed weapons programs (he didn’t), he could only clear Iraq’s guilt by proving compliance. Otherwise, insufficient account equaled possession.

    Proving the permanent elimination of proscribed weapons and related programs was at the top of the long list of obligations in the compliance standard for Iraq.

    That being said, 1995 was indeed the last opportunity for the US to ease up on the Iraq enforcement.

    In 1995, Saddam’s son-in-law, General Hussein Kamel al-Majid, revealed WMD stocks that Iraq had successfully hidden from inspectors. He claimed they were Iraq’s last stockpiles. His intent was to clear Iraq’s guilt in order to remove the punishing sanctions and the over-all invasive, harmful UN disarmament regimen.

    It’s possible that the US and UN could have chosen to officially believe GEN al-Majid and ease the disarmament regimen, although doing so would not have cleared Saddam’s non-weapons obligations nor even all the weapons obligations.

    However, with Saddam in charge we had to be sure, and GEN al-Majid’s well-intended treason backfired.

    GEN al-Majid’s revelation demonstrated Saddam’s intent to harbor NBC capability and defy the verification process necessary to validate Iraq’s rehabilitation. Moreover, beyond intent, it demonstrated Saddam’s success at hiding a large amount of WMD from the best efforts of inspectors and supporting intelligence agencies.

    For Saddam’s part, rather than come clean and satisfy his burden of proof after GEN al-Majid’s revelation, Saddam reacted like a gangsta and increased his belligerent opposition to the UN disarmament. Saddam tricked his son-in-law into returning home, then executed him as a traitor.

    The UN disarmament enforcers, led by the US, reacted with corresponding alarm.

    Thus, GEN al-Majid, while intending to clear Iraq’s guilt, lost his life and raised the burden of proof for Iraq, instead.

    The fall-out of GEN al-Majid’s revelation and Saddam’s uncooperative reaction sharpened the focus on the behavior of Saddam’s regime as distinct from Iraq’s demonstrable possession of weapons.

    The focus on Iraq’s behavior meant that the nature of its ruling regime must change, not only the state of Iraq’s weapons. The regime change mandate in the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act codified the premise that the main issue in the Iraq enforcement was Saddam’s regime distinct from Iraq’s weapons.

    Thus, Clinton clarified that Iraq’s failure to meet all of its obligations to the now-heightened compliance standard qualified alone as proof, with or without demonstrable possession, that Saddam’s regime constituted a “clear and present danger” that “will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”

    Needless to say, the added threat considerations in the wake of 9/11 didn’t lower the standard of compliance for Iraq.

    Technically speaking, the Gulf War was conditionally suspended, not ended. Therefore, the 1991 cause of war carried over to the no-fly zone, Op Desert Fox, and regime change. Military enforcement of the Gulf War ceasefire and subsequent UNSC resolutions was carried out under the authorities given for the Gulf War. After the regime change, the post-war peace operations of Op Iraqi Freedom operated under new US and UN authorities.

    Setting aside that “legal mumbo-jumbo”, again: The intelligence was not a required element of the Iraq enforcement procedure. Moreover, the intelligence was not – and by design could not – be a cause of war with Iraq. Intelligence could only color the argument.

    You’re effectively claiming that Bush unilaterally dropped almost all of Iraq’s obligations and the Iraq enforcement procedure that he inherited from Clinton. Your contention isn’t supported anywhere. In fact, as I said, UNSC Res 1441 and PL 107-243 summarized and restated in steely terms the standing UN resolutions and US statutes on Iraq.

    If the presentation of intelligence was a cause of war, then Bush’s insertion of UNMOVIC and effect of their compliance test would have been pointless.

    In fact, the cause of war in 2003 was the same as the cause of war in 1998: Iraq’s failure to comply with all of its obligations under the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions.

    Again: Your view of Saddam’s “substantive” compliance is based on your personal lenient, forgiving, and apparently after-the-fact standard for Saddam, not on the actual weapons and non-weapons standards of the trigger points for the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement.

    In 2003, did Saddam fail his 2nd final chance despite doing “everything [he] could”?

    Perhaps. That seems unlikely, given that Saddam didn’t begin to approach fulfilling his non-weapons obligations.

    Iraq’s obligations and the compliance standard weren’t based on whimsy. There were reasons for holding Saddam to a strict burden of proof. The fact is Iraq failed its compliance tests from beginning to end, repeatedly, purposely, and flagrantly.

    As far as its effect on law, Operation Iraqi Freedom – correctly understood and followed – strengthens international law enforcement.

    The “legal mumbo-jumbo” are basic concepts. If you can’t understand them, then you can’t understand law.

    Your ignorance of law, let alone the loose conglomeration that is international law and the law composing the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement, is one reason that international law has been weakened, disrespected, or undermined in your eyes.

    The other reason is our competitors designed their propaganda to exploit your ignorance, and you’ve internalized their false narrative of the Iraq enforcement.

    The Iraq enforcement actually stands on solid legal ground, among the best developed in modern (20th-21st century) US military history.

    The policy context of the Iraq enforcement stretches back to President Carter, with precursors before Carter. The legal foundation specific to the 1991-2003 Iraq enforcement was developed meticulously, to the point of redundancy, across 3 Presidential administrations – mostly Clinton’s. The need to resolve the Saddam problem was established as a principal priority – ie, America’s best interest – before Bush ran for President.

    For my academic research, I looked at lawsuits brought against the Bush administration, and discovered the ‘legal’ case against the Iraq enforcement, while strident in political invective, is flimsy in legal argument.

    It turns out that the legal case against the Iraq enforcement requires erasing modern US history and taking a time machine to early international US military actions of the 19th century.

    Discovering the lack of merit in the lawsuits made me angry because grieving parents of soldiers killed in Iraq were used to establish standing. Their legal argument is so weak, I have to assume the lawyer activists knew they had no viable case. Yet they lied to the parents by assuring them their sons died for an illegal reason. Unlike you, the lawyer activists know law, yet they chose to exploit the grief of dead soldiers’ parents in order to add faux legal dimension to their propaganda.

    “The Americans were intent on invasion” – that’s partially correct, but misleading when viewed out of context.

    If the demonstration of intent to enforce is insufficient, then the enforcement threat becomes meaningless. Especially with chronic delinquents like Saddam. Especially given that Saddam believed he had our measure when Clinton failed to resolve the Saddam problem after declaring “Iraq has failed it final chance”.

    That’s a ‘dad’ view, too.

    The Bush administration’s intentions were, one, implementing the credible threat of regime change that was necessary to compel Saddam after Op Desert Fox fell short. And two, a decisive resolution to the Saddam problem: preferably with Saddam’s voluntary compliance to the actual standards for all of Iraq’s obligations or, if Saddam failed, then achieving Iraq’s compliance by following through on the credible threat of regime change.

    So, did Bush prefer to fulfill Clinton’s standard for resolution with a forced regime change rather than Saddam’s voluntary compliance?

    To answer the question, consider that in 2002-2003, UNMOVIC was on the ground in Iraq administering the weapons-based compliance test for 4 months – on top of the (perhaps deliberately) prolonged ‘notice’ period that preceded UNMOVIC in Iraq – on top of the 12 years that Iraq could and should have complied with the UN mandates.

    Now, compare the extended opportunity that Bush gave Saddam to pass the UNMOVIC compliance test to the precedent set by Clinton with the UNSCOM compliance test and Operation Desert Fox.

    President Clinton, Dec 1998:

    Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq’s cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM’s chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan. . . . If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler’s report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

    When you compare Clinton’s urgency to act on a 3-week (+8 years) compliance test to Bush’s patience to act on a 4-month (+12 years) compliance test, recall that Clinton’s intel on Iraq’s weapons was no better than Bush’s intel.

    Clinton and Bush shared the Iraq enforcement procedure that factored Saddam’s record, and included Iraq’s guilt, burden of proof, compliance standard, and the high stakes.

    9/11 raised the already-high stakes so that Bush had, as Clinton termed it, an “absolute responsibility” to resolve the Saddam problem.

    Yet, with all of that in play, Bush granted far more time to Saddam to fulfill Iraq’s obligations than Clinton had given Saddam in 1998.

    That tells me Bush’s intent was to follow through on bringing Iraq fully into compliance, whether or not doing so required regime change, but he wasn’t especially eager to invade Iraq.

    As far as whether OIF was a “strategic blunder”, apart from its background and legality, I disagree with you.

    Now, I agree that OIF appeared very bleak in 2006, reminiscent of low points that preceded past US military victories. Harsh learning curves are a normal part of war or, in the case of OIF, post-war.

    However, by the close of the Bush administration, we learned to win in Iraq. The Petraeus-led Counterinsurgency ‘Surge’ turned the mission around, and in 2009, Obama inherited Operation Iraqi Freedom as a clear strategic victory.

    For our military, the US victory in Iraq set a critical methodological baseline for the 21st century. The military can replenish equipment and even men, but there’s only one way for the institution to learn how to win in the evolving strategic environment.

    To wit, General Petraeus, 2008:

    “If we are going to fight future wars, they’re going to be very similar to Iraq,” he says, adding that this was why “we have to get it right in Iraq”.

    In the greater War on Terror, the terrorists who invaded post-war Iraq, sabotaged the US-led peace operations, and committed many atrocities on the Iraqi people, were decimated in battle. Worse for them, the Iraqi Sunni in Islam’s heartland had chosen to side with the Americans against al Qaeda. The terrorists had invaded Iraq planning for Iraq to be their Vietnam defeat of America. Instead, the post-Saddam Iraq-American alliance turned Iraq into the worst-case, nightmare scenario for the terrorists.

    At the same time, the US victory in Iraq should have revitalized the commitment and resolve of American leadership of the free world and the concomitant pause of our competitors.

    To wit, US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, Jan 2009:

    The key to success in Iraq, insists Crocker, was the psychological impact of Bush’s decision to add troops. “In the teeth of ferociously negative popular opinion, in the face of a lot of well-reasoned advice to the contrary, he said he was going forward, not backward.”

    Bush’s decision rocked America’s adversaries, says Crocker: “The lesson they had learned from Lebanon was, ‘Stick it to the Americans, make them feel the pain, and they won’t have the stomach to stick it out.’ That assumption was challenged by the surge.”

    In the big picture, Obama inherited Iraq poised to realize Clinton’s vision that the US-led Iraq enforcement would “shape a future more peaceful than the past — but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.”

    To wit, President Obama (again), 2011:

    In Iraq, we see the promise of a multiethnic, multisectarian democracy. The Iraqi people have rejected the perils of political violence in favor of a democratic process, even as they’ve taken full responsibility for their own security. Of course, like all new democracies, they will face setbacks. But Iraq is poised to play a key role in the region if it continues its peaceful progress. And as they do, we will be proud to stand with them as a steadfast partner.

    When Obama took office, the Arab Spring was a short way in the future. If Obama had simply stayed the course from Bush and utilized ‘Iraq the model’ and the Bush Freedom Agenda, much like Eisenhower stayed the course from Truman at the dawn of the Cold War, Obama could have changed the course of the Arab Spring per Clinton’s prognostication.

    But Obama chose not to stay the course from Bush, bungled the SOFA negotiation with Iraq, and American leadership fell short in the Arab Spring. Now, the Syria problem is flowing into Iraq and we can only hope the best for the Iraqi people who gambled their lives and future of Iraq on America under Bush.

    Obama inherited the regime change in Iraq as the golden opportunity that Clinton had envisioned and Bush reified. But Obama blew it. Now, the golden opportunity for America to build the peace for the 21st century with the post-Saddam ‘Iraq the model’ as our partner is likely lost for good.

  49. Eric Says:

    I left out the last paragraph. Add:

    To sum, under Bush, Operation Iraqi Freedom revitalized international law enforcement in the defining post-Cold War international law enforcement mission and ended with a clear strategy victory and post-Saddam Iraq as a promising building block for American leadership of the free world. However, Obama lost the hard-won progress made under Bush by committing the gross strategic blunders of bungling the SOFA negotiation with Iraq, changing course from Bush, and thereby diminishing American leadership.

  50. Eric Says:

    * clear strategIC victory

  51. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Whether or not Saddam permanently eliminated his proscribed weapons programs (he didn’t)

    You’re the one who cited the Duelfer Report which found that Iraq had abandoned nuclear and chemical weapons programs in 1991, and biological weapons programs in 1995. Not only were WMD not found, but documentary evidence showed that Iraq had abandoned its WMD programs.

    Eric: You’re effectively claiming that Bush unilaterally dropped almost all of Iraq’s obligations and the Iraq enforcement procedure that he inherited from Clinton.

    We didn’t say they should. We said that invasion was a strategic blunder.

    Eric: There were reasons for holding Saddam to a strict burden of proof.

    Of course there were. But burning the house down wasn’t the solution.

    Eric: clear strategIC victory

    That’s funny.

  52. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    President Obama’s description of post-Saddam Iraq in 2011 doesn’t sound like a house burned down. It sounds like a house rebuilt better than it was and (at the time) rising.

    Insisting that our demonstrable victory in Iraq is a blunder doesn’t actually transform it into a blunder.

    Truth doesn’t work that way. The propaganda that bamboozled you, however, does work that way. I don’t think it’s funny. It’s sad and frustrating. But our competitors who exploited you are laughing.

    Unfortunately for America and our allies, not the least Iraq herself, it is true that our victory in Iraq could be blundered by a President who loses his strategic inheritance, as though Eisenhower had kicked away the hard-won gains his administration inherited in Europe and Asia.

    As Clinton envisioned, America’s victory in Iraq should have set a baseline for international law enforcement of US-led liberal world order, similar to the baseline set by Truman’s Korea intervention. True to Clinton, President Bush in an exercise of historic presidential leadership fought to secure a liberal course for post-Saddam Iraq “in the teeth of ferociously negative popular opinion, in the face of a lot of well-reasoned advice to the contrary” (Crocker). More, the stabilized, pluralistic, liberalizing Iraq that Obama inherited from Bush was in much better shape than the Korea that Eisenhower inherited from Truman.

    America’s victory in Iraq, hard-earned by Iraqis and Americans together, was the key. Was.

    Again: The Duelfer report is based on an investigation after the regime change. It’s not based on the compliance test that Saddam was required to pass to clear Iraq’s guilt. It also doesn’t address Saddam’s non-weapons obligations.

    The rule of law was that an insufficient account by Iraq equaled possession due to Iraq’s burden of proof. Because of Saddam’s record and behavior, such as what happened in 1995, the burden of proof was the only way to be sure. With Saddam and the stakes involved, we had to be sure.

    There’s no dispute that at the decision point Iraq had failed the compliance test (again, according to the actual standard) and was in breach of weapons and non-weapons obligations.

    Your view requires throwing out the operative enforcement procedure and the actual standard of compliance, and conflating the compliance test relevant to the decision point with the after-the-fact investigation. That view weakens, disrespects, and undermines rule of law.

    That said, the after-the-fact Duelfer report also shows Iraq, although satisfying to your personal standard for Saddam, did not satisfy the actual standard of its weapons obligations.

    Was there a better alternative?

    The desired solution for the Saddam problem that was held out for by 3 American presidents at high cost for over a decade was Saddam voluntarily fulfilling Iraq’s obligations. Unfortunately, Saddam didn’t believe in gentlemen’s agreements.

    As I said, by the close of the Clinton administration, we only had 3 choices left on Iraq:

    A. Kick the can on the toxic crumbling ‘containment’ status quo, and hope.
    B. Free a non-compliant Saddam, unreconstructed.
    C. Resolution by giving Saddam a final chance to comply with a credible threat of regime change.

    Bush started his presidency where Clinton had ended his presidency: following A. However, Clinton had set the stage for C by deploying the military in Iraq (and the Balkans) without additional authorization, making the objective of regime change a legal mandate, and moving the United States to the brink of the ultimate enforcement measure in Iraq.

    When Clinton left office, the only ingredient lacking to resolve the Saddam problem was the political will. Then 9/11 happened, thrusting the “absolute responsibility” (Clinton) on Bush to resolve the Saddam problem.

    You haven’t answer the question yet. You’re against C as the solution for the Saddam problem. That leaves you with either A, kick the can and hope, or B, free non-compliant Saddam.

    If you had worn the President’s shoes in the wake of 9/11, bearing the weight of all the responsibilities of leader of the free world, would you have chosen A or B, instead?

  53. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: President Obama’s description of post-Saddam Iraq in 2011 doesn’t sound like a house burned down.

    http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-bombings-kill-26-people-baghdad-192213779.html

    Imagine that this were to happen on a regular basis in the U.S. capital, and tell us again about “demonstrable victory”.

    Eric: Insisting that our demonstrable victory in Iraq is a blunder doesn’t actually transform it into a blunder.

    It was an obvious blunder. It led to at least a hundred thousand Iraqi dead, millions of refugees, and the ethnic cleansing of most of the country’s towns and cities. About 6000 civilians were killed in violence last year, in a country a tenth the population of the U.S. Multiply by ten, then by years.

    Eric: was in breach of weapons and non-weapons obligations.

    There were no WMD. Inspectors were in-country. Documentary evidence, as detailed in the Duelfer Report—which you cited—, shows that the regime had provided everything they had to show they had disarmed.

    Eric: The desired solution for the Saddam problem that was held out for by 3 American presidents at high cost for over a decade was Saddam voluntarily fulfilling Iraq’s obligations.

    The cost, to Iraq, to the U.S., to fractured alliances, to international law, was far higher with the invasion.

    Eric: When Clinton left office, the only ingredient lacking to resolve the Saddam problem was the political will. Then 9/11 happened, thrusting the “absolute responsibility” (Clinton) on Bush to resolve the Saddam problem.

    Invasion was a disastrous course of action. It weakened the U.S. and distracted from the real threat to U.S. interests.

    Eric: You haven’t answer the question yet.

    Once Saddam disarmed, which he did, then he was no longer threat. War was the greater threat.

  54. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Truth doesn’t work that way. The propaganda that bamboozled you, however, does work that way. I don’t think it’s funny. It’s sad and frustrating.

    Our position was clear before the invasion, that peaceful means may be fraught with difficulty, but were far better strategically than invasion. Furthermore, it was quite clear in the first days after the invasion that the U.S. had blundered when they waved their hands as the country was coming apart at the seams.

    Rumsfeld: “We know where they {WMD} are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

  55. Zachriel Says:

    During the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy sent Dean Acheson to meet with de Gaulle. Acheson was to show the French president pictures of the missiles sites. De Gaulle said, “No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me.”

  56. Ymarsakar Says:

    During the modern era, Zimmer thinks Hussein was a god send.

  57. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    I’m angry about that, too. Because of the Syria problem flowing in, Iraq is falling away from the post-Saddam Iraq that Obama described in 2011.

    The law enforcement with Saddam and peace-building of post-Saddam Iraq succeeded under Bush. Unfortunately, as I said, America’s victory in Iraq could be blundered by a President who loses his strategic inheritance.

    Obama’s bungling of the SOFA negotiation and mishandling of the Arab Spring, especially with Syria, are historic damaging failures of American leadership, more so given that Obama only needed to stay the course from Bush to avoid making those mistakes.

    I agree with you that Iraqis who believed their country had turned the corner with Bush are now paying the price for Obama’s mistakes. The terrorists that were defeated in Iraq under Bush have reconstituted in neighboring Syria and re-invaded an Iraq now emptied of American counterinsurgents under Obama.

    I also agree with you that Saddam’s regime and the post-war terrorist onslaught were highly destructive to Iraq. Before the Counterinsurgency ‘Surge’ turned the tide, it looked as though the Iraq, American, and allied peace-builders might well lose to the insurgents doing their best to destroy Iraq and tear apart the Iraqi people.

    Fortunately, led by President Bush, the good guys in Iraq stood strong against the enemies of peace, as President Clinton had urged. Unfortunately, for the Iraqi people most of all, Obama has failed to stand strong against the enemies of peace.

    We’ve gone around the same block a few times now. It’s obvious that you’re going to keep tripping into the same holes no matter how many times I point them out. At this point, it’s clear that you’re unable to grasp the basic concepts and history that defined the 1991-2003 law enforcement with Saddam.

    The part of your view I find the strangest is your trust for Saddam, against the US and UN history with him.

    Senator Bill Richardson (again), NY Times, Aug 1999:

    “I’ve very concerned,” Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who served as the chief American representative at the United Nations during last year’s confrontation, told reporters on Wednesday. “My experience with the Iraqis is if you give them an inch, they take a mile.”

    President Bush, 2002:

    [Saddam] cannot be trusted. . . . I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

    I will point out one more time, though, that the Duelfer report is based on an investigation after the regime change, and therefore irrelevant to the compliance test that Saddam failed at the decision point. You repeat the error of conflating the two. The Duelfer report also doesn’t address the non-weapons obligations that triggered OIF.

    The Duelfer report also doesn’t say what you believe it says. Here’s a recap:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/277115/saddam-what-we-now-know-jim-lacey

    You said upthread, “They probably would have eventually restarted their WMD programs”. The Duelfer shows at least that, and at least that fails to satisfy Iraq’s weapons obligations, even after the fact.

    The standard for the Iraq enforcement included foreclosing future threat by Saddam. Your belief that Saddam “probably would have eventually restarted [Iraq's] WMD programs” and the Duelfer report’s findings support Clinton and Bush’s forward-looking concern that:

    President Clinton (again), 1998:

    If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

    President Bush, 2002:

    There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait — and that’s an option. In my view, it’s the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I’m convinced that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want peace — we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

    Albeit with belated resolution, Clinton and Bush did the right thing by enforcing US law and international law with the ceasefire and resolutions with Saddam. Perhaps it wasn’t the popular thing, but genuine Presidential leadership is choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong, especially when the harder right is made unpopular and, as in your case, misunderstood.

  58. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: The law enforcement with Saddam and peace-building of post-Saddam Iraq succeeded under Bush.

    Iraq was never stabilized with thousands of civilians killed every year since the invasion.

    Eric: I will point out one more time, though, that the Duelfer report is based on an investigation after the regime change, and therefore irrelevant to the compliance test that Saddam failed at the decision point.

    That Iraq was in compliance is not irrelevant. That the U.S. and U.K. convinced themselves otherwise is the actual problem.

    Jim Lacey: When American tanks smashed into Baghdad, Saddam had already completed construction of an anthrax production facility, which was a week away from going live.

    Oh, gee whiz.

    Iraq Survey Group Report: With the economy at rock bottom in late 1995, ISG judges that Baghdad abandoned its existing BW program in the belief that it constituted a potential embarrassment, whose discovery would undercut Baghdad’s ability to reach its overarching goal of obtaining relief from UN sanctions… ISG found no direct evidence that Iraq, after 1996, had plans for a new BW program or was conducting BW-specific work for military purposes… Iraq would have faced great difficulty in re-establishing an effective BW agent production capability.

    When you cite such a polemic, it undercuts your argument.

    Iraq was contained. There was no valid justification for the scourge of war.

  59. Ymarsakar Says:

    What Zimmer means is that Iraq was giving the Left money to be contained. Now that the resources were cut off, the Left had problems with the sugar dropping.

  60. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Again: Your view requires that the burden of proof be on the US and UN. However, the burden of proof was entirely on Saddam.

    Why was the compliance standard on Saddam strict? Simple:

    Saddam’s initial approach under sanctions was driven by his perceived requirements for WMD and his confidence in Iraq’s ability to ride out inspections without fully cooperating.

    I was trying to take it easy on you. By drawing only on a limited set of findings, Lacy’s “polemic” actually understates the Duelfer report’s coverage of Saddam’s malfeasance and relationship with WMD.

    For example:

    Saddam had direct command of the Iraqi intelligence services and the armed forces, including direct authority over plans and operations of both. . . . The IIS also ran a large covert procurement program, undeclared chemical laboratories, and supported denial and deception operations

    This shotgun-blasts the bulls-eye by itself, but as a bonus, the IIS (naturally) had a particularly infamous one of these: “Special Operations Department, composed of a foreign and a domestic section, performed government-sanctioned assassinations inside or outside of Iraq.”

    IIS wouldn’t have operated on a ‘military’ scale, but in the wake of 9/11, the President had to confront the danger of terrorists with “small amounts” (Clinton) of NBC. The IIS, under Saddam’s “direct command”, would have been the Iraqi organ to work with terrorists if Saddam preferred to out-source. Among Saddam’s obligations, of course, was curing his guilt as a terrorist sponsor.

    “Iraq was contained.”

    I said the default option was kicking the can on the toxic crumbling ‘containment’ status quo. In fact, the ‘containment’ status quo was rapidly dissipating as a viable option, which left only free a non-compliant Saddam or resolve the Saddam problem with a final chance to comply as options:

    Barring a direct approach to fulfillment of the requirements of 687, Iraq was left with an end-run strategy focusing on the de facto elimination of sanctions rather than the formal and open Security Council process.
    . . .
    By 2000-2001, Saddam had managed to mitigate many of the effects of sanctions and undermine their international support. Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999.
    . . .
    Many former Iraqi officials close to Saddam either heard him say or inferred that he intended to resume WMD programs when sanctions were lifted.
    . . .
    There is an extensive, yet fragmentary and circumstantial, body of evidence suggesting that Saddam pursued a strategy to maintain a capability to return to WMD after sanctions were lifted by preserving assets and expertise. In addition to preserved capability, we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted.

    Once again, why Saddam was held to a strict standard of compliance:

    Following the destruction of much of the Iraqi WMD infrastructure during Desert Storm, however, the threats to the Regime remained; especially his perception of the overarching danger from Iran. In order to counter these threats, Saddam continued with his public posture of retaining the WMD capability. This led to a difficult balancing act between the need to disarm to achieve sanctions relief while at the same time retaining a strategic deterrent. The Regime never resolved the contradiction inherent in this approach. Ultimately, foreign perceptions of these tensions contributed to the destruction of the Regime.
    . . .
    Saddam continually underestimated the economic consequences of his actions. His belief that sanctions would prove ineffective led him to conclude he could avoid WMD disarmament.
    . . .
    While it appears that Iraq, by the mid-1990s, was essentially free of militarily significant WMD stocks, Saddam’s perceived requirement to bluff about WMD capabilities made it too dangerous to clearly reveal this to the international community, especially Iran. Barring a direct approach to fulfillment of the requirements of 687, Iraq was left with an end-run strategy focusing on the de facto elimination of sanctions rather than the formal and open Security Council process.

    It’s no wonder that Western intelligence services received indicators of Iraqi WMD. They were coming from Saddam, ie, the guy with “direct command of the Iraqi intelligence services and the armed forces, including direct authority over plans and operations of both”:

    Early on, Saddam sought to foster the impression with his generals that Iraq could resist a Coalition ground attack using WMD. Then, in a series of meetings in late 2002, Saddam appears to have reversed course and advised various groups of senior officers and officials that Iraq in fact did not have WMD. His admissions persuaded top commanders that they really would have to fight the United States without recourse to WMD. In March 2003, Saddam created further confusion when he implied to his ministers and senior officers that he had some kind of secret weapon.

    More on Saddam failing to meet Iraq’s burden of proof:

    Iraq engaged in denial and deception activities to safeguard national security and Saddam’s position in the Regime. These surveillance activities and the suspect vehicle movements in and around sensitive sites made it difficult for Western intelligence services to distinguish innoculous security-related measures from WMD concealment activities which added to the suspicion of Iraqi actions.
    . . .
    •Huwaysh instructed MIC general directors to conceal sensitive material and documents from UN inspectors. This was done to prevent inspectors from discovering numerous purchases of illicit conventional weapons and military equipment from firms in Russia, Belarus, and the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.

    . . . That’s enough.

    As I said, Saddam failed the compliance test at the decision point. The Duelfer report is irrelevant to compliance-based Iraq enforcement procedure but the after-the-fact investigation also shows Iraq failed to satisfy its weapons obligations. With Saddam, we had to be sure, and he didn’t allow us to be sure – not even close.

  61. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Again: Your view requires that the burden of proof be on the US and UN. However, the burden of proof was entirely on Saddam.

    Of course Iraq had responsibilities. But starting a war was a strategic blunder. When it was shown that Iraq didn’t have WMD, and that it had abandoned it WMD programs, and that it had provided everything it could to prove its case, it undercut international law.

    Eric: It’s no wonder that Western intelligence services received indicators of Iraqi WMD.

    Sure, because the U.S. should always believe Saddam’s intelligent services. It’s the letter of the law, you say, as if the letter of the law alone is a valid cause for war.

    A man’s neighbor is sure the man is building a bomb, so the neighbor goes to the police. The police look around, but don’t find anything. They urge the neighbor be patient, that inspectors will continue to look for the bomb. The neighbor can argue it’s the letter of the law, that the man had promised to disarm. So the neighbor breaks down the man’s door, chases away the inspectors, shoots the man’s dog, beats his wife in front of his children, and burns the house down, the fire spreading to other homes.

    There was no bomb.

  62. Zachriel Says:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/02/watch-donald-rumsfeld-caught-lying-about-conflating-saddam-hussein-and-911-attacks/

  63. Ymarsakar Says:

    The question is when Zimmer here will stop lying about his royal we, the Leftist hive mind.

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  65. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    “[Saddam's] perceived requirements for WMD” + “His belief that sanctions would prove ineffective led him to conclude he could avoid WMD disarmament” + “Iraq was within striking distance of a de facto end to the sanctions regime, both in terms of oil exports and the trade embargo, by the end of 1999″ + “Saddam pursued a strategy to maintain a capability to return to WMD after sanctions were lifted by preserving assets and expertise. In addition to preserved capability, we have clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD as soon as sanctions were lifted.” + “Huwaysh instructed MIC [Iraq Military Industrial Corporation] general directors to conceal sensitive material and documents from UN inspectors” + “The IIS also ran a large covert procurement program, undeclared chemical laboratories, and supported denial and deception operations”.

    “Iraq didn’t have WMD, and that it had abandoned it WMD programs, and that it had provided everything it could to prove its case”.

    Your problem is you believed Saddam’s intelligence services. Saddam deceived you into internalizing his lies so they’ve become your lies.

    I’ve given you truth. Now it’s your choice to free yourself from Saddam’s lies and see true, or willfully continue to be Saddam’s liar past Saddam’s death and his propagandists have moved on.

  66. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar,

    Zimmer is Zachriel? I don’t get it. What’s the story with that?

  67. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Your problem is you believed Saddam’s intelligence services.

    Sorry, we wouldn’t accept anything that Saddam said at face value. He was a tyrant, and even defanged, could be dangerous.

    Eric: I’ve given you truth.

    Well, you’ve provided an argument. This is that argument as we understand it:

    The man has, in fact, disarmed, shown that he has disarmed, and allowed inspections under duress, but he mutters that he might get a bomb later, or maybe he has one hidden somewhere.

    So you burn the house down.

  68. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    That’s encouraging. You’re beginning to loosen the chains of Saddam’s propaganda on your mind.

    You’ve made progress, but hand-in-hand with your reversal of the burden of proof, you’re still handicapped by the ahistorical notion that Saddam “disarmed, shown that he has disarmed” when your view is the opposite of what was shown by the compliance test at the decision point and the after-the-fact investigation.

    Indeed, the behavior and plan of the dangerous tyrant with a recidivist record, defiant behavior, and “direct command of the Iraqi intelligence services and the armed forces, including direct authority over plans and operations of both” strongly reinforced Saddam’s guilt.

    The Duelfer report findings of “preserved capability”, “clear evidence of his intent to resume WMD”, “large covert procurement program”, and “undeclared chemical laboratories”, and the rest, are dispositive that Saddam failed his weapons obligations, apart from Saddam’s relevant dispositive failure of the compliance test.

    Again: Your lenient standard and forgiving benefit of the doubt for Saddam are not the actual standard of compliance and burden of proof that Saddam was required to satisfy.

    It’s apparent that, like Saddam’s propagandists, you worked backwards. Your origin point was the conclusion that the regime change was wrong, and you back-filled your argument in order to support your beginning conclusion. The fundamental flaw is your conclusion was based on the false premises of Saddam’s propaganda.

    At this point, you’re trying to hold up your baseless conclusion by insistence only.

    Again: By the close of the Clinton administration, we only had 3 choices left with Iraq.

    The ‘containment’ status quo was toxic and crumbling, and on the verge of imminent defeat by Saddam according to the Duelfer report.

    Freeing a non-compliant Saddam, unreconstructed, would have been an abrogation by the US and UN of the defining international law enforcement of the post-Cold War with the consequence, per the Duelfer report, that “we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them” (Clinton).

    If we had backed down when Saddam failed the compliance test, and thereby discredited the threat of regime change, our law-enforcement failure to follow through would have restricted our choices to the dead ends of options A and B. Beyond just the dangers of a victorious Saddam, the failure of law enforcement in Iraq would have severely undermined, if not altogether killed, the effectiveness of law enforcement over rogue states and WMD proscription.

    Again: The main issue in the Iraq enforcement was the nature and behavior of Saddam’s regime, not limited to weapons – not Iraq’s demonstrable possession of weapons. Clinton clarified as policy from his administration’s struggle with Saddam that Iraq’s proscribed weapons were just a symptom.

    The source of Iraq’s cancer was Saddam’s regime.

    We hoped for a long time that Iraq under Saddam would cure itself. But the cancer refused to cure itself.

    Certainly, we would all rather that our post-war peace operations in Iraq had been more like our post-war occupation of Japan. It doesn’t always work that way. For example, while the circumstances are analogous rather than the same, the Korean War happened following the regime change of Japanese rule.

    Unfortunately, imperial Japan wasn’t the only source of competition over Korea. And the Saddam cancer wasn’t the only disease that endangered Iraq.

    As analogy, the spectrum of treatments for cancer makes the body vulnerable to other infections until the immune system can be made strong with the broad intervention of a dedicated medical treatment team.

    We were able to remove the Saddam cancer from Iraq in a relatively surgical procedure. Then, following the post-WW2 liberal tradition of American leadership of the free world, we set about post-war peace operations to build Iraq now freed of the Saddam cancer.

    However, the terrorist disease attacked Iraq before our peace operations could make post-Saddam Iraq’s immune system strong enough to fight off the secondary infection. As is often the case with cancer treatment, fighting the secondary (terrorist) infection proved as or more challenging than removing the primary (Saddam) cancer. But we did it. With the Counterinsurgency ‘surge’, we defeated the insurgency that tried to burn down Iraq.

    The problem is our peace-building occupation of Iraq only lasted for 8 years. 8 years was insufficient to secure the long-term peace in our comparatively straightforward post-war occupations in Europe and Asia, let alone the challenge of securing the long-term peace in Iraq.

    Unfortunately, with Obama’s failure of leadership following Bush’s historic leadership, the still-fragile post-Saddam Iraq finds itself immersed in a heightened infectious environment except now without the dedicated US-led medical treatment team.

    The house didn’t burn down when we removed the Saddam cancer from Iraq. Iraq, America, and our allies together then saved the house from burning down when we defeated the arsonist terrorist infection.

    I do fear, though, the house is in acute danger of being burned down now because the peace-building medical treatment team responsible for saving Iraq was compelled to leave Iraq prematurely in a heightened infectious environment, because the ethical competent physician-in-charge was replaced by an incompetent quack.

  69. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eric, Zimmer here likes people using his full name. You’ve probably noticed now its peculiarities in word usage that isn’t commonly accepted.

    Zimmer here also wanted to see Zimmerman put in jail for capping a black thug. Zimmer has quite the record of plaguing various blogs to counter conservative messages.

    So Z’s getting his “name” area denialed by me, and since its stuff doesn’t affect me, it can’t do anything about it.

  70. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar,

    Is there a back-story for “Zimmer” or is that just a name you picked?

    I hope that Zachriel will correct his fundamental misunderstandings of the Iraq enforcement by accepting the truth.

    Pessimistically, though, I suspect Zachriel will go right back to parroting Saddam’s propaganda with the expectation he likely won’t be called out on his false premises as I did to him.

  71. blert Says:

    Eric,

    Z man has been round and round with neo…

    time and time again.

    I must conclude that Z has other, deeper, more troubling issues than agitprop and e-politics.

    Climbing down from his self-reverential altar figures to require an immense scaffold.

    Hannibal descending out of the Alps had a lesser challenge.

    &&&

    At a larger remove: Bush HAD to push forward lest Saddam ENTIRELY negate the UN — making it as vacuous as the League of Nations.

    If you recall, once the League of Nations fell to pieces — not even convening as theatre — the world went into spasms such as the Spanish Civil War and Non-stop Japanese aggressions in the Far East.

    Thus the abnegation of the British and French had telling consequences.

    &&&

    The current fiasco unfolding with Iran is a direct consequence of Russian interferences.

    Putin has lost all perspective, and is trying to become a serious hegemon. A nation without second sons can not be a hegemon. His attempt at nova will reduce Moscovy to red dwarf.

  72. Eric Says:

    blert,

    From ‘President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat’, Oct 2002:

    Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events. The United Nations would betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear.

  73. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eric, Zimmer is merely Zimmerman’s name, without the man. Since after several months of hosting Z at Bookworm Room, we have yet to ascertain the rationality/nationality or gender of the Z.

    And it ain’t no angel either.

    It’s mostly a personal pick. Others called it the Z-Group or Z-man, to shorten it. Z really hated that, kept ordering us to call it by its FULL NAME.

  74. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: You’re beginning to loosen the chains of Saddam’s propaganda on your mind.

    We’ve never accepted Saddam’s propaganda at face value. Americans use propaganda too.
    http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberation.html

    Eric: you’re still handicapped by the ahistorical notion that Saddam “disarmed, shown that he has disarmed”

    He had, in fact, disarmed.

    Eric: when your view is the opposite of what was shown by the compliance test at the decision point and the after-the-fact investigation.

    He had, in fact, disarmed.

    As we said, you cite the letter of the law, then burned the house down.

  75. Zachriel Says:

    blert: Bush HAD to push forward lest Saddam ENTIRELY negate the UN

    By negating the UN.

    Eric: From ‘President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat’, Oct 2002

    From Rumsfeld trying to pretend he never conflated 9/11 and Saddam.
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/02/watch-donald-rumsfeld-caught-lying-about-conflating-saddam-hussein-and-911-attacks/

  76. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    Don’t forget that Saddam was required to satisfy non-weapons mandates under the UNSC resolutions, such as ending his regime’s support for terrorism, ceasing the persecution of Iraq’s civilian population, and stopping all illicit trade outside the Oil For Food program.

    Opponents and supporters alike tend to overlook the non-weapons bases of the Iraq enforcement, but they were on par with the weapons bases.

    US military intervention after the Cold War was chiefly characterized by humanitarian missions, and humanitarian grounds were prominent in the UNSC resolutions and US law in the Iraq enforcement.

    Indeed, the most costly, visible, directly militarily engaged, and invasive part of the toxic and crumbling ‘containment’ status quo – the no-fly zone – was enforcing humanitarian resolutions, not weapons resolutions.

    Iraq’s anti-aircraft fire against the no-fly zone, which had intensified after Op Desert Fox, was a trigger for military enforcement.

    It was made clear that the credible threat of regime change meant Saddam’s regime must comply with all non-weapons obligations, as well as weapons obligations, in order to avoid conflict.

    In other words, even if Iraq had passed its compliance test on proscribed weapons, Saddam still needed to meet his burden of proof on non-weapons obligations in order to switch off the credible threat of regime change.

  77. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Opponents and supporters alike tend to overlook the non-weapons bases of the Iraq enforcement, but they were on par with the weapons bases.

    But those don’t justify the scourge of war.

  78. Eric Says:

    Zachriel,

    When Saddam refused to prove his rehabilitation and cure Iraq’s “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere” (Clinton), Saddam triggered the credible threat of regime change and justified building the peace in Iraq.

    The US-led regime change started on March 19 and concluded on April 9, 2003.

    Thereafter in the post-war, the US mission in Iraq was peace operations, ie, the full-spectrum processes that transform failed regions into viable states that are secure, can sustain development and integrate into the international community, and are stable and effectively governed, and facilitating the organizations – private sector, government, international, and military civil affairs – that engage in humanitarian intervention, development, and aid.

    Opposite of “negating the UN”, the 2003-2011 peace operations in Iraq were conducted under UN authorities, just as the 1991-2003 mission enforced UN authorities.

    The “scourge” that tried to “burn down” Iraq wasn’t the Iraqis, Americans, UN, and allies who defended the Iraqi people and built up Iraq after Saddam.

    The “scourge” that tried to “burn down” Iraq was the terrorists who invaded Iraq after Saddam. Where we sought to minimize casualties and destruction in the regime change with the goal of building the peace in post-Saddam Iraq, the terrorists sought to maximize casualties and destruction and sow terror in their invasion of Iraq.

    The terrorists in Iraq were doubly incentivized to kill, torture, and destroy when their mayhem was blamed on the Americans defending Iraq, such as you do.

    Terrorists welcome and seek the “scourge of war”. Instead, terrorists cannot tolerate the American peace in Iraq. A pluralistic liberal Iraq at peace and partnered with the US, and trend-setting in Islam’s heartland is offensive and an existential threat to the terrorists.

  79. Zachriel Says:

    Eric: Thereafter in the post-war, the US mission in Iraq was peace operations, ie, the full-spectrum processes that transform failed regions into viable states that are secure …

    That may have been the intent, but the execution was devastating.

    You keep avoiding the point. War is the last resort. You burned the house down unnecessarily.

    Eric: Terrorists welcome and seek the “scourge of war”.

    Now you got it! The Americans foolishly played into the hands of their enemies.

  80. Ymarsakar Says:

    Meanwhile, at the same time zimmer was doing paid propaganda work here, it bypassed the barrier of this other place on the net.

    http://www.bookwormroom.com/2014/04/07/found-it-on-facebook-margaret-sangers-ultimate-goal/

    People on the internet just love links and being able to connect the dots. Dots which the Left try hard to isolate and cover with illusions.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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