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A good article about Saddam

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Here's a good article that's worth the read.



Saddam's last victory
Mar 13th 2003
From The Economist print edition


It is time to make last mean last

Get article background

THERE can be no
doubt as to which
person is drawing
the most pleasure
from the divisions
and disarray among
the countries of the
West over how to
deal with Iraq, and
that is the tyrant in
Baghdad. Last
September, when
President George
Bush declared that
he would work through the United Nations in order to deal with a
man who had flouted 16 UN resolutions in the previous 12 years,
even Saddam Hussein may not have expected that six months
later he would have achieved so much while conceding so little.
For a man whose lifelong ambition has been to become the central
figure of the Arab world, this must be a happy moment.

More even than that, he has become a figure around which great
global debates are swirling. The transatlantic alliance, the
cornerstone of western security since 1945, looks in deep trouble.
There is talk that France, Russia and China might, in effect, be
forming a coalition to counter the apparent ambitions of the
world's sole superpower, the United States. The future role and
shape of the United Nations itself is at issue, as well as the status
of international law. So are the role and shape of the European
Union, and the future course of American foreign policy. Tony Blair,
who until a few weeks ago seemed to be Britain's most powerful
and secure prime minister for a century, suddenly looks as if he
could lose his job. As Saddam is reputed to love poetry, he may
now be reciting Shelley: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings,
look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”


The case for war

Shelley's poem, though, was a poignant one, about how a tyrant's
ambitions, carved on a pedestal, become a broken wreck. That is
what now needs to happen to Saddam Hussein. Last November, Mr
Hussein was presented with a demand from the UN Security
Council, in its Resolution 1441, that he should comply immediately
with its terms and (in particular) with those of its Resolution 687
from 1991, which had laid down conditions for a ceasefire in the
Gulf war. He was given 30 days to provide a full and accurate
declaration of all his stocks and programmes of weapons
proscribed in that 1991 resolution; any falsehood or omission from
that declaration would mean that he was in “material breach” of
the resolution. Mr Hussein had a choice: comply; or try to get
away with not complying. Every report from the chief UN weapons
inspector, Hans Blix, since that 30-day deadline expired has
confirmed that he chose the latter. He calculated, correctly, that
he could thereby sow division within the Security Council, just as
he did when evading Resolution 687 during the 1990s. He has
given up merely a handful of missiles, a few empty chemical
warheads and (most recently) an undeclared unmanned aircraft.
He has not had to account for, let alone relinquish, any of his
stocks of biological and chemical weapons.

This calculating man is also, though, prone to grave
miscalculations, just as when he invaded Kuwait in 1990. Then,
too, he sowed division, even to the point that France argued that
some of his demands should be acceded to as the price for his
peaceful withdrawal. Now, once again, he has surely
miscalculated. His short-term success is going to lead to war, very
soon. And so it should.

Many millions of people, and quite a number of governments, are
understandably fearful of such a war. Some do not feel convinced
by the case for it, at all; many, though, think more time should be
devoted to using the process of inspections to persuade Saddam
to comply before war is used, as a last resort. That is why, as The
Economist went to press, discussions were under way about giving
him a new ultimatum, with specific demands, that he would be
asked to meet during the next few weeks. The trouble is that this
will just invite him to repeat his past success, by using minimal
concessions to cause maximal division and confusion. He was given
a last chance, by the Security Council's unanimous vote in
November. Four months later, there can be no reasonable doubt
that he chose not to take it, and will seek to do so again.

No war should be entered into lightly, or hastily, or on a slender
pretext. In this case, however, none of that applies. The ceasefire
resolution (687) of 1991 was an attempt to lighten the deadly
effect of war by using persuasion and containment to change
Saddam. Yet 12 years have passed, and the effort has failed. This
is a tyrant who has, it should be recalled, invaded Iran and Kuwait
and attacked Saudi Arabia and Israel; and one who signed
weapons-non-proliferation treaties but then broke them. His word
cannot be trusted, and he is a proven threat to his region.
Bombings by American and British aircraft, several times a week
during all those 12 years, have prevented him from trying any more
invasions. But they have cost many Iraqi lives, as have the
economic sanctions imposed by the UN since 1991: 360,000
prematurely dead children, on a conservative estimate; more than
700,000 according to the UN itself. That siege of Iraq has
deepened the hatred of the West felt by many Arabs, and has
featured high on Osama bin Laden's lists of grievances. It is one of
the swamps within which terrorism is being bred. Yet Saddam
Hussein still has his weapons, and his ambitions.

Some say that this is hypocrisy: that America has weapons of
mass destruction and so, for example, do Pakistan and India, so
why should Saddam be singled out? The answer is that dangerous
weapons are much more dangerous when in the hands of
dangerous people. It was a terrible mistake when French, German
and American companies were allowed to sell Mr Hussein some of
those weapons during the 1980s, but that mistake is not a reason
to make another one now. He has used chemical weapons against
Iran and against his own people. It would be reckless to assume
that he would not use biological or nuclear weapons in the future.
He must be prevented from doing so.

Others fear the effects of a war on political stability in the region.
A war will not magically bring peace, democracy and prosperity,
certainly not overnight. What, though, by contrast, are the
effects of Saddam on that stability? Without him, or another
hostile regime in Iraq, Iran would feel less need to pursue its own
weapons programmes. Israel too would feel less threatened.
American and British aircraft would no longer need to be based
provocatively in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere. Among Iraq's
neighbours, Kuwait is a keen supporter of war while both Saudi
Arabia and Jordan are plainly reconciled to it and keen to see the
back of Saddam. Some of those in the region, in other words, think
change would be better than leaving things as they are. The worst
outcome for the Arab neighbours would be for the agony to be
prolonged, either by more months and years of delay or by a
retreat.

That would also be the worst outcome for the 25m Iraqis
themselves. Their interest seems barely to be considered in the
debate over this war. Yet they offer one of the most powerful
arguments in its favour. For them, containment has been deadly,
and so has Saddam Hussein. He, his family and his forces have
ruled Iraq by terror, maiming, torturing and killing hundreds of
thousands of people, while ruining the lives of many millions more.
Again, the critics ask, why single out Saddam when the world is
full of human-rights abusers? To which the answer, first, is that he
is clearly one of the very worst; and, second, why not? If you
cannot deal with all mass murderers, should you therefore deal
with none of them?


Brickbats all round

The case for war is strong. Mr Hussein is not disarming. Further
delay will play into his hands. He has violated 17 supposedly
mandatory UN resolutions. He is a proven threat to regional
stability and too dangerous to be allowed to have the world's
deadliest weapons; a regime change in Iraq would be likely to
make the region more stable, not less, even if dangers would
remain. And it would bring new hope to 25m Iraqis.

If the case is so strong, why then has the Security Council found
it so difficult to agree? In reality, the division is not all that wide:
both the French camp and the American one agree that Saddam is
a terrible man and must be disarmed. They disagree about how,
and how quickly. Mr Hussein's brilliance is that from such a narrow
difference he has created so much bitterness and disarray. He
cannot take all the credit, however. Western politicians and
diplomats deserve to share it.

America has made two big diplomatic blunders, along with many
minor ones. The Americans did not need, technically, to provide
clear evidence that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass
destruction, for Resolution 1441 laid the burden of proof on Iraq.
But politically they did need to, especially to convince public
opinion and to help other governments to support them openly.
They have failed, so far, to provide it. Their second big blunder
has been to leave so much doubt in the air about what they might
do in other parts of the world after removing Saddam in Iraq. It
may be good to keep options open, and honest to avoid having
later to contradict previous denials. Yet, combined with talk of
“pre-emptive” strikes, this has left many people worried that a war
in Iraq could be just the first of many. So they have been left
feeling that they should oppose the one, so as not to encourage
the many.

France, on the other hand, has also blundered. Perhaps to please
America, it signed up to Resolution 1441 last November, and at the
time French diplomats said (off the record) that if Saddam did not
comply there would not need to be a further resolution—though
France was careful to emphasise that in that event the initiative
should remain with the Security Council, advised by the weapons
inspectors. But since then, officially and privately, it has acted as
if Resolution 1441 had put the burden of proof on the inspectors,
or the Americans, rather than on Iraq. President Jacques Chirac
added to this inconsistency by meting out abuse to European
countries siding with America. France also took the grand, and
inevitably provocative, position that at issue was not just the
specific case of Iraq but also the general question of American
power and of who makes decisions in world affairs: “unilateralist”
Americans or a “multilateralist” body? That was hardly diplomatic,
nor designed to bring about unity.


A new world order?

Once Saddam has gone, the need will be for both sides of this
diplomatic divide to be magnanimous. They may have disagreed
about the means, both should say; but they are now going to
work together to make the end secure, which must mean a more
stable and prosperous Middle East. Since France will not want to
be left in the cold and America does not like to bear burdens
alone, some form of reconciliation must be likely. That is also so
within the European Union, where Britain and France will both be
keen to patch things up. What, though, might it mean for the
United Nations and the future course of international affairs?

Two myths have taken hold in the course of this debate. One is
that by not ceding sovereignty to the Security Council America,
Britain and other allies would thereby be destroying the multilateral
system of an international rule of law that was set up in 1945.
Another is that somehow the Security Council confers legitimacy
on international decisions in the same way as a national parliament
does for domestic ones.

Yet no such system has ever operated, thanks largely to the
reflexive vetoing used by the Soviet Union during the cold war.
The Security Council has authorised the use of force on just three
occasions: Korea (1950), Iraq (1991) and Afghanistan (2001). All
other wars and interventions have occurred, rightly or wrongly,
outside the UN's purview. America is now accused of unilateralism
by virtue of its threat to bypass the UN if necessary. Yet it is
being supported by, among others, Britain, Spain, Italy, Australia,
Japan, Kuwait and ten countries from central and eastern Europe.
The Security Council, by contrast, may have the backing of the
1945 UN Charter, but it consists merely of 15 countries, among
whom three—Britain, France and Russia—hold permanent,
veto-wielding seats yet plainly are a lot less important in 2003
than they were in 1945. By no stretch of the imagination can it
really be seen as a proxy world parliament.

Nor will such a thing be created in the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, whatever actions it may wish to take, the United
States will need friends and allies. Even the sole superpower is not
powerful enough to deal with all the world's problems, or even with
all the threats posed to its own interests. It will need forums
within which such alliances can be formed and made reliable. Its
allies, meanwhile, will want, through such forums, to ensure that
their voice is heard and their interests protected. One of those
bodies is likely to be the Security Council, but its voting system,
vetoing powers and membership would need to change before it
could hope to become effective. Another will be NATO, but it too
is going to have to search its soul. And, separately, the European
Union will need to use the lessons of its unseemly divide over Iraq
as a guide to how and when it should seek to form united policies
in future—which will need to be reflected in the new European
constitution.

All that, though, is a grand agenda for the rest of the decade. For
the rest of this month, another task looms: to secure a final
defeat for Saddam Hussein.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Interesting perspective in that article.

Although... to me the biggest issue that I have with the invasion of Iraq is that it is still an illegal attack on a sovereign nation. Say what you will about the possibility of worse things happening in the future, the fact is that Saddam poses no outside threat right now. And since the second world war, the industrialised nations of the plant have come to the general conclusion that war should only be waged in a self-defensive situation.

A pre-emptive strike on Iraq like what's happening now could open the flood-gates for similar attacks by other nations who would now feel legitimacy in their actions.

Also... I don't like how the article blames France for the unrest that's resulting from the U.S.'s uniliteral actions.

France also took the grand, and inevitably provocative, position that at issue was not just the specific case of Iraq but also the general question of American power and of who makes decisions in world affairs: “unilateralist” Americans or a “multilateralist” body? That was hardly diplomatic, nor designed to bring about unity.
 

Hal-9000

TRIBE Member
THERE can be no
doubt as to which
person is drawing
the most pleasure
from the divisions
and disarray among
the countries of the
West over how to
deal with Iraq, and
that is the tyrant in
Baghdad.
I would argue that Osama Bin Laden is deriving the most pleasure out of all of this if he's still alive.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Subsonic Chronic


to me the biggest issue that I have with the invasion of Iraq is that it is still an illegal attack on a sovereign nation. Say what you will about the possibility of worse things happening in the future, the fact is that Saddam poses no outside threat right now. And since the second world war, the industrialised nations of the plant have come to the general conclusion that war should only be waged in a self-defensive situation.

A pre-emptive strike on Iraq like what's happening now could open the flood-gates for similar attacks by other nations who would now feel legitimacy in their actions.

Same here Pete,
It's not about Iraq, or weather or not the US can win the war, it's about the unprecendented abuse of power by the current US administration and how it now sets new levels as to what they and other nations empowering themselves with similar reasoning can get away with. It just puhes the envelope in the wrong direction, and being the most powerful nation on earth, it pushes human evolution in the wrong direction.
 

JMan

TRIBE Member
^^^^^^
yup... the arrogance. the short-sightedness. the UN was set up to prevent this very behavior.
 

Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Exactly.

Seeing as Cheney and Rumsfeld were calling for Saddam's head within hours of the 9/11 attacks, how can we really believe their motivations for this invasion?
 

beaker

TRIBE Member
the american empire is going down the tubes. too bad we're going to have to go down with it.

good article, btw.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
I'm reminded of the following quote:

"the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
----------

Samuel P. Huntington
 

LoopeD

TRIBE Member
"the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."


I still think the West has better values than many countries in the world, not necessarily all the people living in them but definately the people running them. I could list about 50 countries right now, but most know who they are.

And anyone who doesn't think so should really move to one of these places and try it out - guaranteed they'd be in for a BIG shock.

The States is using its power, rather than letting future flashpoints grow unchecked. Hopefully it works out well and innocents don't needlessly suffer. I for one will be glad there are a few less nutties in the world.





:)d
 

LoopeD

TRIBE Member
oh, lets not also forget - rather than letting a genocidal manica continue to fuck up his own people, fund suicide bombers and terrorists, and supply diseases and chemicals and shit to who knows who.






:)d
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by LoopeD
oh, lets not also forget - rather than letting a genocidal manica continue to fuck up his own people, fund suicide bombers and terrorists, and supply diseases and chemicals and shit to who knows who.
:)d
Well the quote I posted is saying something poignant about the corruption of power--I think that ANY country in the world, given the chance, will abuse the power that it aquires. I believe that this is because the leaders of countries represent a corrupt class of people--specifically, I believe that those people who WANT to be in power are much more likely to be corrupted, evil, etc, individuals. Thus, it is not so much power that corrupts them, but that they bring corruption to power.

These leaders hide behind so-called democracy, values and religion yet lead on with their obsessive motives for control, power and money. This might sound cynical, but it seems to be exemplified in every nation throughout all of history. None more so than in powerful countries, such as the U.S (or Rome for example).

My trust for a nation decreases (exponentially, probably) as their power increases. On a more philisophical standpoint, I do not believe that government should have the allure or potential for true power and money, but unfortunately, this is the case, seemingly more so in the U.S. than anywhere else.
 
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