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A good article about Saddam

Discussion in 'Politics (deprecated)' started by Vote Quimby, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. Vote Quimby

    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

    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

    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.
  2. Subsonic Chronic

    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.

  3. Hal-9000

    Hal-9000 TRIBE Member

    I would argue that Osama Bin Laden is deriving the most pleasure out of all of this if he's still alive.
  4. poker face

    poker face TRIBE Member

    That author had some really good points.
  5. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    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.
  6. JMan

    JMan TRIBE Member

    yup... the arrogance. the short-sightedness. the UN was set up to prevent this very behavior.
  7. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member


    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?
  8. beaker

    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.
  9. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    I'm reminded of the following quote:

  10. LoopeD

    LoopeD TRIBE Member

    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.

  11. LoopeD

    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.

  12. ~atp~

    ~atp~ TRIBE Member

    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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