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Jun 26 2014

Claiming to be right when you are wrong

Those warmongers who advocated for the invasion of Iraq and are now feeling some heat for that disastrous decision have developed a set of excuses that are trotted out whenever they are confronted with their crimes. What they do is shift from one excuse to another when they get cornered. Here is a list.

“Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”

No, everyone didn’t. There were many of us who said right from the start that no convincing evidence had been presented, even leaving aside the question of whether the US had the right to bomb Iraq just because of what it believed.

“It was an understandable mistake based on faulty intelligence”

No it wasn’t. What we saw was a major propaganda effort filled with known lies in a deliberate effort to ratchet up support for war.

“We were wrong for the right reasons while those who were right had the wrong reasons”

I love this one. They argue that all the serious and thoughtful people wanted the war for good reasons and those who opposed it were dirty hippies who could not be taken seriously. Here is one good takedown of that nonsense.

“We must look forward and not backwards and not play the blame game”

We must definitely play the blame game and play it with great vigor. These people are responsible for the deaths and injuries to hundreds and thousands of innocent people and the destruction of infrastructure like water and power systems, schools and hospitals, that have caused who knows how many further deaths. They must never be allowed to forget the monstrous crime that they have created and supported.

“9/11! 9/11! 9/11!”

When all else fails, this hoary chestnut is brought out, even though Iraq had nothing to do with it. As soon as someone brings this up, I immediately conclude that they are people who are not worth engaging with because it reveals either deep ignorance or dishonesty.

67 comments

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  1. 1
    moarscienceplz

    Foreign policy is a quagmire, always has been, always will be. It’s a virtual certainty that every president will make terrible errors. But if your preferred response to foreign challenges is guns and bombs, you not only will probably not succeed, you risk your entire legacy. Look at LBJ: a shining example of anti-bigotry who became master of the Senate and used that power to pass the Civil Right Act and to try to help the poor even more than FDR did. And what is he remembered for? Killing thousands of American boys in Vietnam.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    You’re forgetting the “He tried to kill my Daddy!” reason. Of course Daddy (GHWB) had tried to kill Saddam first.

  3. 3
    Francisco Bacopa

    I think among Texans and black folks, LBJ is more remembered for his Civil Rights legacy. Sadly, a lot of white folks in Texas have turned their back on that proud legacy. When I was a kid we white and mostly white folks honored his legacy.

    I think that as history progresses LBJ will be remembered for his Civil Rights legacy than for Vietnam. Every president has done a bit of Imperial killing, but only LBJ took top down action when the stakes were high on the social justice front.

  4. 4
    Al Dente

    Shorter warmongers: If things were different then things would be different.

  5. 5
    kraut

    ” Perhaps the best statement about what kind of fate some of the most visible neocons of the Bush administration should meet was made on The Thom Hartmann Program when someone observed, “Dick Cheney should be rotting in the Hague in a prison cell not writing editorials for the Wall Street Journal.” ”
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-260614.html

  6. 6
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    And what is he [LBJ] remembered for? Killing thousands of American boys in Vietnam.

    But not for killing hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese?

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction

    Hans Blix didn’t and – in that particular situation – Hans Blix had a lot more information to go on, and knew what he was talking about. Watching them attempt to demonize him was very upsetting.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    “9/11! 9/11! 9/11!”

    ~2000 dead Americans and a few tourists
    ~400,000 dead in Iraq, plus a million displaced, and the bleeding continues

    Not even.

  9. 9
    Raging Bee

    “9/11! 9/11! 9/11!” When all else fails, this hoary chestnut is brought out, even though Iraq had nothing to do with it.

    Condie rice had her own variation on this, which she trotted out shortly after her boss retired: “You have to understand how scared we all were after 9/11!” Yes, she really was using 9/11 to justify all of the incompetent and dead-wrong decisions her crew made after that date.

  10. 10
    Raging Bee

    ~400,000 dead in Iraq, plus a million displaced, and the bleeding continues

    And just to add an extra measure of insult to that colossal injury, no one in the US Government even asked for, or tried to come up with, a reliable estimate of how many Iraqis had been killed by our invasion. Seriously, whatever happened to battle-damage assessments? “Loyal citizens” didn’t want to know, and anyone who did was ignored or labelled a peacepussy.

  11. 11
    dean

    used that power to pass the Civil Right Act and to try to help the poor even more than FDR did.

    I know many people who hate him for these actions as much as others hate him for his actions surrounding Viet Nam.

  12. 12
    left0ver1under

    See also: “We’re all sinners.” Claiming everyone is guilty is done to minimize, excuse and legitimize the crimes of the few.

    Given the state of disarray and disaster Iraq has fallen into, they actually were better off under Saddam Hussein.

  13. 13
    Raging Bee

    Given the state of disarray and disaster Iraq has fallen into, they actually were better off under Saddam Hussein.

    I would have said that before the Iran-Iraq War. After, not so sure. Yes, he did keep the country together, at a blood cost probably lower than that of our occupation; but would that have lasted after he died of natural causes?

  14. 14
    colnago80

    Re left0ver1under @ #12

    But of course, Egypt wasn’t better off under Mubarak nor was Iran better off under the Shah.

    Re Raging Bee @ #13

    Just as Tito kept the former Yugoslavia together before he died and the country went to hell.

  15. 15
    Trebuchet

    @13 & 14: That’s the problem with artificial nations created by outsiders. They’re inherently unstable.

  16. 16
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ 12. left0ver1under :

    they actually were better off under Saddam Hussein.

    No. They really weren’t.

    Just ask the Kurds.

    There’s a classic cartoon which I’ve been unable to find – much to my frustration & despite google – showing the excavation of a mass grave in Iraq with people digging up piles of skulls & saying (from memory something like) “nup, no justification for the war yet ..”

    Saddam Hussein was really nasty piece of shit.

    Iraq and the world is better for his absence from it.

  17. 17
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @14. colnago80 :

    But of course, Egypt wasn’t better off under Mubarak nor was Iran better off under the Shah.

    Yep.

    Mubarak and the Shah had their issues but both were much better than what came after them.

    Plus as #Raging Bee notes Saddam would’ve died or been toppled eventually and this whole Sunni-Shiite conflict would probably have kicked off then.

    Unstable, psychopathic Islamist extremists from one sect of that ideology are out to massacre Islamist extremists from another sect (& any non-them folks they can get their blood-stained hands on)& vice versa.

    Yeah, that must be teh fault of the USA (& Israel because teh Juuuuzzz!!)

    Anyone really silly enough to believe that? Not me.

  18. 18
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    “Everyone believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”
    No, everyone didn’t. There were many of us who said right from the start that no convincing evidence had been presented, even leaving aside the question of whether the US had the right to bomb Iraq just because of what it believed.

    Minority. A lot of protests yes – but not an actual majority. Democracy. Outvoted. Accept it.

    What we saw was a major propaganda effort filled with known lies in a deliberate effort to ratchet up support for war.

    Citation needed. That’s your opinion. Fair enough. Evidence for this extraordinary claim would be ..?

    “We were wrong for the right reasons while those who were right had the wrong reasons”
    I love this one. They argue that all the serious and thoughtful people wanted the war for good reasons and those who opposed it were dirty hippies who could not be taken seriously.

    Really? Does this not seem to you just a little of strawmonstering the other side?

    Coz it sure does to me. Strawperson is a fallacy y’know.

    (I like hippies FWIW. Don’t mean I always agree with them but.)

    We must definitely play the blame game and play it with great vigor.

    Really? We must? It helps how exactly?

    Whose “we” here – and why?

    .. These people are responsible for the deaths and injuries to hundreds and thousands of innocent people and the destruction of infrastructure like water and power systems, schools and hospitals, that have caused who knows how many further deaths. They must never be allowed to forget the monstrous crime that they have created and supported.

    These people would be who exactly?

    Saddam Hussein? The Iraqi people?

    Those were the one’s who certainly wrecked a lot of their own disunited nation. Who refused to learn from and follow the example of, say, the Japanese post WWII. Somehow I get the feeling those ain’t the those you meant tho’ Mano. Why not? You think they had nothing to do with what happened next? Bear no blame for their own choices and subsequent consequences?

    They must never be allowed to forget the monstrous crime that they have created and supported.

    But lets ignore ISIS / ISIL and Al Quaida in Iraq ad suchlike, eh? The elephant in the room – or nation or two indeed. Let’s forget the ideology driving them is totally its own and ha s its own responsibility and accountability or should have yeah?

    “9/11! 9/11! 9/11!”
    When all else fails, this hoary chestnut is brought out, even though Iraq had nothing to do with it. As soon as someone brings this up, I immediately conclude that they are people who are not worth engaging with because it reveals either deep ignorance or dishonesty.

    Pure coincidence then that Islamic terrorism and ideology was behind 9-11 and behind the (current -2014) war in Iraq yes?

    Its not like both groups were killing innocent human individuals in the name of that old moon god Allah & his child raping, deluded, fouled up Dark Age warlord “prophet” or anything is it? Oh wait, it is.

  19. 19
    Mano Singham

    @18,

    Ah yes, the pathetic excuses of a war hawk and war crimes and murder apologist who has supported the use of nuclear weapons that would kill tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people and has either developed convenient amnesia about things that are well known or is so ignorant of even recent history as to be not worth engaging. This is why I largely ignore your comments, though I am making an exception in this case.

    “Citation needed. That’s your opinion. Fair enough. Evidence for this extraordinary claim would be ..?”

    Really? You cannot remember the string of falsehoods and bogus evidence? Yellowcake? Aluminum tubes? Curveball? Colin Powell’s infamous speech to the UN that was debunked almost immediately? UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Scott Ritter’s statements that that no evidence of a Iraqi nuclear weapons program could be found?

    Do none of those ring a bell? Where were you during that fierce debate?

    I do not bother to cite what has been well-established. Asking for citations for my statement that “What we saw was a major propaganda effort filled with known lies in a deliberate effort to ratchet up support for war” is like asking for citations that the world spins on its axis.

    But since you clearly were living under a rock for the past decade, here is a report on the 935 lies that the Bush administration made for the war.

    Our report found that in the two years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials made at least 935 false statements about the national security threat posed by Iraq. The carefully orchestrated campaign of untruths about Iraq’s alleged threat to US national security from its WMDs or links to al Qaeda (also specious) galvanized public opinion and led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. Perhaps most revealing: the number of false statements made by top Bush administration officials dramatically increased from August 2002 to the time of the critical October 2002 congressional approval of the war resolution and spiked even higher between January and March 2003, between Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address before the United Nations General Assembly and the fateful March 19, 2003, invasion.

    But by tomorrow you would have ‘forgotten’ this and will trot out the same old excuses.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    jws1

    @#19: Nice takedown. Thank you.

  22. 22
    colnago80

    Re Mano Singham @ #19

    Ah gee Scott Ritter. Does the good professor really want to get into bed with a convicted child molester?

  23. 23
    Mano Singham

    @colnago #22,

    Irrelevant, as usual.

    It is interesting to see someone who has also advocated the use of nuclear weapons on nations that would murder tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people get on a moral high horse and look down on others.

    It is not surprising, though. One should not expect self-awareness in those who advocate mass murder.

  24. 24
    colnago80

    Re Mano Singham @ #23

    Hey, ole Scott is the one who can’t keep his hands off underage girls, not me. I guarantee that no prosecutor or defense attorney would put him on the witness stand as a witness because no jury would believe anything he said, after hearing about his conviction. Hardly irrelevant.

    By the way, I stated on a comment on Keveh’s blog that, IMHO, the Bush Administration lied us into war in Iraq by falsely stating that Saddam had been involved in the 9/11 attacks and that he had WMDs, which, by the Hans Blix and his fellow inspectors did a bang up job of finding and disposing of. Blix was correct and accurate, Bush, Cheney, and the neocons were lying scumbags. I would also point out to the Israel bashers who hang out here that Arial Sharon, who was then Prime Minister of Israel, advised Colin Powell and his deputy Lawrence Wilkerson that the proposed invasion of Iraq was a bad idea and that all it would accomplish would be to increase the influence of Iran in the area. Seems that Israel’s Patton was right on target.

  25. 25
    Raging Bee

    Saddam Hussein was really nasty piece of shit. Iraq and the world is better for his absence from it.

    The fact that you can continue to say this, without reference to any of the social chaos and bloodshed that has happened in that region since our invasion, once again proves how shamefully clueless and uncaring you and your fellow neocon chickenhawks really are.

    Minority. A lot of protests yes – but not an actual majority. Democracy. Outvoted. Accept it.

    Like science, intelligence doesn’t work by polls, popularity contests and votes. And no, the agencies who doubted Iraq’s alleged WMD capability were not “outvoted,” they were smeared and ignored.

    That’s your opinion. Fair enough.

    Opinion? Please. It is an objective fact that: a) many nations’ spy agencies (including ours) voiced doubts about Iraq’s WMD capabilities; b) the Bush Jr. administration cobbled up bogus allegations from sources whose credibility was known to be somewhere between fishy and zilch; and c) the alleged WMDs were never found. Your resort to grade-school subjectivism, where factual assertions that get debunked become “opinions,” once again proves you’ve lost the argument and you know it. Fuck off to bed, and come back when you’ve grown up two decades.

  26. 26
    jws1

    Ah SLC1, still a bloodthirsty fascist jealous that it will never get to kill as many Muslims as W.
    Also, you still haven’t explained how what Ritter said has anything to do with what Ritter did.

  27. 27
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @19. Mano Singham

    @18, (I have a name you know or is this another wayu of demonsing me! – StevoR – ed.)

    Ah yes, the pathetic excuses of a war hawk and war crimes and murder apologist ..

    That is a lie!

    I have NEVER supported murder.

    Military self-defence yes but that’s something totally different.

    You know who does support murder/ These guys :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2014/06/27/allah-is-one/

    Y’know the Islamist Jihadists. Instead of berating me and others for using occassional tough and plain talking phrases you might want to think about which group is actually doing the terrorising and murders and atrocities in the world right now – hint it isn’t the USA or israel!

    That picture pretty much sums up what Islam is and why everyone else on earth should loathe it.

    ..who has supported the use of nuclear weapons that would kill tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people and has either developed convenient amnesia about things that are well known or is so ignorant of even recent history as to be not worth engaging. This is why I largely ignore your comments, though I am making an exception in this case.

    Ignoring people is rude. It also shows you can’t address their actual points only resorting topersonal abuse like here.

    And no, I do NOT support using nuclear WMDs and have said so many times now. So, again, stop telling lies about me. You owe me an apology.

    Asking for citations for my statement that “What we saw was a major propaganda effort filled with known lies in a deliberate effort to ratchet up support for war” is like asking for citations that the world spins on its axis. But since you clearly were living under a rock for the past decade, here is a report on the 935 lies that the Bush administration made for the war.

    The Earth spinning on its axis is scientific fact.

    That Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld etc got a lot of things terribly wrong in hindsight is a matter of historical fact.

    That they lied and it was a conspiracy to go to war when they knew they didn’t have to is a ridiculuous political opinion NOT fact.

    The reasonable Occam’s razor alternative to that popular fringe left Conspiracy Theory is that Bush etc .. believed what they wanted to believe but genuinely were mistaken.

    Analogy – Lowell claiming he saw canals on Mars. There weren’t canals – but he wasn’t lying and genuinely believrd he saw what he sketched down as canals. Lowell fooled himself and got it wrong.

    Same applies to the Second Saddam war at least on the US leaderships side.

    @25. Raging bee :

    Saddam Hussein was really nasty piece of shit. Iraq and the world is better for his absence from it.

    The fact that you can continue to say this, without reference to any of the social chaos and bloodshed that has happened in that region since our invasion, once again proves how shamefully clueless and uncaring you and your fellow neocon chickenhawks really are.

    No, it shows a recognition of reality that is wholly independent of what happened afterwards.

    Saddam Hussein was a truly evil dictator. What happened after his removal as awful as it was does NOT change that fact.

    Opinion? Please. It is an objective fact that: a) many nations’ spy agencies (including ours) voiced doubts about Iraq’s WMD capabilities; b) the Bush Jr. administration cobbled up bogus allegations from sources whose credibility was known to be somewhere between fishy and zilch; and c) the alleged WMDs were never found.

    Those are facts – but cherry picked ones ignoring other facts and context :

    a) a lot of intelligence and intelligence agencies did think Saddam Hussien was hiding something and indeed hsaddam himself was bluffing and NOt being honest about his capabilities.

    b) The Bush administration didn’t necessarily cobble up anything although they did get fooled by a few peopel who probably did.

    c) Saddam had previously used WMDs against the Kurds and Iranians so he did have aknown record of having and being willing to use them.

  28. 28
    John Morales

    StevoR @27:

    Military self-defence yes but that’s something totally different.

    Even pre-emptive “self-defence” on spurious grounds?

    (There’s another name for that, and a more apposite one at that — just as drone strikes are indistinguishable from state-sponsored terrorism)

  29. 29
    colnago80

    Re jsw1 @ #26

    The question is as to Ritter’s credibility. My point is, and I doubt that you would find a competent prosecutor or defense attorney anywhere who would put Ritter on a witness stand to testify as their witness because his conviction for child abuse would cast great skepticism on his claims. Folks don’t like child abusers. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

  30. 30
    Raging Bee

    No, it shows a recognition of reality that is wholly independent of what happened afterwards.

    Um, no, what happened afterwords is part of the reality. You can’t separate an action from its consequences. THEY’RE BOTH REAL.

    That is a lie! I have NEVER supported murder.

    You supported a war of aggression against a country that had not attacked us, justified by false intel, that resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and an ongoing climate of political chaos and bloodletting. THAT’S SUPPORTING MURDER, you lying bigoted testerical shit.

    Take your pompous demand for an apology and shove it back where it came from.

  31. 31
    Raging Bee

    a) a lot of intelligence and intelligence agencies did think Saddam Hussien was hiding something and indeed hsaddam himself was bluffing and NOt being honest about his capabilities.

    Yes, he was bluffing because it’s never a good thing for any head of state to publicly advertize his country’s WEAKNESS. The intel folks understood this, and had expressed doubts about how much WMDs Saddam had left after his two disastrous wars.

    b) The Bush administration didn’t necessarily cobble up anything although they did get fooled by a few peopel who probably did.

    They KNOWINGLY CHOSE to let themselves be fooled by the people who told them what they wanted to hear. That’s part of how false intel gets cobbled up.

    c) Saddam had previously used WMDs against the Kurds and Iranians so he did have aknown record of having and being willing to use them.

    No one disputes this — as I said above, the question was how much of that capability Saddam had left by 2003. (Also, that bit about Saddam being able to nuke the US was totally bogus from the get-go — there was NEVER any evidence for that.)

  32. 32
    Raging Bee

    Saddam Hussein was a truly evil dictator. What happened after his removal as awful as it was does NOT change that fact.

    It does, however, flatly disprove your allegation that Saddam’s removal left anyone better off.

  33. 33
    Mano Singham

    @StevoR #27,

    It would be redundant for me to demonize you since you do such a wonderful job yourself.

    Anyone who follows your posts would know that your main gift is using 9/11 and dreaming up hypothetical paranoid scenarios that in your mind justify the use of nuclear and other weapons that would result in the slaughter of tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Since you like citations, here are two of your posts where you say just that.

    The fact that you seem oblivious that your willingness to support the use of nuclear weapons is disgusting is a quality that you share with other war hawks. You try to deflect the obvious horror of your comments by saying you do not like to do it but that is immaterial. Only a psychopath likes to commit mass murder. You do not have to be psychopath to advocate horrific policies.

    So no, I don’t need to demonize you.

  34. 34
    colnago80

    Re Mano Singham @ #33

    With all due respect, I went to the first link you posted and I didn’t see anywhere where StevoR advocated using nuclear weapons against Iran. In fact, he disputed my suggestion of using 15 MT bombs. In the second, he did suggest in one comment that low yield nuclear weapons might be used, although, IMHO, the daisy cutters or bunker buster bombs would be far more likely to do the job. I have freely admitted advocating, at one time, the use of very large nuclear weapons but, after some research, have concluded that the daisy cutters and bunker busters can do the job.

    I think the problem here is that there is a fundamental difference of opinion as to whether the US or Israel should prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. You professor opine that nothing should be done, that Iran has a perfect right to such development and that it poses no threat to any of Iran’s neighbors. StevoR and I disagree because we are much less sanguine about the aspirations and sanity of the mullahs who run Iran. We are also less sanguine then you and others who comment here about whether further proliferation of nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, etc., which IOHO, would follow from an Iranian capability is a good idea in such an unstable region as the Middle East. One shudders to think of a nuclear armed Egypt ruled by Morsi.

  35. 35
    Mano Singham

    @colnago,

    He refers to the use of weapons that are conventional and not conventional. The latter is a common euphemism for nuclear weapons unless he has some secret meaning for the phrase.

    I have said repeatedly that I don’t care whether you and he think that it is necessary in the cases you cite to use nuclear weapons to achieve what you seek. It does not detract from the horrific fact that the two of you see nothing wrong with using nuclear weapons that would murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people if it suits your tactical purposes to do so. And again, I do not care if you like doing so or not. That is irrelevant. The fact that you two feel comfortable advocating it at all is the abomination.

  36. 36
    colnago80

    Re Mano Singham @ #35

    I think we are beating a dead horse and I really don’t like to pretend to speak for StevoR but he may consider daisy cutter bombs to be unconventional. Since he has disagreed with my 15 MT proposal, it appears to me that he is opposed to the use of at least large nuclear bombs.

    However, you are accurate in stating that I see nothing wrong with using nuclear weapons, if necessary, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Given what I consider to be the threat posed by such a development, which, IMHO, is equivalent to supplying gasoline and matches to a pyromaniac, it is justified. The US and Britain showed no hesitancy in using every bomb they developed against Germany and Japan. Frankenberger and Tojo had to be stopped and if innocent civilians in Germany and Japan were collateral damage in the event, it’s regrettable but I doubt that Roosevelt or Churchill who gave the orders lost much sleep nor should they have.

  37. 37
    Raging Bee

    Since he has disagreed with my 15 MT proposal, it appears to me that he is opposed to the use of at least large nuclear bombs.

    So you’re saying we should give SteveOR a pass because he’s more sensible than you? As long as we’re lowering the bar THAT far down, let’s also give him kudos for being (slightly) smarter than a rabid squirrel. And for not falsely accusing me of “celebrating” the murder of innocent kids.

  38. 38
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #37

    Prof. Singham has, on more then one occasion, accused StevoR of advocating the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. His “proof” of this is his reference to unconventional weapons, interpreting that as nuclear weapons. I have opined that StevoR may consider daisy cutter bombs to be unconventional weapons. Other then that, I don’t pretend to speak for him.

    As for murdering innocent kids, I will also refrain from celebrating the murder of a Palestinian kid last night in Jerusalem, apparently by Jewish vigilantes. In fact, I demand that the Shinbet capture the perps and bring them to justice immediately, if not sooner.

    http://goo.gl/IHVrzP

  39. 39
    Raging Bee

    I don’t give a shit what you did or did not celebrate. You still haven’t admitted that your accusation against me was a lie.

  40. 40
    Raging Bee

    Prof. Singham has, on more then one occasion, accused StevoR of advocating the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. His “proof” of this is his reference to unconventional weapons, interpreting that as nuclear weapons.

    Singham’s accusation is, at the very least, credible, based on the standard usage of the phrase “unconventional weapons.” SteveOR left himself open to the accusation by using the phrase and not clarifying.

    And does your asinine hairsplitting really matter? What “unconventional weapons” would be more appropriate, and less murderous, than nukes? If SteveOR didn’t mean nukes, then what else could have have meant that would have been more acceptable?

  41. 41
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #40

    Ole Bee is, apparently, suffering from a reading comprehension problem. I specifically mention daisy cutters as possibly what StevoR was referring to.

  42. 42
    Mano Singham

    I would just point out that my second link at #33 has StevoR explicitly mention using nuclear weapons so there is no ambiguity at all.

  43. 43
    colnago80

    Re Mano Singham @ #42

    I did a search on the second link and came up with the following excerpt: Maybe there are others but this is the only one I could find.

    Although the low yeild neutron bombs that SLC1 mentioned in comment #13 would also be another good way around this issue.

    The problem with this is that neutron bombs are designed to kill people while leaving the structures mostly intact. I don’t think this would be effective against underground nuclear facilities, even though it might kill the personnel at the site. They are replaceable, the facilities not so much.

  44. 44
    Mano Singham

    colnago80 @#43,

    These are quotes from the second link:

    I do NOT *like* the thought of nuking or otherwise bombing Iran.

    I recognise that there’ll be a lot of casualties and “war is hell” and all that.

    But I’m also rational, logical and aware enough to know that it cannot be avoided because the alternative is far worse.

    and

    If the choice is a land invasion of Iran that will cause hundreds of millions of casualties on BOTH sides or a massive air bombing incl. with daisy-cutters, neutron bombs or nukes that will cause relatively fewer deaths – say tens of milions instead of hundreds on their side alone rather than on *both* sides – then the aerial bombardment is ethically & practically the best option.

    and

    PS. As for nuking Pakistan, yeah, we may well have to do that too.

    There is absolutely no ambiguity.

  45. 45
    Raging Bee

    Yep, no ambiguity at all. And no common sense or decency either. What possible provocation could possibly justify an invasion of Iran, with or without nukes? And more to the point, whatever the provocation, what could such a huge and bloody operation possibly hope to accomplish that would justify the enormous human and capital costs? It’s not like our invasion of Iraq diminished any terrorist threats…otherwise people like SteveOR wouldn’t be saying we have to invade another country, would they?

    Whether or not he advocates the use of nukes, SteveOR isn’t even smart enough to be a remotely plausible warmonger.

  46. 46
    Raging Bee

    And what the fuck would be the point of nuking Pakistan? Does he really think that would make Pakistan MORE cohesive, or LESS of a war-torn failed state?

  47. 47
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #45

    I notice that these excerpts are from 2 years ago. Since then, like myself, StevoR has decided that using nukes on Iran is unnecessary. Daisy cutters and bunker buster bombs are capable of removing Iran’s nuclear facilities. The way that the Bee goes after StevoR, one would think that the latter is a libertarian.

  48. 48
    Raging Bee

    Actually, chickenhawk, it’s been FAR LESS than two years since you last advocated using 15-megaton nukes against Iran. So stop trying to pretend you’re all grown up now — we all know it’s just as much of a lie as your assertion that I “celebrated” the murder of three innocent kids. (And both of those lies cast doubt on your defense of SteveOR.) If you can’t own up to either of those two cowardly lies, then you don’t belong in an adult conversation.

  49. 49
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    colnago80:

    Daisy cutters and bunker buster bombs are capable of removing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    Yeah, I’m sure no one would die from those.
    And if you’re anything like StevoR, you deserve all the criticism he gets. I’m not a fan of that bigoted, genocidal warmonger either (cue his whining any day now).

  50. 50
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    StevoR:

    I have NEVER supported murder.

    Military self-defence yes but that’s something totally different.

    Oh, you’re playing the semantic game. Killing=/=murder in your book.
    Fine.
    When you advocate war, you’re advocating killing people-many of them innocents (or in your vile parlance-acceptable collateral damage). Of course to you, it doesn’t matter bc you’ve successfully othered them. You’re a bigot who refuses to acknowledge the intersection of race, ethnicity, and Islamophobia.
    And I call BS on your “self defense”. Neither you, in Australia, nor myself in the US is under any serious danger of attack from Islamic extremists. Here in the US, I’m in greater danger of being attacked by domestic terrorists, than Islamic terrorists. Yet here you are still so scared about an attack from Isalmic extremists, that you advocate pre-emptive war. That’s why you disgust me.
    Yeah, yeah, it’s my opinion. Unlike you, my opinion is based on facts and evidence rather than paranoia and bigotry.

  51. 51
    Mano Singham

    colnago80 @#47,

    The fact that you two have decided that using nuclear weapons is ‘unnecessary’ to achieve your goals is not the point. The fact that you think it is not morally wrong to use weapons of mass murder on civilians is what is reprehensible.

  52. 52
    colnago80

    Re Tony @ #49 & #50

    The number of people in Iran that would be killed if its nuclear facilities were attacked by daisy cutters and bunker buster bombs pales into insignificance compared to the number of potential victims if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. One Hiroshima sized bomb on Tel Aviv or Amman or Beirut or Baghdad or New Delhi would kill hundreds of thousands. Now you say that Australia and the US aren’t threatened by Islamic extremists or presumably Iranian nukes. Apparently the inhabitants of the cities I listed in the previous sentence don’t count with you because they aren’t Americans or Australians. That sounds like Charles Lindbergh in 1940 proclaiming that Frankenberger, whose jackbooted thugs by this time had overrun Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Norway, and France wasn’t a threat to the US. The people under the Nazi boot didn’t count with him, any more then the people living in the aforementioned cities count with you. I guess you are not your brother’s keeper.

    Frankenberger and Tojo had to be stopped in the 1940s; the mad mullahs that miss run Iran have to be stopped today.

  53. 53
    Raging Bee

    The number of people in Iran that would be killed if its nuclear facilities were attacked by daisy cutters and bunker buster bombs pales into insignificance compared to the number of potential victims if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

    The same thing could have been said of Stalin’s USSR and Mao’s China — but it didn’t prove true for them, even though they were far more brutal than Iran’s rulers, and got themselves far more nukes than Iran is ever likely to get. So if such vague raving jeremiads proved false for China and the USSR, they’ll surely prove false for Iran as well.

    You can’t justify mass-murder based on what you think a regime MIGHT do — especially when your “thinking” is obviously based on pure hatred and not on any sensible policy calculation.

  54. 54
    Raging Bee

    Prof. Singham, I don’t want to be a wet blanket here, but isn’t it time you considered getting rid of colnago once and for all? His comment #52 is clearly nothing but incoherent bigoted fearmongering, followed by a totally gratuitous and irrelevant comparison to Nazi Germany. In addition to all that bigoted hatemongering and calls for unprovoked war, he has accused me of “celebrating” a senseless act of murder, with absolutely ZERO evidence or reasoning to back it up; and has refused to admit he was wrong or apologize. It is clear that he not only advocates repulsive policies, but conducts himself at a level of maturity far below that of useful grownup interaction. He is, in short, simply not mature enough or honest enough to participate in a grownup conversation, and his presence here only degrades the quality of an otherwise decent blog.

  55. 55
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee

    Stalin and Mao were more or less sane. The mad mullahs who misrule Iran are of questionable sanity at best. Of course, it may happen that the mad mullahs currently talk crazy but will sober up when they develop nukes. Mao, who also spoke crazy sobered up after China developed nukes. I’m not willing to bet the ranch on that however.

  56. 56
    Raging Bee

    Read some fucking history, you moron — Stalin and Mao were far more vicious toward just about everyone than the “mad mullahs.” The difference between them in terms of sanity and trustworthiness is nil.

    Foreign policy is complex, and once again, you prove yourself too simpleminded, too childish, too shortsighted, and too racist, to comprehend it or have anything useful to say about it.

  57. 57
    Raging Bee

    I’m not willing to bet the ranch on that however.

    You really think that waging an unprovoked and open-ended war against a nation as big as Iran is a better gamble? Are you even aware of how big a country Iran is? Or do you just assume all Muslims are harmless savages who will never be able to cause us any trouble?

  58. 58
    John Morales

    StevoR @27:

    Saddam Hussein was a truly evil dictator. What happened after his removal as awful as it was does NOT change that fact.

    Much of what happened during was also awful.

    (Particularly sad for the marsh arabs and the environment)

    But that’s not casus belli that was used.

    So,

    No, it shows a recognition of reality that is wholly independent of what happened afterwards.

    A recognition of reality that elides the actual justification and appeals to another.

    (I can think of another nasty dictator right now, but no war is imminent)

  59. 59
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Raging Bee @54, tsk. I trust Mano to moderate his own blog, and I found your appeal unedifying.

  60. 60
    Silentbob

    @ 59 John Morales

    The beliefs that Mano can be trusted to moderate his own blog, and that Mano may take into consideration feedback from commenters, are not mutually exclusive.

    I’m aware of Mano’s policy toward very unpopular commenters, but it doesn’t follow that he is adverse to hearing complaints.

    It is not that I will never ban. Although I have not done so in the past, I keep the option open because I cannot foresee what might arise in the future.

  61. 61
    John Morales

    [meta]

    Silentbob @60, indeed, thus my tag indicating I was commenting on the comment.

    (BTW, I also think #56 is unseemly)

  62. 62
    Raging Bee

    But the comments to which #56 was a response are perfectly okay?

  63. 63
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @33. Mano Singham :

    @StevoR #27, It would be redundant for me to demonize you since you do such a wonderful job yourself. Anyone who follows your posts would know that your main gift is using 9/11 and dreaming up hypothetical paranoid scenarios that in your mind justify the use of nuclear and other weapons that would result in the slaughter of tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

    You are entitled to your erroneous opinion but it is just that your erroneous opinion.

    Since you like citations, here are two of your posts where you say just that.

    Really? Truly? Lesse :

    Quote #1 From ‘Why Attacking Iran is a Bad Idea. Again.’ 2012 March 15th :

    I’m pretty sure the US (& Israel) does have plenty of “daisy-cutter” fuel air bombs and incendariaries as well as some pretty great “bunker-busters” (conventional and not) however which should work just fine. (1) My preference would be a decapitation strike on the leadership and Iran’s nuclear sites hidden and otherwise but I’m sure the Israeli generals now what they’re doing and already have some good plans ready and waiting to be put into effect. (2) Ultimately, it is Israel’s generals who – quite correctly – will make the decision on what to do here for the sake of their nation and people being saved from the current existential threat posed by Iran’s nuclear nightmare. (3)

    Hmm .. Let me see where that quote says I favour using nuclear weapons.

    First sentence discusses Israel’s capabilities – no, no advocacy of using nukes there.

    Second sentence – says I trust Israeli generals to know what they are doing. Also no advocacy of using nukes there.

    Third sentence : Oh now I do mention a nuclear nightmare – but advocate against it saying I hope Israel manages to prevent Iran getting and using nukes.

    So.

    That would be the opposite of what you claimed.

    And also from two years ago. That’s your first choice of evidence against me? Wow. Can’t have much of a case.

    Oh well strike two from you is from, oh look April 2012 a full month more recent! Actually the fifth of April 2012 so not even a full month later and still over two years ago. On the ‘Attack on Iran Would Kill World Economy’ thread :

    I do NOT *like* the thought of nuking or otherwise bombing Iran.

    (Emphasis original.)

    So the very first sentence you quote refutes your own case right there. Thanks, nice choice.

    It goes on to note :

    If the choice is a land invasion of Iran that will cause hundreds of millions of casualties on BOTH sides or a massive air bombing incl. with daisy-cutters, neutron bombs or nukes that will cause relatively fewer deaths – say tens of millions instead of hundreds on their side alone rather than on *both* sides – then the aerial bombardment is ethically & practically the best option.

    Note the word ‘ IF’ there?

    Note the two options and use of utilitarian logic?

    I do not now support this option btw. Something I’ve since made very clear. I do think there are more than two choices on Iran and that would be a last resort in highly extreme and unlikely circumstances. I know think there are better ways to handle Iran’s nuclear program. As you should already know.

    Also from there :

    It would be great if Iran didn’t threaten us – if they weren’t menacing the whole world. It’d be great if Iran and allthe other Islamist Jihadistans just decided en masse to convert to reason and give up Islam and their hatred of non-Muslims and live at peace with everyone else. But, that is clearly NOT ever going to happen. Not on its own.

    We are NOT “mirror images” because we don’t want to kill them, we just know it has to be done.

    Islam – the Jihadists – are the one’s who put no value on human lives and force us to kill them or be killed.

    The sooner we relegate Islam to that same dustbin of history that Marxism and Fascism were rightly forever tossed into last century, the better for everyone on this pale blue dot.

    We didn’t start this Islam vs Western war and we try to spare the lives of innocents whereas they deliberately seek to attack and murder *us*.

    Precisely what line here is either wrong or objectionable? What line there says I’m some bloodthirsty scum who wants to engage in genocide?

    PS. As for nuking Pakistan, yeah, we may well have to do that too. I fully expect the Jihadists to take that over that miserable hellhole (officially, they run much of it behind the scenes now) one day in the relatively near-future.

    I was wrong about that. Well, so I far I have been. I am very happy to admit that because it means the world is a better place than I feared.

  64. 64
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Continued :

    .. The fact that you seem oblivious that your willingness to support the use of nuclear weapons is disgusting is a quality that you share with other war hawks. You try to deflect the obvious horror of your comments by saying you do not like to do it but that is immaterial.
    - #33. Mano Singham.

    Is it?

    My comments say I don’t want to do X and you misconstrue it as me advocating X?

    Only a psychopath likes to commit mass murder. You do not have to be psychopath to advocate horrific policies.

    So no, I don’t need to demonize you.

    Except you just inferred I’m a pyschopath.

    Which I’m not.

    Which would be a lie and which you owe me an apology for.

  65. 65
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @28. John Morales :

    StevoR @27: “Military self-defence yes but that’s something totally different.”

    Even pre-emptive “self-defence” on spurious grounds?

    Yes. War is NOT murder by definition – hence soldiers are never tried for homicide for doing their duty.

    (There’s another name for that, and a more apposite one at that — just as drone strikes are indistinguishable from state-sponsored terrorism)

    Huh? Umm, no. I don’t think so.

    You supported a war of aggression against a country that had not attacked us, justified by false intel, that resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and an ongoing climate of political chaos and bloodletting. THAT’S SUPPORTING MURDER, you lying bigoted testerical shit.

    Bzzt. No. Murder has a specific meaning and that ain’t it.

    Oh & actually, believe it or not, at the time I didn’t support the Second Saddam (Iraq) war and today I think it was a mistake but can see why they did it. I’ve grown up and learnt some. Maybe you can too?

    @ Raging Bee #30, 31, 32, 45 :

    You can’t separate an action from its consequences.

    Says who? I reckon ya can.

    Context matters. A kingdom *may* be lost for want of a nail but then usually that ain’t the case. Chaos theory works.

    Yes, he (Saddam-ed) was bluffing because it’s never a good thing for any head of state to publicly advertize his country’s WEAKNESS. The intel folks understood this, and had expressed doubts about how much WMDs Saddam had left after his two disastrous wars.

    So? Does that make my statement false? No.

    b) The Bush administration didn’t necessarily cobble up anything although they did get fooled by a few people who probably did.

    They KNOWINGLY CHOSE to let themselves be fooled by the people who told them what they wanted to hear. That’s part of how false intel gets cobbled up.

    Well that would be an extraordinary assertion requiring extraordinary evidence. Sub-consciously, perhaps. Knowingly? I doubt that very much. Burden of proof is yours.

    c) Saddam had previously used WMDs against the Kurds and Iranians so he did have aknown record of having and being willing to use them.-StevoR

    No one disputes this — as I said above, the question was how much of that capability Saddam had left by 2003. (Also, that bit about Saddam being able to nuke the US was totally bogus from the get-go — there was NEVER any evidence for that.)

    So, we know we have an evil dictator who has got WMDs who is willing to use them, has arecord of using them and we just don’t know 100% if he still has them but we suspect he probably does basedonhis behaviour.

    You are okay with just letting that through to keeper and thinking it’ll work out. Most other folks would disagree with you. I sure would.

    “Saddam Hussein was a truly evil dictator. What happened after his removal as awful as it was does NOT change that fact.” – StevoR

    It does, however, flatly disprove your allegation that Saddam’s removal left anyone better off.

    No, it has no connection with that fact at all – it simply says what it says – namely that Saddam Hussein was a truly evil dictator. Would you really disagree with that and claim otherwise?

    Yep, no ambiguity at all. And no common sense or decency either. What possible provocation could possibly justify an invasion of Iran, with or without nukes?

    An all out Iranian attack on Israel? Iran starting WW III? Iran hosting an evil alien species intent on exterminating all humanity? Seems you lack imagination, Raging bee.

    Okay some of these are unlikely but to say they don’t exist is silly.

    And more to the point, whatever the provocation, what could such a huge and bloody operation possibly hope to accomplish that would justify the enormous human and capital costs? It’s not like our invasion of Iraq diminished any terrorist threats…otherwise people like SteveOR (Geez I thought I had bad typos! Can’t even get my name right, thats says something bout the accuracy of the rest of what xe says. – Ed.) wouldn’t be saying we have to invade another country, would they?

    Given the lack of confirmation from a gazillion and one possible alternative universes that’s not a reasonable comment. We don’t know what toppling Saddam actually prevented since in reality Saddam was stoppled and Iraq freed from his tyranny. We can, OTOH, say for sure what sort of person Saddam was and what he had done in the past because that actually happened. We also know what his sons did and thus how they they were likely to continue doing had they taken over.

    @ 51. Mano Singham :

    colnago80 @#47, The fact that you two have decided that using nuclear weapons is ‘unnecessary’ to achieve your goals is not the point. The fact that you think it is not morally wrong to use weapons of mass murder on civilians is what is reprehensible.

    What if doing so saves more innocent lives than it takes?

    Would you rather more people were killed or fewer?

    (Yes, no innocent dead is the best and most preferred option – but what if that just isn’t possible?)

  66. 66
    Silentbob

    @ 63 StevoR

    What line there says I’m some bloodthirsty scum who wants to engage in genocide?

    “… we don’t want to kill them, we just know it has to be done”.
    Where “them” apparently refers to “Iran and all the other Islamist Jihadistans”.

    Committing genocide reluctantly is still committing genocide.

    @ 64 StevoR

    My comments say I don’t want to do X and you misconstrue it as me advocating X?

    Your comments say, ‘I don’t like to X but I think it should be done anyway’.
    That is indeed advocating X.

    … you just inferred I’m a pyschopath [sic].

    No, you have inferred that Mano is calling you a psychopath, and you are mistaken. The quote clearly implies you are not a psychopath:
    “You do not have to be psychopath to advocate horrific policies.”

    What it actually says about you is that you advocate horrific policies, and Mano has proven conclusively that you have done so. There is no lie.

    Mano linked to your old quotes to demonstrate your immorality. You imply that the evidence is inadmissible because it is two years old. And yet, you then go on to defend the morality of everything you wrote. You only seem to have changed your mind about what is necessary, not what is moral. If that is true and you still stand by the morality of what you wrote today, what difference does it make when it was written?

  67. 67
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @ ^ Silentbob : I don’t advocate attacking Iran – my stance on them has shifted considerably over the past few years.

    What people consider horrific also varies from person to person and some people think some things are more horrific than others.

    If you could prevent a more horrific situation by using something less horrific but still horrific would you not so so?

    And when I say I don’t want to do something, that it isn’t what I’d ideally choose and would only do if circumstances absolutely dictated it, well doesn’t that mean just exactly that and is that really advocating that?

    Killing someone is wrong.

    Killing someone in self defence is regrettable and something you wish you wouldn’t ever have to do.

    But when it’s you or him – what do you choose? To die or kill?

    There are cases of legitimate self-defence and they aren’t treated the same as deliberate intentional murder.

    Intent may not be magic – but nor is it meaningless and it does matter. As does context.

    Now apply this to what I’ve said and argued for and the circumstances around it.

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