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U.S. vs. Iraq: Who Wants This War?

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US vs. Iraq:Who Wants This War?

And why don't we find out before we start one?

By Michael Kinsley

Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2002, at 11:19 AM PT

Public enemy No. 1?

It was amazing to read the Pentagon's detailed plans for an invasion of Iraq in the New York Times last week. The general reaction of Americans to this news was even more amazing: Basically, there was no reaction. We seem to be distant observers of our own nation's preparation for war, watching with horror or approval or indifference a process we have nothing to do with and cannot affect. Which is just about the case.

Who really wants this war? Polls show that a modest and shrinking majority of Americans will choose military action to remove Saddam Hussein when someone holding a clipboard confronts them with a list of options. But does anything like a majority of the citizenry hold this view with the informed intensity that a decision for war deserves? I doubt it. And how many of that pro-"military action" majority imagine that it will be nearly blood-free on our side, based on the experience of the Gulf War, which turned out that way precisely because President Bush's father decided not to try to topple Saddam?

Abroad, nearly all of America's major allies are against it. The Arab states surely dream about being rid of Saddam Hussein. But they won't give public support or permission to use their land and airspace, which is not too much to ask if we're going to save them from a threat as great as Saddam is said to be. Even the Kurdish opposition within Iraq apparently thinks that being liberated by Superpower America, while nice, would be more trouble than it's worth. That's trouble to them, not to us!

Ask around at work, or among your family: Is anyone truly gung-ho? It seems as if true enthusiasm for all-out war against Iraq is limited to the Bush administration and a subset of the Washington policy establishment. The Democratic leadership in Congress feigns enthusiasm, which amounts to the same thing in terms of responsibility for the consequences. You are what you pretend to be. The Democrats feign out of fear of seeming weak-kneed. Bush's enthusiasm seems genuine and is therefore more mysterious. Crude Oedipal theories (triumphing where Dad failed) are tempting, but not as plausible as the simple possibility that he sincerely believes Saddam poses a danger big enough to justify risking massive bloodshed and his own political ruin. And maybe he's right.

Or Bush may be bluffing. At his press conference Tuesday, he blamed the leak of those war plans on "somebody down there at level five flexing some 'know-how' muscle." He may be right about that, too—depending on what on earth he means. Or he may be lying, and the leak may be part of an official strategy of threatening all-out war in the hope of avoiding it, by encouraging a coup or persuading Saddam to take early retirement or in some other way getting him gone without a massive invasion.

Trouble is, it is—or ought to be—very hard for a democracy to make a credible threat that it isn't prepared to carry out. You can't have a vigorous public debate over whether it's worth going to war that reaches the conclusion: Let's pretend we're willing to go to war if necessary and see what happens. But on the issue of war and peace, the United States is no longer a democracy.

The eerie non-debate we're having as vast preparations for battle are made before our eyes is a consequence of a long-running constitutional scandal: the withering away of the requirement of a congressional Declaration of War. Oh, the words are still there, of course, but presidents of both parties flagrantly ignore them—sometimes with fancy arguments that are remarkably unpersuasive, but mainly by now with shrugging indifference. The result is not just a power shift between the branches of government but a general smothering of debate about, or even interest in, the decision to go to war among citizens in general.

It's often said that modern warfare has no place for an 18th century conceit like the declaration of war. (This is said, in fact, by people who usually insist quite strongly that the original intent of the constitution's framers requires no concessions to modernity.) But despite the modern issues of terrorism and "weapons of mass destruction," there is an old-fashioned quality to our confrontation with Iraq. It is about an imperial power demanding acquiescence from a rogue state. That doesn't make the United States the bad guy. It does mean that events are proceeding in a deliberate, slow-motion way that leaves plenty of time for citizens to debate and decide—if that's the way we want to do it.

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I think it's scary... and may ostracize the Iraqi people from the U.S. War is not the answer to this.. we tried it once, and Saddam is still in power. Why try it again>?

All that's going to happen is more and more unwanted deaths. There needs to be more global consensus on the efficacy of war against Iraq in order to carry this out.

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There's a law that says the United States cannot sponsor assasination attempts on foreign leaders, and Bush is trying to get rid of it. Here's how well solve international problems, let's assasinate foreign leaders and put in our own people, it works in risk.

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I don't want this war. All it will do will promote more violence and hatred towards the U.S. Contrary to what some of you might believe, the U.S. never stopped bombing Iraq, they have been bombing them ever since the Gulf War.

It's funny to note that 80% of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, yet we still kiss their asses cuz they have our oil and we can't fuck with them.

We bomb the shit out of Afghanistan (which was merely a desert filled with mines before we even bombed it) and now we have the green light to build a pipline to get more oil!!!

Don't we just love U.S. policy?

9/11 happened because of the U.S's blantent disregard for the Palestinians, their life, and their respect. How often we hear of how may Israeli's died in a suicide attack, but you will never hear how many Palestinian children, civilians, and JOURNALISTS die everyday.

-XeNo-

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reason why saddam is still in power is mainly our fault. At the end of the Gulf War we had Saddam right where we wanted him, and what did we decide to do let him go. What a stupid mistake, they should've killed him when they got the chance. Instead they sat there like this:

"Bad Saddam, if you promise not to do this again, well let you go" Talk about a joke, what were our troops main purpose there if not to kill this psycho, while helping Kuwait.

Im sure to all its pretty well known that this is a evil man. Once upon a time 2 of his realtives turned againist him. He called them back promising a huge party for them and so forth. Well they had a party alright and then after that he shot them execution style for all the attendees to see. He also tortured his own son in a prison for 8 months. He is very dangerous, but the scary thing is, is that also there are many out there with his same ideals, so how do you really prevent this?? I don't think its a task that coul ever fully be accomplished?

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I think it is time we taught those Iraqis another lesson. We have so many people in the military just waiting for a fight. I think it is time to fire it up, get in high gear and stomp on them. IF the Iraqis are not what we are preparing for, then may we can go to a country that is threatening us- like China, Russia, or another Muslim nation and do some damage.

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Originally posted by hosskp1

I think it is time we taught those Iraqis another lesson. We have so many people in the military just waiting for a fight. I think it is time to fire it up, get in high gear and stomp on them. IF the Iraqis are not what we are preparing for, then may we can go to a country that is threatening us- like China, Russia, or another Muslim nation and do some damage.

wtf is this shit?

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i am very afraid for our soldiers if they go marching into Iraq...Saddam's got a shitload of biological and chemical weapons...not good

the uncertainty surroounding Iraq's nulcear capability scares me as well...Saddam seems crazy enough to use it

:worry:

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Originally posted by hosskp1

I think it is time we taught those Iraqis another lesson. We have so many people in the military just waiting for a fight. I think it is time to fire it up, get in high gear and stomp on them. IF the Iraqis are not what we are preparing for, then may we can go to a country that is threatening us- like China, Russia, or another Muslim nation and do some damage.

so i suppose you agree we should go after the "axis of evil" which includes iraq, afghanistan and north korea. hmm... i think it would be wise to think first and kill later. we really arent looked favorably by the majority of the world so we need to be careful. last thing we need is another reason to have a terrorist attack. as for the war in Iraq, im all for it IF AND ONLY IF there is a tangible and substantial reason for it. like if we can find some illegal weapons or terrorist training in iraq ill be the first one to sign up and go to war. but we also need to think of the lives of our soldiers, and we all know how gulf war syndrome fucked alot of soldiers health up.

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Anybody else watch Ashleigh Bansfield, well she's in Iraq, interviewing Iraqis and etc. Iraqis don't hate Americans! They disapprove of our government leaders and policies; I'm sure some Americans feel the same way. America doesn't have the best "history sheet". Hopefully the U.S. thinks about this mission thoroughly. Pres. Bush has been making alliances with other countries armies and such, so when shit does hit the fan.

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I saw it! I think the U.S. should really think what they're gettin themselves into. I mean who are we to say that your leader has to go? First Arafat and now Sadaam. I really don't believe Sadaam is a credible threat to the U.S. I mean I really haven't seen any proof that he has weapons of "mass destruction" and even if he did, why is it that the U.S. is the only one allowed to have these weapons. Shit, we even think we are to good to be tried in the International Court. They have been saying he has "weapons of mass destruction" ever since the Gulf War. I think they just wanna fuck with him to put a base there or some shit, or maybe another pipeline who knows. Who cares about the innocent lives lost as long as we have YOUR oil. I mean come on, this guy can't even fly in his own country and the U.N. Sanctions are starving his people.

I mean it'll take over 200,000 troops to do the operation Bush wants and I don't think it would be feasible for our military since they are still bombing the shit out of Afghanistan. If the Iraqi's need a new leader they can handle it themselves.

Peace,

-XeNo-

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