Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  
igloo

The Debate over Iraq

Recommended Posts

The straw men in the debate over Iraq

Paul Greenberg

July 14, 2003 | Print | Send

The president of the United States had good reason to be concerned. People with reason to know had warned him:

A ruthless dictator whose aggressive intent had already been amply demonstrated now aspired to develop new and awesome weapons of mass destruction.

Once in possession of those weapons, the tyrant would be undeterrable. The national security and that of the free world depended on beating him to the punch.

The warning had come in the form of a letter dated Aug. 2, 1939, and signed: Albert Einstein. "Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard," it began, "leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. . This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable -- though much less certain -- that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed . ."

There was no time to waste. "I understand," Dr. Einstein told the president, "that Germany has already stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over." He added that experiments with uranium were even now being conducted at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin.

The rest is history: The appointment of a research committee, the speedy awarding of secret government contracts (which would have scandalized the open-government, competitive-bidding crowd today), the first self-sustaining chain reaction at the University of Chicago, the Manhattan project, the test at Alamogordo . and six years later a mushroom cloud rose high above Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945. The war was over.

America had won its race against Hitler's scientists. "We may be grateful to Providence," Harry Truman told a relieved nation, "that the Germans got the V-1s and V-2s late and in limited quantities, and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all."

By that time, Nazi Germany had fallen, and although every scientific laboratory and secret arsenal in the country was being scoured, there was no sign that Germany was anywhere near having a nuclear weapon. Working under the venerated Heisenberg, the German physicists had taken a wrong turn, and were still playing with Heavy Water while Oppenheimer's boys were doing the equations and engineering at Los Alamos.

Does that mean the danger never existed? That Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman had over-reacted? That Einstein was an alarmist? The American people didn't seem to think so. On the contrary, they understood that it was the commander-in-chief's responsibility to anticipate the worst case, not assume the best. And to act.

Today, because another president acted to avert a clear if not yet present danger, he is accused of having misled the American people -- since no weapon of mass destruction has been discovered in now uneasily occupied Iraq.

But the prewar debate wasn't about whether Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapon, but how to keep him from getting one. He didn't. Mission accomplished.

It's no surprise that only circumstantial evidence of other weapons of mass destruction<the chemical and biological kind -- have been found so far in Iraq. As Colin Powell told the United Nations back in February, Saddam's weapons programs were deliberately designed to avoid detection. Of course they haven't been easy to detect.

But it's not just George W. Bush that his critics are unhappy with. They're disappointed in the American people -- who don't seem much bothered by this president's decision to go to war and his determination to win it in short order. Any more than they blamed Franklin Roosevelt for developing a terrible weapon, or Harry Truman for using it. Even if, as it turned out, the threat of Hitler's having an atomic bomb was never imminent.

Maybe the American people intuitively understand some things that reflexive critics of American presidents don't. Like the need to confront a growing danger before it becomes an imminent threat.

But with every report of American casualties in Iraq, and every new firefight there, criticism of this president and commander-in-chief is bound to grow -- and its tempo increase. Those nostalgic for the anti-war rallies of the Sixties must go to sleep every night with visions of Vietnam dancing in their heads. Ah, those were the days!

The administration's critics can't offer any realistic alternative to its worldwide offensive against terror. All they can propose is drift under some other name -- containment, multilateralism . any high-sounding euphemism for inaction will do. They invite a devastation and call it peace.

Once again the straw men multiply, arguing for drift over mastery, doubt over faith, for anything but action, risk, sacrifice . for anything but a forward strategy that takes this war to the enemy. Instead, the straw men just rustle in the wind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First it was saving the embattled suffering iraqis as the reason.... that didnt go so well.... (*shifting gears)

It was then to stop Saddam lauching WMDs....(*oh shit !! they dont exist*).... (*shifting gears)

This one takes the cake !... Its a terrorist nation (*fuck..still groping for a concrete connection*)

Can they pleeeease just plant the damn things and get this charade over with...? Its getting to be embarrasing- even for me.

The cowboy today said that the 411 that the intelligence community provided was "darn good"... I mean,.....really...where does this neanderthal draw the line between the absurd/stupid and saving face ? Even the staunch warmongers are getting shifty/worried.

There is a village in Texas thats missing an idiot, I think I know where he is.... :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by magellanmax

First it was saving the embattled suffering iraqis as the reason.... that didnt go so well.... (*shifting gears)

It was then to stop Saddam lauching WMDs....(*oh shit !! they dont exist*).... (*shifting gears)

This one takes the cake !... Its a terrorist nation (*fuck..still groping for a concrete connection*)

Can they pleeeease just plant the damn things and get this charade over with...? Its getting to be embarrasing- even for me.

The cowboy today said that the 411 that the intelligence community provided was "darn good"... I mean,.....really...where does this neanderthal draw the line between the absurd/stupid and saving face ? Even the staunch warmongers are getting shifty/worried.

There is a village in Texas thats missing an idiot, I think I know where he is.... :laugh:

:laugh: :laugh:

I have to admit, for a typical lost leftist anti-Bush clone, you make me laugh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love how people try to compare Saddam with Hitler its pretty funny. And as per the statement that anti war folk are hipocrites because they did not criticize truman and rosevelt for the A-bomb the A-bomb, despite popular thought actually saved not only American lives but Japanese lives as well. There were about 125,000 that died from the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the bombs did not deter Japan out of the war the casualty estimates for the planned invasion of Japan where about 300,000 to 500,000 allied deaths and between a million and a million and a half Japanese deaths.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely different scenarios...one was an arms race, the other containment. Germany under Hitler was a world power that could be barely beaten with conventional weaponary, while Saddam's Iraq was/is so impoverished and militarily weak that it didn't take a country, a hundred times more powerful, to just walk over the land in a mere two months.

If Hitler had acquired the atomic bomb I agree that he would have been incredibly difficult to defeat.

Let me ask the war-supporters this: Now, even if Saddam had WMDs, does anyone really think that he would be the same unstoppable force that Hitler was??

This article is full of holes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by seximofo2k

I love how people try to compare Saddam with Hitler its pretty funny. And as per the statement that anti war folk are hipocrites because they did not criticize truman and rosevelt for the A-bomb the A-bomb, despite popular thought actually saved not only American lives but Japanese lives as well. There were about 125,000 that died from the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If the bombs did not deter Japan out of the war the casualty estimates for the planned invasion of Japan where about 300,000 to 500,000 allied deaths and between a million and a million and a half Japanese deaths.

I don't agree. I deeply criticize the use of the atomic bomb on Japan...not one city, but two cities. Why not drop it on an uninhabited area, as a show of force? Its fucked up that these were dropped on two civilian populations. I definitely don't subscribe to the bullshit theory that by dropping the A-bomb on populated cities, that more lives were saved in the long run!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well considering that after the us dropped the first bomb on Hiroshima the Japanese still remained in the war until nearly a week later after a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki where they realized the cause was hopeless so as to say that dropping the bomb on a non-civilian target would have been enough there i disagree with you. Truman made the statement that they have a weapon "of great magnitude" in which they threatened to use on Japan before the dropping of the bomb if they did not surrender and the Japanese still refused. My question to you know is what was the alternative to not dropping the atomic bomb an amphibious invasion on Japan? Discipline and loyalty to the monarchy and emperor where key elements in the Japanese culture which has been ruled by a monarchy for 2000 years. The Japanese where arming 8 year old children and were prepared to fight till the last person if a land invasion was to come. The only reason why the people surrendered was that emperor Hirohito made a public statement to the people saying that the war was over. I understand that it is difficult to believe that the dropping of a weapon like an atomic bomb could have saved lives but that is the truth ask any historian or just put it into consideration to the amount of soldiers who died in the single taking of berlin (250,000 russian not sure what the exact number was german it was somewhere in the hundreds of thousands though) imagine taking a whole island nation which breeds people who would Kamikazi to their deaths for their emperor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Hiroshima and nagasaki bombing will always leave a bad taste in all of us... pearl harbor notwithstanding, it still was a monumental disaster on mankind. People in japan are still reeling from the after effects of the blast !!

I cant stand our cowboy pres. but damn, he doesnt relate to me as a citizen. Sure you may call me a lost leftist, but I still dont understand why Clinton almost got impeached for gettin head and lying about it, while cowboy bush gets to fade into the sunset for duping congress for reasons of goin to war !

How do you think the next elections are gonna pan out?? right about now, the republicans are looking for a sacrificial lamb to save face. Believe me, they will do it..they are powerful enuff to make it happen,..just who,..is the big question

Either way..I'm all for protecting our homeland..but not at an innocent persons' or family's expense.. Come judgement day, we all are gonna answer to our proclivities.. make it count people :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×