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Author Topic: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?  (Read 10031 times)

rapunzel

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2005, 02:07:44 PM »
I think we have a problem when we advocate for the use of peaceful alternatives as opposed to war when the other countries we are dealing with have leader who aren't operating on the same system. 

Leaders like Saddam are not going to be brought to heel through democratic negotiation.  They operate with force, they will only be stopped by force. 

Maybe we should wander over to Darfur and gently ask the Janjaweed to stop raping and pillaging.  The UN tried to be diplomatic in Rwanda after all, and the result was just lovely.

If we belive in our way of life, if we believe in democracy and lawful order and human rights, then I don't think we have to wait until some holy grail of "last resort" (whatever or whenever that is) to take affirmative action.  I believe that we can be justified in choosing to go to war.  There is no bright line test for "necessary" after all.

 

Angie4Prez

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2005, 12:19:12 AM »
This is certainly a defensible position but the result you get then is France conquered by Nazi Germany, China crushed with millionis of Chinese slaughtered, Jews rounded up and systematically exterminated and the millions killed in Eastern Europe.  Personally I find this to be a sub-optimal result. Now you certainly don't have to argue that Iraq would fall into the same category but if you did view the above consequences as less desirable than the alternative of war then I think the philosophy of never do anything until attacked fails. Personally I wish we had gotten involved in WWII earlier since I think saving the lives of several million would have been worth it.


I would not take any position that argues what happened in WWII is anyway relevant to what is going on in Iraq.  So I will let this one be.

A)Ah so the superior choice would then to just indefinitely starve people for say another decade or two. With not only no solution in sight but the prospect of an even worse leadership coming into power. The better choice is not always a good choice, simply better than the alternatives.
B)The Iraqi people seemed to have been pretty happy with the elections and if you have some examples of democracy being developed post-dictatorship faster than the current situation I'd love to hear about it.
C) A complete 180? Haven't we been talking about removing Saddam from power from the first Bush administration, through the Clinton administration and into the second Bush administration? Also the excuse that there are worse dictators out there is a recipe for not trying to stop any problem. Am I wrong to give homeless person money if I don't give every homeless person I meet money? Must every dictatorship in the world be destroyed before destroying one?
D) Capturing Osama would be great no doubt, but the issue isn't Osama. There was terrorism pre-Osama, there will be terrorism post-Osama. It's not like in the movies where once you remove the one bad guy everyone thing is okay. The larger problem is authoratarian regimes in the Middle East and how that not only stunts their development but encourages radicalized Islamic beliefs.
E) Ah yet you still choose to judge it now?



A)  Absolutely not.  I never once took the position that sanctions were a good thing or preferable to War.  However, you have taken the position that War is just because the sanctions have killed a vast majority of civillians.  My position is that killing large numbers of civillians is wrong.  If you want to discuss the pro's and cons of sanctions, then we can do so, but that is an entirely seperate topic from whether or not the Iraq War is just or not.   And if you feel that the War was waged on the up and up, just read the six Donwning Street Memos. 

B)  You should fact check your statement before claiming to know how the Iraqi people, in Iraq, feel about what is going on in their country as a result of US intervention.

C)  Yes a complete 180.  No doubt about it.  We entered into this war under the beliefs, given to us by our current administration, that Iraq possessed WMD and were going to use them against us.  Now that such information has been shown to have been a lie, the new mantra coming out of the administration now is "the world is a safer place... etc, etc."  The initial reasons for war that were told to Congress, the US people, and the people of the world, was far from the reason of making the world a safer place.  However, right now, its the only reason our administration has left to give in order to justify their actions.  And yes, if our gov't is going to talk about how we need to rid the world of ruthless dictators, then we should not be allies with ruthless dictators who have done far worse that Saddam ever has.  And if we are going to wage war against dictators who pose a threat to world safety, then we have a whole line of wars coming.

D)  Again, the issue sold to the US, and the world, was that Iraq possessed WMD's, that they were going to use them against the US, that Iraq was training terrorists, and that Saddam would be selling his WMD to Osama and other terrorist organizations.  Condi was stating how if nothing was done, there was gong to be a mushroom clound over NY!?!  Again, all of this has been shown to have been a lie.  What's left you ask?  Osama, mastermind of 9/11 and terrorism against the US in the past, is still free.

E)  It's not judging.  It's calling a spade a spade.  Up until now, Iraq has been a failure.  I can only argue what we know now.  The reasons for going to War have been shown not only to have been false, but lies, with new evidence surfacing every day supporting these facts. 


We can debate all you want over whether or not establishing a US presence in Iraq is a good thing, or if having Saddam behind bars is a good thing.  Those are irrelevant facts.  What is at issue is whether or not our involvment was just...if waging war was necessary...if our administration was forthright in it's motivations...if whether or not this war was waged under legal pretense.  The evidence weighs heavily on the side of "no."     

Angie4Prez

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2005, 12:38:28 AM »
I think we have a problem when we advocate for the use of peaceful alternatives as opposed to war when the other countries we are dealing with have leader who aren't operating on the same system. 

Leaders like Saddam are not going to be brought to heel through democratic negotiation.  They operate with force, they will only be stopped by force. 

Maybe we should wander over to Darfur and gently ask the Janjaweed to stop raping and pillaging.  The UN tried to be diplomatic in Rwanda after all, and the result was just lovely.

If we belive in our way of life, if we believe in democracy and lawful order and human rights, then I don't think we have to wait until some holy grail of "last resort" (whatever or whenever that is) to take affirmative action.  I believe that we can be justified in choosing to go to war.  There is no bright line test for "necessary" after all.

 


I would agree with a lot of this.  There have been many recent instances where the US has acted swiftly in order to address ruthless behavior.  But such recent acts have been done honestly and with the support of most  major leaders and organizations throughout the world.  What we have today, though, is a "we don't need anyone else" attitude, along with a "you are either for us or against us" mentality.  In addition, our actions and lectures towards the world are riddled with hypocrisy.  These are major reasons for the problems we are facing today.

nekko

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2005, 06:23:08 PM »
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I would not take any position that argues what happened in WWII is anyway relevant to what is going on in Iraq.  So I will let this one be.
Your lack of putting your arguments within any sort of framework makes your arguments kind of circular. It's like war is bad. Why? Because it's bad. Is sort of your chain of thinking.

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However, you have taken the position that War is just because the sanctions have killed a vast majority of civillians.  My position is that killing large numbers of civillians is wrong.  If you want to discuss the pro's and cons of sanctions, then we can do so, but that is an entirely seperate topic from whether or not the Iraq War is just or not.   
It's not a completely separate topic. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum. You can't take a decision in isolation and determine whether or not it was a good decision. You have to put it within the context of the circumstances. If you argue war was a bad choice then necessarilly you have to argue in favor of another choice. If you say no to war then what does that mean? Yes to sanctions/status quo? Yes to forgetting about Iraq entirely? How can you judge whether something is good or bad without explaining why an alternative would have been better?

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We entered into this war under the beliefs, given to us by our current administration, that Iraq possessed WMD and were going to use them against us.  Now that such information has been shown to have been a lie, the new mantra coming out of the administration now is "the world is a safer place... etc, etc." 

If you look at the pronouncements at the time they're quite clear in arguing that we couldn't wait for Iraq to get WMD, meaning Iraq didn't have WMD. Don't you remember those Congressional arguments in which going into Iraq was criticized on the grounds that there was no immediate threat, to which the counter was that by that time it would be too late? You're reinventing quite a bit of history there. Also there is the fact that intelligence generally believed by everyone at the time was quite explicit in the belief that there was WMD. If you read the Downing Street Memos the British certainly seemed convinced of WMD to the extent that they specifically cited it as a reason not to invade for fear of a WMD strike on Israel or Kuwait.

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Again, the issue sold to the US, and the world, was that Iraq possessed WMD's, that they were going to use them against the US, that Iraq was training terrorists, and that Saddam would be selling his WMD to Osama and other terrorist organizations.  Condi was stating how if nothing was done, there was gong to be a mushroom clound over NY!?!  Again, all of this has been shown to have been a lie.  What's left you ask?  Osama, mastermind of 9/11 and terrorism against the US in the past, is still free.
1) See above.
2) Iraq actually was harboring terrorists so I'm not quite sure what the argument is there. There's plenty of criticism in the sense that we shouldn't have cared about the terrorist they were dealing with but they were absolutely working with terrorists.
3) How is selling WMD a lie? By that I mean are you saying it wouldn't of happened? Even if true how is this now a lie? If I say if you drive drunk you'll get someone killed and then stop you from driving it would seem odd for you to then say me saying you'd get someone killed was a lie.

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It's not judging.  It's calling a spade a spade.  Up until now, Iraq has been a failure.  I can only argue what we know now.
Umm that's called making a judgment. I'm not sure why you're defensive about it. Nothing wrong with making a judgment. Anyway Saddam is out of power, that's a huge plus and a big success. Regime change in Iraq has had a clear positive impact so far on Lebanon and a less dramatic though positive impact on Iran. We're in a much better position now to pull out of Saudia Arabia and by extension better able to put pressure on them and they in fact have been much more aggressive in cracking down on terrorism than they have been for the last decade or so. There were elections in Iraq. How many genuine elections were there prior? How are we defining failure? Is it until Iraq is at a US type level of governance? At a Turkey level? What?

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We can debate all you want over whether or not establishing a US presence in Iraq is a good thing, or if having Saddam behind bars is a good thing.  Those are irrelevant facts.  What is at issue is whether or not our involvment was just...if waging war was necessary...if our administration was forthright in it's motivations...if whether or not this war was waged under legal pretense.  The evidence weighs heavily on the side of "no."     
Once again you're attempting to judge the war in isolation which doesn't make sense. If you choose not to do regime change and let the status quo remain then you're choosing to keep Saddam in power. If you choose some other alternative there are would be positive and negative consequences. You're arguing against war with some nonexistent undefined alternative. Decisions have to be made and the only way to analyze what is the "best" decision is by going through the other choices. If you don't and just take them in isolation then all the decisions are wrong because when you hold any choice to some perfect alternative then by definition the alternative will be better. But what good is that?   

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There have been many recent instances where the US has acted swiftly in order to address ruthless behavior.  But such recent acts have been done honestly and with the support of most  major leaders and organizations throughout the world. 
Can you name some of these recent instances?

Angie4Prez

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2005, 11:23:23 PM »
Your lack of putting your arguments within any sort of framework makes your arguments kind of circular. It's like war is bad. Why? Because it's bad. Is sort of your chain of thinking.

Hmmm. Interesting.  Actually, the point you are missing is that I am keeping my arguments withing the framework at hand, while you are trying to justify your arguments by bringing in irrelevant historical circumstances for support.  Again, trying to use the circumstances of WWII to somehow shed light on our actions with Iraq is, well, not relevant.

It's not a completely separate topic. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum. You can't take a decision in isolation and determine whether or not it was a good decision. You have to put it within the context of the circumstances. If you argue war was a bad choice then necessarilly you have to argue in favor of another choice. If you say no to war then what does that mean? Yes to sanctions/status quo? Yes to forgetting about Iraq entirely? How can you judge whether something is good or bad without explaining why an alternative would have been better?

It's pretty much a seperate topic.  Sanctions had nothing to do with our decision to go to war, although Rumsfeld did try and justify going to war by claiming the US could not afford to spend 30 billion dollars over the next 10-15 years in order to support the sanctions.  How many billions of dollars have we spent on Iraq so far?  How many more is to come?  And it's a very weak argument to say that a war is justified because, in your view, placing sanctions are worse.  Th pro's and con's of sanctions is a seperate argument in regards to the justification of war.

If you look at the pronouncements at the time they're quite clear in arguing that we couldn't wait for Iraq to get WMD, meaning Iraq didn't have WMD. Don't you remember those Congressional arguments in which going into Iraq was criticized on the grounds that there was no immediate threat, to which the counter was that by that time it would be too late? You're reinventing quite a bit of history there. Also there is the fact that intelligence generally believed by everyone at the time was quite explicit in the belief that there was WMD. If you read the Downing Street Memos the British certainly seemed convinced of WMD to the extent that they specifically cited it as a reason not to invade for fear of a WMD strike on Israel or Kuwait.

Your facts are wrong.  Before the war, it was made clear that Iraq possessed WMD and if the US did not act, Saddam would use them against us.  It was also stated that Saddam was on the verge of developing nukes as well, which would also be used against us, and that we did not have time to wait for Saddam to obtain nuclear proliferation, not WMD as you claim.  Not only have these facts been found to have been false, but also documented as to have been known false prior to our gov't stating them.  And if you have read the DSM's, then you would know that the British were going off the assumption of WMD because there lacked any strong evidence of them.  They were also convinced that the evidence was "thin" in the legalities of the waging war, and that the US was trying to fit this "thin" evidence into something that would somehow legitimize going to war.

2) Iraq actually was harboring terrorists so I'm not quite sure what the argument is there. There's plenty of criticism in the sense that we shouldn't have cared about the terrorist they were dealing with but they were absolutely working with terrorists.
3) How is selling WMD a lie? By that I mean are you saying it wouldn't of happened? Even if true how is this now a lie? If I say if you drive drunk you'll get someone killed and then stop you from driving it would seem odd for you to then say me saying you'd get someone killed was a lie.


2) Again, your facts are wrong.  While the strong claim was made that Iraq was harboring and training terrorists in order to justify an action for war, it has been shown that this was not the case.  Documents printed in the NY Times back in 2004 showed that prior to 9/11, not only did Saddam tell his military leaders to not join forces with incoming Arab terrorist, but also that Osama bin Laden rejected entreaties to work with Saddam.  In Jan of 2004, Colin Powell stated that there was no link between Saddam and terrorists.  Three former intelligence officers during the pre-war build up to the invasion of Iraq have already stated the the pre-war evidence pertaining to Saddam harboring terrorists were teneous, greatly exagerated, and at odds with the information being told to the American people.  An article in the LA Times back in Nov 2002 quotes Britain's and Europe's top intelligence investigators that there is no pre-war evidence of links between Saddam and terrorists.  In addition to this there is the 9/11 Commision Report which states that there were no pre war links between Saddam and terrorism.

You need to fact check a little harder.

3) The answer to your question is how can you sell something you do not have? Again, no WMD means no selling to other countries, plain and simple.  Trying to assume what may/may not happen in the future is, once again, irrelevant to the argument that the claim was made Iraq possessed WMD when, in actuality, US officials knew they didn't have them.  You cannot base an argument on assumptions. 

As future lawyers, I think it would be obvious that cases cannot be supported on the basis of assumptions.



Anyway, I think this thread is a tad worn, so I am going to bow out. With that, I bid you good luck, but truly hope you open yourself to the realities that are currently happening with our country.  This is not meant as an insult, but I bet if you dig and do some deeper research on the matter, you would be surprised what you would find.

Take care,

-Pai   ;) 

 

rapunzel

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2005, 11:11:27 AM »
Why would you assume that the conclusion that you came too is necessarily the conclusion that everyone else will come to if they just do some "deeper research"?  Nekko seems relatively informed.  As lawyers we know that a solid argument can usually be made for either side.

nekko

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2005, 02:38:38 PM »
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Hmmm. Interesting.  Actually, the point you are missing is that I am keeping my arguments withing the framework at hand, while you are trying to justify your arguments by bringing in irrelevant historical circumstances for support.  Again, trying to use the circumstances of WWII to somehow shed light on our actions with Iraq is, well, not relevant.
1) You're arguing with a circular framework. You first argued that the Iraq war was bad because wars which were not purely defensive were wrong. I argued that making a judgment on that basis was flawed and used historical examples. Your response is essentially that this is a proper basis for judgment because you think it to be so.
2) You argue that the Iraq war was bad because of XY and Z harms caused by the war. I argue that the only way to judge those harms is by looking at the likely harms of the alternatives. Your response is to say that the alternatives are irrelevant. By this standard no war is justified because by looking at any war in isolation you can say it killed X many of people, destroyed Y amount of stuff and was therefore bad. Whether a conflict was ultimately positive can only be judged based on what the results would have been absent conflict.
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It's pretty much a seperate topic.  Sanctions had nothing to do with our decision to go to war, although Rumsfeld did try and justify going to war by claiming the US could not afford to spend 30 billion dollars over the next 10-15 years in order to support the sanctions.  How many billions of dollars have we spent on Iraq so far?  How many more is to come?  And it's a very weak argument to say that a war is justified because, in your view, placing sanctions are worse.  Th pro's and con's of sanctions is a seperate argument in regards to the justification of war.
Well this is just flat out false. Of course sanctions had something to do with our decision to go to war. If sanctions were effective, strong and likely to be maintained there'd be an entirely different situation which would have substantially altered the calculus for war. You're looking at two different spending calculations. $30 billion may be a low price relative to war or it may be a high price. $30 billion is a very high price if ultimately you have to go to war anyway. A very low price if it accomplishes the same thing as war. The pros and cons of sanctions are very much part of the justification for war because that is one of the primary alternative policies upon which the war has to be judged.

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Your facts are wrong.  Before the war, it was made clear that Iraq possessed WMD and if the US did not act, Saddam would use them against us.  It was also stated that Saddam was on the verge of developing nukes as well, which would also be used against us, and that we did not have time to wait for Saddam to obtain nuclear proliferation, not WMD as you claim.  Not only have these facts been found to have been false, but also documented as to have been known false prior to our gov't stating them.  And if you have read the DSM's, then you would know that the British were going off the assumption of WMD because there lacked any strong evidence of them.
WMD as in chemical weapons? Biological weapons? It was stated that Saddam if he acquired enriched uranium would be able to produce nuclear weapons within a timeframe of a bit less than a year. Is that on the verge of developing nukes? As to the DSM memos your argument doesn't make sense. Why would the British go off on the assumption that there was WMD because they locked strong evidence of them? You're saying they assumed Iraq had WMD because they had no evidence to believe it.

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While the strong claim was made that Iraq was harboring and training terrorists in order to justify an action for war, it has been shown that this was not the case.  Documents printed in the NY Times back in 2004 showed that prior to 9/11, not only did Saddam tell his military leaders to not join forces with incoming Arab terrorist, but also that Osama bin Laden rejected entreaties to work with Saddam.
Wait a second Abu Nidal one of the most prominent terrorists in history was living in Iraq until killed for treason against the regime. Isn't allowing him in the country to live and operate evidence of harboring terrorists? Not necessarilly of supporting the broader terror operations that we might be concerned with but certainly within generally accepted definitions of terrorists. The 9/11 commission report documents
that Osama sought to establish training facilities in Iraq. These efforts were rejected however Iraq tolerated AQ establishment anti-Kurdish groups and may have assisted them.
Re: Powell in 2004 he said, "I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection. But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did." That's very different from saying he said there was no connection, indeed he also said in 2004, "It's not that we are trying to find a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. It's there. It's not something we're making up -- it's there and we can't fail to take note of it or to talk about it or report it."

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The answer to your question is how can you sell something you do not have? Again, no WMD means no selling to other countries, plain and simple.  Trying to assume what may/may not happen in the future is, once again, irrelevant to the argument that the claim was made Iraq possessed WMD when, in actuality, US officials knew they didn't have them.  You cannot base an argument on assumptions. 
Your entire argument if based on the assumption that alternatives were superior. Also you make claims of "officials knew they didn't have them" without any historical context of our past when we underestimated Iraqi WMD development during the 1980's and up through the first Gulf War.

Basically I think it's entirely reasonable to find the Iraq war to be a mistake. But in order to do so you have to judge it based on the then existing alternatives and the then existing knowledge of the situation. You do neither and instead choose to judge the Iraq war based on a criteria which starts with fundamental assumptions which predetermine the result. You then go further by not even choosing to defend these assumptions arguing such discussion is irrelevant.

slacker

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2005, 10:44:14 PM »
You would really have to understand the entire situation. Osama bin Laden aside, Iraq is a country which would benefit from some sort of democracy. Iraq is predominantly Shiite, however, Saddam Hussein and his government are Sunni (as is Osama bin Laden and the majority of Muslim terrorists). Without democracy, Iraq would have continued as a non-represented population--much the same as if one US political party was heading a nation populated by the other.

The US invasion of Iraq was not impulsive, since there have been Iraqi refugees in the US during the past many years, whose main message was the hope that Saddam Hussein and his regime would end, and they could return home to their families. And although many Iraqi citizens rejoice at the capture of Hussein, and the rebuilding of the Iraqi government, the insurgency has many causes. One is that Iraq (predominantly Shiite) wants to gain control of its country, while the Sunnis want to regain control--neither of which the Iraqis think could happen while the US remains at Iraq.

Another problem is that the Iraqi society has not progressed at the rate as many other nations. The presence of the US at Iraq is beneficial, as it is at Afghanistan, in that the citizenry now has better access to better education, which is the one thing which will have the most impact at changing the attitudes of the people.

Hopefully, the war at the Middle East will eventually lead to a more civilized society, where wars aren't necessary.
There are many countries that would benefit from some sort of democracy. Are you advocating that we invade each of them? How do we prioritize? By the necessity of the situation, or by the possibility of profit for those involved?

There have been Cuban refugees advocating the US invade Cuba. Ditto Haiti, and probably many other countries. Again, which one are you choosing next?

Iraq had definite serious totalitarian-level problems, I don't mean to downplay those issues. But it was primarily a secular Muslim nation, with a generally well-education population and relative freedoms for women. Now it's becoming like other Muslim nations where women can't travel without a male relative and 'proper' clothing, or their lives may be in jeopardy. Are you certain the steps taken are moving towards democracy?

So far the war in the middle east seems to be providing a great training ground for future terrorists. I'm not sure that this necessarily creates a path to peace.

US helped to create both Saddam and Osama. What will our current investments revisit upon our society in 10-20 years?

Wild Jack Maverick

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2005, 08:59:40 AM »

There are many countries that would benefit from some sort of democracy. Are you advocating that we invade each of them? How do we prioritize? By the necessity of the situation, or by the possibility of profit for those involved?

There have been Cuban refugees advocating the US invade Cuba. Ditto Haiti, and probably many other countries. Again, which one are you choosing next?

Iraq had definite serious totalitarian-level problems, I don't mean to downplay those issues. But it was primarily a secular Muslim nation, with a generally well-education population and relative freedoms for women. Now it's becoming like other Muslim nations where women can't travel without a male relative and 'proper' clothing, or their lives may be in jeopardy. Are you certain the steps taken are moving towards democracy?

So far the war in the middle east seems to be providing a great training ground for future terrorists. I'm not sure that this necessarily creates a path to peace.

US helped to create both Saddam and Osama. What will our current investments revisit upon our society in 10-20 years?

I am not advocating the invasion of any country; the problem is not whether we should invade any other countries. However, the US is at Iraq, Hussein is captured, and I think the purpose of the continuing presence at Iraq is to ensure that another 'Hussein-type' leader does not replace him. An Iraqi once asked my opinion of the future of Iraq, and I said that the US will probably establish a permanent military presence there, as it has done at other countries such as Germany.

The important subject:"So far the war in the middle east seems to be providing a great training ground for future terrorists." "US helped to create both Saddam and Osama. What will our current investments revisit upon our society in 10-20 years?"

10-20 years? Probably not that long. Remember, the US also created McVeigh.
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.mil

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Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2006, 11:49:52 PM »