Debate Space: Iraq Part I.

See the comments section for a debate on the Iraq war.

About these ads

51 Responses to “Debate Space: Iraq Part I.”


  1. 1 Rob January 13, 2010 at 11:30 am

    It’s true that Saddam was a git. He was up for genocide as shown in the Anfal campaign and he certainly claimed to have WMDs and seemed to be doing his utmost to obtain them. It is no surprise that the US and UK wanted him out. However, the total death tally that Saddam managed whilst in power is being overshadowed by the number of deaths, military and civilian, arisen as a direct result of the invasion/occupation. The lowest estimates (iraq body count project) have civilian deaths at around 100,000 which matches that Anfal figure, and the highest estimates (justforeignpolicy.org) have civilian deaths at over 1,000,000. I can’t help but think that this campaign has killed more people than Saddam or terrorists operating out of his country would ever have managed. It needed an intervention but invasion was a poor choice. And to top it all, we’ve probably increased the terrorist threat by giving the appearance of a cause to radical organisations.

    • 2 Jim January 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

      Rob,

      I don’t presume to speak for military dead and neither should you. They may well have believed it a worthy cause for which to risk their lives. With regards casualties of innocents, the same situation stands for WW2. It does not follow from this that surrendering to Hitler was the correct course of action. Neither does it establish the conclusion you are aiming for. On your last point: Even if the terrorist threat has increased, which there is no good reason to believe, we should not be bullied by thugs and murderers – by the same people who will throw acid in the faces of girls going to school. Engaging with them may well increase our chances of getting harmed, but that is the cost of any fight.

      • 3 Andrew January 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

        I think the point has been well and truly missed: Blair’s motivations for war were ethical, religious and in the context of his role, fundamentally deceitful. He has recently admitted, before questioning for the latest inquiry, that he supported “regime change” irrespective of Iraq’s nuclear armaments http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6954043.ece

        The foremost authority on nuclear weaponry, Dr David Kelly, was hounded as a result of his controversial expert views on Iraq’s WMDs and there remains a suspicion that he died as a result of his opposition to the developing government policy. Shortly before death, he alluded to “many dark actors playing games” and with his dubious “suicide” these potentially damaging secrets were buried http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3080795.stm

        The foreign secretary resigned over the invasion (although dissent in the cabinet suggested many more would follow) in light of the failed attempt to reach an international consensus on the proposed action – “The US can afford to go it alone, but Britain is not a superpower”. The UK was required by the US to validate its fragile rationale, and comprised one fifth of the invasion force in lieu of any other major troop contributions (the remaining 7% were Australian and Polish, long term British allies) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2857637.stm

        As a politician, Mr Blair failed to represent the citizens of the United Kingdom and, far worse, intentionally deceived them for what has been speculated is personal gain. His relationship with Bush is another cause for concern, as Sir Christopher Meyer states http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8380139.stm http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/26/iraq-war-chilcot-inquiry-tonyblair

        Retrospective glorification or moral judgement can not excuse these facts; North Korea is a demonstrable example for proponents of disarmament. International human rights abuses are unrelenting, and the presence of the world’s fifth largest oil reserves should not be discounted. The line of questioning that should be followed is this: were Mr Blair’s actions a fair expression of the country he was elected to represent, or was he motivated by factors that still are not clear, with the possibilities of US coercion, economic gain or personal advancement equally weighted.

        I don’t presume to speak for military dead and neither should you. They may well have believed it a worthy cause for which to risk their lives.

        Regardless of what you suspect them to have believed, it is well documented that the majority of soldiers sign up to protect their country. There have been few British or US soldier speaking up for this conflict, and many dissenters and conscientious objectors http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5024104.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7900059.stm

        It does not follow from this that surrendering to Hitler was the correct course of action.

        Hitler was the aggressor.

        …by the same people who will throw acid in the faces of girls going to school

        Afghanistan is a separate conflict.

  2. 4 Jim January 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Andrew, I hope you will allow me to tackle one or two points at a time. It may be easier to settle our differences this way without the confusion generated by multiple and simultaneous tangential lines of argument. I hope you will extend me the same courtesy.

    Although I think you’re clearly wrong regarding Blair’s motives – strangely enough these can be found, by anyone seriously interested in the issue, in his speeches in the run up to the Iraq war – I’ll even allow you the point for sake of argument. Suppose that Blair was, as you claim, religiously, financially or otherwise nefariously motivated. It still does not follow from this that the war was a bad one. The reasons for war stand or fall on their own merits. Bad people can make bad arguments for good things. So I repeat: We know the reasons for going to war. They are good ones.

    • 5 Richard January 14, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      My apologies if this doesn’t directly correspond to where the debate has progressed. Just a few thoughts on the matter.

      Few people would refute that Blair and his government did not meet the required standards in this matter and their presentation of ‘evidence’ was simply not acceptable. That said, whatever individuals may think about the justification and approach for invading Iraq the fact remains that we did just that.

      As a result I would propose the argument can be broken down into two categories:

      1. Was the invasion of Iraq justifiable based on the evidence provided? The answer would be no. The intricacies of which can (and have) been deliberated over for many an hour. While this is a topic of great interest, it negates our current situation and focuses on why we find ourselves in it rather than how to solve it.

      2. In spite of all this we find ourselves in Iraq. Simply because the outlined evidence was misleading, it does not follow from this that our presence is not justifiable based on other factors. The initial reasoning for invasion has since proven incorrect, but in my mind a far simpler one should have sufficed. This being the tyrannical nature and inherant evil that was prevalent in Saddam’s regime.

      • 6 Jim January 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        Rich,

        Thanks for the input. My last post was an attempt to make the same point; to dissect the issue into its two separate components.

        Even if I grant the truth of those claims – and there is good evidence to consider them false – it still does not follow that the war is for bad reasons. We are doing a good thing and our determination should not falter.

  3. 7 Ed January 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Andrew,

    Firstly, hello and welcome.

    The foremost authority on nuclear weaponry, Dr David Kelly, was hounded as a result of his controversial expert views on Iraq’s WMDs and there remains a suspicion that he died as a result of his opposition to the developing government policy. Shortly before death, he alluded to “many dark actors playing games” and with his dubious “suicide” these potentially damaging secrets were buried http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3080795.stm

    Here you are flirting (and I think I’m being very charitable in using that euphemism) with outright conspiracy theory. What’s next – “9/11 was an inside job”? If you wish to claim Kelly was murdered as part of a government plot – one Oxfordshire Police and those working on the Hutton Inquiry must have consciously covered up – then perhaps you can begin by explaining what, precisely, the coroner and pathologist (i.e. the trained professionals who actually examined the body, and who attribute Kelly’s death to suicide by a combination of co-proxamol and a severed artery, both exacerbated by pre-existing artery disease) got wrong. All you offer is innuendo and the fact that “there remains suspicion”. Well indeed there does – in the minds of conspiracy nutters.

  4. 8 Tom January 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Hi guys,

    I am going to cautiously involve myself in this debate. I am interested to hear some good argument about this. Cards on the table: My intuition is now, as it always has been, that Iraq was not a good decision. I am aware, though, that there are a lot of reasons for me thinking this which are not relevant. For example, that I thought Bush and co were twonks. As such, I am open to persuasion on this important issue.

    I would like to suggest a couple of lines of interest for me. Firstly, I have heard Hitchens describe the four reasons why a state can be deprived of it’s sovereignty, and that Iraq was guilty of all of these. My question is whether meeting one or more of these conditions is sufficient for a war to be Just (as in Just War theory), or whether further conditions need to be met? Secondly, would a potential conflict meeting the conditions of a Just War compel us to instigate the conflict, or would other conditions need to be met (perhaps that all other possibilities have been exhausted)?

    There are other points of interest for me, but I think this would be a good start.

    • 9 Ed January 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm

      Tom,

      Good to see you in. As far as I know all the “four violations” point is meant to counter is the idea that Iraq’s sovereignty is/was a sufficient condition to render – or a significant contributory factor in rendering – the invasion illegal/wrong. Does the state in question committing some or all of the four necessarily render invasion legitimate? That, I suppose, depends upon the nature and scale of the violations and the nature and intentions of the potential invaders. In the case of Iraq? Well, I think so. Were all possibilities exhausted? If you were in the mood to highly redefine the concept enough, you could render it so strict as to make invasion illegitimate under practically any circumstances. But I don’t think you’d want to do that. So, after the failure of countless measures (numerous resolutions and opportunities to unconditionally disarm and cooperate with inspection and the international community, etc., etc.) was that condition also met? Again, I believe so. But I suppose those things are, in part, what we’re here to discuss!

    • 10 Jim January 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

      The four reasons alluded to above, according to Christopher Hitchens, “a state may be deemed or said to have sacrificed its sovereignty:

      1. If it participates in regular aggressions against neighbouring states or occupations of their territory;

      2. If it violates the letter and spirit of the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and in other words, fools around promiscuously with the illegal acquisition of weapons of mass destruction;

      3. If it should violate the Genocide Convention, the signatories to which are obliged without further notice to act either to prevent or punish genocide; and

      4. If it plays host to international gangsters, nihilists, terrorists, and jihadists.”

  5. 11 Andrew January 15, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Right, in reverse chronological order. This may take some time.

    > Here you are flirting (and I think I’m being very charitable in using that euphemism) with outright conspiracy theory. What’s next – “9/11 was an inside job”?

    I don’t believe there are degrees of conspiracy theory; one either accepts a fact or does not, although the label invites sceptics to ridicule before seeing a fair representation of the case in hand. “Flirting” would imply a lack of conviction; my personal reasons for not believing his death was a result of stress or pressure are numerous, and have held firm since the event:

    I had recently (c. 2002) read a book on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (published pre 9/11; April 17, 2001), which painted Dr Kelly, the UN weapons inspector, as a brave, diligent and sound minded character. It should be noted that both authors are reputable journalists (Tom Mangold http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/reporters/426031.stm and Jeff Goldberg http://us.macmillan.com/author/jeffgoldberg), and that Dr Kelly was far from the public eye at the time of the book’s writing. It makes for grim reading http://www.amazon.com/Plague-Wars-Terrifying-Reality-Biological/dp/0312263791 and includes portions of the 37 visits he made to Iraq in his lifetime.

    This lifelong experience of dictators and crooked regimes testifies to his strength of character; he had never been regarded by colleagues or family as susceptible to suicide.

    Hours before he died, he wrote to Gaeta Kingdom at Oxford University (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3076634.stm) saying: “Many thanks for your thoughts and prayers. It has been a remarkably tough time. Should all blow over by early next week, then I will travel to Baghdad a week Friday. I have had to keep a low profile which meant leaving home for a week. Back now. With best wishes and thanks for your support. David”. These words do not correlate with the psyche of a man in the throes of suicide. MI5 seized all of Dr Kelly’s professional assets (five computers, a PDA, documents etc, same link as above) whose contents remain unknown.

    > If you wish to claim Kelly was murdered as part of a government plot – one Oxfordshire Police and those working on the Hutton Inquiry must have consciously covered up – then perhaps you can begin by explaining what, precisely, the coroner and pathologist (i.e. the trained professionals who actually examined the body, and who attribute Kelly’s death to suicide by a combination of co-proxamol and a severed artery, both exacerbated by pre-existing artery disease) got wrong.

    Importantly there was no coroner’s inquest (a process of law), but rather a civil servant’s inquiry (unfettered by the constraints of the courts) reporting to the government; the conclusions you state were not made by a medical practitioner. These claims are not my own, and neither are they unfounded. I will lift sections of this from the media as these opinions belong to others:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8397625.stm – “Six doctors are taking legal action to demand a formal inquest into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly…Michael Powers QC said there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt he killed himself.

    Instead of a coroner’s inquest, the then prime minister Tony Blair asked Lord Hutton to investigate the death. Lord Hutton concluded he bled to death as a result of cutting his wrist and taking an overdose of painkillers. But Dr Powers, a former assistant coroner, said the cuts would not have caused him to bleed to death and the dose of co-proxamol in Dr Kelly’s body was normal…He added that the inquest should not have been left to Lord Hutton because he is not a coroner.”

    Dr Powers and five other experts have instructed solicitors…to approach Attorney General Baroness Scotland. The experts are trauma surgeon David Halpin, epidemiologist Andrew Rouse, surgeon Martin Birnstingl, radiologist Stephen Frost, and Chris Burns-Cox who specialises in internal general medicine.

    Mr Halpin…said his personal view was that it was “very likely” Dr Kelly was assassinated. He said MP Norman Baker [using the Freedom of Information Act] had uncovered information showing there were no fingerprints on the knife the scientist apparently used to slash his wrist, even though he was not wearing gloves.

    Dr Powers said it was never made public how much blood Dr Kelly had actually lost and although there was very little co-proxamol in his body, three packets of 10 were found nearby with just one pill left.

    This sits in line with further evidence on the success of fatally slitting one’s wrists. A letter to the Guardian by the same doctors enters into detail on the matter http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/feb/12/davidkelly.huttonreport

    > All you offer is innuendo and the fact that “there remains suspicion”. Well indeed there does – in the minds of conspiracy nutters.

    I would not presume to speak of something for which there is no foundation, and will leave you to draw your own conclusions on the fairness of Lord Hutton’s inquiry. The BBC kindly summarise these conspiracies http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/conspiracy_files/6378681.stm and they present what I consider the most compelling evidence for suicide in his wife’s statement. Owing to her relationship with him you may consider her as the ultimate authority on his health, or as an untrustworthy source blinded by the grief of loss.

    To return to the point, this discussion sprung from this petition http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/blairtoughqs#petition with the following headline: “IRAQ: DEMAND TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR TONY BLAIR”. In light of this I return to the previous posts:

    > Suppose that Blair was, as you claim, religiously, financially or otherwise nefariously motivated. It still does not follow from this that the war was a bad one.

    A war waged on the basis of deceit? Ethically “bad” does not convey enough meaning in this context: the decision to go to war was made secretively; without unilateral consensus; lacking essential post-war planning (including supplies for the troops); and concealed in rhetoric promising that we were a “liberating force”. Conversely, I would consider a “good” justification honest: desired by the oppressed population; thorough in planning, supply and implementation; backed with a UN resolution; and democratically backed by the consensus of the populace. The last two points may be wishful, however we have waged no war in recent times in the face of such harsh the public opposition, in light of which the disproved claims of WMDs appear all the more shameful.

    > 1. Was the invasion of Iraq justifiable based on the evidence provided? The answer would be no. The intricacies of which can (and have) been deliberated over for many an hour. While this is a topic of great interest, it negates our current situation and focuses on why we find ourselves in it rather than how to solve it.

    I don’t believe it negates anything. We still feel we are justified in this invasion, so no reparations have been paid to the Iraqi people (Iraq is still paying the majority of the $52 billion reparations it owes to Kuwait [for damage to their oil industry] and the West [for "lost profits"] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/oct/16/iraq.comment although perhaps that will be curbed http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5736M320090804). This status-quo is maintained because we occupy the moral high ground, in lieu of our stated motivation.

    > 2. In spite of all this we find ourselves in Iraq. Simply because the outlined evidence was misleading, it does not follow from this that our presence is not justifiable based on other factors. The initial reasoning for invasion has since proven incorrect, but in my mind a far simpler one should have sufficed. This being the tyrannical nature and inherant evil that was prevalent in Saddam’s regime.

    UNICEF estimate 500,000 children died a result of sanctions against the country from 1990 to 2003. Literacy (a product of Saddam’s reforms) and living conditions declined, disease was rife and the oligarchy maintained a blessed existence while their fellow countrymen wallowed in squalor. This is perhaps justification for deposing the dictator and lifting the sanctions, as Walter Russell Mead, an impassioned senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, claimed at the time http://www.cfr.org/publication/5684/deadlier_than_war.html – however many countries today suffer the same conditions, without military intervention. What balance leads to one country being invaded whilst another continues to develop an arsenal of WMDs?

    The question that follows is that if these moral motivations were at the heart of the invasion, why were post-war preparations not made, why did a woefully inadequate Tony Blair ignore these facts http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/11/AR2005061100723.html and why were they not used as fair justification by a democratically elected premier? The US shares responsibility for this, and Blair’s “sycophancy” must be called to question http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6955325.ece

    What I consider the central issue is: if our politicians are unable to honestly divulge their reasons for sacrificing lives today, what unjustified action will they attempt tomorrow? The fear of terrorism is powerful and manipulable. If we are not seen to mete justice, what precedent do we set for ourselves and future generations?

    Finally, this article suggests the questions that should be put to Mr Blair http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/dec/23/iraq-inquiry-chaos-britain-war – of which the most pertinent is:

    “Did Blair give the defence ministry conditional permission to prepare for war at a secret meeting in Chequers the weekend prior to meet [sic] George Bush at his ranch in Crawford in April 2002?”

    In light of his proven dishonesty concerning Iraq, if it were true it is unlikely an admission would be forthcoming.

    On a personal note, as the puppet master of Mr Blair’s rise to power and subsequent premiership, Alistair Campbell owes the world just as frank an explanation as Blair does.

  6. 12 Andrew January 15, 2010 at 3:01 am

    > Secondly, would a potential conflict meeting the conditions of a Just War compel us to instigate the conflict, or would other conditions need to be met (perhaps that all other possibilities have been exhausted)?
    This is a valid point in light of Mr Blair’s conversion to Catholicism http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7157409.stm – however whether or not the war was “Just”, this reasoning was not given to those who fought nor to the public. A crusade on these terms would seem more apt.

    > So, after the failure of countless measures (numerous resolutions and opportunities to unconditionally disarm and cooperate with inspection and the international community, etc., etc.) was that condition also met? Again, I believe so.
    Irrespective of the failures of the UN it remains that these reasons were not stated to the British public before the invasion, and Blair must be culpable for his actions.

  7. 13 Peya January 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    hello

    First before all. I would like to congratulate you for the effort and interest in the subject. I would like to explain my point of view the issue in a historical way. In world history, many civilizations have always tried to control the world and end the threats from other civilizations. there have been many who wanted the good for other civilizations but were wiped out by other more aggressive and better prepared militarily. In these times in which we live, the situation is repeated, but in a way that we can not choose whether we want it or not. We were not respected in all demonstrations against the war, government does not listen to his people.

    From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_the_Iraq_War

    Beginning in 2002, and continuing after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, protests against the Iraq War were held in many cities worldwide, often coordinated to occur simultaneously around the world. After the biggest series of demonstrations, on February 15, 2003, New York Times writer Patrick Tyler Photo that they showed that there were two superpowers on the planet, the United States and worldwide public opinion [1].

    36 million people worldwide took to the streets to voice their opinions about the war were not heeded.

    If all these people wrong, and the intelligence services of the countries involved were completely confident that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous and it had weapons of mass destruction. Why President Bush later said that the biggest regret of his presidency was “the intelligence failure” in Iraq, [16] while the Senate Intelligence Committee found in 2008 that his administration “misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq.” [17]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction # 2009_Declaration

    Saddam was a puppet that we had not heard since he wanted to invade Kuwait, oil interest of the country in 1991. United States went to war to remove Saddam from Kuwait. At that time the president of the United States George H. W. Bush, George Bush’s father, belonged to a corporation known as Dex Media (Carlyle Group). This corporation is involved in business of over 70 different countries.

    Here we can see how they are interested in Energy and Petroleum, the intelligence services are controlled by them, television and media are also handled by them.

    Carlyle has investments spread out over several different industries, with about 22% of their investments in energy and power, 19% in real estate, 15% in technology and business services, 8% in consumer and retail, 8% in industrial, 6% in telecommunications and media, 6% in transportation, 6% in healthcare, 5% in aerospace, and 4% devoted to other industries, according to their 2008 annual report. Noted portfolio companies are Dex Media, the former directories business of Qwest Communications; Willcom, a Japanese wireless company; Casema, a Dutch cable company; and Insight Communications, the ninth largest cable company in the U.S. The Carlyle Group was once a major investor in US Investigations Services, which is the privatized arm of the United States Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Federal Investigations, but has since divested itself, selling its stake to Providence Equity Partners in 2007.[citation needed]

    In October 1997 Carlyle acquired United Defense Industries , bringing in over 60% of Carlyle’s defense business. United Defense went public on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2001 with Carlyle retaining a stock ownership position. Carlyle completed the sale of all of its United Defense stock and exited the investment in April 2004.[10] (One major United Defense program was the XM2001 Crusader self-propelled howitzer which was canceled by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in early 2002 causing United Defense stock prices to fall 27 percent.[11]) Since then, The Carlyle Group has divested the majority of its interest from the defense industry.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlyle_Group#Current_portfolio_and_major_acquisitions

    The economic interests of the war in iraq for my part I see very clear. Only expose the facts on which is an economic interest in controlling the middle east area. New World Order is involved in this attempt to save the country from terrorists and bad people only for their economic good, not for the good of mankind. But they never stop selling weapons to poor countries such as Congo, Somalia supporting the war only by continuing to sell them weapons. We have seen how they have weapons manufacturing business.

    If we continue to support this ends:

    http://www.educate-yourself.org/nwo/

  8. 14 Jim January 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Andrew,

    It seems you may be incapable of terseness. In two replies you have written over 2100 words compared to my 280. These second passages containing voluminous amounts of tangential argument.

    If you suppose that is because we lack evidence and argument for our case you are mistaken: it is a courtesy you extend to your opponents and the reader and without it debate would be impossible.

    Please try and keep your replies as concise as possible.

    I’ll reply to the substantive issue you have with me soon. I have to travel to London right now. Cheers!

  9. 15 Andrew January 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I am sorry you consider my lengthy response as an underhand manoeuvre. I acknowledge the Dr Kelly material is quoted heavily, and I consider this necessary in the face of misinformed opinion.

    > In two replies you have written over 2100 words compared to my 280.
    I am responding to six posts by four “opponents”, not just yourself. Disparagingly likened to “Conspiracy nutters” I was compelled to personally defend my view. Your count ignores the fact I joined this discussion at what would have seemed its conclusion; before you reposted my comment to your blog. I will reply individually and more concisely in future.

    > If you suppose that is because we lack evidence and argument for our case you are mistaken
    I would not presume you lacked evidence, only that you have failed to reference it.

    > it is a courtesy you extend to your opponents and the reader and without it debate would be impossible.
    My argument, and circumstantial evidence, concludes that Mr Blair lied, lying is wrong, people paid for his lies in blood, he has happily made millions with his reputation unblemished. In the course of this debate I have yet to see compelling evidence to the contrary.

    > I’ll reply to the substantive issue you have with me soon
    To what do you refer? I bear no personal resentment.

    > These second passages containing voluminous amounts of tangential argument.
    Perhaps it would help to amend the title of this post to reflect the (abbreviated) title of the petition it sprung from: “The Truth about Blair’s reasons for taking us to war with Iraq”. http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/blairtoughqs#petition

    In the light of courtious debate, I would be interested to hear you elaborate on the last four sentences of your initial comment in this blog, especially the two assertions “We know the reasons for going to war” and “They are good ones”.

  10. 16 Jim January 15, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Andrew,

    Dragging a country to war for personal gain, with no regards for the death of thousands of innocents, billions of dollars squandered and the psychological trauma caused to those that survive it, is of course one of the most despicable and dastardly actions a human could ever undertake. There is no question of that. Of course, I do not believe this happened and I said before, this is something we can sort out after you deal with my point.

    Any lying Blair might have done cannot alter the fact that stopping Saddam was a good thing — again, bad people can have bad reasons for, and have bad ways of going about, what happen to be good things. Saddam was a genocidal, mass murdering sadist. Removing him and his villainous cronies was a good thing for the people of Iraq, his neighbours and the rest of the world.

    What you’re doing is a recognised logical mistake called ad hominem circumstantial:

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/circumstantial-ad-hominem.html

    • 17 Andrew January 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

      > A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy because a person’s interests and circumstances have no bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made. While a person’s interests will provide them with motives to support certain claims, the claims stand or fall on their own.

      The claim is that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was able to launch them within 45 minutes. This claim was false, and suspected to be so by all military intelligence contributors; the supportive documentation was “sexed up” to provide rationale for invasion (while officially contended it is easy to infer). How is this relevant to my argument?

      Alistair Campbell gave evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry last week, where he revealed that throughout 2002 Blair had been writing notes to Bush:

      “We are absolutely with you in making sure that Saddam Hussein faces up to his obligations, and that Iraq is disarmed. If that can’t be done diplomatically, and it has to done militarily, we would definitely be there.”

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/6973197/Iraq-inquiry-Britain-would-definitely-back-US-Tony-Blair-told-George-W-Bush.html

      But unable to view this as contradictory to the claim Blair made that no decision had been made, Campbell paints this as evidence of Blair’s integrity; I consider these positions unreconcilable.

      The case for the pre-war misdirection of parliament is clear, and it remains that the motivations, as stated, were dishonest. If you will accept this, we can move to the argument that retrospectively, the invasion of Iraq is justified based on other factors.

      • 18 Jim January 18, 2010 at 2:39 am

        Andrew,

        I’m sorry, it seems you have misunderstood. I hope I don’t presume too much by representing – what I think is your argument – here:

        Blair claimed invasion was just because of WMD.

        Blair lied about WMD in order that we invade for personal religious, financial reasons.

        Therefore, the war was unjust.

        Is this a fair interpretation of the schematic of your argument? If I have done it any violence could you please amend it in same format? Thanks.

      • 19 Jim January 18, 2010 at 11:49 am

        Ad hominem circumstantial aside, this discussion is about whether Iraq was justified. If we, here and now, can successfully show that it was justified, then it was justified. In light of that, whether it was justified doesn’t hinge on the “pre-war justification” – on what Blair or Bush said at the time, whether they lied, etc. That’s why, at present, I don’t have much interest in discussing those things: they’re irrelevant.

        If you’d still like to have that conversation after the crux point is settled, then I’d be happy to – and I fully appreciate it’s an extremely important issue.

        I can’t actually, in good faith, concede the point now because I don’t believe they lied. But I can, and already have, conceded it for the sake of argument. Anyway, now we’re just starting to address the crux point – whether Iraq was justified – below. So let’s have that conversation and then, as I say, we can come back to whether Blair lied.

  11. 20 Ed January 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the reply. More succinct posts though please. I don’t think it’s intentionally underhand to post such essays, just unfocused. If you had my hangover, you’d sympathise. Anyway, I’ve attempted to boil your post down to the following points:

    Just hours before his death, he wrote forward-planning, faintly optimistic emails, which doesn’t “correlate with the psyche of a man in the throes of suicide”

    Currently, this argument – that suicides never, or are significantly unlikely to, do anything implying a future – seems a gross oversimplification based on a layman’s assessment rather than any statistical analysis, understanding of the psychology of suicides, etc. Kelly’s wife, as you mention, along with at least one relevantly qualified professional, disagrees with you. His mother committed suicide (also with pills) and the American Journal of Psychiatry finds such people are many times more likely to do so themselves.

    The Security Service seized his computer.

    This is irrelevant to the way in which he died. (In any event, Kelly had just snuffed it under then-uncertain circumstances, was an employee of the Ministry of Defence, an international weapons inspector and an expert in biological warfare. It’s hardly suspicious that his computer was sequestered and its contents not released.)

    “[T]here was no coroner’s inquest (a process of law), but rather a civil servant’s inquiry (unfettered by the constraints of the courts) reporting to the government; the conclusions you state were not made by a medical practitioner”.

    You seem to be painting a picture of a luckless Hutton, scalpel in hand, staring blankly at a cadaver, without a clue what he’s meant to be doing. Anyway, the inquiry’s conclusions were based on those of, amongst others, a forensic pathologist, a toxicologist and coroner – relevantly qualified, trained professionals.

    Six doctors want a formal inquest and another three consider blood loss an unlikely cause of death.

    In the case of the six, they provide neither evidence nor argument. The three don’t take seriously that death was attributed to a combination of three factors, rather than any individually fatal one. Only one of each group has the relevant expertise, and in the case of the former, even he is retired. None of either group, unlike the experts working for the inquiry, actually – y’know – examined the body. It’s worth stating parenthetically that this campaign was organized by one Rowena Thursby, who runs (or ran) a blog called Beyond Belief, which bears quoting.

    Can we travel “beyond belief” and escape the matrix of our belief systems?… The aim here is not to adhere to a belief but to make discoveries. I base my search on a suspicion – from books and information available on the net – that that the truth about political events is a world apart from what we are led to believe. For example: Were both World Wars engineered? What about other wars – were they deliberately "arranged" for a purpose? Is there a plan for world government? If so, who is behind it? Was 9/11 the prime catalyst? This site hopes to peel back the veneer, and address the big questions: [W]ho is really behind the the terrorist atrocities? [W]here lies the true source of political power? [W]hat part do secret societies play in the politics today?

    The notion Kelly was murdered is just another silly conspiracy theory for which there’s nothing in the way of compelling evidence. If you care about your reputation, I suggest you abandon it.

  12. 21 Ed January 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Peya,

    You’re still focussing on motives and cui bono. But as Jim has already pointed out, “bad people can have bad reasons for, and have bad ways of going about, what happen to be good things”. I would reply in more depth, but, judging from the websites to which you link – ones warning of an international conspiracy to create a global fascist government controlled by the New World Order and the Illuminati which will murder five billion people, and ones excusing Saddam, Milosevic, Kadaffi, etc. as illegitimately demonized – I doubt further discussion with you will be fruitful.

    • 22 Peya January 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm

      Ed
      Originally Jim started the debate with good reason to go to war.

      I suppose Tony Blair was misled by the promises and facts showed him by the united states. The War Against Terror must be a parody of Hollywood, that only a twat (TheWarAgainstTerror) could believe it. I hope I’m wrong because both you and I discussed hypothesis about thought and events in which we can only assume that they are in one way or the other.

      What I think is that since we are the leading world power in other ways we could teach everyone to live with respect, compassion and equality for all mankind. War brings only more war. and I do not think any of us like to live in a war, then do not let other people live in a war.

      Defend yourself from the aggressor but do not become one of them.

      We are more clever than this.

  13. 24 John January 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    So where does this leave Hutton and Kelly? If Blair and Campbell now admit to the “dossiers” being a pretext then it was they who hounded Kelly to death (or worse) and not Gilligan and the BBC. See The strange case of the death of Dr David Kelly, UN Weapons Inspector.

    • 25 Ed January 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      If you have nothing specific or of substance to add, kindly refrain from posting. There are too many wacko conspiracy links littering this thread as it is.

      • 26 John January 16, 2010 at 5:33 pm

        Hang on a moment, who is the wacko here? If Blair and Campbell knew about the weakness of the WMD intelligence and just prepared the “dossiers” as a pretence this changes the whole complexion of the Kelly case. Not only did they hound Kelly through the a foreign relations committee grilling but when he died they suspended the coroners court and instituted their own kangaroo court, the Hutton Inquiry.

        Hutton was ostensibly an inquiry to look into the circumstances surrounding Kelly’s death and ended up sanctioning the anti-war media.

        Just to make it clear: the government wrongly used special powers to stop a coroners inquest so that they could set up an “inquiry” to take out the anti war media. It is now becoming clear that they did all this when they knew it was they who were lying, not Kelly or Gilligan.

      • 27 Ed January 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm

        Kelly’s body was examined by relevantly qualified, trained professionals, who concluded he committed suicide.

  14. 28 John January 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I am not talking about whether or not it was suicide. If the government knew about the lack of WMDs then they were more responsible than the anti-war media for anything that happened to Kelly (suicide or anything else). If Hutton condemned the media for what happened to Kelly then, by the same token, Chilcott should now condemn the government.

    I am also saying that if the government knew that Kelly was right they should have allowed a coroners court. When they stopped a coroners court it was unconstitutional and now we know why they went to such lengths..

    • 29 Ed January 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      I am not talking about whether or not it was suicide.

      Right. So you’re not talking about whether or not it was suicide – despite you having joined a discussion about whether or not it was suicide by urging us to read a conspiracy website about whether or not it was suicide under a username that links to a website about whether or not it was suicide. I see. Anyway, excluding Peya, who seems to be talking to himself, there are two discussions going on at present: whether Iraq was the right thing to do, and whether Kelly was murdered or committed suicide. On whom the blame for Kelly’s death lies, while interesting, is not relevant to either.

  15. 30 Andrew January 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    > If Blair and Campbell knew about the weakness of the WMD intelligence and just prepared the “dossiers” as a pretence this changes the whole complexion of the Kelly case.

    Which begs the question: why was the inquest replaced with an enquiry? As above, one is reportable to the courts and can be challenged, the other is one-time summary of events. The latter does not take evidence under oath, and can not cross examine witnesses – when these are afforded to victims of burglary and assault, they should of course be extended all who have died.

    Considering the circumstances prior to his death, it should have been investigated transparently and publicly. There was a noticeable lack thereof, including: stopping the inquest; the failure to report levels of lost blood; an unreported fingerprint-less murder weapon; those who found the body not seeing the discarded pills, water bottle and knife close to the body, and having seen the body in a different position to that it was found by the first police officer on scene. We do not know how much of this evidence the inquiry or its reporting pathologists, coroners etc. heard, if any, and all these points raise suspicion.

    Is it the case that these were not publicly released in an effort to repress public dissent to the enquiry? An inquest would have had this information before it, and most likely a jury – could the government risk an inquest ruling that they hounded and pressured him to suicide, let alone played a more complicit role? It would have shattered the fragile case for war, irrespective of murder or suicide.

    > His mother committed suicide (also with pills) and the American Journal of Psychiatry finds such people are many times more likely to do so themselves.
    This was dealt with at the inquiry http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1442395/Kellys-mother-killed-herself.html and it is concluded this was not a contributory factor, although a verdict of suicide is suggested on presented evidence (as you know I consider this evidence flawed).

    Your citation focussed on youths (average age of 20) and concludes (page one):

    “In offspring of parents with mood disorders, precursors of early-onset suicidal behavior include mood disorder and impulsive aggression as well as parental history of suicide attempt, sexual abuse, and self-reported depression.”

    As well as not being a victim of “early-onset” suicidal behaviour, he was also not subject to any of these other factors with the exception of that which you cite.

    > death was attributed to a combination of three factors
    Heart disease was identified but not listed as a contributory factor:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/326/7384/294

    I stand by the assertion that unless conclusive evidence exists that he killed himself I cannot accept that he did so. In light of our conversation, I will also accept that the evidence for murder is scant.

    In the context of the war, his death remains significant because he was hounded for his views and as John notes he was cross examined by the Select Committee when it was known by the government what he was saying was the truth. Blair’s retrospective claim that he would have invaded irrespective of evidence shows that Kelly’s death was futile, and that the blood is on Blair’s hands. The again detracts from the pre-war justification. I realise this blog post has moved far from this topic, and I will address whether we consider removing Saddam was right later this evening, and also my logical failings.

    > bad people can have bad reasons for, and have bad ways of going about, what happen to be good things
    This is a subjective unsubstantiated argument, I would still appreciate if you could outline the assertions “We know the reasons for going to war. They are good ones” with evidence and vindication, as I consider the public statements “bad” and the inferred reasons I have stated even more deplorable.

    • 31 Ed January 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      Andrew,

      Hello. Nice to see you back.

      I made a number of relevant points you didn’t address. Can I take them as conceded? On a related note, you say a lot of stuff about how Kelly was “hounded” and Blair is to blame, how the inquiry was insufficiently transparent, etc. None of that, though, is relevant to showing what the experts got wrong or that Kelly was murdered, so I won’t address it. (But in the middle of it you embed a list of conceivably relevant claims, so, if you consider them serious, dig them out and we can go over them.)

      [That his mother committed suicide] was dealt with at the inquiry… and it is concluded [“there was no evidence” of hereditary depression, etc. “in Dr Kelly”]… Your citation focussed on youths… As well as not being a victim of “early-onset” suicidal behaviour, he was also not subject to any of these other factors with the exception of that which you cite.

      Despite the dubiousness of you cherry-picking parts of the inquiry while dismissing others, I’ll happily accept, for the sake of argument, all the above criticisms. Do the mother’s suicide and/or the AJP study succeed in proving Kelly was at significantly increased risk? No. Remember, though, what those points (and a couple of others you don’t address) were intended to counter: bare assertion from a layman. They certainly succeed there.

      Heart disease was identified but not listed as a contributory factor.

      I was thinking more the atherosclerosis.

      I stand by the assertion that unless conclusive evidence exists that he killed himself I cannot accept that he did so.

      This is merely a point about your own personal incredulity. That you, personally, require some as yet undefined level of evidence before you will believe a given death is a suicide is, I suppose, psychologically interesting, but is irrelevant when it comes to Kelly’s death.

      In light of our conversation, I will also accept that the evidence for murder is scant.

      Well, thank you; I genuinely appreciate that. When combining the above with your previous comment, I think we’re probably done with Kelly’s death. Let me know!

      • 32 Andrew January 18, 2010 at 9:59 pm

        > I made a number of relevant points you didn’t address. Can I take them as conceded?

        Not entirely, I still hold the cessation of the inquest and resulting inquiry as entirely suspicious, but in the interest of addressing the proposed question of post-war justification I will amend my initial statement and lay the argument of suicide to rest:

        Original paragaph:

        The foremost authority on nuclear weaponry, Dr David Kelly, was hounded as a result of his controversial expert views on Iraq’s WMDs and there remains a suspicion that he died as a result of his opposition to the developing government policy. Shortly before death, he alluded to “many dark actors playing games” and with his dubious “suicide” these potentially damaging secrets were buried http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3080795.stm

        Amended paragaph:

        The foremost authority on nuclear weaponry, Dr David Kelly, was hounded as a result of his controversial expert views on Iraq’s WMDs. Shortly before death, he alluded to “many dark actors playing games” and with his suicide his influential anti-war dissent was silenced http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3080795.stm Despite Lord Hutton exonerating the government and the MoD for the manner in which he was treated, his family contend his death was a result of their handling of the matter http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/sep/03/huttonkeyplayers.huttonreport

        I accept that although many questions remain unanswered, evidentially there is little to oppose the official version of events. I cannot hold the government blameless, although I am sure you disagree.

      • 33 Ed January 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm

        Andrew,

        Thanks again. Your amended paragraph seems fine; I’ve no real objection to it. I should point out, additionally, that in no sense do I necessarily consider the government blameless in the Kelly affair, I just object to implications and claims they murdered him.

        PS: I hope you don’t mind but I’ve made a couple of formatting alterations to your post: perhaps I was being dense, but it took me quite a few reads to understand what you were doing with those two paragraphs and some of your links weren’t clickable. I imagine it was down to WordPress being unfriendly.

  16. 34 Andrew January 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    With regards to whether, in hindsight, the invasion of Iraq is justified:

    > “Removing him and his villainous cronies was a good thing for the people of Iraq, his neighbours and the rest of the world.”

    If by people of Iraq you refer specifically to Kurds, and by neighbours you refer to Kuwait, perhaps. If by the rest of the world you refer the United State’s reliance on oil, I would concur.

    Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006, holds this view:

    “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

    As his memoirs state, Iraq’s control of a large percentage of the world’s oil could have thrown us all into recession on a whim, and coupled with nuclear armaments posed a substantial threat. This is what separated Iraq from other resource-barren rogue states. As the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions render invasion on the basis of resources illegal, a pretence had to be found.

    The only justified reason for invasion in Iraq is economic: the West now have a slice of OPEC (115 billion barrels proven) with the possibility of a further 100 billion unexplored http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Iraq/Oil.html

  17. 35 Jim January 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Andrew,

    What, precisely, is wrong with Kurds? If not Kurds then on what group would Saddam have had to wreak genocide before his removal by force was warranted?

    • 36 Andrew January 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      > What, precisely, is wrong with Kurds? If not Kurds then on what group would Saddam have had to wreak genocide before his removal by force was warranted?

      Nothing is “wrong” with the Iraqi Kurdsish minority, but representing them as “the people of Iraq” is incorrect; they comprise less than 20% of a predominantly Arab country.

      The instability of life for all Iraqis as a result of war, the horror of market-place bombings, a decline in living standards, the civil war that followed the invasion, the flood of insurgents into the country, an estimated half the country’s children orphaned http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=15144 – these should be counted in the moral justification. It is hard to contrast the suffering of a minority against that of the many for fear of overt racism, however the results of our actions are that the entire country has been torn apart, and the Kurds are no longer repressed.

      In a perfect world, we would see British intervention in every genocide and human rights abuse. In our imperfect world, our country acts where it sees fit, and it is this fitness that we should call into question. While it’s true the Kurds remained repressed, the defined genocide occurred before the first Gulf war. Why have we not intervened with such immediate force in North Korea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burma, Zimbabwe and why the delay in Darfur? The quantity of dead, or the interests of our country? We are not present in Iraq for any good reason except safeguarding oil. The £6.44bn we spent could have been used far more effectively in lifting many others from the horrors they suffer http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8016609.stm

      Invasion related deaths are estimated from 97,000 to 1,030,000 in 7 years. Saddam’s genocide is estimated at 800,000 in 10. Perhaps we have prevented the continuation of slaughter; balanced against that which we mistakenly permitted in the void of post-war preparation, it is hard to argue we prevented more than we misguidedly allowed.

  18. 37 Jim January 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Andrew,

    I’m not sure how demographics are relevant. The attempted murder of roughly 20% of the population of Iraq is hardly anything to sneer at.

    This is a man who, on the 20th of July 1979, gathered his Baath party colleagues in a dimly-lit conference room and randomly indicted half of them on cooked up conspiracy charges. The other half, in their animalistic panic and relief, were tasked with the cold blooded murder of their comrades and expected to celebrate their execution. So let’s not pretend that Saddam’s violence was in any way discriminating – as if, even if it was, it would provide any degree of exculpation. Let’s not feign ignorance of his crimes against Shia, Sunni, Marsh Arab and Jew.

    In fact, if you could provide me with information on a population that did flourish under Saddam’s rule I’d be genuinely interested to hear about them.

    You assume moral equivalence between deaths owing to a sadistic campaign of genocide and those causally resulting from a war to remove its perpetrator. This is perverse. Worse still, you’re willing to blame Saddam for only that genocide, but to blame coalition forces and governments not just for their exterminationist murders of Iraqi innocents (of which there are practically nil) but also for deaths caused by other groups. Moreover, you lay at the feet of the coalition the moral blame for murders caused by Saddam loyalists, Baathists, etc. But their indiscriminate bombing, kidnapping, blackmail and torture are crimes for which they alone are accountable. To suggest otherwise is beyond masochism and perversion – it’s outright moral inversion.

    While you are right that our failure to prevent atrocities such as Rwanda and Darfur is despicable, I’m sure you’ll agree that two wrongs don’t make a right. Anyway, it hardly follows from the fact that we have miserably failed to prevent mass murder, rape and torture in some countries that we are not duty bound to do so in others.

  19. 38 Andrew January 20, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Please be less personal Jim. I don’t judge your character by your opinion, and histrionic aspersions do not contribute to the debate. I have attempted to tidy quotations, let’s hope they succeed.

    I’m not sure how demographics are relevant. The attempted murder of roughly 20% of the population of Iraq is hardly anything to sneer at.

    This diverges from my point: I am questioning your generalisation, not sneering at fact. This is the convoluted path you and I have travelled:

    Your statement:

    Removing him…was a good thing for the people of Iraq…

    My rebuttal:

    If by people of Iraq you refer specifically to Kurds…

    Your question:

    What, precisely, is wrong with Kurds?

    My answer:

    Nothing is “wrong” with the Iraqi Kurdsish minority, but representing them as “the people of Iraq” is incorrect

    We have travelled from the assertion that removal was good for all of Iraq to the opposite question:

    if you could provide me with information on a population that did flourish under Saddam’s rule I’d be genuinely interested to hear about them.

    I have not made this claim, and I am sure you are aware that “flourish” is not an adjective anybody could use in that context; however people did not live in fear of their neighbours, the ancient Sunni/Shia conflict was repressed, militants did not indiscriminately murder innocents.

    You assume moral equivalence between deaths owing to a sadistic campaign of genocide and those causally resulting from a war to remove its perpetrator.

    Incorrect; the perpetrator and his authority were removed immediately. The deaths following were as result of the “insurgency” that we allowed. Even by your logic (as the deaths do not morally equate, I assume the latter is more acceptable) the war was not “a good thing for the people of Iraq” as their circumstances (as in my previous post) are now worse.

    But their indiscriminate bombing, kidnapping, blackmail and torture are crimes for which they alone are accountable.

    Not so; these did not occur under Saddam’s rule. We unset the balance without the capability to enforce law, and in the subsequent void of authority these are the atrocities that were committed. As the “new rulers” if we were not responsible for failing to close the borders, or to create peace, stability and safety, who is accountable? We let high ranking officials fade into the ether while confusedly ostracising all Ba’athists from any involvement in the new Iraq. We lacked post-war preparation http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/19/iraq-war-inquiry-geoff-hoon are must be accountable for our actions.

    Anyway, it hardly follows from the fact that we have miserably failed to prevent mass murder, rape and torture in some countries that we are not duty bound to do so in others.

    Ah, duty. I have not implied we are “duty bound” in any context, rather that we operate on our own terms to protect our own interests.

    Do you think that the people of Iraq are in a better or worse condition than they were before our intervention?

    • 39 Ed January 20, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      Andrew,

      I accept your point about neglectful and incompetent war planning and management. I have, though, some points to make on other matters.

      I am questioning your generalisation… Nothing is “wrong” with the Iraqi Kurdsish minority, but representing them as “the people of Iraq” is incorrect. I have not [claimed any Iraqis flourished], and I am sure you are aware that “flourish” is not an adjective anybody could use in that context.

      Understood. I’ll try to clarify Jim’s two points:

      1. Even if Saddam’s genocide and oppression had been limited to Kurds, saying, “Removing Saddam wasn’t good for the people of Iraq, just the Kurds”, is akin to, “The end of the KKK wouldn’t be good for the people of America, just the blacks” – i.e. semantic quibbling at best and a weird ethnocentric isolationism at worst. I’ll assume the former.

      2. In any event, Saddam’s genocide and oppression wasn’t limited to Kurds: no group (least of all the Marsh Arabs, Shia, etc.) escaped murder and oppression – let alone flourished.

      [It is not the case that I assume moral equivalence between deaths owing to a sadistic campaign of genocide and those causally resulting from a war to remove its perpetrator]; the perpetrator and his authority were removed immediately. The deaths following were as result of the “insurgency” that we allowed.

      Jim was referring to your comparison of the death toll of Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds with that of a war to remove its perpetrator. To assume moral equivalence between deaths on each side of that equation is – let’s say – offensive.

      [It is not the case that the indiscriminate bombing, kidnapping, blackmail and torture are crimes for which their perpetrators alone are accountable]; these did not occur under Saddam’s rule. We unset the balance without the capability to enforce law, and in the subsequent void of authority these are the atrocities that were committed.

      It’s telling, I think, that you use the passive voice: “these are the atrocities that were committed”. You have shorn agency from murderous acts: the acts simply “were committed”. This implies atrocities followed the invasion by way of a natural process, much as a teacup smashing follows it being dropped. However, unlike inanimate china, which cannot opt not to break, these disgusting crimes “were committed” by moral agents – people, who freely chose to rape, murder and torture innocents.

      I have not implied we are “duty bound” in any context, rather that we operate on our own terms to protect our own interests.

      If, as you said earlier, “in a perfect world”, Britain would intervene “in every genocide and human rights abuse”, then a world in which she intervenes in Iraq but not Darfur is, irrespective of any self-interested motives for her inconsistency, more perfect (i.e. better) than one in which she does neither. If we are duty-bound to moving towards a better world, then we are duty-bound to (or at least justified in) humanitarian interventions, such as Darfur and, whether it was intended as one or not, Iraq.

  20. 40 Jim January 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Since I’m short on time I’ve asked Ed to reply on my behalf. I hope you won’t object. I do, however, have time to say something in reply to your last question.

    Do you think that the people of Iraq are in a better or worse condition than they were before our intervention?

    Given our disagreements I’m not exactly sure what you consider being “in a better or worse condition”. I can only say I would rather live in a free society –even if plagued by sectarian violence– than in one ruled by such a dictator. While my preferences are, of course, irrelevant, I think something positive can be said for the Iraqi’s current situation:

    1. They are free from a murderous, warmongering dictator, neither are they in danger from further tyrannical rule by his psychopathic sons Qusay or Uday.

    2. Iraq now has a democratically elected president and a constitution. The latter is worth quoting at length:

    [I]n the midst of international support from our friends and those who love us, marched for the first time in our history towards the ballot boxes by the millions, men and women, young and old, on the thirtieth of January 2005, invoking the pains of sectarian oppression inflicted by the autocratic clique and inspired by the tragedies of Iraq’s martyrs, Shiite and Sunni, Arabs and Kurds and Turkmen and from all other components of the people, and recollecting the darkness of the ravage of the holy cities and the South in the Sha’abaniyya uprising and burnt by the flames of grief of the mass graves, the marshes, Al-Dujail and others and articulating the sufferings of racial oppression in the massacres of Halabcha, Barzan, Anfal and the Fayli Kurds and inspired by the ordeals of the Turkmen in Bashir and the sufferings of the people of the western region, as is the case in the remaining areas of Iraq where the people suffered from the liquidation of their leaders, symbols, and Sheiks and from the displacement of their skilled individuals and from drying out of its cultural and intellectual wells, so we sought hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to create our new Iraq, the Iraq of the future, free from sectarianism, racism, complex of regional attachment, discrimination, and exclusion. We, the people of Iraq, who have just risen from our stumble, and who are looking with confidence to the future through a republican, federal, democratic, pluralistic system, have resolved with the determination of our men, women, elderly, and youth to respect the rule of law, to establish justice and equality, to cast aside the politics of aggression, to pay attention to women and their rights, the elderly and their concerns, and children and their affairs, to spread the culture of diversity, and to defuse terrorism.

    3. After the Iraqi parliament rejected the US-proposed Oil Law, the vast oil reserves under Mesopotamia are now property of the Iraqi state and its people: foreign companies will pump it for a fixed price determined at free auction. (Despite your pessimism, US companies did not succeed in securing a single well in the largest oilfield auction in history on the 11th December 2009.)

    4. Partly as a consequence of the above, the Iraqi economy is recovering from the evisceration it received at the hands of Saddam and his warmongering, palace building and vast international borrowing.

    Since I have to shoot off I’ll leave you with a quote from the great humanist Thomas Paine which, I think, is particularly relevant:

    Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

  21. 41 Ed January 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Andrew,

    On reading one of your previous posts, the following jumps out.

    [A]n estimated half the country’s children orphaned – these should be counted in the moral justification. http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=15144 [Original source: http://www.uruknet.info/?p=39245]

    Your source is a crank site that offers, amongst other deranged ramblings, a line in the basest and stupidest kind of 9/11 conspiracy theory.

    Jet fuel cannot burn hot enough or long enough to melt steel… No steel building has ever fallen from fire –but on 911 not one, not two, but three buildings fell into their footprints within seconds of beginning descent. The "hijackers" said to have piloted 757′s into the twin towers couldn’t even fly Cessnas, let alone airliners.

    Such a striking statistic, however, requires credibility. So are you able to link to the original study or, failing that, a reputable news source?

  22. 42 Andrew January 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Hello Ed, I am exceptionally busy at the moment and hope to respond to your posts shortly. With reference to above, the original article referenced a translation from http://gorillasguides.com/2007/12/15/5-million-orphans/

    A more recent article from the independent Iraqi Aswat al Iraq states:

    The statistics of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Coordination show that there are 4.5 million orphans in Iraq, 500,000 of them living in the streets.

    http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=66381 (formatting amended)

    I hope that will suffice.

    • 43 Ed January 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm

      Andrew,

      Hello.

      I am exceptionally busy at the moment and hope to respond to your posts shortly.

      Take your time; I’m in a similar position.

      [T]he original article referenced a translation from http://gorillasguides.com/2007/12/15/5-million-orphans/ A more recent article from the independent Iraqi Aswat al Iraq states: “The statistics of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning and Development Coordination show that there are 4.5 million orphans in Iraq, 500,000 of them living in the streets.” http://en.aswataliraq.info/?p=66381

      Only the latter source looks remotely credible, and that, obviously, states a lower figure from a different government body. Nor can I see any official mention of that study. Anyway, let’s go with it. Even the nuttiest war death estimates would be hard pushed to account for the creation of half that many orphans, let alone the whole four and a half million. So, it seems most of the cases were pre-existing – many, if not the majority, of which owing to Saddam’s genocides, murders and general misrule. Without knowing the methodology, it’s impossible to tell for sure, but this statistic could just as easily score a point for us, not you.

      • 44 Andrew January 30, 2010 at 12:41 am

        Even the nuttiest war death estimates would be hard pushed to account for the creation of half that many orphans…So, it seems the majority of cases were pre-existing

        This logic is wrong; the Iraqi government statistics are from 2008. By that time all the orphans of the severe Kurdish genocide of the late 80s would have passed 18 years of age. Irrespective, it seems a little research is appropriate.

        From http://www.anst.uu.se/a/abduahma/Childhood%20trauma%20and%20mental%20health%20in%20Iraqi%20Kurdistan.doc

        Although no official account for the rates of orphans in the society in Kurdistan was possible to obtain during the study time, our sample among the general population in Duhok in 1999 showed 12,4% of children between the ages of 6 to 18 years had lost at least one parent. Most of them were killed by the Iraqi forces, particularly during the Anfal operations of 1988.

        So, extrapolating with obvious sample bias (these figures are from the target of Saddam’s genocide, Kurdistan), 1/8th of Iraqi children above 6 years of age were orphans in 1999. Iraqi government reporting in 2008 increases that fraction three to four fold, and with the possible inclusion of children under six, we must assume that the least the proportion of orphans has increased is two to three fold.

        Unless you offer evidence to the contrary, or continue to object to the independent Iraqi media, I hope it’s safe to affirm that these children’s parents were killed during the time in which the coalition was responsible for security.

  23. 45 John January 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Ed: “Right. So you’re not talking about whether or not it was suicide – despite you having joined a discussion about whether or not it was suicide by urging us to read a conspiracy website about whether or not it was suicide under a username that links to a website about whether or not it was suicide. ”

    I dont think you could have read that site or my comments, you have just assumed that I am peddling a conspiracy theory. What you are calling a “conspiracy theory” is just straightforward evidence that a coroner’s court would have issued an “open verdict” (not a verdict that Kelly was murdered, just a verdict that the cause of death was not evident beyond doubt).

    The site states that the Hutton Inquiry was unconstitutional and that its findings were incorrect. Neither of these are conspiracy theories. It asks for a Coroners Court to consider the death of Kelly and for compensation for those who lost their jobs.

    It now also includes statements from Chilcot that show that the government just assumed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. These statements exonerate Gilligan, because, being assumptions the warnings about these weapons were just there to sex up the dossier, they were not statements of fact.

    Jonathan Powell, a close advisor of Blair said:

    “We had an assumption, and we had that assumption because Saddam Hussein had lied about using WMD and he had lied about getting rid of them. We had bombed Iraq in 1998 on that basis and it would have taken some quite strong evidence to suggest he had got rid of them. ” (Telegraph 19/01/10)

    Powell states clearly that when he and the others were discussing the immediacy of the threat from Iraq they knew that

    “..he wasn’t about to send a missile to Cyprus, but, if we left him alone, he would be able to develop these weapons and use them.” In other words they knew that the 45 minute claim was wrong. (Chilcot Inquiry Transcript p61, line 18)

    It also points out that Blair misled Parliament in claiming that the weapons were an immediate danger.

    • 46 Ed January 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      John,

      What you are calling a “conspiracy theory” is just straightforward evidence that a coroner’s court would have issued an “open verdict” (not a verdict that Kelly was murdered, just a verdict that the cause of death was not evident beyond doubt)… The site states that the Hutton Inquiry was unconstitutional and that its findings were incorrect.

      Right, so you were talking about whether Kelly committed suicide after all. Well, there’s a thing. Anyway, I disagree with your assessment of that website; it’s common or garden conspiracy theory. Whether Blair lied, etc., is, as Jim pointed out, currently irrelevant.

  24. 47 Andrew January 30, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Even if Saddam’s genocide and oppression had been limited to Kurds, saying, “Removing Saddam wasn’t good for the people of Iraq, just the Kurds”, is akin to, “The end of the KKK wouldn’t be good for the people of America, just the blacks”

    Throughout the 1980s the Kurds were the focal point of his aggression (other uprisings were dealt with brutally, but genocide has only been levelled at the Kurdish assaults). The Kurds were the only group to have entirely benefited; the rest of Iraq lost relative stability and safety. This interesting 2005 poll supports this – Kurds are exponentially more receptive to the invasion

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-gallup-iraq-findings.htm

    Question: (3) Taking everything into account, do you think the coalition invasion of Iraq has done more harm than good or more good than harm?

    More Harm: 46 total, 2 Kurd
    More Good: 33 total, 97 Kurd
    The Same: 16 total, 1 Kurd

    And your attempted parallel can be disproved by extension – the end of the KKK wouldn’t result in the people of America dividing (along ethnic or religious lines) to systematically slaughter each other.

    In any event, Saddam’s genocide and oppression wasn’t limited to Kurds:

    Genocide has a very tight legal definition, and was limited to Kurds; the separation of the Marsh Arabs and the rebellious Shia is important. Although it can only truly be decided by a court, there is in an interesting discussion on the matter here:

    http://jeffweintraub.blogspot.com/2003/02/ecocide-as-genocide-saddams-campaign.html

    Although oppression was widespread, I believe that the transition from an oppressed but stable existence to US imposed “freedom” with all the caveats I have raised previously can not be characterised as “a good thing”. I find the proposition that Iraqis are now better off as a by-product of our negligence morally abhorrent.

    Jim was referring to your comparison of the death toll of Saddam’s genocide against the Kurds with that of a war to remove its perpetrator.

    I have made the point previously that the “war to remove its perpetrator” took days. The following deaths occurred under coalition rule during the next 7 years.

    This implies atrocities followed the invasion by way of a natural process, much as a teacup smashing follows it being dropped.

    These analogies oversimplify the facts. We know there was widespread concern over our intervention. From the Chilcot Inquiry:

    [Tony Blair's former security co-ordinator Sir David Omand] said the government was warned that action in Iraq could draw “large numbers” to Islamic extremism.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8471091.stm

    To persist with this oversimplification: we knew that the teacup, dropped from a great height, was due to collide sharply with the ground. We failed to consider the implications of this.

    Tony Blair: Iraqi death toll not our fault http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8488314.stm

    Chilcot Inquiry board member Professor Freedman, Professor of War Studies at KCL, today asked Mr Blair whether Iraqis are better off today than previously: although the whole day’s evidence is interesting, it’s worth focussing on this clip at 03:25 when Blair’s statement is not allowed to stand, although sadly without further investigation.

    Blair: “…the people are better off”
    Freedman: “Certainly better of than they were in 2007″
    Blair: “or 2003…or 2, or 1″
    Freedman: “I think, I just had some conversations with some Iraqis, I think that’s something that has to be shelved”

    Here are some polls of Iraqi citizens, overwhelmingly opposed to the invasion. The first poll sounds hopeful, but is the only one not to directly compare pre/post-war standards, and paints a bleak picture of current living standards.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_03_09_iraqpollfeb2009.pdf – ABC/BBC/NHK, February 2009

    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view/14282 – Angus Reid, 2007

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-28-gallup-iraq-findings.htm – USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup, 2005

    You must interpret these polls for yourselves as they contain a hundred or so questions. My interpretation is that the people of Iraq consider that the country is in a worse condition that in was prior to the invasion, to which they are opposed.

    So I will conclude on whether the average Iraqi is better or worse off: up to half of Iraq’s children are orphans, random acts of terrorism have been commonplace for years, living standards have declined. Blair’s argument at the inquiry today: Iraqis have electricity, income per head has substantially increased, people have hope for the future and infant mortality has decreased (likely a result of the sanctions being lifted). The reader may decide if the end justifies the means; many Iraqis do not feel that it does.

    With this I will draw my contributions to your blog to a close. Jim, your immutable defence of this war, from your conviction in Blair’s truth, denial of our failures and vigorous humanist defence, does not sit with my perspective on this matter. These are, after all, just opinions, and so I hope you hold no regrets inviting me here to continue a Facebook discussion. Ed, I’m not sure of your perspective on the war’s justification, but in deferring to you I presume your share Jim’s view, which it appears you both share with Tony Blair. I have enjoyed corresponding with you both, and after hours of listening to so many of our points in today’s evidence, hearing difficult questions being so professionally evaded, I don’t think there is anything further I can stand to debate on the matter. I will follow your blog with interest.

    • 48 Jim January 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

      Andrew,

      “Currently worse off than under Saddam” doesn’t mean “Removing Saddam was not worth it”; the poll you quote also contains the following:

      23. Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US/British invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?
      ———–Total; Baghdad; Shi’ite areas; Sunni areas; Kurdish
      Worth it : 61; 57; 74; 28; 97
      Not worth it : 28; 38; 17; 52; *

      It seems that a significant proportion of Iraqis agree with the sentiment expressed in my last post. Furthermore, current hardships and difficult living conditions unfairly discount the fact that Iraq has a bright future.

      If you look through the most recent polls conducted by the Brookings Institute you will find much that is positive, including, but not limited to: reduced rates of violence, significant levels of hope for the future, increased levels of political freedom, satisfaction with democratic structures, economic growth etc.

      Jim, your immutable defence of this war, from your conviction in Blair’s truth, denial of our failures and vigorous humanist defence, does not sit with my perspective on this matter.

      I harbour no “conviction” Blair did not lie. Conviction implies the position unshakable by evidence or argument; it is not. While we now know that some evidence was manipulated for rhetorical force, this is not enough to convince any conscientious person of a wicked conspiratorial plot for personal gain. Rather, it is your refusal to accept the results of numerous inquiries at face value that is good evidence of such a conviction.

      Neither do I wish to deny our failures, of which there were many, and which Ed has already conceded. The label of humanism, however, is certainly no mark of shame.

      Although oppression was widespread, I believe that the transition from an oppressed but stable existence to US imposed “freedom” with all the caveats I have raised previously can not be characterised as “a good thing”. I find the proposition that Iraqis are now better off as a by-product of our negligence morally abhorrent.

      In fact, if anything is “morally abhorrent” here, it’s your own sneering at the concept of freedom. This is mockery expounded by a man sitting at the very heart of a liberal democracy; a man who reaps the benefits sown by men and women who’ve shouldered the yoke in his own name; a man who, assiduously and in good conscience, denies others the benefits he himself enjoys.

      Well, if a “vigorous humanist defence” does not “sit with your perspective on this matter” then may I suggest moving somewhere more amenable to your temperament? There are numerous despotic thugs who would gladly have a westerner ‘salute their courage, their strength and their indefatigability’.

      I certainly have no regrets inviting you. Thank you very much for the debate; it really has been a pleasure, and I genuinely mean that. It’s a shame we could not progress it any further. If you do fancy coming back to this debate you’re very welcome. We’ll still be here.

  25. 49 Ed February 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Andrew,

    Regarding the orphans, you say my logic is wrong, but you are creating a false dichotomy – you’re suggesting they result from either the specific genocide against the Kurds or the war/occupation. Yet there are other possibilities, some of which I mentioned. You fail to address, moreover, the main point: even the nuttiest war death estimates can’t account for the creation of half that many orphans.

  26. 50 Ed February 1, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Andrew,

    Jim has already made the point that, even if Iraqis consider their immediate position worse than it was before, they are optimistic about their future. Crucially, they still consider the removal of Saddam worth it.

    Anyway, given you had the good grace to debate us here at our request, I had planned to give you the last word. On one point, though, I just can’t do that – and it’s not that I simply lack the self-discipline. Said issue – that of moral agency – is absolutely key and instead of taking it seriously, you’ve hand-waved it away. In a sense, I can understand why: the point is both highly damaging to your position and so self-evidently true as to be something with which no thinking person could disagree.

    When the Aum Shinrikyo cult freely chose to release sarin into the Tokyo subway, they became murderers; their crimes are ones for which they are accountable. When a group calling themselves “The Barbarians” freely chose to kidnap and then, over the course of nearly a month, torture Ilan Halimi to death, they became torturers and murderers; their crimes are ones for which they are accountable. When homophobic neo-Nazi David Copland freely chose to bomb a Soho gay pub, he became a murderer; his crime is one for which he is accountable.

    This list could go on and on, growing more gratuitous as it does so – but the extremely basic point should by now be plain: people are accountable for their own actions.

    Congruently, when sadists and nihilists freely decide to blow apart an Iraqi marketplace (thereby killing as many innocent men, woman and children as possible) or of free volition rape a helpless woman or wilfully choose to sink a power drill through the knee-cap of an interpreter, then they become murderers, rapists and torturers; their crimes are ones for which they are accountable.

    That Blair was ultimately responsible for security and that failures occurred and mistakes were made – some perhaps foreseeable and owing to incompetence – does nothing, and can do nothing, to alter that.

    There are groups in Iraq working to raze it to the ground and slaughter its people – as they would prefer that than to allow its current path of freedom and federal democracy. To attempt to minimise or excuse the behaviour of, or redirect moral responsibility away from, these disgusting fanatics is indeed perverse, and something which anyone with a moral compass could not put up with. The difference in moral agency between a willing murderer and an inanimate porcelain teacup is one any two year-old could grasp; I know it isn’t beyond you.

  27. 51 older women fuck tube August 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Amazing handjob carried out by naughty mature girl.
    She bought so pleased when big cock in her hand started spraying fountains of cum all over the place – novice porn videos (sent by Russell) Mature
    Sex (half 2) Mature Lover And I. Mature Blondie Pleasuring Pussy Mature On A Bed Excessive Forbidden Tube’s
    Scorching Free Buddies Wild Free Videos Viewers Wives Cuckold Sex Videos Hairy Porn Web site Shaggy Pussy Previous Wild Cats mature no 757
    Newbie do-it-yourself actual Granny and black Furry Mature R20 Thin mom
    with hairy pubis, small tits & guy Mannekemiss and mature milf
    enjoying with their clts Mother German fucked arduous Mature and lover boy Colombian Mature Ugly granny with flabby physique & very saggy tits!
    Mature swingers do-it-yourself Plump mom with huge giant boobs & man Mature with huge
    boobs my mom ira Actual Moms Fucking Scorching Mothers (sixty two) Mature Donita


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s





Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: