Dialogue Part II: Responding to apspitzer

For apspitzer’s original comments in their original form, see the previous post.

I have much to say and little time today, but this one point I cannot let go: We did not go into Iraq to liberate anyone.

It was one of many reasons that Bush outlined for the Iraqi invasion from the outset. I quote from his October, 2002 speech in Cincinnati, in which he outlined the rationale for war with Iraq:

The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan’s citizens improved after the Taliban.

The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control, within his own cabinet, within his own army and even within his own family.

On Saddam Hussein’s orders, opponents had been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents had been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners had been forced to watch their own children being tortured.

America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.

People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery, prosperity to squalor, self-government to the rule of terror and torture.

America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomen, Shia, Sunnis and others will be lifted, the long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.

If you take Bush at his word, and I do, then you concede that the liberation of the Iraqi people was on his mind well before the invasion.

We went in to gain a strategic position in the middle east.

Yes, we did. But that’s not the only reason. In humanitarian terms, Iraq was a greater success than, say, the aerial war against Bosnia, which was conducted with no congressional or UN approval. America had no strategic interest there other than to stop bloodshed. Just because Iraq is strategically more important than Bosnia, it doesn’t minimize the humanitarian benefits of eliminating Saddam.

Ousting Saddam was just substituting one form of mass murder for another.

That’s powerful rhetoric but factual nonsense. Coalition forces go to tremendous lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

Few in our military give a hoot about the Iraqi people.

The people I know in the military who have risked their lives to conduct this war have said otherwise. It’s all anecdotal, I suppose, but I’m far more likely to trust the word of a soldier than a critic.

All you have to do is watch a few of the hundreds of videos of our boys singing “burn motherfucker burn!” as they torch a house. They are not doing this because they are idealists. They are doing this because they can.

I suppose I should watch these videos, as this strikes me as a libelous assertion. Certainly it is not representative of the integrity of the military as a whole, which I continue to respect.

It is not true that conservatives are more likely to enlist.

Yes, it is – at least as of May, 2009 in the latest Gallup poll.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/118684/military-veterans-ages-tend-republican.aspx

The people that are most likely to enlist are poor and feel they have little other options, or come from families with a tradition of military service–It is just what they know.

That’s incorrect, too.

http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/cda05-08.cfm

The just cause rationalization come after the fact. If the issue was WMDs, then we would have pulled out after the first few weeks when it became obvious that they had none.

It didn’t become obvious for at least a year after the war began, and at that point, pulling out would have been disastrous for everyone, especially the Iraqi people.

The WMD line was a scare tactic to sell the war to congress and the American people.

By “scare tactic,” are you suggesting that Bush didn’t believe it? Because all evidence suggests that he did. For more detail on this, I suggest Bush at War by Bob Woodward, hardly a Bush partisan.

The reason France and other countries were unwilling to act was because they were unconvinced. Accusing France of unwillingness to act (translated: cowardice) is an old propaganda based canard which does not hold up to real scrutiny.

“Although the French intelligence services were convinced WMD remained in Iraq, [French president Jacques] Chirac recognised that the intelligence services “sometimes intoxicate each other”. His thinking “seemed to be dominated by the conviction that Iraq did not pose a threat that justified armed intervention”.

http://www.acronym.org.uk/dd/dd77/77iraq.htm

That’s according to UN weapons inspector Hans Blix – again, hardly a Bush partisan.

Yes, they were unconvinced – not that Iraq wasn’t harboring WMDs, but rather whether that justified military action.

This is part (I believe) of what Gok is saying about drinking the koolaid. And there is plenty more koolaid to go around.

I like Hawaiian Punch.

A Dialogue re: Conservatives v. Liberals
Harry Reid and the Standard of Doubleness

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