Angry Robot

The Bomb or Not the Bomb?

Okay, let me get this straight: the US is not attacking North Korea because they already have “weapons of mass destruction” and an army one million men strong. The result would be disastrous, fair enough. The US, by the same logic, wants to attack Iraq because Iraq does not have such weapons, even though the US will need proof that Iraq does have them in order to justify said attack. If the US attacks without evidence, it “would set a sobering and probably unsustainable precedent” – milder words were never writ. Apparently it gets harder and harder to justify this war and still make sense.

15 comments on "The Bomb or Not the Bomb?"

  1. Jerms says:

    It could be argued, of course, that not waging war on Iraq now will lead to the exact problem now posed by North Korea, that being, “don’t even attempt to interfere with us or we’ll nuke South Korea”. In 1998, Iraq was well on its way to having a bomb, or so the UN inspectors believed. It would take incredible naivety to suppose that over the past five years, during which time no outside observers have been granted access to Iraq, nothing has been furthered in the pursuit of this aim. The UN inspectors even now admit that components around in 1998 are not accounted for in Iraq’s latest dossier. The logical conclusion is, then, that a weapon is even closer to completion now than in 1998. The choice is rather clear. Either you invade now and disarm the twat or you wait until you have proof, at which point Saddam does a North Korea and says, “don’t even attempt to interfere with us or we’ll nuke Israel”. The choice and justification seem pretty clear, the niceties of international law, whatever the hell that is, be damned.

  2. Retard says:

    I’m of a similar mind.

    However, I’m also concerned about Algeria developing weapons of mass destruction. I think they should also be bombed.

  3. D says:

    The problems that I see with this, Jerms, are at least twofold.

    1. If the war is contingent on Iraq not having “WMD”, why say it’s contingent on them having WMD? Just makes it seem like some dodgy shit will happen: a) discredit Blix, b) plant / exaggerate evidence, c) god knows what.

    2. If Iraq doesn’t have that stuff then they are not a threat to their neighbours or to the US, and they haven’t attacked anyone in 10 years. If you can attack them, fine, god knows Caesar would have. But as Retard points out if you can attack them you can attack anyone. It’s a significant reversal in US foreign policy, one which has barely been addressed, and one which would have a profound effect on world stability. Canada would do well to arm up under the Bush Doctrine. The US hates our leader, we’ve got lots of oil and we’re a bunch of degenerate bong-hitting drug-trade-lovers.

  4. Jerms says:

    Good thoughts D and to a point I agree with you, especially about Canada arming itself, not for the purposes of defending ourselves against American attack, which is highly unikely, but merely for a little thing called sovereignty. It would be nice to have a foreign policy that could be backed up by something other than a UN resolution, the value of which has been shown to be utterly worthless since about 1956. By the by, I hate Canada’s so-called leader as well; about as astute as a half-educated undergraduate, which pretty much sums up the collective intellectual capacity of the western world, but I digress.

    To address your first point, I think Iraq has the “capacity” to build WMD. In order to eliminate this capacity in the 1990’s, the UN was sent in to destroy the means of doing so. As ever, they failed because they were unwilling to back up their words with force. The elimination of the capacity to threaten their neighbours with WMD seems like a good reason to invade to me. In the absence of a UN with a backbone, I guess the US is the only option. Words without physical consequences has never worked. Ever.

    As far as an invasion destabilizing the world, I don’t understand this. The world is unstable now. Something like double the amount of people have died through conflict since 1945 than in both world wars combined. This in an era under the allegeldy beneficial umbrella of the UN. Countries will blow each other to smithereens regardless of whether America invades Iraq. If the fear is of America going in willy-nilly to any country they feel like, then I think we may be lapsing into the ever-popular anti-America syndrome. Personally, I would welcome them invading Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Syria etc. Better them in control than the snakes currently holding their people hostage. Perhaps a tad too imperialist for some tastes, but I’ll stand by it. What I find quite worrying is the assumption that America can only act in the cause of evil and therefore anything they do or plan to do must be condemned and fought against. That reeks of stagnant ideological dogma.

  5. Retard says:

    That sounds great! I’m looking forward to exploring my “capacity” to eat Taco Bell burritos while I sit on my couch and cheer on every cluster bomb falling on Baghdad.

  6. mageebags says:

    “The elimination of the capacity to threaten their neighbours with WMD seems like a good reason to invade to me.”

    By that logic, anyone should be allowed to invade the USA. After all, they’ve got more WMD than the rest of the globe put together.

    Sorry, but the we-can-have-these-weapons-but-you-can’t argument just doesn’t wash. As you say, there’s a “little thing called sovereignty” which states that countries can do whatever they like within their own borders. If Iraq wants to stockpile mustard gas and nukes, that’s their right as a sovereign nation. End o’ story.

  7. marijke says:

    Word, mageebags. Gotta’ agree with that.

    And K, that article was frightening. and frighteningly true.

  8. Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to make war at pleasure… If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, “I see no probability of the British invading us,” but he would say to you, “Be silent: I see it if you don’t.”

  9. D says:

    I had a draft comment in response to your points, Jerms (and even a post waiting with that very article, K), but bags & lincoln (a rap duo if ever there was one) have raised better arguments.

    In fact as part of an attempt to verify that Lincoln quote – it’s true – I came across another quote, one that addresses the destabilizing effect of a US pre-emptive strike:

    If the United States, still acknowledged as the world’s chief advocate of the rule of law, undertakes a pre-emptive war against Iraq — a clear violation of international law — other states will reasonably conclude that such strikes are acceptable military conduct. In that case, the world may sink to the law of the jungle where only the fittest can survive.
    Paul Findley, member of Congress 1961-83

    Now I can take a certain amount of realpolitik, but what the US is about to do goes beyond that. It’s just shortsighted and greedy. And it amazes me, when the self-interest benefits so few, that so many are willing to go to such lengths to defend it – as in the curious Thorsell thing that originally inspired this – by arguing its universality.

    As a clarification about the post-“golf war” UN inspections, Jerms, they were ordered out of Iraq by their leader, Richard Butler, because the US & UK wanted to bomb again. Also, see here.

  10. Jerms says:

    I think we’ve hit pay-dirt with this strand fellow writers; excellent stuff indeed. Mageebags (I’ve missed you by the way over the past few years), I suppose then you excuse Mugabe systematically starving his own population in a Chretien-esque attempt to cling to power, or Saddam gassing his Kurdish population because “countries can do whatever they like within their own borders”. Also, why doesn’t the “we-can-have-these-weapons-but-you-can’t argument” wash? Are you arguing that there is no difference between America having WMD and Iraq having WMD? Do you seriously contend that you have no problem with Saddam Hussein having WMD? I find that amazing. A certain amount of responsibility goes with having WMD and Iraq is ruled by a dictator who has shown in the past how much contempt he has for human life. Why the hell should he be allowed to have them?

    Now, to pre-empt any attacks on this line, I agree that the only world superpower has a responsibility to not abuse its power. The Lincoln quote and D’s quote attest to this perfectly. However, I do think that America has the ability to differentiate between a real threat and an imagined one. Iraq has been deemed a real threat based on past and current behaviour, this behaviour also “a clear violation of international law”. The UN has tried and failed to do anything about it (and will continue to fail because it simply does not back up its resolutions). So, Iraq has broken international law. The body which governs international law imposes sanctions, uses threatening language, resolves nothing. Iraq goes about its business, diverting aid to unkown sources, imprisons and tortures opposition members. What’s the point of international law if there’s no punishment for breaking it? The sad truth is there is no such thing as international law, it’s wishful thinking and, unfortunately, the world has always been, and will continue to be, governed by “the law of the jungle where only the fittest can survive”. Frankly, I’d rather have a country who, despite its many flaws, is a democracy that shares the same fundamental values as we all do (liberty, freedom of speech, pluralism), in a position of power than allow some horrifying dictator to use that great albatross of international law to prevent any effective action being taken against him.

    P.S. D, thanks for the post-“golf war” clarification.

  11. D says:

    Jerms, I’d like to address some of this but it will have to wait. In the meantime, is this all about Iran?

  12. D says:

    I’m not sure where you see the UN’s failure, Jer, given that it was their own choice to withdraw the last time so that bombings could continue. They never got done before it was time for more aerial mischief from the US & UK. The sanctions continued, of course, and they never had a mandate to attack or anything like it.

    As for Iraq not being qualified to have WMD, come on. What makes Pakistan qualified? North Korea? There’s no special test you have to pass, unfortunately, everyone just does what they can to get the bomb. For some reason it is unacceptable for Iraq. I’m not saying I’d be thrilled if Saddam had a nuclear weapon, of course, but just that the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. And it surprises me, Jerms, that you would take the arguments at face value, indeed that you believe this New War&trade to be all about WMD. Given that there a whole boatload of shithead chemical-weapons-having dictators running their countries into the ground right now, you have to ask why the US has chosen this one.

    I would say it’s something like this:

    1. US sees worldwide energy use peaking over the next 40 years and seeks to secure 30-40 years of reserves.

    2. US wants to destroy OPEC. See also: Venezuela.

    3. US wants to wrest control of ex-Soviet republics from Russia. Yes, they have oil too. Goal: domination of lucrative “Eurasia” supercontinent.

    4. Yes, WMD, but let’s call a spade a spade – nukes. (Any shitbag with a lab and a few evil scientists can release sarin gas or anthrax.) Israel and US both are opposed to any Arab nation getting the bomb. For Israel that’s more than understandable. Of course, from what I understand Iraq is 2-3 years away from having anything, but the timing’s dictated by 1. domestic support for war at present, 2. reelection timetable and 3. difficulty of fighting during Iraq spring/summer due to pesky sandstorms.

    5. Iran. Not to say the US plans to invade Iran, but they sure would like to line some troops up in there and scare the shit out of them.

    Why do I think this is wrong?

    1. 4 out of 5 reasons are oil-based, Bush administration dominated by oilmen. Come on.

    Or, better put, the interests of the administration are not those of the US at large and most definitely not those of the world at large.

    2. The logic of empire is the logic of overextension. We need Kuwait as a buffer against Iraq, we need Iraq as a buffer against Iran, we need Iran as a buffer against whomeverelsecomesalong. At some point you are stretched too thin. Both short term and long term, I think the US has underestimated the troop commitment abroad they will need and they don’t see just how much more militarized US society would have to get to sustain it. Are Americans ready for mandatory military service?

    3. I am not excited by the potential fallout from such a war. You will see more terror attacks. Any more major attacks in the US and the rollback of civil rights will accelerate substantially. It will become okay to talk about ‘internment camps’, if it isn’t already. Yet another cost of Empire. Furthermore unlike you, Jerms, I’m not excited by the prospect of a post-UN world, starring US of A as ‘rogue superpower’. The UN is just the association of the world’s countries, not some creeping terror. It facilitates discussion amongst nations. It ain’t perfect – I’m pissed off like crazy at this whole Khadafi thing – but it’s better than nothing. Nothing, in this case, meaning “the US tells everyone else what to do.”

    4. I’m opposed to war unless absolutely necessary. This war is not necessary. Not even close.

    Sorry for the length and the lateness of this response.

  13. tom says:

    Here we are today. The headlines are about the NEW PHOTOS said to be more disturbing. Give me a break! Who really cares about the supposed abuse? I thought we were innocent until proven guilty. Not so in the real world. We should be judged by our culture. Not by the culture that would kill their daughter because she was raped! Hey I want to live there! Yeah, right! What a sick and twisted place. What a sick and twisted version of religion. This is the prime example of a separation of church and state.

    Who could kill their wife, daughter or sister because she was raped? This just shows that this Iraqi society has no capacity to love. None! If you can’t love you children then you deserve to be sent back to your maker for recycling. They are defective in so many ways. They make sure that education of women doesn’t happen. God forgive anyone for letting a woman know that she is better than the men around her. That statement is not always true but here in the states it is at least half the time.

    How about this idea? Let’s take a lesson from the Paranoid schizophrenics of the world. Instead of imaginary implants and such. Let’s implant listening devices in the prisoners and then release them. Tiny nuclear power supplies that can last years would power these implants. Attached to the device would be a bomb the size of a M-80 made of C4 that would explode when exposed to air. Not a huge bomb, just a deterrent to those that would try to remove them.

    I have to go back to the rape thing. This really bothers me. Just a thought here; Let’s say that a girl gets raped and her family is ashamed. Maybe we should take the entire family and imprison them with know rapists and get every one of them raped. Then they can all kill each other. I think the men should be repeatedly raped so that they can feel some idea of the helplessness that their wife, daughter or sister felt. Plus the knowledge that once the attack is over, there is no one to turn to, because once raped you are no longer a human. I just don’t understand a society that could be like that. Let’s not forget being stoned for not wearing a headdress. They are so religious. They are so compassionate. They are so much a precious group of so called humans. Just nuke then! Pull our troops and do it within 12 hours of the last evac. DO IT NOW!

  14. D says:

    Tom, that’s a bunch of gibberish hate speech and I would delete it, except that maybe people might like to make fun of you. I guess I’ll delete it later when I’m feeling deletory.

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